Thursday, December 21, 2017

TESOL Electronic Village Online workshop for teachers of young learners

This post is to point out a free, five-week long, online workshop for teachers of young learners—one of many such offerings in TESOL International's Electronic Village Online (EVO) program for 2018.

Teaching EFL to Young Learners
Participants of Teaching EFL to Young Learners TEFL2YL EVO18 will learn about and create activities for English to Young Learners and Teens from around the world using storytelling, board games, action songs, and limited resource classroom activities. ...

Registration starts on [Jan 8, and the _program_ starts] Jan 14, 2018. 

If you have a yen for online networking and distance learning, and will have a bit of time to spare between mid-January and February next year, I highly recommend looking into this and other upcoming EVO workshops. 
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Teachers' resource book in the KGU library

One of the last times we met in the KGU library, the title on the spine of a book (Shin & Crandall, 2014) caught my eye. So I pulled it out to take a peek. It's in the syllabus corner on the first floor: 

KGU OPAC catalog listing (English)
KGU OPAC catalog listing (Japanese)
Here's a preview of the table of contents:

  • Preface
  • About the Authors
  • Chapter 1: Teaching English to Young learners around the World: An Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Basic Principles of Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
  • Chapter 3: Contextualizing Instruction: Creating Thematic Units and Lesson Plans
  • Chapter 4: Teaching Listening and Speaking
  • Chapter 5: Teaching Reading and Writing
  • Chapter 6: Storytelling
  • Chapter 7: Assessment
  • Chapter 8: Classroom Management
  • Chapter 9: Twenty-First-Century Skills in Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)
  • Chapter 10: Professional Development
  • Worksheets
  • Index
(Source: National Geographic Learning, English Language Teaching, 
Product Information, More, Table of Contents, 
retrieved 2017.11.01)

Would you like to have a go at reviewing it for a future newsletter? If so, please send us a heads-up either in a comment on this post or in a message to our Google Group.


Shin, J. K, & Crandall, J. (2014). Teaching Young Learners English: From Theory to Practice. Boston, MA: National Geographic Learning.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Webinar recordings and related resources

Here's a window into a Google spreadsheet in which there's an in-progress list of teacher development websites with webinar recordings and related resources:

If you have recommendations for additions, please mention them the next time we meet, or point them out in comments on this post.

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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.

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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.


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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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Friday, June 30, 2017

2-Minute Tips: Smart Passwords ( (2016, October 25). 2-minute tips: Smart passwords [YouTube video]. Retrieved from

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Classroom practice: Using instruction checking questions (ICQs)

This post showcases a presentation that Taishi Kaneko (KU, Fac. of Educ., M2) used for a demonstration and discussion of instruction checking questions (ICQs) at the PIGATE gathering earlier this month (2017.05.13). Taishi began to develop his interest in ICQs while studying overseas last year.

If you have comments or questions regarding ICQs and their use or potential, please feel free to spell them out in comments on this post. Suggestions of and pointers to related resources also are welcome.

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My Club Activity by Ms. M. Kamioka (KGU, Engl., 4th yr.)

This post showcases a presentation that Misaki Kamioka, a 4th-year student in the English department at KGU, delivered to the PIGATE gathering in the KGU Learning Commons earlier this month (2017.05.13).

It is a pleasure to be able to share Misaki's slides for viewing by PIGATE members who were unable to attend her presentation in person. It also will be a pleasure to have her, her classmates, and her peers take part in future PIGATE gatherings.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Skidamarink: Super Simple Songs & Wee Sing YouTube videos

Skidamarink is one of the songs for young learners that Mr. Takaki introduced during the PIGATE gathering on ... [May] 13. Here are a couple videos of the song from the Super Simple Songs and Wee Sing YouTube channels.

If you use songs and gestures like that with young children or older learners, please shout out in comments on this post to let us know what your favorites are and how you use them.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Online Teacher Summit and SNSs

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During an Online Teacher Summit (, April 2nd through 9th, Central Time in the U.S.) that I attended to the extent possible given the time difference and a busy beginning of semester here in Kumamoto, I took a couple of small steps to broaden my online base; I added Instagram and Pinterest to my repertoire:

Though I've begun networking with Instagram, it isn't immediately clear what extra-social (i.e., educational) purposes it may serve. Yet with Pinterest I have created a few boards with help from suggestions that Pinterest sends, via email and notifications, of related pins to consider for new boards such as:

While most of the networking and sharing for the Online Teacher Summit took place via Facebook, various online meeting spaces, and video playback sites, my LinkedIn and Twitter networks have been growing simultaneously.

Gems from Jemma's presentation, 2017.03.11

This post showcases a couple of videos that Jemma Gallagher played or mentioned in her presentation on mindfulness in education to the PIGATE gathering on March 11, 2017. Afterwards, she also shared links to a couple of related resources.

Mindfulness Story (English vers.) 

Source: Jonathan Haggard (YouTube, 2015) 

Mindfulness Story (Japanese vers.)

Source: Jonathan Haggard (YouTube, 2015) 

Shunkoin's website

Experimental Buddhism (Nelson, 2013)

Jemma also pointed out John Nelson's book Experimental Buddhism (2013), in which he wrote about that temple and its head priest ( Perhaps once she settles into her new job and postgraduate studies, she will agree to write a brief review of his book for a PIGATE newsletter.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Oh, my yard! A mind map in development

The presentation that I've embedded in this post uses time-lapse screenshots to replicate several stages of mind map development. The mind map of a favorite place is a work in progress[.]

I created the mind map with FreeMind—free, open source software from SourceForge; and have continued to develop it with FreePlane—also available for free from SourceForge. The background photo in the penultimate slide, I took from my veranda on March 14, 2017.

If you have concerns or questions about mind-mapping tools; or suggestions of novel, possible, and practical uses for learning or teaching [with them]; please don't hesitate to spell them out in comments on this post.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tips for Drawing-Challenged Teachers | Patrice Palmer ...

In Tips for Drawing-Challenged Teachers (March 1, 2017), Patrice Palmer wrote about Dan Roam, a graphic artist, author, and videographer:
"Dan believes that everyone can learn to draw better (I love his growth mindset!). He starts with the premise that we can all draw 5 simple shapes - [a] circle, [a] square, [a] triangle, [a] line and a blob. His first of three free videos illustrates this perfectly:"
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Why do we teach? — The Learner's Way (Coutts, 2017.02.26)

Why do we teach? — The Learner's Way (Coutts, 2017.02.26):
"We teach because we choose a career path where every day brings a new challenge, every day is different and our creative abilities are required" (¶. 6).
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