Monday, July 21, 2008

Video Assignment: Maya Discovery a Key Link?

In our thematic unit on the inventions of the Ancient Maya, we have discussed the significance and importance of the Maya glyphic writing system. We have also talked about how they recorded and valued their own history.

What makes the Maya so fascinating to study is that we are still learning about their past. Click on the link below and watch a video about a recent archaeological discovery revealed today, July 21st! Answer the questions below (via email) and be prepared to discuss them in tomorrow's class.

1. How old are the sculptures?

2. What do the glyphs describe?

3. What protected the sculptures?

4. Why would the Mayans protect the sculpture?

5. The sculpture mentions a Maya city, or metropolis. Why is this city important?

6. Connect to your life: How do people record important events or stories today?

If you have any questions or problems with the assignment, please email me!

Mr. Joel

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Circle of Life

ESL Podcast #3

"The Simpsons Cartoon"

This podcast is taken from a website that uses podcasts similar to radio bits. Whereas some ESL podcasts have a drone-like quality, this employs shorter segments and sounds like an actual radio show at times. The podcast not only discusses the Simpsons, but also discusses language issues within the reading about the Simpsons cartoon.

I like this podcast because it talks about a popular show that most people around the world are familiar with, meaning that accessing and building prior knowledge would be easier. It also would be great to follow this podcast up with a clip or entire show of the Simpsons in order to further build language development and recognition. Finally, a discussion of cartoons in different cultures would be a relevant discussion.

ESL Podcast #2

"Just What Does Patriotism Mean in America? Issue Enters Into Campaign"

This podcast is taken from a website that includes topical podcasts that coordinate well with what may be going on in media and American communities. This podcast, taken from Sunday, July 6, modifies a newspiece on the current political climate and campaigns in America.

I like this because it takes complicated content and slows it down and puts it in accessible language for intermediate to advanced English language learners. From my experience in the past working with older students, adults love to talk about politics because it is an area of high interest, however, oftentimes the language level is out of their reach. There would need to be some vocabulary development and re-teaching of difficult phrases, but I like this podcast mainly because of its relevance. (One area of concern, however, is the robot-like qualities of the narrator.)

ESL Podcast #1

"ESL Podcast 386 - Learning How to Drive"

This website puts out podcasts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and covers a range of topics from business to everyday life. This selection, from Monday, June 30, covers vocabulary about driving and learning how to drive in American society. Notice that it is not necessarily a tutorial on getting behind the wheel.

For me, this is a useful podcast only if used with the learning guide, which includes vocabulary, comprehension questions and a complete transcript among other useful visual aides. (The learning guide could be purchased individually or through a monthly subscription.) This would be highly appropriate for older students, especially an intermediate-advanced adult class.