Some days ago I heard my 5 year old son talking mumbo jumbo english by his computer; he was imitating a Lego Star Wars-video conversation he just had been watching (and evidently listening too, 10 times or so...). His pronunciation was english but what he said didn't make any sense, well, once a while he dropped the phrase "Star Wars..."
A couple of hours ago he showed my a small Lego poster of HERO FACTORY and asked me (in swedish) "Dad, does it say here (reading in english - a skill he often says he isn't able too in swedish... - with his index finger pointing out the reading direction) 'HERO FACTORY'?"*
Learning how to read is globalized today, thanks to the ICT possibilities; foreign languages support the native language in children's reading comprehension - a prospect that just 10 years ago was limited to kids with bilingual parents or kids attending bilingual education.
* I don't remember if I answered his question, maybe I just nodded (or maybe my Vygotskian presence was enough) during my process in thinking of the history of the development of reading and writing. I think anyway he announced "YES" (he often does...) and went back to his computer keyboard knowing what to type (a skill he often says he isn't able too...) in the adress bar of Google Chrome...
Sunday, 4 November 2012
I got introduced to BrainPOP ESL by a new colleague, she has used it with different groups and has succeeded in capturing the interest of even the students that sometimes can be hard to capture. I´ve started introducing it with my students that need extra assignments. We started at level on and then clicked our way onwards to find the level suited for the student. The layout of the site is welcoming and attention grabbing, the reason for that could be that it is very colorful and have lots of different choices to click on. It’s filled with different animated activities. BrainPOP ESL is the creation of Naomi Prawer Kadar, Ph.D. (1949-2010), she was a language teacher teaching both ESL students and students studying to become teachers.
BrainPOP ESL is divided into level 1-3 and each level is divided into 6 unites. Each unit consists of 5 lessons and every lesson starts off with watching a short animated movie. With every lesson there are exercises for listening, reading, speaking and writing. There are different ways to work with words on the website like flashcards and visual words where words are shown animated to clarify their meaning. For extra activities or games the students ‘can find exercises by clicking on Play it. Under Warm Up! you´ll find exercises to prepare for the quiz that you find by clicking on You Can Do It! When using the quizzes that you access by clicking on You Can Do It! the students gets their result right a way and find out what they need to work more on. There is also a section called Teaching Tools, here teachers can find things like lesson plans and extra activities.
To find out more by watching a short animated introduction, please follow the link below.
One side to BrainPOP that could be could be a negative is that it is not free. There is some free stuff on the site that you can use and there is also the opportunity off trying the website out for free before signing up. The free stuff you can find by clicking on Free lesson and Free game.
The cost of subscribing to BrainPOP ESL depends on how many computers you want to be able to use it on at the same time. The subscription usually runs for a year at a time, for classroom use the fee is $115 and then you will be able to use BrainPOP ESL on your Smartboard or be able to be logged in on three different computers at the same time. One of the other options to subscribe is to do it so that your entire school including parents can use it, which would cost $495.
You´ll find BrainPOP ESL by following the link below.
There are other types of BrainPOP that you can find online that are created for native speaking students. They can also be an interesting way of teaching English and working cross curricular.