Here’s a nice site full of games and other activities to help the beginning and intermediate ELLs enjoy learning English.  Check it out!

Time to Put Love into Action

This cartoon by GapingVoid reminds us that whether we are students or teachers, it’s time to put our love into action…love of learning, love of teaching, love of life, love of humanity.

Last Sunday, nine people were gunned down at the Sikh Temple about a mile down the street from my school in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  Six of those people have died. These were people who had come to the U.S. from India to improve their lives; they had come to school to learn English so that they could actively participate in American society and live their American dream.  But, some crazy, white supremacist decided to end their dreams and the dreams of their families (and his own) and take them down–children watching from the temple parking lot. Those children will never be the same.  Most of us will never be the same. ABC News

There is healing to do in the immigrant communities, in our cities, and in our country.  It is time to put our love into action. Our job teaching adult ESL is so much more than teaching words or language.  It is empowering the immigrants in this, their new world, to find their voices in learning, working, and raising families.  It’s loving and helping them learn to love and believe in themselves and in us Americans with all of our faults and failures.  This is no easy task given the volatile political climate these days in which we live.

So, as our ESL family reunites for our fall classes, our sense of security is shaken but our love of teaching and learning, and even more so, our love for our students and new found friends, remains strong.  We, the school community, will provide the security for the students to keep moving forward in their academic pursuits, and we will provide a  forum for them to use their English voices to ask the questions and express the concerns that are so heavily on their minds.

It’s time to go to work doing what we do best.  It’s time to show our students what we are made of, what most of our population is made of, and help them get on with their lives.  We learn to be watchful and wary but without living in fear.  We learn, we communicate, we battle the ignorance around us by educating ourselves and each other.  It’s time to put the love of our students, of humanity, into action.

Thank you to Hugh at GapingVoid for this cartoon.  
Their email address is: director@gapingvoidgallery.com

BBC’s “Motivating the Unmotivated” with Ken Wilson

This seminar, Motivating the Unmotivated,  presented by Ken Wilson, focuses on how to motivate even the most unmotivated and “tired” students in our classrooms.  The truth is Wilson does a fabulous job in this seminar of motivating and re-energizing us, the teachers.  His “ten ways to get our students to do something” could as easily be called ten ways to “re-ignite our teacher-pilot” and make the classroom more energetic and stimulating for our students and for ourselves.   Wilson’s  humor, experience, and ideas for creating a lively, safe, and effective learning environment for students of all ages and abilities should be a part of our professional development regardless of what point in our career we are at, new or “seasoned.”  Setting aside less than an hour or so to watch this seminar will be time well spent, I promise.

For more from Ken Wilson, visit Ken Wilson’s Blog.

Creative Learning by Steve Wheeler

Via Scoop.it – English Classroom

This slideshow was a part of an invited workshop presented on September 1, 2011 at Plymouth University as a part of the Your Idea, Our Health Conference. Thanks to Steve Wheeler  (@timbuckteeth) for sharing this with us.
Show original

10 Reasons Why I Blog

Why do I blog?

1)  I blog to reflect on what I’ve done with technology in my ESL classes.

2)  I blog to record what I need to remember the next time I try doing something similar.

3)  I blog to share with my colleagues across the country and the globe what has worked for me as well as what hasn’t.

4)  I blog to let those who are attempting to incorporate technology into their ESL classes know that we don’t have to be  technology whizzes or experts to use it; we just need to have the will and the determination to see it through and make it work.

5)  I blog to make my school colleagues aware that all of this doesn’t come as easily for me as they seem to think it does.  I spend a lot of time trying to learn about what is available and how to use it in ways that are beneficial for my students.  I also make a lot of mistakes as I’m starting.  If I can figure it out, they can, too.  It’s not a special talent; it’s a desire.

6)  I blog to let others know that there are ESL and IT teachers worldwide who are willing to answer our questions if we just send them a tweet!

7)  I blog to share with my friends and colleagues something important that I have learned about using technology in my classes; I’ve learned that asking my students a technology question or allowing them to come to my rescue from time to time is not a sign of weakness. Yes, I go to class prepared, and yes, I work out the glitches I’m aware of before getting in the classroom.  But, if something does go awry, and a student helps me out of my jam, allowing that student to shine is a wonderful thing, not a sign of weakness on my part.  Also, by my students recognizing that I believe in lifelong learning, risk-taking in my learning, and forgiving myself my mistakes, I hope I am teaching them something even more important than English.

8 )  I blog because I want my students to write, and I want them to teach their children to write and their grandchildren to write.  I want my students to know that what I ask them to do is important enough for me to do it as well.

9)  I blog to remind myself and others that we are not islands in this field.  There are always new ideas, new tools, and new challenges, and that by encouraging new and seasoned teachers to work together, sharing ideas, developing new methodologies, and improving our craft collectively, we make our profession stronger and our students, wherever they are, better prepared.

10)  So, why do I blog?  Surprisingly, because I have learned to love blogging!  It is as fun as it is challenging.  I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction when I complete a post.  It provides closure for me in one area of my teaching and learning, and allows me to go on to try something new.

So this is why I blog.  Why do you blog, or… why don’t you?

Using the Flip Cam

Well, here’s my first attempt at using the Flip Cam I bought myself last week as a present.   I decided to make a movie of my students!  I wish I could say I that I did it all in just a few minutes…but, I can’t.  Putting the movie together and adding background music was really pretty easy thanks to the Flip Cam software, but after waiting about 45 minutes for it to upload to our Facebook page, it was essentially rejected because it took forever to load.  Humpfff!  Then, I tried to upload it to Teacher Tube.  Again, after about 30 minutes, no luck, I assumed, because if its size.  So, I decided to edit it to make it shorter.  I realized that it was pretty long, but I just loved watching the students and didn’t want to delete anything, especially not the “bloopers”  which showed everyone’s personality, good sense of humor, and beautiful smile.  Once I had begrudgingly cut off about a minute and a half of the video, I still had trouble uploading it to Teacher Tube, so I decided to say the heck with it and go to YouTube, which was actually my first choice. I had originally decided against using YouTube as the platform for the video because I knew that students could not watch YouTube videos on the computers at school due to the large amount of bandwidth needed for that.

But, at last, it’s done and posted on our MATC ESL Facebook page for the students and here on this blog for you.  I learned a little about videoing and about not talking while videoing (yes, that’s me with the mid-western accent you’ll hear not so much in the background).  I also learned a little about editing using the Flip Cam software and more about uploading video to Facebook, Teacher Tube, and YouTube.  So, it really was a good day’s work.

I expect to continue to have a lot of fun with this camera, and I hope the students will, too.  I know they’ll enjoy seeing themselves and sharing the videos with their families and friends.  I’ll try to find creative ways to integrate more student videos in my classes, and I hope the students will also find ways to incorporate video in their class projects, specifically on their final projects on Glogster.  (See Profiles of Life and Learning on Glogster EDU.) Who knows what else we’ll come up with?  But, you can count on following our progress here on Web 2.0 for ESL!

Just a footnote:  I showed my classes the video today, and it was quite a hit!  Besides watching the students enjoy this learning event on video, I was especially happy to hear other students ask  the question, “What class was this in?”  I like my students to be happy learning and to feel good about spending what precious little time they have away from work and family, on campus.  And, yes, I have watched this video at least 100 times because it makes me happy as well.

A “Thriller” of a Halloween Listening Exercise for ESL

ESL students, this Halloween, enjoy Michael Jackson’s  “Thriller” on YouTube (above).  Then, do the cloze exercise on Google Docs Forms.  Use the tab key to move your cursor from question to question on the quiz.  Be sure to fill in all the required information indicated by the asterisk (*).  You will get a response indicating which answers you and other respondents got correct.  This exercise isn’t easy!  You may need to listen to the song several times before you’re sure you’ve understood the correct word.  But, don’t worry!  It’s all good practice!

Have a happy and thrilling Halloween everyone!

Teachers, one of the issues I've had with Google Docs Forms is
that the spreadsheet created in Google Docs as an answer sheet
does not keep up with the reorganization of test questions
often done during editing.  It neither eliminates a question
you may have omitted from the quiz, nor does it move questions
to different columns following the order you decide on in the
quiz. It also doesn't allow you to cut and paste the columns
yourself.  This means that the answers are not necessarily
on the spreadsheet in the same order as are the respective
questions on the form you've created. Fortunately, the
answers submitted do go in the correct column so it isn't
a terribly serious issue.  It makes checking the answers
a bit more clumsy, however. The next time I use Google Docs
Forms, I'll plan on doing all editing on a Google Document
prior to making the Form. Once I am sure of the order I
want my questions in, I will then transfer them to a form
and avoid "confusing the spreadsheet!"

A reminder that WordPress.com does not yet allow a Google
Docs Form to be embedded.

For more links regarding Google Docs Forms, click on
A great movie trailer for Halloween, “The Others,” with comprehension quiz on Google Doc Forms!