Monday, 26 January 2009

Obama's inauguration address

Last week we devoted a substantial part of our English lessons to Obama and his inaugural address. My colleagues and I created this google document with study questions. The list of glossary gives the Norwegian translation of some difficult words: Barack Obama's Inaugural Address After the students have worked on the questions, one can for example sum up with a class discussion.
Photo: "Barack Obama: A mosaic of people"

Find illustrations on FlickrCC

Whenever teachers or students are in need of digital photos for illustration, FlickrCC is one good place to look. The photos here are under a Creative Commons license and anyone can use them. Remember to let the world know where you found the perfect image. Searching for an image of a classroom, I stumbled upon the black-and-white one on the right hand side: Nuns with class
The photo above is also taken from FlickrCC: Kim Cathers

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cooperation with google docs

When planning English lessons, I always cooperate with teachers who teach the same course as I do. We agree on topics, but we also create detailed lesson plans and various activities together. Thanks to google docs we do not have to sit together in the same room to do this. Nor do we have to send each other numerous versions of the same documents. In google docs we can edit simultaneously and to me, this is perhaps the most useful discovery of this school year. Google docs is, of course, free and all you need to create an account is your e-mail address. Go to:

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

ESL online

Inspired by my colleagues, excellent teachers at my own school and all around the world, I have decided that it is time for me to join the army of blogging teachers. I teach English and Norwegian at Sandvika upper secondary school in Norway, where all teachers and students have their personal laptop, are constantly online and are completely dependent on the internet for both curricular and extra-curricular activities.

To state the obvious, the internet has become a huge part of everyday life in schools, both for teachers and students. Occasionally, for teachers this involves ordering our students to leave the worlds of warcraft, counterstrike and facebook and rejoin the living in the English class. However, very often it involves frolicking in an incredible jungle of information where it seems almost everything, good or bad, is possible.

This year, I for the first time teach all my classes without a textbook and in the beginning, the idea of teaching the subject without such a recipe scared me. However, I have found that this makes me own what I teach to a greater degree than before. Furthermore, I am much more conscious of the curriculum goals that are supposed to dictate us and I no longer lean completely on two or three textbook authors' interpretation of these. Instead, my colleagues and I interpret them together.

When it comes to teaching English as a second lanugage, the world wide web can be a maze as well as an inexhaustive goldmine. Until now, however, I have not been particularly good at keeping track of where and what I teach online. This blog will help me improve.
Photo: this way, quick