Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Acting it Out


                Podcasts in the ESL classroom.  This tool could really open up a lot of different concepts to the classroom.  One would simple be to listen to podcasts and that go with a specific less.  Even more then this a podcast could be a fantastic tool that  could open the classroom up to so many ideas.  The podcast access allows for a variety of material and information that may not be as manageable in the time students are in a class but know is expanded.  This tool is a great way to flip the classroom.  By doing this the podcast brings the world to the students when they have the time rather than when a broadcast dictates that time. 
                I think a great idea that we as teachers can use can take this tool one step farther is to actually make podcasts with the students.  The ideas of “reading theater” by TCM Podcasts encompasses many learning objectives.  Such as fluency, comprehension and accuracy.  With the repeating of reading one text all week in order to be ready to perform on a podcast performance the students are familiarizing themselves with one text over-and-over.  In doing so it has been proven that by becoming fluent in one text automatically makes one more fluent in other texts, which in many ways is the ultimate goal. 
              In practicing for the podcast performance the students fluency of the words and text become more natural.  The use of the performance gives the students a direct goal, a meaning to the practice. The students are not just reading for the sake of reading they are preparing for the podcast performance, which is a great confidence builder.  A student who may have been timid about their reading and speaking skills become excited about their performance.  The first podcast might be a little more intimidating than the rest because it is new.  As they practice the students quickly become more excited and want to be prepared which only increases their fluency and accuracy toward the target of language proficiency.  The nice thing about this tool is that it in itself is an audio diary. In that the students can refer back to older podcasts to see how they are developing.
                The lesson could even start with deconstructing the narrative the students are going to perform.  Looking at unknown words, close pronunciation tips, and even meaning behind the text.  The “reading theater” podcast concept is really an all-encompassing tool.  Many objectives can be met and assessed.

                The students can be assessed on performance, pronunciation accuracy, fluency in performance which is assessed by seeing how comfortable the student is with the narrative.  Are they acting it using different inflections from their voice or is it a simple reading?  A word quiz can also be given about the new words that were learned from the narrative.  And even a brief essay could be used.  One in the beginning of the task and one at the end.  Seeing if the meaning of text changed for them as they read the narrative.  This also give the students a chance to practice and be assessed in writing skills. 

Podcast Website

The Podcast

An example of Podcast "reading theater" in action

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Video Fun - is a great video maker that can be another great tool for teachers to use with their ESL students.
  I really think that this could be a great extra project for students to expand their understanding of any subject.  Through the use of pictures and text ESL student can really get a better understanding of nearly any topic they are studying.  From history to pop-culture students can make videos that can help them practice what they are learning in class.
Depending on the topic given to the students the performance indicators would be how well they stay on topic.  Also how well they link the pictures to the text meaning they provide.   The task could be very specific, such as make a video of five national parks and describe the pictures you choice to represent each park using the vocabulary words of the week.  To assess I could see how well they use the words.  At the end of the project I could do a quick word matching quiz.

Example Video -

Picture Video

Monday, November 10, 2014

TedEd Lesson on English Language Secrets

In this Ted lesson I am looking at the topic of secrets tips of learning the English language.  The three tips that the speaker talks about are where the stress of the word is placed, linking and collocation.  The three tips can helps a non-native speaker sound more natural.  The lesson can help students concentrate on certain aspects of their oral language practice.  These tips on how to sound and link words together can help one become more natural sounding to a native English speaker.   I think that by practicing these tips one can build confidence in speaking English.  In this the student will become more comfortable in their practice of the learning the English language.
After a lesson on common collocations I could assess the students on recognizing collocations.  We could also continue practicing them along side vocabulary lessons. 

ESL 1.1

TedEd Lesson  -  Secrets of the English Language

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Flipped Class

In the articles, Why it’s time to Rethink (and Question)Homework by Katie Lepi and 7 Things You Should Know about …Flipped Classrooms, the concept of a typical classroom work and homework are flipped on their head.
            I really like the idea of having kids come prepared with the knowledge they need for the class rather than having to lecture about the information.  Then all class activity is about reinforcing the concepts, answering question, and filling in the gaps that pre-class work was not able to fill.  Though as a teacher one would really have to know the capabilities of the class and the commitment of the students to truly make this flipped classroom work.  Without that commitment the students may fall behind. If the students are not prepared for class with the material and knowledge they need to be in class and really take advantage of that time the flipped classroom idea becomes harder to control.

            Homework plays several different roles and depending on the students level of development with the topic at hand it really could  help or disenfranchise the student.  Too hard and the student may give up, to easy and the student get bored.  A teacher may want to reinforce a concept or show it in a different way with different assignments but with each student and class different materials can be provided.  Having students do different assignments could become confusing but it could be very helpful to the student and possible the class.  If students are doing different assignments they could present what they learned to the class.  Even if it’s a quick five minute presentation they can share the learned knowledge with the whole class.  

Chop Chop

TubeChop - Funny English Words (01:14)

     In a classroom the video can be used to prompt a lesson.  The whole video is a lesson in itself but in this instance I would want it shorter so it prompts a class discussion.


     In this lesson the objective would be to learn and expand the student’s vocabulary.  Not only are they learning funny words which are not used as much as high frequency words they are learning the meanings of the words by using synonyms of the words.  The synonyms are often the more high frequently words.  This is a fun way to introduce new words expanding the vocabulary of the students.

      To extend the lesson from the video I would have each student pick one other word off the list from the video to describe and to pick one other word that they find funny in the English language to discuss.  By having each student talk about their words the other students will also learn from each other.  They can also write the words up on the board.  From this I could even create another assignment that would use these words to create a funny story.  Farther reinforcing all the new vocabulary.   After practicing the words I can then assess the students with a quick matching of the funny words to the high frequency words that we were practicing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gaming for learning

  Taking games to a whole new level.  Serious games- games that can have you in control of the serious things in life.  Making you the Captain, the decision maker. The gamer has to follow the facts to get to the solution to life problems.  As leader one has to weigh out major societal needs and worries food, disease, water, shelter and more while playing Serious Games.  After playing Quandry at least three times and testing out different solutions for each problem faced I really started seeing how great this could be for kids. 
                Not only is the story line fantastic with a sci-fi theme the problem solving method that is used only increases the fiero as it enhances the game as each problem is solved.  As Captain one has to sort out through the facts, solutions and opinions of the settlers to make a proposal to the council.  Presenting the best information to the council is very important in that the council will use the information to come up with a solution.  With the wrong or incomplete information is provided to the council the solution may not fit the problem as well as the Captain would have hoped.
                As an ESL teacher I could assess the students by how many points they receive as they go through the game to see if they are really understanding the material which is being presented.  As the captain goes through the game points are given as the solution comes together.   Sheep attacks, water parasites, or arguments that take on a life of their own such as perceived favoritism all are problems that the captain must solve to keep life on Braxos moving forward.  Problem solving is really key in this game.  As a teacher I could prompt discussion analyzing the different ways each student tried to solve the problem and what the results were of each solution and why they chose that solution over another. 
                The reading and understanding in this game is a large part of this game and therefore pushes the ESL student to practice the English language at a higher level.   ESL 1.1 criteria will be being met while working through this activity.