Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Logical Fallacies

We talk a lot about helping students develop their critical thinking skills and build stronger arguments, and I'm always looking for ways to approach this skill. This poster is probably too advanced for most of our students, but it might be useful to review some of these concepts with students at the higher levels - or it might serve as a useful reference tool for the teacher.



The larger of the files have extra text, including hilarious illustrations of the fallacies. The sample ad hominem argument: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reader Ideas At The New York Times

There's an interesting lesson for English language learners up at the Learning Network at the New York Times right now. Take a look!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Postcrossing

Postcrossing is "a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world." From the site:
The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.
Maybe this is something your students would like? Perhaps you could do this as a class project, or perhaps you could suggest it as an activity for the students to pursue on their own. The unofficial language of the project is English, so it's an informal and fun way for students to practice their writing. I've been doing the project for about two months now, and I have a lot of fun sending interesting postcards - but I have the most fun finding one in the mail. It's the best surprise! Here's a gallery of the cards I've received so far.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teacher Ideas: Green If You Get It, Red If You Don't

We are trying something new with the Media Center blog this term: teacher ideas. Teachers can write short articles, submit them to me, and we'll post them on the blog. At the end of the term, we will collect and publish these articles in the form of a newsletter. Our hope is that the blog becomes a useful vehicle for sharing teaching ideas with one another throughout the term, on an ongoing basis. Thanks to Jeanine for the first submission!

Image courtesy of Kate Ter Haar on Flickr.

Green If You Get It, Red If You Don't, by Jeanine Efthimiou

As I was going through renovation work last fall and spending lots of my time in hardware stores, I passed by paint color sample cards many times a week and an idea crossed my mind. I thought that if some students may be too shy or feel embarrassed to say that they don’t understand something in the classroom, they might feel more comfortable showing it visually using those cards.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caine's Arcade

Had I seen this sooner, I would have definitely made an activity to go with it! This is a great little story about creativity, entrepreneurship, a smart child, and a supportive group of adults. Use it in class, or just watch for fun.


Caine's Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Media Center Workshop: Navigating The Blog & New Lab Functions

Join us on Thursday, April 12 or Friday, April 13 from 1:00 - 2:00 for a Media Center workshop. We will explore ways of navigating the Media Center blog and using it as a vehicle for reaching other useful teaching sites. We will also review some new functions in the equipment in the Media Center.

Blog (detall)
Photo courtesy of Lady Madonna on Flickr.

Two Activities and Three Songs

Welcome back, everybody, and happy spring! These are the new activities outside the Media Center for the spring term. The worksheets are available on the board outside C311, the binders in the teachers' computer room and at the teacher's desk in C311, or on the wiki.

The three songs are current hits from different genres. Each activity has a vocabulary focus.


This Taylor Swift song is a country-influenced lullaby, and it appears on the soundtrack to The Hunger Games. The cloze activity focuses on nouns.


This Gotye song contains some interesting verb phrases (to cut offto let go, to make sense, to read into, to screw over) . The cloze activity focuses on nouns as well as verbs and verb phrases.


This B.o.B song contains a lot of proper nouns and their adjective forms; the activity focuses on those.

The two activities have conversation components, and are probably better suited for class use and not individual study.


Battleground is a Hulu television production about the American electoral process set in the swing state of Wisconsin. The trailer is a nice jumping off point for the series as a whole, and could be used to introduce vocabulary and concepts about the political process in the US to students.


Teaching A Halal Way To Make A Living is a video that accompanies the article The Tutor Speaks Cabby at The New York Times. The activity has some comprehension questions, and a simple discussion question.