Comma Craze 2: More common mistakes with commas

Although one could argue there are more important writing skills to master, neglecting to teach the use of commas could result in very unclear writing. I’m not perfect with punctuation, but I champion the usefulness of standardized patterns. Clarity and effective communication go hand in hand. We might be more flexible in our texting, but…

Tools That Empower: Vocabulary Profilers

I’ve highlighted vocabulary profilers before. Many are familiar with the wonderfully user-friendly resource offered by the University of Hong Kong. More recent discoveries for me include VocabKitchen and EnglishProfile: The CEFR for English, both of which have advanced features worth checking out. Have you heard about Laurence Anthony’s AntWordProfiler? I learned about this freeware tool at TESOL 2017….

More Tech Tools for Building Vocabulary and Reading Skills

It’s often amazing how much information teachers are able to share within their short presentations at the Electronic Village at TESOL each year. Back in Seattle, I was fortunate to sit at the computer station with Bridget Green of Gonzaga University. Through her talk Focus on Vocab and Reading with Profilers, Sizers, and Rewordify I learned about several…

2 Apps Generating Some Buzz about Assessment

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? So when there’s buzz, there’s likely something worth looking at. At TESOL 2017 one buzzword in the Electronic Village seemed to be formative assessment. Why is it valuable? How can we do it well? Three teachers from Universidad de Los Andes (Trujillo, Venezuela) reviewed the basics during their talk…

Shadow Puppet: A solution for shy speakers

The interesting thing about shadows is that you can’t have them without light. Too little light will leave a room in darkness. Too much light can be blinding. For some ELLs, classroom presentations are the equivalent of standing in the spotlight with no opportunity to retreat to the comforting shadows. But if these reserved students…

TESOL 2017 Highlights: Building Independent Readers

Each visit to the Electronic Village helps me fill my treasure box for teaching. Phil Rice of the University of Delaware put three gems in my box during his talk A Suite of Online Reading Tools to Enable Self-study. Let me share what I learned. Readlang is clever web-app that helps readers with any online text. On…

TESOL 2017 Highlights: Smart Ways to Use Smartphones

My mind is stirring in excitement from all that I learned at the 2017 TESOL Convention. I love learning from my colleagues, and this year there was no shortage of ideas in the Electronic Village. I plan to share a number of posts based on my frequent visits to EV workshops. At one EV Technology Fair,…

TESOL 2017 Highlights: The Take Away from the Top

As usual, the convention has been one exciting whirlwind. I attended some very useful talks and took plenty of notes, so it will take a number of posts to share my highlights with you. Let’s start at the top…meaning the keynote speakers. Dudley Reynolds, our 2016-2017 TESOL President, spoke on Professional English Language Teachers in…

TESOL 2017: Seattle Here I Come!

Are any of you heading to Seattle for the TESOL convention? It’s an exciting time of the year. I enjoy seeing old colleagues and meeting new ones. The annual convention is a chance to hear about current trends, learn new tips and tools, and discover what projects everyone is engaged in. I have two presentations…

Words That Even Teachers Mix Up

Catching a student’s error with sweet and sweat is simple enough because I don’t mix up those words. They don’t sound alike to me and their meanings are very different. However, I’ve caught myself saying further when I meant farther, and vice versa. Perhaps the closer words are in meaning, the harder it can be to differentiate…