Saturday, November 29, 2014



    I listen to the ESL Podcast Buying Theater Tickets, which is a good English learning material for intermediate level ESL learner. The whole episode is about a dialogue between two persons who are going to see a play. They are discussing about how to buy the theater tickets. The podcast is about 20 minutes in all, with 2 minute dialogue at the beginning, 15 minute explanation for the dialogue and the rest is the normal speed dialogue again. The focus of the episode is on vocabulary explanation.  For example, vocabulary like orchestra, loge, mezzanine and balcony, which are frequently used in theater. So the episode can improve students’ listening skills and help them acquire new vocabulary. And more importantly, they can use what they have learned in their daily life, which means they can improve their social skills.
    My specific learning objectives are:
1)    Students will be able to identify the key vocabulary in the episode.
2)    Students will be able to use the words in daily conversation.

    For assessing their learning, I can design some vocabulary quiz, for example, for the word “matinee”, I will give them multiple choices:(a). day-time (b). at night and (c). all the day. Besides, I can let the students have role play and let them talk about their theater plan in the play, using the vocabulary they have learned at the same time. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Strip generator

    Strip generator is a very useful tool for us to create comic strips. One of the similar ways in real classroom is role play, where we have the specific setting and roles. In strip generator, we can put all the settings, roles and conversation on the strip. In my strip Where are you from, I plan to teach the simple English greetings and introduction. When two strangers meet each other, how they introduce themselves and how they greet others. It is for beginner language learners because words are very limited in strips. My future students will be able to appropriately greet others and introduce themselves when they meet new people.
    To assess their learning, I will let them have role play. I will give them a specific setting, for example, two persons meet for the first time. They are required to say something to each others. If they can have the conversation fluently, for example, ask their partner’ name and country, or introduce where they are from and their names are, they demonstrate their mastery of the language skills in the class.



     Animoto is the kind of video making tool I have been looking for. I can just choose the style, photos and music, and then the video is right there. With this tool, I made the video--Beautiful cities in the world. It can be used in classroom to teach the beautiful cities. Students can learn it faster with images and video. Specifically, with this video teaching, my future students will be able to match the pictures with the city names. Besides, they will be able to recognize the country of the city with the help of the video.
    To assess their learning, I will present the pictures only on the screen. Students are required to write down the city names corresponding to the pictures. I can check whether they know the cities when they see the pictures and whether they memorize the city names or not. Besides, I will ask the student question like “Where is New York City?” If they answer correctly “It is in United States”, that means they know the country of the city. My class can either be an ESL lesson teaching city names or Geography lesson.

Monday, November 10, 2014

5 techniques to learn any language

    I like watching TED videos, but I don’t even know I can create a lesson on TEDED. That’s so cool. I choose the video from Sid Efromovic, a cool guy who can speak seven languages. The topic is 5 techniques to speak any language.  My purpose is to encourage my students to learn the language positively. The speaker introduces 5 specific ways to improve the learning process. I hope my students can check whether they have the same techniques as Sid. If they don’t, they can be motivated by the video and get inspiration on how to learn a language. Besides, I am also training their listening because they have to understand the content of the video to do the exercises I have created.

    For the assessment, I will organize a group discussion. Students are required to discuss one technique in the video they like best, and they also introduce their own learning techniques to their group members. From the discussion, I can know whether they understand the content in the video and see how much they are motivated to learn. 

Tube Chop

     Tube Chop is such a convenient tool to shorten video. Personally I have the video teaching experience. I did have the problem that when I found an appropriate video, it was too long and I had to begin at somewhere and stop at somewhere quickly. Tube Chop can help me address it now! I choose a grammar teaching video for my future intermediate ESL students. Grammar and vocabulary is relatively boring compared to other language skills, so video teaching can arouse students’ interest in it. This grammar teaching is about the specific difference between “should be” and “could be”. The speaker gives detailed explanation about the difference and provides interesting and precise examples to help students’ understanding. After they learn through this video, my future students will be able to tell the difference between “should be” and “could be”. They can infer the meaning from the discourse with the use of “should be” or “could be”. They are able to use the two forms correctly in their social communication. For assessment, I would ask them to give examples for the different use of “should be” and “could be”. If they can figure out correct examples, it means they understand it. Besides, I would give them some reading articles with the use of the two forms included. I would ask them to tell what is the specific meaning of the “should be “ or “could be” in the article. Because the meaning is always contextual and providing context can help students understand and check whether they really understand. 

Rethink Flipped Classroom

    With the increasing use of technology tool in present classroom, the pedagogical notion of flipped classroom is getting more and more attention. The model is new to me before this class. Soon I realized that actually I have the flipped classroom experience before. My teacher recorded a small video to introduce a new concept before the class and we discussed it in the real classroom. Since it is becoming popular now, it’s time to rethink the advantage and disadvantages of flipped classroom before it is prevalent in modern teaching. According to 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms, the term is widely used to describe almost any class structure that provides prerecorded lectures followed by in-class exercises. Knowing what it is, let’s think about its how good it is and what problem it might bring.

    First, just as mentioned in the article 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms, “they can watch, rewind, and fast-forward as needed”, the most obvious advantage is that student can view the video again and again, which provides opportunities for them to fully understand what it is in the video. Traditional classroom teachers cannot repeat it again and again just for several students’ low learning pace. Besides, flipped classroom leaves more space for student interaction and cooperation. Student-controlled, rather than teacher-oriented classroom is the trend for classroom development. I still cannot stop worrying whether flipped classroom is as effective as it looks like. Does the video make them better students than those don’t watch the video? Will it be a huge load for teachers to prepare the video teaching? Can students get immediate feedback or assessment in flipped classroom? Can student get access to the Internet or online tools? Those are all the potential weakness need to be considered in flipped classroom. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The game of Third World Farmer

    I played the game Third World Farmer for about six or seven times. This game is to help players to experience the plight of poor farmers in impoverished countries and how to make life. In the beginning, I failed several times because I made all the family leave the farm to make money and they all died. All the other reasons I failed came to my inappropriate use of the money to plant crops. It is not an easy game because it requires players to have a sense of economy and figure out the best way to make money and run the family’s life.

    As a potential ESL teacher, I would use this game for the intermediate level students to learn both language and the culture when they play the game. The vocabulary would be my first learning objective because all the words in the game are in categories and students can learn different words and there is explanation under each word. For example, “a plow greatly increases crop yield” is the explanation for “plow”. This can also function as the hint for the game. The second objective would be the cultivation of cross-culture knowledge and understanding. Many students from the city don’t even know the tools for farm and they cannot imagine how hard life is in the third world. According to theNY standardESL5, students will demonstrate cross-cultural knowledge and sensitivity in communicating with others of varied social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

    For the assessment, I would have my students to list all the new words they have learned from the game. Since in buying, planting and selling activities during the game, students are familiar with the vocabulary, this listing task according to Kyle Mawer's task types can assess how much my students remember the meaning and use of the vocabulary. That game can also be a culture course because students are immersed in the different culture and simulate authentic life in that culture. For the cultural knowledge objective, I would ask my students to write a journal about their personal feelings or thought about the game and especially about the third world culture. I can assess their cultural awareness by their journals.