All posts by Tamsin Cobb

5 Tips for Starting the Semester Off On the Right Foot

Back to school. Concept with pens, books, an apple and blackboard with inscription : Back to school
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Ok, so aside from wearing shoes that make you feel amazing but won’t make your podiatrist cringe, this post will walk you through 5 tips that can send you off into the Fall semester strong and energized.

I know, I know, there are plenty of posts out there that are dedicated to giving you tips and hacks for getting ready for a new school year, but there’s a reason for that. We educators are planners (even when we think we’re flying off the seat of our pants), and we look forward to a new year and thinking about how we can make it incredible for us and our students. These tips are my go-to whenever I start a new semester and take inventory. Continue reading

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Summer Reading Bingo Challenge

image that says Summer Reading Challenge 2018Are you teaching this summer? Sometimes it can be tricky trying to get students engaged in the classroom – or even staff in the office – when the sun is shining and the breezy trees are calling. It’s that “happy place” feeling I try to tap into whenever I teach or whenever I want to motivate my team. For me, the best way to do this is through reading…and I mean really reading, the kind of reading that takes you to a place of wonder, reflection, reaction. Continue reading

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I Came, I Saw, I Had to Teach Verb Tense

Grunge background with old watch. Time concept. Retro clocks on the wall. Old antique clock on aged red brick wall background. Vintage clocks.
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I’ll put it out there, I’m a grammar geek! I love it, honest. Growing up, I learned a lot of languages, and I loved the days when we would create verb charts for conjugation or parse sentences. I’m also a very visual person, so as soon as the teacher would write a new verb on the board, I whipped out my pencil case and started picking out my pencil crayons and ruler. I was like a language archeologist categorizing, sorting, and analyzing, and I find that this has helped me when approaching verbs with students. Continue reading

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The Art of Group Work

Team work conept. Hard-working university students sitting at table pointing at some information in book with pencils trying to understand what is written there. Students working with books studying
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Group work – just the mere mention of this makes some students cringe.  In fact, I have heard from students who actively choose courses that don’t involve group work even if at first the course sounds really interesting, but in reality, that limits the choices tremendously!  In other cases, I’ve stood at the front of the class and announced, “ok, let’s get into groups and…” and all of a sudden, I hear this cacophony of sighs transcend the room – no holding back, no filters. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of group work in education, and Continue reading

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Celebrating National Dictionary Day

Fake Dictionary Dictionary definition of the word encourage.
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This weekend has been filled with social gatherings and sharing our thanks with friends and family – and our students, but in the world of teaching, before one major theme is complete, our thoughts are filled with what’s next.  October is filled with major themes – Fall harvest, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, but did you know it’s also the month of National Dictionary Day?  As Shakespeare said, what’s in a name? Well for many language learners, the answer is Continue reading

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National Volunteer Week: Let’s Make a Difference Together

image of people putting hands together with the word volunteer in text box
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I tried to scour the Internet for motivational/inspirational quotations to start this post. I wanted to really capture the essence of my intention and put it into words using a famous quotation or an iconic figure that would resonate with you. I read quotation after quotation, visited page after page, and no string of words truly said what I wanted to convey today.  Why is today so special? Why am I trying to find just the right combination of words? Continue reading

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It’s Raining PD!

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Last week, we welcomed the first day of Spring – hello Spring!  Maybe you’re like me when Spring arrives. My mind begins to think of that very North American task of Spring cleaning.  However, my Spring cleaning list rarely has anything to do with cleaning up the house. Continue reading

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Aboriginal Lessons

Native American Inukshuk road side stone marker.
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When we’re educating ELLs, how many of us have the opportunity to expose students to Canadian history? I love teaching history and having learners explore how we got to today. At times, I wish I were more like a history version of Ms. Frizzle (I kind of have the hair for it minus the red).

It’s common to talk about the government, Confederation, and the iconic symbols of Canada, but I have found Continue reading

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5 Ways to Get Involved This Year

Group of Business People Using Digital Devices
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It’s 2017 and we’ve got some exciting ways for you to get involved with the TESL Ontario community! With each new year comes the reminder of our membership renewal – and our 10 hours of PD experience.  For some, our locals have many ongoing opportunities to connect with each other and learn within the community of practice. For others, the TESL Ontario Conference allows us to travel, share our experience and research, as well as build a network beyond our local reach.  But what about those of us Continue reading

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Webinars: 50 and Counting

50 Webinar imageIt’s Sunday night, you’re mentally checking off your ever growing TO DO list to make sure you’re ready for Monday morning: make lunch, review lesson plan, pack worksheets, bring new whiteboard markers, load new PowerPoint into LMS … and that’s just to get you through Monday. Your mind starts to wander and you realize it’s time… Continue reading

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