A Q&A English-Learning Blog Carnival

By Mary Ann Zehr — June 02, 2010 4 min read
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As a journalist, I think often in terms of finding answers to questions. For this blog carnival, I’ve read the blog posts and then come up with a question that each one answers, kind of like what the guests on the T.V. show “Jeopardy” do. I used this same approach to the last English-learning blog carnival that I hosted, but, hey, sometimes it’s okay to do something twice, right?

This edition of the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival, created by Larry Ferlazzo at Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, is heavy on lesson ideas. But you’ll find some education philosophy woven within and between the posts about lessons.

Introductory Fanfare:

Q: What do the abbreviations in the name of the carnival stand for?
A: ESL stands for English as a second language, EFL stands for English as a foreign language, and ELL stands for English-language learners, the name we give students who speak a language other than English at home and are acquiring English.

Let the carnival begin!

Q: What does an “alphabet book” on VoiceThread look like and how is it useful to students?
A: Teaching Village posts an example of an alphabet book and tells how it helps students to hear English spoken by people with different voices and accents because VoiceThread enables other people to make contributions to the alphabet book.

Q: How can Bingo be used in the foreign-language classroom?
A: The PLN Staff Lounge tells how Bingo can be used to teach irregular verbs and new vocabulary.

Q: How can teachers use “fun and games” to teach English to children ages 7 to 9?
A: TEFL Matters posts a video of a jazz chant and describes other English activities that will prevent lessons from becoming monotonous.

Q: What are some visuals that illustrate the literal or actual meaning of idioms?
A: Janet’s Abruzzo Edublog has posted visuals for idioms such as “the cat has got your tongue,” and “let sleeping dogs lie.”

Q: What’s a visual concept that can be used over and over again for interactive language activities?
A: English Raven has posted free cut-outs with roads and shops and other visuals that students can use to build neighborhoods and talk about them. Jason Renshaw, the blogger for English Raven, calls it the “City of CleverKey.”

Q: What’s another source for visuals to create English-learning activities?
A: Sneaker Teacher reviews Boardmaker, a database of visuals that costs $299, which she has used to create games and “communication boards” for English-learners.

Q: That sounds expensive. What’s a resource with an extensive collection of visuals that is free?
A: English Technology in ELT tells how to use the Flickr database to choose visuals to enhance English learning.

Q: How can one teach students to skim and scan a text?
A: English Advantage has created an exercise that simulates what kind of information readers pick up while typically scanning an article in the newspaper, rather than reading every word in it.

Q: What are some questions students could use in an interview?
A: My English Club posts a sample “writing challenge” that can prompt students to conduct an interview and write about it.

Q: What can be the repercussions of educators’ implementing “blanket policies” concerning English-learners?
A: The Blog of Ms. Mercer gives examples of a how a couple of English-language learners seemed to have received bad placements either in special education or classes for English-language learners.

Q: How can “sounding out” sounds or letters be useful for older language learners?
A: Language & Literacy for All makes an argument for why pronunciation should be taught explicitly to language learners of all ages, not just children who are learning to read.

Q: How can a popular movie be used to teach students to read using context clues?
A: Sabrina’s Weblog uses a trailer from the movie “Avatar” to help students understand that just as they make inferences about Avatar’s imaginary world, they can make inferences in their reading.

Q: What’s the value of poetry in the classroom?
A: EFL Classroom 2.0—Teacher Talk speaks up for the value of savoring poetry. Poetry is a great way to think about ourselves, the blogger says.

Q: What are Web resources that will help me to avoid reinventing the wheel in getting students engaged in listening and speaking?
A: Teacher Reboot Camp has put together 14 Web resources for getting English-language learners to talk, including “dialog generators” and “language-learning communities.”

Q: How might a teacher build a lesson for ELLs about the perceptions of a country, such as the United States, by people who live outside that country?
A: Larry Ferlazzo reflects on how he might adapt a lesson about perceptions of Europe that he used with native speakers of English for a classroom of ELLs.

Q: Are any women really shining in how they use technology with language-learners or is it just men who shine in this area?
A: Nik’s Quick Shout features a bunch of women who are stars in using and writing about the use of technology in language learning.

Q: Can something written by committee be useful in a language classroom?
A: Sean Banville’s Blog tells about how “communal writing” can help students to learn from each other.

Q: What do reading comprehension strategies look like when cleverly illustrated?
A: Creating Lifelong Learners shares free posters in English and Spanish of reading strategies, such as predicting and clarifying.

Q: How can the use of prepositions be taught with games?
A: My Integrating Technology Journey shares some games for helping students to learn and use prepositions properly.

Q: How can schools let English-learners know where they stand in terms of English proficiency and academics?
A: Learning the Language (that’s my blog) tells how the Ventura Unified School District in California has created a brochure that describes English-language-development classes and gives each student an individual profile of where he or she stands in acquiring English and meeting the state’s academic standards.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.