Saturday, January 31, 2009

50 word mini-saga

What I like about my teaching is that my students are young adult boys and girls of teaching specialities, I can help them to interact and build up relationships inside the group but when it comes to projects on their specialties they teach me, so we collaborate and enjoy it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Reflections on blogging

Last year I started blogging with my students and I enjoyed it. First, it helped me with organizing. Students do not always hand in their work in time, it can be lost, mixed with papers from other groups. In a blog you can easily see who, how many, when, what tasks were done. They are safe, you can’t lose them, and even those who are absent can contribute and ‘hand in’ their works. Second, it is their motivation that everyone could see their work, it will be read and commented. Besides, it’s additional reading of each others posts. I agree with Carla Arena that blogging builds up a sense of community, and blogs encourage many shy students to express themselves. The main problem is that still not everybody has free access to the internet and some students are lazy to type and still prefer to write on a sheet of paper somewhere during a break. I asked students to post short articles on the topic we study, use special lexical items in stories, comment. I liked the examples of C. Arena’s tasks to promote more interaction: “I’ve had reading projects in which the students read short stories in parts and for each part there was a post that led students towards reflection. Another great activity that sparks students’ curiosity is to invite a mystery guest as a contributor to your class blog, and have the learners interact with this mystery guest to find out who he is, where he’s from and so on. Or how about an international exchange in which two groups from different countries interact, talk about all kinds of subjects and use their English in an authentic setting, to promote communication for a real purpose?” I think about developing a reading task: post a short story with a task for students – continue, write another ending, answer opinion questions. My students’ blog

Reflections on word processing and collaborative writing tools in EFL

I have never used collaborative writing tools before, I even was unaware of them. So now it is my first try.I have not thought about using word processing in a class and these activities are new for me. Some of them are not necessary for my students as I work at a technical university and there is no need to teach them word processing, in fact, they know computer much better than I. But I found some tasks that I can adapt with my students- these are narrative and descriptive writing, different types of letters ( Vance Stevens). In general I think grammar and vocabulary exercises together with word processing are interesting for young school children and can replace traditional workbooks.For example, I jumble up words in sentences or sentences in paragraphs. Or order of instructions. Or paragraphs within an essay. And then ask students to unjumble these, again using dragging or cutting or pasting.» I think this an interesting task that would very well work with my studentsAs far as word processing tools for collaborative writing are concerned I think they are wonderful for project works. We do with students project works when they study a topic in small groups, write together a summary and present to the whole group. Such work can be organized with Google Docs (for example). First, students may generate ideas, share them, make a plan, then write each point of the plan simultaneously without need to type, compare in class, retype. I think about another way to use it in my class. When we get ready to FCE there is a task to describe a picture and comment your partner description. For more practice and more accurate speech it can be a home writing task. I need to divide the group into pairs, post a picture for them to describe and comment collaboratively. Other colleagues opinions are here.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What is RSS for my colleagues

How I understand what is RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication). When I start blogging I should teach my students that writing for webspace is different from usual, as it is more like a continious conversation. A motivating factor for students is that their posts are read and commented on. So they should take an active part by reading their groupmates blogs and commenting in them. It may be very timeconsuming and thus difficult and frustrative to cope with all information. That's where RSS is a helping tool. Teach students to use RSS and they'll get a brief summary, headlines of what is new in their peers blogs, and then decide what to open and read more carefully. RSS also saves time and effort for the teacher. It enables you to control all your students writings - who, how often, what, where writes . The following article very clearly illustrates the importance of RSS in blogging. The following article very clearly illustrates the importance of RSS in blogging.The Technology of Reading and Writing in the Digital Space: Why RSS is crucial for a Blogging Classroom

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My native city - invitation for a project

Thank you everybody for welcoming and words of support. It makes me feel enthusiastic and even responsible. I'll go on trying.
Here I've found out how to add pictures.
Look, the first is a winter evening on the river Oka under ice. NizhnyNovgorod ( means 'new city lower than older city of Novgorod') is situated on the confluence of two large rivers the Oka and the Volga.
The second is a part of old center with the Kremlin ( a fortress with towers) (dates back to the XV century) and old churches. The city was founded in 1221.
I love living here, it's much quieter than in the capital, though moscovites call us provincials.
Well, we might design an international blogging project about native places. I teach at the civil engineering university and my students are 16-19 year-olds, some are from different parts of Russia. Would you like to join?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hello,dear friends!

I'm new to this virtual world. Before starting blogging with my students I want to try and learn how the thing works and how effective it might be and how much fun it may give. So, anyone with any ideas and comments, of course, are very welcome. I'm from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. It's the third largest city in our country. I'm going to post a picture of it later. Now I wonder has the world head anything about it? And what is the first assotiation that come into your head when you see the word 'Russia'? Thanks, see you.