Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sabbatical Leave Report

I am grateful to MiraCosta College for offering the opportunity to grow professionally and develop my skills as a teacher through my sabbatical experience.  It was enlightening to be a student again, but I truly felt “at home” on my first day back teaching.

View my sabbatical report
View my article on my sabbatical in the Noncredit ESL Newsletter, The Communicator, Fall 2015 edition

Sunday, June 28, 2015

TESOL Designing Interactive Activities for the Web Course Week 4

My final project
My initial idea was to set up a Web page with assignment prompts, examples, discussion boards, and so on for all the writing portfolio assignments students will be doing in my class in the fall.  In the end, that idea was overly ambitious, so I just created one assignment (narrative paragraph) integrated-skills lesson plan with online activities: Valuable Lessons

My goal is to have students create sites and post their writing (eportfolios).  Has anyone had experience with eportfolios, and if so, would you be willing to share any best practices, warnings, words of wisdom, suggestions/advice with me?  

I loved using Weebly - it's incredibly easy to use, so I may have students do their eportfolios there, but to best integrate with Google docs and my grand plan to give feedback with Kaizena, Google Sites (though tricky to use at times) is the other possibility I am exploring.

Instructor Susan Gaer's feedback on my final project:
WOW! What a great interactive lesson. I love the way you integrated tools into the lessons, covered all the skills of listening, reading and writing. I love that you gave the students examples. It was also nice to see your video on voice thread. My only suggestion is (it is very small) is that you remove the word Flubaroo where you embedded the quiz. Students don’t need to know that and it just might stump them.  The lesson looks visually appealing, has great interactivity and models for what your expectations are. If you have any more time to work on it, perhaps you good do a rubric activity to have students really understand how a rubric works. You don’t need to do this to pass the class. YOU HAVED PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS (think red, white and blue). It was wonderful having you in the class. You raised the bar on the level of discussion. I learned a lot from you!

TESOL Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online Course Week 4

This week was dedicated to the final project, a lesson plan.  Here's mine:  Career Choices.

These are the instructor's comments / feedback and grade:

PP104 – Week 4 – Lesson Plan    -Checklists to evaluate Teachers´ Lesson Plans
Name: Kristi Reyes                                                                                                                           
Total grade 29.5   /30

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TESOL Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online Course Week 3

This week was more of the same: exploring online resources and posting on the course wiki

Here is my post for the week:

TESOL Designing Interactive Activities for the Web Course Week 3

My posts for this week:

I read the Brain Rules book a few months ago and have so many of the pages dog-eared. It's definitely worth a read.  The videos very briefly illustrate some of the main points of the book; however, if you're looking for a summer read, I definitely recommend the book because of all the anecdotes about people who have had brain injuries or who have brain anomalies - such as the guy who played something like 50 games of chess at once -- blindfolded -- and won all but one or two matches!
Anyway, the videos are interesting, too.  These are the three that I watched with the important point(s) and implications for us as teachers:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

TESOL Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online Course Week 2

This week we worked on a group task, posted online on the course wiki.

TESOL Designing Interactive Activities for the Web Course Week 2

My Posts
I wrote an article on ThingLink for OTAN  back in February, and I think it has several exellent potential uses in ESL - both for F2F classes (student projects) and for online (teaching students vocabulary, for example). Thess are sample scenes I created for the article and in order to experiment with it:
I think I would use it for a "All about Me" student project in which students provide links to Web sites and videos about the following:  Where I'm From, My Career/Education Goal, My Hobbies/Interests, etc.
In a way, it could be used for any sort of presentation that is put online.  Kind of like Prezi, viewers would have a choice of the order for viewing the content rather than the linear / sequential viewing that one does on PowerPoint or Google Slides.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

TESOL Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online Course Week 1

TESOL Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar Online Course Week 1

TESOL Designing Interactive Activities for the Web Course Week 1


·        Copyright for Kids 
·        Copyright Free Pictures
·        Creative Commons
·        Open Education Resources
·        Can I use that picture? (infographic) 

My post:
Copyright certainly is a tricky topic!  I didn’t used to be as conscious as I am now about using (and citing) images that are not my own in content I have published / posted online. However, nowadays I typically use copyright-free stock photo sites, Creative Commons, or take my own photos.  More often, though, I search for images on Google Images and filter by usage rights (select Search Tools – select the drop-down at “Usage Rights”).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

TESOL Teaching Reading and Writing Online Course Week 4

Final Project:  My Wiki page (reading, vocabulary, writing lesson on Symbolism) part of a group wiki

My Discussion Posts for this week:

Strategies for Assessing Reading and Writing Online
I completely agree with the arguments presented in The Case for Authentic Assessment.  Multiple-choice tests are helpful as formative assessments and are easiest to create and score online, but given online, there is a huge potential that students will cheat. (For interesting reading on this topic, see the Chronicle of Higher Education 3-part series – especially the third part – easily found with a search on Google – the series is called “Cheating Lessons”). 

Of course preventing cheating online is not impossible.  There are some software programs that have lockdown browsers (Respondus is one, which my college offers and is integrated with Blackboard), and at my college, many online credit courses have the requirement that students to take midterms or finals in the campus proctoring center. 

All in all, though, we probably need to view online tests we assign as practice opportunities for students rather than real assessment.  As Wiggins writes, “While multiple-choice tests can be valid indicators or predictors of academic performance, too often our tests mislead students and teachers about the kinds of work that should be mastered. Norms are not standards; items are not real problems; right answers are not rationales.” 

Don’t we want to assess how students can use their English to accomplish tasks that require them to listen, read, writing, and speak?  Traditional tests don’t do this very well, but authentic assessment certainly challenges online teachers to think outside the box, take on technology learning to find the right tools suitable to the assessments, as well as provide technology training to students to be able to complete authentic assessments online.

Also, as the article Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning mentions, all stakeholders should play a role in assessments, and authentic assessment has the advantage of “… providing parents and community members with directly observable products and understandable evidence concerning their students' performance; the quality of student work is more discernible to laypersons” (Wiggins). 

I also read the Merlot article Online Assessment Strategies: A Primer which discusses matching assessment techniques to learning objectives (Bloom’s Taxonomy), as well as issues of cheating in the online environment.  

After reading this article, I did a Google search to find out what sort of authentic online assessments I could do online because I’m having a hard time envisioning how to transform some F2F assessments to the online environment.  I found this interactive wheel Bloom’s Taxonomy Circle Diagram.  When the outer gold-colored part of the circle is selected, there are activities listed.  For example, for “Evaluation,” the activities listed are the following: Comparison of standards, conclusion, court trial, editorial, establishment of standards, group discussion, recommendation, self-evaluation, survey, valuing.  All of these types of “activities” could lend themselves to authentic assessments in ESL, with checklist and/or rubric scoring.

Other Bloom / online-environment-related resources I have on my bookmarks are the following:

·        Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has a ton of resources, such as these two, which are related to this week’s topics: Web Tools to Use with Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and Web-based Versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy – most of which have already been discussed in this course and
·        For ipad apps only, see Padagogy Wheel, which is interactive.

Online tool for assessment
This site is great for creating reading, vocabulary, and even writing quizzes that are interactive online with many different question types (blank boxes and dropdowns, drag and drop, matching, multiple choice, checkboxes, and essay/open-ended questions) with customizable feedback on students’ answers. Insert multimedia (images, videos, audio) in quizzes. You can set time and attempt limits. Create classes and view students’ scores. Quizzes can be shared with a link or embedded. See help center at for more information on creating quizzes.
Benefits – Easy to use.  Practical. Great option for teachers who don’t have access to an LMS.
Drawbacks – With a free subscription, you can only generate PDF files (see the sample I created).  To unlock the full potential of the site, you need to subscribe $25 – 39 per year for all features. I wouldn’t purchase the subscription because I do have access to an LMS that can do everything on this site, but the site is easier to use.  I probably will use the PDF generated quizzes now and then, though.

Online tool for feedback on student writing
Students can share Google docs and presentations with you, and you can add voice comments and annotations. When a student responds to or acts on the feedback, the teacher receives a notification in the dashboard and an email.  Students likewise receive notifications when you post need feedback. The Kaizena videos on YouTube show you how to use this tool.
Benefits -- Free.  “Veedback” integrated with Google docs; no need for external software or downloads
Drawbacks ?  not sure – will need to experiment with it.  I believe that students could compose on MS Word, upload to Google drive, and then share.  After I practice I will let you know how it compares to Jing…

Also found:
It has four sections:
1. Quill Proofreader - passages that have grammatical errors placed in them - students locate errors.
2. Quill Grammar -- teaches grammatical concepts through sentence writing exercises.
3. Quill Writer - two-player activity; students take turns writing a passage together from a shared list of words.
4. Sentence Shuffle -  rearrange sentences from a text into the correct order.

Web 2.0 tools
Over the years I have used and had students use numerous Web tools; it's hard to pick just one that's a favorite or that I use more often than most.  However, since we have mostly been looking at writing as paragraphs and essays, I thought I'd include a Web tool that is for more sentence-level writing: dialogs.  From grammar to problem scenarios to parts of speech to verb tenses and vocabulary, students at all levels can be assigned to write dialogs and digitize them with this incredibly easy-to-use site:
Site for making animated cartoons. Types/# of characters:  Maximum of two characters per scene; 33 edgy characters (from Fabio-like "Stud" to Uncle Sam to Jimi Hendrix impersonator "Mojo"). Types/# scenes: 15 genres of background music; up to three scenes; 15 backgrounds, 12 skies, 4 plots (rendezvous, pick-up, chase, soliloquy), four title designs; Dialog:  Up to six lines of text per scene, maximum 100 characters per line of dialog; text in speech bubbles; Saving and sharing: No registration necessary; sharing by email (URL link) or html code embedded on a Web page; cannot be edited or changed at a later time.  See Russell Stannard’s Teacher Training Video.
Benefits – Easy enough for novice computer users to use.  I have used it with beginning – advanced students.  I rarely have to demo the site beyond the first couple of screens. They love it! Super fun! Guaranteed to bring laughter to the classroom.
Drawbacks – Once a movie is “rendered,” it cannot be changed.  There are not commenting options.  Each line of dialog is limited to 100 characters of text (single space after periods). Some characters are “racy,” so if you have hyper-conservative students or very young students, you may not want to have them use the site or limit which characters they can use.  My students always choose the Hugh Hefner playboy guy and his scantily-clad playboy bunny girl. 

How I have used the site:

  • Students learn idioms each week related to our reading/writing/conversation themes.  For homework, they ask native or fluent speakers of English to explain (define or provide an anecdote) the assigned idioms. Then, in class we discuss the meanings, source/history of the idiom (if any), and come up with sample sentences, with students recording all.  At the end of the term, students (individually or in pairs) write dialogs using an idiom or search for a new idiom to teach the class.  They use the site to digitize their dialogs and present to the class.

  • Students learn phrasal verbs (get up, go out, hand in, etc. – Amy is familiar with these because we use the same Fundamentals of English Grammar textbook/workbook).  I create conversation questions and discussion board prompts that require them to use the phrasal verbs.  Again, at the end of the term, they write dialogs using a specified number of phrasal verbs, digitize the dialogs with Dvolver, and present to the class.
Examples of former students’ movies:
Sample Phrasal Verbs Project
Sample Idiom Project
More ideas for using the site:
  • Teachers can create cartoons to use to introduce a topic for a class reading, to spark a discussion, or to pose a question to the class or a problem to solve.
  • Students can create cartoons from any dialogs they write, with purposes ranging from practicing a grammar structure or vocabulary word to dramatizing a role play for a given scenario.
  • Teachers can make cartoons to introduce or reinforce vocabulary, and students can be assigned to write scripts that demonstrate their comprehension of given vocabulary words or learned idioms.
  • Both students and teachers can show do's and don'ts for a given scenario or problem; teach and learn about or have a debate; have opportunities to participate in listening comprehension exercises.
  • Students can be assigned to respond to a reading or a class discussion topic, as in this example: We read in class about changing gender roles of men and women in modern society. Respond by writing a story/script for a mini movie or writing a dialog to give your opinion or experience with this topic. 
  • Students can make news reports or give opinions on current events or political issues.
  • Make commercials or a movie review.
  • Tell jokes or stories or write the dialog for a short story or the ending of an open-ended story.

Sites similar to Dvolver:

I also have students do similar projects with comic strip sites:

Instructor’s Message for this week:
Dear Kristi,

Congratulations! You have completed all course requirements, and I have submitted a grade of C for course completion. I want to also thank you for your valued contributions to the course. Your insights, online tools for reading, vocabulary, writing, and assessment provided helpful resources and additional context for more in depth discussions. I especially like the extensive list of assessment resources on your wiki page including Google Forms, Blubbr, and Classmarker.

Your final project lesson plan provides a reflection of your experience as a teacher and clearly demonstrates your understanding of how to integrate technology to support the language learning process. Thank you also for sharing some of your ideas that you have published in the OTAN newsletter.  Your lesson plan on symbolism provides an engaging, interactive, and meaningful experience that incorporates many tech resources to support the learning process.  I like your use of an in-class oral presentation and final reflection for assessment. You have an incredible amount of patience and stamina, moving ahead in the course even with a crashed computer. Great job and thank you for your hard work on this.

It was a pleasure working with you, and I wish you much success in the certificate program.  I will look forward to reading more of your contributions to OTAN.  Please do keep in touch and feel free to contact me at any time.

Warm regards,

Resources from this week:

Required Reading Articles

Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning from The American Association of Higher Education
Assessing Student Learning, from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education Website - includes tips and a guide for assessing
The Case for Authentic AssessmentPractical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 1990 - note: while this article dates back to 1990, topic relevancy applies to many aspects of assessment today when considering language proficiency as the transfer of knowledge learned anywhere into use in authentic, real-life situations
Additional Articles
Feel free to peruse this extensive list and add other comments. 
Create Online Quizzes (These are all free)
Gather feedback (surveys, opinion polls etc.) 

Portfolio Assessment
Presentation Software
Online Whiteboards  

Learn to Use Web 2.0 Tools (from Edutopia),

Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything (online tools),

Wikis, Blogs, and More, Oh MY. Technology, April, 2008).

Sunday, May 10, 2015

TESOL Teaching Reading and Writing Online Course Week 3

Along with three classmates, my group read and discussed the article on new tools for teaching writing.  The following is a synthesis and summary of our discussion, which focused primarily on blogs and wikis, although the article also included information on automated writing evaluation and open source netbooks.

@ONE Creating Accessible Online Courses Final Grades and Certificate

User report - Kristi Reyes

Grade itemGradeRangePercentageFeedback
CategoryCreating Accessible Online Courses (SP152 04/06/15)
Assignment (2.2)Log in instructions - CCC Confer Session - April 85.000–5100.00 % 
ForumWatch these Videos - Meet Students with Disabilities5.000–5100.00 % 
QuizMicro Quiz on Digital Media and Access Strategies5.000–5100.00 % 
QuizLegal Issues Quiz5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Evaluate a Production Plan for Accessibility5.000–5100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
This is fantastic work!
You correctly identified the media objects and you are absolutely on the right track when identifying the accessible design components required to make the content accessible.
I loved the level of detail you included in this production plan and I think this level of information will really help you as you begin to dive into your course design.
Again, great job!
Scott McAfee
QuizWeek One Summary Quiz5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Log in information - Live CCC Confer session-0–5- 
ForumUsability and Accessibility Forum Assignment5.000–5100.00 %
Great analysis! I am always dock my students points for using poor grammar when they deliver speeches. I always tell them: "Only Superman "does good". You do well!".
Keep up the great work!
-Scott McAfee
Assignment (2.2)Format Text Document10.000–10100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
Well done! Your headers were properly assigned and layered, your alt text was fantastic and in the correct place (good catch on the check box for the second picture), you utilized bullets and numbers, your table was designed correctly, and your document was very easy to read.
You utilized all of the components of accessible design for this document.
This is great work; keep it up!
Scott McAfee
ForumDraft Production Plan--Peer Review10.000–10100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
WOW, you nailed it!
This is an exceptional document full of wonderful detail. You really demonstrate a firm understanding of the content covered so far.
-Scott McAfee
QuizWeek Two Summary Quiz5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Log in information - Live CCC Confer session.5.000–5100.00 % 
ForumCaptioning Considerations5.000–5100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
Thanks for your post and all of the great questions!
-Scott McAfee
ForumCaption a Video With YouTube10.000–10100.00 %
Great job, Kristi!
-Scott McAfee
Assignment (2.2)Your Campus Accessibility Resources Report10.000–10100.00 %
WOW Kristi, it really sounds like you have a FANTASTIC support structure for students with disabilities and instructors: from the DSPS department to the library to the volunteer group, you have some fantastic resources at your disposal.
Thanks for the informative report.
-Scott McAfee
QuizWeek Three Summary Quiz5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Log in information for archived CCC Confer session5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Format 2 accessible documents from your course20.000–20100.00 %
EXCELLENT work, Kristi! It was a joy to see your accessible design elements implemented within your documents. Your WORD syllabus looked great with sans serif font, good use of white space, repeating headers in your tables, excellent alt text, bullets/numbers, and proper heading structure.  Your PDF was equally fantastic: it not only had accessible design elements, but it LOOKED GREAT!
This was quality work; I think you have mastered this aspect of accessible document design! BRAVO!
 -Scott McAfee
ForumLearning Management Systems5.000–5100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
My first exposure to Moodle was as a student in an @One course. I quickly found myself on the designer side of Moodle when I began teaching for @One, and I can happily say I think Moodle is both accessible and easy to use from both a student and instructor perspective. That said, it is a little SIMPLE, but that can be a wonderful thing after trudging around in BlackBoard all day for my College of the Canyons courses.
I haven’t had the chance to play around with CANVAS yet, but I hear wonderful things about it. In fact,  haven’t heard a single NEGATIVE comment about it which is extremely rare considering the often vitriolic words I often hear directed towards our beloved BlackBoard LMS smile
-Scott McAfee  
QuizWeek Four Summary Quiz5.000–5100.00 % 
Assignment (2.2)Final Accessibility Production Plan for Your Course65.000–65100.00 %
Hi Kristi,
WOW, this is a highly detailed and thorough production plan that captures all of your included media objects and their required accessibility components. I love your attention to detail and I think this will be a great guide/map as you continue forward with your course design.
Thanks for all of your time and hard work during this course!
-Scott McAfee
AggregationCourse total195.000–20097.50 %