Monday, November 17, 2014

Create Your Own Comic!

For this lesson I used a comic strip generator called Strip Generator. You see a lot of popular graphic novels are now used in ESL classrooms so I thought this website was pretty neat. The comic strip I generated was of a girl walking into her classroom in the morning. This is a situation students encounter daily and it encourages them to practice greetings, making requests, and so on. 
Students are acting as the character Wenchun when creating dialog. They must read the question or response from the teacher in order to ask an an appropriate question or give a relevant response. For example, below I have the teacher saying "Good morning, Wenchun. I'm great, thank you". The student would have to figure out what they would say to the teacher in order to get that response, such as "Good morning Miss Brown, how are you today?". An incorrect answer would be if the student does not at all acknowledge the teachers response and says something like "It's raining outside". This would help the student practice greetings.
Secondly, you see the teacher saying "Your hair looks very nice today". Students would have to come up with an appropriate comment back such as "Thank you, I got a hair cut this weekend" or "That is very nice of you to say. I like your hair as well".
By students doing this they would fulfill performance indicator ESL4.I.1I: Students use appropriate vocabulary, expressions, language, routines, and interaction styles for various audiences and formal and informal social or school situations, noticing how intention is realized through language.
Students would access the whole comic here and complete all of the dialog for Wenchun in the box or on a separate sheet of paper if needed. This would be gone over as a class and collected by the teacher.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Today I explored a photo series website called Animoto. I chose to put a series of photos together that are all common idioms in English. Students would watch this video where the would see a picture along with text. Students will look at the photo along with the text and guess the meaning of the idiom. This fulfills performance indicator ESL5.I.1A: Students demonstrate an understanding of cultural and language patterns and norms in American English, including regional and social varieties of English.

At home, students will label a sheet of paper 1 - 7 skipping lines between each number. Due to the fact that the video could only be 30 seconds, the images and words go by quickly. Since the students are doing this on their own, they have the ability to stop the video when needed. Doing this gives them the chance to stop on each word, write the word and look at the picture. On the first line the student will write the idiom and below the student will make a guess as to what the idiom means. The following day when students come in, we will watch the video as a whole. For each word the teacher will pause the video and the students will share their answers. At the end, the students will hand in their papers for me to assess their original guesses along with any modifications they made.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Change of Languages

I created a TedEd lesson titled: The Evolution of Language where students would watch the 4 minute video then answer a few questions on comprehension then relate the information they have learned to their life. By doing this activity students would address 1 standard and 2 performance indicators:

Standard: ESL 1 Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding.
Performance Indicator ESL.1.C.1A: Students identify and use reading and listening strategies to make text comprehensible and meaningful.
Performance Indicator ESL1.C.1C: Students select information appropriate to the purpose of the investigation with suitable supporting material.

Students language objectives will be to compare and contrast features from their native language and English in a piece of writing.
I would assess this by reading their discussion posts and determining if they have wrote similarities and differences between their native language and English. For example, "Chinese and English are different because in Chinese I do not use plurals.In English I am talking about more than one of something I put an  -s on the end". 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Let's Get Flipped

I just read two interesting pieces on flipped classrooms: Why It's Time To Rethink Homework and Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms. Although flipping a classroom seems interesting I can't say I'm completely convinced!

A flipped classroom is basically where the students learn the content outside of the classroom and then when they come to class they ask questions and then partake in activities to reinforce what was learned outside of class. 
I'm still weary for a few reasons, one being that I think it makes it difficult to differentiate instruction for students. Depending on the language level of your students flipping could be very difficult if you're not there to help them with vocabulary. You are also not there to guide those students who may need a bit more assistance when learning something new. I also am a bit concerned about what happens when students DO NOT go home and watch the required video or complete the required readings. This would cause students to fall behind very quickly.If students did attempt to look at new content and had difficulty understanding, I think it could be very discouraging when coming to class and trying to partake in the activity.
I think in order to flip a classroom you would need dedication from your students. I could see myself flipping my classroom occasionally. For example, in my previous post I used a clip about immediate family which introduces the terms: mother, father, siblings, brother, and sister. I think going over this in class to make sure students know what family is, then going home and watching other parts of the video which go over terms: grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc would be beneficial. I think it would be important to give your students a strong background before sending them home to learn more.

Tube Chop

Have you ever wanted to show just a piece of a video to your class? As a teacher I always run into the problem that I'd like to show my class a clip from a whole video but clicking through to figure out where it starts is very time consuming. Well, I'm here to save the day and tell you about Tube Chop. Tube chop gives you the chance to put in your YouTube link and shorten the video to only the content you want to be seem.

I played around with Tube Chop and decided to use a video for ESL students on Immediate Family. For this lesson I would have students watch this video and then create their own family tree of just their immediate family. I know in some cultures it is inappropriate to ask questions about someones mother. Therefore if you have a student in your class who is not able to discuss information about their mother, have this student talk more in detail about their siblings. Students should be able to state who is in their immediate family and refer to their brothers and sisters as siblings. They should also be able to share a sentence about each member of their family. When referring to their siblings they should also use the terms we heard in the video "elder" and "younger" when giving information about them. First this will be done orally in class as a whole, then each student will write it in a sentence with assistance from the teacher if needed. The teacher would be able to assess the students use of the immediate family vocabulary by the sentences they provide. For example, if the student says "My younger sibling works as a nurse in a hospital". If the student young you can assume that this information is incorrect. The teacher should look for an answer along the lines of "My younger sibling is in 3rd grade".

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Garbage Dreams

Hello everyone!
This week I am further exploring gamification, but this time I am focusing on serious games. The game I chose to play is called The Garbage Dreams Recycling Game and I played the game about 8 times (it's kind of addicting once you get started). This game is based on a documentary titled Garbage Dreams that shows you an inside view on Egypt's garbage people. This game lets you play the role of a recycler. Your goal is to recycle as much as possible while also building your recycling empire without running out of money

The picture above is the map you have when you begin. As you can see there is a map with different places and names on them. Also on the side bar you can see there are types of recyclables. 
Below is a photo of what it looks like when you sort your garbage and have to place it in the correct recycling bin. Therefore, you need to know which items fall under which recycling category. It's important to know which piece of garbage it supposed to be put where because for each item you put in the wrong place you lose money! 
Before playing I would have students go through the website and copy down any words that they think would be important to know. I would have a list of my own as well in case they miss a few that I believe are important. 
For students that are beginner to intermediate learners I could focus strictly on vocabulary for this game. So my language learning objective for them would be:
  • Student will be able to identify each recycling category (organics, paper, tin, glass, plastics, aluminum) and know acceptable items that can be put in each category. 
How I would have students do this would be by using a picture sort. I would provide roughly 20 photos or actual items (if my classroom allowed it) and have them tell me which category each item belongs in and why. For example, a magazine belongs in the paper category because it is made of paper. A soda can does not belong in organics because it is not safe for an animal to eat. 

For more advanced students I would have them create a summary of the game. They may already know a lot of the recycling vocabulary therefore the can use these words and don't need to be taught the terms from scratch. My language learning objective would be:

  • Student will be able to use recycling vocabulary to write a narrative of The Garbage Dreams Recycling Game.
Students will need to create a clear piece of writing narrating what the game is about and how to play. Students will need to use vocabulary and correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. 

I chose this game because I think it's a very important topic that can be used or seen across countries. It allows students to understand that their actions can make a difference in the world. It also teaches them how to be more environmentally friendly.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Escape the Room

Today I explored the world of Escaping the Room Games! If you're not familiar with what escaping the room games are, I'll give you a brief overview. It's an online game where you can point and click to explore a world of your choice. You are trying to complete a task for your character by reading the pop ups directing you what to do. 
I tried a few games but my favorite was Griswold the Goblin who is on a quest to fix his television. He 's just a a dopey little guy who lives in a cave. I probably played this game for about an hour! I thought this would be an interesting game to use in an ESL classroom.
The great thing about this game is that some directions come only written, while others are given orally and in writing. I think depending on student level this game could be used in a variety of ways. 
For example, with intermediate learners I think it could be beneficial as a whole class to introduce the game. The game would be brought up on the overhead and one student would navigate while the other students in the class worked together with where Griswold should go and what he should do. The teacher can prompt the students if they seem to get stuck or clarify any words they don't understand. 

Whats nice about this game is that in the bottom left hand corner of the screen are Griswold's capabilities. One is walking, the eyeball is for him looking at something more closely, the hand is for touching and him being able to move things around, and the mouth is for him to talk. This could be something that you have the students write about. This would be a simple introduction to how to play the game, but also have them begin developing vocabulary and using descriptive words. An ongoing activity throughout the game could be to find descriptive words to describe what they see or keep a running list of words that they're unsure of. Later on, students could work together to develop a word wall of all the vocabulary associated with the game. Eventually I would have students work in pairs to play the game. As their language skills developed I would establish checkpoints for where they should go up to in the game. Then I would have them narrate Griswold's adventures for that day. They should be able to write about any new characters he met, where he went, what it looked like, or anything else that gives insight to what they did in the game that day. 
The role of he teacher would be a helper. The teacher should monitor student work and answer questions. I also think to verify that the students know what they're supposed to be doing. In order for students to meet the learning objectives they must actually play the game and complete a piece of writing that goes alongside with playing the game.
This is a cute game worth checking out. It's a way for students to practice reading, writing, and listening while having some hands on experiences.