Monthly Archives: October 2010


Visual Literacy Grand Finale

We will always be reading and writing in our classrooms as part of literacy education, but we educators should understand what it means to be literate in this technological age. This course is helping me with the teaching of “new” literacies and I see it as our task to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them be ready to participate in public, community, and economic life.

Many students are expected to present visual ideas using a variety of multimedia applications without serious direct instruction. Anyone who has suffered through a text-jammed PowerPoint presentation can see the importance of a good balance between what is verbally presented and visually. As we now live in a more visually dominated culture where students are expected to code and decode complex messages in a variety of media, literacy instruction should include visual media as well.

Visual literacy instruction in the classroom begins by asking a few key questions to start the critical thinking process. Professional visual communicators evaluate visual messages by asking: What am I looking at? What does this image mean to me? What is the relationship between the image and the text message? How is this message effective? Students should learn to interpret these messages in the visual design world.  How can I visually describe this message? How can I make this message effective? What are some visual/verbal relationships I can use? Once students internalize these questions, not only will they be better prepared to recognize and decode advertising messages, they will also be prepared to communicate

Visual literacy instruction will better prepare students for the constantly changing online world they will have to be communicating through.

Our modern technology-driven society demands a level of communication so we have to give our students the tools to take part in this technological age. In my teaching I’m trying to incorporate this in my lessons but I still need time to practice and although I have a lot of fun with it, I struggle at times to keep up with it.

I do not have a specific lesson that I’ve created at this point, but more a plan of ideas I’d like to explore with my EAL students in grade 7.

In their core Humanities classes they will begin next week with Book Club reading where small groups of students will read and discuss the same novel. I’ve introduced the idea of a reading project I’d like to do in my class, to support their English language learning and their reading skills. I would like my students to read fiction and non-fiction texts. To help understand their novels we’ll ask the question what background information is helpful to get a better understanding of the book?  This means researching needs to be done and their findings need to be shared with the class. There will be a choice to present their findings but it has to be done by a visual presentation using the following or any other presentation tools they want to explore or are familiar with.


Slideshare       ,


You Tube         

For images and visuals students should use








I could think of a lesson I would like to change but teaching is dynamic business and I see myself more as a facilitator who brings the horse to the water. Maybe I have the best job in the world!! I can design, create and make plans for my English learners to support them so that they can communicate and function in their Humanities classes. I love learning more in the next CoeTail course how to continue providing great learning opportunities for my kids!


Present with Style

As we know, books tell stories…. every book you read changes you…even if only slightly.  You are learning, collecting material, developing personality, discovering likes and dislikes about yourself.  You are studying the human condition, and this is important because you are part of the world itself.

Reading provides for a richer, more fulfilling life.  Can you live without it?  Sure.  Some of us can. But if we share our reading it may promote reading. This tech version on You Tube is hilarious and does promote…well watch this:

YouTube Preview Image

Last Saturday I worked with two great ladies, Heather and Ali on an assignment to create a digital presentation for students to share their reading. I loved the idea for Ali’s grade 5 and can easy adapt it for my 6th and 7th grade EAL Humanities classes. Like Ali, I would use it to replace the “old” Sell that Book to the Class” standing in front of the class with the book in hand and dressed up as one of the characters of the book to get extra credit!

We all were very pleased with the “5 frames” presentation format, which comes from the pecha-kucha style of presenting. Pecha kucha are 6 minutes 40 seconds long in which 20 slides are shown. This is a good format… primarily images and 20 seconds per slide…plenty of different visual material passing on front of you. It functions well as a storyboard and makes you focus really what you want to say.

This way of presenting is another work in progress for me and has great possibilities. No more boring PowerPoints! However PowerPoint is great to use for presentations but it does not have the capability to embed it on the internet. If you want to share it you can do that with Slideshare when your presentation is 100% complete. keynote is also great to use for presenatations and you can upload it on YouTube like Ali did with our Sahara Special presentation.

YouTube Preview Image

Presentation Design in Progress

I have used and abused many presentations in the past and had to sit through students PowerPoint presentations showcasing their learning. Teaching is performance based and presentations are a big part of our teaching. PowerPoint shows are used a lot and we need to really think of how to do this effectively.

In When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom by Jeffrey R. Young, I read that the dean of the Meadows school of arts, José A. Bowen, has challenged his colleagues to “teach naked”—by which he means, sans machines

Mr. Bowen says. “If you say to a student, We have this problem in Mayan archaeology: We don’t know if the answer is A or B. We used to all think it was A, now we think it’s B. If the lecture is ‘Here’s the answer, it’s B,’ that’s not very interesting. But if the student believes they can contribute, they’re a whole lot more motivated to enter the discourse, and to enter the discipline.”    In short, don’t be boring.

A couple of years ago I was happy with this presentation called the perils of the powerpoint,  I would  share with my students before making their creations. Still many of them turned out to be boring!!

So what makes a good PowerPoint? Do we really have to teach naked? There’s got to be a way….. This week we have looked at Presentation Zen and I’m reading the book. What a beautiful way to present! I had my first Bento Box lunch at a restaurant down town Bangkok several weeks ago and I can see the idea of the presentation box like a toolbox, a structure how to present effectively. I’ve only just starting and playing around with pictures to replace the “old, outdated” ones for a presentation I use as an introduction for a project called Myself as a Language Learner. The goal is to make it more simple and choose images that are effective. But it is still in process………


Creating Effective Communicators

Have you ever tried to function in a place where you have to speak another language than your own? With to function I mean, to live, to learn, and understand but most of all to communicate, which is essential to survive.

This is what  my beginner EAL (English as Additional Language)students experience every day of the schoolweek. One of things these kids are working hard at is how to effectively communicate as English language speakers. My task is to help them to develop their language skills so they can communicate ideas in speaking and in writing. Visual communication especially can display information and I often ask students “Can you draw what you want me to know or what you mean to say?” Usually I get some explanation from an electronic dictionary or occasionally a picture. Our 6th graders, who have their laptops at hand, nowadays do a quick picture search finding an image to contextualize the subject manner. Our students grow up in a world of media that is created electronically and we should take advantage of that in our teaching today as an important communication tool.

How visual imagery can support my content is by using it in my teaching. Recently I had an archaeologist come to my classroom to talk about her experiences and to answer questions my students had sent her. Not only was she able to tell what they wanted to know, she also showed artifacts she had brought with her. To really make it more meaningful was that I looked up images and displayed it on the smartboard to support her information. It would have been even better if I had known what she was planning to say but even by doing this on the spot; I know it added to our students’ understanding. Because I had recorded this interview with a FLIP camera students were able to look and listen back at the event. Their blog reflective writing showed the effectivity of the visual communication that took place. One student called her “smart” because she was able to answer all their questions but what he may not be aware of is that content was understandable and accessible because of the visual support.

After a hands-on inquiry based archaeological dig simulation in humanities class, students are reconstructing the past by looking at their findings and piecing the evidence together. For my next lesson I used this visual to introduce a reading activity to help getting the idea across that we need to see our findings as a jigsaw that helps understand the life of the people that lived here in the past at this area of the archaeological site.

Most students were able to respond to this image and make the connection of putting the parts together by sorting by color and shapes and by looking at the picture on the box. The difference however is that there is no clear final picture given of the excavated dig site. It is the interpretations that lead to that understanding.

Visuals support language learning and content at the same time!!


Changing the Gears of my Teaching

How has last semesters’ CoeTail courses changed my teaching? Well it definitely has helped me to get a grade 6 EAL teaching position this year!

I guess … My Age; quite old, My Teaching Experience; a lot but all over the place, literally in many different locations holding teaching positions from Pre-K – grade 8, and My Flexibility; yes thanks to the CoeTail courses and the awesome tech people that work here @ ISB, I now feel so much more comfortable using technology in my classes! This has helped me to  qualify to participate in the 1-to-1 LAPTOP program in grade 6.

Having kids in your classroom who are digital natives equipped with a tool that makes daily school life so much more easier, makes me as an educator even more eager to explore its endless possibilities and discover the language powers with in it.

My grade 8 EAL students worked last semester for hours and hours, even after school at the MAC lab on their movie documentary using the iMovie program. This years grade 6 kids have their own MacBook Pro. How neat is that?

One of the most important things I learned is to give it a GO when doing something new I’m not sure of technology wise because there’s always a way to figure it out and the kids are of course great at that. Most importantly, my English language learners really feel that they benefit from projects for which educational technology is used, as is evident reading some of their reflective learning blog posts. When I asked how information technology (flip camera, digital camera, internet, I movie) could help your learning I’ll share some of the responses from my students:

“The all of information technology (flip camera, digital camera, internet, I movie) was really helped me as learning because for flip camera and digital camera, we could watch again and again until we completely understand what Ms. Warner said. For using internet we could not make such as effective movie like ours without internet because pictures made the movie more interesting and effective for audiences. For using I movie, it was very convenience and made the videos more interesting by good editing. These information technologies were really helped us!!” Mizuki Awamura

“I always wanted to learn more about technology and use technology for learning and studying. If we didn’t use any technology for this interview, I think it wouldn’t be an interesting project. I think the listeners will be bored but we used some images and flip cameras so, we can see and listen at the movie and the listeners will be more attracted to it. Using technology can be useful to show what we want to tell to the audience. For an example, if we only used the PowerPoint, we couldn’t put any movies so we couldn’t tell the listeners what we were like during the interview. All of the technologies we used were all very useful to show what we want to tell the listeners.” Moeka Kobayashi