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In the first episode of The Global Classroom Podcast, Meet Meaghan Lister – a Canadian Online ESL Educator, who’s revolutionizing the way we learn English. With her extensive background in online education and instructional design, she’s been turning heads in the ESL community showing folks the characteristics of a good curriculum.
This week, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Meaghan Lister, a trailblazing Online ESL Educator hailing from Canada.
With her innovative approach to online education and an impressive portfolio of training curriculum development, Meaghan is truly transforming the way people learn English as a second language.
Hailing from Prince Edward Island, Meaghan’s career in education began in the public school system. After a stint managing learning for Veterans Affairs Canada, she realized how much she missed teaching. So, she took a leap of faith and embraced the world of online education.
Starting out with VIPkid, she then dabbled with Magic Ears. But when things didn’t go as planned, she didn’t let it deter her. Instead, she found new avenues to connect with students and continue her teaching journey.
Now, she teaches private lessons and works with a small school in China, maintaining a diverse schedule that keeps her engaged and her students learning. Despite the challenges, she’s managed to create a fulfilling career in online education, and she’s here to share her insights with us.
Meaghan’s journey in online education is marked by her unique blend of science and education, which sets her apart and serves as a beacon for others to leverage their own distinctive backgrounds.
Her work illustrates that teaching is far from a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It’s about finding your style, whether that’s through gamification or other innovative methods.
For Meaghan, teaching online isn’t just a job—it’s a passion. Her journey illuminates the digital space as a playground for creativity, connection, and endless opportunities.
With over two decades of experience under her belt, Meaghan offers invaluable advice for those venturing into online ESL teaching. Her insights are a treasure trove of practical tips.
Her comprehensive and quality curriculum, Teachers Together English, is a testament to her expertise. It’s meticulously designed to engage learners and help them reach their full potential.
From interactive lessons to immersive real-life scenarios brought into the classroom, her product demonstrations reveal the effectiveness of her approach as well as the characteristics of a good curriculum.
In short, Meaghan Lister is more than just an educator—she’s a game-changer in the ESL landscape, making English education not just accessible, but truly enjoyable for all.
Stay with us as we delve into Meaghan’s specialties, her unique teaching style, and the ideal curriculum she has helped develop. We’ll also get a firsthand look at some of her engaging lessons and discuss the characteristics of a good curriculum.
Let’s revolutionize English language education together!
Revolutionizing English Education: A Comprehensive Curriculum for All Learners with Guest Meaghan Lister
Teaching specialties and how knowing yours can help you succeed.
In our discussion with Meaghan, she shed light on the importance of identifying and harnessing your teaching specialties. As an expert in the field, Meaghan highlighted three areas in which she excels: Conversational English, Science, and Test Prep.
Conversational English tops her list. The ability to effectively communicate in English is a skill that transcends textbooks and enters the realm of real-world interactions. Through her lessons, students not only learn the language but also gain the confidence to use it in everyday conversations.
Science is another area where Meaghan makes her mark. By integrating English conversational skills into science lessons, she creates a unique learning environment which is a key characteristic of a good curriculum.
This approach not only makes the subject more engaging but also offers an excellent opportunity to build a robust vocabulary. With topics ranging from biology to physics, her science lessons are a blend of knowledge and language proficiency.
Lastly, Meaghan finds the challenge of Test Prep intriguing. She likens it to a game, trying to predict what might appear on the test and how it might be formatted.
But it’s not just about acing the test. Meaghan aims to equip her students with well-rounded English skills, preparing them for more than just exams.
Interestingly, Meaghan leans more towards nonfiction material in her teaching, although she does teach some fiction. Her focus on nonfiction underscores her commitment to providing practical and applicable knowledge to her students.
This real-world relevance is one of the characteristics of a good curriculum and is part of what sets her teaching style apart and aligns with her belief in comprehensive English education.
Understanding your teaching specialties can significantly enhance your effectiveness as an educator. Whether it’s Conversational English, Science, Test Prep, or any other area, leveraging these strengths can lead to more engaging lessons and better learning outcomes for your students.
Style of teaching and how to find yours.
In this section, we delve into the fascinating subject of teaching style and how finding yours can significantly influence your success as an online ESL teacher. Drawing from her experience, Meaghan Lister shares how she discovered her distinct teaching style.
Meaghan’s style is deeply rooted in content and language-integrated learning. Rather than focusing solely on vocabulary, she uses stories to help students understand words in context.
This approach is no accident – it’s a reflection of Meaghan’s passion for science and math. These subjects, which she taught in public schools and classrooms, have informed her unique approach to English education and are a hallmark of some characteristics of a good curriculum.
Engagement is important to her methodology. She believes that students learn best when they are genuinely interested in the material. This principle underlines the importance of loving what you teach.
According to Meaghan, if you don’t enjoy the curriculum or the students you’re working with, it will show. Students can sense when a teacher is merely in it for the money, and that’s not conducive to a positive learning environment.
Meaghan encourages teachers to tap into their passions, whether that’s science, drama, or something else entirely. When you love what you teach, it’s easier to attract and retain students, as they can feel your enthusiasm and want to share in the joy of learning.
How stories help children learn.
In the world of education, stories are much more than bedtime entertainment. They’re powerful tools that can make learning an engaging and memorable experience, which are characteristics of a good curriculum.
Meaghan has firsthand experience of the magic of storytelling in teaching. One of her most successful lessons involved a story about ‘Harriet The Hamburger’ journeying through the human digestive system.
This creative approach had her Grade 11 biology students not only actively participating but also remembering complex concepts months later. Even the student who played Harriet went above and beyond, rushing to get a hamburger wrapper from a fast food restaurant for his role!
Stories, according to Meaghan, work for everyone, not just children. They’re effective even with adults, as she has seen in her work with the public health agency. They make learning relatable and interesting, reducing resistance and struggle.
In society, our brains naturally tend to file information in a narrative format, stories serve as prompts that make retrieving information easier.
So, remember, whether you’re teaching ESL, science, or any other subject, weaving in stories can turn your lessons into memorable journeys on which your students will happily embark.
Why teaching online is fun and fulfilling.
Our conversation with Meaghan brings to the fore her deep-rooted passion for online learning and teaching. Meaghan’s journey in the realm of online education spans over 15 to 20 years, covering everything from self-paced e-learning modules to synchronous online classrooms.
Her experience is vast and varied, but the common thread is her unwavering commitment to online education. For her, online teaching is more than just a job – it’s an extension of her passion for e-learning.
What makes online teaching so enjoyable for Meaghan? It’s the opportunity to experiment, try new things, and see how they work. Every online class is a chance to innovate, bring fresh ideas to the table, and engage students in unique ways.
The virtual classroom is her playground, where she consistently pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in online education. These are characteristics of a good curriculum as well as a great teacher.
But the fun doesn’t stop at innovation. The real fulfillment, according to Meaghan, comes from seeing her students succeed. She describes the joy of witnessing their progress, their growing confidence, and their achievements as “a lot of reward”.
Even when she left the traditional classroom for a role in the federal government, she quickly realized that she missed this rewarding aspect of teaching. And so, she found a way to keep that part of her alive through online teaching.
In essence, teaching online is a journey filled with fun and fulfillment. It offers the freedom to innovate, the opportunity to impact lives, and the satisfaction of seeing students succeed.
If you’re an educator looking for a rewarding career, online teaching might just be your calling. Stay tuned as we explore more insights from Meaghan in the upcoming sections.
Advice for an online ESL teacher who is just starting out.
For those just starting their journey as an online ESL teacher, Meaghan offers some valuable insights. The cornerstone of her advice? Love what you teach.
- Passion for the Subject: According to Meaghan, it’s crucial to choose a subject you genuinely enjoy teaching. This love for the subject will shine through in your lessons, positively influencing your students’ learning experience.
- Enjoyment of the Curriculum and Students: If you don’t enjoy the curriculum or the students you’re working with, it will be evident. Students can sense when a teacher is merely there for the paycheck, which isn’t conducive to a fruitful learning environment.
- Leverage Your Interests: Perhaps English isn’t your passion. That’s okay. You might be more into science, drama, or art. If you can convey your love for these subjects while teaching them in English, you’ll likely attract and retain more clients. They’ll feel your enjoyment and want to share in that experience.
- Teaching English Without Teaching English: You can teach English without directly teaching it. For example, you could offer an art class online in English. Even if you’re not fond of grammar or themes, you can still teach English by focusing on subjects you love.
- Authenticity in the Classroom: Being authentic makes everything easier. When you’re true to yourself and your interests, it shows. And that authenticity resonates with students, making you a more effective teacher.
In conclusion, the key to success as a new online ESL teacher lies in authenticity and passion. Choose subjects you love, enjoy your interactions with your students, and let your authentic self shine through in every lesson.
That’s the path to a fulfilling and successful career in online English language teaching.
An overview of Teachers Together English curriculum (what it is and how it was made)
In this section, we delve into the heart of our discussion – the Teachers Together English curriculum. Developed by Meaghan Lister and a team of ten other creators, this is no ordinary English program.
It’s a comprehensive, six-level course designed for beginners to intermediate-advanced learners, with each level featuring 100 lessons divided into ten units.
The creation of Teachers Together English wasn’t a walk in the park; it was a labor of love involving extensive research and meticulous planning. The team studied existing curriculums, considered the different English levels, and used the Cambridge vocabulary list as a guide.
A significant focus was on creating a sequential learning path for phonics and grammar, ensuring a logical progression from beginner to advanced levels.
This sequencing also provides opportunities for revisiting and reviewing topics, thus reinforcing the knowledge as students advance in their English proficiency.
One of the most notable aspects of Teachers Together English is its coherence and fluidity. Despite being developed by multiple creators, the lessons maintain consistency in style and substance.
Each unit follows a common theme, unlike some curriculums that touch on various topics within a single unit. This thematic continuity not only makes learning more engaging but also ensures the seamless flow of lessons.
Teachers Together English is not just about teaching English. It’s about enhancing comprehension. Each lesson incorporates reading, vocabulary, storytelling, and phonics, providing students with a well-rounded learning experience.
The curriculum’s progressive nature means that as students move from one unit to the next, they can see their English proficiency improve. As host David Cole noted, students who have gone through the program have shown considerable improvement in their comprehension skills.
In summary, Teachers Together English is a testament to what can be achieved when educators come together with a shared vision. It’s an extensive, thoughtfully designed curriculum that offers a comprehensive approach to English learning.
Whether you’re an educator looking for a well-structured curriculum or a student aiming to improve your English skills, Teachers Together English could be the perfect fit for you.
A product demonstration of Teachers Together English lessons.
Teaching English can be both fun and engaging with the right tools. Meaghan did a great job of walking us through a few Teachers Together English lessons to see what they entailed.
What we saw was a comprehensive online curriculum available on The Tutor Resource, designed to make lessons interactive, enjoyable, and effective. These are all characteristics of a good curriculum.
Accessing the curriculum is straightforward. Under the curriculum tab, select Teachers Together English to open the main curriculum page. From there, you can jump to any level, making navigation a breeze.
A subscription to the full curriculum is affordable at $12.99 a month, offering over 450 lessons, with more being added all the time, that you can use in as many classes with as many students as you wish.
To demonstrate, we took a look at a Level 2 lesson first. Here, you have the option to subscribe solely to this level for $4.99. The lessons cover a wide range of topics from pets to technology, weather, food, and more. Each lesson is designed with fun and engagement in mind.
For instance, the ‘My Body’ lesson from Level 2, Lesson 3, features a monster-based theme where students learn about body parts like eyes, nose, and mouth.
These lessons are built in Google Slides or Genially, and can be made full-screen for easy viewing. Each lesson starts with a song and discussion for introduction, followed by vocabulary slides with letter recognition activities.
The vocabulary slides follow a consistent pattern, allowing for repeated practice and reinforcement which are features of a good curriculum.
Fun interactive screens with questions like “How many eyes do you see?” and “How many monsters have mouths?” not only reinforce the vocabulary but also incorporate elements of math.
Additional activities include drawing, matching, remembering words or pictures, touch-and-name games, and phonics.
The lessons also include a sight word activity with a catchy song, grammar exercises, and even some math. Each lesson ends with a simple closing song. There are also extension activities for further practice, including a tic-tac-toe board and a spelling board.
Moving on in the curriculum, Meaghan also showed us an example of a Level 4 lesson.
The curriculum is diverse and engaging, featuring units such as Landforms, Land Animals, Semi-Aquatic and Aquatic Animals, Sports, Air Travel, Wonders of the World, Animal Adaptations, Fairy Tales and Fables, Visiting the Doctor, and Camping.
These units appeal to both children and adults, with content that can be directly applied to real-life situations like air travel and visiting a doctor.
To illustrate, we explored lesson six from the unit on ‘Wonders of the World’, focusing on the Colosseum in Rome. The lesson starts with a conversation starter, equipped with five questions to spark an engaging discussion.
Then, it transitions into vocabulary building with words related to the topic, such as ‘Rome’, ‘amphitheater’, ‘gladiator’, and ‘spectator’. Immediate recall activities follow to reinforce memory.
Next, students use the newly learned vocabulary to fill in a non-fiction text. This exercise helps reinforce their understanding of the words in context. Another activity involves matching words with pictures and creating sentences, promoting creativity and comprehension.
The lesson then moves into a reading piece about the Colosseum. With facts and figures, it offers ample opportunity to practice reading numbers and introduces new vocabulary. To ensure comprehension, students might be asked to write out large numbers like ‘6 million’.
Following the reading piece, the lesson transitions into grammar work, focusing on plural words and rules. It also includes academic vocabulary exercises and sight word practice. The lesson concludes with an engaging discussion about the Colosseum.
The progression from level two to level four is noticeable, with an increase in reading complexity, vocabulary, and grammar.
This demonstrates the cohesive and progressive nature of the curriculum, designed to gradually build students’ knowledge and skills. These are characteristics of a good curriculum.
Teachers Together English curriculum spans levels 1 through 6, each with 10 units and each unit comprising 10 lessons. Each unit includes a review lesson and an assessment lesson at the end, providing a comprehensive learning experience.
Feedback is highly valued and acted upon promptly. Whether it’s a minor typo or a suggestion for adding a song to a unit, the team at Teachers Together English is committed to continuous improvement and adaptation based on users’ needs.
In summary, the Teachers Together English lessons offer a diverse, engaging, and progressive learning experience. They are flexible enough to cater to various age groups and proficiency levels while maintaining a structured approach to English language learning.
Stay with us as we delve further into the world of online English education in the following sections.
A product demonstration of the Real Life English lessons.
In our exploration of effective online English teaching, Meaghan also gave us a closer look at her other curriculum, Real Life English. These use a science-based lesson approach and are built on Genially, a platform that allows for interactive learning.
The lesson she showed us was themed around plants, opens full screen, and includes hidden facts that pop up when you hover over images, creating an engaging learning experience.
It starts with a simple conversation about plants and gardens to reactivate prior knowledge and prepare the students’ minds for the topic. It even includes a song to make the learning experience fun and memorable.
The lesson employs high-visibility images and text that can be read by the student or the teacher, depending on the student’s reading ability. This flexibility allows for different types of engagement, from reading to conversation, which is one of the six features of a curriculum.
Interactive elements such as raindrops that reveal information about what plants need to survive, clickable plant parts, and built-in games keep the lesson engaging. An interactive video with embedded questions pauses automatically to test comprehension.
The lesson concludes with a take-home science experiment, reinforcing the concepts learned and encouraging further exploration. This detailed, immersive, and interactive approach exemplifies the effective teaching strategies used in Real Life English lessons.
Conclusion: Characteristics of a Good Curriculum
As we wrapped up our enlightening conversation with Meaghan, we came away with valuable insights that are sure to inspire both new and seasoned online educators. The overarching message? Be authentic and have a plan.
Meaghan encourages teachers to step outside of their comfort zone and pursue what they genuinely love. Just because everyone’s teaching English doesn’t mean you have to. Discover your passion and bring that enthusiasm into the virtual classroom.
Remember, authenticity in delivery, content, and student interaction are key. They’re all characteristics of a good curriculum. You don’t need to don crazy ears or mimic high-energy personas if that’s not true to who you are.
If you’re considering crafting your own lessons, go for it! But remember the importance of a concrete plan. Parents pay for these lessons expecting their children to advance, so it’s crucial to ensure a cohesive, organized approach.
Imagine embarking on a unit about plants; plan out each lesson meticulously, ensuring continuity and progression. These are qualities of a good curriculum.
This not only makes your lessons more effective but also builds trust with parents.
The world of online teaching is a realm of endless possibilities. With authenticity and a well-structured plan, you can revolutionize your teaching approach and make a real difference in your students’ lives.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Happy teaching!
Episode: #1 – “Revolutionizing English Education: A Comprehensive Curriculum for All Learners with Guest Meaghan Lister”
Global Classroom: The Tutor Resource
Hello, everybody and welcome to Megan. She’s here today to talk to us about what she builds with education on her own as well with her Teachers Together English lessons. So without further ado, hello, Megan.
Hi, David. How are you?
I’m good. How are you?
All right. So Megan and I have known each other now for almost two years, I think. It’s been a little bit of time. But for those of you who don’t know her, she’s a Canadian teacher. She works for the Canadian government and helps with the education over there. She’ll give her a little bit more about who she is and what she did. But how did you get your start teaching online?
History & Background
When I left the classroom, I actually went from teaching in the public school system here in Prince Edward Island. And moved to a federal government position to manage learning for veterans Affairs Canada. And at that time, then decided that I missed teaching. So I started teaching six or seven years ago online originally with VIPkid. And I taught with VIPkid for a little bit. And then I had seen some stuff about Magic Ears. And so then I was teaching some with Magic Ears and some with VIPkid. And then all of that of course collapsed. And I wasn’t someone that had been WeChat friendly or, you know, had all sorts of contacts with my existing students or anything like that. So things certainly changed in 2019. Some of the students I have now, I have a fairly full schedule of only private lessons now. But some of the students I don’t even really know where they came from from a private standpoint. And then I also teach a little bit currently still with a very small school in China that just has a half a dozen teachers. And so that’s a nice way to have a bit of a diversified schedule so that I can, you know, keep a fuller schedule. But certainly as the time goes on, I’ve moved more from their classes to just my own classes.
You bring up those test prep and conversation. And I’ve seen a lot of your lessons and they definitely focus on conversational English. What would you say are your top three specialties?
So I like teaching science. And then I enjoy some of the challenge of test prep. It’s sort of a bit of a game to try to figure out, okay, what might be on the test? How is the test can be formatted? What types of activities can you do with the students that will help them, you know, really do well on the test and, and excel. And then what other types of things do they need because you want them to have well rounded English skills. So probably those would be the things that I typically do. I do a lot of nonfiction type of material. I don’t, I teach a little bit of Wonders. So I do teach some fiction. But most of my teaching is nonfiction.
Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of your lessons and they definitely fall into that like, content and language integrated learning, not just teach this word and teach all that, but you teach a story that helps them understand that word. I love that. How, how, how did you fall into that style of teaching?
Definitely love stories because yeah, they definitely help you relate because you they brings it all together and then you have a memory of it too.
And I know you’re very successful in working with the Canadian government and their education system. And you’ve done the physical stuff as well. Why do you like online teaching? What’s like your favorite part of it?
So then what advice would you give to somebody who’s first starting out as an online ESL teacher?
Definitely. So can you walk us through a little bit about what you’re doing right now as far as ESL?
And so when I have a need for other things, I build those things and then I make them available. So I also have a whole curriculum called Real Life English, which has a bunch of free talk lessons. So lessons for beginner through advanced learners. So a beginner’s lesson, you know, there’s one related just to greetings. So there’s, you say, oh, how are you today? If every student says unhappy, that is like my number one pet peeve. I hate it when my students say, I’m happy. And I’m like, do you want to sound like a second language speaker? Do you want to sound like a native English speaker? There are other things to say other than I’m happy. And if you ask a English speaker off the street. How are you today? No one is going to say, I’m happy. So, you know, I have a greetings lesson and really try to reinforce that with students from a young age. You know, sort of intermediate type lessons, more functional lessons around like elementary lessons around eating out and fast food restaurants or giving directions and asking for directions. And then I have some that are, you know, animal based. So some of those interest topics, dinosaurs and then some of those advanced lessons are things like opinion based lessons. So, In addition to teaching, I’m also a student. So as part of my, you know, day to day job, I have to speak French and so French is a second language for me. And so I’m very familiar with sort of French second language testing and I use that information in my experience to say, okay, well, in order for me to be advanced in my French second language speaking, I need to be able to give and defend an opinion. So I have some free talk lessons around that as well. And then I also have science lessons because I teach four science classes a week currently. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down, but I have two private students that take two classes each. And so I’m guaranteed that I’m teaching four. So originally I was just pulling stuff together and I just, you know, I’ll use this and I use this and whatever. But I started pulling those together and posting those on The Tutor Resource as well. So I think I have four or five science units now available on The Tutor Resource for other teachers who want that lesson. And my conversation style there’s certain lessons there, you know, very much around having a conversation about the science material. .
There’s a lot that goes into making these lessons is not just like if a student says, I want to learn about this and you have to go figure out how to make it. And a lot of times some teachers will do that, but how have you found the most successful way for you to make sure that your student is successful and has a coherent lesson plan from week to week or day to day?
Great, these are the great two science topics. Okay, I’m going to take this topic and I’m going to then expand it out. These are the main things I want to cover. I look at lesson objectives.
I then can look at vocabulary words that relate to those lessons and think about, okay, my target is a little bit different because my students tend to be second language. So, you know, a English speaking student here in Prince Edward Island knows what a flower is. Right, this is a flower. This is a leaf. This is a tree. Right.And so you can have conversations about that, but an English second language learning student might need to learn that this is a leaf and this is a stem and this is, this is a flower. And so, you know, I sort of, I put that lens on top of that and then I begin to just sort of build. So I can build my lessons out pretty quickly because I’ve already got that plan in place. I know exactly what it is that’s going to go into it. I’m looking at an English lesson like Teachers Together English. A whole lot of work went into designing that curriculum. We considered existing curriculums. We considered all of the various English levels and what was required at each English level. We considered the Cambridge vocabulary list that are used for English testing. And we looked at sequencing all of the phonics in a way that’s based on best practices and literature so that students are learning phonics in a very sequential manner throughout the lessons. The same thing with grammar grammar we took the grammar and we sequenced it in a way that follows a very logical progression from very beginner grammar up through advanced grammar but also allows opportunity to return to those topics and review them and see them again so that they don’t lose those topics as they move forward even though their English becomes more advanced. So because Teachers Together English is so huge with 600 lessons and because it’s very sequential, you know, it was really important to put a lot of time and effort into planning out those topics, identifying those vocabulary words, you know, sequencing them all There also are other creators involved in Teachers Together English. So it was important that we had a plan in place so that our lessons, none of our lessons are the same. So certainly, you know, you could pick out my lessons, you could pick out Leslie’s lessons, you could pick out your lessons David, there’s differences in our styles, but in terms of how our lessons look and feel and sort of move together all of that is definitely cohesive. So it’s a huge undertaking to do that. So if you are going to put together some of your own curriculum really start with simple things like a unit right so you know for me, you know, I have one on plants and their adaptations I have one on animals and other adaptations those are very, you know, sequence of things I can easily pull those together. Or if you’re not yet at that point then start with a lesson and look at free talk, this is one one way you can do it, you can make a list of all the different types of things that you might want to talk with students about and then try to build those the content around those lessons but plan it out first what are going to be your key questions when if you planned it, it’s easier to build it. If you just get in and look at those blank slides and know I’m going to put this in I’m going to put this in you end up with a very bizarre lesson that doesn’t really flow from slide to slide which students confuse your confused you don’t know where you’re going and at the end of the lesson you haven’t gotten anywhere because you didn’t really start with a plan in first place. .
Yes, I like the fluidness of those of these lessons from Teachers Together English because they do flow together and they have a common theme for each of the units which is really which is really good some some plans and lesson plans out there don’t keep that same theme they might touch on a bunch of different topics throughout the whole unit just fine too in its own right. But because Teachers Together English is so big is and it covers all the different six levels right now, how do you play students when you’re placing them into the program?
Can they really answer questions about what they’re reading on every page? Because often I find, especially with my Chinese students, they can read really well. But that’s only because they can decode. They don’t actually know what a lot of those words mean. And so then you don’t have that understanding. .
I love that about Teachers Together English. The way it was built to incorporate a little bit of reading, a little bit of vocabulary, some story time comprehension parts in there, your phonics. I mean it’s got a little bit of everything. And I’ve noticed that from students who’ve done the lessons, their comprehension has gone up because of those types of lessons. Verses, you first started at the very beginning like say level three. You’re going through it and you ask a comprehension question and they’re like “what?” and you go back to the story and then they find it in the story, but by the end of level three they’re able to be saying it out of their head without going back into the story which is really cool.
So can we take a few minutes and show some people some of the lessons? How to access them, that type of thing.
VISUAL (SCREENSHARE) PRODUCT DEMONSTRATION
Right so when you go to The Tutor Resource you know people are probably pretty familiar with this. You land on this page and we’ve got some categories for Teachers Together English, It’s right here under curriculum, so it’s super quick and easy and you literally choose Teachers Together English and it will open up the main curriculum page and when you open it you’re going to see front and center are FAQs. So there’s other tabs here you can click and learn about us but these are sort of the questions that if you’re going to message us and ask us the question. The chances are someone else has and it’s already here but you know by all means you can message us we’re happy to answer your questions as well or take your suggestions or your edits. The other thing that is super cool is that you can jump. So these are our levels you can jump to all of them. And you have the button here to subscribe to the full curriculum so the full curriculum is super cheap you’re getting you know 450 plus lessons for $13 a month $12.99. And you can use those lessons in as many classes as you want with as many different students as you want.
So if we open up level two for instance. You also have the ability to subscribe just to level two. So if you have one student that you’re going to use Teachers Together English with or you want to try it with and they’re a level two student, by all means for $4.99 you can get access to just level two. And if you scroll down and you can see sort of the breadth and depth of some of these topics, we have pets and technology and weather food and farm and my body and zoo and neighborhood, and transportation, playing with friends and birthday party. And we do have people who like to come and use our birthday party lessons over and over again regardless of what level the kids are at just to celebrate that special birthday. So you know sometimes there might be something that’s relevant in there.
I have opened the Teachers Together English level six, my body. And so this is actually eyes, nose and mouth which is out of that unit. It’s lesson three. And these are built in Google Slides. Some of our lessons are now in Genially, and some of them are Google Slides based. Either way you have the ability to make them full screen. You see three dots and I’m going to go to full screen. And you will see the lesson nice and big and then this is what your student sees. It’s nice and clean and professional. So this is lesson three, and if we just click through this lesson you’ll see we have a bit of a song to start. I don’t want to play this, but normally you would. A bit of a discussion just for some introduction, and then we have one of the vocabulary slides. So this one is for your eye. You can then practice spelling E-Y-E even though spelling isn’t the goal here the goal here. There is still that letter recognition. It’s level two you ‘re not necessarily going to remember E-Y-E but it’s a good thing to review the letters.
Yeah this one’s all monster based.
I love that so I love that it’s monster based and not human body. It gives you a lot more leeway.
Exactly so you know this is monster based. You know certainly there are some pictures of a human body in here too so that they can tie the two together but most of it is monsters. And so you’ve got the eye and it pops up with a sentence. And then a second vocabulary sentence about two eyes. You’ll notice the vocabulary slides in this unit will all follow the same pattern.
So again practicing the word. And focusing in on… nose now. So his nose and the monster doesn’t have a nose. So you know we’ve got that contrast of his nose and no nose. We have one for mouth. And I’ll just speed it up a bit. He has a mouth and then we get into this fun monster screen. So this one has some questions: “How many eyes you see?” a little bit of math. As you can tell there’s a whole lot of eyes going on in the screen and if you click again you get a prompt to assist the student in answering in a full sentence if they don’t do that. And then “How many monsters have mouths?” So again fun because some of these monsters don’t have mouths. I don’t know how they eat but we can’t see their mouths so we can’t count them. And then we get into noses and “Does it have a nose?”. This goes back to the monster that didn’t have the nose, and no it does not have a nose. This is probably one of my favorite slides in the lesson you get to actually draw. So this is what the student needs to draw. Some of these are words from previous lessons, some of these are words that are new. Obviously in this lesson they draw their monster.
There’s a matching activity. And what’s missing so you can talk about the words and then you can click through them and words disappear, pictures disappear and you can try to remember. This is a; touch your nose, touch your eyes, touch your mouth sort of activity. And then phonics. So this is just a short 30 second song about the specific vowel that we’re working with which in this line I believe is “long i”. So we get to hear the word and see the magic “bossy e” and then work through some words. So just some reading of “long i” words. A bit of a game pops up. We can continue through this spinning activity. It’s got a few rounds.
And kids usually love this spin game. It’s quite fun and it even has “ice” which as you know is certainly a challenging “long i” word. In this one they’re listening so you would say the word. And hopefully most teachers can figure out from the picture that this is “hike”. And then the student has to listen and add the “i”. Some students will just be like oh well I’m working on “long i” today and draw that in there.
And then a phonics sentence to go with it. This is my sight word activity. So this one in particular I was all about singing the sight word song. So in every single lesson you get to sing your sight word song goes the same way it’s to the tune of bingo. And you know you’re saying your sight word, seeing your sight word, spelling your sight word. Lots of work with your sight word. and then a sight word sentence. It has some grammar so this is all about capital letters and so you view the rules and then you fix the mistakes.
And then a little bit of math. So this is monster math. So we’re counting and adding. And then some practice without the monsters just for some extra practice and that’s that. That’s a lesson with just a simple song to close.
This is a level two unit six lesson. It does have an extension activity. You want to try to guess what it is. Obviously it’s a monster, but the arrow points to his eye. So you need an eye. And a tic-tac-toe board. And a spelling board. So my lessons always have some space for writing or drawing and the end if you’re looking for a blank screen.
So we’re going to go from there, that’s level two, so keep in mind that’s level two. And I’m going to jump you over to level four. So if you wanted to sort of find that, if you remember we did have the full curriculum up before, so I’m just going to use the back button to go back to that main curriculum page, and I can jump to level four, and we’ll take just a quick look at sort of what level four entails. Level four has some really cool units.
So we have units on Landforms, a Land Animals and Semi Aquatic and Aquatic Animals, Sports, and Air Travel, Wonders of the World, Animal Adaptations, Fairy Tales and Fables, Visiting the Doctor, Camping, and American Holidays.
If anyone’s teaching adults, in this unit/in this level, there’s a number of units that you could very easily use exactly as they are with your adult students. Certainly the air travel unit is ideal for anyone who’s going to be doing some traveling because it’s really all about that process of going through the airport. Wonders of the World is a super high interest visible unit. It’s fun and I’m going to show you a lesson from that. Visiting the doctor has very functional vocabulary that certainly applies to adults. You know you could grab Landforms or Land Animals, or even you may want some of the American holidays. Maybe there’s a specific holiday you want. So you don’t necessarily have to think about using the curriculum: “I have to work unit by unit every single unit by unit”. Sometimes you might be teaching in adults and you want to pick some of those units from each level and and help to build their their vocabulary.
So if we just quickly jump over to unit five. So this is level four unit five. This is lesson six, so halfway through the unit. And this one is part of the Wonders of the World unit. Again I will make it full screen. Just you know for professionalism and ease of viewing. You don’t have to. I always make them full screen though. I don’t like the students seeing the stuff from The Tutor Resource around on the page. I like them to have the words as big as possible in front of them.
And this one is about the Colosseum in Rome. This is sort of a typical example of my conversations to start. If you can’t come up with your own questions, I’ve got some here for you. Which are five questions really to have a good conversation at the beginning.
You get into some vocabulary words. So we have (Rome and amphitheater and gladiator and spectator) and then just a quick reminder activity “what is it?”. It’s for very quick recall. There is a countdown timer on here you can play that. Then you can click and your question marks will disappear. They have to recall the words.
This one they then use the vocabulary words to fill in the article. So this is nonfiction text and they’re recalling their words. And as you click the words will appear for you.
This is a matching and creating a sentence activity. So they would have to first identify the picture and then create their own sentence for that picture, or for that word.
And then we’re into a reading piece. So again nonfiction based, but it walks through some of the information about the Colosseum and you know what it’s made of so there’s some really good opportunity to talk about some of the words in here. Including opportunity to practice reading numbers like 50,000 to 80,000, and years like 1980. You can talk about things like UNESCO and this actually we read as UNESCO not U-N-E-S-C-O. Even things like 6 million, and have them draw/write the number like “what is 6 million?”, “Write 6 million on the screen”, “Can you write that number?” to make sure they really understand that.
And then we get inside the Colosseum. And then we’re into some grammar work. So these are plural words. And some plural word rules and some plural form. This one is an academic vocabulary word “better” so then making a sentence with it. And then these actually are all sight words from this unit. So reading the words, you could have them make sentences again if you want with each word. And then just a discussion about the Colosseum.
So this is an upper level unit. So, that’s sort of a 2 and a 4 not our lowest levels not our highest levels, but you know you can certainly see the change in the lessons from that level two to that level 4. There’s a big jump in the reading. And then you can see the big jump in the vocabulary and the length of the words. The grammar changes so all of those things that happen as you as you move up through a cohesive curriculum, that is really set up in a way for progression.
And that’s that’s. As I said before we have levels 1 through 6 available so lots of choice and each of those levels has 10 units. Each of those units has 10 lessons, and our units include a review lesson and an assessment lesson at the end.
We are super open to feedback. You can message us on our Facebook group, and you might be like oh I found this point missing, it’s got two periods, someone made a typo and there’s two periods, great tell us we want to fix it and we will fix it. We’re usually super quick. We would usually fix that in under 24 hours, and that second period just magically disappears. Then the next time you’re in the lesson you don’t see it and other teachers don’t see it as well. So we appreciate that. We’ve also had feedback like “I’d really like a song in this unit” and “Do you think you can add it?”. Yeah I’m sure we can probably add it. So there’s lots of things in here and lots of choices for everyone.
To give you a bit of a sort of a different idea I did open one of my plant lessons this is one of my science lessons this one is built in Genially, so it is different. It opens full screen in a different way. It’s down here with the two arrows and Genially is cool because we can have an opportunity to actually hover. We can add hovers and add some information so some of these pictures have some hidden facts and then which is sort of fun.
As a teacher if you want to know where the hidden facts are you can click this little hand up at the top and it shows you some of the things that you can click on when you do that. And so that way you know you’re not missing anything. And so again because I like conversation we start with just with a simple conversation about growing plants and gardens and a “Can you name any plants?” activity. Just to sort of get that reactivation of prior knowledge and to get their brain thinking in the right way to be able to talk and learn about plants. It’s also got a bit of a song about plants. And then you know talks about plants. So very much sort of science textbook, the sort of look and feel. High visibility images. With these lessons you have a choice: your students can read them if they’re at that level, if they’re not at that level then you can read it to them, you can read parts of it, or you can use the information to have a conversation. So your student doesn’t necessarily have to be able to read these lessons in order to use these science lessons.
And then you go on here about survive and live and yeah this is what they need and so we’ve got the rain which is fun you can hover over the rain and you get you know some information you can come over here and get some information about the sun. And then we’re into naming plant parts so this is fun because you can click on them. So as they get them right or wrong you can click on them and you can talk about what those are.
Genially is as you can see very different type of lesson. This one does have a game built into it. I think it’s got two actually. So, “What part of the plant is this?” oh great “it’s roots” I got them right. So, again very much this is focused on plant parts. It’s one of the first lessons in this unit and making sure that they really know them. So there’s six questions there it goes through it.
Then this one is an interactive video so you’ll notice that it’s interactive because you can see there’s these little raindrops down below. Each of these raindrops is a question, and so when you play this video it will automatically stop and it will automatically give you a multiple choice question for you to ask the student, and it knows the right answer, so you don’t have to know it. You can work through that interactive video lesson and then getting into talking about sort of what those roots are so “this is a root” oh “did you know carrots for roots”, “potatoes are roots”, “beats are roots”, so there’s things that we eat that are roots. This is food that we eat. Stems, we eat these stems, we eat the leaves. So this is spinach or lettuce or…. And then flowers, there are flowers you can eat, not this one but certainly there’s lots of flowers that we can eat. It’s got a bit of a matching and sort of that drag and drop with the plant parts, with food we eat. So focusing on “you see these things all the time”, you eat them.
And then you’ll see that this picture came back. And we still have the hovers in here, but now we’ve got this worm because we’ve got the soil, and we’ve got the sunlight. This one is talking about the minerals that are in the soil and little bits of rock and soil that help plants grow. We have a science diagram so you’re actually talking about learning to use the diagram.
Most of my science lessons, when I teach, because I spend so much time talking with my students and getting them to talk, this might take me two or three classes to work through in terms of a 25 minute lesson. And we have another little quiz.
This one is similar to the previous one. I think it’s a different format but I don’t know, but yeah this one’s a different format. So it’s got some sound as well. I don’t know, I didn’t share my sound, so you can’t hear it but it’s got jungle sounds. And then it ends with a science experiment. So this is the take home activity and the students can try this at home. So you know it is very different from the lessons that I build for Teachers Together English. But built for science. So you can see however the commonalities between lessons that I build and Teachers Together English and that focus on conversation, talking and engagement with the students and same sort of activities that would happen in a science classroom. You know one of the best ways to learn science and math is to talk about science and math and there’s lots of research that supports that.
Very cool. I love it. All right well thank you for sharing all of that. That is some really great information. So if anybody has any questions or wants to get in touch with you. Is there a way that they can reach you?
So you can message me definitely through The Tutor Resource page by all means. On the bottom of most of my lessons there’s a button you can message me directly. Or if you’re wanting to know about Teachers Together English, reach out to us on our Facebook page. I answer 90% of the messages so it’s probably me you’re communicating back and forth with. And then I do have some Instagram under Smart Sprouts Learning as well so you can see some of my stuff on Instagram or YouTube.
Excellent. Well I do appreciate your time today. I’m sure there’s some good inspiration that’s gotten out there today from seeing this. People are going to be like I can create my own or found out something that they didn’t know they could use before. There’s a good variety in what you shared with the level to the level four and your own science lessons so really appreciate that. Do you have any parting advice for any of these new or existing teachers?
Step outside of your comfort zone and do something that you love so just because everyone’s teaching English doesn’t mean you have to. And make sure that you are being authentic in your classroom, and authentic in how you deliver, and authentic and in how you relate to your students. You don’t have to look like the high energy teacher with the crazy ears if that’s not you. So it’s really important to be authentic and find what works for you in the classroom.
And if you are thinking about making some of your own lessons then give it a try. But make sure that you start with a concrete plan, because parents are paying for lessons and you want to make sure that those students are continuing to advance through that. And it’s not necessarily just an experimentation playground, because that will quickly upset parents as well. So you know as long as you have a plan you can say “You know what? We’re going to do a unit on plants” and plan out all of it. For instance, these are the things that we’re going to do for the next six lessons. You can easily present that to a parent as something that you know “Why don’t we try this?”. You know, I think there’s some good information – you can spend a lot of time focusing on conversation, but if you just throw in a random lesson here and a random lesson there, then you’re not coming together in that cohesive organized fashion and you won’t have the same support from parents.
And that makes sense. So be authentic and have a plan. Those are the best pieces advice I’ve heard today. All right well thank you for your time and everybody.Thank you for joining us today. If you have any questions you can reach out down below or you can send us a message at The Tutor Resource as well. Again thank you Megan, take care.