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Friday, April 23, 2010

21st century Teacher:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Amazing Web.2 Projects

I came across a very nice resource (a PDF) book, I guess. It can contribute somehow to our project.
It has
  • 87 projects.
  • 10 further resources.
  • 52 applications.
  • 94 contributors.
    The benefits of using Web 2.0 applications.
    The challenges of using Web 2.0 applications.
    How the folk who ran these projects handled the issues...
    ... And what they recommend you do if you run them.
    What were the learning outcomes?

I hope you find it handy as well.

Here it is!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Extensive reading

Extensive reading is believed to have considerable benefits for learners both in terms of learning gains and motivation and seems to be becoming ever more popular in the ELT world.
The idea behind extensive reading is that a lot of reading of interesting material that is slightly below, at, or barely above the full comprehension level of the reader will foster improved language skills. Graded readers are often used. For foreign-language learners, some researchers have found that the use of glosses for “difficult” words is advantageous to vocabulary acquisition.

What are the benefits of Extensive Reading?

* It improves language fluency as learners develop active and passive (sight) vocabulary proficiency
* It can enhance learners’ general language competence
* It leads to improvement in writing
* It teaches learners about the culture of the target language users, which will allow learners to more easily join the L2 speech community
* It can consolidate previously learned language
* It helps to build confidence with extended texts
* It facilitates the development of prediction skills
*It allows learners to follow their interests in choosing what to read and thus increase their motivation for learning
*It provides the opportunity for learning to occur outside the classroom

BUT using extensive reading in a classroom is, by nature, a difficult thing to do.

And teacher's role is to explain the idea and methodology to students, keep track of what each student reads , and guide students in getting the most out of reading in general and set extra tasks based on reading.

Extensive Reading Activities

Some sample ideas for semi-extensive and extensive reading activities

Drawing and designing:

· Design a new cover for your book.

· Draw a series of pictures illustrating the story or main events of the story.

· Draw a map showing where the story takes place.

· Design a movie poster for your book

· Make a time line of major events in the book

  • Create a bingo game which includes words like names of characters, places and items from the story.

· Design an advertisement for T.V., radio or newspaper, trying to sell the book.

· Make up a “wanted” poster for one of the characters.


· Write a letter to one of the characters.

· Write a diary for one of the characters.

· Make up a different ending for the story.

· Make up a different beginning for the story.

· Have an interview with one of the characters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back to warm-ups

Every teacher knows it's crucial to tune students for the lesson. But it's not just the matter of switching them off. The thing is the whole lesson might be ruined if your students don't see the point why you ask them to do this or that task. Actually the aim is not always as obvious as most teachers believe.
If you want to make the lesson on the whole and every stage in particular successful, first of all set aims and provide incentives.
Explain to your students how they will benefit from doing this activity. In reality it doesn't take long. But your students will get focused if not interested.
Another challenge… How to inspire them to learn Unit for instance on Logistics and be involved and motivated?
To begin with, get motivated yourself. When I encountered Unit Logistics in the course-book, for me it was nothing but a word. I was aware that if I wanted to succeed in teaching it, I had to convince myself that it's extremely important. The idea is that you sound more persuasive to anyone when you strongly believe in what you're talking about. What’s more, you need facts to support your opinion. So I talked about Logistics with people whose job involves logistics issues, read an article in Wikipedia and eventually got interested which means ready to teach.
So how to lead-in a new topic which seems to be dull and you want to escape boredom?

Try to use sinquain for a change.

Interesting and boring
Supplies, delivers, delays.
Better late than never.
It makes business life easier.

One girl, she works in a fashion store, wrote:
Noisy and bright
Invites, assists, inspires
What's good for one, is bad for another
We work from morn till night.

Read more about sinqain patterns here

P.S. I don't think that I'll use this technique on regular basis, but we (my students and me) liked that experience:)

If you got interested, download this worksheet

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One More Idea of Collaborative writing

It’s called Storybird (, and its tagline is “collaborative storytelling for family and friends.”

It’s a website that allows users to create the stories for picture books alone or collaboratively with a friend or family member, using illustrations provided by various artists.

According to Storybird, “making stories can be social, fun, and easy. Stories are the currency of life, particularly in families. Parents entertain and educate their kids through stories. And kids contextualize and imagine the world through narrative. It’s how our brains work. For us, the goal was to design a service that made storytelling effortless.”

Here’s how it works. A user sets up an account, browses through the work of available artists, chooses an illustrator that he/she likes, and begins writing. A user can add or delete pages; a title page (which can be edited, of course) is immediately added each time a new “book” is created. The works can be created alone or in collaboration with friends or family members.

Works-in-progress are placed under a user’s “Unpublished Storybirds” list and finished pieces are saved under the “Published Storybirds” list. Users can also browse through other works on the site and create a “Reading List.”

According to the site, “making, sharing, and reading Storybirds online is free and will always be free. Printing and premium services—when we introduce them later this year—will have a fee associated with them.”

An entire website devoted to the joys of words, and art, and creation.

For more info:Start creating at