It's been a busy week for me but one of those weeks when you seem to run about and not get very much done… do you ever have times like that? I've still found time to write to you, though, and I've got a few choice nuggets for your professional development delight and edification from the very practical to the more academic. Grab a coffee (or your drink of choice) and let's go.
I seem to have a bit of a vocabulary theme this week so I thought that I'd remind you of a blog post that I put up about a year ago about using Animoto for vocabulary practice. I think that project based learning can be very effective and you can use Animoto for free (as long as you don't mind the logo - it's not very visible so not a huge problem). It's a way of easily and quickly producing videos with images and text and it gives a satisfying (and memorable) result. I've suggested a way of using it for vocabulary recycling and for more holistic language practice, but I'm sure you could also think of other ways to exploit it. You can view the blog post here. It's perfect if you're teaching online but you could also use it in a physical class with Wi-Fi or set it as homework. Try it out.
Staying with the vocabulary theme, a few weeks ago I made a video with a bit of a grumble about ways that I sometimes see teachers wasting time in class. This seemed to hit a spot for some people, so I thought I'd have another rant at another pet hate of mine - pre-teaching large amounts of decontextualised vocabulary before reading or listening texts. If you want to know why I think this is problematic or what I think is better, watch the video here.
Any talk about vocabulary wouldn't really be complete without a mention of Paul Nation. He has done an enormous amount of rigorous and interesting work on the subject and if you haven't heard the name before, you're in for a treat.
He is an Emeritus Professor at Wellington University in NZ and this website has a wealth of free resources that are worth checking out. There are copyright free graded readers - classic fiction and non-fiction at a range of levels, videos of language classrooms showing different techniques and a freely accessible library of all of his publications (it’s a very long list!).
I challenge you to read or watch one thing from the site every day this week. Email me and tell me if you do!
OK. That's it from me for today. Hope that you have a good week and I'll see you next Sunday.
PS If you're feeling fired up about vocabulary, you might like my mini-course Exploiting Texts for Lexis. It's great for doing on your own or with other teachers - lots of useful ideas for getting the most out of reading and listening texts without a lot of extra preparation.