Showing posts with label engagement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label engagement. Show all posts

Thursday, May 07, 2015

TESOL 2015 - Kahoot: A Game Platform to Spice Up your Classes

TESOL 2015 - Kahoot – A Game Platform to Spice Up your Classes

Just another thing I discovered in TESOL International Conference in Toronto. Actually, my colleague Ana Cristina Gerin had used it and mentioned it in one of our EdTech meetings. I was a bit busy with other projects and did not have time to try it out, though. So, while in the last TESOL conference, I had the chance of attending a 25 minute session in the Electronic Village in which I had a hands on experience with the tool. Back to my routine, I decided to give it a try and my students and I just loved it. Kahoot is free and it is in its own words is “ a classroom response system which creates an engaging learning space, through a game-based digital pedagogy.” To use it you will need internet connection and a device (iPad, smart phone) for each pair of students. So, let me explain to you how it works.

Create your own 

First, you will have to join Kahoot. After you create your account, you can create your own games (called kahoots). You can create three kinds of activities: quizzes, discussions, and surveys. To create a new kahoot, you will have to click on “new” and add your questions. Once you are done, it will be saved to your account and you can play it as many times as you wish. Besides that, you can also share your creations with your friends if you happen to know their user names.

Find other Kahoots

Once you are in, you can also use one of the thousands of public activities you will find for free on their site. To do this you will just have to use the search feature, find the one or ones you are looking for and check them to see if it suits your purposes.

Play the Game

Now that you are in, it is time to use it in class. You should first log on to your account and choose the game you want to play. Next, you should ask your students to open their device’ browser and search for Kahoot. The search will give them two results. Ask them to open the Kahoot it link. Once they do that, the platform will ask for a game pin. This is when you will have to launch the game by clicking on “play.” The next step will involve students choosing their nicknames, which can be a combination of the paired students’ names. Once everyone joins the game you can start playing. After each question, the platform gives a score ranking students as first, second, third, and so on.

A Gift

I have created two games for my Teens 7. So, here they are,

What did she say?   A quiz on reported speech.

What's the correct answer?  A quiz to test will and going to future.

I really need to work on tagging and creating names that will help others finding my quizzes.

A Tutorial

Here is a tutorial to help visual learners to grasp it a bit better.



Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Reading your Students




“Reading” is a skill you will find yourself cultivating in your students from day one in the classroom until the end of the semester. They use reading to find the right classroom, to register the date and their teacher’s name, to find the Resource Center or the Coordinator’s Office. Reading ability will determine the ease (or difficulty) with which the students interpret written instructions to an exercise or participate in a scripted dialog in a textbook.

Reading may one day lead your students into enlightening research, the expansion of comfortable dimensions of knowledge, the tingle of literary adventure or romance.

But….are you “reading” your students?

Many teachers begin a semester with intense concern for the lesson plan, the materials they will use, the technologies they will employ in the process. Have they reliably led the class from point A to point D, with demonstrably positive results (evident in the students’ overall performance)?

In following the trajectory of a prescribed teaching path, the instructors become so intent on the intermediate and end goals that they may overlook the signs that indicate how the students - on a less obvious level - are absorbing or reacting to the class in question.

Are you (the teacher) attentive to the following “reading” signals: 

  • Willing and consistent eye contact 
  •  Alert and energetic posture (vs slouching and lounging)
  •  Precision in repetition (vs relatively soundless mouthing, avoidance) 
  •  Interested, forthcoming collaboration with fellow students
  •  Alacrity in response to task initiation and follow-through (vs sluggish foot-dragging that results in frustrated task completion) 
  •  Tone of voice (confident vs timid) and nature of attitude (positive projection vs reticent or somewhat surly rejection) 
  •  Choice of seating (outside the teacher’s peripheral vision or within easy visual “reach”) 
Reading accurately and with sensitivity; it can make a difference in task success, and an even bigger difference in classroom and lesson management.

Katy Cox

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Daring and doing: the first decade


Professional development is a big deal for us here at the Casa. So much so that we hold our very own yearly seminars, which are attended not only by our local TEFL community but also by professionals coming from different cities and states in Brazil. It is an amazing opportunity to strengthen our "PD muscle" and connect with amazing professionals and individuals from all over the globe. The 2014 edition of the CTJ TEFL Seminar was no different, and yet, it had a special flavor of accomplishment to it, since this year we celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The day began with ESL professor Rob Jenkins' plenary on a topic which never gets old - motivation. Rob reminded us of the importance of successfully developing an atmosphere that fosters student confidence, and that we should always be deeply aware of the difference between teaching and learning. That teaching has to be regarded as a byproduct of learning, and that it is our role as teachers to be deeply aware that what may seem to be great, solid teaching may not necessarily result in learning, especially if we find ourselves teaching lessons in spite of the learners and their individual learning styles, cognitive abilities, and unique personalities.

Later on, I had the pleasure of engaging a group of ten fellow teachers and professionals in my Seminar presentation "On wearing two hats: Teaching and responding to writing". I began my talk explaining how the idea for that session had come up. That it had actually sprung up from a training session I had delivered earlier this year, and from the connections and the contributions made by this group of pre-service teachers who were absolutely motivated to learn more about teaching effective writing lessons, as well as providing effective corrective feedback on students' writings. I also mentioned the fact that I'd begun blogging earlier this year, sharing with them the one feature of blogging that I appreciate the most (other than the fact that I simply love writing), which is the possibility of connecting with others. It was a very productive session, thanks to the amazing contributions made by my colleagues throughout. We got to discuss extremely important concepts when it comes to teaching writing. The first one is how fostering a sense of audience in our students is critical in actually motivating them to write. The second, the awareness that our students are in a quest for finding their voice and that we teachers need to nurture that.

After a lovely lunch (some delicious feijoada) by the Paranoá lake with a dear friend, I had the pleasure of attending an ever so useful session called "Mobile devices in the EFL classroom: What's App 101", delivered/facilitated by fellow teachers Daniela LyraLeonardo Sampaio and Paola Barbieri Hanna. The session began with some very pertinent discussion on the topic of cell phone use in the classroom, and how we deal with excessive student texting during lessons, for example. We also had the chance of clarifying any doubts we had regarding the use and the functions of What's App, followed by some discussion on sensible social media use policy in schools. Daniela Lyra took us through the SAMR model, explaining each of its stages with some practical classroom examples. The session progressed into a more hands-on stage, with each of the facilitators working separately with smaller groups, sharing some extremely engaging activities in which students use What's App in so many effective ways for learning and practicing the language.

It was then time for the last plenary of the Seminar, a virtual plenary delivered by RELOBrazil EFL consultant Heather Benucci. The title of the plenary says it all: "Care and feeding required: Sustaining your personal learning network (PLN)". Heather shared with us some smart strategies for building and sustaining a strong PLN, as well as the countless possibilities of achieving professional development goals with the support of a solid PLN. One particular aspect she discussed called my attention. The fact that, after a while, and after you have managed to build a good PLN, we need to beware of the echo chamber effect. We need to try and diversify our connections by finding professionals and individuals who may not have similar views as our own, and from whom we may actually learn new things and broaden our perspectives, stepping out of the comfort zone. Another highlight of her plenary was an amazing video by Derek Sivers. It reminded me of how I felt before I began blogging and building my beloved PLN.



So, I leave you with this bit:

Maybe what's obvious to you is amazing to someone else.

Ponder that for a while.

Clarissa Bezerra