Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mini sagas

Recently I have noticed the literary term mini saga appearing here and there. As a relatively new type of creative writing (first mini sagas appeared in 1982), it has not been widely used, and I wonder why.

Mini sagas are easy to use in the classroom with students of all ages. The themes will differ but not the format which is exactly 50 words. Twitter messages are very long in comparison. Students may like this type of class/home work because it is short. On the other hand, in the beginning they won't know that it is rather difficult to create a meaningful and coherent text using only 50 words. Why not give it a go?

I made a PowerPoint presentation which explains the idea and gives some examples borrowed from the internet.
See if you may find it helpful in your teaching.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Mind mapping with SpicyNodes

I have been tempted to try SpicyNodes for a while and eventually I have done it.
The site offers a tool for making interactive presentations, mind maps, visualizations or organizational charts. The process of creating a map is simple and straightforward. The result is attractive and cool.

Having my students in mind, I made a very simple visual map of English tenses in the active voice. What they usually forget is the formula of each tense. Now I have put the basic rules into this map. Click on the bubbles to see what is inside.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Word search creator on Busy Teacher

There are various word search makers on the net but the Busy Teacher site offers a tool that instantly attracted my attention because of the cool look of the puzzles and the simplicity of the tool.

Busy Teacher is a site which has a vast collection of teaching ideas, worksheets and lesson plans, and now - a word search generator.
Mind you, I have not been paid to advertise the site, nor the new tool. I just happen to like it.

Word Search Creator lets you choose the size of the grid and the level of difficulty from easy to moderate to difficult. The best thing is that you can print your word search or save it and play online.

Here is the link to the puzzle SPORTS which I made for my younger students.
Feel free to download it. It comes with the solution to make the teacher's life easier!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Summarizing skill

Since students have been asked to make a summary of a short text at the state exam, the teaching of summarizing skill has come to the fore.
It has turned out to be a tedious job because summarizing skill is not easy to teach. It actually involves many skills - reading for the gist and detail, concentrating on the main points, seeing the key words and getting the central message of the paragraph, being able to join many ideas in one.

Why is it for a student sometimes easier to write a passage of 200 words instead of 100 as required by the task? What if they just do not know how to curb their imagination and control their flow of thoughts? That is where summarizing skill becomes essential. I believe, it can be developed through practice but it takes time. And it is a very creative process, I'd like to add.

Here are some links to useful web pages about writing summaries.
I have prepared a worksheet for practicing summary writing.

Here you can access it on Google Docs and download it for the use in the classroom. It consists of five paragraphs taken from the internet and a space for writing a summary. I have also added sample summaries for each paragraph but they are not absolute. The teacher can accept many different variants.