Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Using Wise Quotes with EFL ESL Students

I've always found wise (and sometimes not so wise) quotes really useful, both within the classroom with students and as a way of introducing a topic when writing materials. I've used lots of different websites to find quotes over the years, but iWise is certainly about to become my new favourite as it seems to have taken wise quotes to a new level.

You can search for quotes by keyword, look at quotes of the day, browse quotes by topic or just click for a random quote.

That isn't all, iWise is compatible with Twitter and allows you to re-tweet quotes or subscribe to and follow tweet feeds from your favourite sources of wisdom.

If you decide to search by topic etc, it even pulls in tweets from Twitter too.

So how about some quote activities with our EFL ESL students?

Here are some suggestions:
  • Get students to find a random quote and translate it into their own language or find a parallel quote in their own L1.
  • Collect 8 - 10 quotes on a similar topic and get students to discus them and see which ones they prefer / most agree with.
  • Get 8 - 10 quotes and cut them in half to create a matching activity. Get your students to match the two halves of each quote.
  • Get you students to match the quotes to the writer of the quote.
  • Give your students a list of 6 - 8 topics and ask them to find their favourite quote on each topic, then compare them in class and discus / have a class vote on which is the best (students should try to convince others in the class that theirs is the best quote)
  • Get two+ quotes on the same topic. Print them up and put them around the class get the students to stand by the one they most like / agree with and discus why.
  • Choose 2 -3 people and get your students to find their best quotes, then compare that quotes and try to decide which of the people is the wisest.
  • Give the first part of some quotes to your students and see if your students can write an ending to it.
  • Find some quotes about someone and see if the students can guess who they are about.
  • Use a single quote at the start of each lesson to lead in to the theme of the lesson.
  • Use a single quote at the start of each lesson as a warmer and ask students if they agree / disagree with the quote. They could give it marks out of ten too. Keep a league of favourite quotes.
Why do I like it?
  • It's free and really simple (but also quite complex)
  • Some amazing features that really take advantage some Web 2.0 technology
  • Lots of fast and varied ways to access the quotes
  • There are loads of quotes from a real range of sources
  • There is an iPhone ap which can enable you to get all this information via your iPhone or iPod Touch so great for mobile learners

What I'm not so sure about
  • The site is so dynamic that you can see then loose quotes pretty quickly if you are just browsing.
  • Some quotes can be a little abstract!
  • The site is free, but the ap isn't, but it is very cheap (59p in UK). Here's a video showing how you can use it.

NB: I have bought the ap, but haven't tried it yet so this is NOT and endorsement of the ap.

I hope you enjoy iWise and the ideas here. Please leave a comment if you have any other favourite quote sites or suggestions for how you have used quotes with students.

Here you can find more online reading activities for EFL ESL students

Related links:


Nik Peachey


edo said...

Nik, Thanks for the wonderful piece on iWise. I always believed that it would be a great resource for educators. In fact my prime motivator for building it was my young children. See my blog post at
I wanted to mention another small feature that would be useful for students, its a bit obscured currently. If you click the download button you can download any quote as a powerpoint slide. I think that is very helpful for students putting together a presentation. Drop me an email at and i will keep you posted on next releases. We have allot in the pipeline. Thanks again for your interest. edo

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Edo

Thanks for the comment. I'll try out the PPt download very soon.



Scott Hewitt said...

really interesting site and useful to see how it links in with twitter and the iphone.

You could take the quotes a step further and use them with something like and make your own movies. See how quotes from history appear when placed in a modern context.

Taufiq Hasan said...

Hi, nice tool. I can use it to retweeting more great tweets. Thank you..

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