The Game: The object of Synonym Clues is to review vocabulary words. These words can come from everyday language or they can be related to any area of curriculum. Knowing synonyms helps students understand the meanings of words and it helps them explore how words are similar, yet different.
Research Says: This game fits the criteria for classroom games as outlined in How to Choose Games (Tyson, 2000). Synonym Clues is:
- more than fun
- involves “friendly competition”
- keeps all of the students involved and interested
- encourages students to focus on the use of language rather than on the language itself
- gives students a chance to learn, practice, or review specific language material
It is essential that English learners (ELs) are taught to write from the time they first learn English. I have always been convinced that English learners write more comprehensively if they begin with nonfiction reading and writing and their writing is scaffolded. The emphasis of the Common Core Standards for nonfiction reading and writing supports this view. I don’t want to give the impression, however, that beginning ELs will be able to participate in grade-level writing using Common Core Standards.
When students first begin to write in English, I suggest the use of sentence frames to provide ELs with structure and organization. Continue reading
A Guest Post by Walton Burns
Walton Burns has taught English for 13 years, starting in the Peace Corps in Vanuautu. Since then, he’s worked around the world. His students have been Kazakh oil executives, Afghan high school students, and Chinese video game champions. As a writer, he was on the author team for Inside Writing, a genre-based writing course book for Oxford University Press. He currently writes ESL materials and blogs at englishadvantage.info.
I originally wrote this after getting back from Portland, as I watched it rain outside my window. Now a month after the TESOL 2014 convention, I’m revisiting it, and, of course, it’s raining again! At the convention, I met many new people, saw many new books, and got many new ideas for teaching. In short, I have a huge new to-do list! Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
When I first came to Japan in the mid 80s, I was a relatively young teacher. I recall working with mid-level managers in the training center of a large Sony factory. Sometimes the managers would disagree with the answers I gave to the activities in a textbook. However, they stopped challenging me when I did one simple thing—I explained that my answers were from the teacher’s manual. (I would also open the teacher’s manual and point to the answer in the text.) I was amazed at how quickly the students accepted the authority of the teacher’s manual. Continue reading
As I mentioned in some of my previous posts, the concept of audience is not always easy to comprehend for second language writers. And even when students seem to have an idea what this term means conceptually, they may still struggle applying it to their writing. In my post today, I would like to share a few activities built around video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) which, as we know, are freely available online and thus are easily accessible to most students and teachers. I found these videos to be an excellent tool in helping second language writers better understand the concept of audience. Continue reading
At its meeting in March, the TESOL Board of Directors received the final report from the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF). This report was made available online, and the task force’s findings were shared with leaders at the 2014 TESOL International Convention. Initial feedback collected from leaders at the convention is available here.
The final piece of the report – the recommended options and alternatives – is being released now for public feedback. Those documents are available here.
The information in these documents was developed and submitted to the board by the GRTF; no decisions have been made as to which options to pursue. The board highly values your input, feedback, and comments. The TESOL Board of Directors would like to receive your feedback before moving forward to ensure a transparent and collaborative decision-making process.
From now until 31 May 2014, the board invites you to submit your feedback and comments in response to the GRTF report. You are encouraged not only to respond to the options and alternatives, but to the findings from their review. Please use the space below to post your comments and feedback.
This comment period will be the first of two periods of public feedback as the board considers next steps in the governance review process. (A full timeline is available here.) As you will see in the report, there is much to consider in ensuring that TESOL International Association continues to meet the needs of members and the field now and into the future.
Depending on the native language(s) of the students you teach, you might want to send your students to Duolingo for independent language learning and practice activities. Duolingo is a free website and app designed for language learners. It is absolutely fantastic!
Register to get started. Once registered, you choose your native language to see what languages are available for you to study. If your students speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish, Mandarin, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Romanian, Hindi, Indonesian, or Greek as their native language, then they can start learning and practicing English on Duolingo today. Continue reading
The Game: The object of Multiple Meaning Puzzlers is to introduce and review multiple meaning words.
Research Says: It is important to employ games that “…[make] the foreign language immediately useful to the children. It brings the target language to life” (Using Games in an EFL Class for Children, Y. Mei and J. Yu-jing, 2000); Multiple Meaning Puzzlers does just that. Continue reading
Smartphones are now so ubiquitous in adult ESL classrooms that the relationship between students and their phones is always an engaging conversation topic. Even more important, it’s a great way to help student practice one of the most challenging speaking skills—accurately posing questions.
In my classes, I usually set up this activity up by projecting the cartoon that appeared on the cover of the July 23, 2012 issue of the New Yorker magazine. Flanked by palm trees, members of a family are posed for a group vacation photo at the beach. However, instead of smiling gleefully for the camera, everyone is looking down, staring at their smartphones. Continue reading