Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Monday, 13 January 2014


This cartoon really tells the story for far too many teachers.  It never  ceases to amaze me how many colleagues over the past two decades have confused learning with a summative exam, and that it is the only form of (unnatural) learning (my addition of "unnatural") they can possibly enter into since "that's what children want and expect". 

I think that it is the most unfair, improper and incorrect assumption from anyone who works to this model.

The following definition I found of Formative Assessment, courtesy of Carnegie Mellon & The Eberly Center is the most succinct, erudite and logical one I have seen, so far.  The reason I write this is because the confusion this newly formed 'buzzword' is causing around colleagues.  Anyway, here it is below, see what you think for yourselves...

So as to keep those proponents of exams happy, here is the Summative description

In any case, why would have I posted these pictures on my blog, if I didn't have a class activity for you to try and use with your students.   This activity involves Formative Assessment and includes the following:

Explicit grammar through 'classic' styled drills (not preferred-but they give a focused structure for the beginning of any new grammar point);

Video Prompts to get some springboarded production in short response (we use a lot of video just to get students engaged and to use the grammar at that time);

Students are given pictures of people, places and things where they had to write a sentence for each, partner up and make a co-joined paragraph on GoogleDocs, which was monitored by the teachers (very useful and effective formative assessment tool as you can give continuous feedback in real-time throughout the activity from your own lap top or smart board);

These were three lengthy activities done over a week with other lessons interspersed. Today's lesson involved our GRAMMAR RUN activity. This involves having the students listed on an A3 paper, and posted around the school in 5 different locations.  

We TRIPTICO the students names to get a selection and randomized groups.  The students then use their mobile phones to read the first QR CODE.

Once they reach their destinations, they each have to write a sentence relating to the place it has been posted. ie library, canteen, the Principal's office, infirmary and computer lab.  The group is theoretically responsible to assist the weaker students (however, with 14-year olds that is nigh on impossible to achieve)


Once all the groups have finished their sentences, they return to class with the final group returning with the papers.  We then scan them on the PDF printer, and send by email to our school accounts.  We then enter into class peer-check review of each person's sentences.

This last stage is the reason I am even more excited than normal.  It involves TRIPTICO again, but this time we use WORD MAGNETS.  Basically, in between classes we take two sentences from each student's effort to write a sentence using a relative clause.  We write it properly and make a jumbled ICT-powered line of words.  The students come to the board and rearrange the sentences into the correct form. Watch the video below

I must say that I really felt like we had done a good thing for the students.  We have only been doing and giving feedback for this tricky grammar point.  It culminated in this activity today.  The whole process involved listening, speaking, writing, rewriting, thinking, recall, working-outside-the-class, group work and ICT.  This did NOT take much planning; in fact apart from a few QR codes and photocopies it is as easy if not easier than dragging through endless drilling exercises as a means to an end.
We asked the students to write a response on Edmodo to give their honest feelings about the whole process, and with it ending in the Word Magnets. Here they are...

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