When you look around online these days, it seems as if there always something happening for teachers. There’s so much that at times it can be a bit overwhelming to choose from the number of webinars, courses, workshops, conferences, chats, and blogs available. Much of it is free. And yet, whenever I travel to do face-to-face workshops, most of the teachers I meet are still not online for their own professional development.
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Everybody is talking about 21st Century skills and preparing students for a whole different world. The truth is that our students have become digital and there are a whole lot of educators around the world who are still “analog”. That is why I would like to share my work with my two secondary school groups with as many teachers as possible. Internet and Technology in the Classroom have made a huge change in my daily teaching experience.
My story starts right after my first online presentation for The Future of Education Reform Symposium 2013, (RSCON4) where I was kindly invited to participate by Shelly Sanchez Terrell. Some hours later, I got a message from Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, who asked me if I would like to write for this High Tech Ideas in the Low Tech Classroom section in Teaching Village. I was flattered, and accepted immediately, but it really took me quite a long time to put ideas together and I thank my dear friend, Rose Bard, for giving me some support.
Pronunciation is like an art to me, and I’ve always enjoyed it. It is like learning how to play guitar, where we have to figure out when to use different picking strategies or strumming patterns to produce the desired sounds. In pronunciation, we also need to use many different techniques and tongue positions in our mouth to produce the right sounds. Another similarity is that we’ve got to know when to change how hard or softly we should hit the guitar strings when playing a song. The same thing happens when we have to figure out how hard or how soft we should stress certain syllables in words, or some words in sentences when speaking. Finally, there’s the use of rhythm as the main component that shapes the flow of the song, just as it also shapes the flow of the speech in pronunciation.
What happens when a new student enters your class at a very different level than the students who are already there? That’s the question a teacher would like to ask Villagers (that’s you!). Have you ever been in this situation? What advice can you share? (more…)
“Every car tells a story; all you have to do is listen”
It’s become something of a cliché, but every teaching situation presents its own unique set of challenges. However, my challenge wasn’t all that unique – in fact, it was pretty well-worn itself. My students were falling asleep as I tried to guide them through science readings and lectures in preparation for the TOEFL.
What I’d like to offer you here is a brief review of a class project that seemed to catch my students’ interest and got them deeply involved with academic material. This one simple exercise opened a wide door into helping students interact with abstract material and getting them to build a set of experiential and critical thinking tools that they could call on later when trying to understand and appreciate other technical topics in English.
SkypeRead: Movie read-through for language learners
TESS: Do you know what your problem is?
DANNY: I only have one?
Ocean’s Eleven (Warner Bros., 2001)
The scene in Ocean’s Eleven where Danny confronts Tess, his ex-wife, in the restaurant of the Bellagio hotel and casino is a wonderful bit of cinema.
The emotions of the characters are highly complex. Danny — who has just been released from prison — still loves Tess and wants her back. Tess, on the other hand, hates Danny. But, deep down, she still loves him too. She’s also terrified, because her new husband — Terry Benedict, the ruthless owner of the Bellagio — is about to arrive at any moment. Things are complicated for Danny as well. He’s secretly planning to steal a hundred and fifty million dollars from Benedict.
My ten-year-old son Kai and his friends don’t have crazes in the same way that we did as kids. We had crazes for everything, becoming obsessed by roller-skating, paper planes, conkers, skipping, marbles, hopscotch, spinning tops, catapults and tiddlywinks just to name a few. There was even a craze for knitting one year. There were also crazes for collecting things; cards, stamps, figurines from cereal boxes, beer mats, stickers. You name it and it was probably a craze at some time or other. Battled over, swapped and just as soon dropped, these were the lifeblood of our playtime. I guess that three weeks was the average length of a craze but during those three weeks you couldn’t imagine that it wasn’t going to last forever. Some crazes were seasonal, while others cropped up randomly. We were all over them like locusts while they lasted. During a craze we ate, slept and breathed nothing else. In some ways I guess I haven’t changed.
I saw a really interesting article posted on Facebook, entitled ‘Photos of Children from around the World with Their Most Prized Possessions’. For those who haven’t seen it, the article shows images of children in their home settings, surrounded by a selection of their favourite toys, and there are comments left by viewers of the article generally saying what a lovely idea it is. Several users suggest that the collection would be a good idea for a children’s book and advocate that the images could be used to educate children about other countries and cultures.
On November 17th at the ETJ Kansai Expo in Osaka Daniel Olsson, author of ELF Learning’s new TRW Reader series, will be sharing his experience of the writing process. Here he gives a brief sneak preview of his tricks and techniques — some of which may be surprising.
Everybody has a passion. It’s not inevitable, however, that everyone will get a chance to indulge in that passion or have the opportunity to apply the related skills to something practical. When I was asked to write a reader to accompany ELF Learning’s Think Read Write phonics-based reading and writing workbook, however, that’s exactly what happened. I would be using my writing skills directly alongside my teaching skills and the kids I saw in my classroom on a daily basis personified my inspiration and my end goal. Here, I’d like to share some of the key elements of my creative process that resulted in a book that, I believe, has the young, first-time reader at its heart.
When I was a little girl, my father used to travel abroad often as a buyer of chemical materials. One evening before his departure I told him that I would miss him while he was away. Then he said to me, “Mari, look up at the sky if you feel lonely at night. I will be looking at the same moon.” I never imagined that I would co-author a moon-themed story back then.
I had the honor to co-author the picture book, Lily and the Moon (ELF Learning), with a renowned picture book author, Patricia Daly Oe. Like many other projects, this collaborative work turned out to be a nonlinear process which involves a lot of discussion, both casual and focused, and numerous decisions to be made during the process. In this short article, I will share the journey I took with my amazing coworkers for this project.