Monday, December 6, 2010


The Times ran a profile of a new web startup this weekend, and some of you may find this really interesting. Figment is a site for young adult readers and writers, and it seems to operate as partly a social networking tool for book lovers and partly as an online space to create and store writing. What do you think?

Monday, November 29, 2010

An Activity for Semester's End

This Storycorps interview offers a unique insight into being John Lennon's son, not to mention being Yoko Ono as a child! A vocabulary-oriented activity is the in the binder and on the board outside the Media Center.

Sean Lennon and his mother Yoko Ono

Image from Storycorps

Friday, November 19, 2010

Media Center Opinion Survey

If you are teaching in the Media Center this term, we'd like you to complete this short survey. Your feedback helps us run the lab as best we can, so please participate!

Click here to take survey.

Your student? Image by Gent, via Flickr.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A TELC Success Story

One of our alumni, Jhony Guerrero, just won the Goldman Sachs Technology Bridge Program Internship for 2011. This is a paid internship which is open to community college students who are interested in furthering their studies in technology at a four-year institution. He'll either work in application development or in infrastructure engineering. If you see Jhony, be sure to congratulate him!

Throwing Stars
meddygarnet on Flickr

Monday, November 15, 2010


Do you feel like talking about Thanksgiving in class? Check out these teaching resources from The New York Times. There's a good assortment of materials here, from simple crosswords and gap-fill activities to topical and critical articles.

Vintage Portrait Photo Picture of a Child holding a Turkey Bird

Beverly and Pack via Flickr

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TED and Photography

The power of the image and the TED projects were recurring themes at Professional Development Day. How fitting, then, that the 2011 TED Prize has been awarded to the French photographer and street artist JR. Click through after the pictures for an interview and video.

 Meet JR: Video interview and FAQ about the 2011 TED Prize winner

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Professional Development Day Redux

I am a writer.
David Turnbull's inspiration, via Flickr

TELC is full of teachers with the talents and attitudes necessary to prepare English-language learners for the road ahead. Professional Development Day was a success because of your willingness to share, and I want to thank you.

Special thanks go to Liz Clark of the LaGuardia English department (her presentation is here) for helping us to understand the challenges our students face when they get to the credit programs. We learned from Michele that the new CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CAT-W) emphasizes the development of ideas and critical thinking more than the previous entrance test. Based on what I saw today, it seems that many teachers are well on their way in preparing students for these heightened expectations at the testing stage and beyond.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TELC Teachers: Blogging!

Check out TELC Journal, Jeff Schuster's ESL teaching blog. Does anybody else have a web project they'd like to share?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Professional Development Day: Focus On Writing

This year's Professional Development Day will focus on the teaching of writing, and I'm excited that so many faculty members have agreed to share their ideas. Click here for the program.

If you are planning to attend on November 10, please RSVP by this Wednesday (November 3) on the sign-up sheet in the teachers' room. That way we can order enough lunch for everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Subway Stories

 Image from the New York Times archives

If you have been talking about the subway in class (I know many of you have been!), consider showing your students one or both of these interactive features from the New York Times.

This collection at Lens, the Times' photography blog, captures the contemporary feeling of the subway system. This interactive feature sorts images by two-decade periods to give a sense of the history of the subway.

Students could choose a favorite image to write about or discuss, or you could use these images to generate vocabulary for a lesson on subway stories.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Web Fun: Food Blogs

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, we may find ourselves thinking more about cooking. Why not bring this topic into the classroom? Exploring recipes is a creative way to study and teach the imperative form. Check out these food blogs for inspiration!

Foodgawker is great for recipes.

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting on Cupcake Project via Foodgawker.

Foodspotting is great for recommendations and photography.

Carnitas tacos at La Esquina by Scott Zee on Foodspotting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PBS Teachers: A Resource

Check out the teachers' site at for lesson ideas. The lesson plans make great use of the network's programming, and can be used to support a wide variety of classroom topics. You can search by program title or content area. Some samples...

Talking about poetry, contemporary art forms, or hip hop? This lesson could start some unexpected discussions.

This lesson uses the Faces of America series to examine historical immigration in the United States, and serves as a basis for understanding contemporary anti-immigration sentiments.

Look around and see what you like!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Web Fun: Young Me / Now Me

I came across this talk on TED today given by Ze Frank, and I remembered how much I enjoy his latest project, Young Me / Now Me.

In many cases these photo projects are funny, in some cases they are sad. Have a look! It's a great topic for the classroom, either as discussion material, a class project, or a writing project.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Current Events in the Classroom: Chilean Miners

If you want to talk about the miners' rescue, here's a reading comprehension exercise from the New York Times.

 Jose Manuel De La Maza/Chilean Presidential Press Office, via Associated Press

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lessons From TESOL

Have you heard of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch? Check out this new lesson plan up at the TESOL Resource Center.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Things At StoryCorps

Check out these new animated shorts at StoryCorps! Look for an activity supporting The Icing on the Cake on Monday. Until then, how about a little Studs Terkel to brighten your day?

The Human Voice from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Teaching Resources at The New York Times

Thank you to everyone who came to this week's workshop in the Media Center!

For those who couldn't make it, I encourage you to visit The Learning Network at the New York Times. The people in charge of this site are veteran schoolteachers, and they are building an amazing (and vast!) repository of teaching resources and tools. Some of the highlights include printable worksheets to go with articles, collected lesson plans by topic, and a great section on working with English language learners.

Image by Ruby Washington/New York Times

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome Back!

We have fantastic new computers in the teachers room! All three machines have updated versions of software applications and completely clean hard drives. We have many people to thank for this, primarily the IT department - please thank them if you see them. In order to keep these computers moving fast and efficiently, the hard drives will be wiped clean at the end of every day. Anything you want saved should either go on a portable drive or be emailed to your personal account.

We'll have one professional development opportunity in the Media Center this term, on Thursday 9/23 and Friday, 9/24 from 1:00 - 2:00pm. We'll explore a few of the many and varied resources the New York Times provides for teachers, for both the online and print editions of the paper. We'll also examine the possibility of getting copies of POV documentaries directly from the organization and building lessons around them. A sample of their fascinating work is in the video below.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mobile Technology In The Classroom

TESOL's In The News blog recently linked to an article in the Guardian about the use of mobile technologies in the ESL classroom. More than 70% of teachers surveyed for the article thought mobile devices would play an increasingly important role in ESL instruction, but only half of those respondents currently make use of mobile technologies in their own classes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Smart Classrooms

You've probably seen computer podiums making their way into your classrooms, and you've maybe even noticed work crews drilling and wiring right above your heads as you try to teach. As inconvenient as this is, it does mean a very bright spot not so far ahead.

The college is in the process of converting every classroom on campus to a smart room, with an internet connection and sound and image projection linked to the classroom computer. We don't have a firm date, but we hope that by winter term all of our assigned classrooms will be fully 'smart'.

As those of you currently teaching in smart rooms already know, there are many ways the equipment can be used to enhance what already happens in the class. Impromptu internet searches, watching of video, even uploading and viewing of photos and video just taken in class... the possibilities are huge. We'll be looking to you for your best ideas and practices in the fall semester so we can share them with the whole faculty.

Until then, happy last days of summer!

 Cartoon by the hilarious Toothpaste For Dinner.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Suggested Readings

Felicia shared these suggested readings for teaching writing.

1. Bean, John. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001

2. Didion, Joan “Why I Write.” New York Times, 1976

3. Elbow, Peter. Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process.New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.

4. Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews. Plimpton, George (ed). Viking: New York, 1992.

5. Zinsser, William. On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Non-Fiction. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

Joan Didion image courtesy of Mighty Writers on Flickr.
Mighty Joan Didion Quote

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reasons to Write

Thanks to Felicia for a thought-provoking brown bag today. She shared this video with us at the end. You might also want to check out the National Writing Project (as well as their YouTube channel) for insights into both the process and teaching of writing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wednesday's Brown Bag: Reasons to Write

Join us on Wednesday for the final brown bag of the summer: Reasons to Write.

Image by J Dueck via Flickr.

In this workshop, we will share ideas on the reasons for and practice of writing. We will also explore various approaches to teaching this skill. Time permitting, we will engage in a brief writing activity.

Facilitator: Felicia
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
11:30 – 12:30

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oral Feedback Brown Bag: A Recap

Thank you to everybody who participated in today's workshop on corrective feedback in the classroom. I left with fresh ideas about how to approach this element of teaching, and I hope you felt the same way.

You can find the handout summarizing current research and methods here. Many thanks to Liz for sharing her presentation with us as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reminder - Oral Feedback Brown Bag This Thursday

Image courtesy of soylentgreen23 on Flickr.

Liz will be leading this workshop from 11:30 - 12:30 on Thursday in C438. Hope you can make it!

Giving Oral Feedback in Class:  What to Correct?  When to Correct?  How to Correct? (July 29)
Even in the most learner-centered class, instructor feedback helps speed up the learning process by providing information that could take students a long time to learn on their own. In this brown bag we will discuss the decisions we make about error correction and explore techniques for eliciting more accurate language from students.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Key to the City: Public Spaces, Public Art and Field Trips

Thanks to everyone who came to the first in the summer brown bag series! We had a productive and lively conversation about field trip ideas, and I'm happy to learn I work in the company of such knowledgeable history buffs and intrepid city explorers.

For those of you who were unable to attend, you can find the handout here. Our colleagues are our best resources, so let's keep the conversation going about successful trips and stimulating classroom ideas.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Professional Development in Summer 2010

Image (and spelling, presumably) courtesy of Jay Photography on Flickr.

Mark your calendars for these summer brown bag workshops. We'll meet during the class break (11:30 - 12:30 in C438), munch on our lunches, and share ideas. Hope to see you there! 

Key to the City: Public Spaces, Public Art and Field Trips (July 15) 
Key to the City is a public art project that allows New Yorkers to visit and 'unlock' interesting spaces in all five boroughs. Join us as we talk about the project and how it might inspire field trip and curriculum ideas for your classes this summer.

Giving Oral Feedback in Class:  What to Correct?  When to Correct?  How to Correct? (July 29)
Even in the most learner-centered class, instructor feedback helps speed up the learning process by providing information that could take students a long time to learn on their own. In this brown bag we will discuss the decisions we make about error correction and explore techniques for eliciting more accurate language from students.

Reasons to Write (August 4)
In this workshop, we will share ideas on the reasons for and practice of writing.  We will also explore various approaches to teaching this skill.  Time permitting, we will engage in a brief writing activity.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quick and Easy Tech Ideas for Student Writing

When we teach writing (or speaking, for that matter), we focus on the process of writing as well as the final product.

Here are some tools that might help you as a writing (or speaking!) teacher.

  1. For brainstorming and prewriting (or prespeaking) work, try One Word. The site times its users, who get 60 seconds to freewrite about a word-of-the-day. You can also find examples of other people's brainstorming activities here to model to a reluctant class.
  2. The Great Sentences blog is a wonderful resource for finding samples of specific grammar points. Teachers collaborate to find and share sentences from literature which can serve as models for student writing, and the site is organized by grammatical, literary and rhetorical features. Highly recommended!
  3. If you are in need of a graphic organizer to help your students with idea development and organization, check out Houghton Mifflin's collection of printable and downloadable worksheets.
  4. Storybird is a web-based storyboarding site. Students can construct narratives and other pieces of creative writing, and they can collaborate with one another as well. The companion artwork is licensed by participating artists, and the final products are impressive.
Happy teaching!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using the Flip Camera

Video 1: See how easy it is to record video!

Video 2: How do I get these videos on the computer?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ESL Teachers on VoiceThread

A fantastic video on the use of VoiceThread in the classroom.

Here are some great ideas on how ESL/EFL teachers around the globe are using VoiceThread for instruction.

Exploring VoiceThread

What is VoiceThread?

From the website,

"A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too."

Click the link to enter VoiceThread itself (you'll leave this blog), and follow the instructions on your paper.