For five weeks in January and February, TESOL experts and participants from around the world engage in collaborative online discussions or hands-on virtual workshops of professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by land-based professional development…and allow a fuller development of ideas than is otherwise possible.
Sessions are free and open to anyone around the globe. It is not necessary to attend the TESOL Convention in order to participate. All you need is access to the Internet. Choose a session from this year’s offerings, listed below. And please inform your colleagues about this unparalleled professional development opportunity!
Nina Liakos On behalf of the EVO Coordination Team
Second, here’s one of my favorite education-related video. It’s a great example of differentiated instruction. In the video, some ducklings were able to get over the curb on their own. However, several found that it was just too high. Look at how someone provides assistance to those having trouble, and how he doesn’t tell them what to do. Instead, he offers it as an option, as a choice they can make. It’s an example of an old community organizing axiom, “If you don’t give people the opportunity to say no, you don’t give them the opportunity to say yes, either.”
And, third, several years ago I received a special Christmas gift from Mary Ochs, a good friend who gave me my first job as a community organizer thirty years ago and who was my mentor during my nineteen year organizing career.
It was an older copy of a very small book titled “Axioms For Organizers” by Fred Ross, Sr.
BAM! Radio, which hosts my weekly ten-minute conversations with guest who make contributions to my Ed Week teacher advice column, has redesigned their website and it looks great. You can even create your own playlists!
You can find all my shows here (well, most of them — the redesign has put them a little behind in posting shows, but I’m show all of them will be up by next week).
Why exactly fast food could be blunting school children’s brains is unclear. A study conducted last year showed that nutrients like iron, which can be lacking in fast food, are essential for the development of a child’s brain. Diets high in fat and cholesterol have also been linked to poorer memory.
As I’ve done every December for the past seven years, I invite readers to share what they think was the best education-related book they read during this calendar year. It doesn’t have to have been published in 2014 — you just have to have read it during the past twelve months.
In addition, please share no more than one or two sentences explaining why you think it was the best one. Please leave the info in the comments section.
You have until December 30th to contribute. As usual, I’ll post the final list, along with who contributed the choices, on New Year’s Day.
Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2014 – Part Two:
ClipDis a new web and smartphone app that lets you type in any sentence and then provides it to you in a short video with actors from popular movies speaking it. Even better, you don’t have to register in order to create one and be provided a unique url address for linking to it. Here’s one I made.
Incredibox, the incredibly easy music-creating site that’s been on The Best Online Sites For Creating Music list for years, has just announced its annual update. Version Four has even more sounds to mix, and will only make it more fun for students to use. I have my English Language Learners create their tracks and then describe — verbally and in writing — why they made their particular composition and what they want people to visualize when they listen to it.
Write About is a new site co-founded by educator John Spencer (his name may be familiar with readers since I’ve previously shared his work many times here). His co-founder is Brad Wilson. Write About provides many (and I mean many) images with writing prompts. Students can write their response and do an audio recording of it. Teachers can create virtual classrooms and provide individual written feedback to student writing. Student creations can be shared publicly or just with their classmates. Teachers can change prompts or upload their own photos. There’s a lot more, too. Plus, you can’t beat the cost (or non-cost):
Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Teachers with multiple classes can add up to 250 students with unlimited posts for $7.95/month.
The Emoji Finder invites you to “Search for emoticons, then copy & paste.” I tried a number of words, and it came up with a variety of emoji icons for all of them. I wouldn’t make it a central tool for my teaching, but I could see inviting my Beginning English Language Learners to have fun with it sometime if we had a few minutes left in the computer lab.
Leap.it is a new search engine that portrays search results in a visually attractive way. One feature that could come in handy for students doing research is that you’re supposed to be able to create something called a “perspective” which appears to just be your own personal collection of sites that could be shared with other. I like that idea, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work.
Thanks to a tweet from Barbara Sakamoto, I learned about site called Unite For Literacy. It has over one-hundred simple books in English that the reader can choose to have narrated in English or their choice of many other languages.
Breaking News is a current events news-reader designed in an intriguing way. You can type in whatever topic you want to read about — soccer, major news, refugees — and you’re provided with a list of headlines to stories about it. Clicking on the headlines will take you to the story. But the real interesting part of the site is that if you click on a globe icon on the upper right of the page, you’ll go to a world map showing you the location of the where the stories are originating. Clicking on the dots will also take you to the story. I’m adding it to The Best Visually Engaging News Sites, which I just completely updated and revised.
Others now have been implementing their own versions. Here are three that began this year, and I assume more are on the way:
The New York Times has created the Chronicle. It’s their version of the Google Books Ngram Viewer, which charts word use over the years in the books they’ve indexed. The Times, though, indexes word usage in its own history. The image at the top of this post shows the results of my charting “love” and “hate.” It looks like love is winning! The Chronicle is very easy to use and no registration is required. It, and the Ngram Viewer, can be used with English Language Learners and other students in a number of ways, ranging from just being a fun and simple way for them to play with words to being a tool to correlate certain word usage with political attitudes (as I did in a recent column at Education Week Teacher).
The same day The New York Times announced their own version of Google’s Ngram Viewer, the online review site Yelp unveiled their own. It’s called Yelp Trends and you can compare how often different words are used in reviews at cities around the world. It’s very easy to use and no registration is required. You can see two examples above that I created – comparing soccer, basketball and jogging in Sacramento and in London. Obviously, soccer isn’t going to be mentioned much in London since they call it football there. I wonder if I shared these with students how many would figure that out? Have students create their own and then challenge their classmates to explain the reason for the differences (after they figure it out themselves) could just be one fun way to use it in class — that is, if Yelp isn’t blocked by school district content filters. You can read more about Yelp Trends at Slate.
Bookworm is another addition to this list. Despite its name, it focuses on word use in the movies, and operates in a similar fashion to the other sites I mentioned. Type in a word or phrase and it will search the dialogue in thousands of movies and TV shows and trace differences over the years.
I still have to post my choices for The Best Infographics of 2014 but, in the meantime, lots of other people are publishing their own choices. So I thought I’d create a separate annual “Best” list of those collections (they also include some that try to explain the year in charts and infographics).