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Messages - Cheyenne

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This is an article that discusses the approach of teaching rhetoric to students, how it has been applied in the ESL context, and gives some activity suggestions to help raise student's awareness of their native rhetoric style and how it different for anglo-american rhetoric.

Here are some activity suggestions given by the article:

  • Help students discover the arrangement of elements of an English essay through different activities. For example, ask students to put a scrambled essay back in the right order. Meanwhile, discuss the structure of an essay and ask why the genre in question demands such an organization. Or as another example, provide students with gap-filling exercises and ask them to choose the words or expressions that suit the register and voice dictated by the genre.

  • Encourage discussions about the genre of the writing task in hand (Rose, 2003). Ask what the purpose of writing the text is. Ask your students who will read the text. Encourage students to speculate about the style, register, and the structure of the text based on its purpose and audience.

  • Talk about the essay as an intellectual tool for critical thinking. Teach English academic writing forms as written media used for displaying higher-order thinking (Sharawy, 2011).
The goal is that students will come in using their native culture's rhetoric style, but through the class they will progress from decoding anglo-american rhetoric through listening to being able to produce this rhetoric in speaking which they can transfer to their writing.


Feedback--Teacher / How to save time giving feedback in Word
« on: April 13, 2019, 02:37:58 PM »
Giving comments to student's writing can take a long time, especially if you are giving unique feedback for each student. A lot of times, there are similar problems on many assignments so typing the same thing over and over takes time. Below are some links to tools in word that can help you save time on feedback.

Autotext: [size=78%][/size]

This tool allows you to make presets for comments and saving them in word. You can organize feedback by categories you make (such as "grammar" or "main idea"). When you want to insert the text in a comment, just go to the "insert" tab, click "quick parts" and then "autotext". You can keep this window open as you grade.

Macros: [/size][size=78%][/size]

This another way to do something similar. This will start a "record" that will record everything you type and save it as a preset. Then you can make a button or keyboard shortcut that will perform that action anytime you hit it. This would be good for very frequent comments you make, but you may run out of shortcuts you can use.

Assessment of Reading / Testing if your grading rubric works
« on: April 13, 2019, 02:25:30 PM »

This website give a list of suggestions for evaluating your own grading rubric. At the end of the article is some sample rubric collection which includes a reading rubrics that you can also look at for ideas.

Their first suggestions is to evaluate the rubric for clarity. This starts with having your project objectives and making sure this is reflected in the rubric. The guidelines shouldn't be vague but something the can be easily observable in the assignment.

Next they suggest customizing the rubric for each assignment. A generic rubric for all assignments will be vague and may not measure the right things for each assignment. It's fine to have some similar categories such as length and such, but your should make sure the rubric is connected to the assignment objectives.

Finally, you can test how your rubric works by using it to grade some sample assignments. First, look at a student's project and give a holistic grade of what you think that assignment deserves. Then go through using your rubric and give them a grade based on your rubric. If both grades are within 5 points, then it's a good rubric. If they grade is much higher or lower, look through your rubric and revise.

Thanks for the feedback! I will have to look into the Pterodactyl book. It sounds like a good resource for some of the historical quirks of English that sort of stuck around in spelling despite sound change. You could probably use to take this idea and make your own stories for in class use to teach these weird spellings.

Vocabulary / Re: Compare & Contrast Phrases Practice
« on: April 13, 2019, 02:01:24 PM »
This is a really useful website! I like the look of the website and how you can create your own activity for your topic. Looking at the website you can also make websites with quizzes which is also very cool. I just wish the words would click into place easier, but that's a small drawback. Did you embed this to moodle or have a link to the page?

This is a nice resource to get students started with reading news articles without the amount of difficult language this medium often has. I would suggest fleshing out these questions more. Instead of just "who", asking "Who is the article about? Is there more than one person, group?"  Also, not all of these questions will be answerable for all types of articles. If an article is about a statue that blew down during a storm, there may be no "who" mentioned.

General Reading Links / Re: Simple Wikipedia Materials Sharing
« on: April 13, 2019, 01:52:16 PM »
This is a nice activity for students to come up with a topic that interests them. It can also introduce them to wikipedia in English which can be helpful if they need to find information on something. I don't think this could work well for all students. Some students aren't really interested in celebrities so they will struggle to think of someone. Also, students may only be familiar with celebrities in their home country and their wikipedia pages in English may be limited.

I really liked this article. I think this is something most people can relate to, especially students who have a lot of pressure put on them. I also liked your questions for students by asking for their experiences and how they can use the article in their own life. It doesn't just test their reading but can give them skills to make school and life a little less stressful.

This looks like a fun way to learn vocabulary. Studying vocabulary can be very tedious and can be hard to get a sense of the word without context. It would be nice if they gave some sample sentences showing how it's used as well. The explanations do seem really nice and detailed, but may be intimidating for lower level students.

Motivation / Re: Incorporate CLT to motivate L2 reading
« on: April 13, 2019, 01:41:15 PM »
I always liked this approach, though there isn't much about the challenges of this approach. With more agency comes more variability so it can be hard to grade everyone to the same scale. For vocabulary, I think it's nice for students to create vocabulary lists together with other students so they can all share what they are learning. Having a wiki everyone can build together would be nice for students to make a collaborative list together.

Technology and Teaching Reading & Writing /
« on: April 13, 2019, 01:34:14 PM »
Peergrade is a website that allows students to upload their writing assignment to be reviewed by their classmates.

First, you make an assignment for the class. You can make a rubric of questions that students have to go through and answer as they are reading their classmate's writing. You can also make a "classroom" to add your students to so they will receive an email for any new assignments.

Next, students will upload their writing. Once the deadline for uploading has been reached, the website will randomize the essays to other students. The website keeps both the writer and the feedback anonymous. Students then have to go through each question and give feedback before the feedback deadline. Once the feedback is submitted, the writer can look through their feedback. There are some extra features like teacher monitoring and private messages between the student and teacher.

The benefits of this website is that it takes care of all the randomizing of essays and returning feedback for you, while keeping students anonymous. This makes sure that teachers can focus on assisting students on giving feedback and their needs. It can also be implemented in an online course or in a computer lab. The rubric is also very helpful to guide students to look at what they need to evaluate. You can break the rubric into sections so students aren't overwhelmed and only look at thing one at a time. It's also a chance for students to become familiar with the criteria their own paper will be evaluated with.

Some things to keep in mind before using the tool. The website doesn't give any information about FERPA compliance. They only state it is up to the teacher to decide if it meets FERPA regulations. Check with your countries requirements for privacy before using the website. There is also a limit of how many classes and students you can have before you have to pay for the website.


Some research related to peergrade:

Extensive Reading / Using Visual Novels for Extensive Reading
« on: March 07, 2019, 07:41:09 PM »
Taking on the challenge of reading a chapter length book in a native language can be very intimidating. There is something about pages of long paragraphs of text that can deter a lot of readers. But there are other mediums that can give the same lengths of text in an easier to digest way.

Visual novels are an interactive fiction game that delivers story in a visual and interactive app. The majority of these stories include branching storylines allowing readers to make choices that changes how the story progresses. They also typically allow readers to save where ever they like and to make a large number of save files so readers can see all possible story endings. This would make it easy for for L2 learners to read as much as they wish and to easily go back and reread any parts.

To get you started, here are some suggestions of visual novels you can share with students.

Emily is Away
This is an interactive story spoken through a 90's AIM chatbox. You talk with Emily as you find out about her life and your relationship with her. This is a good visual novel to start with since it is short and most text is in 1-3 sentence lengths. It's also free!

Brilliant Shadows
This story follows the necromancer Veronica Ashmar, as she graduates from school and must perform a pairing ritual upon her graduation. This story is fully voiced in English which may be helpful for students to have both the text and audio input.

Aviary Attorney
This visual novel is a bird lawyering game. You play as Jayjay Falcon and will interview witnesses, collect clues, and deliver justice. This visual novel requires more critical thinking as you are trying to solve a mystery. This would go well with the Sherlock Holmes lessons  :)

Dream Daddy
This is a dad dating simulator. You create your own dad (or dadsona) and meet and romance other dads. Despite the initial silly premise, this story has heartfelt narratives on fatherhood, relationships, and dealing with loss. This is best for adult learners as there are mentions of sex and alcohol (nothing graphic though).

Here is a nice resource that gives illustrated short stories about a variety of women who have been "forgotten" in history:

I have chosen one story in particular that you can do intensive reading for:
It tells the story of a Zulu woman born to the royal family. There are also annotations. You click on the numbers under that pages and it will bring up historical facts and further details.

Below is attached a worksheet with pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading questions to guide students. You can also spend some time before the reading going over some Zulu history and get students familiar with southern Africa.

Porath, J. Rejected Princesses. Retrieved from

When I was developing a test related to matching the sounds of words with their spelling, I found this story ( It is free to access and only some supplementary materials are behind a paywall.

As a summary, it tells the story of a girl named Kate who builds a machine that can change objects in "silent 'e' objects". For instance, when she places a cap inside, it turns into a cape. The story is formatted as a digital storybook that is fully illustrated. There is also a narrator who reads the story and each word is highlighted as he reads. This story is targeted to first grade L1 learners.

Using this text would help with teaching reading with a bottom-up model, specifically synthetic phonics instruction. The benefit of using this approach as opposed to analytic phonics is that the students will get to encounter the words in context of a written passage. I especially like that this story takes a rule of writing and turns it into a plot mechanic.

A post-reading activity you can do with students is to create word lists that show the silent "e" rule. You can do this two ways:

Novice readers: Give students a list of "e-less" words (hop, plan, rob, ect.) Have students predict what would happen to the words if they went in the "silent-e machine". They can predict the spelling, the pronunciation, and the meaning if they know the word.

More advance readers: Ask students what words they would put into the "silent-e machine". They can come up with their own words and see if they follow the silent-e rule. It's possible they will find exceptions to the rule which you can bring to the class' attention. (2016, February 03). Kate the Brave Silent E Story | Story. Retrieved from

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