January 2011

After continued problems accessing the VILLAGE Grouply site (is my connection really THAT bad?  can I blame it on the snow?), I’ve decided to comment on my Second Life experience here.  I think it can be summed up nicely in a list:

  1. Wow.  That’s awesome.  How can I have had an avatar for 1,333 days (3 and a half years) and not have taken more time to learn how to use it?
  2. Wow.  Time consuming.
  3. Wow.  I can go shopping in Second Life when there’s too much snow to go shopping here.  Second Life has even been nice enough to decline all my credit accounts so I can’t buy anything and have to hunt around for free stuff.
  4. Wow.  University of Cincinnati exists in SL AND they’ll give me stuff for free!  Why couldn’t they have done that in RL?
  5. Wow.  I could teach here, really!  Just have to find myself some students that are old enough!

In the past three weeks, I’ve learned most of the basics, although I’m sure there’s more, become a shopaholic, found out how to rez prims, build basic structures, teleport, explore, and gone on a lot of tours with fellow language teachers.  I’m slowly understanding different ways that I could use SL with RL students, although I’m finding it a little overwhelming at times.

Check out some of my photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

The Globe Theatre in Language Lab

MacBeth Throne Room

On a killing spree in MacBeth

Getting ready to hang glide in EduNation III

The vocabulary assembly line is:

  1. Generate a word list
  2. Generate definitions
  3. Sort the list for batch entry
  4. Make repetition fun
  5. Generate pronunciation and spelling exercises
  6. Generate examples of usage in context
  7. Create associations
  8. Link to an image
  9. Link to a location
  10. Link to an emotion
  11. Be memorable
  12. Put it all together

First, we made a vocabulary list and generated definitions for the list using Wordsmyth.  Then we used SortMyList to organize and format the list. Finally, we used Google Translate in an L1 that would be useful for our students and posted the results on the course wiki.  Here’s my final list, which I made to go with the unit I’ll hopefully start with my beginner middle school ESL students this week as long as we don’t have any more snow days!  I went ahead and made changes to the translation given to me by Google Translate, which I don’t think I’d ever use for this purpose, since it took more time to edit the list and get it to post correctly to the wiki than to translate it myself!

I’d seen most of the tools presented this week at one point or another,  but it had been a while since I’d played with some of them.  The task for this week was to try at least 2 of the tools, so I decided to combine several of them together.

I got the text for the story for “The Happy Prince” from Project Gutenberg, and found an audio version on LibrivoxLessonwriter.com was used to make the activities, but unfortunately didn’t let me keep the text changes I had made (highlighted where the characters spoke and who was speaking; spaces between paragraphs). It also has a limit of 800 words per text.  “The Happy Prince” is 3,000 some words, so I might make several lessons and then combine them all by hand.

I also found a nice blog entry with images to go with the story along the way.

Here’s the link student activity portion of the lesson.  I was happy to see that Lessonwriter now includes options for differentiation!

What are your thoughts on using the seven principles of memorization as a factor in creating vocabulary lesson and/or employing these in your vocabulary instruction?  

  1. Timed repetition
  2. Link to an image
  3. Associate elements
  4. Link to a location
  5. Link to an emotion
  6. Be memorable
  7. Be brief

I think that I use all seven principles of memorization in my classes, although sometimes the lessons are not as memorable as I would like them to be. I find it much easier to be memorable with the 2nd graders I teach than with the middle school students, mostly because the materials are rich in images and associations, as well as project work, from the start. The middle school materials are much less visually pleasing, and require a lot of adaptation. Having (or making) concrete objects for my beginning students is always a plus.

When working with content-area vocabulary (tier 3), I try to use the six steps for teaching academic vocabulary:

  1. The teacher gives a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
  2. The teacher asks the learners to give a description, explanation, or example of the new term in their own words.
  3. The teacher asks the learners to draw a picture, symbol, or locate a graphic to represent the new term.
  4. The learners participate in activities that provide more knowledge of the word.
  5. The learners discuss the term with other learners
  6. Multiple exposures to the word.

The school I was at last year emphasized using this process, along with a lot of graphic organizers. Not so different from the seven principles…