But my students can’t assess their own progress!

Last Updated on 2017-07-11It turns out they can, and rather accurately. Paula Winke (2014), from the University of Michigan, studied how a group of learners’ self-ratings of their oral performances in Chinese compared to the ratings provided by two Chinese language experts. She found that learners’ self-assessments largely coincided (roughly 90% of agreement) with those[…]

It’s More Than Speaking Practice

Besides extra speaking practice for your students and a simpler way to assess spontaneous speech, recordings completed with Extempore provide data for teachers to inform various aspects of their teaching. Here are some ideas. Use recordings as data for formative assessment. Even if you use Extempore just for extra speaking practice and not for assessing[…]

The role of vocabulary in building fluency: Making students aware

Last Updated on 2017-11-27Do you remember those days when you were a beginning language learner and you became easily frustrated during speaking activities? Remember the feeling of hopelessness when you got stuck searching for words to express your thoughts? You had something great to say, but you may have remained silent more than you should[…]

Dear Abby, How Can I Practice the Imperative?

Last Updated on 2017-11-27First things first. Your students probably have never heard of the Dear Abby advice column. Maybe you haven’t either. But that’s OK; it still provides a good context for your students to practice using the imperative mood in the language that they’re studying and it can be accomplished very easily on Extempore. I’m actually[…]

Spice up the Classroom with a Cooking Competition on Extempore!

Last Updated on 2016-10-16These days you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a cooking show. Some of them are the competition type with the red-faced celebrity chef screaming at the contestants. Other cooking shows are more of the travel type where a host visits a particular restaurant to publicize the hard work of regular[…]

Speaking Self-Reflection: It’s Not Just For Writing Anymore

Last Updated on 2017-11-27If you’re a teacher, you probably already know that one of the big pushes in education in recent years has been to incorporate self-reflection into the classroom, both for students as well as for teachers themselves. On the student end of things, self-reflection has been shown to promote responsibility and total engagement in active learning, among other benefits.[…]

Do It All On One Screen with Extempore

If you’ve been exploring our website and reading our blog, hopefully you’ve noticed how useful, convenient, and efficient Extempore is for both students and teachers. There’s a reason for that–the founders of Extempore are full-time classroom teachers, so we’re always thinking of practical ways to make our app the best that it can be for everyone. We recognize from[…]

6 Tips for Improving Pronunciation with Extempore

Imperfect or non-native-like pronunciation can often be a huge roadblock towards effective communication in a world language classroom. Many learners are highly aware of their accent and feel embarrassed by it even if they are otherwise motivated students. This pronunciation anxiety frequently leads them to reject opportunities to communicate in meaningful ways.  It’s really a shame because very few[…]

20 Fun How-To Tasks to Get Your Students Talking

Last Updated on 2017-12-09Although students and teachers occupy the same space throughout much of the day, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone to hear that the two groups often have different experiences at school or even in the classroom itself. During free periods, at lunch, or after school ends, students are carrying out tasks or[…]

Assigning Speaking Practice over the Summer with Extempore

Last Updated on 2018-12-12If there’s anything that teachers and students can agree on, it’s that summer vacation is…what’s the word? Amazing? Phenomenal? Ecstatic? But, as we all know, there’s a price to pay.  Our language students–at any level–get more than a little rusty. Those preterit and imperfect endings get mixed up, commands get forgotten altogether. All those[…]

What Makes a Day a Good Day? The Present Perfect in Spoken Practice

We have written extensively about why assessing students’ oral skills regularly makes sense (see for example our posts from Jan 3, 2016 or May 24, 2016). Let me share now one way in which I have used Extempore in the classroom to formatively assess my students’ speaking skills with a particular learning goal in mind:[…]

Building a Thematic Sequence of Speaking and Listening Practice on Extempore

Last Updated on 2017-11-27Recently, my Spanish 2 students and I were exploring a unit based around city life. In it, we learned the names for various places in a city (restaurants, museums, parks, different types of shops, etc.),  practiced asking for and giving directions, and discussed topics such as the cost of living and the benefits and drawbacks[…]

Being a Good Listener with Extempore — Part 2

Last Updated on 2018-12-12In our last post, we talked a bit about assessing listening comprehension through Extempore, specifically for beginner or intermediate language learners. Let’s talk now about our more advanced language learners and how we can assess their progress with listening comprehension. Naturally, what we recommended last time for beginning students works equally well[…]

Being a Good Listener with Extempore — Part 1

Last Updated on 2018-12-12It’s true: when we launched Extempore, the primary goal was to develop an app that would facilitate speaking in the classroom. As any teacher knows, generating authentic (and assessable) speech in the world language classroom can be a difficult thing to do, for a number of reasons (large class sizes, recording equipment,[…]