Cool Tips to Teach English in the Class

Here’s a post from Maya, my wife.

Classrooms across the world are becoming increasingly diverse with Diasporas, many of whose primary home language is not English. Teachers are often at a loss on how to adequately assist students to learn English in a class where individual attention sometimes is a remote possibility. The call of the day is to adopt new techniques and devise novel ways that will help all the students learn English irrespective of the home language.

5169295492_f34ae9671a_mAngelica Jordan Named Top DODEA Teacher by Herald Post

Warm-up activities

It’s often difficult for children to comprehend stories, poems, and plays if their imaginations are not fully developed. Warm-up activities, or more popularly known as immersion activities, help students a great deal in prepping up for what’s about to be taught. Immerse children in a range of English games (both original and borrowed from online sources), activities, role dramas, drawings, music classes (related to the literature that you plan to teach) and other similar exercises so that they are ready for what’s about to come and wait eagerly for it. Such activities will give their understanding and reading of the language a fresh meaning and purpose.

Publishing

Have you ever attached any importance to professionally publishing the works of your students? Publishing students’ works provides them with a real incentive and makes them feel their works are valued. Plan a publication exercise where you can publish each student’s writings. Consider breaking up the publication broadly by sections – primary school, middle school, and high school – to avoid bulking up the edition. You can also consider supporting the writing with amateur illustrations! It will be a great way of rewarding the hard work and effort that each student has put in. The publications will be enjoyed by parents and other students for years to come!

Plays

The powerful teaching potential of plays is often undermined. It’s a good idea to hire a full-time theater teacher who will, besides training students, will also train teachers on how to explore characters, read situations, and push the boundaries while reading plays. Reading plays in the way they should be will in turn inspire students to broaden their imaginations and encourage them to impart that extra flair and spark in their writings.

Edgy grammar teaching

It’s unfair to teach grammar as a standalone activity. How will the kids understand the applications of foundation grammar concepts if they are not taught with familiar examples, ex: familiar poetry, stories, rhymes, etc.? Children automatically begin to understand grammar and subconsciously implement it in their writing but the real learning happens when they internalize the grammar and produce it in their writings effortlessly. Assign them lot of editing and reading homework that will help them constantly apply the concepts learnt in the class into practical use.

Peer and self-assessment

Which child doesn’t like marking somebody else’s work! Set them transparent marking keys and well-defined success criteria to help them assess their own and peer’s writings. Remember a teacher’s correction patterns and marking standards are also closely followed by students. They’ll be well trained in searching for spelling errors, typos, wrong grammar, and other glitches if you have set them good examples. It’s one of the greatest achievements in a teacher’s life seeing her students learn from one another and promote an environment in the classroom that’s conducive to learning.

Hullaballoo over Father’s Day

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Be a Grandfather by Steve Ganz

My dad doesn’t remember buying his dad a gift or making him a card for Father’s Day. Then one Father’s Day a few years ago, my grandfather and father had a conversation. They both claim a few things are not exactly what they said, but this brings out the sentiment quite well, I think.

Here you go:

‘Thanks, son’, to my father.

‘For what?’

‘For your Father’s Day gift.’

‘Huh? I got you nothing.’

‘You did.’

‘What?’

‘The best gift ever – think about it.’

‘Dad, are you losing it? I know I got you nothing. You say Father’s Day gifts are silly, for it’s a Father’s job to be a good father. What’s to thank for, you always say. In fact you also say, it’s a lot of hullaballoo over nothing!’

‘Yes, it is. I do believe it. A baby is the best gift – I don’t need more.’

‘Oh dad, I’m so touched. I did not know my birth was so special.’

‘The lack of sleep, snot, poop, tears, worrying over kids, their school grades, girlfriends, coming to terms with their lack of sporting skill – it’s all been worth it.’

‘Ok, that’s a harsh list and you are worrying me very early in my Daddy life!’

‘No. It’s great being a Dad. But, I am not talking about your birth.’

‘Now I am confused. I thought my birth was the best gift ever.’

‘It was, but, not any more. Your having a baby is the best gift ever. NO shortage of sleep, snot, poop, tears, worrying over kids, their school grades, girlfriends, coming to terms with their lack of sporting skill – nothing. Just being the loving granddad – I can spoil my grandkid rotten, and I don’t have to worry about being a good dad!

The cycle continues – I have become a dad, like my dad, and my dad has become like his, a granddad, spoiling my kids rotten with no qualms!

You might wonder how I know all this. That’s the advantage of having uncles.

The cycle of life continues.

4 activities we plan to try this summer

The other day Maya my wife, and I decided to spend some time gardening. We like growing vegetables. Gardening is something we have started since last year. We are not very good at it, as yet. Our harvests have been small and irregular as we compete with worms, but we love it anyways.

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Kid by Caleb Roenigk

Last Saturday, we had a companion in the garden – our older one. My mother had given us some seed packets, and he spent a very happy hour helping us ready trays for the seeds. It got us thinking and we came up with this list of 5 activities we plan to try this summer:

  1. Gardening: Great way for the kids to get their hands dirty, and in the process build memories. Kids take pride in things they have planted and grown. They watch what they have planted with great enthusiasm. It’s good to get kids familiar with soil and plants, for it gives them an idea about growing food. After all food is a very basic requirement for humans, and it’s always a plus to know something about the food we eat. Make sure kids have their hats on and if the kids are very young, make sure their hands are well washed after they are done.
  2. Make a Toy: This is something most of us don’t try as we imagine toy making to be difficult. It is far simpler to just go buy a toy. But, the fun of making a toy is something else. Kids have a great sense of accomplishment once they learn to make it. I remember when my grandfather helped me make my first thread spinner – I couldn’t stop making them! We will definitely make this water shooter.
  3. Art Project: We generally encourage our kids to play with color, via coloring worksheets, and other painting projects. This summer I am pushing to experiment with colourful e-lo light after I discovered this DIY light. Maya’s pushing for a weaving project. Perhaps we’ll try both. Our kids enjoy doing things with their hands.
  4. Cooking: After all the TV shows with kids cooking, this is something we want to try at home. Our kids know what they eat and do watch us when we make something from scratch, but I am not sure if they will take to this. We are definitely trying though. Maybe we’ll start with making some smoothies. Banana is a great favorite and it is a simple fruit as far as handling goes. I really don’t want to spend too much time cleaning up afterwards!

This is the first time we have a list to try out. When our kids were younger, we just took the holidays a day at a time. Now I think, they would like to participate in such activities. Our older one also likes to photograph such activities and share it with his grandmother. She is a great photographer too. It’s interesting to notice how this particular interest skipped my generation and jumped a generation to reappear in my kid!

Anyway, this summer is going to be memorable.

Does the NFL off-season matter?

NY Giants Rookie Mini-Camp

33-year-old Marine veteran invited to NY Giants rookie camp by MarineCorps NewYork

Yes, the off season matters. The 95th year of NFL began in September 2014 and ended in February 2015. Preparation for the 2015 season began as early as April, with voluntary offseason conditioning programs. In July the training camps will start in all seriousness.

Between the end of one season and the start of the next season’s training camp, NFL teams chalk out nine week programs for their players. The conditioning programs are mostly in 3 phases:

Phase 1 has players in physical rehabilitation, strength and conditioning programs.

Phase II includes field workouts with players. No contact and, no offense versus defense drills.

Phase III includes organized team activities. During these 10 days, teams are not allowed drills with contact, but teams are allowed a lineup of defense versus offense. During this period, teams can also have a 3 day mini camp.

Layered over this off season training, is a special schedule just for the rookies. Every team holds a rookie minicamp on the first or second weekend after the 2015 draft. Apart from this, teams schedule a seven week rookie development program usually held at the team’s facility. This is a coming of age training – from college to professional football.