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HELBLING READERS BLOG

Our Top 10 Blog Picks from 2020

December 21, 2020 by Nora Nagy

Let’s revisit 2020 through our favourite blog posts. This year showed us just how resilient, creative and flexible we all are, and how we can navigate offline, online, digital and blended, synchronous and asynchronous teaching. Here are our favourite posts from 2020. Is your one there?

1 Learn resilience from your favourite books

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” - The Secret Garden

What is resilience? And how can fictive characters help us understand this powerbank of human nature? 

2 Reading for fun at home: tips and resources

 

How can we encourage reading for fun at home? Reading the texts in course books from lesson to lesson contributes to our students’ focused language development, but there is so much more to reading. Encourage your students to read for fun in English - especially if they are spending these weeks in their home environment. 

3 Get creative: offline and online projects for language learners

Creative projects, when designed well, can be exciting and motivating for language learners. Setting up the right amount of workload and giving all tasks a meaningful purpose is as important for creative projects as for any other language learning activity. In this blog post, we will look at some common aspects of successful projects, and then give you five project ideas.

 

4 Online storytelling tips for teachers

We often think of visual or interactive storytelling when we want to tell a story on digital platforms, but online storytelling has various forms. Indeed, one of the most classic forms of sharing stories, oral storytelling, is among the most successful ways we can engage with narratives online. Although it is true that the art of telling stories to small or large audiences demands knowledge and practice, and professional storytellers train for years to perfect their skills, teachers can also engage their students with online story sessions.

5 Collaborative projects online

 

Some important aspects of language development have emerged in the current situation of distance/online learning. One of these questions concerns collaborative activities, which we tend to think are easier to accomplish in the context of classroom learning. However, collaboration is manageable and inspiring in digital environments. Why is it important? How can we facilitate language practice through collaboration?

6 Tackle food loss and waste in the language classroom

Food loss and waste is increasingly evident in our homes, schools and workplaces, but also in cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. And it has a huge impact on the environment. A lot of fresh food is thrown out at the end of each day in shops and restaurants, and we often overpack our fridges with food we never consume. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Just think about all the water, land, energy and labour that go into producing a packet of biscuits or a bag of fruit and vegetables. What can we do about this? How can we address this issue in the language classroom?

7 Inspiring teachers: teaching Shakespeare with Deborah J. Ellis

We talk to Deborah J. Ellis, the editor of the Helbling Shakespeare Series. She is also an experienced language and literature teacher, and she shared some great ideas with us.

8 Back to school: 5 tips to stay flexible and creative

How do you feel about the new school term? Excited yet uncertain at the same time? You are not alone. We are all looking forward to seeing each other again after long months of distance learning but we also know that this new school year is starting with a lot of questions. While some schools are going back to traditional on-site teaching, others are taking a hybrid approach, and there are still some schools where only distance teaching is an option. 

9 Lesson plan: The Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton’s classic novel, The Age of Innocence, not only defined the age it described - New York in 1870s - but it wove a fascinating and complex story about love and commitment which raises a number of questions about family, society and honesty. Like all classic novels, the story remains relevant today and the news is full of accounts of contemporary Ellens, Archers and Beauforts. For this post, we have written activities to help you introduce The Age of Innocence to your students and get started with the first chapter.

10 Back to nature: Trees and birds in our readers

We have two blog posts about trees and another one about birds. Check out all of them for reading tips and activity ideas.

Links to the blogs:

 

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