Archive of ‘Guest Posts’ category

A Warmer and a Filler

As the end of the month is close, I started getting more links for the blog carnival. However, there are loads of ideas with friends who hasn’t started blogging yet. Emine Bülür is one of them and I’m so happy that she wanted to contribute to the carnival with an activity.

 

Here is a warmer & filler activity:
 
Give them a piece of paper on which they can write their names.

I collect all the names in a box and ask them to pick a name.

Later, they write two questions for the student whose name written on the back of the paper.

Finally, they can share what they have leaned about their friends with the rest of the class.
 
It works well especially at times when student need to introduce themselves to a new class. As we use a modular system at our school, they change classes every quarter so the activity helps me a lot in this respect.

 
Emine Bülür Civanoğlu has been an English Instructor for eleven years and currently working at Doğuş University English Preparatory Programme. She is interested in Educational Technology, Learner Autonomy and Management in ELT. She  is a regular conference participant and presenter.
Twitter: @EmineBC
 
By the way, if you don’t blog but have an idea for the blog carnival to share with us, please feel free to contact me.
 
You can reach all the efl,esl blog carnival posts from Larry Ferlazzo’s blog
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/category/esl-carnival/ 

I don’t want to be a teacher by Vladimira Michalkova

Part of the series From my PLN

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I wanted to be an archeologist or work with animals. Well, definitely anything really dynamic, changing and what would include my constant learning and development – I do love learning! I studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language but during the last year of my studies I came to conclusion that, actually, I don’t want to be a teacher. I couldn’t imagine not learning anymore and rigorously (and willingly, as I see in many cases) follow given teaching materials no matter who is in your class or what is going on behind the walls of your school . Well, now, five years later, I still don’t want to be a teacher!

Yes, I don’t want to be a teacher!

Not, if that means a person coming in the classroom, sitting down and starting a lesson with words like “open your book…”.

Not if that means a person always complaining about the students and using red pen to correct their works just to show them how much they still need to learn.

Not if that means a person who thinks that teaching is a job where no further development or learning is actually needed.

Nevertheless, I have a job I would never change!

“By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn”

Latin Proverb

I have found the joy and happiness in the work where I can (hopefully) inspire, motivate and support the learning and exploration of the opportunities that are offered around us. You may call it a moderator, facilitator, mentor or just a teacher if you still insist. And besides that, I have discovered that this job involves constant learning, developing and creativity. I guess, I couldn’t wish for moreJ.

On my way, I have met many fellows with similar beliefs and opinions and as I go I try to influence and inspire (again hopefully) those (teachers as well as students) who find it difficult to look for the inspiration on their own.

So, I do not think of myself as a teacher (at least not the generally accepted connotation described above). And what does it mean for my students?

Well, I guess, they would describe it as “expect unexpected”. In my experience, they are usually shocked at the beginning of term but eventually get used to that and welcome any kind of “experiment” in learning a new language. I admit that I often fail or come across obstacles on my way but after all it teaches me something new (again and again).

One of the most fascinating aspects in all this experimenting is that I gain really a lot from it all, more than I could hope for. There are times when I have to look for and reveal the skills I didn’t actually know I possess (singing and acting in my case J – still working on storytelling, especially telling the jokes which I am terrible at).

Another one of the amazing things is that using all those styles, variations, techniques and possibilities I can help my students see what is around them and what they can actually use for their benefit but also help them find their own way on the path of learning (which neither starts nor finishes in the classroom).

Yes, I don’t feel like a teacher and the people in my classroom are certainly not the only ones to be called learners.

If you would like to get a notion of what is going on in my classroom these days, see the following links – my RECENT experiments with adult classes.

technology related activities easy to use in various situations

 “I never teach my students. I simply provide the situations in which they can learn.” Einstein

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I want to thank Vladka who kindly accepted to write a blog post for my blog. I’m so happy that I had the chance to meet her and I’m so happy that I have wonderful people in my PLN to accompany me during my journey.

vladkaI am an English language teacher in Kosice, Slovakia. I have MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Ecology from University of Presov in Slovakia and certificate in Teaching Business English from English Language Centre in Brighton. I am trying to motivate and inspire my students so that their learning do not finish with the bell in the school. My favourite areas are Learner Autonomy, Homework in the 21st century and Teacher Development. I blog about my teaching experience http://vladimiramichalkova.edublogs.org/ and you can also follow me on Twitter @vladkaslniecko.

I was chosen as a winner of Diana Eastment Commemorative Award 2011 for a lesson plan using technology in the classroom.

Using Songs by Anna Musielak

Part of the series From my PLN

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Music is everywhere, it surrounds us from the moment we are born – well even before that;) My father is a music lover so my earliest childhood memories revolve around singing, dancing and „making” my own music. I loved to record songs or my covers of rhymes;) I never had a  great voice but I was very passionate about singing (and listening to music). I was a very lively child and my mum said that when I listened to music those where the few moments I was”calmer” and let her work a bit;)

song2

I started learning English when I was quite young – my parents were my first teachers. And how did they do it? Through songs of course. Old Macdonald, Hokey Pokey, ABC and many more…When I was a teenager my father played The Beatles or The Rolling Stones to me, asking whether I can pick up and understand some words (he does it till this day, sometimes with very complicated lyrics;)). That is why, as a person who cannot imagine life without music and never leaves home without an Ipod, I think it is important to use songs in the ELT classroom. If we are passionate about something  – we should share it with our learners. I try to pass my love to music onto my daughter as well – she is four and loves singing:) And that is how I teach her English – through songs and chants:)

On my lessons I like to use songs that are not very well known because then the response seems to be „fresher” somehow . I mix the less common songs with the classic ones and I think that lessons with more than one song work best. Here is a lesson plan for young adults using three songs.

 

Level: FCE/CAE

The aim of this lesson was to talk about various types of love and relationship, as well as to focus on grammatical expressions talking about regrets and the past (wish/regret/modals in the past/would)

Apart from listening, grammar and vocabulary skills were also practised and the lesson continued with a writing project.

On this lesson I used three songs – each about a different kind of love such as motherly love, unrequited love or lost love. We started the lesson by looking at the word cloud made up of keywords from those three songs. Students were supposed to predict the content and discuss the themes in pairs or groups.

 

At that point students were presented with the lyrics of the first song – and here I decided to gap the text. They skimmed it and asked about words that were new. They tried to predict what music genre it was and who was singing this song. Later on, they listened and filled the gaps. After completing the task in groups, they checked their predictions and discussed the type of relationship/love presented. They decided what keywords conveyed the meaning and discussed the grammatical structures talking about the past and regrets.

 

The be good Tanyas  

Momsong

You said to yourself that we did not love you
All of the years didn’t mean nothing
You told yourself we would not forgive you
Mistakes that you made would keep us separated

Comin’ home hard day done
Comin’ home hard day done

Don’t you know it’s your laugh we laugh that
pulls us through
And the strength and the love that we carry
We got it from you

 

With the second song the task was similar but the lyrics were jumbled.  Again the students familiarized themselves with the text and tried to predict the music genre and main theme.

Lee DeWyze

 “A Song About Love”


I used to make you cry,
but I haven’t smiled since you left.
Can you undo ‘Goodbye’,
its a word I wish I cud forget.
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
But its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

It was you who took the blame,
even though we both knew who was wrong.
Yeah I’m calling out your name,
every time I’m singing this song.
Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me but its time to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

Coz its over, yeah its over
U told me you love me and to try to move on.
its hard to get up when you fall,
so I wrote a song about love
and its sad cuz it won’t be enough.
so I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.

And last but not least,  it was time for the third song, this time in full version. Students read the text to get the main idea. The vocabulary was checked and students were asked to search for keywords presenting the main idea. After that they listened to the song.

 

 Eric Clapton

“Layla”

What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long.
You know it’s just your foolish pride.

Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.

Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.

 After listening students were presented with two images and had to decide which one suited best to the last song. They had to justify and defend their opinion, of course.

song3

  song4

After listening to all three songs it was time for comparison and contrast. We started with the themes and various types of love moving on to more analytical tasks, such as vocabulary and grammar comparison (how many different tenses were used, how did the author express regrets and wishes etc).

We decided together how the songs could be made shorter – which words could be reduced without changing the meaning and how to expand them by adding more nouns, adjectives or verbs.

As homework students were asked to change the format of chosen texts e.g. turn them into a newspaper article or a screenplay.

The lesson continued with lots of follow up projects and students themselves found songs dealing with chosen topics they wanted to discuss and analyze:)

The reduction/expansion and media transferred ideas are inspired by Alan Maley’s procedures

AnnaMusielak

Anna Musielak is a a teacher and teacher trainer from Poland. She is  also a drama  and literature enthusiast. If you want to follow her on twitter,  she is @AnnaMusielak

I’d like to thank Ania for this wonderful contribution to the song lessons and this blog. I’m glad I had the chance to attend her workshop at TESOL France and admired her enthusiasm for teaching.

Thanks Ania, being part of my PLN…

JUST A TEACHER by Arjana Blazic

Part of the series From my PLN

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Before I joined Twitter I never gave presentations or write-ups. I was rarely interviewed for newspapers, TV or radio.

Twitter has magically brought change to my life. It all started with Shelly’s tweet about glogster, a fantastic tool for creating posters. I immediately signed up and opened accounts for my students. When I introduced them to glogster they were delighted and even thanked me for that, which I found really rewarding. As I like travelling very much, I quickly came up with the idea of creating virtual postcards. I wanted my students to share information on their country with their peers and tell them what travel books can’t and don’t.

After they were done with their posters, we decided to make them public. For this purpose, and after several tweets by the members of my PLN, I opened up a wiki and named it Greetings from the world. My students embedded their posters and I informed them that we had to find partners from other countries. Yeah, right, they said. I tweeted about it and Viviana and her students added a new page about Brazil in less than a week. Candace followed with her gifted class of Oklahoman students. Eva and Culya’s students joined us with their amazing posters. My students kept asking me where and how I find these awesome teachers and students. Twitter, I kept saying proudly, and, well, yes, boastfully. And there came others, all equally eager to share and collaborate, to learn from each other and to respect each other: Monika from Colorado, Valerie from Louisiana, Dan from the UK, Shannon from Iowa, Judy from N. Carolina, Clara and Jose from Portugal, Vicky from Australia, Shyam from India and Rositsa from Bulgaria.

Then we got shortlisted for the Edublog Best Educational Wiki 2009. We won, and I explained the victory to myself and whoever wanted to listen to me, that we got so many votes only because this was the first Croatian project ever to be shortlisted for this award.

Then I applied for The Microsoft Innovative Teacher competition and won the first prize. I was utterly flabbergasted. What did it mean? This was not about the votes anymore, there were 30 outstanding Croatian-only projects and the judges selected mine! Could it be that my project was so good?

From March 23-25 I presented the project at the Innovative Education Forum in Berlin. There were 80 amazingly creative projects, set up by amazingly innovative educators from 40 European countries. The Greetings reached the semifinals and I’ll be going  to Capetown, South Africa later this year to participate at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum. I still can’t believe that my project has come so far!

I mean, it was just a simple idea. I could never have dreamed about where this project would take me. I never did it with fame, money, write-ups, presentations (I’m an extremely shy presenter, by the way) on my mind! I just did it for my students, because I’m just a teacher.

I’d like to thank Eva, my dear Twitter friend, for this great opportunity to write a post for her fantastic blog.

Arjana Blazic is just a teacher who tweets and runs the Greetings from the world wiki, which you’re more than welcome to join.

ariberlin

 

I’d like to thank Arjana Blazic for this wonderful first guest post on my blog. She says she is just a teacher but we all know that she is a teacher who inspires and I’m very happy to be part of her great project.

 

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