Saturday, August 29, 2015

Free E-Books with Quick Writing Prompts

Did you know there are several free e-books on the MakebeliefsComix site that come with writing prompts suitable for various levels of ESL students? Users can even type and save directly on the PDF pages. You might want to check out this potential learning and teaching resource at

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Writing Assignment That Changes Lives

As our new semester got off to a good start, Marty would like to share a favorite NPR article on using writing to help with goal setting and inspire further learning. Here is the link to that summer article:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

An Impressive Alternative to PowerPoint

One of the latest online tools from mighty Microsoft is called Sway. It really looks like a flexible way to merge text, PDF files, slides, pictures, and other media in order to create a more organic and appealing presentation than just using PowerPoint. You can access the online tool at with a free Microsoft account. With its ease to use, maybe this digital tool will quickly become a model for creating original and engaging content for us classroom teachers?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


No sooner had our beautiful flyers for new students appeared on the college's Facebook page than some seeming Internet troll made a negative comment about Palomar language teachers not knowing how to reach the learners. Ouch! We ESL teachers are experts in engaging our students and in applying classroom techniques for active teaching and learning.

But wait. If this Jason guy was truly speaking from his experience as a student, he may have a point. Many of the language students at Palomar College drop from their classes and may not be able to regain their interest. We are thus continually reminded of why attrition has been so commonplace in some classes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Listen and Read Along, and Beyond

In this day and age, when the Internet is everything, we can easily find some free audio stories to enjoy online. The latest example is the Harper Lee's just-released second novel Go Set a Watchman. UK's The Guardian did a wonderful job of capturing the first chapter in sight and sound for us. Click here to see for yourself.

The easy access to such resources can have important implications when a larger, holistic perspective is adopted by teachers. We don't have to limit our content to just our artificial textbooks any longer. In addition, with the readily available authentic materials online, we can design and/or assign course work that engages multiple modalities simultaneously. Besides "listen and read along," we can focus on the shadowing technique for our students to build pronunciation success. We can address students' critical thinking challenges and their reading comprehension as well as their vocabulary and grammatical development. Talk about technology that unlocks potential!

Here are links to a few websites that offer a "listen and read along" feature ideal for ESL instruction from the intermediate level on up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Flyers to Recuit Students for the Fall

For a PDF copy, click here.
For a PDF copy, click here.