Andy Nash, my colleague at World Ed, suggested that I take a look at some software (Ginger) she had come across that might be helpful for English language learners. (By the way, I always look for ideas so send them along!) At first, I thought it was just that glorified free grammar and spell checker, I can recall investigating before. But this time when I looked closely, what really intrigued me was its new tool that can offer suggestions in complete sentences with a range of alternatives. Take a look below to see what I mean.
- Download and install Ginger software on your computer.
- Create a Word document with some phrases your students use all the time but that have other ways they could be expressed.
- Before you do the activity, check the “Rephraser.” (Select the quill icon.) Check to see if Ginger can indeed generate suggestions for these phrases.
- Project the Word document with the phrases and discuss these with the class.
- Before using the Rephraser ask students if they can suggest alternatives.
- Then generate the new phrases and discuss the different forms and their functions.
- Ask students if they have ever heard these and discuss which are appropriate in what context.
- Ask students to come up to the computer and type some of their own phrases.
- Have students form groups and see which group can come up with the most or best alternative phrases.
- Go over student writing in class. (Be careful to keep the writing anonymous or ask the student’s permission.)
- Have students download the software and show them how to use the software.
Share any comments, your experience using this activity or any suggested variations you have (particularly using other technologies).