- issue 12/00
Welcome to the Newsletter.
The Xmas Draw is underway &
we've received some great ideas but still keep them coming.
There will be a draw for the prize of a box of cuisenaire
rods. What? You didn't know about it! Have a look below about
what's involved - there's one of the activities sent in as
As we are on the subject of
cuisenaire rods we thought we might as well make it the subject
of the theme this month. There are lots of ideas below with
a link to an illustrative page on the site. There is also
an excellent accompanying article written by our Silent Wayfarer
in Barcelona, Tim Hahn.
The Christmas break is looming,
the season of goodwill, so this month we thought we'd supply
some more charity links. These involve free click sites &
require the minimum of effort - so there's no excuse!
We're offering a 30% discount
on the e-mail courses for the duration of December. This discount
is for those that sign up for all of the eleven modules.
If you're looking for a teacher,
don't forget our free jobs' page - mail us on the address
Contributions & suggestions
are very welcome.
Happy teaching! Happy Christmas!
Please tell a friend about
Developing Teachers.com Thanks.
6.WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
THEME - Cuisenaire rods
These are small blocks of wood
(or plastic) of varying lengths & each length has a different
colour. Originally invented by Georges Cuisenaire, who was
a Belgian primary school teacher, for the teaching of mathematics
- his book 'Les Nombres en Couleurs' was published in 1952.
He met Caleb Gattegno, the founder of the Silent Way, in 1953
& Gattegno realised that the use of cuisenaire rods combined
discovery learning & language & were ideal for teaching of
The rods are still widely used
in the teaching of maths with a lot of information on the
Net explaining how to use them. Unfortunately there isn't
much information at large for language teaching.
Tim Hahn is a Silent Way specialist
& he has contributed an article titled 'The
Cuisenaire Rods and Silence' & looks at how the cuisenaire
rods can be used to create a productive & stimulating silence.
Tim has been involved in Silent Way teaching for many years
& is currently based in Barcelona. He has co-authored several
coursebooks for secondary and adult students and is a contributor
to a number of professional magazines. He is closely associated
with Pilgrims and has led training courses for them and for
the British Council in the UK, and throughout Spain and eastern
Europe. He is involved in freelance teacher training. Tim
can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
a lesson plan that incorporates the rods
Below are some ideas on using
the cuisenaire rods. Some of them are illustrated
here on the site.
Introduce them them bit by bit
- get your stds used to them so at first don't ask them to
do anything too taxing with the rods. Have them at hand &
use them for short activities.
To teach literal representations
- 'rod' & the different colours - & use these as an aid to
teach other things such as prepositions of place: 'Put the
red rod in front of/behind/on the blue rod. Or imperatives
& one/s: ' Pick up the white rod, put down the rod one, put
the green ones to one side etc..'
To highlight comparative & superlative
adjectives: Which is taller; the red one or the blue one?
And which is the shortest, tallest, brightest, dullest, more
interesting, most boring, etc.'
For storytelling: choose any
narrative & the rods represent the different things such as
roads, trees, people, shops, -- whatever you want them to
be they will be invested with a magical meaning.
For previewing a reading article.
If you've got a tricky reading or listening article coming
up in the coursebook, then tell the story of what happens
before they listen/read so that the load is a lot lighter
when they come to the text.
For representing just about
anything - relatives & friends: stds are asked to take 7/8
rods & decide which relative or friend each rod represents
& then tell a partner about them - you'll find that they pick
them up & demonstrate with them, making the activity much
more interesting - there is a real focus. The same could be
used for talking about the area the stds live in, describing
their company, colleagues etc.
For dictations: the teacher
creates a scene with the rods, which the stds cannot see,
& then describes the scene & the stds re-create the scene
with their rods. At the end they compare with your scene to
see if it is similar. The stds do the same with each other.
For memory tests to review a
lexical area e.g. animals - take a rod & ask which animal
it represents, put it down & then get a different coloured
rod & elicit another animal, put it down & recap on the first
& second rods - carry on with the ten different colours so
that you have ten animals represented - don't forget to keep
recapping as you go along. When all ten are out ask the stds
to close their eyes & tasks 2 or 3 away, they open their eyes
& tell you which animals have gone. Can be done with any related
For graphs: use a long rod
for each axis & the others to represent trends which could
come from a text or you could be looking at the language of
trends - going up slowly, coming down, peaking off etc.
For telling the time: a long
rod & a short one is all you need to represent the clock -
use this to present the time & then give the stds a couple
of rods each & they test each other - 'Could you tell me the
time please? It's five o'clock Thanks'
For clarifying meaning: e.g.
present & past deduction- it must/can't/might/ be behind the
For clarifying form: the present
simple affirmative, negative & question form e.g. I / get
up / at /seven./ - / I / do/ not / get up / at / eight/ -
What time / do / you / get up?/ Each section has a colour,
lay out each utterence using the rods & the stds can see at
a glance what is happening to the word order. Good also for
the active/passive voices.
Directions: make a street map
with the rods & use this to teach directions - turn right/left/around,
go straight on etc - & if you've got a small toy car to use
with it as well..
Correction awareness: For those
stds who want to be corrected all the time, give each a red,
green & orange rod. If they want to be corrected they put
out a green rod, if they don't want correcting they put out
the red one & if they want correcting at the teacher's discretion
they put the orange one out - just like the traffic lights.
They usually begin with green, get fed up & go to red, get
fed up & end up on orange - which is what you wanted all along!
See the correction triangle
To use when listening a non-linguistic
task e.g. for an extensive task with a difficult text they
could simply use the rods - when they hear speaker A they
put the rod standing up & for speaker B they lay the rod down.
Or they could choose the rod that represents X.
For representing meaning: timelines
& tense clarification lend themselves very much to the rods.
A long rod represents the horizontal left to right time frame
& the other rods can be placed to represent states, habits
For clarifying phonological
aspects: lots of uses here from sounds to intonation. e.g.
for awareness of rhythm & stress teach the group a nursery
rhyme, you will need all of the rods of two colours, & lay
out the rods according to the stressed & unstressed syllable.
There's an example on the illustration page & we've also put
in a page of nursery
rhymes, with their corresponding rod representation over
in the phonology section.
For grouping stds: ask the stds
to pick a colour & when all have got one they sit beside the
person with the same colour. As tokens for ensuring all speak:
all have ten rods & when they speak they discard a rod & when
they have discarded all ten they cannot carry on in the conversation.
Allows the quieter less assertive stds to have a chance.
They can be used as tokens in
other activities too e.g. in a bargaining roleplay where the
rods represent different things.
Apart from planning specific
activities that use the rods, take a box with you into each
lesson & you'll soon realise how many uses will occur to you.
If you'd like to get a box of
rods, Educational Solutions will be pleased to help you out.
You can contact Mike Hollyfield on email@example.com@cwcom.net
. They have a web site at http://www.cuisenaire.co.uk/
& they offer a small carry around set plus a bigger international
to the contents
2. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Send your questions about teaching
to us. Anything from classroom management problems through
to grammar problems.
3. E-MAIL COURSES
As mentioned above, there is
a 30% discount for those signing up for a full course - all
11 modules - during the month of December only. Maximise your
time over the break by getting started on a quality personalised
teacher development course. To
check it out.
to the contents
Christmas nearly being here
gives me the chance to repeat some & pass on some new sites
where you can make a donation for free just by clicking your
mouse. It costs you nothing as it's all done through sponsorship.
Companies donate a very small amount to the cause for every
click that is made. So, the charity gets a donation, you get
to feel good & the companies get the exposure! Make one of
these sites your browser start page & put them at the top
of your favourites/bookmarks.
Here you can play the debt-onator - shoot the chains (of debt)
as they try to circle the world - an impossible task! - before
going round to click a donation.
Entitled a Robin Hood linking page, this page give links to
lots of free donations through clicking sites.
After you've clicked to on all of the above, get over to the
site devoted to M.C. Escher - the artist who drew the optical
illusions - the hands in a circle, the water tower that seemingly
keeps going up etc There's also an interactive puzzle to download
(350Kb) - for those lost times over the Xmas break!
From the 'Quotes Page':
"The things I want to express are so beautiful and pure"
"So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping
on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us,
for my part at the stars; amen"
This site comes from CNN and Turner Learning. There are two
sections - for the student & for the teacher. It is designed
for mainstream secondary education but there's a lot of current
affairs material there that language teachers can use. The
lesson plans, based on CNN articles, for the teacher can be
easily adapted. Worth a look.
This is a very useful site if you are after any kind of information
about the people, geography, government & economies of hundreds
of different countries. All care of the CIA World Factbook!
This is a great source of information. Lots of up-to-date
facts & statistics about anything you should need. (Information
Please comes from the quiz show of the same name that was
on NBC from '38-52.)
This is the kind of site that you never have bookmarked when
you need it. There is a huge database of acronyms & abbreviations
to search through.
to the contents
5. CHRISTMAS DRAW
A box of cuisenaire rods could
be yours! Or look at it another way - the season of goodwill
& sharing - let others in on your favourite Christmas classroom
activities. It has to be connected to Christmas - a warmer
activity, a roleplay, a lesson plan ..Mid-December I shall
send you all a short e-mail with the link on the site to where
you can find the full activity list that has been sent in.
So get onto it & send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put your name somewhere in the E-mail.
Cindy Dominick sent the following
'I teach Japanese students and most of my lessons are private
rather than group. One favorite Christmas idea has been that
they choose some kind of Origami project that we can make
as a Christmas decoration. The trick is that they cannot show
me how to fold the paper but must give me all verbal instructions.
They usually find out a week in advance so that they can write
their instructions and we do it the following week. I follow
their instructions to the letter and correct when I need to
along the way. It always is a lot of fun and makes for a light-hearted
lesson during the busy Holiday season!'
6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
As always, free weekly practical
teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!
Courses running in the near
future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT
Full-time four-week courses: January, February, March
Twelve week part-time course: January to April
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT -
Full-time eight-week courses: January & March, April & May,
July & August
You can see brief descriptions
of all of the current courses on the BLC web site http://www.cospa.es/blc/ted/ttframes.htm
The postal address of Teacher
Education at the British Language Centre is Calle Bravo Murillo
377, 2, 28020 Madrid, Spain. The phone number is (00 34) 733
07 39 & the fax number is (00 34) 91 314 5009. The e-mail
address is email@example.com
to the contents
A couple of newsletters ago I recommended the personal firewall
from Zone Labs - Zone Alarm at http://www.zonealarm.com I've
been very happy with it but I've heard about another free
firewall. This is the 'Tiny Personal Firewall' from the computer
company Tiny & seems to have all you need as well.
A firewall is supposed to make you invisible when you're surfing
the net. Another function is that it tells you when a programme
on your computer is 'phoning home' i.e. sending some information
back to the programmer. This is usually harmless information
but the trouble is you never really know. If you want to find
the programmes that are trying to send information out - the
'spyware' - you could download Ad-Aware. This programme finds
the spyware &, if you tell it to, deletes it for you too.
When I first started out with computers & the internet I was
lucky to have Gerard to sort me out. There were times when
I didn't know what I would have done without the advice. I
very much sympathise with those starting out now without a
'Gerard' handy. For example, everyone is on about the latest
download. Sounds great but how do you actually go about downloading
a programme. The above address gives the newcomer an explanation
on the different kinds of downloads.
When you've sussed out the downloading situation, get on down
to DownLinX & download all you need. You'll find over 40.000
programmes on their books under a dozen headings.
Another area of confusion is 'zipping'. I use the universally
WinZip - http://www.winzip.com but now there is an alternative
called Power Archiver & it's free, easy to use & contains
just about everything that WinZip does. Worth investigating
if you're after a compression programme.
'A modern culmination of unique fonts on the net', they say.
And loads of links to other font sites.