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Topics - karenmin

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I am teaching ESL freshman writing course, and as the students write their research papers, I noticed that they have no idea on using the headings. Sometimes it's not necessary to include headings, but I thought it might be helpful for teachers to teach why headings are effective and how to create good headings. I've made a PPT and prepared some articles.

Here's the peer review worksheet we made :)

Creative Writing / Rewriting Stories
« on: March 14, 2012, 11:39:58 AM »
I found a cute, interesting story a long time ago and thought it would be fun to use this in one of the writing classes. It's very easy in terms of the language, but it has various skills required from the students. Students will have to imply from quotes, understand the main idea and possibliy predict the future story.
Here I developed a story-rewriting activity using different points of view.
However, it is also possible to adapt this story to a lesson on summarizing, paraphrsing, and quoting.
Or, it is a good source to have students predict the latter part of the story using both context cues and imagination.

Idioms are one of the most challenging topics for non-native speakers because the meanings are often figurative and hard to grasp at the first glance. So instead of just throwing hundreds of idioms to memorize, we tried to come up with some fun activities to learn and use idioms in context.
First, we begin by explaining what idioms are, why they are important to know, and how idioms are used in different cultures.
Second, we chose an interesting video cliip as a warm-up activity. Prior to showing it to the students, we made a quick matching worksheet so that the students will have a general idea about the story. Then students will write the story in plain English after viewing the video.
Finally, we also prepared a drawing activity for which students will get a piece of paper, fold it in half, draw the picture of the literal meaning on one side and the figurative meaning on the other side. Then we can have the studetns share their drawings and learn together.

Quotations / How to Quote-In Details
« on: March 08, 2012, 12:54:56 AM »
As I was teaching the ESL writing classes, I noticed that many of my students have trouble using quoations no matter how much we emphasize the imporatnce of using proper citations. I think it's because they are not familiar with the quotation itself, not to mention the use of brackets, ellipsis, and signal phrases. So I made a handout that will guide them through the quoting techniques. I also chose an excerpt from Jane Yolen's "America's Cinderella" which seems very interesting and which could be used for many different lessons.

General Writing Resources / Choosing the Right Voice
« on: March 07, 2012, 11:26:46 PM »
Teachers often discourage students to use the passive voice, but I think it is at least necessary to understand the differences of the two voices. Especially when students have to write an academic research paper, or when they read one, they will run into many cases where the passive makes more sense. Thus, I decided to do a quick overview lesson on the voice usage and relate it to the writing process.
This lesson is designed for high-intermediate students who at least know what the passive/active voice is. 

Pedagogy Issues / Group work that may REQUIRE student collaboration
« on: February 07, 2012, 12:58:42 PM »
Recently, I have noticed how students do not enjoy working together in groups or even pairs. When I asked my students to discuss in groups or do a task together, they divided the task into several pieces for the sake of "efficiency."
I wanted to find an activity that would make students to work together and collaborate without thinking that they are wasting their time, and I found this activity from the Internet. It seemed similar to what we did in ESL service courses--we had a debate on a fairy tale deciding whether Jack or Ogre was the bad guy from the "Jack and the Beanstalk."
I think making students work in groups by giving each roles would work better than expecting one single outcome.

Harry Potter Lessons! / Harry Potter: New Names for Characters
« on: February 01, 2012, 09:16:03 PM »
Describing Characters and Renaming the Characters in Harry Potter

1. Class Objectives:
1) Students will be able to read and understand how characters are described in the text and create visual images of them.
2) Students will be able to understand various ways to modify a character; they will have a chance to learn about adjectives, comparatives, and relative phrases.
3) Students will be able to use the Internet to search for various adjectives to name the characters. 

2. Lesson Rationale:
Because this is the first chapter of a long series of a book, which is often read for fun, it begins    with providing full descriptions of the main characters-who all play significant roles in the following chapters. It will be helpful for the students to understand the characters prior to reading the complicated storylines. In addition, the overall language used in this text is very delicate and well-chosen in terms of modifiers and modifying phrases; therefore, students will benefit from paying close attention to the language.

3. Classroom Task (for teachers):
1) Have students go over chapter 1 and skim through for main characters. Students should write down the names of all the characters that appear in the text and highlight the parts that describe them. Include all the detailed descriptions, dialogues, and words. Then, in a group of 3 or 4, draw the visual images of the character and be ready to present to the class.
(Teachers may give hints to students by teaching them about modifying phrases or comparatives.)
2) When the visual images of all characters are completed by all groups, have the images projected in front of the class and discuss for a few minutes.
3) In the group again, have students to search for the best words to name the characters. In other words, RENAME the characters that would fit them in the most appropriate way.
4) When every group has come up with the new names for each character, pass the names to another group who will guess about this character and write a description about each character.
5) It will be interesting to share their answers at the end and compare the answers in class.

Extensive Reading: Harry Potter Chapter 1 0Created by Karen Min

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