More on Hadley’s adventures in online collaboration. If you’d like to read the beginning of this adventure, check out “New Friends”
It was a marvelous day for my students when we got to share the learning that went on in our classroom with people living in Japan. Because of the contacts that I made through Twitter with Barbara, the middle school teachers at my school decided to create a Japan Day, using interdisciplinary activities to enhance the connections that we had with people there. The Drama teacher created a lesson on Noh theater; the art teacher and a classroom teacher had a lesson on calligraphy and modern Japanese art; the music teacher led a session on the pentatonic scale and chanting. At another station, we planned for them to learn about the tea ceremony and to then watch a video of one as a silent meditation, with the students sitting silently on the floor, attentive to the sounds and movements of the woman conducting the ceremony. (more…)
Barbara was so kind to ask me to write about how to use songs with young learners. I have learned a lot from teaching English using songs, and I am happy to share what I know.
I have a background in music, and bringing music into the classroom has been very natural for me. What if you don’t have a musical background? Don’t worry! You do not have to be a great singer, or musician to use songs with kids. Just be enthusiastic!
If you are new to using songs you may think, why songs? Songs are great for many reasons. The melodies help the words stick into children’s heads. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head you couldn’t get out? The rhythm of the songs helps the children speak in a natural flow. Simply put, they are great practice! Also, many ESL and EFL songs nowadays have built in actions and activities. So when we sing “I brush my teeth”, then we can do the action while we sing. This combination of singing, and doing actions really helps stimulate the memory of the child. Oh, and it is fun! (more…)
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow” John Dewey
Kindergarten has always been the place to make friends, paint pictures, tell stories, play games and have fun while learning. Wooden blocks and legos have always been favorites in kindergarten classes. Today, the world is undergoing a digital change, changing our children digitally as well. Marc Prensky says “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” in his Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants article. I agree with him wholeheartedly. (more…)
The focal point of my previous post on this blog were the potential ways teachers can help their students to organize and practice their knowledge by setting up a blog especially for them. Since video activities on a teacher’s blog seem to be the most appealing ones to learners of all ages, I will now briefly number a series of easy steps for those who wish to take advantage of the potential all kinds of videos offer for making attention- grabbing blog activities. It is to be noted that I have consciously avoided complex educational jargon, having outlined the procedure as it practically happens in an everyday lesson.
To teach is to touch a life forever.
I have been trying to enhance my teaching with the new technologies since 1997 when I created my first web page while attending a seminar on New Technologies in Modern Language Teaching in Finland. But everything I did over those twelve years was nothing compared to what I have been doing since I joined Twitter and built my PLN in April 2009.
Today my students and I use technology to connect with students and teachers from all over the world. We tweet, we ning, we skype, we glog, we wiki, we blog … we learn, we understand, we respect. (more…)
I think what every teacher needs to know is this simple secret to successful ESL/EFL classes: Students can accomplish so much more if the lesson has proper support. It is very difficult for students, particularly at the EFL level, to stand up in front of the class and spontaneously tell a story or talk about their lives. One great way to provide support is with a simple, versatile craft called a Flap Book. Students can use these as a prop for communication as they hold their Flap Books and then lift the flaps as needed to remind them of what they want to say.
I lived in Canada the first eight years of my life, which means that my schooling was only for three years. However, the great educational system left me with many good memories which I have incorporated in my teaching the ten years I have been in the world of ELT. These tips work equally well in classrooms of students from every corner of the world and even with people from the same country (they can do a little bit of research first, before the activities and learn a lot at the same time!) The educational system in Canada is very much based on diversity and multiculturalism, so quite a few things have remained with me. I will mention some I put into practice with my students: (more…)
Part of the series: Stuff All EFL Teachers Should Know
As a manager I interview a lot of teachers. One question I always ask is about reading texts. If you have a short reading text, what are some different ways in which it can be used? I am constantly surprised by the lack of responses I get to this question. Candidates most often give one of two responses
1) I have the students read the text and then I ask them questions about it.
Ok, this is standard and nothing wrong with that. We want to check to see that the students comprehend the text, but this is generally quite boring and is really more of a test than teaching reading skills.
2) I have the students read it out loud.
Sadly, I have seen this used a lot in classes at well. I’m sitting and observing a class of 15 students and the teacher asks one student to read out loud while the others follow along in the book. This has to be one of the worst wastes of time for a class. One student is speaking and the other 14 students are bored out of their mind and not paying attention. Additionally, the one reading isn’t comprehending the text because they are too focused on speaking correctly. The only thing being worked on here is pronunciation of the one student reading the text. (more…)