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Topics - Anastasia

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Canva.com is the website that helps to create designs of various types of printing materials: cards, brochures, letters etc. This tool can be very useful for students when they are working on a writing assignment for an ESL reading class and would like their project to look beautiful.
The ideas for using the tool are limitless. Here are just a few examples:
Students can create a Menu for a restaurant if they are learning Food-related vocabulary,An invitation to an event,A  poster for any topic,A card with “thank you” or “happy birthday” wishes,A resume,A flyer about a certain product.These ideas would require some teacher’s support because students might not know specific features of different genres. Learning about genres, analyzing vocabulary, the features that tell this genre apart can be a necessary step before students start working on their projects.

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Language Issues / COCA to Improve Writing
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:23:37 PM »
Students can benefit from using COCA website (https://corpus.byu.edu/coca/) when they are working on improving their writing skills. This website helps to find examples and contexts for the vocabulary. When students type in a word and click “find”, they will see many contexts in which this word appeared in texts. The website also helps to identify the style of vocabulary; it indicates the type of the sources for each example.
Students can try and type a phrase if they are not sure that some words can be used together. They could also write a word on its own and see what kind of words go before and after it most often.
Students can learn a lot about new vocabulary by analyzing it in the context. They can use COCA for a specific project, when they are writing a paper and are not sure about the style of a word, or just on a regular basis whenever they learn new vocabulary.

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There are so many different ways how to incorporate Google Slides into teaching reading and writing. One of the ways is to suggest students to create comics or present a story with Google slides.
Students could take a well-known story or a book and create a few slides for the beginning of that story. Then students can also use their creative thinking and can think about 2 different variations of the story and create slides for them. To make it even more creative, students could write 2 more variations of the  ending for each variation.
How to create the variations: choose a slide where you would like to offer readers a choice of the variation (for example, you could write: and then he went to the castle  - this would be variation 1: and to the village - this is variation 2) . You would then need to right-click on each variation and link it to the slide where you have the next part of the story.
This kind of project can be used for creative writing for a reading class. It would be preferable for students to work in groups for this assignment.

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Google slides can be used to create an Idioms Journal or a Vocabulary Journal by students. One idea about how to use it for reading classes is that a teacher could assign students to create such journal for every three chapters of a book. Students can work on this assignment either individually or in groups.
Students will need to introduce an idiom or a vocabulary item and provide a definition an a picture (if possible) on a slide. Then, students should include the original context (a sentence) in which this item appeared in the book on the next slide. After that, students will need to find more examples of sentences in which this idiom was used. They can search in Google, for example or in one of the online dictionaries that provide examples of vocabulary.
At last, students need to include a slide with their own examples of using the idiom or the vocabulary item. This part would require teacher’s feedback to make sure that students use the vocabulary correctly.
While creating such a journal, students should have many opportunities to think about the vocabulary that they are using for their journal, analyze the context and remember its meaning.

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Postreading Activities / Using Piktochart for Poster Presentations
« on: April 14, 2018, 08:13:24 PM »
Piktochart is a great online tool that helps creating infographics which can be used for students’ projects such as poster presentations.
The ideas of the projects can be numerous. If we take the first Harry Potter book as an example, students may choose to create a timeline of events, introduce spells and their effect, create an infographic with the book characters etc. The ideas are only limited by students’ imagination.
First, students will need to learn about creating infographics: how much text it should have versus how much space should be covered with pictures; the balance of color and font and other things.
Next, students can either work in groups or individually on their projects and gather all the information they need for their infographic.
At last, students would need to put all together into an infographic by using Piktochart. The tool has an option for printing out the infographic by splitting it into printable parts. Then it can be printed on several A4 paper size sheets and glued together into one piece.
Students can then present their infographic-posters during class either one by one or as a poster session. Other students can ask questions and engage in conversations with the presenter.

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This activity will help students to develop not only their reading skills but also speaking and listening.
A proposed activity for the Harry Potter book:
[/size]This method can be applied to any topic in the book, but this example is about creating introductions about Harry Potter book characters. Students should be assigned to choose one character that they wish to create an introduction about. While reading the book chapters, students should be encouraged to make notes about the character’s physical features, traits of the character, things they like, their friends etc. When students have enough details to create a 3 minute narration, that should show that they have enough material.
[/size]Next, the instructor should ask students to write down the narration that they will further need to audio record. The instructor should provide students with feedback on their first and second drafts.
[/size]When students get to the stage of the final draft, the instructor should ask students to prepare to narrate their introductions in class. After practicing in class, students can finally proceed to recording their narration at home. They should be encouraged not to read.
[/size]Students would use Audacity to record their Introduction and upload it to One Cloud (a shared account for the students).
[/size]The next step is for students to give each other some feedback on their recordings.
[/size]

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Feedback--Peer Review / Audio-Recorded Feedback to Students
« on: April 14, 2018, 07:33:20 PM »
[size=0pt]Sometimes, Audio-recorded feedback can make it an easier job to explain complex ideas to students about their writing than text comments. Here, I would like to introduce Kaizena - a Google Doc add-on that can be used to provide students with feedback.[/size]
[size=0pt][/color]This tool is used to give students feedback on their writing. Instructor has to download it on his/her computer and can highlight part of the text in the Google Doc where a student has his/her paper and then add audio and text comments. The length of an audio comment is limited to 30 seconds only which can be seen as a drawback, but at the same time it encourages to give short and specific feedback. The add-on also allows to reply to feedback, which can be used to create a dialog between the instructor and students.[/size]
[size=0pt][/color]The only drawback I see in using kaizena is that students have to install kaizena too in order to see and listen to the feedback comments which adds  a learning curve for them. [/size]
[size=0pt][/color]Comparing to regular text feedback, the audio feedback adds more personal feeling to this assessment. It does not only allow assessment in a form of feedback, but can also encourage communication between students and the instructor. Another point is that it saves teacher’s time.[/size]
[size=0pt][/color][/size]

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