Posted on | November 15, 2013 | No Comments
Apart from what you could do with the video itself, no matter what age your learners are, they could also write their own bucket list [ definition ], either thinking back to when they were kids or else at their current age.
It's always fascinating to share such things (think "class blog", or Edmodo, etc., possibly even Twitter) and draw conclusions from them (what do the list tell us about teens today, for example?); and to collaborate on brainstorming, agreeing on, creating and perhaps illustrating a single bucket list for the class.
The subject of "Water is Life", particularly with reference to the Third World, is also one that it might be interesting to research and present on (I hesitate to use the word webquest!)
Posted on | November 5, 2013 | No Comments
Heart of Darkness reviewed on a post-it
The idea for books reviews on a post-it note I came across here, on The Perpetual Page-Turner, Jamie's book blog. It would work great if you have a class library; if not, film reviews on post-it notes are an alternative.
Things like writing on post-it notes (and super short stories, 100-word sagas and Twitter stories) work especially well if you get the writers to collaborate and work on the writing and rewriting to squeeze as much information as possible in. They're also a lot of fun to share and award prizes to.
My example there isn't actually a post-it: I used recitethis.com and just happened to like that design more. You could use real post-its, but a digital tool is also fun, especially if that means you can share somewhere else, like on a blog or Edmodo.
Posted on | October 28, 2013 | 4 Comments
I lost a bet on this one (I owe you Kate!): I really didn't think I was going to get to 100 tweets. They were supposed to be one a day but it in fact took me 123 days to get there (stats shown were gathered with metricspot).
The figures shown must have been calculated on the first 99 for some reason. There are more details below but you can see that I probably didn't enter into nearly enough conversations (only 5% of my tweets were "replies") to fully appreciate that interesting Twitter avenue.
What the people I follow tweet
This is actually my second go with Twitter and, though I got to 100 (and beyond!), I'm still not convinced.
Occasionally there's something that makes you stop and think:
Technology is for our kids like clothing for us— not having it on makes one eccentric, weird & often unwelcome.
— Marc Prensky (@marcprensky) October 14, 2013
And occasionally, amongst all the chatter, there are practical ideas which are actually useful, like this:
And jobs! For anyone job-seeking, Twitter does seem useful, with sites like TEFL.com being worth following (see @tefldotcom).
What I tweeted
You can see below what I tweeted most. Apart from posts on my own blog (!), things on TeachThought were most common: what I like about it is that it makes you think about what you're doing in the classroom, particularly with regard to how technology is being used.
Next was The Guardian: I scan it every morning, not because I agree with its politics but for things that might make good materials for class (I loved the idea of learners creating something like this or this for example).
Twitter with learners
But what I was really interested in when I began back in June is discovering ways in which learners could use Twitter. Getting them to "follow" celebrities Kate tells me "works" for some but by no means all learners, with a big drop in interest after a week to ten days. There were several other projects we came up with but in the end — due to considerations of privacy (we're talking teens) — used Edmodo for them.
One that has worked really well (though again not with all): having teens "follow" feeds pumping out "inspirational quotes" (like @DavidRoads, for example), which really got learners — especially the girls — interested in reading (albeit in 140 character lots… or less!). Thanks to Sandy for trying that idea out.
And this idea for creative writing with Twitter is one I like a lot.
100 tweets later…
So, all in all, I'm surprised that — despite the appalling amount of frankly pretty pointless tweeting that goes on — Twitter actually can be useful; I am going to continue my one-a-day tweets (@Tom_IHBCN); but still think an RSS reader (I've been using theoldreader, since the demise of Google Reader) is way more organised and more useful.
Posted on | October 28, 2013 | 4 Comments
Image: Barcelona tobacconist's window, taken to show students as an example
Here's a project that seems to be going down well: having teens compete to see who can take the best Halloween themed pictures on their mobile phones.
They're sharing them in lots of places (Facebook, Twitter, via WhatsApp…) though where they're supposed to be sharing and commenting on them is on the Edmodo group set up for the class. 25 people have so far posted 47, which is great, though the amount of commenting has been a bit disappointing so far (perhaps we needed to insist on it more?).
After next weekend (when lots are going to Halloween parties where they're supposed to take more photos), the idea is for the learners to discuss and award prizes for the funniest, scariest, cutest… etc,
Thanks to Kate for trying the idea out!
More Halloween ideas
Posted on | October 14, 2013 | No Comments
Need something uplifting for Monday? This one i found on Adam Simpson's All things ELT Scoop.it (more about Scoop.it), the kids being 12-13 year olds, if I've understood the Australian school system correctly.
Such things are fun for kids to create and record (either as a podcast or on a mobile phone) and super instructive, I think, for teachers to listen to.
I provided technical support for a similar project recently where the kids talked about what makes a good learner. There was a privacy issue (the school involved vetoed any videos being uploaded to YouTube) so instead the videos were shared on/via the kids' phones.
The recording had to be done outside class (the school has a ban on mobiles being used in schools) but that (ie. the former!) isn't necessarily a bad thing: classroom time was used for discussion and rehearsal, with the recording being done outside class.
Posted on | September 29, 2013 | No Comments
I can also recommend two other similar video and lesson plan sites, LessonStream and Allatc (the latter particularly for more advanced learners) but what I particularly like about FilmEnglish is the choice of the clips: they so intrinsically interesting, as the materials for lessons really always ought to be.
And a couple more video sites: if you must turn everything, including YouTube material into grammar exercises, then Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals might be your thing, as might ESL Video, for creating your own exercises.
YouTube (not to mention other sites like Vimeo and Videojug) offers language teachers an amazing variety of materials but rather than immediately thinking "How can I turn this clip into an exercise?", think "How can I turn this into a lesson?" — particularly if it involves doing something more creative with YouTube.
The key question to getting the most from YouTube is probably to consider how active or passive the learners are going to be. If the clip gets them merely to check true/false boxes, they're passive; if it gets them to talk, then they're active.
Posted on | September 16, 2013 | No Comments
OMG! It's Norbert! | Photo: Tom Walton
As the starting point for a creative, collaborative writing task, to be done in pairs or threes by intermediate level teens (or above), I suggested the above photo to trainees on our current CELTA course; the photo having been taken in the street out back of IH Barcelona.
An interesting photo accompanied by some thought-provoking questions is a good means of (in class) generating ideas (and vocabulary) that can then be written up (possibly outside class) as a story. I like learners to do the writing in pairs or threes, not individually, as it leads to so much more interaction.
The questions suggested:
(1) What is the green "thing's" name?
(2) Is it a person?
(3) Why is it green?
(4) Why is it being carried?
(5) Why is the kid in the pink shirt reacting like that?
(6) How does the kid know the green "thing"?
To get the maximum possible out of the activity, sharing and commenting on each others' work is a vital stage, and Edmodo is again ideal for that.keep looking »