Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Adv. ESL/IEI: Great Speeches: Structuring a Great Speech


Stephen E. Lucas is Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1999, he surveyed his peers to compile a list of the top 100 American speeches of the twentieth century. The list, co-compiled with Prof. Martin Medhurst of Texas A&M University, reflects the opinions of 137 leading scholars of American public address.
Lucas is also the author of The Quotable George Washington and a textbook, The Art of Public Speaking. Here he discusses good speechmaking, and the speaking skills of William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow.
This is good, basic information for students, and can help them organize their thoughts more coherently. For example:
"One basic structure for a speech falls into three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each part is designed to do something different. You need to have an introduction that gets the audience's attention and lets people know about the importance of the subject, why it's important for them to listen. It makes a first impression. In journalism they call it a "hook": something that's going to pull your audience in to your speech. The introduction should also reveal the speech's topic and give the audience some idea of the main points to be discussed.
The body of the speech is where the speaker develops his or her main points -- the big ideas of the speech. You should probably limit yourself to 4 or 5 main points in a speech, whether it's a 10-minute or a 60-minute speech. That will give you time to develop the points you're making. If you have too many main points, the audience will have trouble sorting them out and you may find that you aren't able to develop them in enough depth to be clear and convincing."

Monday, November 21, 2005

ESL/ABE/GED/IEI: Confusing Words


Confusing Words is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
Some of these words are homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) and some are just commonly confused. There is a search engine to find specific words.

GED: History: A Century of Great African American Speeches

Say it Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches
(also see review on AELC Constitution Blog http://constitutionaelc.blogspot.com/
of the speech by Clarence Thomas from this site, posted on 11/22/05)

From Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey to Clarence Thomas and Barack Obama, a history of great African American speeches. There is a historical context, the transcript of the speech, and a Real Player rendition of the actual speech.

"The transcripts on this Web site were drawn from the accompanying recordings. In some cases, we were able to start with existing transcripts in the public domain and check them against the recordings. In other instances, we produced the transcripts ourselves with the help of dedicated colleagues.
On some occasions, the available text of a speech differed from the recording. Speakers commonly diverge from their written texts, which are sometimes speeches they give repeatedly, but no one takes the time to document the extemporaneous remarks. Each transcript here has been checked against the recordings by at least two sets of ears. But occasionally, words in some of the recordings can be difficult to hear. We've used our best judgment to make the most faithful transcripts we can."

There is a book available, and also an hour long documentary is available via podcast on site. Sponsored by American RadioWorks and American Public Media. This would be a wonderful tool for Black History Month.

GED/ Others: Geography: National Geographic Lessons and Interactive Museum


Xpeditions is a series of lesson plans by National Geographic on geographical subjects, laid out by grade level. There are also activities, an atlas, and an interesting interactive geographical museum called Xpedition Hall (an interactive “museum” that takes you on geography journeys. Here you’ll climb a mountain, hover over the Earth, speed across Europe, visit an archeological dig, and even order sushi–plus games, animations, and more!). For example, the room titled Human Systems includes Rail Traffic Controller : Traces railroad cargoes and destinations on a rail traffic control board. By tracking imports and exports, visitors can understand how countries become related through mutual dependence on raw materials and finished goods.

This is one of those sites that takes time to explore, and can be used in many ways. ESL students might use some of the Xpedition Hall sites at lower reading levels. ABE students can find reading level appropriate materials as well. GED students might study thind in context by exploring 'Culture Goggles' and seeing one city, Jerusulem, through the eyes of a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew. The videos and graphics are clear and easy to understand, and the reading levels are very helpful. Add your usage ideas to the comments.

GED/Adv. ESL: History/Online Videos


National Geographic and Windows XP present the following video profiles of people and societies who "started something" that had a significant impact on the development of modern civilization. Interesting videos from the Ancient Sumerians to more modern historical figures such as Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers, Marie Curie, and Alexander Graham Bell. Latest version of Windows Media Player and high-speed connection required. Clear pronunciation and easy to understand language within context. Can be used for Advanced ESL students for listening practice.

Hearing Impaired: US Department of Education site

The mission of the Captioned Media Program (CMP) is to provide all persons who are deaf or hard of hearing awareness of and equal access to communication and learning through the use of captioned educational media and supportive collateral materials. The CMP also acts as a captioning information and training center. The ultimate goal of the CMP is to permit media to be an integral part in the lifelong learning process for all stakeholders in the deaf and hard of hearing community: adults, students, parents, and educators.

The CMP provides a free-loan media program of over 4,000 open-captioned titles (videos, CD-ROM, and DVD). Deaf and hard of hearing persons, teachers, parents, and others may borrow materials. There are no rental, registration, or postage fees. Several hundred titles are also streamed on the CMP web site.

You will need to register with the site and verify that you have students who qualify for the program. There is a titles list on the site, and the service, including postage for mailing the captioned videos, CD's and DVD's to your program, is provided free of charge by the Department of Education. There are also some titles and information for Spanish speakers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Commentary: Sotir

There have been a lot of articles recently on the issue of connecting with the current generation of students. Whether you call them 'Digital Natives' or 'NextGen Students' or 'Millennial Students', these students form the fabric of future educational needs. They are used to multi-tasking, multi-media and multi-sensory approaches to learning. Because technology is pervasive, this style of learning, while championed by the young, is applicable to all ages. Seniors as well as teens use cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging and chat rooms, with varying degrees of proficiency. Ours is a media driven society that functions on instantaneous information. If you want to know how long a trip will be, message signs over highways let you know the approximate times to various end points. GPS systems guide you to the destination. Web-enabled cell phones can give you the current weather conditions and warnings.

As an academic institution, we need to embrace these societal changes and carry them into the classroom. Interconnectivity and communication tools are important to students as well as instructors. Students need to not only have information, but they need to know where additional information can be sought. While most institutions boast a website, the best of them have interactive sites that not only give general information but act as portals to other sources of information and learning opportunities. We have become a society of gatherers who 'Google' information when it is needed. It is imperative that we develop the tools our students need to learn. We should not limit our instructional methodologies to those that were effective in the past, but rather explore how new developments can be used in conjunction with the old to enhance the educational environment. Change should be the only constant.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Commentary: Sotir: What is VESL?

VESL stands for Vocational English as a Second Language. As the workplace diversity increase, so does the need to improve the ability of workers to communicate in English. Whether it is English training on the job site, or sponsoring a workers' educational program offsite, many companies are realizing the need to expand the skill base of their employees. VESL courses use similar lessons to a regular ESL class, but substitute work-based vocabulary and examples, or emphasize the skills necessary to complete certain job related activities (an example would be using math skills for estimation of amount of paint needed to paint a room). On this blog, a 'VESL' indication shows websites that address learning in this format.

ABE/GED: Science

http://www.firstscience.com/site/home.asp First Science. com
Interesting science articles, videos, photos (from sources such as Hubble), science games and quizzes. Also a fact file and science links for even more information. There are also 22 interesting web cams that can be viewed from this site.

GED: Science and Math

http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/ Science World and Math World: Eric Weisstein

A huge site with a lot to explore, but specifically for advanced GED students . There are sections on Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, as well as a section on Math from Algebra and higher. Would be too complicated for any but your best students who want more to explore.

Basic Math Areas:
Axioms (39)
Category Theory (47)
Logic (6)
Mathematical Problems (5)
Set Theory (11)
Theorem Proving (2)
Point-Set Topology@

ABE/GED/VESL: Algebra: Translating Word Problems

http://www.purplemath.com/modules/translat.htm: Translating Word Problems: Purple Math

One of the most difficult skills for students is translating word problems into the correct formulas. This is a good site to walk them through the process.

ABE,GED: Introduction to Algebra

http://www.mathleague.com/help/algebra/algebra.htm Introduction to Algebra:

Variables Expressions Equations Solution of an equation Simplifying equations Combining like terms Simplifying with addition and subtraction Simplifying by multiplication Simplifying by division Word problems as equations Sequences

ABE/GED: Everyday Math

http://www.math.com/homeworkhelp/EverydayMath.html: everyday Math, Math.com

Numbers, Ratios and Proportions, Factoring, all with unit quizzes, and also some calculators for:
Everyday Calculators · 5 functions · Basic · Air Distance · Driving Distance · File Download · Miles-Per-Gallon · Percent · Taxes · Payment · Mortgage

VESL/ABE/GED: Construction Math

http://mathforum.org/%7esarah/hamilton/ham.contents.html: Math to Build On, Construction Math: A good review for students in the construction industry, or those looking for jobs in that field.

ABE/GED: Geometry

http://www.aplusmath.com/cgi-bin/flashcards/geoflash Geometry Flashcards...these are basic, but would be a good review or start up point for geometry study.

GED: Algebra

http://www.purplemath.com/modules/index.htm Practical Algebra Lessons from Purple Math: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Word Problems are all a part of this website.

ABE/GED/ESL/Literacy: Daily Math Skills

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/dailymath/ Recipes, home decor, money facts...these are some of the daily math skills taught on these pages.

ABE/GED: Math: Roman Numerals

http://www.gomath.com/htdocs/ToGoSheet/Algebra/roman.html A quick guide to Roman Numerals.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Business: Advanced Students

http://www.executiveplanet.com/ International Business Culture, Business Etiquette, Customs and Protocol

Over 60 countries are represented on this site, with factual information on business culture and etiquette from each. This is a highly advanced course of study, but would be useful in an Intensive English program or high level ESL/VESL program.
There is also a section where you can post questions to the experts on intercultural business, share your experiences, or post comments on the site.



Try the above sites for resume writing.

ABE/GED/ESL/VESL: TV 411: Tune in to Learning


"Welcome to TV411, the television series for adults who want to strengthen their literacy skills. Attention teachers! Check out the new THINK MATH dvd, a free multimedia teaching tool that explores core mathematical concepts, such as fractions, percents and ratios."

One of the best features of this site is the Math Lessons in Spanish section.(http://www.tv411.org/math/). There is also a Writing section that includes such things as
Filling Out a Job Application Grammar and Punctuation How to Write a Business E-mail Preparing to Get a Job Writing a Complaint Letter Writing a Cover Letter that would be very useful for those in vocational classes.
The Reading section includes: Comprehending Business Problems Finding Faulty Logic Parts of a Newspaper Reading Charts and Graphs Reading Maps Reading the Fine Print Scanning for Specifics Strategies for Better Reading Structure of a News Story Summarizing Using Context Clues
The Vocabulary section is also quite useful, and includes a great interactive area called Check Out the Buzzword to really understand a word in a relational context. This section also includes:
Contract Language Dictionary Entries Finding New Ways to Say Something Personal Dictionary Prefixes Say Plenty Roots and Their Families, Part 1 Roots and Their Families, Part 2 Suffixes Understanding Business Jargon What Makes a Compound Word? Words with Multiple Meanings
Highly recommended site.

VESL: English for All

http://www.myefa.org/login.cfm English for All

This is a multimedia site that requires several plugins, but they are provided. You can register as a student or teacher, or just preview the site as a visitor. The site is free, and well done, and can be quite useful for any student who wants a more vocational approach to their English. For example, on Vocabulary Activity, students can listen to a word, and click on the word they hear. They can then submit their answers and find out both the score and the words they chose incorrectly. There is comprehension and grammar, and videos are clear and well done. A text of the video can also be viewed for additional reinforcement of language skills. At the end of each chapter, a test is available for students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their new skills.

General: Google Public-Domain Books

From Mac Central, 11/03

"Google Inc. on Thursday said it has added more public-domain books to its Google Print service. The books come from libraries at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University and the New York Public Library and can be viewed in their entirety in the Google database.
Previously, Google Print users could find public-domain books and view their entire contents but Google calls Thursday's announcement the first significant addition of public-domain books, according to a company statement. Google isn't revealing how many new books are added but said that for example, U.S. Civil War history books, government documents and works by Henry James are now available. Public-domain books either were never covered by copyright or are no longer protected by copyright."

This joins other online book projects such as Gutenberg.org (http://www.gutenberg.org/) which has over 16,000 texts available from Da Vinci to Shakespeare to Nietzsche. Most are 'plain vanilla' (no artwork) but the texts, though uploaded by volunteers, remain accurate to the original.
Others, such as the British Classic Literature Library (http://www.classic-literature.co.uk/) include texts from Dickens to Twain, and recipe books, self help books and even the King James Bible. Having just read Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book on Abraham Lincoln (Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln), I was interested in reading the biography of Lincoln. Some of his speeches and writings are also included.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Word of the Day

A new feature of this blog is 'Word of the Day'. Check it out at the bottom of this page and challenge your students...and yourself!