Saturday, November 1, 2014

Doing Oral Book Reports Digitally

How often do you really get to listen to your students talking English? In the mad rush of the day, with over 30 kids in my class, I do not often get the opportunity to hear my 11th grade students speaking in English for longer than the few seconds for the interactions we have in the framework of our class. Considering the fact that our students will have to pass an oral exam with an external tester at the end of the 12th grade, and more importantly: we want our students to be able to communicate competently in English, the face-to-face classroom English-speaking time just isn’t enough.

Thankfully, these days, we have lots of options.

Israeli students must do 4 book reports during the process of their high school careers. I decided this time, to require an oral component for that book report. The oral component is worth 40% of the book report grade.  

These are the instructions I gave them (this is a Googleslides presentation which is embedded in our class Googlesite):

And here is the grading rubric (also embedded in our class site, using Googledocs) .

Rubrics for Oral Presentation

Spoke clearly, fluently, used appropriate vocabulary
Clearly read and understood book
Handed in written drafts
Participated in someone else’s oral presentation

Some of them asked if they could do it using only an audio file. In this case, I decided NOT to be flexible. Here's why:

It is so easy these days for kids to record themselves on their smartphones, or tablets. It's also another opportunity to tell them to take OUR their phones (rather than put them away) and use them for educational purposes! Some of them might even figure out how to do some editing on it and learn other tools via English! So why not make it part of YOUR EFL teaching routine?! Do YOU have your students record themselves on their phones, in English? Please comment and share your activities for improving their oral proficiency using this tool!

Digitally yours,


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