Category Archives: The Visual Corner

The “Magic E” Telephone – A Spin-off

Sunbirds certainly “talk” a lot! Naomi’s photos

When I read Teresa Bestwick’s short post titled “Minimal Pairs Telephone” I immediately knew that a variation of this would be a hit in my classroom.

The fact that it is such a  simple activity to prepare and that the activity is so easy for the students to understand makes it even more appealing.

In addition, it’s fun! Especially with the twist I added.

Teresa used minimal pairs. That’s out of the question when working with students who don’t hear well. The difference between words such as “fit” and “feet” is very hard to hear and to see on the lips.  So I decided to practice the “Magic E”. The words with the magic E have longer sounds and are easier for the students to hear and see. And there is a nice rule one can use.

Since I teach in the format of a learning center, I could not do this activity on the board with the whole class, the way Teresa did it. I needed this activity to be up on the wall to be done individually or in small groups during the week. So I used 10 index cards, and attached them to an existing activity board (little pockets for flashcards).

Magic E Telephone

 

Above each word there is a number, zero to nine.

First I asked each student what  the difference is  between the words that look mostly similar (hat /hate). They all noticed the letter “e ” at the end. I explained about the Magic E and its effect on pronunciation and said the words out loud. Then I informed them that I was going to say my phone number, but in words!

You may be surprised, but it isn’t so simple to think of a number and then say a word. I found myself wanting to point to each word and it goes slower than rattling off numbers. Try it!

Close up of Magic E Telephone

Then it was the student’s turn.  To make it more amusing, I asked the students to fold their arms and not point at all and just read off the words of their phone number. I pointed to each word I understood and they had to nod if I had understood them correctly. If they didn’t pronounce the word correctly they had to repeat my example.

The students loved it! I love it! It was great fun for them trying to meet the challenge of not pointing and not getting confused and they all tried hard to say the words correctly. I’ll see how many repetitions we can manage of this activity before moving on to the next one.

Two anecdotes:

One student got a new phone with a different phone number just before school. He could not recall his new phone number. I told him to use his old phone number. The student came back to me later in the day and said he found his new number and asked to repeat the activity!

This year I only have three students who are profoundly Deaf from Deaf families and don’t usually use their voice very much. I had planned in advance that any student who wanted could opt out of a speaking activity and learn to sign the vocabulary items in ASL (American Sign Language) instead. They wanted to speak the words too and did create a difference between how they said the words! No one else would understand their speech, that’s for sure, but even for Deaf students speaking helps retention.

Hey! “Incidental Comics” Knows Why I Blog!

Let the marbles roll…
(Naomi’s photos)

As someone whose own blog is all about connecting words and visual input, along with book reviews thrown in for good measure (or my own pleasure, to be precise), the decision to subscribe to Grant Snider’s “Incidental Comics” blog was a no brainer.

I was rewarded almost right away. There, in my inbox, was the perfect explanation of why I blog.  Actually, an explanation of why I need to blog! In a strip called “Cogito Ergo  Sum”, the last four panels sum it up beautifully ( I can’t embed it here, click on the title to see the complete original, in context with the drawings):

” I think, therefore I read.

I read, therefore I rethink.

I rethink, therefore I write.

I write, therefore I am.”

By Grant Snider

Brilliant!

Is that why you blog?

P.S  Did you notice the word “dental” hiding in the word “incidental”? Snider is an orthodontist, there could be a connection…

P.P.S – Looks like there is a lot of useful material for class, too.

 

 

 

 

“Pizza Cat” to the Rescue!

 

Naomi's photos
Naomi’s photos

A little introductory exercise that is suitable for struggling middle school learners working independantly for the first time at the the computer – simple but not babyish.  This is their first exposure  to Edpuzzle and Edmodo (with Quizlet to come, as its flashcards can be easily embedded).

I reccomend using in “full screen” mode – then the questions and the visuals can be seen at the same time.

The  original video can be found here.

Note: The next step is The Egghunt series, which has already been posted on this blog.

 

 

The End of A Teacher’s 365-Day-Journey-in-Place

Locking the 365 Project (Naomi's Photos)
Locking the 365 Project
(Naomi’s Photos)

Today is day number 365.

Day number 365 of taking a picture every single day.

Full disclosure: there were four days of the 365 in which my “pic-of-the-day” was not taken that same day. Two days were Memorial Days (Holocaust and Veterans) and I saved suitable pics that could be posted on such days. The other two were days that I had had such good photo days the day before that I succumbed to temptation and used one of them.

When you must take a photo every single day you learn to look. Take a good look. Especially when your project is about travelling-in-place. My challenge was to find something interesting in the places I have spent most of my time in for the last TWENTY SEVEN years, the high-school where I teach and the streets of my hometown, Kiryat-Ono.

I park by the school in the morning - and there's a Cattle Egret! (Naomi's  Photos)
I park by the school in the morning – and there’s a Cattle Egret! (Naomi’s Photos)

It turns out you don’t have to travel to see something new. I never imagined when I began that I would find so much to look at! I had no idea whether I could find something interesting every day for an entire year, and now, 365 days later, I have every intention of continuing to take pictures, right here, where I live and work.  There are colors and lines, interesting plants and unusual shadows, funny reflections, and an ongoing battle for coexistance between nature and the human inhabitants. Oh! And some very odd things left by people on the sidewalk…

Did the romantic picnic end in a break-up? (Naomi's photos)
Did the romantic picnic end in a break-up? (Naomi’s photos)

But it will be O.K if the pictures posted were not taken on the day they were posted. The project in that sense has ended.

My school pictures will continue to be posted here, on this blog, under the category “Visualising School – A Photo Pause”.

My pictures of my hometown will continue to be posted on my page – Pounding the Pavement in Kiryat-Ono

Many thanks to the 365 Project site and community, which taught me that you don’t have to travel in order to embark on a journey!

Visualising School – Photo Pause

A teacher gets “new eyes” with camera in hand!

Everything pointed to the school gate this morning!
Good morning! This is the way to the front gate – go girl!

 

Artistic student color coordinates the litter?! Spotted In the front yard
Artistic student color coordinates the litter?!
Spotted In the front yard

 

Mynah's delight - student's discarded sandwich (front yard)
Mynah’s delight – student’s discarded sandwich
(front yard)

 

Note: This is an educator’s blog, so only school related pictured are posted here. To see what this teacher comes up with when pounding the pavement of her hometown, see here:

Pounding The Pavement in Kiryat-Ono

More in the next post!

Locating Lessons using Videos on this Blog

Naomi's photos
Naomi’s photos

Just a short post to say that I have finally made it easier to locate posts that describe lessons using videos. All these posts include downloadable worksheets, often several worksheets (different levels).

All you need to do is:

1. Look for the title “Categories” on the first sidebar on the right side of the blog’s homepage.

2. Click on “Video Lessons”.  All the posts describing the use of the videos and downloadable worksheets can be found there, one after the other.

“Reading Videos” Sails with iTDi Summer School MOOC’s Kites

Flying High with iTDi
Flying High with iTDi

As you can see, the amazing iTDi Summer School MOOC, with its impressive variety of FREE sessions offering online professional development to teachers around the world, has chosen kites as it’s symbol.

Kites, to me,  symbolize the wide expanses of possibility, hope and energy, along with variety. Kites come in every shape, size and color. So do teachers. And their students.

iTDi recognizes that.

Naomi's photos
Naomi’s photos

My kite has been chosen to be included in the Summer School Mooc. My session on “Using Videos to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills” will be given this Friday, August 1, at three o’clock in the afternoon local time, which is one o’clock GMT. In the talk I’ll be discussing (with many examples) how videos without dialogue can help learners of all ages improve their reading comprehension skills and expand their vocabulary.

For more information, see here:

http://bit.ly/iTDiSummerSchoolMOOC

 

Winding Up the School Year with New Eyes

My favorite color! (Naomi's photos)
My favorite color!
(Naomi’s photos)

It’s the end of June again, which means that another school year has ended and it’s my birthday again.

While last year’s early 50th hoopla was in April (attending and presenting at the IATEFL conference in Liverpool), this year I began giving myself a small, quiet, daily present at the end of February. And it will last an entire year!

I joined a “take a picture a day” project, otherwise known as The 365 Project. People do it for all kinds of reasons but my goal is very specific:

To notice something small, every day, in my regular surroundings.

I’ve been living in the same town and teaching at the same school since 1988. It’s easy to find interesting things when one travels to other places. I needed to see what’s new right under my nose.

It works! This project has already had an unbelievable effect on me. There IS something new under the sun every day, and one doesn’t need to travel to find it. Lots of new things in fact!

It’s a great gift to give to myself. It’s free too. A side effect seems to be that my photography skills are getting better. The first pictures were taken on an Ipod. Now I’m almost always with a camera in my bag!

Here are some things I hadn’t noticed at the Yehud High-School, where I teach.

Here is the link to my daily project: http://365project.org/naomima/365

Helping Learners Visualize Progress – A Comment

Lizzie Pinard’s latest post: Helping Language Learners Visualise their Linguistic Development: Growing Learning deals with a subject close to my heart. How can learners see, VISUALISE, their progress? Students entire attitude changes when they realize that what we are doing together, what they are doing on their own, makes a difference.

Seeing Progress (Naomi's photos)
Seeing Progress
(Naomi’s photos)

Still, it’s a tricky business. Some of my attempts have worked. Others have not. Here are some comments on the issues raised in the post based on my experiences so far.

Is the design of a flower handout too “sissy”?

The “rule of some” is worth remembering.  Some students will find it appealing others will not. It is always so. On the other hand, I would never advocate having the teacher spend time on creating lots of different versions.

I would recommend two versions (and only two!). One, the attractive flower. The other, a simple chart of columns. I have found that simple charts, where students see the numbers of bars rise, to be very effective. The fact that it’s plain and straightforward makes it seem ageless (particularly important for teenagers and adults who are at a low-level). Let the students choose which one they prefer!

What about the self disciplined learners who don’t  need it?

Odd one out (Naomi's Photos)
Odd one out
(Naomi’s Photos)

In order to get the class excited and used to the visual recording system I would insist that for the firs two weeks (depending on the frequency of lessons) everyone do it. I would ask to see their flowers /charts and make an issue of it. But afterwards the responsiblity must shift to the students. The ones who feel that the marking is just extra work on top of all the work they are doing should be given the option to opt out.

How about an app?

I agree that at an app would be excellent for this. Easier to color in, visually appealing AND students NEVER forget their cell phones. They will always have their charts with them!