Category Archives: Pedagogy

Using four sided dice for tenses

ESL activity using four sided dice

Four sided dice being used to add variety to an ESL activity.

Recently, I have had great success incorporating four sided dice into the lesson. Because a few of the students do not like sentence drills, role plays or game tasks (oddly!), I have had to find a way to get them talking to each other without me involved.  Then don’t like activity sheets but they like rolling dice.  While normal game dice (six-sided) are great for board type activities and pennies are great for two-sided needs, I had been needing something with just the right number for some basic tenses.  This is great for randomizing their drills

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Screencasting example correcting a student writing assignment

Here is a screencast ESL example of an instructor using a screencast for correcting grammar on a writing assignment.

I found this in the article, “Show me!  Enhanced Feedback Through Screencasting Technology” in the TESL Canada Journal Vol 30 No 1, 2012.

the WERTi project for textual enhancement

Here is a link to WERTi (Working with English Real Texts)

To use it.  Click on the type of English text you want enhanced.  For example, on the left side you can click on articles.  Then select the type of enhancement desired such as highlighting.

Here is an example of a Washington Post technology article: Limit not a word in Apple’s vocabulary

Here is another example from my blog: Unburritable

Although it doesn’t work with every website, it does work with the Washington post website and Word Press blogs.  Thus, if an instructor was keeping a blog with examples for students to read, they could give an un-textually-enhanced link and another one with the textual enhancements.

Here is a presentation with more examples of textual enhancements on the web using WERTi.

Reflections on classrooms and presenting

The dynamic of the classroom is full of inquisitiveness that is hopefully actively engaged.  Though sometimes this active engagement may lack organization, perhaps due to the flow of ideas.  Still, flow would mean a form of organization to the thought process which isn’t always present.  Sometimes in the classroom engagement it appears to be a spill of thought rather than a flow.  It is in these cases of a spill of thought I am reminded of something my nephew, Josh, stated about a particular teaching technique this semester.  He mentioned that there are students in class who appreciate the professor outlining the class time at the beginning of class.  In particular, he noted it allows the student to organize their notes by having the outline as a starting point.  I can understand the tendency, when this is not done, for the many questions in classroom dialog to have a large deviation and it might be difficult for a student to hold on to where the key concepts are given if they are not clearly outlined beforehand.

In particular, I am interested to find out about more about different methods for outlining the topics for people receiving the presentation where the concepts are better able to be held onto when the ideas start spilling out.  As evidence, I am considering two different presentations I gave this semester.  In one case I used the presentation product Prezi and in the other one I used PowerPoint 2007.  In the PowerPoint, I made a slide at the beginning which listed each topic.  I made an effort to summarize the presentation a bit further by grouping similar points so that the slide would not be too boring.  I also made a point to give notice of the active participation the presentation would require of the class so they could prepare.

I was still disappointed in its outcome compared with the Prezi.  The Prezi presents zooming in and out of smaller to larger slides.  Thus, there are linear slides but also within the linearly ordered slides, there can be embedded slides which can be zoomed into.  Therefore, I could create just 5 slides that were in pretty much a square.  Then within each of those slides were other slides I could zoom into.  In this case, my overview amounted to just showing all 5 slides (i.e. the square) at once.  Then when I zoomed out of one square to go to another, the overview would briefly be shown again as subliminal reinforcement even if I didn’t present on it explicitly again.

I am interested a technique for outlining the presentation as an overview with PowerPoint but more interesting as I think the presentational view in Prezi was.  It would be ideal if it better met the criteria for student class reinforcement Josh is using.  Thus, he would then be the final judge on it.