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Messages - Jiwah

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Vocabulary / Using Memrise Application
« on: May 02, 2017, 05:20:13 AM »
Memrise is a computer/mobile vocabulary learning application that features thousand of courses representing over 200 languages. And this is completely free!

This is an excellent tool as it provides so much content that if you have students from various countries represented in a classroom, they can learn English vocabulary by taking a memrise mini-course through their first language. The application is also incredibly useful as it uses Spaced Repetition so that learners are constantly being reminded of previously learned vocab at a pace that allows them to store those word into their long term memory. Best of all, it is fun, unlike long vocab lists most teachers hand out to students. Pictures, translations, and words used in sentences are all available in these courses and students can save words they want to continue practicing or even use the flashcard feature to create their own lists.

This flashcard feature is very useful for teachers since they can import all of their lesson's vocabulary and have students go online and make it a fun game rather than rote memorization from a book's list or ws. 

Vocabulary / Battle Ship Vocabulary Game!
« on: May 02, 2017, 05:12:41 AM »
I recently had the privilege to observe another teacher use a battleship game in order to teach pronunciation. It was fun, effective, and was easy for students to understand with minimal learning curve.

The game itself can be adapted to vocabulary/synonyms as well without any issue. Here is what you do:

You print out battleship sheets such as this for example:

You then give a sheet to each student and they get into pairs.

Vertically on the sheet shows #'s and Horizontally shows Letters.

Assign a word to each #.

Now, to teach synonyms you will want to assign the words in the Letter row that have a corresponding synonym in the Vertical # column.

On each of the players sheets, there will be marks where the synonyms line up on the grid. Those marks you make are their ships.

If one student correctly matches a pair of synonyms than they have sunken a ship on their opponents grid.

Intensive Reading / Re: Intensively Reading a Song
« on: May 02, 2017, 04:59:29 AM »
Thanks for the insightful post!

I would say actually disagree that song lyrics do not contain as much content as a page of text. Maybe in terms of pure letters, but "content" in the sense that is important is the "quality" of that content. And depending on the song itself, the genre, and what you would like students to focus on, I think that song lyrics can definitely be turned into an intensive reading lesson.

However, I also think that if the idea is to teach students prescriptive and academic English than maybe a song by rapper Lil Wayne would not be the best choice in music. But if one of Lil Wayne's songs was chosen, then the goal of the class would just have to change. Instead of it being an intensive reading lesson on academic English, it could be an intensive reading lesson on informal language used to express a lot emotion.

Therefore, I think that many songs would be valid choices for an intensive reading lesson, but the song and the teacher's goals would ultimately determine what kind of intensive reading lesson would be taught.

Motivation / Re: Motivating Students At the Half-way Point
« on: May 02, 2017, 04:50:29 AM »
I think this is a great idea and I completely understand where you are coming from. Student fatigue is very real and you have definitely found some excellent ways to combat this all-too-common issue.

I have a suggestion for you, and ALL TEACHERS, pedagogically that I think you will be able to include into your future classes. Personally, as a teacher and student, being lectured at for more than 10-15 is difficult. 15 minutes may not seem long but if you are really paying attention to the teacher, that is plenty of heavy concentration for a long time.

Something that I learned from observing a fellow teacher is that MICRO-TASKS are an incredible way to break up entire lessons into a bunch of little organized chunks while keeping students engaged. In this observation, the teacher only lectured for 3-7 minutes at a maximum! So, instead of presenting multiple topics at the same time for 30 minutes and then having students complete a very large activity where they have to remember all the topics they just heard while still effectively using all of them correctly, they only have a 2-3 minute activity on one topic. This allows student to:

1. Have less to recall for the activity
2. Focus on only one task and master it
3. Have minimal lecture time with plenty of practice in order to stay engaged

As an Example of his lesson:

He taught how Introductions were structured. In the intro there is:

1. A Hook
2. Background Info
3. A Road Map for the Paper's Structure
4. A Thesis
5. Etc. if I missed anything.

Now instead of lecturing for 20 minutes on all 4 and then having students recall that, he had 3 mini-tasks, breaking apart all of that information into small chunks.

And what do you know? No one was asleep and it was and hour and a half lesson on fairly mundane material!

Motivation / Motivation Through Cultural Awareness
« on: May 02, 2017, 04:38:48 AM »
Hey Fellow Learners and Teachers Alike  :)

We are in a time where no matter where you are, there is a decent chance that you will meet and teach amazing individuals from all over the planet. Having mostly international friends myself, I can say that developing cultural awareness takes time and plenty of patience, but it is all to the benefit of your personal growth and teaching arsenal!

I have found that when I am teaching students from other countries, especially when you are just beginning to know the class, it can be an incredible experience from both parties to share their cultures. What I mean by this is instead of teaching article usage through examples of generic food, why ask students to talk about food from their home countries? Everyone loves food and whenever I ask my international students to talk about it, they instantly smile and begin reminiscing about their hometown and best memories. It really helps connect you, the student, and their passions into the classroom lesson.

This can be done on various levels. Activities such as above can be integrated into a lesson, open-ended questions on tests can ask students about their home-life, and peer work can be done where students learn about one another's cultures and how they compare.

If you, as a teacher, and even more simply as a person, show your student that you care about them on a deeper level, not just their understanding of class material, they will have much more respect for you, and be more motivated to succeed in the class. Students want to make themselves and their teachers proud of they feel like their own interests are valued. 

Motivation / Teaching Students as If You are a Student!
« on: May 02, 2017, 04:23:54 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I have had experience with individual tutoring and small group workshops and I have found an approach to instantly connect with students and keep them confident and motivated to continue learning.

Instantly establish yourself as a student. As they say, first impressions are extremely important, and for teaching that adage remains true. I have had many experiences where a teacher walks into a classroom and instantly takes away any of the excitement that I had for my first day of class. They would make themselves an authority figure, a stranger, and instill within you not a sense of calmness and trust, but fear.

Is that a teacher? Is authority so important that it should overcome a student's comfortability in the classroom and their ability to learn. Of course not. We as teachers are here to help a student succeed.

Of course this varies by situation, but the idea remains the same, and this kind of attitude can be used throughout the entire semester in order to connect with students and show them that you care and are not solely a judging authority figure that determines whether they pass or fail the class. So, below is a model of something similar that I do with my students:

"Hello, class, how are all of you guys doing today? My name is Jiwah and I am going to be your teacher this semester for this course. I want to make clear however that although I am your teacher, I, like all of you, am a student. I will make mistakes and I may ask you for feedback throughout the semester on how you feel like the course is going and what I can do to improve as an instructor. I am here to teach, but I am also here to learn from all of you so that I may become my best self. All I ask in return is that you give me your attention and respect, and I will do the same for you. I really look forward to getting to know you all throughout this course and I hope that we each can see how much we have grown come break!"

-So, it is lengthy and of course does not have to be so wordy if your style differs from mine. Regardless, I think that stepping down from a higher figure for a minute in order to make students comfortable is important for establishing trust and respect from students. As a student with incredible anxiety myself, I have found this teaching method to drastically improve my overall experience in any given course. A solid relationship between me and a professor really keeps me motivated, wanting to ask questions, and engage more in class.

Tell me what you guys think! Cheers!

Jiwah, Krystie, Frank

Pre-Reading Individual Questions:

-          Do you believe in Extraterrestrial Life?
-          What kind of conditions are needed to support basic life?
-          What is a star?
-          What is a solar system – What are key features within our own solar system?

Small Discussion Groups (3-4 people)
Get into groups and make predictions about how these questions might be addressed in the reading and whether or not you believe that your opinion could change based on your answers above and discussion. Also, discuss how findings on these topics are relevant to Earth’s future and research in the field.

Key Words

Telescope - a tool designed to make distant objects appear nearer.
Goldilocks Zone - Our planet occupies what scientists sometimes called the Goldilocks zone. Its distance from our star means it is neither too hot, nor too cold to support liquid water - thought to be a key ingredient for life. Astronomers are searching for rocky planets like ours in the Goldilocks zones of other stars.
Habitable Zone/World/Area – a place where life can develop and survive.

General Writing Resources / Reading and Writing Mini lesson - Text Talk!
« on: February 19, 2017, 06:51:45 PM »

Hello Fellow Teachers and Learners,

The topic of messaging registers is an important and often neglected aspect within Teaching English Reading and Writing. This is an issue as informal messaging registers used across online and mobile platforms are more relevant than ever, requiring students to understand its linguistic background and proper usage. In this Mini-Lesson, teachers are provided with the lesson plan and resources to teach their students how to properly message and when its informal nature can be utilized or avoided (Text, Twitter, FB, Etc.).

Here is a link of the lesson plan that my partner and I developed to teach a class.

Link to Lesson Plan -

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