Friday, October 6, 2017

Teachers rock–everyday!

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher." — Japanese proverb

Quotation source: [U.S.] National Educational Association, 
Quotes about Teaching (2017.05.09)
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The PIGATE Diigo Group: A social bookmarking venue

The screenshot below shows three websites I've earmarked recently for PIGATE by tagging them and sharing them in Diigo, a social bookmarking service. The list on the ... [right] side shows the top ten tags in use since May 2015.

For example, a few days before Mr. Kobori's presentation on September 9th, 2017, I discovered a homepage offering a free, open source typeface designed to help "make reading easier for [people with] some symptoms of dyslexia" (, ¶1).
a Diigo Group
The PIGATE Diigo Group, 2017.09.18
Though the PIGATE Diigo Group currently is private, anyone can find and use bookmarked website links in an RSS feed on the PIGATE Blog sidebar (Diigo Bookmarks: Group PIGATE's best content).

PIGATE members are more than welcome to join. I'd love to see what websites other little piggies recommend for each other.

[142 words]

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sesame Street: Alphabet Songs Compilation | Learn the ABCs!

At our gathering last Saturday, questions arose regarding how and when to help young English learners recognize, recall, and write letters of the alphabet.

For example, with regard to a presentation on dyslexia, participants wondered where the small letter D came from, and why it was so different from the big D.

Though I'll leave reporting details of the session to others who attended or presented, I would like to share a clue to the origin of the letter D:

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

I'd also like to point out a new video from Sesame Street (2017.09.08) offering musical alternatives to traditional ABC songs. Like most songs of this ilk, it focuses on capital letters.

What impressed me the most was the searchable transcript (lyrics) that you can display from the menu under the "..." button below the lower right corner of the YouTube video on site.

Select, "Open transcript," in the pop-up menu, then choose, "English - CC (English)," at the foot of the transcript window, for closed captions (rather than the auto-generated transcript).

Video source: Sesame Street's Back to School playlist

Below are a couple of snapshots of the transcript display with the timecode toggled either ON (at 00.01) or OFF (at 03:29 of 12:50). If you click on the images below, you can see details.

Alphabet Songs Compilation [+ transcript {00.01/12.50}]

Alphabet Songs Compilation [+ transcript {03.29/12.50}]
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ICT to-dos: Map and plans

The mind map in this post points out locations of online endeavours by and for members of a grassroots language teacher development group, for various language and professional development purposes. 

Though the map itself is far from comprehensive at present, it does include both links to venues and [plenty of] to-dos (tasks with or without checkboxes) planned or envisioned in order to consolidate, extend, and facilitate ICT use by group members. 

One such purpose involves collaborative creation and publication of information to promote face-to-face group events. Others reflect collective documentation of activities, maintenance of archives, and sharing and showcasing of professional development resources. 

Tasks may be one-off, on-going, or periodic (recurring monthly or annually). Green arrows indicate connections between various tasks and other tasks or venues.


[143 {+ 2 (- 3 )} words]

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Three helpful Google Docs features for new users (Byrne, 2017.08.28)

In the following demonstration video, Richard Byrne pointed out Google Doc interfaces for:
  1. Adjusting document layouts,
  2. Counting words and characters, &
  3. Sharing documents selectively online.

His blog is loaded with other resources and tips for educators:
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

La grotte de Lascaux (Lascaux cave): Daizaifu exhibition

A special exhibition on the Lascaux Cave will be at the Kyushu National Museum in Daizaifu (Fukuoka, JP) until Sunday, September 3, 2017. If you have time to spare, this is an exhibit not to miss!

Lascaux: Cave Paintings of the Ice Age
(2017.08.22 ticket stub)

For an in-depth, audio-visual and text presentation of the cave, its history, and its preservation, please visit the French Ministère de la Culture website:

The site directory and language options (flag icons) appear if you mouse-over the left margin.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Short report: A find-someone-who activity

In the morning on Aug. 12, at PIGATE's Special Summer Session (SSS), Mr. Nobuyuki Takaki led a find-someone-who activity, which he introduced with "instruction checking questions" (The PIGATE Blog, 2017.06.01), and 10 interaction prompts that he'd printed on a large envelope (snapshot below).

2017-08-12 12.38.44.jpg
Find-someone-who interaction prompts for the SSS, 2017.08.12

Afterwards, when participants had shared their findings, and were reflecting on the activity in general, Mr. Takaki made a point of mentioning that it had been an integrated-skills activity, in which participants had listened, read, spoken, and written. When I feigned surprise that participants had used all four basic skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) during the activity, Mr. Takaki reiterated the point, so I'm quite certain that participants got it.

Paul Beaufait, The Prefectural University of Kumamoto
ボーフェ ポール, 公立大学法人熊本県立大学

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Play space necessary

Image source:

"The most powerful learning experiences often happen when children are simply given the space to work things out on their
own — to come up with their unique way to occupy [their time]" (Gallup, 2017, p. 1).


Gallup, Inc. (2017). Time to play: A study on children’s free time: How it is spent, prioritized and valued [PDF]. Available from

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

International teacher survey: OECD country comparison ...

There ... [was to be] a graphic display below (hopefully;-) of results from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS 2013). It appeared in a 2014 news article entitled:

Teachers love their job but feel undervalued, unsupported and unrecognised ...

[However, the embedding code hasn't worked, so I've removed it.]

There's a four-page summary of findings from Japan here:

Complete results are available here:
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Monthly special topic: Summer vacation homework


Summer homework, to the best of my recollection, wasn't a big thing way back when I was growing up in Missoula, MT, half a century or so ago. As a matter of fact, the concepts of homework (school work) and vacation—"freedom or release" from school (, vacation, definition 3), still seem diametrically opposed. Air-conditioning wasn't a big thing in many places, either.

Reading, however, was a big thing, at least in my family. Visits to the public library downtown were, generally speaking, a weekly affair. During the summer they may have been even more frequent.

Though the archive photo below predates my childhood reading career by a few years, and the children's coats (and the date stamped on on the back of the photo) suggest a colder season, the Children's room was in the basement of a Carnegie grant-funded library building. That basement remained pleasantly cool throughout the summer!

Children and books at the Missoula Public Library (1956)
Image source: Montana Memory Project (

As I recall, there were story hours once a week, and children could get library cards as soon as they could sign their namesin cursive not printed script. However, the one book per child checkout limit proved irksome.

Once I'd gotten hooked on reading, one of my parents had to check out extra books to get us through the week. It wasn't too long before they had to persuade the librarian to let me check out books from the upper-elementary school stacks.

The old library building now is home to the Missoula Art Museum (, which offers a wide-range of art experiences for children (

Missoula Art Museum (Google).PNG
Missoula Art Museum, 335 N. Pattee St., Missoula, MT
Image source: Corey McClure (May 2017), Google Maps (

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