Academic reading text: How do you measure happiness?

Today’s resource is a series of activities focusing on the development of academic reading skills.

It is suitable for students at CEF level B2. Included are vocabulary tasks based on the Academic Word List, as well as tasks that aim to develop reading subskills. Also included is a task looking at how to use ‘whereas’.

measuring happiness

You can download this resource (complete with answer key) by clicking here.

Reading text: Is the moon for sale?

Today’s resource is a short reading text about buying and selling land on the moon and in outer space. It is roughly suitable for learners at CEFRL A2 level.

There are a variety of accompanying tasks, including vocabulary development, gap fill, comprehension questions and sequencing.

is the moon for sale

You can download this resource by clicking here.

Crossword for revising ‘friends’ and ‘family’ vocabulary

Here is a crossword puzzle for revising commonly used ‘friends’ and ‘family’ vocabulary. This is probably most appropriate for use after these items have been taught, as a way of checking understanding.

This is a fairly straight forward activity that might make for a nice motivating way to round off a lesson.

friends and family crossword

You can download this handout by clicking here.

Handout for teaching ‘enjoy doing’ and ‘enjoy myself’

Here is a handout for teaching the grammatical structures that are commonly used with the verb ‘to enjoy’. In particular, it looks at 1. enjoy + -ing verb (e.g. I enjoy surfing the Internet) and 2. enjoy + reflexive pronoun (e.g. I enjoyed myself in Bali last summer).

There are prompts that require your students to complete sentences using given nouns and pronouns, as well as a freer exercise in which they write about their own experiences.

enjoy worksheet

You can download this handout by clicking here.

Speak Talk Chat

There’s a new language practice site at SpeakTalkChat.com which links people to chat about their shared interests through their target languages.

At present, more than 30 languages and 101 interests are available. The site is completely free.

The site’s philosophy is that one way to move our languages forward is to
chat with language peers about shared commonalities. Currently, there are five registration categories including two for teenagers. There’s also an adolescent protection functionality which basically links the information about the account to an adult/guardian email and encourages participation of parents/guardians in their teenagers language learning and internet use.

5 reasons to use Prezi in class

Prezi – and PowerPoint and other such slide show presentation software – offers an effective approach to both student work and classroom instruction.

By teaching learners to use such programs and allowing them produce and submit work completed with them, we are effectively preparing them for the world in which they will work as adults. Using Prezi, PowerPoint and slide shows to teach brings other benefits, too. Here are five obvious benefits to using such software in class:

1. Interaction and engagement

Prezi grabs and maintains learners’ attention through its ability to integrate video, graphics and music. Because contemporary learners are so technologically advanced, tools that involve technology such as slide shows enable us increase their involvement and interaction.

2. The ability to take advantage of up-to-the-minute media sources

The Internet provides current events coverage and the latest information on an enormous number of topics. Slide show tools allow you to incorporate text, video, audio and photos from the web easily, allowing us to share the most up to date information using media that engages learners.

3. Integration of Multiple Sources

Using Prezi we can integrate multiple sources in our classroom presentations. For instance, you easily can incorporate photos of student work, video clips from a field trip, related content from news sources or even the latest research into a single presentation.

Floralis Genérica

‘Floralis Genérica’ by @pysproblem81 from #ELTPics

4. Continued availability of instruction materials

Rather than handing absentee learners written notes of a lesson they missed, you can replay your lesson or presentation using Prezi. Absent students receive a fair approximation of the same instruction as those who are present, so they do not fall behind.

5. Fostering cooperation and collaboration

Teachers can share lessons and presentations simply using the Prezi website. Teachers can even share the workload of creating presentations by making them collaboratively. Furthermore, a learner seeing more than one teacher’s presentations is exposed to more than one approach or teaching style.

Interested?

My good friend Hakan Şentürk has a fabulous series of blog posts looking at how to start using Prezi. Click here for part one of the series.

The role of technology in an educational syllabus

As our technological world continues to grow and expand so too do our uses of that technology. Cloud computing and mobile technology have greatly impacted the way in which we interact with technology in our everyday lives.

Academia is one area that both mobile and cloud technology have influenced greatly in the past several years. Where at one point cell phones in the classroom were considered purely a nuisance and distraction, today have become tools for learning and engagement in the primary classroom. Likewise, while at one time the digital classroom was frowned upon and considered lesser to the traditional one, today online education and online learning are praised by some of the greatest minds in academia.

Because technology is such a central element to our society as a whole and our progression as a global community, technology must also play an important role in our educational system today. By integrating things like social media, cloud computing, online communication, and other forms of educational technology, our students can learn more comfortably and effectively in the classroom today. Consider the role technology plays in the academic world today for both students and teachers:

1. Easier Access to Knowledge

Possibly the largest and certainly the most obvious advantage of utilizing technology within the classroom is the immediate access to a wealth of knowledge online. Finding ways to utilize online resources and tools within an academic curriculum can really liven up a classroom and stimulate learning.

While studying textbooks and classroom material will always be important, there is such a wealth of knowledge and information online, that not utilizing it is truly a waste. Teachers and administrators can find ways to incorporate web searches, online resources, and educational tools to energize their classroom and expose their students to the fullness and richness of the online world.

A gift from a student

‘A gift from a student’ by Georgia Psarra from #ELTPics

2. The Idea of the Flipped Classroom

The flipped classroom has become one of the shining examples of the use of technology in the classroom and curriculum. In a flipped classroom, students watch video lectures online at home as homework and complete assignments and “homework” at school during the day with their teacher there to assist them.

This restructured classroom facilitates learning in many different ways. Students are able to take in the lecture information on their own time, in their own way, and at their own pace. Because it is a video lecture, students can pause and rewind when they get confused and can fast forward through areas they already understand. This helps students better understand the material and keeps them more carefully engaged. Teachers are then able to utilize class time to actually help students use the material in assignments. Rather than sending kids home with homework and no one to help them with it, the flipped classroom allows teachers to offer help on work when it is immediately needed. While this structure can be a drastic change for many schools and teachers, even just adapting small aspects of the flipped classroom by integrating video learning opportunities can be beneficial.

3. Material Becomes Relevant and Familiar

Technology is a huge element of the youth generation’s lives today. Almost every student in the classroom today spends time on social media, social networking, on their smart phones, on the internet at home, and so much more. For this reason alone, it makes significant sense to integrate the familiar world of technology into students’ learning world.

By incorporating social media, online communication techniques, and other technological aspects into the academic world and classroom, students can feel more at-home in their schools and with their learning materials. Students respond better to material when it feels familiar and relevant to them. By integrating technology like forum discussions, video lecturing, online research, social media based class discussion, students recognize the worth of the subject at hand more readily.

Ideas and resources for Halloween teaching

Halloween offers an enormous opportunity for teachers to use their creativity for teaching ideas with a Halloween theme. Reading projects, fun Halloween alphabets, colouring pages and story writing activities all provide teachers with inspiring ways to teach while celebrating the holiday. Here are some Choose activities that are designed for your classroom’s age level and curriculum goals.

Halloween Reading Worksheets

Halloween reading worksheets are often freely available from teacher sharing websites. Look in particular for reading worksheets that offer editing skills, spelling crossword puzzles, word search puzzles and riddle solving tasks. Halloween editing worksheets often require learners to read a Halloween-themed story and then test comprehension on the story. Although this may be similar to what you do with reading normally, the special theme will provide extra motivation.

A repentant devil

‘A repentant devil’ by @aClilToClimb on ELTPics

Halloween colouring pages

With young learners Halloween-themed coloring pages can be a valuable way to reinforce letter recognition and word recognition. We can assign Halloween coloring pages as extra enjoyable activities after reading tasks or handwriting practice are complete. We can then use the pages to decorate your classroom or the hallway for the holiday. Halloween coloring pages are downloadable and free on many teacher websites.

Halloween Story Pages

You can use printable Halloween story pages and get learners to finish a silly Halloween story. Printable Halloween story pages come with fill-in-the-blank Halloween vocabulary or Halloween stories that aren’t finished. Learners can finish the stories for homework or as a class during the lessons. Learners can write the finished product on the board or on post-it notes that can then be posted somewhere in the classroom for each other to read and enjoy.

Resources

  • ABC Teach has a huge range of freely downloadable young learner worksheets, quizzes, colouring pages, word searches, etc.
  • Super teacher worksheets have loads of resources available to members, although there are some free downloads, too.
  • Scholastic offers a ‘Halloween Pack’ of ideas and resources and stories.

Three different perspectives on contemporary ELT classrooms

In the latest edition of the iTDi Blog, Vicky Loras, Chuck Sandy and I offer three different perspectives on classrooms. In my post I examine the best ways to set up a classroom to make the most of different activity types, Vicky looks at the elements that make up an excellent teaching environment, and Chuck takes us outside traditional classrooms and has us look at how we need to support teachers working in all the places teachers work.

iTDi’s latest blog series on classrooms

Please take a look at our three different perspectives on classrooms.

Tech Trends in Higher Education

Tech is now commonplace in higher education as it is in everyday life. There are a number of trends that are becoming evident which we should be taking note of, however. Technology is more often than not used to compliment and/or facilitate already established learning objectives and curricula. This notwithstanding, the knowledge required to manage and use the technology means it is now an area of education that requires its own study. Here are three considerations…

1. In-class Tech

Tech is now frequently used in every imaginable subject in all major hubs for higher education, such as the best Arizona colleges. We can see computers, word processing systems and the Internet utilized all the time and in a variety of contexts. Learners conduct research online or through digital encyclopedias. They deliver Presentations with PowerPoint or other such software programs.

Our role?

We have to ensure that our learners have the knowledge to be able to use these tools and provide them with information on how to work with smart boards, presentation software and other tech tools.

2. Video and Audio Tech

Among the fastest-growing technology trends in schools these days is the use of software designed to produce video and audio content. The utilization of webcams, video and audio recording software is becoming extremely commonplace.

Our role?

Given that learners now take part in video and audio projects, as well as and share projects online, we need to train them – and ourselves – how to use such resources.

Headset

‘Headset’ by @carlaarena from ELTPics

3. Keyboard skills

Generation Y learners are characterized as much by any other factor as that of their desire to type things. Almost every tech gadget they use revolves around the keyboard, be it search engines to smart phones. There all require the good typing skills.

Our role?

Our contemporary higher education learners have been using tech and keyboards since their kindergarten days, but we should nevertheless not assume that they are equally happy writing in what we would consider the conventional ‘pen and paper’ way. Where possible, we should look for classroom situations where we can utilize their keyboard skills.

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