There are many possibilities for using word clouds in language courses. I've listed around 35 of them here with a few hints on what to do.- preview a presentation or a text
- preview the current day’s lesson plan
- predict the content of a text e.g. topics, style, purpose, intended audience
- predict the content of a novel e.g. plot lines, characters, genre or themes as group work
- complete reading comprehension questions just from a word cloud, then comparing answers after reading the actual text
- summarise a presentation
- turn a text into a picture (essay, report, paragraph, article, etc.)
- identify the key words in a text based on their size in the word cloud
- expanding vocabulary (definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or brainstorm words associated with a new one, match parts of collocations)
- student-created flashcards of essential words (review, circle unknown, learn)
- discussion starter (student chooses one word from cloud to speak about)
- add to printed or online course materials
- use as a background for slides or online materials
- compare student responses (make one cloud, or separate ones to compare)
- explore a topic (students add own ideas to a question stimulus & build a cloud)
- take a quick class poll or track a poll over time (multiple clouds side-by-side)
- introduce new course, syllabus or module (provides an overview of content)
- introduce course objectives
- student ice-breaker e.g. all input hobbies, interests, future aspirations, family, pets, favourite films or books, country of origin, etc.
- highlight the main areas to focus on from rubrics to gain the best grades
- highlight examples of misspelled or overused words in student writing by inputting their own work
- illustrate contrasting ideas (show two clouds side-by-side), such as opposing arguments in essays or articles
- research texts from multiple sources then combine them into a cloud
- ‘find the words’ game (e.g. mix academic & non-academic in a cloud & identify)
- ‘guess the topic’ game, or combine two topics in one cloud and students separate them out
- ‘grammar game’ e.g. students classify words from a cloud into different parts of speech or different tenses
- ‘sentence structure’ game e.g. input a complex sentence or short series of sentences into a word cloud, and have students reconstruct them in the correct word order
- ‘memory game’ e.g. show a word cloud, take it off the screen, students write as many words as they can recall
- identify parts of speech (students highlight or underline in different colours)
- visual analysis of qualitative data (e.g. convert a table to a picture)
- curriculum mapping across multiple subjects
- checking the balance between course content and course objectives
Here is a multiple-lesson design thanks to http://tborash.posterous.com/designing-lessons-using-wordle
While not a flawless design, these six steps seemed paramount in increasing students' desire to learn:
- Students pre-assessing their own knowledge and understanding - "What does _insert topic here_ mean to me?"
- Students using Wordle to analyze the pre-assessment responses
- Students "doing stuff" to experience _insert topic here_ in real life - "What happens when I do this?" (this is the learning phase)
- Students responding to what they now know and understand - "What does _insert topic here_ mean to me today?"
- Students comparing the Wordle of their current thinking to that of their pre-assessment responses
- Students asking the question, "Given what I first thought, and what I now think, what do I think of next?"
Without the use of Wordle, we lose out on a central piece of this lesson design puzzle.
An excellent article by Simon Thomas on using word clouds in language activities can be found at: http://efl-resource.com/language-activities-with-wordle-and-word-clouds-2/
. This includes links to several other resources as well.Benefits:
- assists with motivation
- assists with thinking skills
- enlivens course content in all macro-skills
- appeals to visual learners
Places to Try: http://abcya.com/word_clouds.htm
(for young learners) http://www.literature-map.com/
(more for readers of English lit.) http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/
(has iOS & Android apps.) http://quintura.com/
(has iOS app.) http://tagcrowd.com/ http://taggalaxy.com/ http://tagul.com/
(each tag is linkable with a URL for navigation) http://www.tagxedo.com/ http://www.visualthesaurus.com/vocabgrabber/
(also has visual thesaurus!) http://worditout.com/ http://www.wordle.net/
(very easy to use, MOST favoured by teachers) http://wordsift.com/
(from Stanford University ELL)
The word cloud illustrated above was prepared by myself using Wordle.
Over the years I have performed on many occasions - weddings, church services, public events, and private concerts - but as with many other musicians, mostly there was no recording made. Alternatively, if there was a recording, I never heard it or obtained a copy of it.
So, now I am very pleased to be able to share three recordings with you from my years as a Bachelor of Music student at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane.
The first - a recording of most of the flute sonatas by J.S. Bach - was completed at the home of one of Australia's leading harpsichord builders over the course of a day in 2002 using a two-manual French instrument. Some are for flute & continuo (in this case harpsichord & cello), and the others are for flute and harpsichord (in which case, the roles of both instruments are of equal importance).
The second - a recording of one of the smaller preludes & fughettas by J. S. Bach - was part of a series by the harpsichord students of Ms Huguette Brassine performed in the concert hall of the Queensland Conservatorium on a single-manual French instrument. This was my contribution to that recording.
The third - a complete recording of Claudio Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 - was performed live by a double choir and orchestra around the balconies of the Conservatorium. My role was chamber organ continuo, which meant I played in almost all of the movements. The organ was tuned to 'meantone' temperament, and all performers used period instruments. I was very proud of being able to support such musical forces working entirely from a figured bass score throughout. Personally, it was the culmination of my three years there. A short video of one of the movements is included below. In part of it you will see me (complete with spectacles and moustache) playing.
The final four video recordings were made in 2011-2012 as part of the famous 'Ximen Shamans', also sometimes called the 'Ximen Demons'. Mark Daves on trumpet and myself on piano performing some jazz standards at Ximen Elementary School, Hsinchu City, Taiwan. We worked together as English teachers and played for fun on the side. The items are : 'Call Me', 'Days of Wine and Roses', 'Dancin' Cheek to Cheek' and 'Moon River.
I'm pleased to announce a new page on 'Teacher Greg's Education Home'.
The motivation for it came from my desire to engage the many colleagues with whom I work, in a conversation about ELICOS (English Language Intensive Course of Study) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes) programs and how they operate at my institution. Like many workplaces, the pressures of just keeping on top of the teaching have meant that opportunities for genuine discussion, sharing and reflection have become rare, formal meetings have become ineffectual, and inefficiencies have naturally arisen as a result.
'TESOL forums' will be a chance to recover lost ground, to re-ignite the discussion, and to move forward in more practical ways. It will take some effort to 'sell' the idea and overcome the hesitation of others, but I'm taking the first steps while hoping this will lead them to continue the conversation.
Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history. -Joan Wallach Scott
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. -Maria Robinson
- It is vitally important that we build the skills of digital literacy in ourselves, our families and our students. At this time, when there is so much growth in dependence on the Web as the primary source of knowledge and information, everyone needs to understand how to value and how to interpret what they see online, as well as how to find the best of what is available in efficient ways.
I was fortunate to be an education student at a time when much initial work on digital literacies and the closely allied area of critical literacy was underway, so I learnt how to share these principles with my students, how to build students' skills through various projects and activities, and how to assess whether they were using these skills in their own time online.
Now that I am teaching in a non-English speaking country, my role does not offer the same opportunities, and I worry that no one else is filling this gap for students here either. My understanding is that the majority of the world's digital users do not speak English as their first language, or at all, so they may also be missing out on building digital literacies, and may be making poor or less effective choices as a result.
I am looking forward to reading Netsmart by Howard Rheingold, not just for my students and family, but for myself too. From the reviews, other resources, videos and tweets, I am sure it will be a valuable addition to this critically important field.Howard Rheingold originally shared this post:Today's quote from
"Digital literacies can leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five hundred years ago. Today’s digital literacies of attention, participation, collaboration, crap detection, and network smarts can make the difference between being empowered or manipulated, serene or frenetic. Most importantly, as people who are trying to get along day to day in a hyper-scale, warp-speed civilization that seems so often to be beyond anyone’s control, digital literacy is something powerful we can learn and exercise for ourselves and each other. "Netsmart »How can we use digital media so that they help us become empowered participants rather than passive consumers? In Net Smart, I show how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and, above all, min...
If you are looking for support in working with primary-aged students (or even lower secondary) of ESL or EFL, including ways of using "Smartboards", here's a great start to get you going.
I've now compiled the "best of" links for these two categories, and am pleased to offer them to you.
The first is a collection of the best 65 sites for elementary ESL/EFL students and teachers. Under EFL/ESL elementary resources I've listed the best 65 sites for: video, stories, reading, e-books, music & song, activities, games, writing, lesson plans, vocabulary, spelling, dictionaries, quizzes & puzzles, speaking & pronunciation, phonics & ABCs, community sharing, rhymes, colouring, animation & cartoons, test writing, printables, flashcards, presentations, screen-casting, brainstorming, audio & sounds, collaboration, stickies, podcasts, posters, search tools and a complete LMS (learning management system). Many are also suited to interactive whiteboards.
The second is a collection of the best 48 sites for learning how to use interactive white boards, such as Smartboard, and resources to use in class with elementary ESL/EFL students. Under IWB/Smartboard resources I've listed the best 48 sites for: training & tutorials in mastering smartboards, games, lesson plans, presentations, activities, spelling, reading, comics, worksheets, phonics and writing. The training sites have videos that will step you through everything you need to know to use IWB's effectively in class.These are real time-savers and are ones I've used. Many are also recommended by leading educationists in the field.
If you click on the link below it will take you to ALL of my bookmarks, images, videos and documents at Zootool. You can search for items using keywords. Click on the resulting images to see more details of the site and tags for each. Click on the title to go to the page.
With over 1,900 items and 900 tags you will find lots for teaching & learning English as well as many other general interest categories.
The link is: http://zootool.com/user/gregqbear/
I posted the following comments to an excellent article entitled "Teaching Counts" which was written by David B. Cohen on the InterACT blogsite: http://accomplishedcaliforniateachers.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/experience-counts/#comment-2725
"Sadly, in Taiwan as much as the USA, experience is undervalued. It is most clearly so due to having annual contracts rather than the possibility of continuity, and in having no senior or leader teachers. English language teachers here operate at the whim of school and government administrators whose principal motives are not always educational ones.
I fear that the situation in the US is that it is easier to quantify exam results using "scientific" methods, than trying to measure more qualitative aspects of the very complex teacher-student-parent-school-community relationship, or even than by attempting to conduct longitudinal (more expensive) studies of teachers' work over several years. It is also easier to keep budgets within limits by hiring lower paid recent graduates than continuing those working higher up the pay scale.
Administrators, accountants and governments like easy, quick answers. What they do not care about is whether or not the measures used reflect the work being performed.
One aspect of all of this that is working against the vast majority of teachers is the small number of those who are stuck in a time warp, teaching the same way year by year, not reflecting on what they are doing, not listening to students, parents and colleagues, not preparing students for the future they will face, refusing to consider the place of interactive and computer-based technologies in a range of teaching tools, and incapable of being moved on due to inflexible tenure arrangements or lack of non-contact positions. While hey are certainly not doing the rest of us any favours by staying, at the same time, "the system" should have ways of ensuring this does not happen as well.
David, I congratulate you on an interesting article, and I will share it as widely as possible with other educators.
I sent this email today to respond to a posting about a principal who threatened a family with serious consequences if they stood in the way of their son completing a standardised test. The original post is here:http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/04/tell-bully-principal-how-you-feel.html
I hope you will look at the case and consider taking some action too.
Sadly what your vision statement lacks is the same respect, acceptance, celebration or valuing of parents. In fact it doesn't even mention parents.
You can hide behind rules if you like - I suppose your job depends on it to some degree - but it is more fundamental to recognise that parents, not legislators, have the primary responsibility for the education of their children, and for the choices of how and where that will happen.
So, I do not agree with your approach to student Joseph. It will do nothing for your attempts at forging a school-home partnership, especially if your approach is that the school is right and parents are wrong. This is an unequal partnership at best, and sounds quite hollow given your threats of intervention.
Sure, you have the 'discretion' to contact CPS, but equally you have the choice not to. If you want to work with parents, I would respectfully suggest that such an approach would be counterproductive.
More fundamentally, you are violating both the rights of Joseph and his parents. I refer you to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (a much higher authority than you quoted in your email). In particular, I would highlight:
(1) governments should respect the rights of parents in guiding their children (you do not)
(2) governments are to assist families in nurturing their children (you are trying to separate them)
(3) when making decisions, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinion taken into account (did you even talk to Joseph?)
(4) children have a particular responsibility to respect the rights their parents, and education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents (if you don't respect their values, how much less will Joseph do so by following your example?)
I suggest you should re-consider your position, apologise to Joseph, his family, any other students and families you have abused, and, finally you should act as an advocate for families rather than their adversary by lobbying for them with legislators in your State who obviously are disregarding rights accepted by the US government on behalf of the country.
Gregory Quinlivan (Teacher, parent, and grandparent)."
You know, as a teacher, I'm often bouyed most by the great moments between me and my students, by the compliments from supervisors, by the feeling of self-satisfaction at completing a lesson as planned, and by the 100% marks my students sometimes achieve.
However, when I pause to reflect, I realise that there's MUCH more to teaching and learning than success, regardless of how alluring and intoxicating it seems. When I'm truly honest with myself as a learner and a teacher, I have to admit that I learn far more from my mistakes and failures than from what goes right and is successful. Why?
When I succeed, I tend to be self-satisfied, to stop stretching, to stop trying new things, to stop moving forwards. ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it!") However, when I fail, or at least trip up, I have to work out why, I have to experiment with other ways of doing, I have to challenge myself, and even study, read, confer and reconstruct my knowledge in order to overcome my shortcomings. Equally, my students need to do so as well.
I understand if you say that failure hurts and mistakes are embarrassing. You are correct. But what worries me most, is when I catch myself just settling for safe ground, not ruffling any feathers (including my own), not thinking from day to day, and considering that such a state is satisfactory, even preferable to the alternatives.
So, I have made it my goal to look freshly at my patterns of behaviour, whether successful or not, and use all of them as starting points for development, rather than end-points of self-satisfaction.
Are you trying hard enough? Are you making mistakes? I hope you might at least think about it.
First posted in Amazon discussion here: http://amzn.to/GO7tZR
I'm glad to provide this update to my post of March 2nd, 2012.
My book "Principled Possibilities - Ideas for Teaching" is now available on Amazon. It is in both paperback and Kindle formats for your reading pleasure.
If you would also like to see my author page, you can go to this page
One Response to IPA: The theory and beyond. Is knowing the IPA essential? Do you use phonemic script in class? Why or why not? #ELTchat Summary 22/02/2012 (my comment to post at http://eltchat.com/2012/02/26/ipa-the-theory-and-beyond-is-knowing-the-ipa-essential-do-you-use-phonemic-script-in-class-why-or-why-not-eltchat-summary-22022012/
- Gregory Quinlivan says:February 27, 2012 at 5:55 amFor the half of the world’s population whose first language does not use a Latin script, IPA is a waste of time.
In my situation, I teach students in Taiwan 40 minutes per week. Their first language uses traditional Chinese script and its more than 10,000 characters take many years for them to master. As one of the speakers mentioned, IPA is just another level of complexity to impose on them, which is why we don’t do it.
Students are quite capable of learning to speak reasonable English without IPA. For example, the excellent Synthetic Phonics approach used widely in the U.K. (and increasingly in the USA) offers a more straightforward system linked closely to English spelling.
Once students know some reference sounds used within key words, they can use them to learn new words, rather than trying to recall isolated, decontextualised symbols.
Although I had to endure some IPA as part of my own formal training, I see it more as a tool for professional linguists than for second language learners.