Monday, November 30, 2009

Fun Activity for Teaching Commands

Hello all, Becky here,

I originally came across this activity on Dave's ESL Cafe or FLTeach, which are also great resources for foreign language teaching activities. This is a GREAT activity for practicing commands in a fun way.

Write 4 or 5 commands for students. They can be weird and fun things but they have to be things that can be done inside the class at the moment (obviously they can't cause harm to anyone, etc.). Students will get in groups and come up with these commands to tell another group to do something. The other group (or a selected member of that group) will perform the action he, she, or they are commanded to do. Then, that group or group member, will give a command to the next group, etc. This activity can also be performed passing a ball around a circle with music like hot potato and when the music stops, the person with the ball will have to perform the command he/she chooses from a hat.

Examples: Put the vase of flowers on your head.
Stand on your right foot for 30 seconds.

Some commands that my students have used include the following:
• Open the door.
• Close the door.
• Walk towards the window.
• Dance the Macarena.
• Sing “La Bamba”
• Write your name on the board.
• Change desks with someone else.
• Raise your right hand.
• Jump on your left foot 5 times.
• Touch the shoulder of the person next to you.

Enjoy! For more information, contact me at clteacherstoolbox@gmail.com.

Friday, November 20, 2009

German: Chancellor Merkel addresses US Congress

Hello all, Chris here,

today we have a videoclip of when Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the US Congress as well as Merkel meeting with President Obama.





  • How could such videos be integrated into lessons on history and politics?
  • Does anyone have any interesting lessons or tips for dealing with these often sensitive subjects in class?


Questions and comments welcome!

German: Stadt song by Cassandra Steen

Hello all, Chris here,

today we have a guest post from Marc for a new song that is popular in Germany right now dealing with issues of identity and city life. Check it out here

German: Useful Site - Goethe Institut

Hello all, Chris here,

just a quick add today. I'm adding the Goethe Institut website as it contains a wealth of material and useful links for all things German. You can also find the link for the site in the useful German sites section on the right side of the site.

  • The the academies for France, Spain, and other countries that have such institutions also have websites? If they do please feel free to share those with the community.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

German: K-Fee Shocker Commercials

Hi all, Chris here,

just a couple of commercials here for a German energy drink called K-Fee. This type of commercial is known as a shocker commercial so keep that in mind when watching this and expect a real 'shocking' moment towards the end. These could be used to give students some fun ideas for creating commercials that differ from the typical commercials one would see. Comments and questions welcome!



Monday, November 16, 2009

German: Funny TV Commercials 1

Hello all, Chris here,

below you will find the first in a series of links to various funny German TV commercials. These commercials cover a wide variety of products and range from humorous to more serious commercials. Many feature excellent cultural materials and some even feature dialect use.


Nesquik (this is a really old, classic ad--very interesting for cultural history)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf95NLXSmYQ

Tchibo (more serious, but lots of good language)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8AFVf0IvJE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAmxT77meeQ

Saturn vs. MediaMarkt (funny, with an American accent in German)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp6m6ydV9_k

Coke/WM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ_L9gQRARw

Handelsblatt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0izBFtMLyE

Bild (the language in these is difficult, but they are good)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX_S8mUzHrI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQzc1Q26yls

Windows 7

http://www.myvideo.de/watch/7078604/Windows_7_Spot

Hasseröder Pils

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc6gy6Qt0Mo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dn6rcLc5-g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R98tzDb3_w

Berliner-Pils (not much language here, but good from a cultural perspective)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp9aVodPlgw

Knorr

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2gULEbiG1c

Tchibo, and others

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVW_3o9T87E&NR=1

Keep in mind that these links may not always work as some videos are pulled from YouTube. If any links happen to be dead, please let us know and we will try to find an alternate link.

A particularly fun lesson involves having students make and record their own TV commercial. This can seem daunting at first but is well worth it as students are allowed to creatively use their language skills.

  • What types of lessons could you design using commercials?
  • What would be the pros/cons of such lessons?
  • What materials would be required?
  • What is the expected outcome and benefit to the students?
  • What funny TV commercials are there for languages besides German?
  • How do these commercials use language, visual imagery, music, and humor?

Questions and comments welcome! Please email us if you would like to present a lesson involving commercials!

German: Schwarzfahrer Video

Hi all, Chris here,

check below to watch the famous German short film Schwarzfahrer available in its entirety (about 10mins.). This film lends itself to being shown in German classes as there are several social and cultural issues raised which make for interesting lessons.




Questions and comments welcome!

If you have any lessons based on this or any other film that you would like to share with the community, please email us at clteacherstoolbox@gmail.com for details.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spanish: Spanish Alphabet and Colors Sites

Hello all, Claudia here,

today I have a useful site for learning the Spanish alphabet and colors. Check out SpanishSpanish! The site has a rather larger selection of games and activities, almost all with audio.

  • What activities do you usually use for teaching the alphabet and colors?
  • How would you incorporate the activities from SpanishSpanish into your lessons?
  • The alphabet and colors are typically beginner lessons. How could these be used at more advanced levels?
Comments and questions welcome!

If you have any activities for learning numbers, please share with the community! Email the site at clteacherstoolbox@gmail.com

Spanish: Learning Spanish Numbers at 123TeachMe

Hello all, Claudia here,

I found a pretty good website for learning numbers in Spanish which has several good activities that also make use of vocabulary. The activities also features a lot of audio. Check it out at 123Teachme. You can also find it in the Useful Spanish sites section.

  • How do you normally teach numbers?
  • What types of activities could you use to teach numbers using the materials from this site?
  • Do numbers always have to involve beginner activities? What activities could be done at higher levels involving numbers (perhaps not as the main focus)?
Comments and questions welcome!

If you have any activities for learning numbers, please share with the community! Email the site at clteacherstoolbox@gmail.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

Spanish: Some Useful Websites

Hello all, Claudia here,

today I have several useful websites for various Spanish TV stations. You will also find them added to the useful Spanish websites list on the right side of the site.

Here are the sites:

Colombian TV stations from nettvd:

http://www.nettvdb.com/CountryTV.asp?ID=46

Mexican TV stations online from nettvd:

http://www.nettvdb.com/CountryTV.asp?ID=138


Spanish TV stations online from nettvd:

http://www.nettvdb.com/CountryTV.asp?ID=196

CNN en Español:

http://www.cnn.com/espanol/


BBC Mundo:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/index.shtml



I hope the above sites will prove useful to you in your lessons.

Claudia

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Funny Videos: First and Second Semester of Spanish Love Song

Hello all, Claudia here,

today I have a couple of funny Spanish videos called One Semester and 2nd Semester of Spanish Love Song respectively. These videos are a humorous demonstration of what students can use their Spanish for after the first and second semester.







Having students create their own funny songs or even commercials would be a fun activity which allows for role-playing elements and a demonstration of their speaking skills.

What other activities could one do based off of these videos?

Comments welcome!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Useful Websites: ZDF (German TV)

Hello all, Chris here,

German teachers looking for a treasure trove of teachable resources should check out the the website for the German TV station ZDF! Here you will find all relevant information regarding the TV station and its programs. The site features a large number of videos ranging from news, sports, and weather clips to episodes of popular and current television programs. As this is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are numerous videos and news reports available on the site which would provide great cultural and historical content for your German lessons.

  • What types of lessons could one plan using such a website as a resource?
  • What important TV stations are there for Spanish, French, Japanese, and other languages? Do they have similar websites?

If you found the above post of interest or have any comments, suggestions or other websites you would like to share (for any language), please feel free to either leave the community your comments here or email the Teacher' Toolbox at: clteacherstoolbox.blogspot.com

Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome to the Language Teacher's Toolbox!


Hello and welcome, herzlich willkommen, bienvenue, bienvenido to the Language Teacher's Toolbox! This site is your source for all kinds of fun and useful teaching tips, activities, materials, and more! The site is intended for language teachers of all languages and levels, from beginning teachers to experienced veterans, you will find materials for many of the commonly taught languages. 


The original idea for The Teacher’s Toolbox came about in 2003 as I was just starting out as a teacher. I was disappointed by the lack of available materials that I had to work with and thus decided to rectify this by creating and gathering as many materials as I could. The desire to continuously improve my teaching skills as well as the number of resources and materials I was developing led me in turn to present my collected materials at several state and regional language conferences with the goal of exchanging my ideas with fellow language teachers. After coming to Purdue University, I felt there was a need to present a venue where graduate instructors could present their teaching activities, strategies, and materials in a relaxed setting with the goal of language instructors being able to learn from each other. This resulted from an observation that beyond basic teaching training and an introductory language teaching course, graduate instructors had few opportunities to develop their teaching skills and materials. The conferences were well received with a large numbers of graduate instructors who presented and attendance by graduate students and professors from all programs within department. 

Recognizing the need for language instructors to have such opportunities and to expand beyond a local context, I decided to progress into a third phase of operations regarding The Teacher’s Toolbox by creating a website called The Language Teacher’s Toolbox.[1] This presents a forum for language teachers to discuss and exchange ideas on a large scale with virtually none of the constraints of conventional conferences or meetings. The motivation to create the website-based version of the original Teacher’s Toolbox idea was motivated by the fact that I felt that language teaching is lacking the availability of easily accessible and quality teaching materials and activities. In short, there is no central and easily accessible knowledge base from which teachers can draw. Instead, language teachers generally must learn from experience or attend conferences and workshops, which may not always be feasible. I also feel that there is a lack of communication among teachers of different languages as most tend to congregate with other teachers of whichever language they are teaching. 

I have always felt that we as language teachers can benefit from learning what and how our colleagues in other languages are teaching. Thus, the Language Teacher’s Toolbox is designed for teachers of all languages. Activities and materials may be designed for a specific language, yet they are all designed with broad and flexible application in mind. Thus, German teachers may find an activity for Spanish interesting and vice versa. The site also serves as a forum for language teachers to discuss ideas and the materials presented there as anyone visiting the site has the ability to comment on the content posted there and people may then comment or reply to others’ comments leading to discussions. 

The organizational structure of the site itself reflects the integrated approach toward knowledge sharing I have described above in that rather than having one primary content contributor, the task of adding content to the site is shared by a team of language teaching experts from all of the languages the site currently supports.[1] Each language features a team of experienced language teachers each with their own areas of expertise who have full reign to add content as they see fit. 

Visitors to the site have the option of commenting on any posts directly or sending any comments or questions to the site via email.[2] Visitors are encouraged to comment in order to stimulate discussion and they have the opportunity to see their own materials or ideas published on the site by sending an email to the site with a description of their activities, materials, or ideas. All material sent to the site will undergo a review process and if it is found to be acceptable it will then be published on the site with full credit given to the original author(s). Visitors to the site may also subscribe to it via the site feed. For those unfamiliar with such technology, it is akin to subscribing to a magazine or newspaper. By subscribing you do not actually need to visit the site itself to check for new material; instead a user will receive updates within their browser window or through email notification. 

It is hoped that through this type of collaboration that a true community of language teachers can be established without any constraints. The site will be continuously updated with new content on a daily basis, thus it seeks to offer an alternative beyond conferences and workshops as they can only take place in established and finite time frames. This is not to say that the aim is to replace such venues, but simply to supplement them by offering a venue that is constantly accessible and in many ways more convenient.

The more teachers contributing to the site the stronger the community will become. 

Sincerely,

Christopher La Cross 


[1]    Currently the site fully supports German, French, Spanish, English (ESL/EFL/ELT), as well as Japanese and Chinese. As the site continues to grow we will expand our team to fully support other languages. Future languages will include Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Arabic to name but a few.
[2]    The site can be reached via email at: clteacherstoolbox@gmail.com

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