Applying the FLIP

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina M. Cavage

Blended learning, the Flipped classroom, Extended learning . . . all terms that are being used today. However, the big question remains—are commercial materials readily available that allow us to move toward FLIPping and extending learning opportunities for our students without creating more work for teachers? Absolutely! This month I would like to focus on just that—how MyEnglishLabs, particularly Next Generation Grammar, have been designed with blending or flipping in mind.

The four pillars of the FLIP include: Flexiblity, Learning culture, Intentional content, and Professional educators. Over the next two newsletters, I will walk you through examples on how Next Generation Grammar meets each of the pillars. Continue reading

The Central Role of Literature in the ESL/EFL Classroom

page43_SybilMarcus Sybil Marcus

Earlier this year, my colleague Jamie Reinstein and I were corresponding about the value and joy of using literature in ESL education. We found that our experiences were closely aligned, and he invited me to run a workshop on literature and ESL at the Community College of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, U.S. Since he was using my anthology A World of Fiction 2 as the text for his advanced class, he also suggested that I take over for the morning and teach a story from the book.

I decided that I would ask Jamie’s students to read Peter Meinke’s short story “The Cranes,” which is about an elderly couple on an outing to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the story seems innocuous at first, the events lead to an enigmatic ending that prompts reconsideration of what’s been happening all along.

Like many ESL classes, Jamie’s class was made up of a mix of nationalities with students from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They quickly made me feel very welcome and we settled down to business. I had requested that students read the story for homework and then come to class with a written explanation of what the ending meant to them and why. Continue reading

Roll Your Way to Grammar Fun


Would your students enjoy working on editing skills via a board game? Are you interested in an activity that takes just minutes to prepare? Here’s a lively and collaborative activity that works with any of the Check your knowledge exercises found in all three levels of the Azar-Hagen Grammar series.

Materials: A game board (attached) and dice.

1. Choose any Check your knowledge exercise from the text you are working in. These exercises are usually toward the end of the chapter.

2. Students work in groups of three or four. You need a game board and one die for each group.

3. To prepare the board, randomly write the number for the sentences (not the sentence) in the blank squares. If there are 12 sentences, you will have 12 marked squares. Skip the example sentences. (You can mark one board and then make photocopies, or make each board different for every group.)

4. Each student needs his/her own token: a coin, a paper clip, etc.

5. The first student rolls the die and moves accordingly.

6. When students land on a sentence number, they have to give the correction for the corresponding sentence in the book. The other students in the group can decide if it is correct or not. If they are unsure, they can check with the teacher.

7. If the answer is incorrect, the student goes back 2 spaces. (When this happens, the student skips any instructions on the square two spaces back.)

8. Play continues until one student reaches You Win! (You can decide if they need to roll the exact number or not to get to the final space.)

9. As a follow-up, the teacher can review the more difficult or challenging sentences.

A wealth of activities to supplement the texts can be found at: Materials

Board game template_Final

NorthStar 4e is a Winner!

2014 EDD WINN LOGO (1)CVR_NS4e_RW_03-1

We are excited to announce that NorthStar, Reading and Writing, Level 3 was one of this year’s EDDIE award winners! The awards are run by ComputED Gazette, a valuable educational resource, which has been serving the online community for over 20 years. The Gazette sponsors two national awards The Best Educational Software Awards (BESSIES) in the spring, and the Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES) in the summer.

The Awards target innovative and content-rich programs (including apps for iPad and Android) and websites that augment the classroom curriculum and improve teacher productivity, providing parents and teachers with the technology to foster educational excellence. Some selection criteria were academic content, potential for broad classroom use, technical merit, subject approach, and management system.

Checkout the new edition of NorthStar, so you can see what all the excitement is about!