In February, Malu wrote “Where do your stories come to life?” for Teaching Village. I’m thrilled that she has followed it up with an original story. Barb
There was once a girl who lived in a world where all words ran free. They just existed everywhere, not written or imprisoned on paper, and people were very happy because every time they wanted to use them, they could see and understand their real meaning and there was not such thing as misunderstandings. The girl especially was always radiant, because when she thought about something nice to say, the words came tumbling out joyfully showing their meanings in the air; when she thought about a poem in her mind, everyone could see the words shining through the midday sun; and when she wanted to express all the love in her heart, they danced around the trees and flowers. The little girl was a transparent crystal reflecting her joyous soul to the world.
One day, the girl decided she wanted people from other worlds to be happy too, and listen to the beautiful things the people in her world could think and express with the words that ran free, but how could they travel so far and reach other people without being scrambled in the air? How could she know if people would see the beauty of her thoughts the words so gracefully expressed? That was when she had an idea: what if she glued the words carefully, one by one on the fallen leaves of trees so that her beautiful thoughts, poems and stories could be taken away and people from other worlds could read them too? The trees agreed and the words too.
“Daddy, play it again!” my four-year-old daughter said.
“The same song? Again?” (We’d already listened to it nine times in a row.)
Later that night, we would read the same storybook three times straight.
Young children want us to repeat songs and stories. They like to point at things, like pumpkins, and tell us, “I know what that is. It’s a pumpkin,” when they know that we know that they know what it is.
I use Steps to Success to motivate and track student achievement in a variety of areas.If you can measure it, you can track it using Steps to Success! Here, I’ll use the example of teaching vocabulary about food to intermediate students who are able to write in English. For students at the pre-writing stage see see ‘adapting Steps to Success for non-writers’ at the bottom of the page.
Last night, I watched David Crystal’s plenary talk at the IATEFL conference. Of course, it was still morning in Liverpool, where he was speaking. I couldn’t get to Liverpool this year, as much as I wanted to. But, being able to watch the livestream from the comfort of my living room is a pretty good deal. I was able to share the plenary with over 200 good friends in far flung corners of the globe. And for friends whose far corners don’t include decent Internet connections, there’s a recording. (more…)
10 Great Games that you can do with your Paper Cups, Paper Plates, Toilet Paper Rolls, Clothespins, and Bottle Caps
The best way to develop speaking skills in very young learners is to get the children to talk, but to do that very young learners need exciting experiences so they will have something to talk about. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create these experiences. The materials for these games are all free or very inexpensive. (more…)
About 25 years ago, my co-author Ritsuko Nakata taught me how to make cubes out of milk cartons, and I’ve been using them in class ever since. I love recycling things and coming up with new ways to use them in lessons. I know that a lot of you do, too, so I’m beginning a new category for Teaching Village so that you can share your own ideas for creating and using inexpensive or free teaching materials. Recycling always makes good sense for the environment, and in tough economic times it also makes sense for our classrooms. (more…)
Note from Barb: Patrick first wrote this for Teaching Village in 2011, but it’s such a great post for St. Patrick’s Day that I decided it was worth sharing again
The real St. Patrick is shrouded in a deep mist (like many of his followers). Legend has it that he brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle while simultaneously banishing snakes. Both these are clearly true. We still have some Christians and no snakes in Ireland. But what can language teachers learn from this Fifth Century Zero to Hero?
This month, Let’s Share is all about reading.
Reading is arguably the most important skill we can help our students develop. While we assume that speaking and listening will be important in our students’ future lives and careers, we don’t honestly have any idea how much opportunity they’ll have to talk to other people in English. Being able to read in English, however, opens windows to the world. All of our students will have access to the Internet, and English is likely to remain the lingua franca online for the foreseeable future. Not being able to read in English limits our students to only that small part of the Web that is in their native language. (more…)
The Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011 directly impacted people living in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures, but it affected people all over Japan. Over a period of about a year, I did a series of activities with my junior high school students related to the earthquake. (more…)
I had a recent reminder of the power behind this blog’s simple motto: We’re better when we work together.
To get some guidance in preparing for an upcoming webinar about working with large, small, and mixed-ability classes (part of OUP’s Let’s Share project), I put a request out on my facebook page. The webinar is only an hour long, and I want to be sure I touch on the topics that matter most to teachers. I really hate wasting anyone’s time (more…)