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I am very happy to have Heather Torrie as a guest blogger. She has so many great ideas and resources to share. Here she is!

Almost two years ago, I started teaching full time in a brand-new intensive English program.  We didn’t have many resources to start with, especially for listening.  I went online and rediscovered the vast wealth of authentic listening material.  Since then, I’ve been implementing a series of student-created listening activities based on online videos.

We usually have some kind of theme in my listening classes, such as technology, business, or dating.  Based on the current theme, I have my students find a video of interest to them and create a set of questions for their classmates to answer.  For my beginning listening class, I have them simply produce five questions, but for more advanced students, I will require a set of main idea questions, detail questions, inference questions, and critical thinking questions. Sometimes, I have them identify new vocabulary and create a question for each word.  Then, I have them post their entire activity to our Blackboard discussion for the class to access.  I usually do this in class, during our lab time, but you could also have students do this as a homework assignment.

Another type of activity I do using these online videos is to simply have my students write or orally record a summary and reaction to the video clip.  This helps them develop their critical thinking skills.  After they initially post their message/audio file, I make it more interactive by requiring them to listen and respond to their classmates’ postings.  This works well for listening, speaking, and writing classes.  A short three-minute video can be a great writing or speaking prompt.

Here are some websites that I use quite regularly and contain a lot of short 3-5 minute segments.  This is of course in addition to Youtube.  Sometimes I like these sites better simply because I don’t need to sift through so much.

Online Video Resources:

News and Information

  • NPR 
  • VOA News
  • The Discovery Channel
  • The Weather Channel
  • National Geographic
  • Automobiles Sites

  • Cars.com
  • CarTV
  • Edmonds
  • Stories

  • New York Times “Vows”
  • Storycorps
  • Radio Diaries
  • Jobs and Careers

  • Job Profile Videos
  • Business Entrepreneur.com
  • Food and Cooking

  • About.com
  • Cooking Martha Stewart
  • Foodtube 
  • Flavorshare
  • Sources for Photos:

    News. Accessed March 14, 2009 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:News.png.

    Car. Accessed March 14, 2009 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CJ1A.JPG.

    Guillon. Old Book — Les Miserable. Accessed March 14, 2009 from  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_book_-_Les_Miserables.jpg.

    Employment. Accessed March 14, 2009 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Employment.jpg.

    linan08s27. MaLaTang. Accessed March 14, 2009 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MaLaTang.JPG.

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