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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A Blast from the Past - New in the Present

I hadn't thought about the Voice of America since the Cold War ended. But they're still broadcasting US News and World News. These days though, their audio casts are online and they present news stories online via videos. Most important for ESL teachers, they have added a huge Learning English component to their website.

Not only do they convert their news stories into lessons for intermediate and advanced students, but they offer two entire series of beginning classes: "Let's Learn English - Level 1" and "Let's Learn English - Level 2". In addition they have video channels for grammar, punctuation, idioms and more.

If you are a student studying Enlish on your own, this site actually offers a free, online, person-to-person speaking opportunity under their "Talk2Us" menu. Of course they post past events. At present, the group meets meets at 15:00 UTC time on Mondays and at 13:00 UTC time on Wednesdays and Fridays. To join, sign up for a date at https://talk2usvoa.eventbrite.com.

If you are a teacher who has exhausted TedTalks and YouTube searching for your student's favorite topic, see if you can find it in VOA's huge library.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

New EdPuzzle

What a rainy, drippy, Memorial Day weekend! Denverites headed for the mountains in droves but I enjoyed a "staycation". I took the opporunity to add complete do-it-yourself touches to an EdPuzzle lesson I'd created earlier as part of a videoed sample ESL lesson. It is now on the Portfolio Page under "Lesson:Job and Business Phrasal Verbs" and includes a Google Docs vocabulary and transcript.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Date Time and Weather

 I added to the Contact Page the webcam which is on the roof of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science plus a small weather indicator.  This was really a side-effect of creating a page for lessons, or review, on Calendar, Date, Time, and Weather. Actually, you could call this part of a page. I will probably re-size it appropriately and use it as a small window shared on Zoom along with other screen components. All the components are live, via the web. However the small Calendar, which updates automaticlly via my Google Calendars, simply does not have enough space to totatlly include all the Holiday Names. They are there, but truncated. It's a start, anyway.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Color Vowel Chart

 The Color Vowel Chart -- what a marvelous invention to teach people our complicated English vowel system!  

Here's a link to the chart at the US Dept. of State.  The page explains how it is used and there are also links to a Teacher's Guide and a Webinar.

Thanks to the Littleton Immigrant Resource Center Volunteer program for providing this among their resources.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Languages from the Viewpoint of a Very Young Learner

Students in my online TEFL class have been contributing forum messages about how to inspire very young children to learn a second language.  Below is my recent response to a post in that forum.

For very young learners (pre-kindergarten) I think if you just play with them, using fun games and activities, but do it using your own language (in this case English), they will quickly adapt and use it with you.

My first playmates, when I was 3 1/2, were a pair of slightly younger twins who lived next door.  We had a lot of fun. My mother always asked me to tell her what they were saying.  Some time later she explained that they had made up their own language which the adults could not understand, as twins often do.  But why couldn’t the adults understand?  I had no trouble. Whatever words they were using were certainly perfectly good – words!  And the girls had no trouble understanding me. What words was I using?  Theirs, my parents' or both?  I don't think it mattered. But somehow when I translated for my mother I must have used the words I intuitively knew she would understand.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Lesson for today.

Here's what I learned today from giving a practice lesson to my grandson, David: Be careful not to sit on your headset's mute button!  The next headset I get will have it located in a different place.