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Barb's Bits and Bytes

Web 2.0 for learning and teaching - the continuing online adventures of a not-so-techie teacher

December 13, 2011

Free Stuff for Teachers

I support paying a fair price for someone's work. We all benefit when artists, writers, musicians, and web developers can make a living by creating quality work. But, sometimes they also offer us lovely gifts of their work, for free. And then, the proper response is a resounding THANK YOU!

Here are a few of the free gifts I've come across in the past few weeks. All of these are worth paying for, but because of subsidies or the generosity of others are available to teachers at no cost.

To Read:

From Jill Hadfield, I learned about a new ezine for English teachers. English Language Teacher Magazine emphasizes practical teaching ideas. The most recent edition contains contributions by Jane Arnold, Andrew Wright and Nicky Hockly, among others.

Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language, is a book edited by Hywel Coleman, and made available by the British Council. It's available online in pdf format and on Scribd.

To Watch:

I learned about Teaching Channel from Judith B. O'Loughlin on one of my TESOL e-lists. It's like being invited into another teachers' classroom, and a great to get ideas about teaching techniques to try out. Ever wondered how to manage guided reading? Looking for a quick way to get student feedback on your lessons? Check out the Teaching Channel.

To Attend:

Teaching can be a lonely job. Webinars are like virtual workshops, and can be a wonderful way to combat isolation. Chiew Pang recently talked about this on his blog, in How to overcome the Lonely Teacher Blues. There are several upcoming free webinars for teachers who would like to explore them as a professional development option.

Free Friday Webinars with Shelly Terrell happen every Friday at 6 am Japan time. Each week features a different topic. The upcoming one on the 16th will focus on using holiday music for language learning. The time is not that easy for teachers in Japan, but luckily webinars are generally recorded, so you can watch at your own convenience.

International Teacher Development Institute* is hosting it's first webinar on December 17th. In the case of this webinar, Luke Meddings, Chuck Sandy, Marcos Benevides, Scott Thornbury, John Faneslow, and Steven Herder will be answering the question "What is a Teacher?" from their own unique perspectives. The presentations begin at a much more (for Japan) friendly time of 6 pm, but the sessions may already be full. So far, 300 teachers from 57 countries have registered, and there's a waiting list. Like real life conferences, there's a limit to the number of people you can fit into a venue. Unlike most conferences, there will be recordings.

Following the iTDi webinar, a more informal teacher sharing webinar will take place. If you've ever attended a My Share type of event, where teachers share practical ideas from their own classrooms, you'll have a good idea what to expect from Teach Meet International. From 10 pm until midnight (Japan time, again), teachers will take 3 minutes to share something they're doing in class. And yes, it's all recorded, and available after the event (as are previous Teach Meets).

To Use:

And finally, an extensive collection of ELT materials has recently become free for teachers. Jason Renshaw is a very prolific and sharing materials developer. His English Raven website has a collection of over 3000 resources, including games, flashcards, ebooks, templates, and more. While he's had a "pay what you want" approach for membership for awhile, Jason has recently decided to allow teachers to access all of his materials without charge. He wrote about this change recently on his blog.

Again, to the talented people who share their creations with us, THANK YOU!

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I'm on the board of directors of iTDi.

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Thanks for pointing us to these great resources Barbara :)

I'm happy to share, Greg. If you come across other great free resources for teachers, let me know so I can share those, too :)

Thanks for mentioning Teaching Channel!

We’ve added some new tools and resources on our website – a new blog featuring the 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Wessling as our writer, and a webpage where you can learn 5 Great Ways to use the Teaching Channel website. We also have a great lesson planner tool to help teachers with lesson planning.

Head to our website to check out these new features.

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