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[27 Apr 2014 | 3 Comments | ]
Teaching Basic Computer Literacy Handout

Download the handout of my webinar on teaching typing and basic word processing skills to students for awesome websites and fun, adaptable activities that students love.

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Teaching »

[23 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]

This looks interesting–an online class on ELT Reading Materials Design by Marcos Benevides. It seems to focus on adapting a work and creating a graded reader, but the website also says it covers creating original materials as well.
It’s a four week course from September 7th to the 28th for $49 or $75 if you want a certificate. It’s through iTDi and the teacher is Marcos Benevides, who authored Widgets and Whodunit (a course book that I have mentioned before as one I wish I had authored myself). Check out …Continue

This post is mainly for my own benefit, a little reminder that I want to learn more about learning missions. I missed the Webinar by Shelly Terrell but she put up links to a list of learning mission links as well as her slides from her talk. Can’t wait to look at them. I love anything that brings the real world into the classroom or vice versa.


[10 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]

I was honored to be part of the first ever TOBELTA Web Conference sponsored by TESL Toronto and BELTA. My presentation seemed to be well received and I would love to hear feedback. If you missed my live show, they’ve put up the recording of my presentation and you can also access the the slides alone. Finally I’ve done Past the Five Paragraph Essay Handoutthat provides a little more information about the benefits of the Genre Approach and why the five paragraph essay needs to die! It also has …Continue

Resources »

[7 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]

Materials Writing does have a creative side, believe it or not. You do have to come up with stories and topics and fake names and website addresses. I’ve been slowly accumulating places where I like to go to find fake names or topics or sample dialogues to follow.

Fictional Universities and Colleges Just a fun list of famous fictional universities and colleges. Easily changeable by adding a North, South or New to the end.
Anagram Maker A fun way to take a well-known word or brand and turn it into something new. PS My name …Continue

Fun »

[6 Aug 2014 | Comments Off | ]

Become a Teacher – What it really takes! – YouTube.

How to »

[22 Jul 2014 | Comments Off | ]

I had this saved as a draft and when I came back to look at it now, I realized that this is one of my least favorite parts of teaching and the part I feel most helpless dealing with. What do you do when you are about to go over the homework and a student or two tell you they haven’t done it? If you tell them they can do it while everyone else reviews, you’re basically telling students it’s okay not to do the homework. If you tell them to …Continue

Teaching »

[16 Jul 2014 | Comments Off | ]

I mentioned last week that the TESOL Convention had ignited my interest in actual materials design i.e. what the materials look like on the page. Many years ago (about three  or four) I stumbled on Jason Renshaw’s blog which features quite a bit about materials design. I have always remembered the 3:1 principle which has informed a lot of what I do.
This is a really nice video on how to make a very professional looking template with a header and a footer. I really like the results as they hit that …Continue

Resources »

[9 Jul 2014 | Comments Off | ]

This is a wonderful video that presents a very clear outline of how to write an article that can get published in a magazine like Voices or TESOL Connections, written by the editor of IATEFL Voices, Alison Schwetlick.
I really like the outline that she lays out and I’ve used it for every article I’ve written since then–and both of those got published. Which doesn’t sound very encouraging until I tell you that I’d never had any articles published before. Her template is as follows in case you haven’t got time to …Continue

Fun »

[7 Jul 2014 | Comments Off | ]

I honestly couldn’t watch the whole thing.

I’ve actually been reloading this one and listening to it as catchy background music while I search.

Resources »

[24 Jun 2014 | Comments Off | ]

I was consulting the Michigan Academic Speech Corpus recently and discovered this passage that does wonders for demonstrating the purpose of intonation:
SU-f: where’s Jerry? he was here
SU-f: oh no
S13: okay, um, approval, of the agenda why don’t you guys take a second to look over
SU-m: who needs the agenda?
S13: the agenda?
SU-m: okay

I first read this as Where’s Jerry. He was here. Oh No! (meaning “Something horrible must have happened to Jerry”, as opposed to “Oh, I must have been wrong about him being here because I just saw the guy …Continue

Fun »

[23 Jun 2014 | Comments Off | ]


Activity/Game, Paid Content »

[12 Jun 2014 | No Comment | ]

This is less a lesson plan and more a worksheet to guide students through writing the problem-solution essay: Guide to a problem solution essay.
I found that when teaching the problem-solution essay, it was difficult to get students to understand how to do more than write a list of solutions. So I deliberately created a slightly complicated problem with lots of potential solutions for students to follow. This can be used as review or even as a test. You can also go through it in class step by step and have students fill it …Continue

Reading »

[22 May 2014 | Comments Off | ]

These are two little exercises I whipped up to test or teach inference: Inference Exercise and Inference Conversations. Inference Conversations is just two short skeleton conversations that students can use to infer from. The Inference Exercise includes two short conversations and a news article. Students analyze the tone and selected sources of the news article to infer the author’s point of view.
It’s easy to incorporate inference into regular reading or listening lessons. We often infer so much subconsciously that we forget to point out the seemingly obvious to our students. But authors expect …Continue

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[9 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

To my collection of resources for teaching students to write a process essay, I am adding a Process Essay Test. I designed this to test both reading skills and writing skills. It asks students to reverse outline a fairly simple process essay about doing well in college. Then students are given practice applying transition words by rewriting a list of instructions as a process paragraph.
Here are a couple of other resources I use to teach the process essay:

Process Essay Graphic Organizer
Details for the Process Essay