American’s Funniest Home Videos, whose DVD collections have been a great tool in my English Language Learner classes, is turning twenty-five years old, and The New York Times is marking the occasion with a lengthy article, A Generation of Unintended Laughs: ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ Turns 25.
The program, which now also has a very popular YouTube channel is a great source of videos to use in the many language-development activities I describe in The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).
I do think that some of them are in poor taste and a bit cruel, but the vast majority are good clean fun.
With Thanksgiving in the not-so-distant-future here in the United States, here’s their YouTube playlist for the holiday (I still think it’s worth investing in the DVDs, though):
I’ve shared many writing prompts that I use in my classes (see My Best Posts On Writing Instruction).
Included in that “Best” list is a very popular post by my colleague and English Department leader Lara Hoekstra. In it, she describes a pretty sophisticated fall and spring writing assessment process we use with all of the students at our school. Students spend two days writing to the same prompt early in the year and at the end of the year, and all the English teachers get together for two days after each assessment to evaluate all the essays (ones not written by their own students) using an “Improvement Rubric.” We then use the results to guide our future instructional priorities.
We’ve had a modified assessment for English Language Learners and, just recently, my very talented colleagues Jennifer Adkins and Jonathan Mikles created a good one for some students with special needs. They have given me permission to share it here.
They have students read the Chicago Tribune article titled, Inner-city Mentoring Program Helping Youths Improve Lives.
Students then write to this prompt:
A role model or mentor is a person you look up to. Before you begin writing, think about someone you look up to.
Why do you admire or respect this person? Write at least a 3 paragraph essay in which you explain whom you admire, and why you look up to this person. To develop your position, be sure to discuss specific examples; those examples can be drawn from anything you’ve read, as well as your experience.
What Books Should Teachers Read? is the latest question-of-the-week at my Education Week Teacher column.
Feel free to leave your suggestions there or in the comments section of this blog.
My weekly ten-minute BAM! Radio Show has just kicked-off a new season with an episode where educators Renee Moore and Roxanna Elden discuss how gender, class and race relate to the question of teacher attire.
You can also listen to the previous twenty-one episodes at the same link.