Using comic strips to teach inference

Teaching students to read between the lines can seem quite daunting, but one of the more accessible ways of doing this is by giving students comic strips and asking them to explain the joke in the strip. Mostly, students will be engaged and interested in reading comic strips and each of these inference activities is…

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Virtual Communication with Students

It’s hard enough communicating with students under “normal” conditions, but with remote learning in progress, internet outages and distractions in the home environment have made communication between teacher and student even more difficult. The reality is that students find it very difficult to articulate what they need help with (“Everything” is not an easy difficulty…

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Simple online lesson plan example

In our last blog, we emphasised keeping the technology of remote learning simple and using this as an opportunity to engage in micro units where students practise skills. Here’s an example of a simple lesson about a short film which does these things: *Can be placed online as a PDF *Students can complete in 20-30mins…

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Remote Learning Tips For The English Classroom

So – remote learning has been thrust on you – and, since you’ve spent your career teaching actual students in actual classrooms, you’re feeling a little bit out of your comfort zone. Here are a few tips about what to do over the next term to help you out: Keep the technology simple Yep, we’ve…

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Word sort procedures to teach spelling rules

In a few weeks we’ll be running our Best Strategies For Teaching Vocabulary and Spelling Workshop (see details here). Here are two things we’ll emphasise: *A little bit of spelling instruction goes a long way *Word study is a highly effective procedure to improve spelling So what’s word study? Word study is any procedure you…

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Effective Rubrics For Quick Feedback

The better our rubrics, the faster we can provide constructive feedback. Whether you’ve got senior students knocking down your door with practice essays, or junior students knocking out drafts, a quick turnaround in the feedback process makes all the difference. The more effort we put into making the statements on our rubrics concrete, the less burden…

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Essay topic brainstorming strategies

1. Teach students to recognise a main idea and a discussion point in a topic Generally, essay topics contain a main idea – a focal point of examples which have to be discussed – and a discussion point – a part of the essay topic which invites interpretation or qualification. It’s important for students to…

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Something a little bit fun

Safety signs and warnings are important. After all, we want people to be aware of dangers and risks they wouldn’t otherwise know. But sometimes the warnings on safety signs are symptons of an over protective society: Yes, apparently people do die from doing this to vending machines, so perhaps it’s not such a silly warning.…

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Uplifting Texts

Choosing new texts to teach in the English classroom is always difficult. There are any number of “worthy” or “worthwhile” texts to teach and we often choose texts about difficult subjects, like racism, refugees, or the holocaust. While these sorts of narratives play a valuable role they are often far removed from many students’ experiences…

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