Category Archives: Resources

Resolutions 2016

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Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Happy New Year to all of you! How did you celebrate the New Year? My husband and I had planned to host a party but that plan quickly fell apart and thankfully so. We weren’t in the mood to do anything big, and our kids fell asleep early. So, I ended up getting dressed in my finest cotton pyjamas and watched a movie right in the comfort of my own home. Nothing beats that feeling. Besides, isn’t that how you roll when you’re a parent of young ones? 

Speaking of the New Year, I can’t believe we’re halfway through January already. Our weather this year has felt more like springtime than winter, but today is a completely different story —  It’s actually starting to feel like the winters we’re used to in Canada. This awful dip in temperature had me thinking about all of the New Year’s resolutions that were made, and I wondered how long we typically follow through with them when the going gets tough. January is a great month to start fresh and focus on accomplishing goals over a new year, but to stick to our resolutions requires commitment and patience as you set out to achieve what you’re looking for, whether it’s losing a few pounds, taking on a new challenge, or simply spending more time with family.
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Where are the videos?

Video. Concept icon. 3D image isolated on white
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Over the past months, I have been posting and providing professional development sessions on creating engaging and interactive learning experiences with video as the focus media.  Tools have included Edpuzzle, ESLVideo, Ted Ed Lessons, TubeChop and Zaption.

Searching for and finding suitable videos or animations takes time and effort.  Depending on your learning objectives, there are many videos or section of videos that may be beneficial. As with everything in education, one size does not fit all.  It takes imagination, discipline and creativity to create engaging learning objects that meet your instructional requirements.

The majority of feedback after my webinars and workshops has been focused on where to find suitable videos or animations. The annotated list below is a starting point for teachers to explore video resources: Continue reading

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Use Kahoot! to Spice up your Lessons

image source: www.getkahoot.com
image source: www.getkahoot.com

I have recently been trying to include more technology-based activities in class in order to ‘modernize’ the feel of the class and appeal to my tech-savvy EAP students.

One activity that has worked well recently is Kahoot! – a free application which allows teachers to create multiple choice quiz questions that students can answer using any mobile device. This application can be adapted for individual or collaborative work, and is equally useful for reviewing content, introducing new concepts, generating discussion or simply energizing the class with a quick ‘warmer’. Anyone who has previously used ‘clickers’ in class for any reason will appreciate the versatility of the program, which requires only internet access, a shared screen and a mobile device (all of my students used their phones). No player accounts are required, so in-class time is used efficiently. Continue reading

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Revisiting WebQuests

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Image source: www.Webquest.org

I am currently developing learning opportunities for blended learning courses with English as a Foreign Language students.  Over the summer, I have had a few months to add some motivating learning objects to these courses. One of my courses calls for a group project based on Internet research. Using the term research is a stretch in this context.  I think of it more as a guided internet search.   Continue reading

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Thank You for the Music!

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Have you ever noticed that when ABBA sings they don’t sound Swedish? Country singer Mel Tillis, a chronic stutterer, lost his speech impediment when performing. There has to be something that happens to your voice when you sing. That’s why I often use music in the classroom.

 

In June, we were working on noun/verb contractions. One student said he had difficulty with “that’ll.” I had everyone sing “That’ll Be the Day”, and as quick as you can say: “Buddy Holly ”, his problem was solved!

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Breaking News English: Integrate Current Events into your Classes

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I have spent the past few years working in learning object and course development. In August, I am returning to the classroom to teach EFL. Putting on my teacher hat, I remember that it is important to have an emergency kit of prepared learning events in a variety of media. Worksheets, bookmarked web activities, flash cards, board games, videos, audio clips and technology such as a digital camera will contribute to future icebreakers, Friday afternoon fillers, motivation boosting sessions or the odd substitution call. Continue reading

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Listen to Me!

Man Listening to gossip
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One of the five classes in my EAP course is a 50-minute a day listening class. It’s always been the most difficult for me to teach, partly because it’s directly after lunch, when students are  not the most awake!

Over the years I’ve tried various teaching resources, searching for the most effective texts and material to help students. These are the  best ones I’ve come across for teaching listening  skills in EAP:

English for Academic Study: Listening

I love Garnet Education’s EAS series, and use the Vocabulary and Reading & Writing books as a major part of my curriculum. When my course first began, our listening curriculum was based entirely on the EAS: Listening book. Continue reading

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Alleviating Article Anxiety

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While it is probably true that simple language structures are the easiest thing to teach and  learn, we should look very carefully at what we consider to be simple.

Take for example English articles. There are only two of them: definite and indefinite —   maybe three, if we count the allophonic variant of the indefinite article  ‘an’.  Unlike other languages,  in English we don’t have to take into account gender or case when deciding which one to use.   So, why are these items so difficult for English language learners?  The answer to this question relates to the rules that govern articles, which are very complex, thus making their application somewhat difficult.

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IPDP and the Joys of Scholarly Practice

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

What’s IPDP you may ask…It stands for Individualized Professional Development Plan. It’s the type of professional growth you sketch out for yourself – for your own growth. It does not include the type of PD your workplace or professional organization requires of you – the type you have to complete because …well…you have to. IPDP is like a box of chocolates. Continue reading

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Have Fun With It!

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

A common piece of advice I give my students is

“don’t read the newspaper.”

Their hearts are in the right place – they want reading practice – but most of them have zero interest in the news and end up getting very little from their daily ritual of reading Metro on the subway.

If students are looking for extra work, it’s important that it’s something fun and interesting for them. My students are upper-intermediate/advanced. For the most part, their English is very good – most of the errors they make are small, basic errors like prepositions and collocations -so they just need practice rather than pouring over grammar rules.

What I tell them instead of reading the newspaper, is

“It doesn’t matter what you read, as long as it’s in English!”

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