Monday, September 30, 2013

Web 2.0 tools... How to choose the right one?

Start working with Web 2.0 tools in the classroom can be a hard and painful process that can lead to throw in the towel, before getting some results.

But if you have a little patience and keep some considerations, I promise you some immediate successes.

Internet offers many and different tools to work English as a Second Language in the class: online text editors, visual dictionaries, audio books, virtual Bulletin Board, corkboards, presentation and display tools, interactive games, micro-blogging and even a complete ESL Lab full of audio files to listen and learn English.

But... how do we choose the right one? 
How to build our “Web 2.0 Tool Kit”?

I found an article in with suggestions for building our “Web 2.0 toolkit” and for finding the right tool for every occasion.

One first idea we do never forget is: "Like real tools, your Web 2.0 “Tool Kit,” will get old, and better tools will come around, so always remember to go back through the process every once in a while to see if it’s time to re-tool. Also, by all means continue to add new tools and grow it as well!!"

Here it is a very useful 2.0 tools web. If you click on the + you can have some examples of these tools.

Another interesting article is Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching and Learning, in which TomPreskett suggests you ask the following questions befor to add a new 2.0 tool to your tool kit:
  • How intuitive is it? 
  • How many stages are there? 
  • How easy are key functions? 
  • Does it do what I want it to? 
  • Is the language and terminology they use right for my context? 
  • How much learning would it take for learners to work it out? 
  • How does it look, and is this what I had in mind? 

I suggest you to read about the ways others approach the problem and introduce you to a lot of different, powerful and useful tools.

But meanwhile you decide (or not!) how to organize your Web 2.0 toolkit, you can start having a look to this site: K-12 Tech Tools.

 It is actually a collaborative wiki driven by a core group, but also relies on contributions and editing from its members (842 nowadays!). Its goal is making "it easier for you to integrate technology into your classroom."

The site includes "more than 1,000 free online technology tools...categorized by subject, grade level, and standards." I looked at English (vocabulary development and writing tools), Tips for Integrating Technology into Your Classroom, and their listings for Art 6-8 sites, and I was impressed with their listings.

And do not forget to have a look at Flipped Learning if you are interested in “flipping” your classroom.

Something that should be appreciated is that the links are frequently checked, reviewed and corrected, so you won’t find many dead links!

Finally: Improve your confidence level, explore new technology tools, look up online tutorials/videos, spend a few hours familiarizing yourself with different software programs and online tools, and ask for help!

You won't want to teach a lesson with a technology part if you don't feel confident using technology.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Resources for Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Preschool

If you are one of those brave ESL Teachers who has decided to start teaching English as a Foreign Language in kindergarten, then this post may be of your interest.

Anyone who has taught preschoolers will tell you that it is a challenge. While they are cute, funny and often eager to learn, preschoolers are also energetic, active and often difficult to keep on any particular task for more than a few minutes at a time.
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That is why it takes a special kind of teacher and special ideas for your ESL preschool class to work. Games, stories and songs are the perfect answer to the challenge of teaching preschool ESL classes.

For this reason it is very important to find good materials, tips and suggestions that help you preparing your ESL sessions. 

First, I would like to recommend “Preschool Teaching” an article written by Sandee McHugh-McBride and Judie Haynes, and published in In this you will find themes, lessons, and materials to implement in your preschool classes, as well as some ideas to effectively teach the ELLs in your preschool class. It is worth to devote some time for the reading and for to do some research through the links they propose.

And second, do not miss this blog I especially like from a Venezuelan teacher, Rosa Amelia, in which you can find hundreds of resources, most of them made by her.

There is a complete explanation on how to use each resource and links to for downloading them.

Due to the cut out of expenses and investment in public education, and the lack of time to plan and carry a successful session with very young learners, I think we, teachers, must do a "perfect" exercice of imagination to save time and effort preparing and sharing materials.

It is a good way to start with!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thinking Global, Being Global

"By introducing children early on to concepts of globalization, we stand a greater chance of the next generation utilizing technology and creativity to create a healthier and happier world.

The key is presenting our interconnection to kids in a fun and positive manner, helping them to understand the wonders of our differences and the wonders of our similarities, so they grow up feeling empowered and excited to be part of this global family!" -EcoMom

Have you ever visited the pyramids? Do you like sushi? Can you say “hello” in Swahili? Discover what it means to be global in this sweet and lighthearted book, What Does It Mean to Be Global?, by author Rana DiOrio.

Have a look at the story and think about the possibilities to use it in your classroom, in how to teach and learn the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children's traditions, religions, and values the world over.

Sparks intellectual curiosity about other parts of the world

But Being Global is also a bilingual storybook and activity iPad app. 

It is an interactive edutainment app that can be a conversation starter for parents and educators to learn and cultivate conscious awareness. Being Global has a cool coloring book mode, a journal mode, and a lesson plan mode for teachers who want to integrate Being Global into their classroom. The narrator has a wonderfully soothing voice and the music is spot-on.

It is worth to have a look!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Some Ideas for the ESL class (or for any class!)

ESL Ideas is a Pinterest Board, compiled by Amanda Avens with lots and lots of resources, tips and ideas for the teaching of English as a second language.

The majority of her Pins are resources for upper primary or secondary students, but as you will see some of them can be adapted to young learners.

Have a look at these and some more other ideas collected from this Social Network!

What about using m&m's as a prompt for speaking?

Or this cause and effect Angry Birds style?

Or this Twitter door to tweet on their way out the class?
A big display to make visible future jobs

A nice door message to welcome children the first days

 A classroom helpers organizer

Today is parents meeting! This is my desk!

Keeping your displays tuned

 Working diversity in class?

A display in iPod shape

I will try them in my class this school year, for sure!

Monday, September 02, 2013

GETTING TO KNOW YOU:Classroom Activities for Starting Off the School Year

As a new school year begins, teachers and students renew relationships after the long summer break, see new faces, and establish their routines for the year.

The activities in this packet (written by Tom Roderick) will help you get the year off to a good start by engaging you and your students in getting to know each other, practicing listening and oral skills, and discussing the values that will shape your classroom community.

There are separate sets of activities for grades Pre-K to 2, grades 3 to 5, and grades 6
to 12. They are adapted from exercises in the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program and the 4Rs Program (Reading, Writing, Respect & Resolution).

The booklet can be downloaded from the website,

Have a preview in the following screen.
For additional activities, you can visit the on-line teacher resource center at

You can also have some very good "getting to know you" activities, collaborative and group activities from this material published in Spanish:

Juegos para Usar en cursos i reuniones. Es una compilación de técnicas de animación, rompehielos y juegos que pueden ser usados por cualquier persona que necesite estimular la participación en la pràctica.