A St. Patrick’s Day Brief History and Celebration Video and Quiz

St. Patrick`s Day is such an important holiday here in the greater Milwaukee area, that it is important to talk to our students about the celebration, its history, and its relevance to our culture here. To do that, I like to present The History Channel’s three-minute video, “Deconstructing History: Ireland” with its very brief history of the holiday and country of origin, Ireland.

Prior to having students watch the video, it is valuable to go over the vocabulary and geography referred to in the movie. Terms such as northern, southern, eastern, western, island, mile (compared to kilometer), square miles, width, length, rainfall, and provinces. It may also be good to explain the difference between northern Ireland and Northern Ireland. Students should know something about the Great Potato Famine and how it affected Ireland and the United States. My city, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was long known as the Beer Capital of the World, so students here should definitely know what a brewery is. (A tour of a local brewery for adult students would be appropriate!)

After presenting the vocabulary, students will need to watch the video a minimum of twice before attempting to answer the questions in the Google Form below. How many times students may return to the video for answers would depend on how this is assigned. The “quiz” may be done together as a class to generate conversation or as a group or individual assignment. Points are assigned to each question should instructors choose to use this “quiz” for a grade.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!

May the luck

Teachers’ Weekly Self-Assessment Guide

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 6.35.02 PMVia Twitter, Facebook, and Skype, Act 2 Educational Consultants LLC asked experienced teachers around the world what they would advise new teachers to include on their weekly to-do list. This certainly wasn’t meant to give those new teachers more work, but was meant rather to help lighten their loads and increase their effectiveness as educators by borrowing from the valuable experiences of their senior, global colleagues.

We are fortunate to have received twenty-five responses so far, and the poll is still open for others to add their thoughts. The suggestions deal with academics as well as with relationship building and avoiding teacher burnout.

I am happy to pass these suggestions on to you in hopes that you will share them with your colleagues, both new and seasoned. These suggestions can benefit all teachers, and, in turn, their administrators, and their students.

Do you have an idea that has helped you be more successful in the classroom?

An ESL Listening Activity: Black Holes


Black Holes Part 1            Black Holes Part 2

(To run this presentation, you will need PowerPoint as well as Poll Everywhere, which has a free version, installed on your device.  (This does not play, however, on PCs. I am currently trying to figure that out!)

This is an interactive listening activity for intermediate to high-level English language learners who are interested in learning more about science and black holes and who appreciate the opportunity to listen to native English speakers talking at their normal pace. This two-part lesson utilizes the YouTube video, Black Holes for Beginners by Gleanix, which I edited into segments, each with a follow-up question based on the content of that segment. The free version of Poll Everywhere is used as the medium for student interaction and assessment.

An ESL Listening Activity: Black Holes can be used in the face-to-face or blended classroom as well as online. Students may be polled anonymously in a group or individually to get an overview of their understanding of the material presented. Students are able to respond to the questions on their cell phones, tablets, or computers, and they can see the group’s responses immediately for further discussion.

Because of my familiarity with PowerPoint for Windows and my new Mac, I chose PowerPoint for Mac as my lesson’s platform, which also requires the use of PowerPoint Presenter App for Mac, a free download. I understand that the apps I have used lend themselves equally well to Keynote although I have not experimented with that program yet since I am a new Mac user.

This lesson is divided into two parts only because of file size. It is meant to be covered in one class period.

black hole trivia



‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore


Twas the Night Before Christmas

45 Powerful Tools To Create Polls and Quizzes in the Classroom from @edudemic

A Listening Activity – Let it Go! from Disney’s Frozen

Frozen just won the Academy Awards for the best animated film of the year and the best song! Woohoo! Congratulations!

Weekly Performance Rubric for Adult ESL Students

Though this rubric is written for a level six adult ESL class, it can easily be revised for other levels or subjects. There have been a lot of hits on this post, and I hope some of you are using or planning to use the rubric for your classes. Have you modified it? Would you share your ideas and modifications with me?

Web 2.0 for ESL

It is not uncommon for me to use rubrics to evaluate student projects.  But, as we’ve become increasingly concerned about our environment and our budgets, I’ve made every effort to run my class paperlessly by using technology.  Putting more online has also helped me and the students stay better organized and on task.  So, it was time to update my rubrics from paper to digital.

I was looking for an online rubric template which would eliminate paper, total scores, allow for easy modifications, and provide me with a duplicate of the individual rubric given to each student.  What I found was right in front of me on Blackboard, the course management system used by my college.  In addition to all of the above, Blackboard automatically sends a copy of the rubric score into the grade book, and even has space for individual feedback.

My plan is to use the rubric to evaluate the students’ weekly performance.  I…

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