A Happy New Year with Sites to Share!

After somewhat of a hiatus from blogging, I’ll begin this year by recommending a few good sites to get us off to a good start this semester with some new and proven ideas. On the ESL Resources page of this blog, you’ll find listed 2010 Year in Review from CNN. What a great way to start off our some conversation with our intermediate/advanced ELLs this semester. Before watching the video, ask the students to brainstorm what they remember as newsworthy events from the past year. (You may need to help them get started…)  Then, after watching the video, get their reactions to what they had not mentioned and why they think those events were or were not critical to our country or world.  (This could also be done online using a Google Doc Form!)  

The Year in Rap: 2010 is another site to review the year with your high intermediate/advanced students.  Reviewing some critical vocabulary before watching the videos will be helpful with their understanding of the rap.  The first viewing is usually a blur, the second one, less foggy, the third is amazingly intelligible!

50 Brain Facts Every Educator Should Know by Pamela Brown will give you a lot of brain trivia, but it also offers you ideas for teaching to different parts of your students’ brains.  I’m sure you’ll say, “hmm…I didn’t know that,” several times, and, “well, I thought so” a few times as well.

You say you want to add more technology to your teaching?  These next few sites will help you with that.

44 Interesting Ways to Use Your Pocket Video Camera in the Classroom by @tombarrett (no, not our current mayor) was a great find for me because I just recently purchased a flip cam and have already started having fun using it and my students.  This site offers great suggestions for use with all levels of ELL students such as producing a video of a school tour with language appropriate explanations to beginning students.  Field trips can be video taped and narrated or captioned by intermediate students.   I like the idea of Digital Chicken Soup for absent students which could include classmates simply saying “We miss you.”  These student videos could go so far as to having students present explanations of missed lessons.  Of course, speech presentations can be videotaped.   I particularly like the idea of videotaping students’ demonstration speeches and posting the videos to a class blog.   What fun!

Our college is really pinching pennies these days as are most schools, so one way we’re trying to economize is by thinking green (ecology and economy) and minimizing our use of paper.  57 Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom also put together by Tom Barrett  doesn’t only help us cut our spending, it gives us creative ideas for working with our students, working within our faculty, working on bookkeeping and record keeping chores.   It even includes sample forms and blog articles with expanded explanations on how ideas are carried out, and more!   I plan to try to incorporate the Exit Ticket into my classes.  This was just a thought I had prior to finding this link, but seeing how another teacher has set it up already online will be very helpful to me in expediting this task.  The ideas presented here also give us plenty of reasons for continuing to blog and/or set up a class blog for our students.

The Best Reference Websites for English Language Learners compiled by @Larryferlazzo will help your students learn to develop their English language skills through the use of free online tools to improve their pronunciation, spelling, and understanding of meaning. There are sites that will help them discover and learn world facts, facts about our 50 states and about our cities and states.  Some ELL appropriate online encyclopedias and encyclopedia-like website are listed as well to satisfy and pique your students’ curiosity for learning.

Have a happy 2011 and a happy and productive year exploring new ideas and resources for your students.  If you like these resources,

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