Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Imagine a magic room

I used the My Magical Room image (see below) when talking about Creative Commons copyright and photos on Flickr. Afterwards, I realised it was ideal for working into a session on what is sometimes called the third conditional - that 'What would you do if ...?' kind of thing. Here's a rough sketch of what came before and after.

Running order
  • Warmer - (your choice)
  • What's the difference? - probable < > improbable
  • Ordering dictation - unlikely, improbable, not a chance, perhaps, maybe, probably, possibly, definitely
  • Describe - photos: overview, position, action, feelings - use Describing Pictures at englisch-hilfen.de
  • Imagine - My Magical Room
  • Language - 3rd conditional: If you could QandA
  • Close - odd one out hmwk Qs

The pictures
Here are two useful images for the describing photos phase:

People Participants at Tidepool Digital Photo Walk at Hazard Canyon, Montana de Oro State Park
People Participants at Tidepool by mikebaird
Circular procession (Ruigoord, Amsterdam)
Circular Procession by Ahron de Leeuw

And here's the image that inspired the session. We had one copy of it in the centre of the table, everyone was leaning in to look and their imaginations kicked in before I could even start sharing my idea of how the task should run. Wonderful!

My Magical Room
My Magical Room by Maggie-Me

The grammar
The 3rd conditional was formalised by a series of further "If you could ... wh- would ... ?" questions, aiming to cover all wh- variations in the second half of the form. For content, think: 
  • million Euros
  • which song
  • what bird
  • where visit
  • when retire
  • live life again
  • how long holiday
  • etc.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Dynamic Dyptych

The saying goes that a photo's worth a thousand words. True enough, but as a creative source, there's even more value to be found when two images are presented together as a dyptych.
Winter (Varanasi India)
Winter (Varanasi India) by Ahron de Leeuw
Fun Show and Barbecue 12th July 2008 033
Fun Show and Barbecue 12th July 2008 033 by Beachcomber1954
First Ideas
How related or distinct the images are is up to you. Once students are familiar with the dyptych concept, let them create their own to work with; the amount of guidance or restriction you run with is yours to decide - just as it is when you do the creative work of making a dyptych yourself. You might want to consider:
  • Teaching aims - e.g. descriptive terms, present continuous for current actions, comparatives, themed discussion ...
  • Titles - include or not; the difference they make; creating suitable ones; copyright requirements on reverse if appropriate
  • Connective contrast - apparent/subtle < > similarity/difference
  • Surrealist approach- random selection, any connection comes only from the viewer's imagination
  • Theme - social commentary, activity, cultural difference, pastimes, location, behaviour ...
  • Narrative - description, explanation, expectation, before and after, what happens next ...
  • Dialogue - what do they say?, scriptwrting scene from a play, 
  • Role playing - re-enactment, re-creation, 
Your turn
Have you ever used a dyptych? 
  • What did you do?
  • What worked? 
  • What went wrong insight and opportunity for new ideas did you encounter? 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Encyclopedic Math(s)

Jeff Haden's reflective piece, 5 Things You Should Say to Your Colleagues Today, aims to make the workplace a more encouraging place for people to be. With a bit of creative licence, the ideas he presents reduce to the following equations:
  • praise them < (praise them) ^ retrospectively
  • help me = indirect praise
  • say sorry = sorry + why - but
  • help them = (time free + offer help) · (collaborative - patronizing)
First ideas
  • Write mathematical summary of a text
  • Sideways entry to covering mathematical symbols
  • Venn sort logic & algebra symbols
  • Building stages of interaction patterns
  • For logical & abstract learners
  • Offbeat summary technique
  • Differentiated task for FFs
  • Use with big data scientists
Basic maths symbols
basic maths symbols
Basic Maths Symbols at rapidtables.com

Quickly read Encyclopedia Britannica to stop printing books. Which of the following are true? Discuss.
  • Encyclopedia Brittanica > Wikipedia
  • Wikipedia ≠ Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Encyclopedia Brittanica = fact
  • Wikipedia = fiction

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Creative Commons Magic

Everyone knows that photos are a wonderful resource in teaching, so I've made searching through the Creative Commons on Flickr a regular habit.

Creative Commons on Flickr

The advantage with using photos from the Creative Commons is that they have a less restrictive copyright than usual, meaning you can more likely use them without fear of the owner calling in the copyright police. 

Important though, is to actually follow the image owner's copyright requirements. If you choose only to search in the Attribution section of the Commons, then all you have to do is make clear who took the photo. A click through link is best of all, otherwise include where the photo is hosted, in the following case, on Flickr.

My Magical Room
My Magical Room by Maggie-Me on Flickr 

Best of all though, is that the images you find are often more interesting than a lot of the 'protected' copyright stuff. 

If you had your own magical room, what would you put in? Add a comment below if you feel like sharing ;)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mystery Tool

A Tool for Capturing Inspiration is another nice idea from part of the AlliedSignal (Honeywell) website. The written description omits to say what the tool actually is, and the inline weblink to the cited source no longer works. Added to this, the language used avoids giving the game away. There is however, an accompanying photo, and google does quickly point to the original article Clive Thompson on Capturing Aha Moments in Wired, but what are we to make of it all? The image doesn't match up to the source. Intriguing.

First Ideas
This text can:
  • be a standalone task on descriptive (script)writing
  • point to the original article for further exploration
  • open up vocal < > textual dis/advantages
  • slide into the theme of media manipulation