Friday, March 30, 2012

Teacher Christian P. Hndez.: Guidelines for new (and not so new) teachers Part ...

Teacher Christian P. Hndez.: Guidelines for new (and not so new) teachers Part ...: One of the most significant things you can do to affect student conduct is to establish effective daily events in your classroom. Doing s...

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Guidelines for new (and not so new) teachers Part 1

One of the most significant things you can do to affect student conduct is to establish effective daily events in your classroom. Doing so will allow you to be organized and appear in control. It will also allow students to take responsibility for themselves because they will know what to do. Time is also used more effectively in classrooms with established daily procedures. The tips that follow offer suggestions that will help you establish effective daily procedures in your classroom.

What You Should Do:
Set up procedures for the following classroom activities:

  • Entering the classroom
  • Taking roll
  • Dealing with tardy students 
  • Dealing with students who lack materials 
  • Labeling student papers 
  • Preparing to leave at the end of class 

  How To Do It: 

Entering the Classroom 
Begin each lesson with a brief warm-up or ice breaker activity such as a game, vocabulary review, etc, in the following link you can find many warm-ups or ice breaker activities to use in your classes:
Warm-ups and Icebreakers for classroom games and activities

Before students arrive, post the warm-up activity on the board and make a list of the materials needed for the lesson. If there is a new homework assignment, post it on the board, too. If necessary, remind students to sit in their assigned seats. It may be helpful (and even necessary) to attribute a small portion of a daily grade to these warm-up exercises, you can then include it as a participation grade, but being a fun, short and interactive activity, everyone would be delighted and eager to participate.

Taking Roll
Use a quick method of taking roll as students participate in the opening activity or as they turn in their homework. On the first day of school, set up a seating chart, which you can use to support the students in sitting in their assigned seats. Throughout the year, use the chart to take roll quickly. If students say someone is not absent, but the student is not in the room, simply state that to be considered present a person needs to be working or sitting down when the bell rings or when you enter the classroom.

Dealing with Tardy Students 
Have a plan for dealing with tardy students. An alternative would be to allow a small interruption, quickly update your attendance sheet and move on. Be sure to point out to the tardy student the consequence of habitual tardiness. You may be able to prevent a majority of late students by holding them accountable for lateness. For example, you might dock a student's participation grade by half a point for every three times tardy.

Dealing with Students Who Lack Materials
If you are unable to get extra copies of your books, have students who arrive without their book share with classmates whom you designate. But not bringing the school materials should have a consequence; permitting students get by without the required materials might send the signal that it is okay to leave materials at home.

Labeling Student Papers
Ask students to write their name, the date, your name, the period number, and the assignment on every paper they turn in to you. You will probably need to remind students of this often. Don´t accept any unlabeled paper, returning it immediately to the student that turned it to you and asking him to write the proper information. Explain that if you cannot determine to whom a paper belongs or which assignment it might be, you cannot give credit for the work.

Preparing to Leave at the End of Class
Everything that has a beginning should have an end to be complete, have a signal for when students may prepare to wrap up the class. For most students, the bell means it is time to drop everything, stuff it all in their backpacks, and leave or wait for their next class, lunch, or home. You can ask students not to leave until you have signaled that class is over. Request that they not pick up their backpacks or other bags until they are dismissed. Allow time for closure and clarification of assignments. Then give your dismissal signal. Try always to include a game, a song, an activity which is fun, short and interactive as a wrap-up to leave them craving for more, but also that has something to do with the day´s lesson.

To be continued………………………

 If you have any comments or more ideas on this topics, please share your insights and knowledge!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some tips for English Language Teaching

The number of English Language Learners is growing  all over the world, as teachers we try to respond to the needs of these students, here are a few basic best practices that might help.  Using these practices makes our lessons more efficient and effective. I include a few "worst" practices in the hope that they will not be repeated!


Do model for students what they are expected to do or produce, especially for new skills, vocabulary or activities, by explaining and demonstrating the learning actions, sharing your thinking processes aloud, and showing good teacher and student work samples. Modeling promotes learning and motivation, as well as increasing student self-confidence -- they will have a stronger belief that they can accomplish the learning task if they follow steps that were demonstrated.
Don't just tell students what to do and expect them to do it.

Rate of Speech and Wait Time

Do speak slowly and clearly, and provide students with enough time to formulate their responses, whether in speaking or in writing. Remember, they are thinking and producing in two or more languages! After asking a question, wait for a few seconds before calling on someone to respond. This "wait time" provides all students with an opportunity to think and process, and especially gives ELLs a needed period to formulate a response.
Don't speak too fast, and if a student tells you they didn't understand what you said, never, ever repeat the same thing in a louder voice!

Use of Non-Linguistic Cues

Do use visuals, sketches, gestures, intonation, and other non-verbal cues to make both language and content more accessible to students. Teaching with visual representations of concepts can be hugely helpful to ELLs.

Don't stand in front of the class and lecture, or rely on a textbook as your only "visual aid."

Giving Instructions

Do give verbal and written instructions -- this practice can help all learners, especially ELLs. In addition, it is far easier for a teacher to point to the board in response to the inevitable repeated question, "What are we supposed to do?"
Don't act surprised if students are lost when you haven't clearly written and explained step-by-step directions.

Check for Understanding

Do regularly check that students are understanding the lesson. After an explanation or lesson, a teacher could say, "Please put thumbs up, thumbs down, or sideways to let me know if this is clear, and it's perfectly fine if you don't understand or are unsure -- I just need to know." This last phrase is essential if you want students to respond honestly. Teachers can also have students quickly answer on a Post-It note that they place on their desks. The teacher can then quickly circulate to check responses.
When teachers regularly check for understanding in the classroom, students become increasingly aware of monitoring their own understanding, which serves as a model of good study skills. It also helps ensure that students are learning, thinking, understanding, comprehending, and processing at high levels.
Don't simply ask, "Are there any questions?" This is not an effective way to gauge what all your students are thinking. Waiting until the end of class to see what people write in their learning log is not going to provide timely feedback. Also, don't assume that students are understanding because they are smiling and nodding their heads -- sometimes they are just being polite!

Encourage Development of Home Language

Do encourage students to continue building their literacy skills in their home language, also known as "L1." Research has found that learning to read in the home language promotes reading achievement in the second language as "transfer" occurs. These "transfers" may include phonological awareness, comprehension skills, and background knowledge.
While the research on transfer of L1 skills to L2 cannot be denied, it doesn't mean that we should not encourage the use of English in class and outside of the classroom.
Don't completely "ban" students from using their native language in the classroom. Forbidding students from using their primary languages does not promote a positive learning environment where students feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. What you can do is turn it into a competition, assigning or taking away points for using L1.
This is certainly not a complete guide -- they are just a few of the most basic practices to keep in mind when teaching English Language Learners or a Second Language Learner.  If you agree with the previous tips and practices or would like to add more of your own, feel free to leave a comment!

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Who took the cookie?.... Teaching tips (chant used in the Rassias workshop).

Song: "Who took the cookie?"

Here´s a fun way to sing and play this chant!

Chant used in the Rassias workshop!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Microsoft Partners in Learning

Microsoft partners in learning

A great website for teachers who are interested in working with ICT, great resources and best of all, it´s free!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Técnicas para mejorar tu comprensión lectora en otro idioma.

Cursar un programa académico en un idioma no nativo, representa un verdadero reto para el que no todos se sienten preparados, sin importar la cantidad de cursos del idioma que hayan realizado anteriormente. Por ello, es importante que sepas que al igual que todo lo que conlleva el emigrar como estudiante, la comprensión lectora en otro idioma supone  también un proceso de adaptación.  

Y aunque muchos estudiantes extranjeros se quejan de no ser capaces de leer, absorber y tomar notas, todo al mismo tiempo, sí existen varias herramientas y técnicas, que debes tomar en cuenta para evitar sentirte desmotivado al iniciar tus estudios en el extranjero y lograr el éxito académico.

En primer  lugar, debes saber que la principal manera para mejorar tu compresión en la lectura es precisamente leyendo más. Revisa todo el material que encuentres a la mano, no sólo el de tu curso, sino también revistas y libros; en este paso Internet juega un papel muy importante, pues en la red encontrarás un sin número de materiales de lectura en diferentes idiomas que te servirán para tu práctica diaria.

Lo más recomendable es que ingreses a páginas cuyos contenidos sean confiables, por ejemplo, portales informativos internacionales de renombre (como la BBC, el  New York Times, CNN, entre muchos otros), además de buscar e-books de autores reconocidos. Para hacerte más fácil el hábito de lectura, puedes iniciar seleccionando noticias, artículos  y textos sobre temas que despierten tu interés, como tecnología, arte, cultura o lo que se te ocurra.

Prepara el ambiente 

Al momento de realizar una lectura es recomendable que evites cualquier distracción, por esto se sugiere que apagues tu teléfono celular, escojas un área con buena iluminación y tengas a la mano una libreta donde tomar algunos apuntes, además de un pequeño refrigerio o una botella de agua mineral para evitar detener tu lectura. 

Para mejorar la comprensión del contenido debes:
1. Leer silenciosamente, el hacerlo en voz alta requiere mayor concentración y esfuerzo para pronunciar perfectamente las palabras, a menos que el motivo de tu lectura sea mejorar la pronunciación, lo más recomendable es hacerlo silenciosamente.
2. Realizar primero una lectura exploratoria del contenido, así tendrás una idea global  de la misma y sabrás qué frases o palabras desconocidas puedes encontrar.
3. No te detengas para buscar en el diccionario al ver una palabra que no entiendes, intenta darle significado por el contexto.
4. Lo más importante es comprender y retener las ideas y significados principales, sin detenerte en cada detalle.
5. Subraya sólo las ideas más importantes. Al finalizar toma notas de las ideas principales, para esto puedes valerte de palabras claves, esquemas, mapas mentales, etcétera.
6. Varía los temas, géneros y la complejidad de los textos. Aunque es bueno iniciar con temas que te parezcan interesantes, es recomendable enfrentarse a distintos tópicos, de esta forma ampliarás tu conocimientos generales y podrías descubrir nuevos intereses.
7. Haz pausas periódicas para reflexionar sobre lo que has leído hasta el momento y asegurarte de que has entendido.
8. Comparte lo que has aprendido de la lectura con tus profesores y compañeros de curso, de esta forma reforzaras el conocimiento y ganaras soltura en el idioma.
Si pones en práctica estas recomendaciones tendrás un gran éxito en tus estudios, notarás como se incrementa tu comprensión lectora en el nuevo idioma, leerás más rápido y será más sencillo entender en clases a tus profesores, a la vez que tomas notas.
De igual forma, puedes buscar orientación en tu universidad , la mayoría de las instituciones cuentan con servicios de asesoría académica para estudiantes internacionales, donde ofrecen diversos cursos para perfeccionar el idioma y mejorar  la comprensión lectora.

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