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September, 2010:

The Auction (by Marco Brazil)

Part of the series: EFL Makeovers

Have you ever been to an auction sale before? An auction is defined as a type of sale where the price of an item is negotiated through the process of competitive and open bidding. It is normally a public sale at which items are sold to the person offering to pay the highest price. (more…)

Getting the most out of Power Point (by David Dodgson)

It’s easy these days to get carried away with all the talk about advances in educational technology and what the latest, coolest web-based resource is. The truth for many teachers and students around the world is that they are lucky to have one computer and a projector in class and even luckier to have internet access, which even then is highly likely to be filtered. This is the case in my school: each class has a “teacher’s” computer with projector and, at best, unreliable internet. Therefore, the most commonly used tool in class is PowerPoint. Even then, many teachers dislike it as they feel ‘chained to the computer’ so how can we make sure it’s used effectively?

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What I did on my summer vacation…

Ohisashiburi!

That’s a Japanese greeting for when greeting friends after a long absence, and I certainly have been gone a long time!

Where I’ve been….

I actually planned on unplugging for a little while this summer. My daughter was home from college and I wanted time with her.

Then, we went to Maui, and most days I was in the water,

hanging out with the fish . . . .

. . . . and the turtles.

(If you can’t get enough of other people’s vacation photos, more of mine are here.)

Then, we returned to Japan. After helping friends buy furniture and move into their new apartment, I was inspired. After over a year and a half living here, I figured it was about time to unpack our books. (with a professor and a teacher who both write, books are an occupational hazard!) From there, events unfolded rather like one of my favorite picture books–

If you want to unpack the books, you’re going to have to buy some shelves.

Then, if you buy (relatively) inexpensive shelves, you’re going to have to put them together.

Before you can put up the shelves, you’re going to have to move all the boxes and clean the floor.

Then, you might as well wash the drapes.

And, while the drapes are off, you might as well wash the windows, too.

And the screens.

Finally, you can put the books on the shelves.

But, because you have way more books that you thought you had, you’re going to have to buy some more shelves :-)


And suddenly, it was September!

Where I’m going to be. . .

On Sunday, September 26th I’ll be at The Chubu Junior and Senior High School Teachers’ Seminar in Nagoya. The theme is “Collaborate to Motivate.” If you’re in the area, there’s a great line up of speakers (Chuck Sandy, Darren Elliott, Mark Kulek, Mike Stockton, and more!). It’s free, but you’ll need to pre-register.

I’ll be doing an online presentation/workshop sometime during the weekend of October 8th and 9th for the 3rd Virtual Round Table Conference. The theme for the conference is “Language Learning with Technology.” This will be my first online workshop, so fingers crossed! The conference schedule has not yet been finalized, but I’ll link to it as soon as it is.

November will be a busy month. First, there’s JALT 2010, the biggest gathering of language professionals in Japan. This year, JALT will be in Nagoya from November 19th through the 21st. The theme is “Creativity: Think Outside the Box” , and I’ll be doing two workshops. The first, High Tech Ideas for Low Tech Classrooms, will explore ways that teachers with limited technology access in the classroom can exploit the benefits of Web 2.0 technology and the social Internet. The second, Making phonics work for your student: from sounds to reading, will take a lighthearted journey through the history of phonics and the many ways we’ve taught children to read since the 16th century. Rather than adhering to any particular “brand” of phonics, teachers can pick and choose from among an array of approaches and techniques–some familiar, some not–in order to create a phonics programs as unique as their students. I’ll also be part of the OUP Experts forum, with Michael Swan and others (Sunday afternoon, sometime). If you are going to be in Nagoya for JALT, I hope you’ll let me know–I love meeting my online friends!

I’ll finish up this year with two workshops at ETJ Expos. On Sunday, November 28th, I’ll be in Osaka, for the Kansai Expo and on Sunday, December 5th I’ll be in Fukuoka for the Kyushu Expo.

What else I’ll be doing…

Blogging. I have several great guest posts for Teaching Village in the pipeline—great ideas on exploiting Power Point in the classroom from David Dodgson, more ideas for using mind mapping for writing from Hobie Swan, and another game makeover from Marco Brazil. Then, of course, there are my own posts, waiting in draft form. And, several interviews and guest posts that I’ve promised to others (and won’t jinx by mentioning specifics!).

Other writing projects. I write a monthly editorial for ELT News (sharing the duties with David Paul, Steven Herder and Theron Muller). I had an interesting, if unexpected experience trying to access my facebook account from a new computer in a different country—what happens when you can’t identify your friends from their pictures—and I’ll be sharing that experience in my next editorial.

I also write a column for the Teachers Learning with Children (from the JALT Teaching Children Special Interest Group). The next two issues will be online, so they’ll be easy to share. Or, you can join the TCSIG and get all of the issues :-)

I’m also going to start working on a series of easy, digital English readers to get some more mileage out of the photos I got on vacation–can anyone recommend a program to create online books that allows me to embed narration?

I had a great time offline, but it’s good to be back! See you around!