March 2, 2021
The passage of time has felt extremely strange this year, but the school year is only a few weeks from ending! Things can either get really hectic or kind of dull, depending on where you are and what school level you're teaching.
For a long time, I've been keeping a list in my head of tags that I wanted to add or change. I've never been good about writing this list down and acting on it, so I thought that with a new school year coming up, now is the time to do just that. I'm going to remove some tags that didn't seem to be relevant to how people are actually searching for activities. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please leave a comment!
Tags to add
- A tag for Subject-Verb-Object-Compliment, or SVOC. Right now there's an SVOO tag and it's pulling double duty with SVOC. This is something I overlooked when I was coming up with a big list of grammar points when the site started.
- The "would" and/or "could" grammar point. I need to figure out what that's actually called. In the new textbooks, it will be taught in 3rd year JHS classes. (example: "If I could fly, I would go to Tokyo Sky Tree.")
- A "PowerPoint" tag. I didn't anticipate that PowerPoint-based activities would be as popular as they ended up being, but lots of people post and use them.
- Jobs/Professions. This is a common theme in textbooks and I keep forgetting to make a tag for it.
- Current Events/Social Issues. This is a good theme for older students or advanced classes.
- More textbook-specific tags. The current collection is based off of the common textbooks when the site started. I'm also considering a system where you can link an activity directly to one textbook page when an activity is based on one.
Tags to modify or split
- Changing the name of "Applies to many grammar points" tag to "Flexible." It's a little more succinct. I think I'll put something in the new site interface that says "If you're using more than 3 grammar points, please use the Flexible tag instead."
- Splitting the wh-words into separate tags. Some textbooks specifically practice what, where, why, whose, and so on. People probably want to find the specific word their textbook is practicing without looking through all of them at the same time. (Who What Where How)
- Infinitive tag - split into detailed categories. This came up in some user comments recently. The Infinitive is quite a broad grammar point, so it might be beneficial to have several tags for it. I'll have to see if there's any name for all of its permutations. (Adverbial use, Adjectival use)
- Corporate/Business English - I've had a corporate class for one day per week this year, and I think that there's no reason why the site couldn't be a good resource for this type of activity if there's a place to look for them.
Tags to remove
- The "Cultural Background" category with its tags. When I first started coding the site, I thought it would still be under the "Englipedia" name, but that ended up being unviable. I had the idea that instead of only focusing on Japan, the site could broaden its focus to English teachers all over Asia. There have been some teachers who teach in Korea that have visited the site, but over 90% of site traffic comes from Japan. The Chinese and Korean cultural background tags have never been used, so I'll remove them now and reinstate them if the need ever arises.
- Saint Patricks Day - I like having holiday-related tags, but this holiday is unfortunately timed as far as the Japanese school year goes - it's right around graduation.
- Possibly the "Skills Development" category. I might rescue the "Debate" tag and put it in Themes, but I don't know if anyone is searching for activities specifically based on criteria like "Critical Thinking" or "Presentation." Have you ever used these?
- The "Requirements" category. In general, it seems like the activity description is where people write when specific materials are needed for an activity. I'd be surprised if anyone searches for activities based on the "Pencil" tag or something.
- A new name for the "Conversation" tag. I thought of it as a way to house activities that were aimed at adult conversation classes. Calling it "adult" seems a little strange, especially given its implications in Japanese. "Eikaiwa" didn't seem like a great name either since it's kind of hard to read or type in English. I'm still scratching my head about what to call it.
My goal is for every tag to be something a user can browse to find useful and relevant activities based on whatever it is. They'll need revision from time to time, but I think that they're ALTopedia's most unique feature as far as similar sites go. Please let me know your thoughts!
March 8 update: I've started linking to new tags as I make them. Please feel free to add any relevant tags to any of your activities!
I love the idea of splitting up the questions and maybe splitting up ‘requests’ too. Also maybe turn speaking and writing into categories rather than tags. Speaking could include casual conversation, debates, presentations, etc. writing could include essay writing, story writing, creative writing.
Thank you for splitting up the question words! That's definitely something I've felt was annoying to search for in the past.
Maybe you could add a tag for lessons aimed at the students' "first time" seeing a grammar. I'm not sure how much it would help other people, but I often have to come up with an activity usable for the students' first time seeing a grammar. Having a tag for activities that don't require prior experience would be helpful. At least, I think it would be.
My big thing is that I see people slapping too many tags on an activity. Maybe you could put a notice saying that the tag should be for the main grammar point being taught? Instead of every grammar point being used? I think the flexible tag should help with that a lot!
I know I often slap a lot of grammar tags on some of my TEMPLATE activities. I usually do it when I've included multiple versions of the activity in the same post. I wonder if I delete all those tags and just put flexible which would be harder to find the grammar specific activity, separate them into separate linked posts which would mean I'd have ridiculous number of posts, or leave it as it is.
UonumaRobert, I think the way you tag your template activities like that makes sense. It's more the people who make an activity for, say, "it was made by", but then include the past tense tag. But if students have just started learning past tense, there's no way they're going to know how to use a passive sentence like "was made".
Yeah, I used to do that too, not just tag the point being taught but any related grammar. It is best to just tag the main grammar point for the sake of searches. Although I still find it a hard choice to make, for example activities using 'He looks sad' I often pair with 'I will give him a hug' since the two points are in the same unit in New Crown 2 but depending on what was taught first an ALT may not be able to use both together.
I'd like to see a tag based on general time of activity! Sometimes I need something that only runs for about 10 minutes, but everything I check happens to be 30 minutes to an hour.
The tags I need are one's specific to each ES chapter. When you click on the tag attached to the unit it usually brings you to a broad list of activities that vary hugely in level. It's a bit of work going into each and determining whether or not it works for that grade or not... It'd be useful to be able to click into a unit and have activities specifically for that unit (and that English level). It's something that work well from Englopedia.
That's a very good point! For Elementary, a lot of the chapters are based on a theme, but some of those themes are so broad that it's hard to find something that works for a particular grade level. I've been thinking of adding a system it that lets people link an activity directly to a page in a certain textbook. It might be a while before I can build that in, but I think it will become more important as the site keeps growing.
"I'm also considering a system where you can link an activity directly to one textbook page when an activity is based on one." Yes please! I think this would be really convenient.