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Plagiarism / Slides for Intro to Plagiarism
« Last post by maejone on May 10, 2021, 10:37:24 PM »
I created some slides to provide a brief intro to plagiarism to beginning and intermediate adult ESL students. They utilize simple reading passages, images, and sentence starters to help students start conceptualizing plagiarism and appropriate citation. However, the slides are meant to serve as a brief, "bite-size" introduction to plagiarism and citations; they are in no way a comprehensive citation resource.

Here is the citation for the article used in the slides:

ReadWorks. (n.d.). Food in Kenya.!articleTab:content/   

Prewriting / Using infographics in pre-writing
« Last post by maejone on May 10, 2021, 06:45:22 PM »
My colleagues and I recently attended the 2021 TESOL conference, and one idea presented at the conference by Undraa Maamuujav from UC Irvine was to incorporate infographics into the ESL classroom. One suggestion regarding how to use infographics was to use them in outlining. For example, students could use different colors and shapes for text boxes, as well as integrate images into their infographics. The presenter suggested that teachers could provide feedback on the infographic, then students could revise it, and then use it to write the first draft of their writing assignment.

The presenter surveyed a small group of ESL students whose teacher had used infographics with them, and the students were overall positive about using them, saying they were helpful in organizing their ideas and lifting their affective barrier. Students also liked the visual aspect of the infographics and found them fun to make and use.

Maamuujav, U. (2021). The Utility of Infographics: Scaffolding Students' Writing Development [online lecture]. TESOL 2021 International

     Convention & English Language Expo:

Vocabulary / AnkiDroid flashcard software for vocab learning
« Last post by Rschroeder101 on May 10, 2021, 05:50:17 PM »
A tool that I personally use a lot to learn vocabulary is Anki-droid, which is a computer/cell phone program for learning words and phrases.

Link to tool:

Students can either draw from an online collection of countless decks, or a more interesting possibility for a classroom is that teachers can make vocabulary decks and distribute them to their students ahead of or during a specific unit or lesson. Any flashcard deck you make can be shared with others.

This program organizes cards based on what students find most difficult or easiest. If you get a word correct easily, and press the "easy" button afterwards, you will not see the word again for a day or so. If you get the word correct really easily 2 days in a row, you might not see it again for a few days to a week. However, if you struggle with a word, you will see it over and over again until you get it right a couple of times in a row, and then you will see it again the next day to reinforce the word. I find this tool to be amazing for building general vocabulary, and this is has potential for helping students with vocabulary learning prior to a reading passage.
Learning L2 Reading & Writing / Learning Spanish Writing in the US
« Last post by Rschroeder101 on May 10, 2021, 05:30:22 PM »
I practice writing frequently with my Spanish teacher. These exercises usually include me writing a short, 1-2 page essay and my teacher going through the essay and correcting grammatical mistakes. Very rarely does my teacher feel the need to correct my organization or writing style, and when asked about it he tells me that I am already very organized to begin with. So, most of the writing practice that I have in Spanish is based around grammar correction and modification, with improperly used grammatical forms crossed out in red and then an explanation for why it is wrong given to me verbally. Sometimes this can get frustrating, as the corrections can be quite extensive on bad days, and seeing an ocean of red in my essay is disheartening. I have taken a college-level Spanish class here at U of I as well, and also receive fairly little feedback on organization and focus and more on grammar forms and vocabulary use. While this practice is great for improving my grammar, this means I have very little experience learning a language with a completely different organizational and rhetorical style, like Korean or Japanese.

For those of you who do not know what Minecraft is, my oversimplified explanation is that it is a gamified, virtual Legos: You have to collect resources from the world around you and use these resources to build, all while surviving monsters that come out at night.

Building Cities and Fighting Monsters: Park University's Minecraft Journey  | Minecraft: Education Edition

In a previous semester, I explored using Minecraft as a virtual space for language learning. I believe that the potential for virtual spaces like Minecraft have potential to be useful spaces for task-based learning because of the building aspect and survival aspects to it. Various tasks in a Minecraft world, to either build something or get somewhere with endless locations and possible constructions, are all within the realm of possibility and would require communication between students in order to complete. The developers themselves are not lost on the educational potential of Minecraft, as they have made an educational version of the game.

I think that Minecraft has potential for teaching L2 reading and writing as well, as a way for students to relate reading/writing with something they are actually doing in the virtual space.  I will give some examples below that showcase the potential for both.

Example 1: reading - mysteries and written clues

I think an aspect of Minecraft that can really lend itself to reading is that you can leave notes and signs throughout the game that potential students can read. It would be too easy to argue that students could use the signs and in-game notes to read directions. Instead, I would suggest that students can learn to infer information from a written text by giving them short stories in the game that hint towards other aspects of the Minecraft world. Fleshing out something like this would be time intensive, as you would want to make a world where students won't get hopelessly lost and can still have to work a little find the written clues and hints, but once completed it would be extremely immersive and would require students to interact with written text that directly related to the world around them.

 Example 2: writing - having students write a narrative

Teaching writing through Minecraft would be a little more difficult, but possible. The first thing I can think of is having students write a narrative of what they and their team mates did in Minecraft after completing an activity. These narratives would be unique because of the expansive nature of the Minecraft world, especially if the goal for the Minecraft activity was vague or expansive, such as build a home or find a certain resource.

Beginning Readers / Working with adult beginning/low intermediate students
« Last post by maejone on May 09, 2021, 06:27:53 PM »
When working with adults, I have found it's very important to provide materials that are age-appropriate and of interest to them. One great resource that covers a wide range of reading levels and still provides adult-appropriate content is You can find news articles that have been adapted all the way to a second grade level there. Newsela also provides quizzes and vocabulary exercises to go with the articles, and you can create a free teacher account, sign your students up, and then assign articles and activities within Newsela's platform.

Another good, albeit less extensive, reading website for adults is This website has a variety of leveled passages written for adults with pre- and post- reading questions. I have used these in the past as basic assessments, since the readings are relatively short and the comprehension questions are simple and straightforward.
Reading/Writing Humor / Unit plan resource for humor and literature
« Last post by TFeyD on May 03, 2021, 09:35:20 PM »

The following set of lesson plans (cited at the bottom of this post) on humor in literature were created by Brian Rio for a 10th grade English class of mostly bilingual students. He states that a couple of his students are English language learners, and his students have varying levels of reading ability. He has created one unit (4 weeks of lesson plans) with many ideas for activities, assignments, and lessons as well as formal and informal assessments relating to humor in literature. His students engage in journaling, limerick writing, article reading, and engaging with three main texts, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain, selections from Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, and Selections from A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear.
Though the lessons weren’t directly made for ELL students, any of the lessons and activities could certainly be adapted to an English language learning classroom at an intermediate-high level, or at an intermediate level with the possible addition of supplemental vocabulary aids, adapted texts, and/or extended time. There is a lot of great material and many great ideas for lessons and activities for reading and writing in this lesson plan that an ESL/EFL teacher could use or adapt.
Lesson plans: Rio, B. (2012). Unit plan -- Humor in Literature and Life.

Reading/Writing Humor / Comedic devices in ESL writing
« Last post by TFeyD on May 03, 2021, 09:11:22 PM »

Comedy can be a great way to boost student interest and engagement, and if incorporated into ESL/EFL reading/writing lessons can be a great way to explore genre, and culture while having a good time. Cultural differences in humor could be explored by comparing short humorous stories from different cultures, since humor can reveal a lot about what is valued in a culture, and reading stories from different backgrounds might be a good way to connect with students of various backgrounds as well. A teacher could orient lessons from an angle of cross-cultural humor genre analysis. 
For a genre study in English humorous literature, there are so many literary elements like irony, satire, and parody, that can be incorporated specifically for comedic or humorous writing. Having students read texts with these elements, explore these elements, and then attempt their own writing using these elements that they can then share with the class can make for a very fun lesson! The following resource, while seemingly geared towards younger students, has some resources, examples for stories for three of those devices, understatement, hyperbole, and irony/sarcasm: Miller, G. (2021, March 22). Teaching Humor Devices. Book Units Teacher.
Vocabulary / Easily adaptable vocabulary learning game idea
« Last post by TFeyD on May 03, 2021, 06:46:11 PM »
The activity entitled Word Wheel from the website E is for Explore! was posted by Erin Bittman in 2012. This activity (linked here: seems to be a fun way to make vocabulary learning into a game. In this activity, students are given a vocabulary term and are asked to spin a wheel with various tasks related to using and practicing the vocabulary. This could be an enjoyable way to get your students familiar with and actively using and applying some high-frequency vocabulary items through a pre-reading task after a vocabulary lesson, or as a post-reading task using important or novel words from the text. The great thing about this resource is that this game can be adapted very easily to suit any classroom needs. The vocabulary used in the activity can be entirely dependent on the level of the student and the needs of the text your class is reading. In addition, the wheel provided on the website could be modified by the teacher to suit the needs of the class. For example, for a very early reader, simple sections and options like “use the word”, “act it out”, or “draw a picture” might be appropriate. For more advanced readers those options could still be used, but more advanced tasks like “Relate this word to the text”, “give a definition”, “Make a semantic map” or “write a rhyming couplet” could be added. If a specific genre or element of reading or writing is being studied, questions and vocabulary can also be related to genre, plot structure, or textual element, or specific course goals. This activity could also be modified to teach students dictionary strategies, or any number of other vocabulary-related skills.
Three years ago, I created a story cubes-type activity to reinforce the creative writing skills and the knowledge of past tenses of students of Spanish as an FL.
While the activity is aimed at Spanish learners and the materials are in Spanish (which can be found here), it is easily adaptable to an ESL course.
To complete the activity, you will need the cards (you can print the images on the pdf. or create your own). This activity is best done in groups and can take up to 30 minutes of class time. It is aimed at high-intermediate learners.
First, students individually randomly select one card of a historical period and then, randomly, one character card related to that historical period (if the historical period is "Ancient Egypt", they can be a scribe, a priestess...). Character cards will be grouped by historical period.
Once each student knows who their character is and where are they from, they will get into groups and start writing their collective story. The ideal group size is 3 people (4 max.).
The story should have at least three different (short) episodes. Each episode will be written during a different turn. Each turn, one of the students draws from a pile three random action cards. They have to write a story where the three actions are reflected.
The first episode should be about the travelers' lives before starting their time travels. They introduce themselves and, based on the cards describe very briefly their lives.
The second episode should be about how they started time traveling and how have they arrived at where they are now.
For the third episode, they need to collectively draw a new time card, to describe the place where they have arrived and compare it to their lives before.
A possible fourth episode (with four students) can be devoted to use the present and future and talk about their next steps.
Once they have finished writing they will share their stories with the class.
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