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Give them homework they will love rsss


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What do you do when you teach in a computerless classroom and you happen to be a technogeek? Moreover, you teach adult students who claim they have no time to work on their English between classes? …

What do you do when you teach in a computerless classroom and you happen to be a technogeek? Moreover, you teach adult students who claim they have no time to work on their English between classes? And then, you notice that their writing is lagging behind their other competences? You can accept the situation, or you can try to change something.

Online forums can help here, by creating a real need for communication. While I haven’t flipped my classroom completely, I have managed to rotate it slightly. To motivate the students to write, I tempted them with authentic online materials, such as YouTube videos, short stories, non-fiction texts and webquests. In my presentation I will show how these serve as effective writing prompts. Moreover, they help both the teacher and the students explore their own interests and hobbies, which might not always be catered for in the textbooks.

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  • 1. Give Them Homework They Will Love Using Online Forums to Teach Writing Natasa Bozic Grojic
  • 2. What’ll We Be Doing? •First I’ll tell you something about my teaching situation •Then we will look at some practical ideas for writing activities •Finally we’ll look at some issues •There’ll be some hands-on activities •There will be free resources and links
  • 3. Your Dreams Out the Window If you could see anything out the window, what “view” would you choose? Think of something related to your teaching career, your students, your classroom, or your everyday duties at work.
  • 4. Did your dream involve any of the following: •Motivating your students to do more homework? •Exposing your students to authentic reading and listening materials? •Helping your students practice their writing?
  • 5. If your answer is “yes” to any of the above questions... ...then stay with me. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I believe I have asked some useful questions.
  • 6. My Teaching Situation •I work with busy adults. •No grades, no way to “force” them to do their homework.
  • 7. I happen to be ... ... a technogeek.
  • 8. The Global Supermarket cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by David Blackwell.:
  • 9. Question 1 How do I share my online resources with my students?
  • 10. Online Forums •Both the students and I access the resources from home •When it comes to technology, I teach “mixed ability classes” •Tools that are easy to use •Forums encourage conversation
  • 11. Question 2 How do I motivate the students to write? To answer this, I had to look at their reasons and excuses for not writing... cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by jDevaun:
  • 12. Excuses Too busy. Can’t write:( I have nothing to say.
  • 13. Solutions •Give them something to write about (an image, a video clip, a text) •Tell them to keep writing and not to worry about mistakes •Make the tasks short cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Paul Watson:
  • 14. Question 3 •Share, where? cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Photomatt28:
  • 15. Platforms •For my teaching situation, the platform I want them to write on has to be easy and straightforward to use •It also needs to encourage discussion •I use Yahoo Groups for discussions and a PBWorks wiki as a support site •I often add a Facebook Group to this mix
  • 16. Resources •To create a tasty meal, use only the best ingredients cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by toholio:
  • 17. Ingredients •Images •YouTube videos •readings listening “silent movies” non-fiction fiction
  • 18. Using Images to describe, tell a story, speculate... cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by seier+seier:
  • 19. •What is strange or unusual about this picture? •If you could see anything out your window, what view would you choose? •If you could see your dream come true when you look out that window, what would you see? •Have you heard of the expression “My ship has come in”? What would that mean for you?
  • 20. Search Tools: Compfight If you are planning to embed the image into your website, don’t forget to set Compfight to search for Creative Commons licenced images.
  • 21. Mystery Object cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by PatrickYHC: How did the supermarket trolley end up in the wood? What else happened here? Write a story.
  • 22. You can link back to any image on the web, not just CC images That way you can find some really beautiful images for your discussion forums. cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by h.koppdelaney:
  • 23. Search Tools: Flickriver Interesting today: If you decided to write a story using this picture, what kind of story would it be? Thriller, horror, love story...? Would it have a happy ending?
  • 24. Flickr Galleries
  • 25. Videos Listening followed by writing. cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by trindade.joao:
  • 26. Time 10 Questions In their own words: "A selection of reader-submitted questions on serves as the basis for a candid interview with each newsmaker."
  • 27. 10 Questions for Sting cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Scott Ableman:
  • 28. From 10 Questions for Sting
  • 29. Some Ideas for This Video: •Watch the interview and write down the questions asked. •Come up with 10 new questions for Sting. What do you think his answers would be like? •If you had to give an interview, what would it be about? •Which famous person would you interview for the 10 questions site? Write 10 questions for them. •Write 10 questions for your teacher and interview her (ouch).
  • 30. A Response
  • 31. Is This Our Future?
  • 32. Extensive Listening •Pamela Meyer – How to Spot a Liar: •Sir Ken Robinson – Do Schools Kill Creativity: •Angela Mayers – You Matter: •Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech:
  • 33. “Silent Movies” •Great because they can be used in many different ways and adapted to various levels and purposes. •What would you do with the following clip? Write down some questions you would ask your students? At which stage of the course would you use it?
  • 34. The Tree
  • 35. The Tree - Activities •1. Why did the boy try to move the tree? Surely he knew he wasn't strong enough for that? •2. Why was the boy first joined by the children? Why did they look so happy? •3. Discuss: "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” How would you define the boy? A born leader? A crazy kid? Or just someone who felt that he had to do something? •4. Why did the people join the boy? •5. Give the clip a new title. •6. If you had to define the force that had moved the tree, what would you say? Was it the boy's initiative? Or the team spirit of everybody else? Both? Something else? •7. Can we always change the circumstances in which we live, or are we sometimes helpless? Discuss. •8. How important is team work in today's society? •9. How important is team work in a language classroom? •10. Do you feel that you are a part of a team in your classroom? Why/not? •Now retell the story in the first person singular, pretending to be one of the people you saw in the clip. •Video at YouTube: feature=player_embedded&v=yEunlQ8AKes
  • 36. Reading activities •These can be much longer than the ones you do in class. Since they are written for native speakers, they tend to be more difficult too. You can help your students with a vocabulary list if you feel they need one. •Reading for gist, skimming and scanning can be practised. •Both fiction and non-fiction can be used.
  • 37. Non-Fiction •These texts can follow the students’ interests and expertise, as well as the topics in the textbook. •Students should feel free to suggest their own texts and topics. cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Thomas Hawk:
  • 38. Travel This was the topic that was done extensively in one of our B1 textbooks. We extended it even further with online reading activities. We “travelled” a lot during that course. cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Tambako the Jaguar:
  • 39. Unusual Hotels Let's imagine you can stay in any of these unusual but beautiful hotels. Which one would you choose? And why? What would you do there? Is there a hotel you would never stay in? Why?
  • 40. Tools – Storify •Lets you create “stories” by putting together text, video, tweets and images. And you can add your own comments in between. cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by lachicadelfagot:
  • 41. Unusual Travel Destinations
  • 42. Planning A Trip to London Congratulations! Our generous school has decided to send one group of students to a trip to London. You were selected as the best group. There is one catch, however. Everything you do in London, you have to do together. So, plan carefully... Each student will be responsible for one day of your stay. Plan what you will do in the morning and what you will leave for the afternoon. Where will you go in the evening? Browse through the websites listed here and choose carefully. Don’t forget to comment on what other people have chosen. Do you agree with their choice? Or would you prefer to do something else?
  • 43. Words and Their Stories
  • 44. Expressions with “Cold”
  • 45. “Cold” Questions
  • 46. Cold – A Response
  • 47. Fiction cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by marcp_dmoz: 8686/
  • 48. Blurbs
  • 49. Short Stories Amazing online collections of short stories cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by radioher:
  • 50.
  • 51. American Stories
  • 52. Story of an Hour – A Response
  • 53. Issues •Conversations are slow. What takes a couple of minutes in the classroom, might take days, even weeks in a forum. Learn to wait •Unequal participation •Unequal contribution •Netiquette •Errors
  • 54. What You Might Do •Teach netiquette •Ask for a lot of feedback •Encourage everyone to participate •Talk in private to the people who are not contributing enough •Discuss forums in class •Let them suggest, change, share •Don’t interfere too much •Learn to step back
  • 55. Mistakes – to correct or not to correct •Don’t correct in the forum •At first, just let them write •Send them their mistakes in a private email •Provide additional exercises •Help them learn how to auto-correct
  • 56. Let’s Connect •My email: •My blog: •Twitter: @lunas994 •Facebook: •My eportfolio: •My class wikis: •Links from this presentation: