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Yesterday I made a quick stop at Holy Land on my way home from work for some groceries. While in the checkout line, I realized that a learner that had previously been in my class was checking out in front of me. It was wonderful to see a familiar face from class in the rhythm of my everyday life.
I use this handy-dandy little website every once in a while, and it's nice to see that an old stand-by gets more useful with time by adding new applications and goodies.
Christmas bulb

The first years I worked in ABE, I taught in an evening computer lab with students of all levels and backgrounds. Each class in the program had one time slot a week for computer time, rotating through for 45-60 minutes each. Most of the classes were English language classes, but there was also one basic skills class and one GED class. For whatever reason, most of the ABE and GED students (and their teachers) weren't really interested in learning computer skills, and made very little use of the computer time allotted to them.

Confused look
We all know what most learners will say if we ask, “Do you understand?” Here are some alternative ways to check for comprehension.
Listening to headphones
In preparation for an upcoming workshop on podcasting and audio tools for the ABE/ESL classroom, I've been testing out a free tool from CLEAR called Broadcasts. CLEAR is a federally funded language resource center, and they create, host, and share free tools for language educators. Broadcasts is intended to give teachers a simple, hassle-free, no special software required way to produce a podcast.
English for Work video screenshot
The English for Work Interactive Video Series, created by former MLC - Arlington Hills Learning Center teacher Bethany Gustafson, was designed to give students the vocabulary and language to succeed at work they were already doing in the hopes this would help prepare them for supervisory positions.
Minimizing teacher talk means not only limiting the number of words you use, but also thinking about which words you use. Here are some speaking tips to aid in communicating with your learners.
Stop sign with frost
I asked the students what they thought of the snow and most gave me a scornful look. But I was happy to see that falling snow and blustery weather wouldn't stop my stalwart students.
The new "visual thesaurus" online tools that are springing up on the Internet represent word relationships in a sort of web, showing the connections that are close as a knot of tightly grouped words, the loose connections sort of drifting away on a tether, the antonyms in an opposing color, and so on. By displaying information visually, they tell us something about words and the relationships among them that I don't think I can quite get from my old thesaurus.
This activity provides practice in spelling clarification and requesting to borrow something.

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