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Messages - kwingo

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Introductions / Classification Essay introductions worksheet
« on: October 21, 2015, 10:24:10 AM »
In this worksheet, students will see and talk about introductions to four classification essays. The first two are example essays made for learners, the third is a more literary essay, and the final one is a science essay, so there is some variety and "realism" to the examples.

I used this while teaching classification essays because they clearly show the overall topic that will be discussed, as well as the three things/categories that will be classified. But it could be adapted to a general "introduction" lesson.

This is a writing worksheet I made to practice using connectors/compare-contrast words ("however," "although," "similarly," etc.).

Students compare two products that are (hopefully!) interesting to them.


Feedback--Peer Review / Peer review using teams
« on: May 06, 2015, 03:40:52 PM »
Very cool idea I found here:

Basically, students work in teams to correct an essay. Each student in a team is in charge of something different. In this article, the jobs are:
  • [size=78%]Master Mechanic[/size]
  • [/size][size=78%]Word Master[/size]
  • [/size][size=78%]Grammar Chief[/size]
  • [/size][size=78%]Proofreading Professional[/size]
These jobs could be modified based on your class, but I liked this division of labor. It also helps students focus both when they're giving and receiving feedback. If a student is just looking for grammar mistakes, they will do a better job. Likewise, the original writer can focus just on that aspect.
Overall, I think this strategy could lead to more confidence in the peer reviewers, as well as better critiques in general.

Beginning Readers / practicing pronunciation through reading
« on: March 05, 2015, 03:22:54 PM »
This is an activity that I created for my pronunciation class. We were working on the three sounds -ed endings: /d/, /t/, and /ed/, as well as theta and eth.
Students had to record themselves reading this paragraph aloud. It is loaded with different -ed endings and several words with theta and eth.

It's a continuous story rather than a series of disconnected sentences, like several pronunciation exercises are. The advantages to this are that students can follow a story as they read. They can also see how the small phonemes we are working on fit into a larger context. Also, reading aloud can give students reading and speaking fluency.


A subsurface ocean?? Ice volcanoes??? Gasses seeping from the interior???? (hehe)

Ceres is a pretty interesting place - and scientists are not done finding out about it!

What kind of planet would you like to discover?

You are going to write a short article (like the one we just read) on a recently discovered planet. Here is what you need to include:
  • Name of the planet
  • Features of the planet (where it is, how big it is, what it contains, what it looks like, etc.)
  • What scientists have discovered about the planet
  • What scientists are still searching for on the planet
  • Hypotheses about the planet from scientists

Creative Writing / Re: Five-minute Writing Storms
« on: February 23, 2015, 07:02:14 PM »
Really interesting idea! Students might sometimes write less because they want to make sure that what they write is "perfect." This activity takes the pressure to be perfect off. It will give students tons of consistent, meaningful practice with writing, but wouldn't be stressful since it's short and they do it everyday.

I wonder if this could be used at lower levels. Beginners often can't write a whole lot because they don't have the vocabulary. But if they were challenged every day to write at least a few sentences, this would give them more confidence and would help solidify what they've already learned in their minds. A good challenge for those beginning classes could be to make personal "records" for word count, sentences, verbs/adjectives/nouns used, etc. That way they could see progress as the semester goes on.

Reading Activites (during reading) / teaching vocabulary through reading
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:55:51 PM »
This is an example activity I created and used (actually with a middle-school aged native English speaker - so the vocabulary is quite high) to teach vocabulary.
First you let the student try to match as many vocabulary words as they know. Then you let them read the vocabulary in the passage and see if they can get any more. The point of the exercise is to get students to use the context around the vocabulary word to figure out it's meaning. This strategy can give students the ability and confidence to read passages that have several difficult words in it.
This activity is probably for intermediate or advanced learners of English. It will be very difficult for beginners because of their overall lack of vocabulary.

The activity is attached and the reading material is here:

General Reading Links / lots of graded reading comprehension passages
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:44:28 PM »
I'm always looking for materials for the students I tutor in the SSAT (standardized test to get into high schools) and I used materials from this website a lot:

The readings are pretty short on average, but there are longer and shorter, as well as easier and more difficult ones by level. These could definitely be used in ESL reading classes.

Some of the questions could be modified by the instructor based on the needs of the students. There is sometimes a lack of higher-order thinking questions; many questions just ask for details from the story.

Still, if you're just looking for reading content for a specific level, this website is organized very well, by level and by topic (short story, informational, technical, etc.). If you're in a pinch for material, you should be able to find something to fit what you need!

General Writing Resources / plotting plots
« on: February 05, 2015, 03:16:48 PM »
This is an interesting article about a man who tracks a novel's plot in terms of how well or poorly the main character is doing in the novel:
It would be interesting to have students do the same thing with a book that they're reading in class: once they finish reading (or during), they could draw a line representing how well or poorly the main character does.
Also, as a writing activity, a line could be drawn arbitrarily and then a student has to write a story that follows that line.

Hi guys,
I agree with the points you both have made. What the textbook is saying is that learners from different languages will have different problems or issues, but not necessarily that we need to tailor individual instruction to fit those differences exactly.
Awareness-raising, like Elaine mentioned, is a key point. Once you know the makeup of your class, you can pick and choose what your students will need, both as a whole and individually, and what they will probably already know. It will be different every time, even among learners from the same first language!

When we're creating materials, we should consider the font as well as the content. I sometimes whip up simple worksheets right before class using the Word standard Calibri 11pt font - but is that a good choice?
For printed materials, maybe not. It's a sans-serif, which the website below recommends to be used for the web rather than printed materials (although low-level ESL learners might prefer simpler letters).
Check out this cool, informative graphics about serifs versus sans-serifs:

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