Category Archives: Classroom Ideas

Ideas and suggestions to use in your classroom.

Using Facebook Groups for CLB Listening and Speaking Competency I – Interacting with Others

As a LINC Home Study Instructor, my classes are all individual and the students’ levels range from CLB 4-7. I found it difficult to address CLB “Interacting with Others” for speaking and listening – particularly:

  • Opening and maintaining a conversation
  • Using a range of small talk phrases
  • Nonverbal communication
  • turn taking
  • adding supporting comments etc.

I noticed that a significant part of my own small talk revolved around common posts on social media with Facebook being the most common. Continue reading

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Teach verbs with animated GIFs and Quizlet

 

Teaching verbs can be accomplished through a combination of miming, games, worksheets, video clips, discussion, lecture, translation, and perhaps a host of other strategies.  Reinforcing the meaning of many verbs by providing a video clip can help with retention. Flashcards can also assist with vocabulary acquisition.  Quizlet’s flashcards deliver still images or animated clips online. Animated clips can accelerate acquisition through motion in context. Quizlet’s ability to include animated GIFs makes it a useful tool for language students learning base verbs.

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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
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

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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Conscious Scaffolding: Making Teacher Talk Time Matter

image source: bigstockphoto.com

Do you limit teacher talk time in favour of active learning? Good!

Do you limit teacher talk time because your students seem disengaged or don’t understand? Bad…

Let’s face it, teacher talk time (TTT) is valuable. Although it should not be the focus of any lesson, it can certainly be an opportunity to mediate learning, not just facilitate it or curate it. Hence, done purposefully, TTT can help students take better notes, recall valuable information, and differentiate between main ideas and extraneous detail. How can this be?

Let me explain . . . Continue reading

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Round-up of Classic Classroom Activities

image source: bigstockphoto.com

Do you have some go-to activities that you use for multiple teaching points?  I have a few.  I think it’s reassuring for students to see activities they recognize.  They feel confident when they know what to do, and they can focus on the point being taught instead of learning the rules of a new game (ahem, I mean “learning activity”).  It also doesn’t hurt that reusing ideas and materials reduces teacher prep time.  For these reasons, here are three of my favourite flexible activities.  Continue reading

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Data-driven learning with WordSift

image source: John Allan

I recently came across a web resource that reminded me of using Data-driven learning (DDL) with students.  I have not tried using DDL for a few years but I think that WordSift will allow instructors to use basic DDL techniques with their students.

What is DDL?

Data-driven learning is a learning approach in which learning is driven by research-like access to linguistic data (Johns, 1991). DDL examines a corpora or body of text. WordSift can generate useful usage data Continue reading

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Try something different this year, adopt an app!

image source: John Allan

As language teachers, many of us agree that technology is useful for assisting our instruction.  Videos, animations, virtual tours, audio clips, interactive games, self-correcting quizzes and digital online resources are some of the possibilities offered through technology. Until recently, technology based learning events have been delivered on institutional workstations, laptops or tablets.  The personal device revolution is migrating learning events/objects to mobile device applications or apps.

For security reasons, institutions have been organized to control digital resources. This includes networks, hardware, software, online subscriptions and website access.  The advent of Bring Your Own Technology or B.Y.O.T. tests this control. Continue reading

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Notes From a Registered Dietitian: Helping Newcomers Make Healthier Choices at the Grocery Store

Image says "Join the movement. Bike. Walk. Play. activeto.caIn my practice as a Registered Dietitian at Toronto Public Health, I have heard many newcomers tell me that they get overwhelmed by the huge number of choices at the grocery store. Think about the last time you went down the cereal aisle. How many different cereals were there? What are the factors you considered in making your choice? Did you read the fine print? Was it just based on the price tag? Or did the cartoon characters or other pictures convince you (or your child) to pick them?

Helping your learners interpret the fine print on nutrition labels can make Continue reading

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Notes From a Registered Dietitian: Talking About Healthy Eating

Image says "Join the movement. Bike. Walk. Play. activeto.caAs a dietitian with Toronto Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention program for the past 11 years, I have had many years of experience bringing healthy eating messages to newcomers. In my experience, what influences my audience isn’t dazzling them with details about the science of nutrition, it’s helping them to understand how to make healthier choices delicious, easy and practical.

Healthy eating is one of those topics that can be complicated to communicate. Often people get caught in the details, like the whole butter vs. margarine debate.  Continue reading

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Notes From a Public Health Nurse: Getting Active In The Classroom

Image says "Join the movement. Bike. Walk. Play. activeto.caWhat do you think of when you hear the word “classroom”? I doubt “health” is a word that comes to mind. When you think of the classroom you probably think of learning.  But why not use that learning opportunity as a chance to promote healthy behaviours? Classrooms are a safe environment where cultural and social norms can be established and reinforced. Together with your students, you can create Continue reading

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