Thursday, February 27, 2014

TELC To College: Spring 2014

17 of our students are entering the college for the spring term. If you see them, congratulate them!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Activity Roundup: Rapper's Delight, Grandparents, WhatsApp

Here are some interesting and current things you could share with your students.

Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show this week, and this segment is an instant classic. Brian Williams and Lester Holt, both NBC news anchors, "perform" Rapper's Delight. Here are the lyrics to the edited version of the song (you can print them, and there are some comprehension questions at the end), and here is a link to the lyrics guide at Rap Genius, in case the students stump you with some questions.

An artist who goes by the name Qozop has an interesting project called Spring-Autumn. This story at NPR explains the project, which photographs grandparents and grandchildren with an interesting twist, and a link to the artist's site is available there as well. These images would make good conversation or writing prompts.

WhatsApp made the news this week! You may not use this app, but your students do; it's overwhelmingly popular outside of the US (and China). This NPR segment on the acquisition by Facebook has both audio and text. You might also want to poll the class and find out which messaging apps they use on their phones to see which is most popular. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Snapchat, Viber, WeChat, Line... here is a list for your reference.

Friday, February 14, 2014

President's Day!

See you on Tuesday!

Recruiting Students For The International Cultural Fair

Morning teachers, can you take a moment or two in class today to spread the word about the upcoming fair, and help to recruit students to represent their countries? We are encouraging students to contact the ambassador from their countries to find ways to get involved. We are also looking for ambassadors from China, Dominican Republic, Peru, Poland, and Thailand... or any other delegation of students who has something to contribute!

Contact information for ambassadors is available in C354, and students who wish to be ambassadors should contact Janeth or Wayne.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lincoln's Birthday

Afternoon and evening teachers, please remind your students that there are no classes on Thursday, February 13 either. Morning teachers, see you Thursday!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Faculty Workshop: Wikis As Autonomous Learning Tools

Kata is offering a small workshop for faculty on Friday, February 21 after classes end for the day. She is hoping to keep this small and casual - perhaps a maximum of 10 people - so please let her know if you would like to attend.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Get Connected! A Basic Internet Skills Workshop

This upcoming workshop (by Kata!) is free for TELC students. They will have the opportunity to get some hands-on guided practice getting on the internet and navigating it. Saturday and evening teachers in particular know how valuable this opportunity is for some of our students.

We need your help getting the word out to students. Please share this post in your classroom, or please direct them to the Facebook event. Since we are targeting people who are not already on the internet, we will also be distributing paper fliers and putting a signup sheet at the front office.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Teacher Ideas: Conversation And Drawing From Images

Students in the morning Level 3 listening and speaking classes took turns as artists and gallery patrons the other day, and Nursen has chosen to share her lesson and pictures with us.

There is a unit on art and museums in American English File, and the students began the unit with listening practice. In the audio, a man describes pictures hanging in a museum. The students did work to understand the script, with a language focus on prepositions of place and terminology related to colors, shapes, and artistic composition. After reviewing these concepts, the students got down to the real work of art making through communication.

Each student brought in a picture of his or her own choosing, or used a sample picture provided by Nursen. Students took turns describing the image to their partners, who did their best to illustrate what was being communicated to them (this took about 35 minutes). After the drawings were completed, students hung the originals and their renderings side-by-side, and the class did a gallery walk, assigning stars to the most accurate renderings (this took about 10 minutes). Click through the slides below to see the amazing results. (You'll find pointilism, a mer-lion, televised football, and Mayan pyramids. TELC is truly diverse.)

Nursen feels strongly that this kind of activity is accessible and motivating for students at lower levels, and I agree with her. She says:

"I love this lesson because it gives students a real purpose to communicate. They only focus on the task at hand without worrying about making mistakes. English becomes a means to get their message across rather than being an end in itself. And needless to say, it is lots of fun!"

Well-said! We would love to hear from other teachers about visual arts in the classroom, so send your ideas my way.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Teacher Ideas: Real Simple Magazine

This idea comes to us from Jeanne and Cathy. Jeanne brings pages from Real Simple magazine into her classes, and she mentioned to Cathy that she found them to be enjoyable for her students. Cathy recently took this page on palm reading into class, and she reported that her students understood the content easily. The text is simple, the layout is clean, there is a good deal of white space, and the graphic is integral to the text. Cathy had a lot of participation in the communicative activities she designed to go with this, and she thinks that the clarity of input helped with that.

This is a case where the print version of the magazine is more useful than the web version. The layout is less clean and the ads are distracting on the web version. The print version, however, is consistently clean and, well, real simple. A Google image search of the terms "real simple magazine layouts" illustrates this nicely. 

Do you ever read this magazine? Would you use it in class? More importantly, should I be worried about my short life line? (Maybe I don't like this illustration after all. This fictional hand will live much longer than my real one.)