Cats and Dogs - a blog for English learners

Occasional tips and tricks to help you learn more than the useless phrase "it's raining cats and dogs", brought to you by Craig Meulen, an English teacher in Germany. (Blog discontinued.)

October 25, 2008

Vocabulary - Word Families

When you learn vocabulary, you often hear about 'word families'. If you find words that 'belong together', you can learn these words together.

For example, 'names of fruits'. If you learn 'apple', then learn 'orange, banana, pineapple' at the same time.

In lessons your teacher often uses flashcards. You can learn new words more easily if you learn the words with the pictures.

Today I want to tell you about a website where you can see pictures with 'word families': Tag Galaxy. This website asks you for a 'tag' (a word describing a picture) and looks for all the photos with that tag at 'FlickR', a website for people to share photos. Then it looks for the other tags on those photos and makes a 'tag family' and shows you a 'tag galaxy' with planets that are the tag family members. So you see 'word families' on screen. When you click on the 'planets' you see lots of photos with that tag. Fun!

And if you click on the interesting photos and go to the FlickR websites, you can read about the photos and practise your English some more!

When you want to learn English you have to USE your English. If you want to use your English you have to find interesting things and then read them. This is just one idea to find interesting things to read! Have fun!

October 24, 2008

Learning new words - a third flashcard tool !!

Today one of my students told me about another choice for learning vocabulary - Teachmaster.

I haven't installed it yet, but it looks very similar to Phase 6, the program I told you about a few posts ago. It does have one advantage - it is free!

Why not try it out? Remember, the most important thing is not which software you use, but that you regularly do something to help remember new words.

October 22, 2008

Flirt English

This online, multimedia website has just won the German GIGA-Maus award for the best online educational software to learn English.

It's called Flirt English and is aimed at German teenagers, so it is also good for adult beginners, but you need to understand some German, too!!

If you look at the whole list of awards you will see quite a few good ideas for learning English.