September #2

Oh, Spring. Warm sunny days, birds chirping, flowers blossoming. As I write this, I’m looking out my window and see absolutely none of this. But hey! Spring has arrived, even though it’s done so in a very un-Spring-like fashion.

So you might as well snuggle up with a steamy cup of coffee, tea, mate, or whatever tickles your fancy and read this week’s newsletter.

Site of the week

As you know, on October 3, I’ll be hosting the second workshop of the Four Skills Series. This time around it’ll be on Writing. (Wait, what?! You didn’t know about it? Fear not! You’ll find out everything about it here)

On that note, I wanted to give you a sneak peek on one of the tools we’ll be working on that Saturday.

Writing is a complex skill which requires a great amount of effort for most students. Granted, some are born poets, essayist or novelists, but that’s usually not the case in our classes (If it is, please let me observe one of your lessons and don’t mind my open jaw in disbelief) In a world where communication has reduced itself to 140 characters, writing can be challenging, to say the least.

When working on writing, technology could give us that hand we are so desperate for. It’s hard to choose only one tool, but I’ll go with Word Hippo, an ultra-versatile, student-friendly online dictionary. Apart from having the cutest logo out there, Word Hippo will provide your students with extra freebies I know you’ll love. You get your usual dictionary definitions, synonyms and antonyms (cleverly labeled “Meaning of”, “Another word for” and “Opposite for”, respectively) But does it stop there? Oh, no, no. Your students can search for words that rhyme with X, they can look up the plural, singular, past or present tense of X, they can read sentences containing X, translate it, pronounce it, you name it. I’ll stop right here for fear of sounding obnoxious, but go on, take a look at Word Hippo (and while you’re at it, tell me what’s Dutch for “obnoxious” 😛 )

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Video of the week

Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Agatha Christie, Alexander Graham Bell. Without any doubt, characters who have left their mark in history, be that because of their creativity, formidable intelligence or unquestionable talent. Do you know what else they had in common? They were dyslexic.

Chances are you have at least one student with dyslexia in your class and that can prove to be a bit of a challenge – to put it mildly.

There are probably hundreds (dare I say, millions) of sites, articles and blogs out there with research, tips and studies on dyslexia. It would be pointless to share them all here. But what I would like to share with you today is this video, not only because it gives us a bird’s eye view of what dyslexia is about, but also because it helps us to stand in its shoes and for a few seconds understand what it feels like to be dyslexic. As the narrator puts it “to better understand the perspective of those around us, we should try to not only see the world through their eyes but understand it through their brains.”

See you in 2 weeks!

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PS 2: Please, remember that we’re creating a directory of teachers interested in doing videoconferences. You can take part by filling out this form

Every student can learn. Just not on the same day or in the 
same way. - George Evans