Author Archives: alinaemma

Flipping Your Classroom – Creating Interactive Video Quizes and Tutorials. EDpuzzle vs Educaplay – Which tool to use?

Whether you are thinking of flipping your class, creating an e-learning course or just supporting your students when they are not in the classroom, the use of video holds a great potential to bring in real and relevant content to your students. Even more so now, when you can turn videos into a real asynchronous conversation with a student, drawing their attention to the most important information and asking content check questions every now and again to make sure students have managed to grasp the message of a segment clearly before moving on to the next segment. There are plenty of free tools that can help you to do just that. They all have a short learning curve and do not require you to make a great time commitment to develop a video tutorial.

In this post I will compare two tools that I have had a chance to explore this month.

I will start with EDpuzzle since this is where my love for video tutorials was born. Previously, I posted a movie review activity developed in EDpuzzle ( Film Review Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan post ). The activity was designed to help students to absorb the topic-related vocabulary. You can check it out by clicking on the image below:

Film Review - Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan

Here are two other examples of what you can do with EDpuzzle if you are using video tutorials to explain a certain grammar structure. Once again, click on the images below to open the video quizes.

to like vs to be like the difference video tutorial

relative clauses video tutorial

As you can see, EDpuzzle offers you some versatility:

– You can use videos from a vide range of sources: YouTube, KhanAcademy, TED, National Geographic, Numberphile and so on.

– You can cut the video.

– You can record your voice comments over the video.

– You can add text comments that will pop up on the screen and pause the payback.

– You can embed multiple choice and open-ended questions and you can set them to pop up in any part of the video.

making video puzzles and tutorials fot tefl

Creating a question or a comment is really easy and fast. You just need to click on the question mark on the line above the video and drag the question pointer to the part of the video where you want your question to pop up.

edpuzzle vs educaplay flipping your clasroom which tool to use

 

Then click on the question pointer.

how to create video-based quizes

The major drawback here, however, is that if you opt for the open-ended question, you will have to check the answers manually and if your students are not regitered on EDpuzzles, you will never know their answers, morever, they themselves will never know the correct answer and will be allowed to continue watching the video.

Another rather disapointing fact about EDpuzzle is that it doesn’t allow you to provide custom feedback. Multiple-choice questions have pretty bland correct/incorrect feedback option. Open-ended questions have no feedback at all and, as I have mentioned above, it doesn’t even allow you to type in the correct answer. Yes, very dissapointing here.

But on the bright side, you can create classes, assign videos and track students’ anwers if your students are registered with EDpuzzle (and so far the registration is free).

Once your EDpuzzle is ready, you can share it with your students, you can embed it on Moddle or on your webpage.

As your students watch the video, they will see where the question is nested in the video timeline. You can block skipping so that students will not be able to skip any segment of the video.

Once the question in answered, the students can choose to rewatch a part of the video or to go on to the next segment. EDpuzzle will allow the students to continue watching the video even if the given answer is incorrect.

On the whole, EDpuzzle is a good tool for short videos and simple multiple-choice CCQs. But this is not the tool I can personally use.

Now let’s talk about Educaplay, which is one of my top favorite tools, it allows you to create a wide range of educational quizes and puzzles, including video-based quizes.

It is also very easy to use, you just need to create a free account and you are ready to go. To create a quiz just click on the “Create Activity” in the main menu and choose the “video quiz” option in the type of the activity.

educaplay vs edpuzzle which tool to choose for your flipped classroom

Educaplay allows you to create multiple choice questions with one (Single) or several correct answers (Multiple), you can also create open-ended questions (Written and Wide written).

Flipping Your Classroom - Creating Interactive Video Quizes and Tutorials. EDpuzzle vs Educaplay - Which tool to use?

Flipping Your Classroom - Creating Interactive Video Quizes and Tutorials. EDpuzzle vs Educaplay - Which tool to use?

Contrary to EDpuzzle, you can add feedback for each type of questions. The drawback here is that the same feedback will be given once a student answers a question, regardless of whether the question is answered correctly or not. So in the feedback you should explain the correct answer rather than writing something like “well done!”

educaplay video quizes multiple choice questions

With open-ended questions you can add several possible answers.

Like on EDpuzzle, you can lock the playback and forbid your students to skip parts of the video.

You can also create groups, and track each student’s activities, here is an example of a report you can get for each student:

educaplay vs edpuzzle which tool to choose for your blended learning or online course

Of course, like with everything else, there is room for improvement. Like, for example, an option that would send the learner back to re-watch a certain segment  if the question is answered incorrectly (At this point, if you answer incorrectly, you lose points and the question is marked in red but you can still proceed to the next segment. )

Upon the completion of the activity, the students can review correct answers once again.

Educaplay see corrections

Here are some of the video quizes I have made in Educaplay to give you an idea on what this tool has to offer.

 

Comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives educaplay video puzzle

Active vs Passive Voice Video Tutorial

Active vs Passive Voice

 

used to video tutorial and interactive video quiz

“Used to” for past habits

 

too much many enough and very interactive video tutorial

Too much/many, enough and very

Expressing purpose, cause and result interactive video tutorial

Expressing purpose, cause and result

And to wrap it all up, here is a comparison chart of EDpuzzle and Educaplay.

  EDpuzzle Educaplay
? Multiple choice questions with one or several correct answers and open-ended questions.  Multiple choice questions with one or many correct answers, open-ended, long open-ended questions.
Feedback No custom feedback. Multiple choice questions: standard correct/incorrect feedback.

Open-ended questions do not allow you to set the correct answer that students need to type in. If the students are registered on EDpuzzle, you can check their answers to open-ended question manually.

Custom feedback for each question, however, the feedback is given on the question, not on the answer.The students will also recieve the standard correct/incorrect feedback.

Open-ended questions allow you to set the correct answer or answers and Educaplay automatically checks the students’ open-ended answers against the correct ones.

Tracking If your students are registered on EDpuzzle, you can create classes, assign videos and track your students’ answers. You can create groups and track each student’s progress if your students have a free account on Educaplay.
Looping Even if the answer to the question is incorrect, the student will be able to proceed to the next question. The student will be able to proceed to the next question even if the answer given to the previous question is incorrect.
Locking skipping Yes Yes
Privacy All video puzzles that you create are public. To make them private you need to negotiate with the developers. The video quizzes that you create are public unless you have a premium account.
Sharing and embedding Yes Yes
Download Flash scorm activities No Yes

No stars, no evaluation points because everyone chooses what suits their needs best. I fell in love with EDpuzzle but I switched to Educaplay and I find that it suits me better.

Please, share what tools you personally use. I want to learn from you.

Happy Weekend! 🙂

Videos for Business English: How to use videos when teaching ESP.

Here are some videos that can come in handy in your (and my) Business English ESP class.

The following 3 videos are from the DVDs that accompany Business Result  textbooks.  I am not a huge pundit of textbooks but they have done really great job making the DVDs and even if you don’t like the book so much,  you can obtain a DVD separately.

The first video contains great vocabulary one needs when choosing a location for office. The main character is looking for an office space to rent and  is offered two options with completely different characteristics.

The next video is great for introducing the vocabulary and the topic of teleconferencing.

As a post-listening task to this video students may role-play a teleconference using the vocabulary from the recording:

The third one is my personal favorite and it is on cultural differences. It covers the hamburger method of constructive criticism and how it varies from one culture to another. It also touches upon the low-and high-power distance countries and other things one needs to consider when negotiating with a potential partner from another culture.

The last video is a story of Berghaus company. It is  from a DVD that accompanies International Express courbook by Oxford University Press, it is aimed at Elementary learners, but if you ask me, it could work for pre-intermediate students as well.

The next video, which is suitable for the upper-intermediate level, covers the story of the creation of a British car Mini and gives a glimpse into its present:

The next video focuses on the current issues the city  of Venice faces and is aimed at pre-intermediate students:

As a post-listening activities for the last two videos you can suggest your students to:

do a  SWOT analysis of the Mini and the city of Venice;

research if there are any successful businesses or NGOs in Venice, choose one business and write a report on its activity over the last month. If students have hard time finding successful businesses or companies in Venice, they can choose any company and write up a short report of its activity over the last year, indicating the company’s decline or growth and the underlying reasons for it.

– research how the producers managed to turn the Mini into a commercial success. Students will need to use their findings to write a performance report.

The last video I want to mention is by Harvard Business School. It includes great tips and phrases for conflict resolution and assertive communication. The one tip that I particularly like in this video is “don’t SHOULD on people”.

When working with videos in your classroom, you may choose to follow the trusted framework:

1. Pre-listening :

lead-in – introduce your students to the theme, try to connect the video you are about to show to the previous lesson.

Introduce blocking vocabulary using the  MPF (meaning-pronunciation-form model).

Ask Content Check Questions to make sure that  students have grasped the meaning of the blocking vocabulary.

2.While listening:

Before letting the students watch the video ask them the question that captures the gist of the video. They will need to answer this question  at the end of the video.

Hand out graphic organizers before showing them the video and instruct the students which details they need to get from the recording to fill in their graphic organizers.

For example, for the video on cultural differences the students may note down how the hamburger method of constructive criticism varies from one country to another and what does it look like in each of the countries. Students can also  note down the countries with high and low power distance. The graphic organizer for this video may also zoom in on more general details such as what advice would you give to a person who is going to negotiate with a potential partner from Germany/China/Japan and so on.

3. Post-listening

Use a post-listening activity to encourage students to create something of their own based on the vocabulary and the information in the video. A videos showing a teleconference or a meeting may be followed by a roleplay or another simulation activity. Try to design post-listening activities in which students need to work collaboratively, to resolve a problem or to come to an agreement. Here are also some of the post-listening activities that can be used in your Business English classroom. All of these ideas are based on the activities your Business English students are very likely to perform in real life:

– Writing a report of the results of a meeting showed in the video

– Taking minutes of the meeting shown in the video.

– Drafting a proposal for a project, based on the information presented in the video.

– Asking for funding for the realization of the project mentioned in the video.

– Writing an email to prospective investors for the project mentioned in the video.

– Doing a SWOT analysis..

– Writing a performance report.

Are there any pre-/while- and post-listening activities that you successfully use in your classroom and could kindly share with the blog readers and me?  : )

 

Which vocabulary do my students need to know at each level?

Today a friend of mine sighed and told me with a sad face: “I wish there was a list of vocabulary items that my students need to know at each level.”

And I decided to make this post. Because, actually, there is a tool that does just this. It is called English Vocabulary Profile. And it is absolutely free for the time being.

English Vocabulary Profile (EVP) is a joint project of Cambridge English, Cambridge University Press, British Council, University of Cambridge, University of Bedforshire and EnglishUK (talk about an authoritative tool).

Vocabulary lists for each level - What words do my students need to know

The name of the project speaks for itself – it is a list of vocabulary items that learners at each level  know and it covers all six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).)

Without registration you can navigate only through a part of the database (only several letters) . But for the time being you can get a free acceess to the complete database by just filling in a short form. You will recieve an email with the password to access the full database.

You can get a list of vocabulary a student acquires at each particular level separately or you can choose to see a list of all vocabulary items a learner at level B2 knows (for example, option A1-B2).

Vocabulary lists for each level - What words do my students need to know 2

If you choose  the second option, next to each word you will see a level to which it corresponds.

vocabulary learner should know at each level search example english profile

You can also click on each word to see real leaner examples.

vocabulary students should know at each level with eample englishprofile

You can also search by topics, such as Body, Travelling, Health and so on. You can alo search by separate words to identify at which level learners should know this or that particular vocabulary item.

What I really love is that EVP not only lists the words but also the meanings and uses of each word that students need to know at different levels. For example, the noun “activity” meaning “an event” should be familiar to an A2 student, but “activity” meaning “movement” is listed in B2 level. This can help teachers in guiding their students as to which meaning of each word their students need to learn at each level.

I am definately in love with EVP a brilliant idea, a brilliant project. A huge thank you to all who have been putting their hearts and minds to give it life.

If you ask me it is the best thing after sliced bread, one of the greatest tools for teachers, examiners, researchers and learners.

And here is a short video about the EVP.

 

 

Relative Clauses – Games and Activities

In a previous post I covered the use of relative pronouns and the difference between each of them (Relative Pronouns with comics and jokes)

Here are some activities  for you (or your students) to play around and to hone the skills.

If you (or your students) need a quick review, start with watching a video tutorial and answering the embedded questions.

Interactive EdPuzzle Video Tutorial Relative Clauses

Click on the image to open the interactive EdPuzzle tutorial

Aim: To practice the use of relative clauses (who, which, that, when and where)
Interaction: Individually or in groups
Exercise type: Filling in the gaps
Language: B1
Time: 10-15 minutes
Materials: Slideshow, 5 pieces of paper for each student, markers
Procedure:
  1. Give each student 5 pieces of paper.
  2. Instruct the students to write down a different relative pronoun (that, who, which, when or where) on each of the 5 pieces of paper that they have.  Recommend the students to use colorful markers and write in big letters that are visible from a distance.
  3. You will be showing your students slides with sentences on them. Each sentence is missing a relative pronoun.
  4. Display the slide with the first sentence on it. Allow some time for your students to read the sentence and to come up with a missing relative pronoun. The students need to raise the paper with a suitable relative pronoun up in the air as soon as possible.
  5. In some cases two variants are possible. If this is the case, the students need to raise two pieces of paper.
  6. The first three students to raise correct papers get an extra point.
  7. The person with the top score at the end of the game wins!

 

You can also download a PDF Version of the questions slides here: Relative Pronouns Game with instructions

In the next  activity you will see a relative pronoun in the middle of the screen.  You need to select 4 sentences in which this relative pronoun can be used.

Play Relative Clauses Game

relative clauses interactive game

Click on the image to enlarge and read the instructions.

Each time you play the game, you are given a different relative pronoun (when, where, which or who), so you may want to play  several times to practice the use of various relative pronouns.

The next game is a collection of activities. It includes 10 exercises in which you need to join two sentences with a suitable relative pronoun.

Relative clauses interactive practice game

Click to enlarge the image and read the instructions

Play The Collection of Activities

Have fun learning and teaching!

 

Body Image – Vocabulary Activities

Aim: To practice words related to body image and appearance
Interaction: Individually or in groups
Exercise type: Filling in the gaps, constructing sentences
Language: B2 or C1
Time: 15-20  minutes
Materials: Handouts, an electronic device to reproduce a youtube video

Previously, I posted an activity based on the Illusionist trailer (Kick Me Vocabulary Game – Words to talk about body image and appearance). No need to mention that  I like the trailer and the movie a lot, so much actually that I have developed two more activities based on it. One of them foocuses on collocations and another one on the sentence structure and word order.

1. Start by showing your student the first 90 seconds of the teaser of The Illusionists film and  ask them to complete the collocations in their handout.

You may choose to do an introductory activity to encourage your students to brainstorm the topic and the related vocabulary. Some ideas for the introductory activities for this trailer can be found in the post Kick Me Vocabulary Game – Words to talk about body image and appearance (will open in a new tab/window).

The _____________________ of the body

The ____________ of _______ beauty

The_________ that corporations have on our ________ of ourselves

To ____________ people’s insecurities about their bodies for profit

The ________ with  __________________ beauty is as old as time

The ________ of the ________ body has _______ the central role

75% of “normal” weight women think they are __________

The ________ of body dissatisfaction around the world

90% of women ________ their body size

Our culture’s ___________ ________ physical appearance

The _________ impact our __________________ culture has on women

An interactive online activity is available here Vocabulary – Body Image

Vocabulary workshop body image and appearance

Vocabulary workshop body image and appearance

 

Here are the answers: 

  1. the commodification of the human body
  2. the marketing of unattainable beauty around the world
  3. the influence that corporations have on our perception of ourselves
  4. to manipulate people’s insecurities about their bodies for profit
  5. the pursuit of the perfect beauty has taken the central role
  6. 75% of “normal” weight women think they are overweight
  7. The epidemic of body dissatisfaction around the world 
  8. 90% of women overestimate their body size
  9. Our culture’s obsession with physical appearance 
  10. The alarming impact our celebrity-obsessed culture has on women.

Make sure that everybody understands all the vocabulary from the previous activity. Provide clarification if one or more of your students are not sure about the meaning of some words or phrases.

Distribute the handout with a chart below.  The students can work individually or in groups.

Instruct the students that they need to arrange the words in each of the lines to make sentences. Remind your students about the word order in an English sentence [the subject always goes before the verb and adjectives go before the nouns that they describe (we say Happy Birthday not Birthday Happy J )]

Tell the students that there is a hint for them:  a capitalized word in each line is the first word of a sentence.

The students need to write their sentences in the space provided in each line.

1.    as  property    Commodification    body   human   treating   means   of   the   a person

2.     models      Runway     set     standards      beauty    unattainable

3.     beauty    perceptions   of    our    Magazines    influence  TV    and

4.     about    Many   bodies   teenagers   insecurities   have  their

5.     new   nothing   is   A preoccupation    beauty physical  with

6.     price    The pursuit   has    of   a  high  price   the   body   perfect

7.     develop    problems   people   Overweight   can  health  various

Both handouts with instructions for the students can be downloaded here: Body image and appearance vocabulary activities

Previously,  I also shared several ideas for speaking activities on fashion and appearance which can be found here and two activities and a matching game on adjectives to describe personality and appearance which can be found here.

Have fun learning and leading in the classroom!

Kick Me Vocabulary Game – Words to talk about body image and appearance

Aim: To practice words related to body image and appearance
Interaction: Whole class (any, preferably at least 3)
Exercise type: Matching, filling in the gaps
Language: B2 or C1
Time: 15-20  minutes
Materials: Post-it notes or strips of paper with tape; a handout  with a chart for each of the students

Since the majority of the words that are used in the exercise can be found in the first 90 seconds of the Illusionists trailer, you may choose to do an introductory activity to familiarize your students with the vocabulary.

An Introductory Activity

Show your students the first 90 seconds of a very short teaser of the Illusionists film:

Ask the students the following questions before starting the activity:

  • What do you think the film is about?
  • Do you think the film approves of cosmetic surgery for vanity?
  • What alarming statistics are mentioned in the teaser?
  • numbers
  • What do these numbers refer to: 
  • Would you consider undergoing a plastic surgery just to change your appearance? 
  • Do you know someone who has undergone a cosmetic surgery? 
  • Could you name some arguments in favor and against plastic surgeries? 

Preparing for the Activity

1. Take 12 post-it notes and write the following words on them. Write each word on a separate post-it note:

Celebrity-obsessed

Unattainable

Perception

Overweight

Overestimate

Commodification

Repugnant

Rebellious

Prejudice

Epidemic

Pursuit

To take the central role

You can also use strips of paper and tape instead of post-it notes.

2. Stick a post-it note to the back of each of the students without telling your students which word they have. If you have less than 12 students, some students may end up with two post-it notes on their backs.

Alternatively, if you have very few students  (3 or 4),  you can choose to hide words around the classroom (under the chairs, under the desks) or stick them on the walls around the classroom. If you choose this option, then in the third column of the handout the students will need to write down the name of the object on which they found the word and its location in the classroom.

If you have more than 12 students, then repeat some of the words, so that each of the students has a post-it note on their backs.

3. Give each student a handout with a chart.

If you have a very large classroom, you may choose to give one handout for two or three students and allow them to work in a group.

 Activity

1. Each of the students needs to walk around the classroom, looking at the backs of other students and the words that they have.

Remind the students that they are allowed to communicate only in English.

2. Once a student finds on someone’s back a word that fits one of the gaps in the chart, the student writes down this word and the name of the student who is wearing this word.

3. The first student to complete the chart correctly wins and gets an extra point.

4. If you have several students filling in one handout, then the group that fills in their handout first wins.

The handout and the explanation can be downloaded here: Body image and appearance Kick Me Vocabulary Game

 

 

Previously,  I also shared several ideas for speaking activities on fashion and appearance which can be found here and two activities and a matching game on adjectives to describe personality and appearance which can be found here.

Adjective to Describe Personality and Appearance – Two Activities and a Matching Game

Previously I shared several ideas for speaking activities on fashion and appearance which can be found here.

In this post I want to concetrate on the vocabulary to describe appearance and personality. All three activities have been desined for B2 students and have been successfully used in my classroom.

Adjectives to describe clothes activity

Adjectives to describe clothes activity

Adjectives to describe appearance activity

Adjectives to describe appearance activity

The first activity is picture based and is aimed at introducing or reviewing adjectives to describe clothes. Check it out in a slideshow below.

Students need to choose the correct adjectives to describe the clothes in each of the pictures. Sometimes more than one adjective can be used to describe a picture.

The next activity is aimed at reviewing the adjectives to describe appearance, the task of the students is to complete the sentences with the correct adjective from the box.

And finally a matching game with compound adjectives.

You can read the description below or download it here together with the cards: Compound Adjectives To Describe personality and Appearance – Matching Game

Cmpound Adjectives To Describe personality and Appearance  – Matching Game
Aim: To practice compound adjectives related to personality and appearance
Interaction: Individually or in groups of up to 3 students
Exercise type: Matching
Language: B2
Time: 7-12 minutes
Materials: A set of cut up cards for a person or for a group
Procedure:
  1. Cut up the cards along the dotted lines.
  2. Give each student a set of cards (for an individual activity) or hand out one set of cards for a group of students (for a group activity).
  3. Set a time limit for the students to match the cards to make compound adjectives (see the answers). An online stopwatch can be of help to keep track of the time: www.onlinestopwatch.com
  4. Award extra points to the student or the group of students who are the first to complete the puzzle.

Have Fun!

Have fun learning and leading in the classroom! 🙂

Film Reviews – Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan.

Film reviews are one of the most popular topics in TEFL and this is exactly what we were dealing with over the last week. Coursebooks don’t always do a great job in engaging students especially when it comes to reading and vocabulary exercises, so to assist my students, struggling with vocabulay aquisition, I developed the following vocabulary workshop.

The activity is based on a film review by Movieline and presents new words in context and with other words that they go with (i.e. horizontally). The visuals in the clip add a powerful element and help students to memorize the vocabulary easier and faster.

The activity could also be used to introduse a possible rhetorical structure of an oral film review (possible because there are other ways to structure a review).

Level: B2
Target skill: vocabulary
Other skills involved: reading, listening, rhetorical structure of an oral film review.

 
1.  As a lead-in activity quickly go through some vocabulary that students will need to know in order to understand the ideas and opinions expressed in the film review.

 

 

2. Hand out the graphic organizers and allow your students a couple of minutes to look at them.

*Students can be working individually or in groups of up to four.* 

Ask the students to figure out what information they need to get from the trailer in order to fill in the graphic organizers (the aspects of the movie mentioned in the review; the strengths and weakenesses of the film).

Ask the students to predict possible answers.
An editable graphic organizer can be downloaded here: Graphic Organizer for a film review vocabulary workshop

3. Let the students watch the Amazing Spiderman 2 review by Movieline.

4. Let the students watch the review in parts filling in the gaps with the appropriate word(s). Rewind the video if your students need to listen to the except again in order to fill in the gaps. The questions embedded in the video are multiple choice questions.

Click on the image below to open the EdPuzzle.

Film Review - Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan

Film Review – Vocabulary Workshop and Lesson Plan

http://www.edpuzzle.com/media/53b2e425cf5849013aac2273

If you think it will be too easy for your students, download the paper-based handout with gaps and no options.

5. Let the students read the transcript of the film review.

Ask your students the following questions:
What information is included in this review? 
How this information is structured? 

Give the students the rhetorical structure of an oral film review handout. Working individually or in groups, students need to write the number of the paragraph (1, 2 or 3) in which they can find the information about each of the aspects of the movie and the parts of a review (the cast, the plot, recommendation, etc.)

Draw the students’ attention to the phrases in bold. Encourage them to use these phrases in their post-activity.
6. Allow some time for the students to complete online vocabulary exercise. They can use tablets, phones, laptops or desktop computers if you have an access to a computer lab.
Crossword Puzzle Film Review Vocabulary

Crossword Puzzle Film Review Vocabulary

Alternatively, you can assign this activity for independent study at home or use the paper-based version of the vocabulary exercises that can be downloaded here as a crossword puzzle (Crossword Puzzle – Film Review Vocabulary Workshop) or as a matching exercise.

 Film Review Vocabulary Matching Exercise

7. As a post-activity ask the students to prepare a film review at home and either to record themselves or to be ready to present their film  review next class. Once again students can work alone or in groups. Encourage the students to use the new vocabulary and phrases in their own fim review (assign extra points for each of the new words used or a lump-sum extra point).

Hope you enjoyed it and will find it of you.

Please, share your comments, ideas and suggestions. As always, they are always highly appreciated.

82 words and phrases to use instead of “good”, “great” and “interesting”. 

Last week I was grading speaking and writing exams of B2 level students and I was appalled at how many times a student can use the words “interesting”, “good” and “great” in a two minute speech or in a several lines of text no matter what they are talking or writing about. Everything seems to be either interesting or good or great: the film is interesting, the cast is great, the special effects are really good. These three adjectives are multi-purpose words and are used to describe pretty much everything, and while they might save some memory resources, I believe that our studends need to learn to tap into the richness of the language and be able to describe things more precisely, because, without a doubt, it is one of the skills they will need in the future.

So I’ve gathered together 82 words and phrases that can be used instead of good, great and interesting. Each word or  phrase is accompanied with a definition, collocations and picture examples of its use in the news, online publications and words of famous and outstanding people.

Grammar with comics and jokes: Comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives + comic-strip style exercise

In this post we will learn comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives.
And before we start let’s meet Josh. He is very young. He is only three years old.Comparative degrees of adjectives
Josh has a baby sister who is even smaller. Her name is Betty and she is only 11 months old. She is almost 2 years younger than Josh.Comparative degrees of adjectives 3
Betty and Josh have a baby cousin. Her name is Lina and she is only 1 month old. She is the youngest of all.

Comparative degrees of adjectives 4Comparative degrees of adjectives 4 Comparative degrees of adjectives 4Comparative degrees of adjectives 4

When we compare two things we add  ER to the adjective.
When we want to describe something that has the highest degree of a quality among three or more things, we use the superlative degree.Comparative degrees of adjectives 5
Try to do this one. Can you form a comparative and superlative degree of COLD?Comparative degrees of adjectives 6
 Comparative degrees of adjectives 7
 Comparative degrees of adjectives 8
 Comparative degrees of adjectives 9
 Easy, isn’t it?
So what would be the comparative degree of smart?

question
Comparative degrees of adjectives 10                           

Can you form the superlative?
Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  11
 When an adjective is short, we add ER and the EST to it, but do we do the same if an adjective is long? Can we say “comfortabler”? What a mouthful! It is too hard to say. That’s why if an adjective has two or more syllables, don’t use ER and EST.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  12
We use MORE + adj to compare two things.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  13
 And THE MOST + adj in the superlative degree.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  14
Can you form the comparative degree of difficult?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  15
More difficult! And the superlative degree is “the most difficult”. Easy, isn’t it?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  16
And how about famous? This word has two syllables: “Fa-mous”. The majority of two syllable words form their comparative and superlative degrees with more and the most. So what is the comparative degree of Famous?

Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  17
More famous! Can you form the superlative as well?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  18

Of course, it is the most famous!

Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  18
So when we want to compare 2 things, we use the comparative degree of adjectives.When we have 3 or more things and we want to highlight one particular thing in this group which has the highest degree of a certain characteristic, we use the superlative degree.If an adjective is short and has only one syllable, we add ER to the adjective in the comparative form and the EST in the superlative. Some two-syllable adjectives also form comparatives and superlatives with ER and EST. However, if the word is long and has two or more syllables, we add MORE in front of the adjective in the comparative and THE MOST in the superlative degree. We can also use LESS and THE LEAST. They are the opposites of more and the most.
Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  infographic 19
Now some adjectives can be tricky when it comes to spelling.For example, try to form the comparative and the superlative degree of BIG. Since it is a very short one-syllable word we will use ER and the EST.

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And we will get BIGGER. But notice that the final G is doubled. This always happens when the word ends in a Consonant – vowel – consonant sequence (CVC adjectives). We double the final consonant in order to keep the pronunciation.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  21
Now can you form the superlative form?
The BIGGEST. We will need to double the G once again.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  22
Now try this one. Once again it is a short one-syllable word and we need to add ER and the EST, but like in the previous example here we have a consonant followed by a vowel and another consonant. 

Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  24
So we need to double the T and we will get WETTER. And what will be the superlative degree?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  25
The WETTEST with double T once again.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  26
CVC adjectives are not the only adjectives with a little bit tricky spelling in comparative and superlative degrees.For example, take a look at EASY. It is also a short adjective that forms its comparative and superlative forms with ER and the EST. Can you notice the pattern?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  27

What has changed in the comparative degree? The “Y” has changed to “I”. Can you form the superlative degree? How will you spell it?
Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  1128                   

It will be “THE EASIEST” with an “I” instead of the “Y”.
What about friendly? What are its comparative and superlative degrees?It is one of those two-syllable adjectives that form comparative degrees with ER and the EST but be careful with spelling.
Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  29
One-syllable and some two-syllable adjectives ending in “E” add only “-R” or “-ST”.For example, look at “SAFE”. Can you form the superlative degree?Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  30
It will be “THE SAFEST” with only one “E”.Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  31
So, remember that one-syllable and some two-syllable adjectives ending in “E” add only “-R” or the     “-ST” in the comparative and in the superlative.Adjectives ending in “Y” drop “Y” and add “I” before -ER and the -EST.CVC-adjectives double the final consonant.comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives changes in spelling infographic
There are also several adjectives that form their comparative degrees differently. You need to memorize these forms.For example, “GOOD” in its comparative form becomes “BETTER”.irregular comparatives and superlatives 34
 And in the superlative it is “THE BEST”.irregular comparatives and superlatives 35
“BAD” also changes differently in the comparative and in the superlative degree. Do you know its forms?

BAD COMPARATIVE AND SUPERLATIVE

In the comparative form it becomes “WORSE”. irregular comparatives and superlatives 36

And in the superlative it becomes “THE WORST”. “FAR” also has irregular comparative and superlative forms. There are several more adjectives in this group. For now try to remember these three irregular forms and we will learn more as we go. irregular comparatives and superlatives infographic 37 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives  exercise 40 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 41 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 42   Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 43 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 44 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 4145 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 45 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 46 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 48 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 49   Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 50 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 51 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 52 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 53 Comparative  and superlative degrees of adjectives exercise 54   way to go

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