Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shared PREZI

Polleverywhere benefits

Teachers who have used found it helpful saving money and time and at the same time found their students learn more efficiently. By positing an instant question on the wall,  a Holy Trinity high school math teacher Matthew Dopira got the idea about what and how much his students has learned right away during his class. I can see how he can use the data collected for his next lesson plan preparation, and modification.
Moreover, if teachers have a hard time dealing with students using their smart phones, why not incorporate cell phones in teaching; make students use the best out of their personal mobile devices to enhance their learning. I believe that students will pay attention in the class since as a High school English teacher Valerie Williams stated that her students did not have to worry about taking notes but participated well in the class, " knowing that they will have a picture of the board to use for later reference."  Furthermore, a junior high school teacher, Kathy Peter agreed that "allowing mobile device use within clear parameters makes it less likely that students will use them inappropriately" Peter said "They (students) know that I will allow it when it is necessary." I think this is a great class management strategy.

How to avoid Powerpointlessness?

How to train our students use Powerpoint effectively without making their presentation Powerpointless?

I have assigned my students Powerpoint presentation projects in my Art class before. Most of my students put too much information in their slides which really distracted the audience and made their presentation powerpointless.  Furthermore, it was time consuming that I remember spending a lot of time editing, and writing specific comments and feedback for each group.
After reading the article, I am inspired by James McKenzie's Scoring Power Points and learned that showing my students a Powerpoint presentation rubric can really help them grasp my expectations.  Moreover, I will also provide good and bad examples of Powerpoint slides when I go through the rubric.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Using technology to learn collaboratively.

I agreed that in order to understand ideas deeply, there must be some interactive conversation take place.  The collaborative journal writing which mentioned in this online article sounds brilliant that it does not only provide a forum for students to share their learning process and strategies but also create an opportunity for students to have writing conversations back and forth with their peers. 

I have done similar activities with my students in a non-technology environment. I found it helpful since through the activities, students had chances to discuss what they learned and share what they missed from the contents that other students have found. The only disadvantage was that students had to wait until the next class to get their journals back,  then write back to their partners and exchange the next time again.

Therefore, I think online collaborative journal writing can really save both students and teachers a lot of time. Students can do their research while writing their journal as homework.

Furthermore, for teachers this is a great way to train "expert learners". Teachers can assign writing assignments following the order of  Planning Starters, Reflective Starters and Comment or Discussion Starters, mentioned on the site, Scaffolding For Deep Understanding.  
For example, every student will start a piece beginning with "I want to learn...", then read other people's writing online to write their reflections, for instance, "I learned...". After they have read other people's learning refections, each student will choose one colleauge's writing to write his/her response, such as "I disagree with you because...". Finally, all studnets have to write a work or artist's statement to conclude their project learning process and appreciate others cooperation.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lerning from reviewing yourself.

Students usually practice to present and perform through speaking but they hardly had opportunities to review and listen to themselves. They only get feedback from their teachers and peers.
I think it is a great idea to offer students the opportunities to observe themselves from their own perspectives and debrief with their teachers after they have reviewed their own performances.  Furthermore, using the best out of tools students already have such as ipod, mp3 is brilliant.
However, there are more to learn since I am not a digital and technology person. I would love to learn how to use popular digital devices among students and use them as learning and teaching tools to benefit my students.
At the same time, I would love to hold a technology show and tell day for my class. In the class, each student will have to share with the class, one technology that he/she has learned and used for different purposes. After collecting what my students are using in favour, I can design an activity and assign a group project that will motivate my students to learn using their ipod, ipad, mp3 and smart phones.

Fun Wordle Vocab Review and Creative Notes

Wordle: using wordle with students
Students can use wordle to review their vocabulary. They can first use new words they have learned to make a paragraph and then copy and paste the paragraph they created on wordle. This way they review newly learned vocabulary in an interesting way. Wordle can also be used as notes for students when delivery a speech or a presentation.


Wordle: Reviewing myself

Students can use wordle to review their vocabulary. They can first use new words they have learned to make a paragraph and then copy and paste the paragraph they created on wordle. This way they review newly learned vocabulary in an interesting way. Wordle can also be used as notes for students when delivery a speech or a presentation.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Listening Exercise for today

Hi welcome to English Express Site. Let's start with playing a game here. We call this game Chain Introduction. I will be the first and the last player of this game. Following the steps to participate.

Step 1: Click on the Audioboo to listen to my introduction about myself,my favortie food and favorite way of eating it.

Step 2: Sign up Audioboo to record your your introduction.
Step 3: In your recording, you have to first retell the previous person's introduction. For example, if you were the first person to sign up, you would talk about what you heard in my recording and then introduce yourself following your name, your favorite food and your favorite way to eat it. I will have to do a long recording after all, since I am also the last player. So you sure would like to sing up as soon as possible (ASAP).

Step4: Publish your recording on Audioboo by clicking publish.

Step5: Go to the Audioboo website and embed your recording on your blog for the next person.

Step 6: Leave your URL for the next person

Using Translators in classroom

 I recalled that once I could not stop my students from looking up their electric translators in the class whenever I introduced a new topic or new vocabulary. As their ESL instructor, I would like my students to express English freely without afraid of making mistakes. Using electric traslator really slowed them down and made them less active.
Then I came up with an idea. One class I divided the class into small groups. I gave each group a piece of blank paper and had each group member take turn to draw a small picture. In the end, each group has eight pictures on the piece of paper. I then asked each group to create a story out of the pictures they drew in their mother tongue --Taiwanese. My students were surprised and excited about that. After that I asked them to translate the story to English.
Through the process, my students practiced choosing appropriate vocabulary, analyze different grammar system and sentence patterns and in the end they told me that they found it's easier just creating the story in English directly rather than making the story in their mother togune and then translate it to English. I told them "Yes, and it is also faster because you think in English instead of thinking in your first langauge and then writing it again in English".
I like the idea of holding a cotest for the funniest story. I can see how effective of holding a contest for the funniest will be when I apply it to my teaching next time. Furthemore, I also agree that instead of stopping students from using translators why not using it as a teachable moment. As we learn much from mistakes and bad examples.

Reading Matters

 As a young ESL learner, I had hard time whenever I took a reading comprehension test. It was usually the new vocabulary that blocked me. 
As an experienced and advanced ESL learner now, I found it is easier for me to understand English text than in my mother tongue. Because I was trained to read in English and I have built up my reading skills in English.
 I found when I read English text, I am more aware of the sentence structure, main ideas, and I ask myself questions like " What is the purpose of the text? " and "why are we (am I) reading it?" Therefore, when I am reading for answers, it is usually easier for me to find the information I need in the text. 
I think reading in L1 and L2 are the same since we are taught how to read. Moreover, reading is a part of our life. We are reading all the time. For example, we have to read the ingredients and  expiry dates on food labels. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Making culture happen in the English language classroom

Teaching culture is possible but when do we teach that?   Students must have some fundamental skills of the target language, for example some abstract vocabulary like 'culture', 'tradition', and 'superstition' in order to explain and understand the meaning of the culture.
I have heard "teaching a language is to teach its culture"; however, it is hard to find a point to start with and we don't know how much each student can absorb. My solution is before we teach our students the culture of the target language, we should learn the cutltures that our students are from. By doing so, teachers can assess how much their students know about their own culture. Once we learn each student's culture, learn the way that they explain their custom, tradition, symbol, and the langauge that they address, we can  introduce the new culture by applying the similar language useages some students have addressed and using students' examples of their tradition.  How much do we know about our own culture?  Culture cannot be taught. We can share our clutures with our students.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 3 notes

Class discussion: Using video in Foreign language classroom
The article was written in 2000, some people said it is not updated since it is all about common sense. However, back in time in 2000, using video in teaching was not common. Using video in teaching can bring students' interest however it is not garanteed that it will benefit L2 learning.
Surrey: video extreme services. pull up a catalog of a video and show your class. Ability to use video in the classroom has become much easier. Can even give students the link so that they can watch it from home.

Day 3:
Using existing "video" to teach:

Teaching with video takes students around the world, make people, learn culture, new ideas and back to history.

Good for visual learners.

Tips for getting the most out of video

• Before viewing: preview, select, know your hardware.
• During viewing: pre-load, a focus, pause and question.
• After viewing: consolidate new information, investigate, incorporate. ( a focus question for kids to think, * the purpose of vieweing the video)  Some creative thinking questions sound fun for students.
You need to purchase PPR rights to show a class a video. ie,  $5 save ways = $200 panalty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Understand Moving Pictures

If I were to use video to teach my students, I would first ask myself "What is the purpose of using video in my second language class?" and many key considerations suggested by Canning-Wilson in her article.
Based on that many benefits my students will gain from learning through watching video clips; I will definitely find the opportunity to try to use video in my classroom. Since my students can see “an immediate meaning in the language” through watching video, their interests are hold and can “visualize words was well as meanings.”  However, there are some disadvantages of using video in the classroom. If I am determined to use video in my class; I have to solve these problems first. Time consuming and students losing their interests are two significant problems in using video in the foreign language classroom. They can be also considered as one problem.
Canning-Wilson also stated in her article that “if video is to be used in the classroom… it should be shown in segments and not as a whole.” Moreover I have summarized from her paragraph about Suggestions to the Classroom Practitioner. I think each segment is better to be less than 5 minutes.
To avoid losing students’ interests, and allow students more opportunities to practice their target language, I would not carry on to the next segment. Instead I would create some relevant mini activities such as role playing, guessing games, and drawing activities before we move to the next segment. Teachers should allow students sometime to digest; take one bite a time. Through the activities, a teacher can assess how students learn, think and reflect to the visuals and the target language.
I have used Youtube in both my Visual Art class and Mandarin class. Using a video clip really attracts students’ attention; however, if you began it with a meaningless or non-relevant theme, you would soon lose them.
Therefore, I found it effective to play it the other way around and use it as a hook. I assigned my Mandarin 11 students a video presentation. When they heard about making a video for their final project, they were excited and motivated. I invited my students to a film maker’s point of view. Each group from a film maker’s point of view, made some questions, games and activities to facilitate audience (other learners). For example, what formal language was used in the video?  I believe this way students understand or experience what their teachers are trying to show them. Instead of teaching students what to think, we teach them how to think through watching and making live moving pictures.

site posting test

Here is the listening exercise

Blogging is a Personalized Learning Tool

It was interesting to discover the many advantages of blogging from Shelley Wright. As a 'digital immigrant', I was always afraid of learning new technology. I always agreed that technology can help me in teaching and learning; however, I did not realize the real meaning of learning and using it. Just like a student, I did not have the motivation to learn, I knew it is good for me because my teacher told me so, but I didn't know why it is good for me.  Until Shelley Wright persuaded me in her blog post Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay. First of all, I was lucky to learn the reason why students don't know how to write a thesis statement. A good thesis statement requires independent thoughts. Without the ability to think and reflect what they have learned independently, students cannot argue the pros and cons of an issue in their essays. Secondly, since blog paragraphs are shorter and free, students are more willing to express their ideas and opinions freely. Take free writing activity for example. I like to allow my students sometime to do free writing exercise to generate their ideas. It is a way to welcome their unique thoughts instead of scaring their creativities away with rules like grammar, spelling and transitional words. Third, Wright mentioned that "blogging requires a different voice... and the voice used in blogging needs to be rich, sharp and distinct, to gain an audience". This is exactly what we need in order to write a great thesis statement. Wright's blog post also reminded me of the BC Education Plan---Personalized learning which caught my attention at the very beginning. I have visited the BC Education Plan website and have done a lot of research about personalized learning and how to practice personalized teaching but I found nothing practical. Luckily, I read this post and found this is what they called personalized learning. Oftentimes we have to jump out of the box or think out of the box to get our answers. Similarly, in order to train our students to be better academic writers, we have to train them to be greater thinkers. Furthermore, in order to train greater thinkers, we prepare them with a life-long skill--- blogging. I am excited about creating my very first blog. I am going to practice and prepare myself to share blogging with my students.