Week 10 My reflection

Hello, Robert and my dear e-classmates

Time flies!  I can clearly remember the moment when I got a welcome e-mail from UO. I feel as if it had been only yesterday. 

1.      What topics were most successful? Most useful for you?
Let me write three most successful and useful for me.
(1)   Three most successful topic: The below helped me promote my final project plan.
A.     Week 4 Discussion: Reading/writing skill-building websites.
B.     Week 6 Task: Interactive Power Point.
C.     Week 9 Task: Create an online course site or an exercise to use online or offline.

(2)   Most useful topic:
A.     Week 3: Task: Create a Delicious page
B.     Week 7: Learner Autonomy
C.     Week 9: Discussion: Learning styles
Especially, Week 9 Discussion broadened my perspective of students’ learning styles.  As I teach at a Special-Needs School, I have often seen the disabled children who have their own learning styles.   I learned nine categories of learning styles and started to learn how to plan lessons adjusted to them. 

2.      Which tools will you use in your classes? :  The below are four tools/websites included in my project plan.  Interactive PowerPoint slides (on-line) will be my “must item” for my teaching. 
(1)   Quizlet
(2)   PowerPoint
(3)   Sype
(4)   Google site (wiki)

3.      Which, if any, do you think were not relevant to what you do or will do?
No, nothing!

4.      What other tools might we have covered or would you suggest that we could have looked at?
(1)   iPad(2) and its applications for educational use
Although it is not so prevalent, considering the future of interactive e-learning, putting some articles or websites to additional reading might be beneficial.

(2)   Task using “Turdy” or “Audacity”
This might be a good opportunity to have participants more skilled in making reading or listening lesson plans.

5.      Others
  After finishing this course, first thing I have to do is carrying out my final project plan.  Second, I would like to collaborate with co-workers to change some individual syllabuses with technology.  Third, this is not realized right now, but not in the future, I would like to change a correspondence course high school in my prefecture because it is now totally paper-based.  

I am getting better, and going back to school so soon!
Thank you everybody, everything I have met and learned in this course.
Good luck!

Toward our bright future!


Week 9: My reflection

1.    Discussion: Learning styles
[What I learned]
I have believed, “So many students, so many learning styles.”  This is what I learned from my career as an English teacher. 
Thanks to thoughtful posts and the materials of this week, I learned nine learning styles; Verbal-Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Naturalist, Existentialist, and also learned how to apply technology to each style. 

[What I thought]
As I posted to “Nicenet”, I would like to start with grasping students’ learning styles by using both technology and observing students’ performance, and challenge “Adding Alternatives” or “Learning Cycles” which Terry O’Connor (Indiana State University) stated in his article.  Now my class size is very small, I think my present environment/setting is quite easy and suitable to test these two theories. 

2.    Project Plan, not Report
It is regrettable that I had to change from Project Report to Project Plan for my health problem.  However, I did my best to think about a newly technology-based lessons, syllabus and timetable.  Happily, I have been getting better day by day, and I am looking forward to having classes with my students soon. 
3.    Others
(1)  Afterschool program!?
Articles about “Afterschool program” also interested me so much.  In Japan we do not have such well-organized system.  I was surprise to find that supporting homework is only a part of it because before reading those articles, I thought it was similar to “Jyuku”, or cram schools[private tutoring schools], but actually it was totally different.  Here again, technology played significant roles in various aspects.  This gives me a precious “seed” to think about from now on.
(2)  My “Delicious”
I started using “Delicious” when I entered this course.  As of now, I keep more than two hundreds websites that Robert showed us and I found.  Labeling all these to “Masa-friendly” is another job, maybe after finishing this course

We are going toward the last week of this wonderful course together...



Week 8: So hectic but learned and thought a lot!!

What I learned and What I thought

1.    Discussion: Online tools for enhancing learning
First, I regret to say that I could not join the webinar by Jeff.  It was held in small hours of the morning in Japan.  I have been treated at home and I am not a night owl by birth. I hate time-zone difference!  In addition, I was late for the discussion of this week and had hard time catching up with my e-classmates, but I could learn a lot from their discussion.  For example, Blerta and Elmira showed me how to use Nicenet and a paper-based alternative.  Actually, I made my “Nicenet class”.  I cannot wait the time when I come back to school!  I am sure especially three 10th graders will enjoy it.  I also learned how to use Voicethread that I have not used before.  ANVILL was a sort of overwhelming technology for me. It might take me a lot of time to get used to it.  “Hotpotatoes” is helpful tool for me to make quizzes or activities both on-line and off-line. I taught a 5th grader, a 6th grader, and three 10th graders.  In each class, students are very interested in English and sometimes want some more activities to do by him/herself.  I hope these might promote their autonomy. 

2.    Task: Create an online course site or an exercise to use online or offline
I made a class-wiki on Google.  Actually I gave up making wiki several times because it was not easy for me to understand how to make it.  So, this was my 5th or 6th challenge.  I was very glad to get an affirmative comment from Robert, and look forward to using it when I come back home.

3.    Project Task 7: First draft and peer review
I managed to write my first draft for the final project plan.  My proofreader, Andi, gave me a checklist for my draft with very helpful comments.  Only a few days left to the deadline of the final project, but I will do my best to complete it.  My final project is full of what I learned in this course and from my e-classmates and what I thought about my students.  I hope this project plan reflects on her individualized syllabus for the next school year.

4.    Others.
I am sad to say that my health condition is not so good, and I could spend only an hour in total, not continuously at most in front of computer and not every day.  I hope I can spend more time this week and learn much more.  Only two weeks are left including this week to the end of this wonderful course!

Toward the end? goal? of this course...
I feel I can see and grasp something.


Week 7: What I did and what I learned

What I learned and What I thought
1. Learner autonomy
I would like to pick up some impressive words and give my comment for each.

[An examination-dominated system]---in Sheu’s article.
This phrase describes the English classes in almost all the high schools, especially academic ones in Japan.  This also taught me “teacher autonomy” and “teacher-as-learner” autonomy.  I got tips from this article on my first post as to the discussion on learner autonomy “without technology” 

[‘Relevance’, ‘transparency’, and ‘accountability]---‘Interconnections: Learner Autonomy Teacher Autonomy’
According to the course of study for the Special-Needs school by MEXT (Ministry of Education and Technology) in Japan, students with disabilities can be taught based upon the individualized programs. This means that we do not necessarily use authorized textbooks.  These three words are the key words to make them.

[…from purveyor of information to counselor and manager of learning resources]…in Dimitrios’ article.
Still, I have strong interests in teacher’s roles in classes.  I got tips from these words on my second post as to the discussion on learner autonomy “with technology” and Task 7.
(I was very glad when I got a affirmative message from Courtney.)
I wonder there would be more roles that teachers must play than those I had mentioned in the former diary on the book by H.D.Brown.
I also learn the importance of “self-esteem” in autonomous learners.  When I first read this chapter, 4.3, I strongly felt that the first role for teachers to foster autonomous learners is to enhance this. 

2. Task: Create a sample lesson for a one-computer classroom
I thought “Skype” and “Facebook” were the key items to make a computer play more tha two roles, such as a resource and a communication tool. Robert gave me some advice. Thanks to that, I could revise and correct small mistakes in the plan.

3. Others
I have to confess that I have to change my final project to “only for those not currently teaching” format because I have to recuperate at home for two months with medical certificate.  Yet, my doctor allows me to get out of bed for 4-5 hours a day, and of course to study on-line.  It will be my happiest hours in a day.  Still, I am enthusiastic and do my best to complete this course with other e-classmates and my partner, Andy.

Going up toward the end with all e-classmates!


Week 6: What was done, what happened and what I am doing.

1.    Quizlet: For the vocabulary review as homework.

[Good points]                       
This was perhaps her first time to do homework by herself except for her mom’s setting up a computer.  She studied the vocabulary review with on-line “cards” by several types of practices. In the final test (multiple choices) she got the perfect.

[Points to be improved]
Some of the definitions in English that were automatically inserted were difficult. The function is quite time-saving, and next time I have to use on-line dictionaries for some basic learners such as LDOCE(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

2.    WebQuest:  For her further practice in reading and listening as homework

[Good points]
On the WebQuest, she could jump to some websites by just one click. She could get to know and learn what she wanted to know with her mom.  Her mom had been a learning assistant, but this time they could enjoy learning and talking over the movie that they watched.

[Points to be improved]
The total level was so high. Yet, she did not use a dictionary due to her “schema”, a background knowledge about the content.

3.    What I am doing
I am making a lesson plan in which I will use a combination of “Quizlet” and a film clip on eslvideo.  Although she has difficulties in reading and cannot write and pronounce very well for her disabilities, she likes listening and good at learning things by listening.  So, I am sure this type of lesson helps her get better in English.

I am now very worried if I could do well in the final project, but I will do my best, and enjoy studying English together with her and her mom.

Wonderful but endless sea of websites and e-learning...

Week 6: Better use of PPT, Better user of PPT!

Hello, Robert and my e-classmates,

What I thought and learned

1. Discussion: I chose the first topic.
(1)  My first post
I mentioned about “Priming”.  I learned the importance of “Priming” , and after finishing my first post, Robert gave me a good question,

“Can you think of any other ways to engage students with cell phones and mobile technology?” 

This reminded me of the situation in my 10th graders’ class.  They all have their own cellphones.  I could think of three activities for three functions, voicemail, taking pictures, and taking movies.  Talking of a speech class, this can be applied to those who are absent from school.  Even if they cannot come to school, they can send me their performance attached to the e-mail. 

Next time when one of them must be hospitalized for a long time, I am quite sure that this will be very helpful.

(2)  My second post
I mentioned about how I could make in-class discussions more interactive when teaching large classes.  On my second thought, I just have to “copy & paste” what students wrote on the blank sheet.  Now I do not think it is so helpful and useful. Yet, the opposite way, from teacher to students, it is so helpful and useful.  For example, in role play classes, a teacher can send a “secret” instruction to each at the same time. 

2. Task: I chose “Jeopardy” for the review of vocabulary
As the student (5th grader) cannot go outside for his disease, I used pictures, sound, and movies to stimulate his interest more.  So I tried to choose them from the website abroad.  I hope some of them help him get more interested in English and foreign countries.

3.    Others---What I am just thinking about…
(1)  Using PPT or iPad2 off-line for the bedside lesson.
(2)  Making a curriculum of an interactive-learning course for English I
*In Japan “English I” is a compulsory subject for graduation.
(3) How to use “Skype video call” effectively.

Now the bright future of “Interactive e-learning” is being coming in sight…!??

P.S. Somehow, my "Odiogo" doesn't work well.  Does anybody know why? 


Week6: Keywords on November 1

  • Priming
  • Integrating
  • Reinforcing 
  • Using blackboard for assessment
"Instead, require your students to send you brief responses to assigned readings via email before class."
Using Blackboard for Assessment : Blackboard question type
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Multiple Choice
  • True/False Multiple Answer 
  • Matching * Ordering
  • Short Answer/Essay
Memorable lectures: Keypoints
Quick and Easy Ideas for Better Lectures

Provide students with a framework for each lecture
o Aim for three to five main points in each lecture.
o Begin the lecture with a high-level question that the upcoming information can answer.
o Prepare a handout of the lecture's main points.
o During lecture, be explicit about what students should focus on.

Don't overload students
o Give students short breaks throughout lecture to review their notes and ask questions.
o Include a formal activity or assignment after every 15-20 minutes of presentation.
o Don't use too many different types of presentation materials at once.
o Don't give students two conflicting things to attend to at the same time.

Students are also more likely to remember information that relates to ideas or experiences they are already familiar with.
o Use examples from student life, current events, or popular culture.
o Ask students to generate their own examples from personal experience.
o Tell students how new information relates to previous lectures in your course.
o Show students how specific skills can be applied to real-world problems.
o Create activities and assignments that ask students to fit new information into the overall themes of the course.

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.
"Chinese proverb"

 “A mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled.” Plutarch

Photo by Masa taken  in PNG
I am still drifting around the vast sea of websites...


Week 5: Brought me some changes to my teaching style!

What I learned and thought

1. Task: Create a rubric/alternative assessment tool
(1) RubiStar, the website:  Easy to make a rubric and find numerous templates.  Also I could learn from numbers of rubrics in public.
(2) How to adapt rubrics to my teaching style; this is very  important for me!!
I always give a "briefing" of a lesson at the beginning.   I made my own rubric and then found that I could make a brief rubric for every class and use it instead of, or with a briefing.

[ How I apply to my classes] 
At the beginning, in the midst, as a wrap-up, or even after the lesson, a rubric is a map, a guidebook, a manual or a record for both students and teachers.
I am quite sure I will get used to making a rubric so soon and find more hidden potential in it. 

2. Discussion: Project-based learning and WebQuests
(1) "dos and don't s"  Thank you, Elimira!
She showed us a good list of dos and don't s in making a rubric or an alternate assessment.  The followings are some of "dos" in her list
•   Explain the benefit from alternative assessment to the students. Students need to get comfortable with the process;
•   Be supportive and be aware of group dynamics when observing students working in small groups;
•   Make it beneficial, decrease isolation;
All of the reasons why I was not successful in PBL in the past are summarized in these three respects.

(2) Making the language learning "means",  not goals, and K-W-L Charts
In Susan's PBL classes, English itself was just a means.  I think this is a key to motivate students in PBL classes.
One more thing I learned is K-W-L Cahrts.  In the second one, "What I want to know",students use English as a tool, and this strong motivation, "want to do something" helps learners much more autonomous than those who are in teacher-centered classes.

3. Project step #4: Describe a technology- related change
(1) Getting over the rote level---Thanks to Robert!
I first used "Quizlet"(http://quizlet.com) only.  Robert advised me to use "ESLvideo.com ( http://www.eslvideo.com/).  As for using "Quizlet", I think staying the rote level is a common pitfall for many users.  His advice was a good suggestion to avoid it.  I am sure that a combination of "Quizlet",   "ESLvideo.com" and a rubric makes a good language learning lesson.

4. Extra credit task: Create a technology enhanced project or WebQuest
I decided to try "WebQuest" because I thought this website is very helpful for the students who have to study independently for some reason.  First, I watched a lot of  works in public, then got started to make my own, referring to my classmates' great jobs.  As this website allows us to make just one for free, I have to look for some substitute...

5. Others
As some big school events were over, I will have more time to "hop around websites" to look for materials that I can use in my final project work.

Thank you, my classmates and Robert!

See you again, next week!



It's been rainy or cloudy all day these days.
I look forward to a fine day, and want to enjoy taking underwater photos next week! :)


The book I remembered and started to re-read

H. Douhlas Brown, "TEACHING by PRINCIPLES" Longman (2001)

I remembered this book when I was writing my first post to "Week 5 Discussion".
Its chapter 11&12 are about interactive language teaching.  I bookmarked pp. 167-168.  I used this textbook when I learned in University of Washington.  I still remember very clearly when I first read this chapter and knew teacher's roles, as many as five roles partly because this concept was quite new to me.  The five roles of the interactive teacher are;

1. The Teacher as Controller
2. The Teacher as Director
3. The Teacher as Manager
4. The Teacher as Facilitator
5. The Teacher as Resource

Now I have got a good chance to read this again and have to think teacher's roles in PBL classes.


Week 4: We must be good at sauteing or simmering!?

1. Discussion: Reading/writing skill-building
---What I learned and thought.
#1 We must "cook" the materials on the web.
---Thanks to Robert, "Audacity" gave me a chance to think about "cooking"  materials on the website.  With "Audacity", we can easily adjust the listening materials  One of good examples is that we can change the speed without changing a pitch.  In other words, we can make every listening material with the suitable wpm to our students.

#2 The three basic elements for an interactive e-learning.
---One of the reading materials, 'Using the Internet in ESL Writing Instruction', taught me them, web pages, email connection, and creating class website.  I am now planning to make my class website(Homepage).
2. Task: Create a technology-enhanced lesson plan
---What I learned and thought
#1 Two types of supplemental activities.
---I haven't thought of giving different kinds/levels of homework, especially for classes of more than  twenty students.  'Planning for Instruction' (Tennessee University) taught me two types, Extensions and Remediation.
It may be quite difficult without to give these two kinds according to their understanding level, but much easier with a good use of materials on the Internet.

#2 The lesson with technology must not be a just combination of materials on the Internet.
--- Here again, thanks to "Audacity", I learned to "cook " materials.  Considering "Adaptations for Special Learners",  teachers who work at Special-Needs schools like me should regard this  "cooking process"as an important/necessary factor when they make lesson plans.
3.  Describing some issues, and others
---What I learned and thought
#1 What technology can improve and cannot.
This was a good chance to think deeply about what I can improve with technology.
As for some points, it was difficult to improve partly because her LD in some areas.  As for some points, it would be quite easy to improve. 
#2 Feeling relieved and relaxed
Now I am feeling relived and relaxed to find myself getting used to this course.  As I collected many good websites in "Delicious", (of course I would like to continue to enrich my collection in "Delicious") I started making a good combination of materials on the Internet and cook them to the needs and levels of my students.  



My week 3

1. Aural/oral skill-building
(1) What I did
I was busy hopping around so many websites, and tried as many as possible.  As for some of them, I kept the URLs in my "Delicious".  Now I am planning to use some website in my classes.  
(2) What I learned 
First, we have easy access to many Englishes.  For example, as I posted in the discussion topic, in the website. "Elllo" I could try so many activities in so many Englishes by so many native or non-native speakers of English all over the world.  
Second, much to my shame, I always used Japanese keyword to search for some good website of teaching English. I do not know why, but actually I did.   I shall never use Japanese in searching English websites, I promise...
Third, almost all activities are classified in levels, such as beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, and advanced.  Such classification is so helpful when we choose the activity we use in the class.  On the other hand, I noticed that I did not clearly figured out each of my students level in four skills.  This is my urgent job!

2. Read and discuss a past sample project report
(1) What I did
I quickly did scanning over eight reports to find the background that is similar to mine. I chose #3, printed it out, and found it had a active URL of her own "WebQuest " .  How foolish I am!  I went back in front of my PC and checked it.  It was quite a waste of time, and I found I was still far from "digital".  I need much more efforts to walk across the "digital divide".
(2) What I leaned
First, I leaned how to write the final report.  The deadline has been coming closer day by day!
Second, the importance of having positive attitude to change lessons for the better.  I learned this attitude from #3 report by Zlatka.   
Her report was full of attractive points in WebQuest, and I cannot wait Week 5!

3. Others
As I spent too much time hopping around websites, I had to spent almost all Saturday and Sunday to finish assignments of this week.  Hopping around website was a happy time for me, but I should remember, "Too much is as bad as too little" Now I am wondering some of us had same or similar bitter experience!??



Week 2: What I learned and what I thought

1. Web searching
(1) What I learned.
#1 "Google" is not the only one and the best search engine.
---Why and where is it I gulped the story, "Google is the best and most useful"?? I am now quite ashamed of myself gulping it.  Oh, no!

#2 To know and use well-categorized list of search engines and sites are real shortcut(s) and quite time-saving.
---For the time being at least "NoodleTools" and the given list this week are the first site I have to open every morning.  Early morning net-surfing must be so cool!

#3 Helpful vocabulary in searching on the Internet
---I learned not a little vocabulary from 'Technology Tip of the Month'.  I am quite sure that to know and use this helpful vocabulary makes searching on the Internet more effective and time-saving. 

(2) What I thought
#1 How to teach what I learned in my classes. 
---Even if what I learned this week is too much for my students, I have to make a careful selection of them to the level of my classes.

#2. Making my own list of categorized site list for my job
---First, make it, and the next, but the most important thing is revising it cotinuously.

2. ABCD objectives  
(1) What I learned
#1 What is ABCD method like?
---I thought it was similar to the basics of "Action Research" that I learned before.  I posted my first description of learning objective(s) done in the ABCD style.  Now I look forward to the comments from my classmates and Robert.
#2 Revised Bloom's Taxonomy
This is a sort of eye-opening!  I have to confess that I was not careful about the Cognitive Domain when I design my lessons.
(2) What I thought 
#1 I should get used to ABCD method.
#2 I wonder if I can write "mock mini-teaching plan" for each level, from "Remembering" to "Creating".---This may be the quickest way to get familiar with this method and Cognitive Domain...

3.  Describing my class, others
(1) What I learned
#1 How to describe my class(es) clearly
---Just like a bricklayer, we should describe one by one to make others understand my students and my class settings.
#2 Class settings are quite different from country to country, level to level, etc 
---I have not read all of  my classmates' work, but some of them are totally different from ours. I will ask him/her questions and should know more about them.

(2) What I thought
#1 Changing my class settings if possible
---Learning different settings and asking questions will be a good opportunity to reflect on my class setting.
As for some that I am not satisfied with, I may unconsciously give them up as there is no choice, or saying, "Oh, it cannot be helped".

#2 Making my description shorter and less redundant.
I posted my first class description.  Of course I did my best, but left the feeling that it was a bit longer and sentences are a little redundant.  Referring others, and if possible getting some advice from Robert, I would like to make it more short and simple.

(3) Others
This time, I changed the font of the title of my blog.
Little by little I will change some, maybe add my photo next week...


Week 1 Just ready for writing my blog!

Here I just finished opening my blog, "Masa's life as an English teacher".
I am so excited now because this is my first time to open a blog, and  look forward to comments from my peer learners from around the world!