I would like to say that summer is slowly fading away and cooler skies now make me focus on blogging. However, that is not the case for me.
Summer continues in full swing but with a novelty - my semester has begun and I am preparing to soon meet my new students. As I review what tools students have enjoyed working with and new tools that I have been considering to introduce this new academic year, I'd like to mention 3 possible activities today.
Just like colleagues in many parts of the world who are choosing fun ice-breakers for their new groups of students, I am also reflecting on how to add a more personal touch to a group. Besides having students share their likes/dislikes, why not have learners also share their favourite foods?
Recipes are relevant as each culture and nation celebrates with different dishes and tastes. They Cook and Draw not only has recipes from around the world (with a world map locating dishes) but also drawings which are submitted with recipes. Learners can explore the site looking for recipes from their own country or add their own with a drawing. At the end of the semester/term, these recipes could be revisited and everyone brings a dish to share with the whole class.
Other than an ice-breaker, raising awareness on healthy eating is a necessity for many learners. Just as educators usually negotiate how students are going to behave in class, carry out their work and so on, eating as well as possible and getting sufficient hours of sleep are vital for learners. Adding images to what learners think and perceive engages their attention and often drives the message home more easily.
Don't Gross out the World and FatWorld are 2 other fun sites related to food; Don't Gross out the World raises cultural awareness regarding dining etiquette, while FatWorld is a fun way to highlight the risks of junk food, obesity and the importance of daily exercise.
For younger learners, The Gingerbread Man offers different activities and resources, from songs and poems to arts & crafts.
And what if students don't want to contribute to a public site such as They Cook and Draw? Among the varied free tools to publish work online, why not have students share their class's work with myEbook?
With myEbook you can both publish online as well as read what others have been publishing. It's simple to use and also has a tutorial explaining each step.
Lastly, have you ever wondered what your learners have been up to on the web over the summer?
mirror.me is a platform which helps people find others with similar interests. Despite the fact that a whole young generation is online, that doesn't mean that other than FaceBook or Twitter, they know how to network and find peers to share interests. One of my teaching goals this year is to guide students to better use these resources which we now have at the touch of a button.
My summer? Let me share my mirror with you.
What will your new academic year reflect?