Monday, 31 October 2011
You just need a computer connected to Internet and this link below to get started.
When you introduce this to your class or if you want to use it with all of your pupils, it is good to have a projector.
You can find hundreds of educational games, activities, quizzes, articles and more. The website is divided into different categories, for example animals, world, language arts, health, science, math and pre-school. If you go down the page you can find even more subjects, as history, brain, nutrition and seasons.
There are games, quizzes and other activities for all ages and if you scroll down you can see which category is recommended for each age.
At the bottom of the page there is a link "free for teachers". If you go to that page you get information on how to download things from this website and you can use them in your school or for pupils to use at home. The best of all is that it is free and you can download as many "games" as you want. There are more than one thousand schools worldwide that have taken advantage of this already.
"Pre-school" is good for newbeginners because in the other categories you need to have studied English for a while and you also have to be a good reader. In "Pre-school" and "Kid´s corner you can find things to listen to and learn.
It is a very extensive website, as a teacher you really have to take your time and try the activities. But if you have younger pupils you can let them try the "Pre-school" activities themseves and tell each other about them.
They can find many things to do on their own like games, jigsaw puzzles, memory games and things to paint.
When you get to know this website you can choose activities to use in your ordinary teaching. There are a lot of things about animals. One thing that is good here is that you can include a lot of other subjects when you are working.
As on many websites there are a lot of commercials but it is because of them the website can be "free".
It is an extensive website, so take your time. Good luck!
Teacher on demand is a web site started in 2008 as a school project in Falköping`s municipality together with the University of Skövde. It is an on-line program and it is free to use.
On this web site teachers show their self-produced films with short lessons or sequences in different subjects. It is also possible for students to publishing their works on “Teacher on demand” to share it with other students.
The main purpose with “Teacher on demand” is giving students more opportunities to achieve their goals, making it easier for teachers to reach out to students and their parents, as well as giving parents more opportunities to help their children.
The web site is easy to use. There is an instructional film which guides you through and shows you the possibilities with the site.
What you need to make it work
If you want to look at a film on Teacher on demand, you need a computer connected to the internet. It is also possible for you to download the films on your IPhone or IPod.
If you want to create a film, there is a free download of the software Camstudio, which allows you to record all screen and audio activity on your computer. The film can also be made in Moviemaker. If you run into trouble, there is a support on “Teacher on demand” which is available for you.
How the resource can be used by teachers
As a teacher you can create an account, make a video record of your lesson and transfer your video file to “Teacher on demand”. This gives your students the opportunity to see your lesson, or a sequence of it, repeatedly. This ensures the possibility of your students viewing your lesson even if they are not present.
Another possibility is using other teacher`s films on your lesson as a teaching aid. It saves time not producing your own materiel. So far there are in the English subject mostly films about grammar, but there are also informative films about eg the seasons, the alphabet and about London.
You can also use the films for your own inspiration.
If your students are working with a project in English you can download their work in the category “students’ production” to make it available for other students.
How the resource can be used by the students
If a student has difficulties in a topic the films are available for him or her to watch as many times as needed. Furthermore, you often find films in the same topic made by different teachers. If a student finds a teacher`s film who describes a topic in a way that makes him or her understand it better, the student can subscribe to those films and download them via ITunes to their IPod or IPhone.
I believe “Teacher on demand” facilitates the students learning as it will help them achieve their goals. In addition, skilled students can be inspired to reach higher grades by watching different films on different levels or be challenged to produce their own film. In that way, they may make a bigger effort to achieve. Their teacher only needs to log in and publish the film in the category “student production”.
Other considerations when using this resource
Before you start using “Teacher on demand” you should take a look at the instructional film which guides you through the web site.
If you cooperate with a school or a teacher in another country you can link films to them. In turn, they have the possibility to publish their films on “Teacher on demand”.
Hopefully there will be more English films available in the future. So far, the most films are as mentioned about grammar.
One problem that may prevent teachers from producing films is the access to or the knowledge of ICT tools. If you do have the equipment, do not hesitate to ask the students for help with the technical parts as they often have high computer skills.
Friday, 28 October 2011
In a very easy way you can create stories that really look professional.
Photo Story is a free software but you need to download it. You can find a link to it on the PIM pages right here. I chose to get it from PIM because I hope it is a safe web page.
It is easy to download and to get started with.
You use this software when you want to show your pictures or make a story out of your pictures.
When you start to make your Photo Story you will be guided through the whole work by instructions. The instructions are very easy to follow. The students have no trouble following them, even the students that are not so used to work with a computer manage to do it, especially if they work in groups.
The first thing to do is to import pictures from a file. You can use photos, pictures that you have scanned or pictures you have got from multimediabyrån or fotofinnaren where the pictures are free to use.
When you have the pictures you need you can choose if you want something written on the pictures. You can also edit your pictures, for example cut and rotate them.
There are also some special effects you can use on your pictures, for example, colour pencils that makes the picture look like a painting. The students will love this function, I do. It’s amazing to see a photo turn into a nice drawing in grey-scale. That function can make your photos turn into a picture book.
The next part to do with your project is to record a narrator. In this part of the work you can also decide how the pictures will tune in or tune out.
Here I think it’s important to discuss with the student how they do this. If you have too many different ways of tuning in and out the pictures it will destroy the story.
Every time you do any changes you are able to preview it, that gives you an opportunity to experiment to get the best result.
The next thing to add to your project is music in the background. You can find very useful and suitable music on multimediabyrån (linked above) that is free to use. When the students are choosing music there can be an interesting discussion about the choice of music, what kind of music fits to the story, will the story change if you choose different kind of music?
The last thing to do with your story is to save it to a media file, and the Photo Story is ready to be presented.
How can I as a teacher use this ICT-resource?
I can make stories from photos for the students to watch.
If I want to tell the parents how we work in school it is a nice way to tell it by a Photo Story that the students have created together.
I can also make very short stories for the younger children, stories with text and a story teller so they can read and listen at the same time.
Watching a Photo Story made by students give you an opportunity to assess the students' pronunciation. Some students feel more comfortable if they are alone when they record their voice.
To use Photo Story is also a way to work thematically with many subjects involved, as the new syllabus advice us to do. This way you work with for example English, Art and Swedish (different ways to make an presentation).
The student can use Photo Story in many ways.
They can present a project as a Photo Story, for example present a work about their favourite sports, a country or an animal.
They can write a story together or use a story that they know and illustrate it by taking photos or painting pictures to scan. Older students can make Photo Stories to be used by younger students.
How the students work with Photo Story can be different, they can work alone or they can work in pair, groups or the entire class can do a Photo Story together.
What do you need to make this work? When you have downloaded the software you don’t need to be connected to internet unless you don’t want to get pictures or music. You need a headset with a microphone. If you want to use your own photos you need a camera and if you want to use your paintings you need a scanner.
I really recommend you to use Photo Story and give your students a chance to be proud of their work.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
I´ve used Photo Story with my pupils and only by showing them how the program works for like 15-20 minutes they can manage to start using it themselves. So, it´s no long time for preparation needed. If you use a projector to the computer you can show the whole class at the same time. That´s good and it works!
So, what equipment do you need?
Not much, just some ordinary things like a computer, access to internet and a headset with microphone. If you want to create even more a scanner and a digital camera could be useful. You also need the program "Photo Story 3" before you can start. The program is free and you download it very quickly from: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx or just google the name "Photo Story 3" and you find it.
When you introduced the program to the pupils and they have learnt how it works you can use it in many ways. Whatever the pupils have regarded to do with Photo Story, I prefer that they start to do a plan on paper before their work on the computers begin. My experience is that the results getting better and more thoughtful, especially when the pupils working in pair or in a group. When they have their "paper plan" ready the work at the computers goes faster, which is preferable because many classrooms not have more than one or two computers at 20-25 pupils!
Examples for the pupils
Example 1: Presentations of themselves
By using the digital camera they can put together photos of themselves, their family, their house, their pets, their leisure activities and their friends. Then they combine these with text and speech and the presentation is ready. Or do a twist on the presentation and put the pupils together in pair and let them make a presentation of each other. Or do both and after watching the result they can discuss similarities and differences...
Maybe your school has a website and each class some own space. If that´s the case you can put the presentations here. God for new coming pupils and parents. Or show the presentations on a meeting for your pupils´parents. That is usually appreciated!
Example 2: Create a story
Let the pupils work together in groups, 3-4 in each group, and make a story from pictures. Decide the guidlines for the story; should it be a ghost story or perhaps a modern version of some well known story? The opportunities are unlimited! When all the groups have finished their job you can have a cosy storytelling time when you watch all the stories. Invite other classes as well to make it more solemn!
Example 3: Presentation of subject
The pupils can use Photo Story whenever they have a subject they will present. It could be about volcanoes, muchrooms, Vincent van Gogh, London or whatever. Get pictures and add text and speech and voilá; you have made a neat presentation that is much more fun for the other pupils to look and listen at!
But note the copyright and only use pictures and music that you are allowed to use! On these links you can find material you are free to use: www.multimedia.skolverket.se and www.fotofinnaren.se Elsewhere you must always ask the source about permission to use their pictures or music. Send an e-mail and ask - sometimes it´s ok!
This is just some examples and I think you can find out more examples how to use Photo Story with the pupils. What exercise you choose, your pupils need to use their English in writing, reading, listening and speaking. The exercises is also easy to adapt to the pupils´knowledge.
As a teacher you can also use Photo Story to make short presentations available to the pupils, like mini-lessons on the computer. It can for example be about body parts or prepositions (in English of course :)). Let the mini-lessons be available on the computer and the pupils can lok at it whenever they want or need to. Some pupils need to watch the same presentation several times and some just one time. It´s good to have the choice.
When the pupils are more and more convenient with the Photo Story they can use it more freely. Let them be creative and they will love it! Let them work in groups and they will communicate and develop their ideas and out will come amazing stuff that look very professional. Stories they can be proud of!
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
The link is: http://britishcouncil.org/learnenglishkids
Learn English Kids is divided in five sections.
In the games section you can play different games and practise your spelling and vocabulary in a fun way.
In the listen and watch section you can listen to stories, songs and watch videos of English children who are talking about their lives and news. You can also practise your pronunciation when you listen to and say tongue twisters.
In the read and write section you practise your reading and writing skills. Every week English kids give you a new word to work with, in the exercise "Word of the week".
In the make section you practise your English as you create and make stories and things.
In the explore section you can get tips from children how to learn English, you get links (to explore the web) for English learning and you can answer questions in polls.
How the resource can be used by teachers: Teachers can find exercises that ties in what they are working with in their text-and workbook. They can search for a special topic, level and age and get exercises in that topic from different sections and worksheets. You can e.g. show the short story "What will I be when I grow up?" in full screen on the whiteboard and look as many times as you want. After you have seen the story with flash player plug in, in web browser, pupils can do the worksheets. The teacher also gets a number of questions about jobs (below the exercise) to ask the pupils. Teachers can positively recommend this website to pupils and their parents to use at home. When teacher use Learn English Kids the pupils get an opportunity to meet English kids who are talking and they gain insight into their lives. It's so easy to invite English children into the classroom!
Why is Learn English Kids good for learning English?
It's easy to use in the class when you have a projector, interactive whiteboard and an enough new computer.
It contains exercises which are fun, nice-looking and adapted to practise the skills in English to reach the goals for the syllabus in English.
Monday, 24 October 2011
So, how can you use this resource as a teacher and as a student? If you register as a teacher at Storybird you can create a class and add all your students to it. When all students are added to your class the fun starts. Now you can have your students practicing their reading and writing skills by giving them different types of assignments. The teacher can give a description of the assignment, set a due date and make comments on assignments that are completed. When the students log in, they immediately can see the assignment and start working on it.
- You can use Storybird as a reading tool and let the students read stories on different themes. Students can read each other`s stories in the class library. When the students have finished reading a story they can comment on it or maybe add it to their reading list. They can also discuss the story with each other or answer questions made by the teacher to develop their reading comprehension.
- You can also use Storybird as a writing tool. Students can easily create their own stories and books based on illustrations that they have chosen. Of course you can write more than stories. You can do anything from writing simple sentences to writing letters and poetry .The students can work individually or collaborate with a friend by taking turns to write. Students can also comment on each other`s stories.
- A teacher can make his own book and then use it to give examples of different structures in the language. The teacher can for example show the students how to use adverbs when they are writing. The students can then practice this skill by writing their own stories.