Sunday, March 17, 2013

Don't Limit your PLN to Teachers of your Subject Area

Thanks to the various blogging platforms available, more and more teachers are sharing their teaching experiences with others online.  As language teachers, we don't need to limit our learning from others that teach the same language as we do.  There is much to be learned from teachers of other languages too.

Some of my favorite blogs to read are listed on the right of my blog, however, there are other blogs, many of them for English learners, that I check in on from time to time when I need help with ideas to use in the classroom. 

English language learning websites:
1. Sean Banville (@SeanBanville on Twitter) started this ESL website in 2004.  He makes podcasts of the latest news; one by him and the second one by speakers from North American so students learning English hear the news with the North American accent along with his recording.

Each of his lessons is ready-made, includes the transcripts, the recordings, and a myriad of activities related to the news story. How I wish we had something like this available in Spanish!
I made be a bit biased to his website.  You'll know why if you listen to one of his recent podcasts "Catholic Church choose Argentinian Pope" (and click on MP3 USA Female; or this one from January, "Gambia Introduces 3-Day Weekend" (MP3 USA Female); and several others that have one commonality.

2. Kiernan Donaghy creates English lessons based on short films.  If you teach a language other than ESL, you can still get ideas from his lessons to create ways to include the short films into your instruction in your Target Language.  Some films I've seen mentioned in Spanish and French blogs are ones that Kiernan had made lessons with several months previously.  

3. (Almost) Infinite ELT Ideas This is another English learning website but the activities and ideas suggested by Sandy Millin (@sandymillin on Twitter) and her readers can many times be adapted to use in the MFL classroom.

Tech Websites:
4. Free Technology 4 Teachers Richard Byrne's (@rmbyrne on Twitter) tech blog is one of my go-to blogs to read about new tech sites.
5. Integrating ICT into the MFL Classroom, by Joe Dale (@joedale on Twitter), is another blog more specific for language teachers. 
You'll find many ideas on either of these technology blogs.  

6. Classroom 2.0 Live You absolutely HAVE to check out this site.  I linked the title to the archives page where you can gain entry to past free webinars on different types of technology use in the classroom. Many of the authors of the blogs above have presented on Classroom 2.0 Live at some point in the past. Most of the live webinars occur on Saturdays at 12:00 noon ET, but they archives can be accessed whenever it is most convenient to you. 

7. Zambombazo (@ZJonesSpanish on Twitter) I'm including this one (even though it IS the subject area I teach) because if you are a Spanish teacher and don't know about this site yet, you are MISSING OUT!!! I was at a work day with our state dept. of education and was surprised when one teacher mentioned this site and several had never heard of it before.  You will find an incredible amount of activities related to music, art, news, etc. created by Zachary and Betsy Jones.   

Those are just a few of the websites I enjoy that aren't directly related to the language I teach (with the exception of #7), but are very helpful.  If you're low on ideas and need some inspiration, or just have some spare time to explore on the internet, I highly recommend any of the above sites! 

(Did you notice how many of the writers of the above blogs are also on Twitter?  You simply can no longer ignore the powerful impact Twitter can have on your Professional Development.)

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