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Sandymillin
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Hi Anna, Great to hear you've managed to get permission for your image. i found out about Creative Commons when I started joining in with eltpics, and like you, it's changed the way I approach using images. Thanks very much for mentioning eltpics and my blog. Have you seen the new eltpics blog at takeaphotoand.wordpress.com? Sndy
Thanks very much for mentioning #eltpics. We're nearing 5000 pictures from generous teachers all over the world! Sandy
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2011 on Picture this, if you will... at Learning Twigs
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I really had to think about this. If the materials were for adults, I would have unhesitantly gone for B, but for 10-11 year olds I really don't know. I don't have much experience of teaching that age group and the first set of materials would give me more to fall back on. I wouldn't necessarily use a lot of it, but having it there would make me feel slot better and give me inspiration for how to use the pictures in different ways. Thanks for making me think about this, Sandy
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Hi Jason, It's great to see that the change in job hasn't deprived us of your blog. This issue is just as relevant to the ELT world as it is to any teaching context nowadays, and I think a lot of the ELT resources used with teenagers could be used to develop your new students' literacy too. For example they could use lyricstraining.com to practise sound/spelling relationships using songs that they enjoy listening to. Sandy
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Hi Anna, Thanks very much for linking to the blog. Yours is the first lesson that I know about which has been inspired by it, so you've made my day :) It's great to see how you link together all of the ideas that you've got from so many different places. A pleasure to read! Sandy PS I'm going to post a link to this lesson on the Infinite ELT Ideas page
Hi Jason, I discovered your blog 6 months ago, and since then it has become a must read. It's sad that you're moving away from ELT, but you should always follow your heart and go where the interest takes you. Good luck with you new job! Sandy
Toggle Commented May 10, 2011 on The fork in the road at Learning Twigs
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Hi Jason, Thanks for such a well thought-out analysis of coursebook layout. When quickly assessing coursebooks I often think about how it looks first, but have never done so in as much depth as this - I think one of the reasons I like your material so much is the lack of clutter. As a learner you need literal as well as metaphorical space to think, and giving both students and teachers a less cluttered book would quite possibly allow more ideas to flow in the classroom. A lot of my students complain about the size of the gaps in the textbooks we use, and this is one quite simple way to give them more space - increase font sizes and expand the gaps as you've suggested. Sandy
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Hi Jason, You beat me to it! I was going to ask you for the templates for these materials. I'd love to know how you get them looking so good - I know my way around a computer, but nothing I ever produce looks this high quality! Thank you again, Sandy
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Hi Jason, Yet another brilliant idea! And how about a Twitter / blog-based coursebook? If all of the teachers in your PLN contributed one double-page spread like this, you could have an entire set of these resources really quickly. Sandy
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2011 on This looks a likely sort... at Learning Twigs
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Hi Jason, What excellent timing :) I've just finished making a set of ten Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban flashcards for my pre-int group of 9-10 year olds. They absolutely adore HP, and since they're excellent students we watch five minutes of HP3 in English at the end of each lesson as a reward. They'd love these sheets! We're using a coursebook and are getting through it really quickly, so it's always difficult to find more challenging things for them to do. Thanks for sharing such a brilliant idea :) Sandy
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2011 on Evocation at Learning Twigs
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Hi Jason, Thanks very much for the downloadable versions. I'll try to use them in class in the next couple of weeks. I'm about to try out your WEGs for the first time (in 20 minutes and again tomorrow morning), and am using a variant on encouraging SS to create questions by making wordles out of the original input. Looking forward to trying out all of these ideas. Thanks for constantly providing inspiration! Sandy
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Hi Jason, I'd never considered the question sections in the coursebooks from this perspective - thank you for making me think about it differently. Would you be able to upload your question sheet as a downloadable document? I think it would be great to try to apply it to texts we're using in the coursebooks at my school, and the documents you produce are always so much more aesthetically pleasing than my own! Thank you very much, Sandy
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Hi Jason, This is an interesting discussion: something I'd not really thought about before, but have come up against as a learner. I remember the first few times I went into a shop in Germany. Every time I got to the end of the transaction I was always thrown by the assistant asking if I wanted a carrier bag. It had never once come up in class, but has been part of most transactions I've had in shops. Repetition eventually forced me to learn the phrase, but how much easier would it have been if a more natural conversation had been used in class? On the other hand, I can see why many teachers would be resistant to this kind of dialogue. The 'chaos' would seem to make it difficult to teach from. The strange thing is that if it were presented as a video first most people wouldn't notice anything particularly strange about the interaction - bringing you back to the lack of body language etc. I think that is something we often neglect in our teaching - so much of communication is about body language too, and yet it is almost never referred to in coursebooks. Sandy
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2011 on The (un)butcher(ed) script at Learning Twigs
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Hi Jason, I always love seeing your new materials. As well as opening loads of teaching doors, they are also aesthetically pleasing - something I think a lot of coursebooks forget about. This means students are more likely to want to use them and engage with them IMHO. Thank you for taking the time to share this, Sandy
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Hi Jason, I also found the discussion and Guy Cook's talk fascinating and have decided to reconsider the way I (don't) use translation. I've just written a post about my own attitudes to translation as a learner and as a teacher http://bit.ly/fh8dPj but since it's pretty long, I'll put the conclusions here: Translation has been an integral part of my own language learning, and yet it is a very isolated part of my teaching. I only introduced translation into my own classes once I felt confident that my level of Czech was high enough to understand what the students were saying. My own and my students’ real life uses of foreign languages often involve translation. My students have benefitted from the translation activities we have done in class. To find out the punchline, you'll have to wade through the rest of the post :) Sandy
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2011 on Lost (or found?) in translation at Learning Twigs
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Hi Jason, I've been meaning to respond to this post for a while, and finally got around to it this morning. Here's my contribution http://wp.me/p18yiK-1W :) Sandy
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Hi Jason, Thanks for the reply. I've heard you talk about Boost a lot, but haven't managed to get my hands on a copy yet - hoping that won't be the case for too long as we're approaching conference season here in Brno - most of them will be in February. I would love to try out your materials, and I'm sure I'm not the only one! Good luck! Sandy
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That's great! I've been talking to a colleague of mine about trying to get together some materials for tweens. Everything out there seems really childish, really dull or both and doesn't seem to have any connection to the world they live in today. Great idea and I look forward to seeing the results!
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I agree with Adam. Cue many future quotations of this post / approach in EFL methodology books ;)
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This is the second time I've looked at this - the first time is was just a lot of shapes, colours and letters, but the second time I've actually got some ideas. Here goes... Yellow seems busiest, so I guess that'll be the students. And blue is maybe the teacher? G is outside input, like the internet / websites / sources for the stuff the SS bring to class. Although that kind of leaves H hanging - not sure what that'll be. B, C, D, E is the structure of the lesson - that's the time you spend together working on SS language, with the blue circular arrows being your feedback on what happens in class. Dotty arrows (is that the technical name for them?) is optional extra work you / the SS do based on what has been done in class, like finding out more about a topic from class or reworking a SS-produced text to use it again in class. After that...not really sure! Then again, it could be a case of blogging unplugged, in which you provide input and we come up with the answers for you ;)
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I wish I could be that student teacher in the corner. I really enjoy reading about your ideas, and I would love to apply them with my main students. At the moment I have two main problems though - I'm working at a very syllabus-bound school and most of my students are either Advanced or Proficiency level. Do you have any suggestions how to use your techniques at much higher levels? Or should I be looking at a different approach entirely? Thanks very much for another thought-provoking read! Sandy
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2010 on Going, going, gone (in!) at Learning Twigs
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I haven't managed to participate in any of the discussions so far, as I teach during the 3pm session, and the 9pm session is in the middle of 12 hours of teaching in 21 hours of my week, so I'm in bed by that time! This despite being in the 'ideal' European GMT +1 time zone (Czech Republic)! I like the idea of a GMT 12:00 chat, as then I would get to join in. I really enjoy the podcasts after the discussion, and it would be great to be able to add my own thoughts...
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2010 on #ELTChat: a matter of time(s)? at Learning Twigs
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Another great idea! I already noticed that there was a lot of space on the pages of your new design the first time round, and that's one of the non-methodologically motivated reasons why I'm drawn to a book. There's nothing more depressing than a page full of words with no space to think. And even though it's perforated, it also might prevent my frustration every time a student (maybe!) writes notes all lesson, then proceeds to throw them in the bin on the way out. If it constantly leaves great holes in their books, they might be more wiling to keep them. Thankfully this only happens with a couple of my students, who, no matter how many times I discuss the value of keeping / organising / filing your notes, still continue to do this in front of me. Thanks again!
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I really like the option of using the same materials in two different ways. This is an issue which comes up often with our coursebooks (especially when they are the basis for the syllabus) and generally results in spending a lot more planning time to adapt the source material. I think it would work especially well with teenagers as you could try out both elements and really adapt it to your situation. It would also be good as revision if you have more space in the syllabus - you could maybe do the academic tasks first time round and the explorer ones a few weeks later to see what the students remember. It caters to students who feel they need more support, or who are just being introduced to the communicative approach, as well as to those who have already experienced it. An idea I would love to try out!
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2010 on A "hybrid" coursebook design? at Learning Twigs
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Oct 17, 2010