Thursday, July 24, 2008

Voki me!

During Thursday's class, Ethan showcased his amazing blog with Voki. I just had to try this myself. Voki is a site that allows users free access to Avatar design. Its simple, free and fun-what more could you want.

At a BBQ this weekend, I showed a 5th grader this site, and we created a Voki for her-it was quite exciting.

Get a Voki now!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Art Talk with Miguel Calderon

Attention Ms. G's Students:

Please follow directions for your project below

1. Watch
  • Video Clip below or link about Miguel Calderon, a Mexican Artist who compares some of his works to Goya, an Artist we have studied.

2. Think and Answer

  • Summarize in your own words (1 paragraph) why Calderon compares his work to Goyas. Please include the name of the photographs, paintings etc involved in these comparisons.

  • Add one or two sentences about any similarities, differences or parallels you notice about these two artists' styles.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Keith Haring Teaches the Kids through Music and Color

Even though he isnt with us any longer, Keith Haring's legacy is strong. He is a New York legend and teachers from around the world are using his art with their students to inspire pop art. The Keith Haring site has a portion totally dedicated to lesson planning. There are lessons for students of all ages, and can be adapted for a range of levels.

This year I did mixed media art projects "a la Haring" with my 10th and 12th grade art class. Pop Art resonates well with kids cause its bright and simple. In my art class, I have several ESL students who were able to show off their skills with color and bold ideas.

One thing that many artists do is listen to music in their studio. Here is a great lesson that uses the 80's Hip Hop Keith Haring would bop to when he created his large pieces.
Click here--->1980's Hip Hop Lesson

Also this is a great lesson for ESL students, where they are given Haring prompts to test comprehension. Each answer for a WHO, WHAT, WHY question is submitted to create a bigger story with kids all over the world. This satisfies the NETS standard, of digital citizenship. A little kids voice is used in the podcast...Must check out!

ESL + Johnny Depp = Literacy in Japanese Students

English as a Second Language is truly strong in Japan. Most children beginning learning English in the Elementary years. Here is a clip of a group of elementary age students who earned the right to perform in front of Johnny Depp. They sing in English and totally ham it up for Depp. The students perform a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean. As an ESL teacher, it is inspiring and daunting to see students so motivated to perform in a language that is not native to them.

Great Vowel Shift Podcast for ESL Teens

Most of my colleagues and friends know how passionate I am about the Great Vowel Shift, or GVS, as it is known in many circles. As a high school teacher I would say most of my students dont have a clue to the progression American English has made and continues to make. It is my civil servant duty to demonstrate (and possibly overload them) with this information. If one has been living under a rock for the last 400 years, GVS can be explained best as "a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in the south of England between 1200 and 1600"(WIKIPEDI). That time span includes Olde English, Middle English, and Modern English. Oh what glazed joy I can envision on my students faces as I explain this to them....

Linguists who are equally passionate about GVS have created some exciting podcasts that contrast these linguistic styles. My favorite site out of these is the Furman site. Here ESL students can contrast phonemes/long vowels from English to Modern English. This is the trapezoid of long vowels they will complete.

Trapezoid of Phonemes..All day Fun!

But the most fun podcast of this site is the Dialogue portions. This part is broken up into a literature portion as well. Here is where, an ESL student can get a taste of what Chaucer or Shakesphere really sounded like. In addition, the Furman site chooses to use a dialogue of conservative and advanced to speakers to outline the differences in speech. You can click on any word within these dialogues to get more information and clarity.

Please Comment!

Musical Podcasts for ESL students

ESL students, like most students enjoy technology and being able to manipulate it themselves. A great way to have students be independant workers while working on their accents is to use music and mocking. The website , Manythings, contains and endless resource of songs for students to try out. They click on a podcast of a song, and they listen to a native sing it first, then they are to try to imitate it. Whats great is Manythings includes additional notes and more links to YouTube podcasts for students who want to explore and demonstrate their 'casaul reasoning'.

I thought this was a funny title for the selection of songs. I guess all Americans sit around campfires and sing ! I actually love this image of Americans. Though some of us city dwellers have less experience with this sort of thing, so we can learn along with our students.

MP3 Files to Help You Learn Songs in EnglishLearn to sing folk songs, campfire songs and group-singing songs that native English speakers sing.

The Current MP3: Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)
Listen in pop-up window:
Pop-up Window
Download (Right-click or option-click the link):Download MP3 File

Students can re-write lyrics on chart paper and create a 'song lyric' wall. Now would be an awesome time to have them contrast and compare this song to one of their favorite Reggaton jams!

The Lyrics
Daisy, Daisy,Give me you answer true.I'm half-crazy

All for the love of you.It won't be a stylish marriage.

I can't afford a carriage.

But you'll look sweet upon the seatOf a bicycle built for two.

Here are some extra notes with a Google link!

"Daisy" is a woman's name.

This song was written by Harry Dacre in 1892.
Some people sing "do" as the last word of the second line instead of "true."
Most people only know the chorus of this tune. However, if you want to learn the complete song, search
bicycle built for two daisy on

Though I am not muscially trained in the formal sense, I do know most beginner intermediate ELLs get confused with this type of 'extra' language. I have seen many iambic tetrameter lessons go wrong because its 'info overload'...But if one would like to give a mini lesson on chords ,here it is

Key of G Chords (3 beats on each chord):

G G G G7


D7 D7 G Em

A7 A7 D7 D7

D7 D7 G G


D7 G D7



Click here----> Manythings to find more and more song related podcasts for ESL

or here----->