Why it Makes Sense to Teach the World Cup

Part of the Cool Sites series

As an English language teacher I love opportunities to teach culturally responsive lessons (CRT), a type of curriculum that celebrates and responds to various cultural issues through student-centered instruction. In a previous post, Do Our Students Realize They Live in the World, I explain why all students need to develop skills in collaborating with others worldwide. These skills are rarely thought in schools. How many teachers do you know in your school that participate in international projects?

Nelson Mandela is an incredibly wise man who realized that one way to unify people in a nation is through sports! The World Cup is the sporting event that unites nations and brings the world together to rejoice, cheer, kick, scream, rant and now blow our vuvuzelas! My adult English language learners are having rich discussions about the World Cup and my kindergartners are also enjoying learning about sports! However, you can use the World Cup to teach any subject, such as math, history, and statistics.

Lesson Ideas

Below are the resources I have been using with my adult English language learners (pre-intermediate level) and hope they provide you with ideas:

Sean Banville’s Listening Exercises & Quizzes

To prepare for the class, I suggested my students complete these activities in our wiki:

  1. Please read this article about Germany in the World Cup
  2. Then listen to the MP3 of the article without reading the article
  3. Now take these quizzes to check your understanding- Quiz 1 and Quiz 2

Sue Lyon’s Video & Listening Quiz On Vuvuzelas

  • In class, we sparked thoughtful discussion by watching a video on the ESOLCourses blog about banning Vuvuzelas.
  • As a class we created a concept map of what we remembered from the video about Vuvuzuelas and what we had each observed.
  • Then we took this video quiz.
  • We then separated into two groups to debate the issue if Vuvuzelas should be banned! We had an incredible discussion with the majority of the class voting on Sue’s poll to not ban them. Many of the students came up with great arguments, such as Vuvuzelas being a tradition, a symbol of hope, preventing coaches from communicating with players, and more!

Can I Play This at Home? The World Cup Online Game

  • In class, students also created questions for this fun game, Can I Play This at Home.
  • This game has the students choose a team, then answer questions correctly to make the footballers make a play.
  • Students are submitting their questions on the website then having their classmates play the game at home.
  • There are also preset questions in several categories, such as math, spelling, and grammar.

Here are more World Cup resources and ideas:

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Free E-books and Resources for Your Summer Reading!

Part of the Cool Sites series

In my last post in the Cool Sites series I provided you with 35 free professional development opportunities for the summer! This post included ways to access free e-books. I want to share with you some great e-books that are resourceful and inspiring. Just click on the titles to go to the websites to download the e-books for free!

Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin

By far the most inspirational e-book that I have read and others would agree, since it is the number one e-book. Seth Godin sheds light on making your ideas epidemics. The book is about marketing an idea and offers educators who are involved in social media several suggestions to spread their innovative ideas. This book was the inspiration for my 30 Goals Challenge: Join the Movement, another free e-book you should read this summer! ;-) Visit the link above to find free materials including Seth Godin’s presentation.

The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book! (Vols. 1-2) edited by Terry Freedman

In this book, 94 educators discuss their 87 digital projects featuring 52 applications. Hear about their challenges integrating Web 2.0 applications and how they handled the issues!

Blog Companion: Technology Tidbits (Vols. 1-6) by David Kapuler

David provides readers with information on the newest Web 2.0 tools. His six free e-books provide you with a great way to learn about these technologies this summer!

Google and Technology Guides (5) by Richard Byrne

Richard provides readers with innovative ways to integrate technology. These 5 guides provide teachers with innovative ways to use Google apps, docs, and programs and how to integrate video and other technologies in your curriculum!

Teaching as an Act of Love: Thoughts and Recollections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid by Richard Lakin

Richard Lakin provides 55 thought-provoking, humorous and heartwarming pieces geared to teachers, principals, parents, and all those concerned with making schools more loving and effective. It presents a close look at a school staff working together to create a caring and challenging learning environment where children come first, as well as at a real partnership between school and home.

The Zen of Blogging by Hunter Nuttall

Hunter Nuttall describes the plot as “the story of an aspiring blogger who sets out on a journey to discover the secrets of blogging. What will he find at the top of Mount Blogmore? Will he learn how to become a great blogger, or will he get his head cut off?”

Digital Storytelling Tools for Teachers by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano provides readers with a simple guide to digital storytelling.

Webtools Applied to Teaching by Ana Maria Menezes

Ana Maria provides readers with innovative ways to integrate Web 2.0 tools especially with language learners.

A New Way To Lecture by Michael Zimmer

Michael provides readers with innovative ways to integrate technology to replace boring PowerPoint lectures! I love the ideas!

I Write Educational Activity Booklets by Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Jerry created this Mixbook to share with students online. They will love the comics and learning about Jerry’s career! Jerry also has several useful book links on his website.

Free Reading Resources


Read any of these books and blog about it! You can leave a link back to your post in the comment section of this blog!

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What will you be reading this summer?

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What Will You Learn this Summer? 35 Professional Development Resources

Part of the Cool Sites series

Photo adapted by Kevindooley's photo The Teacher Creative Commons Attributes 2.0 Generic

Photo adapted from Flickr by kevindooley licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Summer has officially started for many of you! I know that you will probably be relaxing for the first few days, but eventually you may feel the need to be inspired and motivated for the upcoming school year! Social media provides us with incredible opportunities to choose the way we want to develop professionally. You can choose the topic, the medium, and who you want to learn from. You can choose the way you like to learn, because social media provides us with several multimedia experiences, such as webinars, LMS, live video, and more. The experience is usually dynamic and motivating because you are learning with others around the world! Additionally, you will be developing your Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN).

Professional Development Opportunities to Choose From…

Free Programs:

  • The 30 Goals Challenge- Over 1500 educators have downloaded this free e-book that challenges you to accomplish 30 social media and professional development goals in 30 days. These are short-term goals, such as guest posting, setting up a Google alert, causing a ripple, and contributing to a blog carnival. Download the free e-book to get you started. Additionally, feel free to contribute to my new weekly series that will be featuring a post from an educator who accomplished one of the goals.
  • 31 Days to Become a Better Edtech Leader- With his vast experience, Terry Freedman offers excellent goals to accomplish each day that help you use educational technology effectively. Goals include conducting a SWOT analysis to organizing an inservice! Here’s a handy list of each post and the links.
  • The 23 Things Project- Take Steven Anderson’s 10 week course that shows you how to use various web 2.0 tools effectively in the classroom.
  • SEETA Courses- The South Eastern Europe Teachers Association offers several week courses with a guest author or expert in the field. You can check past courses or take the upcoming one with Lindsay Clandfield from June 16-20, Coursebooks of the future: Adopt, adapt or abandon? You will have to register, but the courses are free!
  • ELT Moodle Web 2.0 Tools course- Andy Chaplin offers several classes to help you become acquainted with using Web 2.0 tools effectively with English language learners. Register for free!
  • Moodle Web 2.0 Tools course- An 8 week course to learn more about Web 2.0 tools. Register for free!
  • Edufire Free Live Online Classes- Register for free and have access to various topics such as using various web tools or learning a different language. You get a live tutor on a video.

Attend Live Events in Real Time!

You can attend several free conferences, webinars, Twitter chats, and presentations online with your PLN! These usually last one hour, but many conferences also offer free all day live streaming of their keynotes.

Free Online University Classes:

Ever dream of studying at Stanford or MIT? Well you can attend several free online courses from their universities. Below are useful links to find a free online course at several top universities in any subject!

  • MIT Open Course Ware offers over 1900 free online courses in over 20 subjects. You can subscribe by RSS or get e-mail updates.
  • Stanford on iTunes- Download courses, faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports that will play on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC.
  • 17 Universities with free online courses- Find out how to access these free courses from some of the most respected universities in the world! This article also describes the experience of learning through these online classes.
  • 250 Free Online Courses- Find a list of several more free online courses from the top universities categorized by subject.

Learn Through These Blog Series

Books! Books!

Find several more professional development opportunities by clicking on the tabs of Mike Fisher’s Live Binder.


Try any of these professional development opportunities and blog about your experience. Blogging helps you reflect and decide how you can apply this learning to improve your instructional methods.

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What are your favorite ways to learn online? Did I miss any other great professional development opportunities?

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Employ Technology for Fun Summer Learning

Part of the Cool Sites series

child comupter

As an educator, you may find yourself frustrated by the fact that after three months of blissfully brainless summer, your students return to school nowhere near ready to resume their studies.  In truth, the time off spells nothing so much as a loss of retained knowledge and an itch to relive their recent days of freedom.  So what can you do, as a teacher, to encourage kids to keep learning over the summer?  The best way is to introduce them to fun learning tools that speak to their techno-savvy generation (although you will almost certainly have to get their parents on board to ensure participation).

For starters, there are a lot of fun resources on the internet that offer educational games, reading, and activities for kids of all ages (and most of them are free).  Hook your students up with websites like Kid’s Domain for crafts and outdoor activities, Funbrain for games, quizzes, and web books by subject and grade, DimensionM to teach math through multiplayer games, and Book Adventure, a site sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center that offers book lists for all reading levels and interests.  Even NASA has a Kids’ Club with games and educational information.  But these are just a few.  You can find a lot more if you look around (from generic to those tailored for specific subjects or grade levels).

And you know that most kids are going to spend the summer texting, tweeting, or playing with one of a myriad of tech gadgets that they seem to pick up quicker than riding a bike these days.  So why not find some fun activities that allow them to utilize these tools in an educational capacity?  There are a few good learning games for traditional consoles and handhelds, like Brain Age for the Nintendo DS and DS Lite, which offers word and number puzzles, math problems, and memory tests, as well as Xbox Live Marketplace offerings like Brain Challenge (for older kids, this one has a multiplayer option) and Math Sniper 3D (to keep on top of the multiplication tables).  But there are a lot more options for cell phones (updates of classics like Scrabble, Sudoku, and The Oregon Trail) as well as apps for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad (Math Magic, World Countries All-In-One, and Textropolis are just a few of the dozens of educational games to be found at Apple’s iTunes store).

Even better, suggest that your kids consider tech camp as an alternative to the more outdoorsy summer camps of old.  Many states now offer tech-centric alternatives like cyber camps that match practical physics applications with computer software, discovery camps that explore the history of technology, and a wide variety of science camps.  Kids who like media can also look into summer film or music programs, many of which now integrate computers and other tech devices for a generation of on-the-go kids.  Whatever avenue sparks your students’ interest, they are sure to return after the long summer with a better prepared to ease back into the rigors of school.

Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Universities, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.

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Will You Wave? 25 Google Wave Resources

Part of the Cool Sites series

On Tuesday, May 18th, Google announced that Google Wave is now available for everyone! Now you may have tried Google Wave in the beginning and felt it was not your cup of tea. Initially, Google Wave did have some annoying problems. However, like most technology, it has improved with time. Google Wave uploads faster, notifies you of updates through your e-mail, has many collaborative features, and now lets anyone join. Some of the collaborative features on the wave include video chat, embedding all sorts of documents within the page (PowerPoints, videos, and text documents), collaborative mindmapping, collaborative drawing, and much more! The video below will show you how to get started and wave.

Why Wave?

Google Wave is best for collaborative projects with a small amount of people. I find that larger Waves of 50 or more educators is overwhelming and difficult to follow. Personally, I prefer to be a part of a Wave of 3 to 15 active participants. I have mostly used Google Wave for organizing various virtual events, but have been part of Waves where educators have their students collaborate on projects. I urge you to try waving as part of a project. You can start with a simple meeting or project with your Personal/Passionate Learning Network to get the feel of how useful Wave is for collaboration. I would advise trying to Wave with someone who knows the ropes. I realize you may not know anyone who has used Wave, therefore, I am listing some resources for you to get started!

Resources and Tips

Educators on Google Wave:

Useful tutorials and tips:

Youtube video tutorials and tips:

What are the best gadgets, extensions, and bots?

Google Wave and Education:


Try using Google Wave for a collaborative project or have your students try it for a team project.

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What useful tips do you have for collaborating on Google Wave?

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