PowToon: For Presentations and Videos

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

In a number of past posts, I have talked about delivering content in a variety of ways using sites like Prezi for giving presentations as well as GlogsterEDU, Youtube, and eduCanon to flip your classroom. Today, I have another great resource to add to the mix. It’s PowToon for education!

According to the website, “PowToon is an online animated presentation software that allows anyone to create amazing animated presentations and animated explainer videos,” which means it could replace your current presentation software and/or help you flip your classroom. Continue reading

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TESOL Mourns the Loss of Dr. James E. Alatis, Founding Member

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis
Dr. James E. Alatis

Dr. James E. Alatis

With great sadness, TESOL International Association mourns the loss of Dr. James E. Alatis, a founding member of TESOL and its first executive director. Jim Alatis touched many lives during his tenure as TESOL executive director and throughout his career.

The first time I met Jim, I didn’t know it was him! It was 20 years ago, at my first TESOL Convention, in 1995, at Long Beach, California. I was overwhelmed with the scale and scope of the conference, as it was the biggest event I’d ever attended at that time. I remember talking with someone who said to me, “It’s OK. Joining TESOL is like becoming a member of an extended, international family.” I was comforted by that, and I later learned that the person I’d met was Jim Alatis. That brief initial encounter has stayed with me all these years and helped to shape everything I’ve done within the association since then.

Dr. Alatis will be sorely missed. For more about his life and work, please read the statement from TESOL.

Please feel free to share your memories of Dr. Alatis in the comments.

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Speed Paraphrasing

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Learning how to paraphrase is a crucial academic writing skill. Teaching paraphrasing is also a great way to teach critical thinking skills, because the struggle to write a succinct paraphrase forces students to wrestle with the underlying meaning of a writer’s statement. Here’s how I introduced this topic in my English for academic purposes class this semester.

Rather than give my students long blocks of text to paraphrase, I started with simple aphorisms by some of America’s greatest writers. Take, for instance, the following quotation attributed to Ernest Hemingway:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” Continue reading

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ELs Living With Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

I’d like to welcome and thank guest blogger Debbie Zacarian, whose impressive credits are listed below. Debbie and I are presenting a TESOL- sponsored a webinar on Wednesday, 4 March 2015, about Teaching English Learners Living With Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress. We are also presenting a half-day Preconvention Institute on this topic on 25 March from 1 pm–5 pm at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto, Canada.

Last month, a film, Spare Parts, was released. It’s based on the true story (and book) about four undocumented Latino high school students who formed a robotics team that beat MIT engineering students in a contest. Their personal stories as well as the recent questions and comments heard at President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting on Immigration shine a much-needed light on a large and growing segment of the nation’s population.

Continue reading

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David Kertzner’s Two Cents on Technology in ESP

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

As an ESPer, I listen to David Kertzner when he talks. Why? I expect to learn something. David’s company, Proactive English, is described on its website as “a web-integrated, English language and communication training provider serving multinational corporations in the U.S. and abroad.” In this TESOL Blog post, I would like to focus on David’s article in the most recent ESPIS newsletter. His article is titled My Two Cents on Technology (and includes a photo of David, which will be useful if you want to greet him when you see him at the TESOL annual convention in Toronto in March). Continue reading

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Building Vocabulary Through Word Parts: 6 Helpful Websites

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

Prefixes, suffixes, and roots are very helpful in vocabulary building. If students know the meaning of word parts (especially of Greek and Latin origin), they will more likely be able to understand the meaning of a word in a particular context and increase their vocabulary arsenal.

In my last blog I described seven websites that allow teachers to make vocabulary flashcards and to use a variety of flashcards on different topics. Today I ‘d like to share six websites that could help students build their vocabulary knowledge through prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Some activities can also be used in the classroom. Continue reading

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Elevate Your Mind: Brain Training

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Seeing as I do not own a smart device capable of running apps (yet), I do not often have the opportunity to share apps with you, but today I bring you a free app for Apple and Android devices called Elevate, which is meant to improve communication and memory. According to USA Today, Elevate was named Apple’s best free app of 2014 and, before diversifying to include a wide range of exercises, actually began with language learners in mind. It is worth recommending to students for a number of reasons. Continue reading

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Research Matters to TESOL

Deena Boraie
Deena Boraie

I am delighted to announce the completion of TESOL International Association’s 2014 Research Agenda (RA). We hope you will find it of interest and value to you. This RA is the result of the work of a task force consisting of eight leading TESOL professionals who are both researchers and practitioners. The RA was developed on the basis of the expert guidance of the members of the task force as well as extensive consultations with various stakeholders and TESOL members.

Two previous RAs have been produced, the first in 2000 and the second in 2004. This RA, unlike the previous RAs, is accompanied with suggestions on ways to use the agenda and put it into actual practice. This ensures that the new RA is directly relevant to TESOL’s mission of advancing the quality of English language teaching through professional development, research, standards, and advocacy. Continue reading

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Teaching Idioms to Young English Learners

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Well-chosen children’s literature can provide an excellent opportunity to explicitly teach the concept of idiomatic language to young English learners.  Thematic units on friendship or feelings are an especially good way to introduce idioms and tie them to the lesson theme and a children’s book.

Here is a list of “heart idiom”s for these lessons: Continue reading

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Disney Music for Business English Training

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

How do you get your students to visualize certain business situations when you are in the classroom? For such visualization, I have found Disney’s “Behind the Mic” video of the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen to be very helpful in my classes. (Actually, the students learned more from the video than I had intended.) In this TESOL Blog post, I will explain why and how I used the video. In addition, I will explain how the use of the video above led to the use of another related video. Continue reading

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