As I have mentioned before, I’m taking a great in-service course on using digital tools in the classroom. “Zeetings” is the latest addition to my virtual “toolbox”.
Everyone likes being asked their opinion. Everyone! “Zeetings” lets you create interactive presentations, allowing the viewers to participate and get instant statistics. That’s exactly what you need if you want to spark a discussion!
This is just my first presentation created on “Zeetings” and I was delighted to find that their presentation tool is almost completely intuitive to use – I added a video and the interactive questions following it without reading the instructions (I’m actually someone who does read instructions, but not this time!). I could preview my creation and easily edit out the wrinkles.
So, if you would like to have a class discussion on the ways in which media does / doesn’t promote tolerance toward those who are perceived as different, or would just like to raise awareness regarding Deaf people, you may find the following helpful. In any case, the video (many thanks to the lovely Beata Gulati for sending it to me!) is a great message for Valentines Day – LOVE despite communication difficulties. Some of you may remember seeing the video on this blog in the past, as an Edpuzzle exercise, created for reading comprehension activities. I’m using the video again this way because it raises so many great discussion points (and students love it)!
You know that teaching the literature component of the high-school EFL program has influenced you when…
Getting a beautiful piece of artwork as a post reading task on the book “The Wave” makes you ridiculously happy…
You foolishly carry too many books and papers in the hallway and manage to drop half. A few kind students, whom you’ve never seen before, help gather the scattered items. You thank them but what you really REALLY want to say is “Well, you can now count this day as not lost”!
The name of the game “Quoits” was a new addition to your vocabulary, but you are old enough to remember that “Patience” was the name for “Solitaire” when it was played with real cards.
4. When you reach the sentence about Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ icebox, it suddenly dawns on you that it might not be such a good idea to suggest that the kids talk to their grandparents for further information about ice boxes. If some of the students’ parents were once students of mine, then I’ll soon be the age of their grandparents. I seem to have been in the classroom forever yet I never had an icebox…
5. You find yourself pondering the fact that youactually took the road most taken by women, becoming a teacher, a wife, a mother, a daughter (of parents in their “golden years”) , juggling roles while trying to exercise and blog too. Which naturally leads to the question whether I shall be telling this with a sigh of joy or regret ages and ages hence… Or perhaps the question of whether there will be anyone interested in listening…
6. You have to bite your tongue every time you reach the end of the story “The Rules of The Game” – Waverly had no more moves to plot! I read “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan, I know what happened! From the moment Waverly supposedly insulted her mother, she never won a chess match again!!! Unlike Waverly’s mother, we teachers do give students second chances (and third, or more) but that isn’t something I can point out to the students because their story ends before that. Maybe it’s just as well…
7. You actually feel the weight of all the hours /topics cut from the national curriculum, particularly history. Over the years more extensive background information of all sorts is needed for the stories and poems, ranging from the rise of the Nazi Movement to the fact that the early African-Americans DID NOT come voluntarily to the US as illegal immigrants who decided to stay…
Forget the students for a moment – how has teaching literature in the EFL classroom affected YOU?
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).
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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”.
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.
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.
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.