Level: Vary widely, Intermediate to well above
Circumstances: Students in secondary school, doing 6 hours English a week, with an extensive (though under-used) library of "graded readers"
Classroom time required: None; students do task as homework
Brief outline: Students are required to read a minimum 3 graded readers per term as homework. Once they have read a book, they will post their review on the class blog. Reviews to include title, author, brief plot outline, whether or not they liked it and why (not), links to 2-3 related websites, and an illustration.
Equipment required: None. All children have an Internet connection at home (with PCs also available to them at school).
To find out more about blogs and blogging:
This article on TeachingEnglish.org.uk gives a brief introduction, and you will find more posts on blogging here.
See also the "Quick Tour" at Blogger.com.
Example 3: This is in fact a blog we do with people learning Spanish in our Spanish Department. We ask them to describe an item that they have in their pockets…
Question as before — would you want to do something similar with a class of English language learners, why / why not…?
Example 5 isn't a blog either — again it's an idea for a blog, one that comes from my daughter, who is responsible for the illustration below:
In schools here in Spain, they get kids to write what they call "fichas" for the books they read — name, author, plot summary, whether or not they would recommend it, etc (as you can see above).
In English language classes, graded readers (abridged, and with limited vocabulary) are used quite extensively, with some schools having class libraries of them.
My idea would be that each student in the class would read several graded readers, and post their "fichas" on a single class blog, which other students could then comment on.
Questions as before…
Before the Internet, people used pencil and paper…
And finally, Example 6 — which actually predates blogging, having been done as a class project way back in 1998.
As we were reading Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana, we did a project on Cuba. Basically, that involved each student — by lottery — getting a theme (Batista, Che Guevara, Havana, Tourism, the Cuban Missile Crisis…), and then writng "between 250 and 350 words (neither more nor less)" (!) on their subject…
… which we then put together in the booklet form I will show you.
But, now, you could do the same thing with a blog.
Questions, as previously.
The Portraits of Learning project (a contest, actually) requires K-12 students to submit a photograph and "a short description of no more than fifty words about how your photograph reflects your personal universe".
Note the photo tips page, and don't miss the galleries of entries for 2004 and 2005.
Put together a similar project, create a website (or a blog) on which to display them and that's a superb use of technology in the classroom…!