Wednesday, February 29, 2012

News: Texting has a negative impact on language



A recent study by a graduate student in linguistics at the University of Calgary has confirmed what many linguists have feared: that text messaging has a negative impact on language skills. The study finds that it is encouraging laziness and a lack of skill development among other things. You can read more about this highly relevant study via the link below:

Texting and its impact on language

News: High-tech approach/ to teaching Chinese



Foreign language teachers in Santa Barbara, California, are working on  building a digital community across five schools to teach Mandarin to dozens of students. Features such as video chats allow students and teachers to interact in their new language no matter where they learn their lessons. The teachers also use virtual tours to educate students about important Chinese landmarks and history. What types of applications could such digital communities have for teaching other languages?

News: Struggles of keeping Sanskrit a living language




Some would put Sanskrit in the same category as Latin, but students and scholars are using digital tools to prevent that from happening. The Haryana Sanskrit Academy has created software to teach grammar to potential speakers, and a Sanskrit Wikipedia has expanded in an effort to keep the language relevant in today's world.

News: New "Got Milk?" ads feature Spanish

 

New "Got Milk?" ads will also feature Spanish. Read more in the NY Times article linked below:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Group Activities: Debate format



Chris here again. Today I would like to share a recent activity I used to wrap up units on Salzburg and Vienna. This was for an advanced German class so one would need to simplify the activity for lower levels.

In order to test students' knowledge on the various topics covered for both cities I decided on using a debate framework  along with mini presentations to bring out the students' best. Students were organized into two groups with each group representing one of the cities. The groups had two days to research as much information as possible on their respective cities with topics ranging for sightseeing to local cuisine and architecture, travel and lodging costs. Each group member would be responsible for a specific area as well as having a general knowledge of their city.

The goal of the activity was to present the best possible arguments as to why one should visit either Salzburg or Vienna. Students had to try to convince one another that their city was in fact a better place to visit. Groups would be given points based on breadth of knowledge as well as their ability to effectively debate and support their arguments. Groups were given free reign as to how to present their information and could use anything from PowerPoints to handouts. The activity itself was setup as a debate with groups being seated in rows facing one another and two podiums setup at the front of class.

The activity was a success and students were really motivated to demonstrate that their city was the better one to visit. Students were very creative and managed to incorporate a great deal of information not presented in their textbooks to support their arguments. There was a great deal of back-and-forth discussion and students spent the entire class period speaking in German!

Questions and comments welcome!

News: Houston and bilingual education



In a recent editorial, the Houston Chronicle says that more than 50% of students in Houston public schools come from Latino families and making them bilingual is key to the district's success. You can read more about the district's issues and plans regarding bilingual education via the link below:

News: Russian will not become Latvia's second language



A recent United Press International article reports that Russian will not become the second official language of the small Baltic nation of Latvia after a decisive vote. More than half the electorate opposed the measure, despite the fact that about 44% of the country's 2.3 million people speak Russian as their first language. You can read more via the article linked below:

German: Funny iPad videos



Chris here again with a couple of funny videos for fellow German teachers to use in class. Enjoy!


Monday, February 27, 2012

German: Schweizerdeutsch Videos



Chris here again. Today I am sharing a few videos I found featuring Swiss German as we are starting a unit on Switzerland. If you have any other good audio/video examples of Swiss German please feel free to share with us. Enjoy!


Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education


Chris here again. Today we have another great infographic from OnlineUniversities.com to share with you. This one provides an excellent overview of the pros and cons of social media in education. We hope you find the information useful. Does your school or university use social media? Do you use it in the classroom?


Surviving the College Dining Hall
Via: Online Universities Blog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Technology: The digital classroom



Chris here again. Today we have great guest content brought to us from OnlineUniversities.com's Dollie Todd. The infographic below provides an excellent overview of e-textbooks and the various differences between the iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire among other details. Other issues to consider with online education are social, economic, and academic factors. What do you think of e-textbooks and online education?

The Digital Classroom
Via: Accredited Online Universities Guide

10 Big reasons parents shouldn't save for college


(Picture from OnlineUniversities.com . All rights theirs)
Chris here again. Today we have a guest post brought to us from OnlineUniversity.coms Kaitlyn Cole. The article covers reasons why parents shouldn't save for college. While it isn't directly teaching-related, the differences in education systems are a fun topic to cover in language classrooms and this article could provide some extra stimulus for discussions.

10 big reasons parents shouldn't save for college

Do you agree or disagree with the points raised in the article?


Spanish: Qué difícil es hablar el español video



Chris here with a funny video for Spanish that I came across. The video is about the difficulties in learning how to speak Spanish. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

News: 48 Great ways homeschoolers are using Pinterest



Chris here again. Today we have a guest post from Helene Schmidt over at OnlineCollege.org. Their article describes 48 different ways homeschoolers are using Pinterest. For those who aren't familiar with it, Pinterest is a great tool for people to discover new ideas and organize their information. What types of applications could Pinterest hold for language teaching? Are any of the 48 ways mentioned in the article applicable for your teaching? Comments welcome!

Pinterest

48 Great ways homeschoolers are using Pinterest

News: Speaking well "for an American"


Huffington Post commentator Morgan Rotondi ponders the state of language education in America versus Europe by analyzing a comment she's received: "You speak German well ... for an American." Even if meant as a compliment, Rotondi didn't take it that way. Despite improvements in U.S. language learning, such as starting at younger ages, it still lags behind Europe. You can read the full article via the link below:

Speaking well "for an American"

French: Le partage


Johanne here again with another fun video for fellow French teachers. Enjoy!
La Ruche qui dit Oui ! from GC on Vimeo.

German: Grünwald - Werbe-Deustch videos



Chris here again with another funny video for German teachers. This is definitely for advanced classes. The video features 'Werbe-Deutsch' (Werbe-Englisch) and demonstrates some of the English influence on German.

German: Schönheiten der deutschen Sprache



Chris here again. Today I have a funny video to share with fellow German teachers. The video covers some funny but relevant aspects of contemporary German and English influence. Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

News: Korean Defense Ministry will centralize language teaching



The Korean Defense Ministry will be centralizing its language teaching and will establish a Military Language Institute that will train both officers and non-commissioned officers in languages including English, French, and Chinese. This is an effort to consolidate the various language-training institutions across various branches of the military. You can read more in the article linked below:


Korean Defense Ministry will centralize language teaching

News: PA school uses innovative to overcome funding woes


In Pennsylvania, the Bald Eagle Area School District  has devised several innovative ways to deliver Spanish lessons to students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Faced with a limited number of teachers to serve multiple schools, the district relies on a video program that uses puppets to enhance lessons and help young children learn Spanish. For older students, a teacher will record a lecture, adding in Spanish language skits, and will then make the finished video available online.

You can read more in the articled linked below:

PA school uses innovative to overcome funding woes

What are some other innovative and efficient ways programs can use to deliver language lessons?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

News: 2012 FLENJ Spring Conference

Mark your calendars now! The 2012 FLENJ Spring Conference is set for Mar 30- Mar 31, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Somerset, NJ.


News, Black Forest celebrates a different kind of Carnival



Chris here again. Today I have a very timely article from Deutsche Welle regarding Carnival to share with fellow German teachers. The article focuses on how Carnival is celebrated in the Black Forest region and some of the broad differences among the various regions in Germany. Enjoy!

Black Forest celebrates a different kind of Carnival

Do you have any Carnival-related lessons that you use in your language classes? Please let us know!

Monday, February 20, 2012

French: Le Café


Hello all, I came across this fun French video and I thought you might like it. I think it would be a good icebreaker for your French class and it could also be useful for listening comprehension activities.

Try asking your students how many cups of coffee did the main character drink? and who or how many people offered him a cup of coffee? Enjoy!

News: Ky. teachers uses music and physical activities to engage students



Teachers in a Kentucky district are implementing unconventional teaching methods pioneered by Ron Clark, Disney's American Teacher of the Year in 2000. The methods include engaging students in lessons that are fun and that often involve music and physical movement. How might these methods be applicable for your language classroom? Do you use music and/or physical movement in your language classes?

You can read more in the article linked below:

Ky. teacher uses music and physical activities

Saturday, February 18, 2012

News: N.C. church offers math help to Hispanic parents


Elizabeth City, N.C.:  Christ Episcopal Church  has started hosting "Math Night" for Latino parents. The goal is to teach  the parents the math skills they will need to assist their children with homework in their native language. You can find more about this interesting program in the link below:

News: Multi-ethnic dialects: Here to stay?



New dialects that mix the native language with immigrant tongues have taken hold in parts of Europe. This is largely the result of newcomers moving into more prosperous countries. For example, Kiezdeutsch, the slang of urban youth in Germany, combines some Turkish and Arabic words while also shortening some German phrases. What are the short-term and long-term consequences of these language trends? Will this eventually come to affect what we teach in the L2 German classroom?

You can read more about the development of these multi-ethnic dialects in the Economist article linked below:

Friday, February 17, 2012

News: 2012 OFLA Conference

50th Anniversary OFLA Conference
The 50th paid, online registrant gets registration fee refunded or credited toward food functions or workshops
so does the 100th, and the 150th, 200th, 250th, etc.





Thursday, February 16, 2012

French: Patrimoine Francais



Johanne ici with the latest video I found for use in your French classes:

 

French: La présidentielle française sauce CNN



Bonjour everyone, Johanne here with the latest video for your French classes. Enjoy!

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

German: Salzburg und Wien (Word Search)



Chris here again with another downloadable activity for German. Today I would like to share a word search for Salzburg and Wien I created as a little vocabulary review. You can find the activity below along with an answer key. Enjoy!

Salzburg und Wien

Salzburg und Wien (Answer Key)

News: 2012 CLAC Conference

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

News: Do we really need foreign language skills?



Chris here again with your language learning news. Take a look at this recent article from The Telegraph wherein columnist David Hughes poses the question 'Do we really need foreign language skills to flourish?'

What are your reactions and experiences?

German: Wiener Opernball



Chris here again with a couple of useful videos for fellow German teachers. We are currently covering a chapter on Vienna (Wien) and one of the topics of discussion in the Opernball. Below are a view videos relating to it including some footage of demonstrations against it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

German: Deutscher Film 2011



Chris here again with an interesting article on German film I found on Tagesschau.de. The article provides a summary of German film in 2011 and notes that Germans are increasingly going to the movies. The article also explores how recent German movies have contributed to this resurgence despite the number of theaters continuing to decline. You can read more in the article below:

Deutscher Film lockt mehr Besucher

News: Conn. school expands dual language instruction



New Canaan High School in Connecticut launched a Mandarin program five years ago, and now the district is expanding those offerings to middle school students. Starting in the next school year, students in 6th grade will begin a three year language course sequence. The students will also have the option to continue their studies of Mandarin in high school. You can read more in the article below:

Conn. Dual Language Instruction Expands

Saturday, February 11, 2012

News: VFLA Spring Convention

Spiraling Concepts



As a non-college teacher, I forget that spring semester means teaching a class from the beginning again, but by now many of you linguistics teachers are probably already into your second unit. If you're like me, you're also generally stumped for extra credit options to give students that sufficiently challenge them and don't just reward them with more points for busy work. I always tried things like having students go to a linguistics lecture on campus and write a summary, and I usually found that those summaries revealed a rather meagre grasp of what was covered, or weren't all that well-written, but that the students still expected points because, hey, they did what I asked them to do.

So here's something new you might consider trying. Do you ever spiral concepts in your linguistics class? In the K-12 setting, spiraling is a big buzz-word, but all it really means is reviewing something you've already taught to make sure students still have it down. The research on foreign language acquisition shows that you can expect students to spiral up and down in their comprehension of any given grammar point, because it takes a few times jogging the memory and practicing a new skill before that concept really gets in there. However, I know that as a linguistics teacher, I found it a challenge just to cover all the material I thought was important once in the course of a semester, and by final exam time, students' understanding of early units was usually back to disastrously basic levels.

Here's what I suggest: find extra problems for each of your units, and assign them as extra credit problems a unit or two AFTER you've already taught them. This will remind the students that they need to be reviewing their material regularly so they don't forget it, and help cement those important concepts in memory. You can also be strategic with what you assign: give students a phonology extra credit problem after they've just learned how to do historical reconstructions, for example, so that they are forced to compare the two processes and figure out the similarities and differences between them. (Otherwise, you'll see a lot of confusion between these units on your final exam). A plus of this strategy is that you can reward points only for correctly completed problems; you might give students multiple, or even unlimited, chances to turn the problems in, but ultimately, you're rewarding them for what you actually want them to do: master the concepts, not just TRY to master the concepts. This just might be the win-win situation you need to keep students on their toes about course content, all semester long.

Friday, February 10, 2012

French: Raconter une conte (telling a story)




Hello, Jessica here! I Have found this a great activity in my French classroom, useful for teaching the Difference Between the imperfect (imperfect) & the past tense (simple past), and If You Have A more advanced class, you could "throw aussi In The more-than -perfect (pluperfect).

The Should Be Attached handout printed onto transparency sheets, cut n Then EACH That panel contains only one picture. To begin, divide your class Into groups of 3-4 ("any bigger & the Exercise Becomes Too Complicated), and hand out a marker and one with picture To Each
transparency group. The Order in Which you hand out The Sheets Does not matter. Each is group instructed to
write Then at least 2-3 sentences about What is happening in the picture, and You Can Specify Which / How Many of Each verb type They Are to use, and even (if Desired) Give Them A list of verbs Which to choose from. I Give Students Usually about 10 minutes to complete this part of The Activity, On The Level goal DEPENDING of the class, The Time may vary.


Once They Have Completed all their "little story" collective The transparencies and put 'em in order. You Can mount Them On The transparenc
y machine and read the Story When THEY could form all together. Usually, I read-through panel EACH With The class and correct gram
matical Any Mistakes, Focusing specifically use one verb.

WARNING: You are going
to get some hilarious results, so Be Prepared for lots of laughing!

French: M6 Capital terre - Consommer sans piller la planète



Bonjour Johanne ici with another video for fellow French teachers! Enjoy!

 

News: East Aurora School District: Keep German




East Aurora High School has a 25+++ year long history teaching German to its students. Many graduates have gone on to become fluent and use German in their personal and professional lives.
Additionaly, the current German students at East Aurora High School are achieving top scores on the National German Exam as well as the New York State Assessments. Please sign this petition and show your support for German at East Aurora High School.

You can check out the site for the petition here:

News: 18 Englightening iPad experiments in education



Chris here again. Today we have a great article to share with you brought to us by Katelyn Cole from OnlineUniversities.com! The article details 18 iPad experiments in education. The iPad is increasingly seeing use in all levels of education and across a variety of subjects. What uses for iPads can you think of for the language classroom?

You can view the article here:

18 iPad experiments in education

Thursday, February 9, 2012

French: Arte Stress au Travail (Le Blogueur)



Bonjour, Johanne ici. Here is another fun video I found for fellow French teachers. EnjoY!

Group Activities: Card-based activities


Chris here again. Today I would like to talk about a fun activity I recently created for a unit on relative pronouns and clauses in German. The activity is broad enough that you can apply it to practically any type of grammar or vocabulary exercise! Let's get into the activity...

I based this activity off of the mechanics of the card game war. The goal is to take away all of your opponent's cards. This concept could easily be employed in the classroom with students making some simple cards by folding a piece of paper and cutting/tearing it into 8 pieces.

One each piece of paper students where instructed to write a sentence with just the main clause while leaving the spot normally occupied by the relative clause blank.

Berlin ist eine Stadt,

Ich haben einen Hunder,

Dast ist ein Buch, 

Once students have all of their cards prepared they are then free to begin pairing up with their classmates. A student will present one of their cards to their partner. He/She must be able to complete the sentence by adding a relative clause. Students should not take longer than 30 seconds per card. If the student successfully completes the sentence they receive that card. If not, they must give their partner one of their cards instead. This process repeats itself and the other student in the pair now has a chance to present one of their cards.

Once each student in a pair has had a chance to present one of their cards the students are free to switch and find a different partner and then continuing on as before. If a student has no more cards then they are eliminated. The student(s) with the most cards at the end is the winner.

The benefit of this activity is that the entire class is involved, everyone has multiple opportunities to speak, and the students are presented with the target forms multiple times as they have to create their own answers spontaneously. This forces them to think and actively use the language.

I recently tried an alternative version of the activity which allowed for a nice transition to a homework assignment. How well students did in the activity would determine the length of the homework on an individual basis.

The activity was the same as above although this time the focus was on reflexive verbs. The other major change from the activity as described above was that rather than trying to gain more cards the goal was for students to actually try and get rid of as many as possible. If a student managed to end up with zero cards left they would have no homework! For this version, a student would present their partner with a card as normal (cards had a reflexive verb written on it). The partner would have to create a sentence using the reflexive verb. If the sentence was correct the student who presented the card would be given another card by their partner. If incorrect then the student presenting the card would be allowed to give away one of their cards. This would continue with students switching partners regularly.

After ten minutes or so students were asked to stop and count the number of cards they had. For each card students would have to write a sentence using the reflexive verb in a sentence. These sentences should be combined together to form a story if possible. Thus, the more cards each student had the longer their homework would be. Students were extremely motivated for the activity to try to get down to zero cards!

Hopefully you find the above activity useful!
Comments welcome!


News: February is Discover Languages month!


From ACTFL: Discover Languages® is the national campaign developed by the ACTFL to raise awareness about the cognitive, academic, social, cultural and economic benefits that language learning provides our nation's students. In addition to year-round advocacy, ACTFL and its members focus particular attention on speaking up for language learning during Discover Languages® month in February.

You can check out the ACTFL site here!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

News: FLAP funding cuts waste years of work


Last year, Congress eliminated the fifth and final year of funding for the Foreign Language Assistance Program, leaving an effort to develop foreign language assessments incomplete. Reactions among language educators have naturally been quite negative.  Marty Abbott, executive director of ACTFL, has said that " The rug has been pulled out from underneath these districts." You can read more via the article below:

News: U.S. & Chinese schools build virtual partnerships



A number of schools in the U.S. are establishing virtual education partnerships with China to help students better compete in the global marketplace. Some schools are also offering the opportunity for their students to study in China. You can read more in the article linked below:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

News: Should Rosetta Stone be used for teaching?

Should Rosetta Stone by used for teaching? A recent article explores both sides of the argument for using the famous software program to replace traditional language classrooms. On the one side, language educators, such as David Mc Alpine, president of the board of directors for ACTFL, question whether Rosetta Stone should replace classroom instruction. According to Mc Alpine, language is about "human communication. Not communication with a machine." However, there are several proponents for using Rosetta Stone in instruction. Early adopters include James Madison University which has already unveiled plans to offer the first for-credit class on Rosetta Stone software. You can read     more in the InsideHigherEd article linked below:

To use or not to use Rosetta Stone? 

News: Guest article on uses of Pinterest



Today we have a great article to share brought to us by Tim Handorf from BestCollegesOnline regarding the popular online tool Pinterest! You can view the article via the link below:

37 Ways Teachers Should Use Pinterest 

ESL SPEAKER SERIES 2012

Validating Language Tests

Presenter: Professor April Ginther

Date: 2/10/2012

Time: 5:30-6:30 pm

Location: RAWL 1071


This presentation will discuss the process of creating validity arguments for language tests. Current validity theory requires not only that the nature of the inferences that we make on the basis of test scores be taken into account but also that the consequences of test score use be considered; therefore, fully-fledged validity arguments must necessarily cover a lot of ground. However, despite their breadth, validity arguments are seldom considered complete and require ongoing consideration and incorporation of developing theoretical and practical concerns. These issues will be discussed with emphasis given to the OEPT, the locally developed semi-direct computer-based test used for screening the oral English proficiency of prospective international teaching assistants (ITAs) at Purdue University.

Followers

Teaching Topics

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