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Symposium at DIECPD, Osmanabad

District Symposium : A Report

The most awaited event was finally scheduled on 6th December, 2016. The excitement of the organizers could be felt from the urge to make it a successful event. As programmed by Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan in collaboration with British Council, the District Institute of Education and Continuous Professional Development of Osmanabad (DIECPD) organized District Symposium on 6th December at DIECPD. The chief presence for this event were Mr. Jon Parnham, Senior Academic Manager, British Council and Ms. Priya Iyer, Project Co-ordinator, British Council.

The mega event began with the inauguration. The event was preceded by Dr. Kaleem Shaikh sir, the Principal of DIECPD. The stage was shared by other dignitaries like Education Officer, Shri Ukkirde Sir, Dr. Nadaf sir, Head of English Department, DIECPD, Dr. Jatnure sir, Dr. Shinde Sir, Dr. Dhumal sir and Dr. Mendhekar.

“Sometimes we keep our doors closed while teaching as we don’t allow others to watch us teach for the fear of feeling inferior or for the fear of our methods being stolen by others. Time has come that we need to keep our doors open and welcome others. This is to help us grow professionally”, said Mr. Jon during his plenary speech. His presentation covered opportunities one can avail for his/her CPD, benefits of reflection, as well.

After the plenary session, there was a break of 15 minutes for tea and then parallel paper presentations started in four different halls. All the mentors were assigned each hall. Along with mentors, moderators from DIECPD were nominated during the paper presentations. There were as many as 25 paper presentations. The topics of the presentations varied from CPD to various ELT practices and classroom experiments. Photos and videos were evidences of the practices being done. The moderators were happy to see the significant change taking place in English language teaching in the district.

Post lunch session started with poster presentations. Varieties of poster presentations were witnessed by the participants. Some displayed strategies to develop students’ reading skills, while some showed ways to improve vocabulary. A couple of posters depicted the CPD growth while one special poster used Rebus activities and gave chocolates to the participants whoever guessed the answers right.

The poster presentations was followed by panel discussion. The discussion was set on the topic ‘Has Learner Centered Approach got to the roots in Osmanabad District or not?” The panelists were Mrs. Sadhana Bidve, Mr. Rahul Bawa, Mr. Prashant Bhagwat, Mr. Tushar Sutrave, Mr. Gajendra Mugale, Mr. Deepak Sonawane and Mr. Waghmare. The panel discussion was moderated by Mahesh Dudhankar. There was a great heated discussion on the topic. Both the sides of the panelists did their best to put their views strongly.

Before concluding Ms. Priya Iyer shared her views about how Team Osmanabad has been contributing in the ELISS project and expressed her expectations to continue doing the good work. The day ended with the vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Nadaf sir on behalf of DIECPD. Overall it was a splendid day. Got written feedback from the participants. They believed that the day was extremely rich in terms of exchanging ideas and practices.

Sincere thanks to Dr. Kaleem Shaikh sir for taking personal interest in minute to minute execution of the event. Thank you Dr. Nadaf sir for being on toes to help us carry out the event. Thank you mentors for your wonderful co-operation and sacrificing personal time as well for this event. A huge thanks to all the participants specially the paper and poster presenters for your contributions.

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Challenging students to think critically | Webinar summary

These activities are fab! Get your students think critically.

Immersivities

This is a summary for a webinar by Edmund Dudley conducted several weeks ago which I never got around to finishing. I found some of the activities quite interesting. Everyone’s jumping on the critical thinking bandwagon and it looks like OUP too has included some stuff on the skill in their newer course books.  Most of the activities seem to be drawn from OUP Insight but I reckon you could use the ‘frame’ of some of these activities with your own texts and materials. The basic premise of these activities is that Ss are used to having too much information at their fingertips and tend to consume it without scrutinising it.

Activity: Mystery animal

Show Ss the following facts and ask them to guess which animal it might be. Then show Ss pictures/screenshots from the Tree Octopus website.

Lives in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington state.

Amphibious – spends…

View original post 1,762 more words

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Using Classroom Displays Effectively

Using classroom displays effectively

In activity based learning charts and classroom displays play a significant role. Charts help the teacher make teaching more effective. In fact displays could turn a monotonous and boring teaching into an interesting one. It gears up the comprehension for visual learners. Classroom displays can be of various types. It could be posters, cut outs, collage, paintings,  hangings, realia, etc.

Teacher made or Learner made displays:

Traditionally, it is the teacher who designs classroom displays to use it as an aid for the teaching purpose. These are used for teaching. Some teachers even use readymade charts available in the market suiting the needs of their classroom.

However, constructivism approach recommends the students to design the classroom displays. These displays focus on learning. These displays fetch better learning experiences if they are made by the students. In an activity based learning class, pair work and group work can be best engaged if it is about making a classroom display. Giving the autonomy to the students to make the displays give them the joy of making and give them the sense of belonging.

How to use classroom displays effectively:

  1. Turn it into competition:

Organizing a competition for making classroom displays can be really interesting. Given the chance, the students will pour their hearts out to make the class look beautiful. By this we can understand that the classroom displays need not necessarily be made by teacher to teach rather it is the best tool which students can make it for their learning. Competition will make the display making a purposeful activity.

 

  1. Make it interactive

Should the classroom display be for display alone? What are the benefits of turning them into interactive?

Classroom displays are usually used for displaying certain content of the lesson or unit. Instead of making just for visuals sake let the students do some activities using them. Few simple activities could be:

  1. Write as many words as you can see at a glance at the poster
  2. Have a look at the poster. Close your eyes and tell or write as many words as you remember.
  3. Use the pointer to point the words I say.
  4. Teacher reads the words randomly from any poster or chart and students find out the word. The student who finds out the word wins or gets points.
  5. Find the words beginning with F or R, etc
  6. Find a word that rhymes with ………

This will allow the walls speak to the kids and the kids speak to the walls. This won’t allow the displays hang passively.

 

  1. Pass it over: The outgoing students can pass the displays to the upcoming students instead of discarding them. The upcoming students can then be guided on renovating them and reuse them.

 

  1. Make it easy to put up and replace: Hanging up or putting them up can sometimes be head scratching act. At the beginning of the academic year itself, the teacher can put up strings with the help of nails or even tie long threads to make it easy for the whole year to hang the displays. The teacher can use ‘used’ hangers for hanging displays. It can help the teacher to bring it down when needed and put it up again easily.

 

  1. Make the most from used materials to make it cost effective: Creating classroom displays is great but creating it with ‘used’ materials can be greater. Displays need not be made with brand new materials. It can be equally beautiful with the used materials. For ex: one can use the wedding invitation cards for using flash cards, used drawing sheets can be reused to make cut outs or collages, etc.

 

  1. Displays numbered odd and even: Large posters need not only be from one side. It can be from both the sides. Each side can be numbered with odd and even number like: 1 and 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The teacher can use the display according to the day of the week and the number on the display for ex: if it is Monday then the displays could be odd ones like 1, 3, 5, etc. Similarly on Tuesday it could be 2, 4, 6, etc. The teacher need not replace it all the time. He may just turn it around as both the sides are used for the display.

 

  1. Conducting an Inter-class classroom display test: What best could we make out of the displays than turning it into a test? A teacher can organize visits to the classes. A class can visit the other class and ask questions based on the displays. The students can be encouraged to answer as many questions as possible. As a part of reward the teacher can decide as to who did well either in asking questions or answering them.

8. Holding an exhibition: At the close to the end of the year the teacher can organize an exhibition encouraging all the classes to exhibit their displays. A visitor or a panel of judges can evaluate and award ‘The best class for classroom displays award’. To make it a larger event the exhibition can be kept open for the parents and outsiders too. Perhaps school day would be the best day to organize.

 

  1. Organize a MOCK SALE!: An innovative way to make it interactive would be to hold a MOCK SALE. The only way to pay for the displays would be to answering set of questions. The number of questions can vary depending upon size, proper condition and neatness. The bigger, more neat, better condition then higher the number of questions. They can offer heavy discounts (on the number of questions).

10. Renovate the older ones: Classroom displays usually start fading in two months or so. The colours used become dull. An activity to renovate the displays can be conducted. The teacher can divide the students into groups and distribute the displays randomly but preferably equally. The students should be encouraged re-colour the dull ones, outline the faded ones, paste the torn ones, discard some displays which are totally worn out or even allow them to mold it suiting their creativity. The group that does it in the given deadline and does it beautifully should be awarded.

 

The above ideas are the outcome of the discussion with my friends: Rohini Deshmukh Sankpal, Shivaji Vhatte, Balaji Ghule, Ujwala Bhagat, Mohan Bapat and many more.

  1. In the video below, Rohini Deshmukh Sankpal from Kolhapur suggests some ways to recycle the displays.

2. Ujwala Bhagat from Kolhapur suggests to organize a workshop for the students in the beginning of the year to teach them the process of creating, using and recycling the classroom displays.

 

 

If you too have some wonderful ideas on using classroom displays effectively, kindly share it.

I also request you to subscribe or ‘follow’ to this blog to get to read some interesting activities and happenings in ELT.

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Mentoring and its Impact on Classroom Teaching

Mentoring and its impact on classroom teaching

Introduction:

Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan has been providing quality training for all the subject school teachers throughout the state over years.  In a recent collaboration with British Council, it conducted a four year programme titled English Language Initiative for Secondary Schools (ELISS) after the successful completion of English Language Initiative for Primary Schools (ELIPS). ELISS is a four year programme consisting of three years’ training and one year assessment. This programme consists of 423 Master Trainers specially interviewed and selected.

One concern that always lingered overhead of the government is the post-training follow up and further support. Official visits were often inspectional in nature and didn’t really help in providing any further support to the teachers for their professional growth. The government of Maharashtra and British Council wanted to extend formal but friendly observation system which would offer support to the teachers for their professional growth and also record the change in teaching approach. It is purely developmental and not inspectional.

To tackle this issue RMSA and BC decided to start ‘Mentoring’ project. Who else would justify being Mentors than the Master Trainer themselves. So, as a part of pilot project, during the third year training programme, it was decided to select 80 mentors who were already working as Master Trainers across the state. They were selected through an online test.

These 80 mentors were given training in the month of June 2015. The five days’ training covered various aspects of mentoring like: Observing classes, preparing Action Plans, follow up activities as per action plan, recording the observations in detail, giving constructive feedback, etc. This paper covers the concept of mentoring, the process and its influence on the teachers.

Chapter 1

Mentoring: The Concept

It could be defined as – ‘Employee training system under which a senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or trainee’.

The other definition of mentoring goes ‘the purposeful, formal and systematic process of counseling or guiding a colleague or an employee who is seeking professional growth’. It is a continuous process ranging from short term goal to long term goal. It involves a systematic recording right from setting a goal for professional growth to the process of achieving it through various stages which are activities essentially directing towards the goal. The goal is actually the area of development of the mentee. A mentor assists to prepare an action plan. It is a written document which records the various activities that are targeted to be undertaken until the goal is achieved.

First of its kind in the state:

It is now accepted that a friend or colleague is one of the best resources for providing professional support to the professional learners at the early stage of their career, through a career transition or when facing a particular challenge. It is for the first time that the government in collaboration with British Council designed a follow-up system of this sort. Since it is a pilot project only secondary education was covered. Hence, Maharashtra becomes the first state to start mentoring in India.

Objective of mentoring:

The main objective of mentoring is extending support to the teachers in terms of effective lesson planning, methods to be adopted, ways of activities to be conducted, facilitate various resources, provide solutions to some of the common problems in English language teaching.

Structure:

All the mentors are basically full-time teachers. The ratio of mentoring structure is 1:15, where one mentor is associated with 15 mentees starting from his school to other schools within the area of 8 kms.

Roles:

In order to understand mentoring better, let’s study the some of the key roles of three direct stakeholders clearly.

Mentor Mentee Headmaster
–  Establish a friendly relation with mentee

–  Observe lessons and be observed

–  Offer assistance for professional growth

–  Offer various ideas, solutions towards the challenges a mentee might face

–  Encouraging Peer-Observations within the school by a colleague

–  Welcome the friendly relation

–  Get observed

–  Identify the area of development

– Discuss and mutually design Action Plan activities

–  Discuss some of the challenges openly with the mentor

 

– Offer any official help needed.

 

Process:

This project involves following steps:

  1. Selection of mentors through online test
  2. Mentors’ training
  3. Assigning 15 mentees around the locality of mentors’ schools.
  4. Workshop for Headmasters in order to brief about the project and clearing their role in the process.
  5. First meeting with mentees and briefing about the project.
  6. Mutually scheduling the observation dates.
  7. School visits and documenting the observations.
  8. Reporting to the officials via email and WhatsApp groups
  9. British Council officials taking follow ups by field visits.

Lesson observation also involves systematic steps.

  1. Pre-observation talk
  2. Lesson Observation
  3. Post-Observation talk

Chapter 2

Impact of Mentoring on classroom teaching

After first half year completion of mentoring it was time to check on this pilot project’s effect on actual teaching learning process in the classroom. Feedback was taken via online survey, personal meeting, telephonic conversation and observation notes.

Following significant changes were seen with the practitioners of the project that is mentor and mentee

Mentor:

Being selected as Mentor itself was a special feeling for the Master Trainers. Mentors underwent an intensive face to face training from British Council. The training helped in boosting confidence in mentors. Armed with mentoring skills they took it as a privilege to be a part of pilot project.

  • Considered it to be a significant addition to their professional growth.
  • Their own classrooms were to set as models for mentees, hence it became more learner centered.
  • Became professionals in terms of building relationship with a mentee.
  • Offer resources for the mentee’s development.
  • Learnt quite a few things from their mentees as well.
  • Became well-equipped with various resources to offer
  • Made conscious efforts to be well prepared and knowledgeable by pre-reading resources before offering to the mentee
  • Explored possible ways of addressing some of the common challenges encountered in the classroom
  • Shared views, opinions, suggestions and experiences via WhatsApp and Facebook groups and blogs

 

After a briefing workshop about the project, teachers were offered to be a part of this remarkable project voluntarily. From June 2015 till the end of first term in November several mentees’ lessons were observed. Some were observed more than once and some observed mentors lessons.

Following changes were noticed in teaching learning process.

– Started using pair work, group work and class work more effectively

– Started using learning aids effectively

– Explored various possible ways to conduct the lessons

– Discussed possible solutions to some of the common challenges they face in classroom

– Wrote lesson plans effectively

– Used various interaction patterns in teaching

– A significant addition in their CPD

– Considered ‘activity based teaching’ very beneficial

–  Made a considerable shift from traditional ways of teaching to learner centered teaching

– Used ICT in their teaching

– Shared their views, opinions and experiences with mentor and others via WhatsApp and Facebook groups

– Tried using textbooks more creatively

Below are the images of data collected via online survey.

Sample A: An extract from online survey  – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLMPQJ

Sample A

Sample A: An extract from online survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLMPQJ

Sample B : An extract from online survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLMPQJ

Sample B

Sample B : An extract from online survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLMPQJ

Headmasters:

Headmasters too found Mentoring as a crucial factor in providing assistance to the teachers’ professional growth. They found that English classes turned out to be more activity based and interactive. They also observed that English teachers were well prepared for the lesson and have become more open minded to accept the desirable change.

Learners:

With mentoring teachers have started thinking about learners and their abilities while planning a lesson, that is, the teachers lesson plan are more learner centered now. Learners are enjoying the change in the classroom. They have become more interactive as they are provided with many opportunities during the activities. A significant change is also noticed about the interaction pattern, where in, students are also brought on the foreground.

Due to the group, pair and individual activities learners are trying to interact in English. They are pouring ideas in the group and share their opinions sometimes in English and sometimes in Marathi. They are also trying to express all they could in English through speaking or writing activities. Overall, learners are enjoying the change.

 Chapter 3

Mentoring – Some Challenges

In the first half mentoring year it self it is noticed that mentoring has a tremendous potential. It is certain to make positive changes in the traditional Indian classrooms. Yet, there are some potential challenges in the process. The data collected projects a few potential challenges in this project:

For Mentors:

  • Time: Since Mentors are full time teachers, the first thing they find it difficult is time. Though they are strongly willing, it becomes tough for the Mentors to schedule the lesson observations and school visits as they have their own classes to conduct which they cannot afford to lose. Besides, being mentors, they are also shouldered several responsibilities at their own work place which they cannot shrug off. Many mentors have invested their weekly offs for school visits, which they feel has affected their personal time.

 

  • Administrative support: Though a workshop was conducted exclusively for Headmasters and appropriate letters directing to relieve the mentors for mentoring were issued, they found themselves helpless in adjusting the timetable in the mentors’ absence. The number of such problems is significant and cannot be denied.

 

  • Remuneration: Mentoring involves school visits, frequent phone calls and providing extra support with ample of resources either in print form or online. This involves expenditure for amount of hard work being put. Some of the mentors have expressed that they should be paid for a state level project like this. They have also mentioned that an honorary amount will be added advantage as a motivational factor for the mentors who haven’t taken up mentoring a serious thing.

 

  • Unwilling mentees: Though the mentoring offers a supporting and developmental hand some of the mentors found it challenging to convince well-experienced mentees to change over their traditional way of teaching English. However, this number isn’t high.

Following are the links to the interviews of some of the mentors:

1) Nadeem Khan, a mentor from Bhandara shares his experience.

2) Pundalik Kaviraj, a mentor from Gadchiroli speaks about ‘time’ being one of the prominent challenges in this project.

3) Balkrishna Shinde from Kalyan speaks how mentoring has helped him in his CPD

4) Rakesh Jadhav, a mentor from Nagpur opines that mentoring should be there in other subjects too.

5) Anil Petkar, a mentor from Chandrapur speaks about the importance of administrative support

6) Rajiv Sankpal from Nandurbar speaks his experience out

Conclusion

Looking at the details above, it is clear that mentoring certainly holds a great potential in changing over the traditional way of teaching English to leaner centered approach. Its strength overweighs its challenges and gives a promising picture for tomorrow. The pilot project is definitely a success. Hence the project can be initiated in full fledge from next year when RMSA and BC are going to appoint rest of the Master Trainers as Mentors from the academic year 2016-15.

References:

  1. British Council Mentoring Training Materials
  2. Online survey link for Mentors: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/26CSQZZ
  3. Online survey link for Mentees: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFLMPQJ
  4. Personal interviews of the mentors

5. Personal interviews of some Headmasters

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Secret Friend

Secret Friend

Did you ever want to gift your friend and yet keep your name secret? Then this activity is just for you. Here is how I enjoyed this activity.

Language input: Nouns/Noun phrases and adjectives/adjective phrases or sentences

Materials required: Chits of papers equaling to the number of students in the class.

Box to collect the chits.

Estimated time: Depends on the number of participants. With an average class of 25, ten to fifteen minutes will be sufficient.

Preferable time: At the end of the last semester Or prior to any lesson related to gift or friendship.

 

Procedure:

Tell the students that since it’s a last semester they are going to give gifts to each other as a token of friendship. For that everyone has to contribute 500 rupees virtually. Allow students to think of some things that they can gift worth 500 to any friend.

  • Distribute the chits of papers among the students. Each student gets one chit.
  • Ask them to write their names on the CORNER of the chit.
  • Fold the paper and make sure that the name is HIDDEN INSIDE the chit.
  • Collect all the chits in the box.
  • Shuffle properly and ask the students pick up one chit. (They shouldn’t open the chit until you instruct)
  • Once everyone gets the chits, ask them to open the chit. They SHOULDN’T REVEAL the name they find in the chit to anyone.
  • On the OTHER SIDE of the chit, they should write the name of the gift they want to give that person along with a complement. (They should keep it absolutely secret without showing it to their partners sitting next too) Write an example on the board for better comprehension. T-shirt. You look good in T-shirt. Or T-shirt suits you the best.
  • Now, students fold the paper getting the gift and complement inside the fold and getting the name of that person outside.
  • Collect all the chits. (You will get the chits with the names written outside)
  • Now, distribute the chits to the students as the names are written on the chits.
  • Elicit some of the gifts and complements students get.

Students will be surprised to see the gift they received along with a complement. You are sure to see SMILING FACES in the room. The best part is they aren’t aware of the friend who gifted them. Hence ‘Secret Friend’

images

You would love to see your kids smiling, don’t you?

 

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Display Board Activity

Display Board Activity

Friends, giving extra practice without overshadowing other subjects is often a matter of concern for a teacher like me. Here is another activity that I tried recently with my 9th and 10th grade students. I found it fruitful. Hence, I am sharing it. I prefer calling this activity as Display Board Activity. Like the name suggests, Display Board plays an important role in this activity. Display Board could also be a notice board often used to put up notices or another similar kind of board outside the classroom.

Objectives:

  • To give extra practice of vocabulary and grammar
  • To help students prepare for exam oriented questions

Procedure:

  1. On a particular day and date, I put up 8 to 10 questions based on vocabulary and grammar on the Display Board (notice board, as you may call it)
  2. I give my students a week’s time to copy it down and solve it.
  3. They can copy these questions during lunch break or any other short break. (The idea is to not to hinder the regular classes)
  4. During the whole week, students may take my guidance (if they feel the need).
  5. After exactly a week, I put up ANSWERS too. For example: If I had put up questions on 7 July 2015, Tuesday, I will put up answers on 13 July 2015, Tuesday.
  6. Students check their answers with mine and make corrections if necessary.
  7. With answers for previous week’s questions, I also put up next week’s questions based on grammar and vocabulary.

Advantages:

  1. Students get extra practice.
  2. It’s not compulsory. Hence, students, who think need the extra practice only may take it up. (It’s less burdening, as it isn’t compulsory)
  3. Students get ample of time to solve it.
  4. Students can do it at their leisure.
  5. Students get a sense of achievement when they see their answers are correct!!
  6. Teacher is free from evaluation process(often considered as time consuming)

Disadvantages:

  1. Below average students may not be interested in this.
  2. Sometimes, students may take down questions but may not attempt for answering them or may even keep them incomplete.
  3. There is least scope to check if the students’ answers are correct or not. Hence, no monitoring is possible.

IMG_20150702_133029306 IMG_20150702_132732154 IMG_20150702_133050034 IMG_20150702_133041913

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Culinary Competition

Culinary Competition

Hi all, what is it like giving students a task based learning experience, especially for a rural teacher like me? I believe in language acquisition more than language learning. So, I don’t leave an opportunity to offer my learners the experience. Recently I conducted culinary competition for two of my secondary classes. I was spell bound at their commitment.

Before the activity:

  • I allowed forming groups of four to six of their choice.
  • Asked them to prepare a list of food items that they think can prepare without using fire in school. I gave an option of using fire at home and assemble the dish in school. (Couldn’t think of handling fire in school)
  • I wrote a ‘recipe’ of a random dish on the board. (Including ingredient and procedure). Instructed students to write a recipe (in English ONLY) for the dishes they have chosen to cook. Gave them a week’s time. Date set. Offered my help throughout the week.
  • Students were excited throughout the week. Though excited students struggled to find English words for ‘garlic, cardamom, clove, Bengal gram, peanuts, etc. (They knew words in Marathi). I provided language support during the week.

During the activity:

  • The most awaited day arrived. I requested two teachers to be referees for TASTE and two English teachers to be referees for RECIPE.
  • Gave students forty five minutes to prepare or assemble their dish.
  • The groups set up stalls presenting their dish with recipe.
  • Referees, other teachers, headmaster, supervisors enjoyed the tastes of the yummy dishes made by students. All, including me, were amazed at the beauty of their dishes, recipe, team work and their efforts.
  • The presentation went for 45 minutes.
  • The event ended by all students tasting other groups’ dishes too.
  • By the end of the event all the students had smiles on their faces and referees confused as whom to choose??? I was amazed at their recipe writing as well. Most of them did perfect job in both culinary and recipe writing. With task based learning students were engaged to its fullest and I was in the background.
During the competition

During the competition

IMG_20150922_153704377_HDR IMG_20150922_153712855 IMG_20150922_161715620_HDR IMG_20150922_162114488 IMG_20150922_162321989_HDR IMG_20150922_164920381

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