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Online Course Management System - FREE. Would you use it?

Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Mitchell Lee Feb 12. 7 Replies

I'd like to know how many teachers would use a completely free course management system , if offered here? Meaning, you can create a course there,…Continue

Tags: atutor, technology, online, ecourses, elearning


Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue


In the Valley of the Wolves is an outstanding documentary featuring the wolves of Yellowstone Park. I learned so much from this program! And I think it could be used in the EFL classroom. The cinematography is so rich... and the topic so compelling, I can't imagine kids not wanting to talk about what they've seen after watching the film!

So what do you think? Is it worth making up vocabulary preview lists, other activities? Have you had experience using documentaries in the classroom? What types have been most successful? Is captioning a help, or a hindrance?

In the Valley of the Wolves
Podcast: Interview with Wildlife Cinematographer Bob Landis

In the Valley of the Wolves- Part 1 of 4

In the Valley of the Wolves- Part 2 of 4

In the Valley of the Wolves- Part 3 of 4


In the Valley of the Wolves- Part 4 of 4

PS If you found the videos enthralling, you might be interested in tracking the various packs survival, reproduction, and range data (year by year, since 1995) provided by the National Park Service, Wolves of Yellowstone site. It's so funny how education works- if I had viewed this data before seeing the documentary, my eyes would have glazed over. Now that I "know" the packs, the data is vibrant and compelling- I have to know the story!

Update: The PBS In the Valley of the Wolves site keeps getting better! Here is an interactive map:

Downloads: 531

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I was just exploring David Stephensen's blog (named Jim Crints, after a choral singing group) and came across this moving and nuanced film that I think would be useful in a high school EFL class:

He even includes the script (attached)! He's got more movies w/ transcripts on his site. I am continually amazed at the depth of other people's work. Thanks, David! This was just my first dip, I am off to explore more of your site!
Hi David! I noticed your link to Bubbleboy on your site didn't work anymore, so I found a copy, downloaded it to my computer, then uploaded it to ning for the embed code... here it is, another wonderful movie!!

(warning to others, it takes awhile to load... if you want to download it yourself (plays much faster on my computer) here is where I grabbed it, then used Keepvid to download.

David also has the script for the movie, see attached PDF

I watched the wolves video on the weekend and it really is a super "soap opera". Very well done and informative.

Great discussion and I just came back from spending a whole day with H.S. English teachers who had one major wish....more access to resources for high school students of English. Most materials either are more elmentary and cognitively/emotionally/socially inappropriate OR just too high a level and unsuitable for language learning. We need more material inbetween for H.S. students.

Here is a ppt from one of my using video in the classroom workshops. I usually go through this and show examples (like my Top Videos for EFL ) which I'll upload here shortly...

I got inspired by both Ellen and also the H.S. teachers who said they didn't have a lot of "more mature" content for their students. So I put together a best of the Nat. Film Board of Canada. site I'll be promoting in the new year and making it public..these films are the top of the top and all children should enjoy/see...many Academy Award Winners. They will stream properly right to your classroom (no need to capture Ellen!). In the New Year, I'll be loading up resources to complement the short videos and also ideas for use in the classroom. Or you can help out also. Just reply in the discussion below the videos... Enjoy, comment on what you REALLY like.
I have used video a lot in classes. A few basic guidelines that I have found helpful:

I keep the extracts relatively short. I would not show a chunk of any more than 10 minutes before stopping for an activity or comprehension check. Any longer can be a bit overwhelming, and learners' can begin to wonder about the learning value.

I always do some vocabulary work on key words before viewing. I think it's also good for them to have some meaningful task to do while viewing. gist questions, comprehension questions (which they will have read and understood before viewing), listening for key words, note-taking to prepare for a follow-up writing activity etc.

Varying the style of viewing is also interesting, depending on the kind of film you're using. Viewing without sound and asking learners what they think is happening, stopping the film at key moments and asking learners to predict what will happen next etc. With strong groups I have at times followed this up with an improvisation activity where they act out what they think follows, although documentaries are probably not appropriate for this.

As for captioning, if available I generally use English subtitles. Some may argue that this defeats the purpose of developing listening comprehension. I feel that this is a way of developing the skill of listening and reading for gist simultaneously, and unless comprehension is not the main goal of the activity, it gives learners extra assistance and that sense of achievement at having understood. On the contrary, I have never used subtitles in the learners' L1, as for me this removes the value of film for language learning.

I'm always looking for new ideas for using film. What do you do?

Your reply is rich with sterling advice! A must read for newer teachers. I really second your comment about giving students a task to do while watching. Nothing much, just something very simple to keep them focused.

I really like prediction (as you mentioned) and retelling. both are language activities which allow students to use their own personal language inventory and really work on those mechanisms of speech which are wholly personal. I also love videos which have no sound/dialogue. Like Mr. Bean or those I put up on our NFB page.

Why? They allow the students to speak. You can have them describe the action or have one turn their back while the other describes. They make the story their own and can retell in their own words and make their own audio script. This in no way implies listening isn't a worthy activity -- I just like using video not for listening so much as for speaking. For listening, I tend to concentrate on pure audio (no pics) however with lower levels, YES, pictures/video for listening activities are a must.

I'm sure others will chip in with what they do....

It is great to read such pertinent comments here. I'd like to share a blog I have developed to have students practice grammar with movie segments. Apparently, nmost teachers use movie segments for communication, contextualization or vocabulary input/practice, but not that much for systematized grammar. I hope you like it.
Claudio, I might have said this before, but I think your site is inspired. And you do use it for communication too, in your talk with a partner questions, you just take it to another level and utilize the motivation the movie clip and conversation has built up to tackle grammar- so you hit the grammar running with motivation and context inherent in the exercises- inspired!

I just updated the excellent Valley of the Wolves videos (the original uploaded had deleted her account on youtube). 

Also, addedan updated ebook for teaching using the movie BIG - a great film for the EFL Classroom ! 

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