Initially, when teaching in IEPs, I used Extensive Reading with intermediate students. These students were already accustomed to reading some in English, although they usually only did so for class purposes. Day (2011) has found several benefits of using Extensive Reading--it can improve reading comprehension, help students employer greater use of reading strategies, increase reading speed, and increase writing proficiency and vocabulary. Plus, because students often enjoy it, they become more excited about reading in general.Read More
Classes and teaching duties ended last week for the semester. Whew--it's been a whirlwind of a year! Over the past two days, I've attended Faculty Summer Institute; I'll be posting later on what I've gained from the conference. This week, as I've reflected on the last semester and classes I taught, I've been thinking of the new tools that I used to help manage class. Two of these are free apps that you might wish to use too.Read More
A few years ago at Teachers College, I took a course in Content Area Literacy with Professor Margorie Siegel. I really felt like I walked away with a much better understanding of what other content area classes look like in the K-12 world thanks to this course. Additionally, during this time, I learned about what is now one of my favorite tools to spice up a lesson or materials--Comic Life.
I think that this easy-to-use program has been well known by many educators for a number of years. The program is free (at least for the first 30 days), and I find it to be very intuitive. There are already a number of articles written that justify using and creating comics in the ESL/EFL or language classroom.
What I like to do is to create listening activities using this program. I had students watch a short documentary about my friend, Paul Miller, who had recently quit the internet for a year. Then, I took screenshots of the documentary to make a comic about it. I asked students to then fill in the speech bubbles in the comic using the information they had heard in the documentary. This seemed to really engage my students, and I think they liked the less traditional activity. Usually, we watch Ted Talks, take notes, and answer questions about the notes, so this was certainly going in a different direction for a listening activity. If you haven't yet checked out Comic Life, you should! Give yourself 20 minutes or so to play around with it--I think you'll be pleased by the creative assignments and activities you can make.