Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan.23-29, 2012)

January 30, 2012

Here are my favorite resources of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Social Media News

Businesses grapple with evolving social media rules – by Rebecca Goldfine

Teachers warned over befriending pupils on Facebook – by Jeevan Vasagar and Martin Williams, The Guardian

Schools use social media to communicate with students, parents – by Kim Archer and Andrea Eger, Tulsa News

Teachers take to Twitter to improve craft and commiserate – by Emma Brown, The Washington Post

McDonald’s Twitter Campaign Goes Horribly Wrong #McDStories – Business Insider

Educational Technology

Four Creative Commons Photo Sites You Should Know About – from EdTech Ideas

14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging – Mrs. Ripp

Find and Translate 10,000+ newspapers – Newspapermap.com

Technology Resources and News

13 Everyday Technologies That Were First Imagined In Science Fiction – by Dylan Love, Business Insider

10 Tips for Building a Strong Online Community Around Your Startup – by Megan Berry, Mashable

Literacy Resources

Digital Literacy for Women and Girls – Alliance for Women in Media

At What Age Should Your Child Be Able To Read? – The Reading Corner

Literacy and Language News

Internet Promotes Literacy, Study Says – PC World

Learning a Second Language Protects Against Alzheimer’s – Fox News

Dissecting the bilingual brain- Insights of thinking in two languages… – EAL Teachers

International Languages Resources and News

Resources for Teaching Spanish – Language Links Wiki

Education Resources

10 great books to help you think, create, & communicate better in 2012 – Presentation Zen

Personalization vs. differentiation vs. individualization – by Barbara Bray

Education News From Around the Globe

Is Sweden’s Classroom-Free School the Future of Learning? – Good Education

Canadian Education News

Canada’s outstanding public school principals honoured by education charity – by Steve Mertl, Yahoo News

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Share this post: Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1de

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


The wisdom of your story: Storytelling resources for teachers

January 27, 2012

Storytelling is a practice that dates back centuries. Sometime in the last 20th century however, its use in the classroom began to diminish, but researcher, Melanie C. Green, reminds us that “stories are a powerful structure for organizing and transmitting information, and for creating meaning in our lives and environments”.

How-to articles and resources

Storyteller.nethttp://www.storyteller.net/- This site has a sub-page called “Articles” with dozens of links and resources

Storytelling: How to tell a tale – by LibrarySpot.com – http://www.libraryspot.com/features/storytellingfeature.htm – This article goes over the essentials, and learning the art of storytelling. It also has links to a variety of other resources.

Storytelling Lessons, lesson plans and activities

Storytelling – Oral Traditions (lesson plan for grades 4-6) – by Teachers’ Domain - http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/echo07.lan.stories.lporaltrad/

Storytelling – ProTeacher.com – This site is a collection of links to other resources, including lesson plans and activities – http://www.proteacher.com/070163.shtml

Professional organizations

National Storytelling Network (U.S.A. ) http://www.storynet.org/

Research articles

Storytelling in Teaching – by Melanie C. Green, published in APS Observer – http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/getArticle.cfm?id=1562

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Would you care for an earthworm with your coffee?: Turning language blunders into powerful teaching stories

January 25, 2012

Let’s face it: Language lessons sometimes involve material that is dry or boring. The reality is, it can be hard to remember facts or information. The rules of grammar? Bo-ring! At least, that is what the average person might think. Adult education guru, Stephen Lieb, tells us that adult learners need content that is relevant and useful in their every day live. What can seem less relevant to every day life of working to paying the bills, raising the kids and trying to have some kind of life. Most people just do not see a connection.

Scenario #1: Teaching with examples

Examples provide a method to make the learning concrete and relevant.

Seasoned teachers will have an arsenal of examples of their own students’ grammar and language mistakes. Examples can also be found on Internet sites such as ESL Prof.

“When I was six, I went to primate school.”

Clearly the speaker intended to say “primary” instead of “primate”. This is a classic example of mixing up words with similar sounds that have completely different meanings.

If you were using this example with EAL adult learners, you might make the connection between  language errors and the real world by linking it to employment. You might say that the implication for an adult EAL learner might be that if he or she were to say this in a job interview, it might cost them the job. Though it is not ethical (or logical) some recruitment officers may make decisions about a prospective employee’s intelligence or competence based on their language skills.

That example would provide a real-world context for why it is important to learn vocabulary very well. You have developed a cogent and logical argument to support your point using an example.

Scenario #2: Teaching through stories

Imagine dipping into your own past, experience and heritage to create a story that illustrates the same point. When teaching native Spanish speakers English, I would tell them about my own struggles with language learning.

Setting the stage and the context

“I was so proud to have a native Spanish speaker visit my home,” I would tell them. “We had agreed to do a language exchange and help each other with our conversation skills.”

Providing key detail

“I prepared coffee and baked home-made oatmeal cookies, my mother’s recipe.”

Deliver the punch line

“I asked my new friend, “¿Desea guisano con su café?

The quick thinkers erupt in laughter. Others will puzzle over the meaning until it clicks that what I meant, instead of “guisano”, was “galleta”.

As a learner of Spanish as a second language, I spent years confusing those two words. The result was that instead of offering my guest a cookie (galleta), I had offered them an earthworm (guisano).

To a native speaker, the result is either a turned stomach or comedic effect, or a bit of both.

The moral of the story

I would follow the story by saying this to the students: “My point to you is that it is easy to confuse words in a new language. In fact, it is normal. But be aware that these kinds of mistakes can result in people laughing at you or, possibly even taking you as an imbecile. In my case, I was lucky. My friend, who was both quick witted and gracious simply said, ‘Por favor, una galleta. No me gustan los guisanos‘.” (Translation: “A cookie, please. I don’t really care for earthworms.”)

From a linguistic point of view, the two scenarios are similar. The language learner mistakenly uses one word for another. The two words sound similar to the ear of a non-native speaker. But to a native speaker, the difference in meaning between the two words is worlds apart. It would never even occur to them to mix those words up.

Examples provide logical reasons, whereas stories create memorable moments that connect with human experience and emotion.

I admit that this type of story worked only because I was working with Spanish speakers learning  English. It would not work with a linguistically diverse group.

The point here is to ask yourself, what stories or experiences do you have that can help you make a point and make a connection with your learners at the same time? We all have stories. What are  some of yours?

Related posts:

Share your story, share your wisdom: How to make learning memorable

Storytelling resources for teachers

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Share or Tweet this post: Would you care for an earthworm with your coffee?: Turning language blunders into powerful teaching stories http://wp.me/pNAh3-1bM

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


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