miércoles, 10 de noviembre de 2010


Speaking Activities for the Classroom

Teaching Speaking activities Each week we publish a free, photocopiable 'Get Speaking' task sheet for teachers to use with English students.

To download and try this week's speaking activities place your cursor over the link below. Right-click (Windows) or hold down the mouse button (Mac OS) and then choose Save Target As from the pop-up menu. In the Save As dialogue box, specify a name and location for the PDF file, and then click Save.

Right Click, Save Target As >> Download Task Sheet

If you have trouble downloading the task sheet contact us with your email address and we will forward the current edition to you.
Download all Get Speaking Sheets

Each week we publish a Task Sheet from our archive. However, if you'd prefer to be able to plan your lessons ahead of time, find out how to access ALL task sheets immediately on our 'Get Speaking' Page.

Speaking Activities: Exam Practice

These activity sheets aim to help teachers teach speaking skills to upper-intermediate to advanced level English students. They are particularly useful for students preparing for English speaking exams such a IELTS, BEC, TOEFL, TOEIC, Cambridge CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) and CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English). Students preparing for Cambridge FCE (First Certificate in English) will also benefit from the tasks although care should be taken with our corresponding recording, which features students at a higher level than FCE.

Unwrapping the Gifted

NAGC 2010 Day 1
By Tamara Fisher on November 10, 2010 11:03 PM | No Comments

Last week I told my 2nd graders that I'd be seeing them on Monday this week instead of our usual Thursday because I would be going to Atlanta, Georgia, for the national GT conference. Little Abra looked up at me with excited sparkling eyes and gushed, "You get to go to Atlantis?!?!" Pretty cute :o) No honey, not Atlantis. Just Atlanta.

Greetings from Atlanta, home this year to the annual NAGC Convention! Check out this sweet view of the Centennial Olympic Park and city lights from my hotel.

Today's sessions consisted of a "whole-group" morning session and about 10 self-selected, in-depth afternoon sessions. This morning's session focused on NAGC's new (technically - revised) PreK-12 Programming Standards. Back when the original standards came out in 1998, I used them (together with our state GT accreditation standards) as a helpful reference guide that aided me in the development and implementation of our district's gifted program. The new standards are intended to still assist in that process but to also put a greater emphasis on student outcomes, not just program structure.

Why were the standards revised? To establish better alignment with the NCATE-approved NACG-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards; to update them to reflect current research; to integrate general, special, and gifted education (because our students are not just in the gifted classroom); to be more specific; and to create a greater focus on student outcomes.

You can view the new standards online at the NAGC site or you can even download your own PDF version.

The new standards focus on Learning and Development, Assessment, Curriculum Planning and Instruction, Learning Environments, Programming, and Professional Development, each of which has its own sub-standards such as Self-Understanding, Socio-emotional Development, Coordinated Services, and others.. Here is just one example that typifies the new format:

Standard 3: Curriculum Planning and Instruction
Student Outcomes 3.3 - Talent Development: Students with gifts and talents develop their abilities in their domain of talent and/or area of interest.
Evidence-Based Practices 3.3.1: Educators select, adapt, and use a repertoire of instructional strategies and materials that differentiate for students with gifts and talents and that respond to diversity.
Evidence-Based Practices 3.3.2: Educators use school and community resources that support differentiation.
Evidence-Based Practices 3.3.3: Educators provide opportunities for students with gifts and talents to explore, develop, or research their areas of interest and/or talent.

As a practitioner in the field, I like the focus on student outcomes and appreciate the intent of helping schools to focus on what is best and needed for the child. This new version is well-designed for that purpose. But also as a practitioner in the field, I will be curious to see how user-friendly the new format is, particularly for those who are looking for a guide in the development of quality programming and services in their school(s). The old standards were structured in a user-friendly format for that purpose and the new version doesn't strike me as being quite such an obvious tool for that need. The '98 standards were program-focused, and the new standards are student-focused. Overall, reading the new (perhaps I should say revised) standards definitely gives one exemplary details of what should be happening for gifted students, but more importantly - what the students should be gaining as a result of those services.

A few suggestions of additional uses for these standards were presented. You could use them to inform stakeholders in your school/district/state about characteristics of effective programming for gifted students as well as learning and social/emotional needs of gifted students. You could use them as an advocacy tool in regards to school and state policies about gifted education. You could use them to identify important skills and knowledge that your school or district might need to devote some professional development to. And ... what are your ideas?

A word of advice for anyone out there who is downloading the standards as you begin (or continue) the journey of developing programming and services for students... It can be overwhelming to read them all at once. What a daunting task it is, especially in the beginning, to actually aim for and reach these lofty yet attainable and important goals. Don't try to eat the whole buffet in one year. Pick a handful of student outcome standards to focus on and then do just that: focus on those. At the end of the year, assess and set new goals for reaching a few more standards. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are superb services for gifted students.

The afternoon session I attended was on Assessment and Identification. In this in-depth session, we learned about and discussed multiple assessment/identification options, content and format bias, evidence-based practices, and phases of assessment/identification. We also examined sample cases of student data and discussed whether or not those students (based on the data shown) would qualify for services in our home districts (or if more information was needed).

I also discovered, at the NAGC booth, a really cool little poster they've created with a summary of common myths and realities about gifted students. You might recall that earlier this year Gifted Child Quarterly (NAGC's journal publication) did a special issue on myths and realities. Well, it is all now summarized into a handy little poster you could hang in your classroom. (Or better yet - the teacher's lounge! :o) I bought one this afternoon ($5) and am debating just how many more to get for the schools in my district. Here are a couple photos so you can see what it's like. Currently, NAGC doesn't have this item listed as available in their online store, but maybe they will list it there after they read this post ;o)

Join me here tomorrow for a report on Day 2! :o)

miércoles, 20 de octubre de 2010

Educational Ways to Use Freeze Games

Educational Ways to Use Freeze Games
Submitted by Margie La Bella

This activity is great for rainy days and kids love it. The best part is that they're learning and they don't even realize it because of all the fun they're having!

Top 10 variations of Move and Freeze game and some benefits on the side.

1.Move to the music and sit when it stops.
2.Dance and freeze in place when the music stops.
3.Dance minimally when the music is soft and grandly when loud. And stop.
4.Dance and put a specific body part on a chair when the music stops.
5.Freeze like an animal or character you are studying or reading about.
6.Freeze and connect to a partner. Same part to same part. (Elbow to elbow.....)
7.Freeze like an object in the room like a chair, or pencil, or flag for instance.
8.Freeze like the something that rhymes with a word, like something that starts with a specific letter, or near to a particular color....
9.Freeze by the function of an object. What? Yes, freeze by the thing you sharpen pencils with. Freeze by the thing come in and go out from..... or the thing we can look out through...
10.Freeze like a preposition. Under something, over something, on the side of your chair, putting your right hand on your right foot.
11.Bonus: Freeze like the leader.

Freeze games have stood the test of time and there is a reason. They are nutrition for our brains. Brains always seek more sophisticated stimulation. Here are some of the frozen benefits. Freeze games require the recognition of sound verses silence, give and take, interest in the “other,” listening, auditory processing, concentration and attention, bodily control and coordination, imagination, and expectancy. The game is also good for waiting and impulse control, building all types of language, conceptual and pre-academic skills, social skills and more. These skills are all used for higher emotional and academic intelligence. Oh, and they're fun to play.

viernes, 14 de mayo de 2010

Significant Strategies Exchange del Programa de Idiomas 2010

Coming Soon!!!

Next May 19th 2010, we will have the Significant Strategies Exchange. Fundación Cipriano Jiménez Macías. New experiences to share with our colleagues!!!

viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

Tips for Teaching English to Beginners.

30 Top Tips for teaching beginners (Some are more important than others!)

Methodology and techniques

1- Teaching beginners requires special skills and psychology

2- Be aware of your students’ needs

3- Have clear and realistic aims – don’t try to do too much too quickly

4-Adapt to suit your situation

5-Arrange the classroom

6- Be as visual as possible

7- Take care with your board work

8- Control your language

9- Give clear, simple instructions

10- Pace your lessons

11- Use choral repetition

12- Use pair and group work

13- Ask lots of questions

14- Encourage students to speak English in class as much as possible

15- Don’t use the students’ mother tongue even if you know it

16- Revise constantly

17- Homework is important

Possible problems

18- What can you do with a mix of real and false beginners? The reality is that both have very similar needs. Many false beginners will ask to start from scratch anyway!

19- How can you help weaker students? Pair them with stronger students. Give them extra work to allow them to catch up.

20- What if you cannot get through all the planned material in a single lesson? Don’t rush through it. Save it for next time or for revision purposes. A common mistake teachers make is going too quickly.

21- What if you run out of material in a lesson? You really shouldn’t, but if this happens, simple revision, review activities and games can be used as fillers.

22- What if students cannot understand the tape? Play it again. Listening skills take time to develop and students should gain as much exposure to different accents and speech patterns as possible. If the students still can’t understand after a number of listening, the teacher can give out the tape script (usually found at the back of the course book) or read it out more slowly. This should be the final option.


23- Do not over-correct

24- Do not have the book open all the time

25- Be sensitive to your students

26- Respond to your students as individuals

27- Create a relaxed and supportive atmosphere

28- Praise and encourage

29- Focus on what is easy, not what is difficult

30- Explain your methods

Significant Strategies Exchange del Programa de Idiomas 2010

Coming Soon!!! In May 2010

Join us in this event!!! Prepare your workshop and present it to us!

miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010

V Festival de Tradiciones Venezolanas "Venezuela... Biodiversity and Traditions 2010" del Programa de Idiomas

Last March, The Fifth Venezuelan Traditions Festival was held in the installations of two schools of Secretaria de Educación in Carabobo state. It was a great festival where children and teachers did their best to achieve the objective of the festival. In it the children of the schools that participated in that event performed owesome presentations showing the biodiversity of the states of Venezuela. The two days of the Festival, there were many people from differents schools and special people who were invited to it. This year, the children as well as the teachers showed their effort and the creativity in this festival.