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Topics - Erika the First

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Extensive Reading / Writing activities for Extensive Reading
« on: May 11, 2020, 07:31:57 PM »
https://www.er-central.com/contributors/learn-about-extensive-reading-and-listening/how-to-do-extensive-reading/101-ideas-for-erel/
 
 
 This website provides a a list of activities that instructors can do for extensive reading and listening. I thought that the list of writing activities were helpful for instructors who may need a quick idea or two for class. There are quite a few ideas listed, however I thought two prompts stuck out to me: 
Retell the story as if it were a character's diary.
write a letter/email to one of the characters
For the first activity, students can do a chapter by chapter journal entry from the characters POV. Writing in their POV has students critically thinking about what happens in the story as it makes them reflect through another's reflection and write about it.
 
 
 For the second activity, students can write an initial email to a character, exchange letters with another student, and write a reply to it to the one that they received from their classmate. Students can continue exchanging letters over the duration of the book with new partners, or instructors can divide students into pairs and have one write an initial letter and have the partner do the response.

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URL: https://ngl.cengage.com/ourworldtours/OurWorld/media/Downloads/Literacy-Instruction-for-Young-EFL-Learners_White-Paper_2017.pdf


In this handout, Dr. Shin explains why literacy instruction for young EFL learners is an important part of their education. She continues and explains how it can be integrated into the classroom in a meaningful-focused and balanced way, highlighting five 'building blocks': immerse[ing] students in print and literature, utiliz[ing] and build[ing] students' background knowledge, model[ing] and teach[ing] various reading and writing strategies, build[ing] vocabulary and automaticity of high frequency words, and giv[ing] explicit instruction in phonics. She goes on to explain how learners should play an active role in learning along with noting the importance of scaffolding and how to do so.


This handout is very informative for those who may be new to teaching younger learners. In very accessible, concise language, Dr. Shin is able to effectively layout not only the importance of literacy instruction for young EFL learners, but also gives simple suggestions on how to do so. This handout would be good for new instructors just starting  if they do not have an extensive background on young learners. New instructors (or even experienced ones) can familiarize themselves and incorporate some of the strategies Dr. Shin explains for effectively instructing young learners.

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General Writing Resources / Story Starters for Kids
« on: May 10, 2020, 10:56:48 PM »

Story Starters

Website URL: http://thestorystarter.com/junior.html


The Story Starter website has options for both adults and kids, however I thought that this would be a good resource for instructors who are teaching younger learners (thought the adult version seems good, too!) as the sentences are usually a bit silly and leave room for a lot of imagination. An older target age would still be able to continue the story provided, but they may find them a bit childish.


The website provides a random simple sentence to start off a story, allowing for the rest of the story to be written by writers. Instructors can decided if they want all students (individually or in pairs/groups) to work with the same sentence starter, or if they work with different sentences. Working with the same sentence could be interesting to see how young learners brainstorm and plan out their story, eventually comparing work with one another to see how the stories differed or how they were the same. With different sentence starters, students can have the option to choose which pre-selected sentence they would want to continue writing about, providing them motivation as it give them (somewhat of) a choice in their writing (as opposed to being forced to write about a specific topic). As mentioned before, the sentences leave much to the imagination, so it provides students with the chance to write creatively about scenarios that they may not have considered before.


The website is not necessarily geared towards ESL learners, so while sifting through some of the sentences that were provided, instructors will have to determine if vocabulary definitions are needed before providing the sentence to students, depending on their proficiency. But this could be a good build up to the actual writing!

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Beginning Readers / Pete the Cat (I Love My White Shoes) Activities
« on: March 13, 2020, 11:47:45 AM »
A really popular book series among children is the Pete the Cat book series by James Dean and Eric Litwin. The original Pete the Cat book, I Love My White Shoes, is a great book to read to young children as it is simple and repetitive in its language, which is great for young learners as they are able to follow along and get a lot of exposure to recognize phrases in the book.


The book introduces colors by having Pete step into various things that change the color of his white shores (red strawberries, blue blueberries, brown mud). There is a chorus that kids can sign along to, helping them engage in the story as music is very fun for them (you can listen to the book and song here).


After reading through the book, possibly more than once depending on the reading proficiency and age level, a fun activity to have children do is to have Pete the Cat step into other things of other colors besides those mentioned in the book. Children can draw the pictures, glue already provided pictures of things, or they can simply write about what Pete would step in. As I used this with a really young age (2 year olds), I had them glue pictures of things such as orange oranges, green broccoli, and purple grapes onto a piece of paper along with a picture of Pete the Cat. As they were only two, I had them tell me verbally what happened ("He step on grapes!" is a common response I've heard) and I wrote down what they said on the bottom of their paper. For older or more proficient children, they can draw the picture and then write a sentence or two about the scene.

This activity engages the children with the story and has them thinking about cause and effect (step in red, shoes turn red) that tends to happen in stories (and life).

Another idea for using this book is that during story time, felt characters, shoes, and foods mentioned in the story can be created along with a felt board. Having the kids come up one by one to talk about what happened to Pete's shoes has them thinking about what happened during the story


There are many things that can be done with this book (along with all the other books in the series) and it's a great choice as it combines a lot of beginning themes (colors, animals, etc) in a fun way for children (music, repetition).

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Intensive Reading / Breaking News English
« on: March 13, 2020, 11:21:58 AM »
Breaking News English - https://breakingnewsenglish.com/index.html



This is a really great source for short articles that are modified to fit various proficiency levels. The articles are news-based and so there are lots of current topics provided, but as well the website provides articles from a while back, too, in their archive.


Once you pick the article that you’re interested in, you can usually choose a level ranging from 0 (low) to 6 (advanced) depending on proficiency. Above the article itself, there are a lot of various activities that are provided for instructors to build their lessons off of, categorized into six sections (print, listen, read, grammar, spell, words). I particularly like the listen section as it gives an audio of the article. While the activities themselves are a bit controlled, instructors can adapt them to fit their needs.


I thought that this would be a good resource for instructors to get readings for intensive reading practice. As topics are current, it can be relevant for students and might be more engaging. And because the readings are adapted to different proficiency levels, it can be modified to fit different needs.

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Creating Chain Stories - #5 on a list provided by https://www.fluentu.com/blog/extensive-reading-activities-for-teaching-language/


This is a fun activity that requires students to be at similar proficiency levels. Two readings should be provided, one for each student. The readings should have about 3-4 paragraphs, depending on time allotted to read and share. It is also recommended that the subject of each reading be different. So for example, one reading can be the story of the Gingerbread Man while the other is a short biography on Abraham Lincoln (yay, Lincoln!).


Each student should be given their reading and should be instructed to read only the first paragraph. After a few minutes of reading, they put down the reading and have to take turns telling the other what the paragraph was about, providing as many details as possible. After sharing, they switch readings and read only the second paragraph. What their partner provided is what they have to go on for prior context/knowledge. After they read the second paragraph, they should once again share what the paragraph provided in their own words without looking at the reading. These steps should be repeated until the readings are all covered.


I thought that this was a fun idea to get students to do some intensive reading practice. The instructor can provide the students with information about the sharing aspect of the activity before they read the first paragraph or not; I think that I would at first not tell them and see how it goes. As well, finding a way to make sure that they don't see previous paragraphs might get tricky, but something like taping a scrap paper to the individual paragraphs can help the instructor keep track of which paragraph students are on.

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Extensive Reading / Apples to Apples for Extensive Reading
« on: March 13, 2020, 11:12:29 AM »
Apples to Apples is a card game that is very fun to play. Each player gets 7 red cards with various nouns on them, and there is a deck of green cards that has adjectives/adverbs. Players keep their red cards hidden to everyone except themselves, and the green cards are faced down in the middle (or wherever people can reach them).

One at a time, a player takes a green card and takes a turn as a ‘judge,’ reading aloud the green adjective/adverb (and the three synonyms provided below the original) while the other players place one of their own red cards down face first in front of the judge. Once everyone puts a card down, the ‘judge’ shuffles the red cards and then reads the cards out loud, eventually selecting the card that ‘best fits’ the adjective/adverb. (Better instructions can be found on their website, I’m sure)


This can be a great game to play with students when doing extensive reading. If the class is all reading the same book, red/green cards (nouns and adjectives/adverbs) can be prepared by the instructor so that at the end of the book, students can play together with words relating to the book. Having the teacher prep the cards the first time is recommended as not everyone may be familiar with the game, and so having the cards already made to play with might make it easier for them to understand the rules. That, or the original Apples to Apples game (not related to the book, can be difficult due to cultural differences) can be played to build familiarity with the rules and structure of the game.


After becoming familiar with the game, students can then help with creating the cards from scratch. Every day, cards can be created with the introduction of characters, locations, themes, etc. as well as with vocabulary that they might find difficult. As the class moves on with the book, the cards can help solidify information from the book in a fun way, especially at the end when everyone can play together and make meaning from what they read.

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The Hobbit stuff / Hobbit Related Teaching Sources - Tapas, if you will.
« on: February 04, 2020, 10:36:07 AM »
Hobbit Vocabulary List - This site provides vocabulary words, definitions, and notes on words that students might find challenging!


Random House Teacher's Guide to the Hobbit - PDF that provides summaries, comprehension questions/open-ended questions for discussions, vocabulary, and has some explanations on literary conventions and major themes.


Report from Middle-Earth: fanfiction tasks in the EFL classroom - A study that had students collaboratively role-play and write stories based 'missing moments' from the Hobbit. IT found that fanfiction could 'facilitate analysis of a literary text, learners' use of creative writing techniques, and language development.'


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