I’m sure that many of you have also seen the possibilities of repurposing entertainment apps for language learning. This is my second “Friday Fun with Apps” post. Let me share two apps with free versions for you to check out.
Recently rap has crept its way into my household. I admit that it’s not my favorite genre of music, but using AutoRap by Smule on my iPhone or iPad has been very entertaining. My children and I have used the Talk Mode to create solo and group raps. There’s no need for the rhyme-and-rhythm challenged to event attempt a legitimate rap. The app does it all for you. You simply record a sentence or two, and the app morphs your voice and puts it to a rap tune. In seconds you sound like you should have your hit playing on a radio station!
There is a Rap Mode for those who really need only a beat and an audience, but most learners are going to be shy about performing, so I’d stick with the Talk Mode in a group setting. Give a demo to show how easy it is. Possible topics and formats:
- How was your weekend? Have students pair up and ask each other about how they spent their weekends. They can decide on 1-2 lines per person and record their statements one after the other. (Finding a quiet corner or stepping out in the hall for a few seconds would be a good idea to reduce background noise.) The raps can be played for the class — not necessarily in their entirety since there is much repetition. Follow-up questions can be given after each listening.
- Hello my name is… Demo your self-intro in class. Ask students to do their own 2-3 line introduction and email it to you.
- The Bottom Line. If students engage in discussion, they can summarize their personal viewpoint, make a recommendation, or ask a rhetorical question. Next step: Email it to a partner and then email a response to the partner’s rap.
- Vocabulary Lists. As a warm-up you can name a category and ask students to call out words. The resulting list is your rap. Alternatively, you can use a set of words you’re studying that given week. Each student can email you a pre-assigned definition via a rap. Taking turns, students will be asked to identify the key word as they listen to the rap. As soon as the word is correctly guessed, move on to the next rap.
Looking for a fun warm-up just to get students talking? Consider Optical Illusions by Tick Tock Apps. There are images of people, animals, rooms, places, and activities. Filter by either “Illustrative Art” or “Photographic.” Just asking students to describe what they see will get them talking. With a little forethought, you can choose an image that ties into the theme of your lesson plan. If you don’t have a projector, you could email the selected image for students to view on their own phones.