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...