Friday, July 31, 2015

Any good at distinguishing dialects? Test your ear here!

I've always loved trying to distinguish where people are from, based on their spoken English. Through the years I've gotten quite good at it - what about you? Here's IDEA (International Dialects of English Archive) and "test your ear". Listen to 20 dialects and try to pinpoint their home country or state/province. Best of luck!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reading and listening - ESL Bits

Slowly I'm phasing myself into work again after a wet summer here in the south of Sweden. Next week I'll sit down and do some planning for the coming school year, but I know for sure that I'm going to use ESL Bits again for some reading and listening. ESL Bits is a fantastic page where you can access short stories, novellas, songs and audiobooks for free. Yes, for free.

Right now I'm looking at a short story called "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki Murakami and I'm thinking of including this short story somewhere in the beginning of the semester as a reading exercise for year 8 or/and 9.

Another interesting short story is  "You're ugly, too" by Lorrie Moore ...haven't finished reading it yet, but I really liked the beginning....promising. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Some post-school year thoughts

After a month of winding down after a busy school year I'm starting to feel ready to slowly start wrapping my mind around another school year. But first, some thoughts about the school year that came to an end in early June.

The highlights of my English lessons last school year were definitely the Mystery Hangouts and Mystery Skypes, that brought the world into the classroom. My students really enjoyed the hangouts and I most certainly did too! As a bonus I got to meet some really nice and fabulous global colleagues and I'm also happy to say that I'll continue working with a couple of them. I have some future projects in mind where I would love some global collaboration.

In May a reporter and photographer visited my 7 graders during an English lesson and a hangout session with New Zealand. Later this fall an article will come out describing how we've worked with hangouts. I'll keep you posted... :)

I've also gotten acquainted with a few new digital tools. I made a list of some digital tools in a previous entry, and following are some tools that I used and really liked:

Canva - great for e.g. making posters, informative tables etc..
Google Forms - I made forms to check the students' understanding and way of learning
Kahoot - always fun and useful to use as a quiz in the classroom
Read Theory - checking my students' reading comprehensions
Thinglink - gathering all the information in one place (links, videos...)
Wordshake - a fun game that we played when we had time to kill

All in all, I'm looking forward to a new school year, starting in mid-August, and I've got many ideas to put to the test. Formative assessment is at the top of my list the coming school year, as well as trying to implement a culture where failure is to become as accepted as a means of learning, as anything else.

Hope your summer is great! I'm leaving you with a photo of the beds in my garden...we still need some more sun but the carrots are on their way and so are the potatoes!