Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links. The Tutor Resource is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program as well as other affiliate programs. These are designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you. Please see our full disclosure for more details.

Teaching English Through Stories: A Revolutionary Approach to ESL Education

Sharing is caring!

In the second episode of The Global Classroom Podcast, Meet Brenda Brooks.

Teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) has never been more exciting, thanks to innovative educators like Brenda who focus on teaching English through stories.

With over 25 years of hands-on experience in the ESL industry, Brenda’s journey is both inspirational and instructive for anyone looking to make a difference in this field.

In this interview, we explored Brenda’s unique approach to teaching English through stories, her invaluable insights on transitioning from classroom teaching to online or hybrid teaching positions, and her creation of Virtual Learning Educators (VLE) Rock.

VLE Rock offers EFL books for young learners as a unique way how to teach ESL to kids.

Brenda’s Journey to Teaching English Through Stories Online

Brenda’s introduction to teaching ESL online was somewhat accidental but became a career she truly loves.

After starting her career in traditional school settings, Brenda transitioned into teaching with learning centers and privately. Her students span all age groups, from storytelling for preschool activities to elderly adults ESL learning English with short stories.

For the past seven years, she has been remotely training and coaching professionals so her curriculum cal be used as short stories for ESL high school, too.

Brenda’s passion lies in language acquisition, reading stories, writing, and creating interactive English stories for digital learners – an approach that sets her apart in the crowded space of ESL education.

She believes that online teaching offers advantages over traditional classrooms, including flexibility, accessibility, and the ability to leverage technology to enhance the learning English experience.

For those considering a similar career path, Brenda suggests starting part-time while maintaining a secure job. Gradually build your business as you gain confidence and experience in the online teaching environment.

Revolutionizing Books for Digital Learners: Interactive Stories for Engaging Education with Guest Brenda Brooks

Creating a Legacy Through Stories

One of Brenda’s motivations for creating stories is to leave a lasting legacy for her son. This passion led to the creation of 101 stories through Virtual Learning Educators Rock, a testament to Brenda’s dedication and creativity.

These stories aren’t just fun and engaging; they’re tools for teaching English through stories, making learning an enjoyable experience for students of all ages.

Teaching English Through Stories to Build a Virtual Community

Inclusion for all educators

Recognizing the importance of community in the virtual learning landscape, Brenda created Virtual Learning Educators (VLE) Rock, a website offering free educational resources and training videos.

She has also been instrumental in building communities through platforms like Facebook, fostering collaboration and support among online educators.

Her impact extends beyond her immediate community, with involvement in a Ukrainian volunteer teachers program that provides free education to students. It’s clear that Brenda’s passion for education is not confined by geographical boundaries.

Embracing Technology in Education by Teaching English THrough Stories

Brenda’s approach to teaching English through stories is heavily reliant on technology. She uses various tools, including Wordwall and AI programs like Quillbot, Readability, Grammarly, and Chat GPT, to create interactive lessons and stories for ESL teaching.

Rather than fearing technology’s impact on education, Brenda embraces it as a helpful tool, enhancing the learning experience for her students.

Interactive Story-Based Curriculum

Inspired by her love for storytelling from childhood, Brenda developed an interactive story-based curriculum. This unique approach involves gamified learning and interactive characters, using hand-eye coordination and GIFs to enhance the learning experience for new words.

She incorporates different voices and avatars in her YouTube channel to make it entertaining for kids, emphasizing the importance of multisensorial learning and brain breaks even for online classes.

Brenda’s Youtube channel is a great resource for free English stories to improve English, but more options are available in her paid subscription.

A demo of her curriculum showcased various (English as a Foreign Language) EFL activities like vocabulary quizzes, videos, stories, games, symmetry projects, origami projects, and more.

The curriculum can be scaled for different EFL class durations or bonus study sessions, making it versatile and adaptable.

Saving Time and Enhancing Engagement

Screen shot of The Little Pony Named Romy story cover screen for ages 7-9. Written and animated by Teacher Brenda.

Brenda’s platform saves teachers time by using recorded voices, allowing students to play educational games and puzzles, such as a drag-and-drop magnetic puzzle.

She demonstrates interactive activities like scavenger hunts and ESL reading for kids comprehension exercises, providing a rich, engaging learning experience for an English story for reading practice.

The platform also includes fun elements like allowing students to customize their bunny names in the program through coding-like techniques, making learning not just educational but also fun.

Making Learning Fun

The Pokémon Challenge is one of Breanda's teaching English through stories options, geared twoard ages 10-14.

Brenda emphasizes the importance of making the lessons fun and different from traditional school settings, like Cambridge.

This includes listening games where one partner guides the other to find objects with closed eyes, multiple-choice quizzes, interactive games, origami, word matching, and animated stories. Parent trust is crucial in implementing this approach effectively.

Brenda’s approach to teaching English through stories is a revolutionary take on ESL education. By leveraging technology, creating engaging content, and fostering a sense of community among educators, she is transforming the landscape of online English language education.

Whether you’re an educator seeking inspiration or a student seeking a fun, effective way to learn English through stories, Brenda’s English story approach is a testament to the power of innovation in education. Try teaching English through short stories today!

Episode: #2 – “Revolutionizing Books for Digital Learners: Interactive Stories for Engaging Education with Guest Brenda Brooks”

Global Classroom: The Tutor Resource

Podcast Transcript

Host (David Cole): Hello and welcome today’s session. Today we’re going to be talking to Brenda. She has over 25 years in the ESL industry who began her career in school and moved on to teaching with learning centers and privately as well. Currently, she’s authored several books. She has experience teaching children all the way to the elderly. She’s taught preschool, elementary, middle school, high school. And for the past seven years, she’s also been remotely training and coaching professionals. So without further ado hello, Brenda. 

Brenda: Hello, David. 

Host (David Cole): How are well, I’m well, how are you? 

Brenda: Good. 

Host (David Cole): Definitely. Let’s start out, how did you get your start here? How did you get your start with teaching ESL or online? 

Brenda: Well, first of all, my start teaching was an accidental career. It wasn’t like something I grew up and said. I wanted to be a teacher. I was going to be a business owner. So I went to school for business. Then, lo and behold, I moved to Lebanon because I wanted to raise a child. Trilingual, like the father, because I was like, oh, it would be so great if he could speak three languages. Well, of course my career went I’m like, wait, when I got there, what am I going to do now? I can’t stay at home. I’ve been working since I was 14. So I immediately applied for a school. Actually, my sister in law and I, and when went in, it was really funny. They called back for me, not her, but we had the same last name. 

Brenda: So when they called back and they’re like, Brenda, and she’s like, oh, no, here’s the phone. So I gained most of my hands on experience and the best experience in the real classroom, because it’s so different than what we’ve ever done online, because a real classroom will give you training in groups, how to work together, how kids learn together. And the school offered a lot of technology and training. So once I moved, I started working remotely and online when I moved to the third country, because I couldn’t go outside. I don’t speak Bulgarian. I can’t go get a job that way. So again, I fell back on my language, and this time I transformed it into being online. I think it’s over seven now. It’s probably almost ten, but seven, like, with the major companies and stuff, but on my own. 

Brenda: So, yeah, online has been fun. And then you go from audio class, video class, older students. I believed in contracting means you don’t just contract with one people, one person. You just independent contract with as many as you can. And then when I realized countries were falling, I decided to also get contracts with multiple countries. That way, if one economy is down, the other one wasn’t. So I wasn’t really hit that hard when China fell, because I’d already learned from Korea. Take as many countries as you can. 

Host (David Cole): Totally makes sense. Yeah. You want to be able to get into them when you can, while you can, because you never know what’s going to happen. 

Brenda: Yeah. 

Host (David Cole): What would you say are your main teaching specialties, then? 

Brenda: My teaching specialties are actually language acquisition, because I’ve started technology in the classroom. Language acquisition, reading, writing. And my niche is reading and writing and the stories. I’ve actually gone from writing curriculum in the classrooms to going, okay, that’s the foundation. I’m getting bored. Everybody is doing that. Let’s do something that nobody’s seen yet. Let’s bring books like nobody’s ever seen them before. Let’s make it so that the kids can jump right in the story. Let’s match what the digital learners need. And last year, you saw one of the beginning ones that was actually dedicated to Sebastian, and we actually did go on a world tour. Now with Tommy. Tommy’s been jumping country to country. He’s teaching science, geography, math, everything in one lesson. And you can see how the stories are working and how the kids are reacting. 

Brenda: And it’s developed so much over time, because this product is exactly what our teachers asking for. What are parents asking for? My kids are actually testing each and every one of them out in the classroom. Oh, we don’t like that. Can you add that? Can you add this kind of animation? I mean, I’m actually training them how to do Genially so that they’re ready in school, and I’m like, look, this is the best kind of PowerPoint. You’ve got to try this. This is much different than what you’re used to at school. So it’s wonderful. 

Host (David Cole): I know it’s wonderful. So what do you like the most about online teaching, then? 

Brenda: It’s not work. Doesn’t feel like when you love what you do, it’s not work. It’s like a very old age proverb. You find something that you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. And it’s true. I literally am seven days a week, I have to get dragged away from my computer, because if I’m not actually teaching in a classroom to a person, I am creating. Because for me, that’s my painting. I told him, Stop bothering me. I’m painting. He’s like, what are you doing? I’m like, I’m painting. And he’s like, you can’t paint all the time. I guess you can if it’s really something you like, you want to watch TV, that’s boring, dramatic, reruns, seen them all movies, all the same plot, or do you want to create your own? 

Brenda: I sometimes feel like when I’m creating these lessons and things, I get in this zone. I’m almost like a Zen like state where I’m finding hours pass and I’ve created so many cool things and I’m very proud of them. So I completely understand that feeling, being dragged away from it. I still teach, students because I don’t want to give them up. I love it. It’s fun. 

Brenda: My husband said that. He’s like, what if we make a million? I said, I don’t care if you make a million dollars. I don’t care if you’re the richest person in the world. I’m not giving up working. This is what I love to do because it’s not really working. I love meeting new people. It’s like something that just fits like a glove. You meet international people all the time. And we have it so much better than in the classroom because in the classroom you had your clicks. You had the teacher click everywhere. And that was the hardest part for me. It wasn’t working in the class with my students because I love meeting the kids every year. It was working with the people and the politics of the school and being controlled on what I can teach, how I can teach. 

Brenda: It is not allowing my students to master what they were learning because they’re learning what they told them to learn, not based on what is relevant for the kids now. And they’ve been so far behind them. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah, that’s very true. So then on that note, we’ve got a lot of teachers watching that are in the classroom right now. Maybe they’re thinking about making the switch to online or maybe they’re people coming straight out of college and they’re looking at getting into teaching and they don’t know whether they want to teach in a classroom, online or both. So what kind of advice would you give to these individuals? 

Brenda: Hybrid keep the job part time. It pays the bills. It gives your vacation, it gives you security. It keep those paid holidays and then do this started as a side gig. I’d never say jump off the boat and go right into the ocean because it’s very hard to build your own business. And I do miss what we had in companies. I missed the 401 or the health insurance or vacation actually paid for. Jeez, what’s that? I haven’t seen that in years. Now if we need a vacation, we have to save for it. We have to put all that to the side. You got your taxes, your retirement. So I mean, balance is good. To have both have that security from that job and have that fun on the side and build until you can actually build something that’ll be there for after. 

Brenda: I’m at the age now where I want to build something. And that’s another reason I did stories. I wanted to build something that one day my child will remember and he can always look back on and he said, hey, this is what my mom did. We’ve already hit 101 stories. I’m like, okay, it’s time to slow down less than a year. We’ve got 101 level stories. And I’m like, we’re good for a little while. So now we’ll specialize in fixing them to be even better and still have stories coming out but just not as fast. 

Host (David Cole): Fabulous. And I want to get to the stories here in a little bit. But first I really want to know a little bit about how you started Virtual Learning Educators Rock. 

Brenda: I found that there was a need for it, and I’m happy that you say virtual Learning Rock. It’s anagram VLE rock. I’ve been called Vlock. I’ve been called everything. And I’m like, I started that because they needed it. Like I said, I want to give back. And if you go to Virtual VLE Rock, it’s still full of tons of resources. I mean, it’s full of free resources, up whatever you can, so many of them. I also have my curriculum in build. I had to make a new website for it because it outgrew our original website. Our original website was just little bit of curriculum that were making that was still getting bigger than the website. And then we have training videos. There’s the resource area. There’s an area for brain breaks. So you don’t have to go searching on YouTube for them. 

Brenda: They’re already there for you. You just open them up and go. Leading teachers to other places. Because when I first went online, there was nothing out there for me. This is like a library of places to go, things to do, because there was no direction for us. And then training came along with it like, oh, you know how to do Google? Yeah. So we just started building. And the communities are very important too, to get linked into the communities, that’s another thing as Virtual Learning Educators, you’re going to suffer is you’re going to not have that community. And that’s where Facebook and all these communities come in touch still. 

Host (David Cole): And I know that about you. A lot of our viewers might know that about you as well, that you are a community builder. It’s kind of what you do. You have something that you did really recently with the Ukrainian community and teachers and helping out there. Can you tell us a little bit about that as well? 

Brenda: Yeah, we’re still doing Ukrainian volunteer teachers. It’s basically on autopilot on my side. It’s not really autopilot. I still do the behind the scenes management, hiring teachers. I’m the only one that sees whoever comes in. They still have to go through like not really a hiring process, but they have to be vetted so they have that. And we have our kids still registering. They each have their own websites, google websites. Everything is 100% free. We didn’t take money from anywhere. We weren’t interested in becoming a so that we could take money because we didn’t want to listen to anybody else. We’re going to create it the way we wanted it, and we kept it just with teachers, and we’ve created it. And we’ve have over 950 registered students even more. And we still have teachers that come in and volunteer. 

Brenda: They volunteer a half hour a week, 45 minutes a week, and we do group classes anywhere from four to eight kids. 

Host (David Cole): I still think that’s amazing. Yeah. And that’s really great of you to put that together to help out. So thank you. 

Brenda: Yeah, we did create the community around because of all the community, we have a lot of co creators that came in. Jillian is, like, really good at Instagram. She started our instagram. We’re all looking at her like this. She’s like, you got to do instagram. We’re like, Why? We have 950 teachers already in the group, and of the 950, maybe we have 20 that are active. So it’s okay. We don’t need so many volunteers. But, I mean, she did wonderful job with that showed us, and then we have a lot of co creators. I’ve reached out to you because you have the tutor resource. You did teachers together. You gave us some curriculum. I was like, getting curriculum from everyone. I’m like, mine isn’t just enough. I got some from Crystal. I got some from Katie. 

Brenda: I’ve got Flip the Classroom. I went to all of them. And then I even had people willing to open classrooms for us, like booking systems and classrooms, and I was like, now we’ll just stick to zoom

Host (David Cole): Yeah. It sounded like it was very successful, and I think it’s very much needed, so it really helps out a lot as well. 

Brenda: Yeah. And it’s still needed unfortunately. We were thinking it wasn’t going to go on this long, but it’s still going on, and it’s several years now. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah, I know. Sad, but sad, but at least you’re there for those who need you. And same with the teachers that are part of it. Those are those that are listening. We have a big thanks out as well. 

Brenda: Yeah. We call that bringing smiles across the miles. It’s not about learning, like, regular English classes. We refused. We just want to make them laugh. 

Host (David Cole): I hear you. So that’s what you’ve done and what you’ve built. What are you doing right now with online ESL? 

Brenda: I’m still teaching, still writing. I’m still training, still creating courses with the VLE rock. We’re doing also not the VLE, the young learners curriculum. We’ve started professional development courses, too, so usually whatever people are asking for, I’ve got to stop listening because that’s taking over my life as well. I’m trying to get myself two days off. 

Host (David Cole): Try, try. I’m talking to you. In the past, you and I have been talking on and off for years, for a year now at least. And every time I talk to you tell me about a new cool tool that’s out there. You introduced me to Wordwall. 

Brenda: It has new ones, it has Voice now, it has Voice and Spring and Magic Library. I’m trained in that Wordwall. I took their course. Yeah, I love Wordwall. 

Host (David Cole): It’s so cool. 

Brenda: But I’m learning to code my games too. 

Host (David Cole): I had already heard about Genially, but you showed me some of the ins and outs and the tricks on it got me started. Figuring out all the ins and outs of it was really cool. So what are the main tools that you are using right now? To build stories, to build lessons? Because I know it’s not just always one. It kind of takes them and ties them together. 

Brenda: I use AI. I use Quillbot. It’s my friend. It’s been my friend. I take my stories, I level them. I use Readability to make sure that they’re level, usually in the correct level that they’re supposed to be. I use grammarly to make sure that it’s engaging or did I make any grammar mistakes? Even add a Quillbot, you never know. There’s another one. If I want to be really lazy, I throw the story in ChatGPT and say, hey, give me questions and give me a book app. That’s what that’s for. I’m not afraid of AI. People are afraid of it, but I’m not because it’s my assistant. It’s going to do what I don’t want to do. You still have to tell it what to do. It’s not to the point where it’s an independent thinker. 

Host (David Cole): You get out what you put in, whatever. If you put in some bad input, you’re going to get bad results. But if you’re detailed, I’ve used some AI for a lot of things as well, including stories that I’ve been working with. Not interactive like yours, but reading and stuff like that I want students to get to go. It’s a great way to give yourself a guide, a starting point, and then you can do some modifications as you need. 

Brenda: You do the modifications and that’s what it’s there for. It’s not there to hurt us. This is another thing. First it was the zoom, then it was the online classes. Kids are so far ahead of us. I’ve had students telling me they are already using ChatGPT to answer their homework, to make their homework, and I’m like, oh my God, memorize it. But they’re learning because it’s like a search engine. So whatever they’re learning, they’re going to have to write it down or read it anyway. So they’re still maybe they don’t have it in long term memory, but we haven’t. 

Host (David Cole): It’s the same as the calculators and the graphene calculators were. When I was in school, teachers hated the fact that we had the graphing calculators, but some teachers embraced them and figured out, okay, so how can we do that? How can you type in the correct formula? Now you’re learning the formulas and you’re figuring out how to do it. And that and this and the other. It’s about embracing and evolving with technology. And I think we could have a whole session on that if we wanted to. 

Brenda: No, because I have friends that are against it, and you have to be moral with it. You don’t make it do your work and then say, hey, I wrote that, and I had nothing to do with feedback. I’ve been using it for feedback for years. Korean companies used to make us do feedback. I’m like, Why would I make feedback back in the day? I have tools for that. It writes it, and then I just add a couple sentences in the end that are about the student. I use that as well. 

Host (David Cole): If were to get back into your stories, tell me a little bit and tell our viewers here what is an interactive story based curriculum? What is this whole, very fun? Other than you, I’ve never really seen too many other nothing really like it. Yours is kind of, like, unique right. 

Brenda: Now because it’s like, I decided to take it. I spent so much time in the library as a child and listening to storytellers, so I’m doing something that I know, but I’m just putting it inside. I’ve been doing libraries already, but not like this kind of library. Even when I work for big companies, were helping with the materials that help this. But an interactive story, you’re going to see it. It’s something that is just like a Gamified story. And games make them learn, and they can interact with the characters, and they can hear the words. And I ended up putting, like, post-its the way I learn a language, how do I learn it? Oh, I put the name on the thing. Okay. And it says it in the thing. 

Brenda: Like, if they press it’ll, tell them this is a chair, this is a table, and they hear. I could have used, like, AI for the voice robots, but I think they sound like robots. So I’m using my don’t. I’m a bunny on the YouTube channel, and I use Avatars for my YouTube channel. I’m like, I’m not getting on love. 

Brenda: I love voices. I like a voice work, and I’ll do a different voice if I need to. It may not be the best I can try. I could do a deep voice if I had to. 

Brenda: It’s my regular. But the kids, I get into the animated voices. Like, with me, I just want to make sure that it’s slow and it’s clear for the kids. But yeah, when it comes to YouTube channel, I’m a bunny. My husband’s like, what did you just do on YouTube? I’m like, I don’t care. It’s my channel. I’m a bunny. Nobody knows it’s me. So the bunny has my name above it and it says Teacher Brenda, but nobody knows it’s me. But the kids, they crack up laughing and that’s what I want them to do. I want to make it entertaining for. 

Host (David Cole): So do you think that your interactive stories mostly work with kinesthetic? Everything visual, auditory? 

Brenda: I’m a trained teacher. I know exactly how we do that in a classroom. You don’t just teach one method, you have to get all of them. We have multisensorial learning. I am a Montessori teacher. I do not sit in the classroom. We jump, we move, even if they’re online. That’s why I incorporated brain breaks to my curriculum, because I wanted teachers to know you don’t just sit there, you got to get up and move with these kids because these kids are not going to stay in front of a camera for 30, 25 maybe. But if they’re little even 25, they’re not you have to get them going. So, yeah, the stories they’re using, it’s basically hand eye coordination. 

Brenda: It’s not so much of Kinesthetics where we’re getting up and jumping, but they do have a lot of hand eye coordination because there’s a lot of tasks that they have to do. We get the audio when they hear the sounds and it could be game sound, it could be something moving around, it could be a GIF. And GIF is a language. People don’t realize that pictures are languages. This was the original language before we had alphabets. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah, you’d have it in Egyptian and other cultures. Yeah, I agree definitely. 

Brenda: I was raised in Lebanon, so I’ve seen a lot of Hieroglyphics and all this other the first alphabet was there and I was just like, oh, OK. But I still like pictures. Pictographs are really great. 

Host (David Cole): I travel a lot, I go to a lot of temples and different ancient Mayan sites where Incan sites where I’m at now, and everywhere on the walls and the stone walls, there’s carvings and they tell a story. They are that’s what they are, they tell a story. So it’s so interesting to look at them and try to figure out what the stories are nowadays. And that kind of leads you back to that same thinking. The gifts, the picture languages that we have nowadays emoji language. 

Brenda: Now that you have somebody was like, Why do they use GIFS? And I’m like, Why wouldn’t I use GIFS in my flashcards? Why should I make it stand? Only because when I say jump, the child doesn’t know. But if you have a GIF going, jump. Boom! Saves my time teaching. 

Host (David Cole): Exactly. 

Brenda: Child got it instantaneously when they see the picture and they see it moving, jump. 

Host (David Cole): I totally agree, because in a physical classroom, if you’re teaching your kid first grade, kindergarten, you’re teaching jump or whatever, you can jump as a teacher and you can do that on camera too. It just doesn’t look as good. I mean, that’s just like this. It looks more like a bounce than a jump, but if you have a gift to go along with it of an actual person jumping, it looks amazing. And it’s a lot more illustrative to the student. They can get it and click in their brain better than just a static frozen image of somebody in midair. 

Brenda: Exactly, yeah. And that’s when we demonstrate. I can show you especially like, in Race to Space. Race to Space, it shows like, a cartoon image, but when I did the flashcards, I found, like, a real earth going around in a circle, and I’m like, oh, wow, they’re going to like that because then they can see a hand drawn image versus an actually moving earth and let me see which one they like better. 

Host (David Cole): All right, along those lines, then, what would you say are the benefits of an interactive story based approach with these young learners? 

Brenda: Well, first of all, they can’t be that young. They’d have to be at least an a one level. I could probably do stories for the other kids, but it just bores me to death. I’m not going to do the dog ran and then to the next page, we mean, I could probably that would be preschool level, but these are for basically, I’d say probably first graders kindergartners that have a really good grasp of the language. They are made with the same standards as the US. Common Core standards, and they are made with the suffer in mind. So these follow a higher level, but not foreign. But I want to give them real curriculum. 

Brenda: I don’t want to give them easy curriculum because what’s going to happen is later on, they’re going to go to learn a higher level if they’re visiting a foreign country, and they’re going to be like, wow, that’s so much harder. The kids are fast, so they do really well. 


Host (David Cole): Okay, well, let’s kind of get into a demo where you can show me your unique approach, because you do have a very unique approach. Do you have something that you can share with us today that shows us what you’ve got? A couple of things. 

Brenda: I’ve got two. I could have shown you some of the other ones, but that’s all right. Let me see if I can even get to the right place. Okay. And we have to share sound so that you can hear the full effect. I’m going backwards now because as the curriculum has changed, I have to go back to speed the rest of them up because not all of them had vocabulary. Not all of them were made on genially. I don’t think I’m going to update the Google ones because I like Google ones that I Google Slides, but I’ll add like, Vocab, and I’m thinking about adding workbooks to them, too. But as it is, these lessons last at least an hour. I have kids that can do one story twice a week for 1 hour each lesson. 50 minutes. 

Brenda: 50 minutes, because I ask a lot of questions. As you can see here, what we have is so much there is the vocabulary and there’s the remembering the vocabulary. Then there’s a quiz. Then we’re going into a video so they can hear it and listen. Then they’re going into the story. The story is just the presentation. Then we have a comprehension game, another fun game, a symmetry project, an origami project. And then we have our downloads and even another game. So this was basically so teachers, they can build what are they called, theme classes. So you could have a class for like group classes, and you could have other kids come in and that could get them other students, because that’s what somebody else has done with my curriculum. 

Brenda: I haven’t been smart enough to be very successful at it, but she’s doing a great job at creating these theme classes and group classes monthly. Based one of the stories. 

Host (David Cole): How would you tell somebody, or can these be scaled for people who only do 25 minutes classes instead of those hour long? 

Brenda: Yeah, you divide it. You divide it. That’s all. You just divide it up. That’s why there’s an interactive can go right back where you stopped. 

Brenda: So what’s this here? Enter your bunny’s name. 

Brenda: We’ve had a lot of ones. We’ve had a lot of funny names that the kids are coming in with. So enter a bunny name, any name you want. 

Host (David Cole): Kids can use any name they want. Wow. 

Brenda: Well, as long as it’s not a bad name. 

Host (David Cole): Yes. Does the teacher enter the name or do the students do it. 

Brenda: The kids do themselves. I actually teach this over zoom. Over zoom. And all my kids use laptops. 

Host (David Cole): Oh, wow. It does. It lets me do it right here so I could say my name is David. 

Brenda: Okay, now press the hand. 

Host (David Cole): I press the hand. Excellent. 

Brenda: And it’s customized to david. 

Host (David Cole): Then it says my name in there. So that is really neat that you’re able to incorporate that. Now, is there something special that you had to do something like that? Are you going to show us coding like that later? A little bit of coding? 

Brenda: Yeah. I don’t know if we’ll have time for it, but yeah, that’s coding. And then these are our interactive flashcards where you click them munch to chew the children munched on Easter candy. Why did I tape? So you didn’t have to tape. So this saves the teachers so much time with not having to use their own voice. And you can listen. And if you want to scale it for a child that cannot read at all, you can just go recall to remember and then have them say that part and then continue recall to remember the dog recalled where it left its bone. And what I usually do is I just. Let them read the bottom one. They don’t have to read the top and the bottom because the top is this is for age seven and nine. So that’s giving them the meaning. 

Brenda: And then they just have to tell me the bottom. So once they learn the six words, then they’re going to go over here, and then you get to play a game. Start with the left puzzle. And you just drag the puzzle together. 

Brenda: Yeah. So you just drag and drop. 

Brenda: This is a magnetic puzzle. You can’t let it go. If you let it go, you don’t get your sticker. 

Host (David Cole): Oh, I see. Okay. 

Host (David Cole): They’re going to click each. 

Brenda: They click into each other. When you get to the right spot. 

Brenda: Go down so you can really play. 

Host (David Cole): How do you teach your students that might not have the best of language so that they don’t drop it or let go of it? 

Brenda: Well, I just play with them and I help them. And it’s okay if they don’t get the sticker, because then that one should go in here. This one I noticed on this age group, somehow it’s not as. Look at you. 

Brenda: I took a different puzzle piece. 

Brenda: Yeah, but it’s all right. But once you do the two of them, I just want to show you. Hold on a second. Let me just up there it is. Hold on. I’m going to put this usually there’s a clear picture, but for somehow with this one, it didn’t just end up that clear. Usually there’s an outline. 

Host (David Cole): A little pixelated. Yeah. 

Brenda: This one’s a little bit more pixelated. Okay. And then you ask them what that word is, and they have to recall the word. And that would be perch. Perch. And they can check at the bottom. Now you can do the other one. I’ll let you do the other one. It’s easier, much easier. 

Host (David Cole): Is the other one a magnetic one as well, or just a dragon? 

Brenda: Yeah, they’re all no, I don’t like dragons. Drop. I’m actually somebody that is not a big fan of drag and drop. I like this one because it’s drag, but it drops itself. And I call these the lazy man puzzles. You still have to have a skill set to do it. But that’s the bottom piece on the left. 

Brenda: These have pieces. Oh, I know. There we go. Let’s keep the happy going on here. Yep. And then we can go up. 

Brenda: And the kids get really fast at it at the beginning of it’s, like it’s see? And do you see what it says now? 

Brenda: Awesome. You’re done, David. That’s awesome. It’s telling me. 

Brenda: And then we go to the next one. And this one, they write the children. 

Brenda: They can type it in there. The children and munched on Easter candy. 

Brenda: And these are the same sentences they learned. So it’s the same sentences that they just did from before. 

Host (David Cole): The dog recalled when it’s left its bone. Well, that’s awesome. Yeah. I like that I can take control and do it as well. That’s awesome. Using zoom. 

Brenda: Oh, I usually just sit there and watching. I just sit and watch. And when they’re wrong, I like this one, because this is going to show you where you’re wrong. Do one of them wrong. 

Brenda: The tree stump. 

Brenda: Okay. Forget the D in Chaste. 

Host (David Cole): Okay. 

Brenda: You could do that. 

Brenda: Click on dog. 

Brenda: Okay. Now check your work. See, it turned red. It tells you exactly where it is. And some of the other. 

Host (David Cole): That’s right. So you can correct your work as well. That’s awesome. 

Brenda: Yeah. So they’re correcting it as well. They are. I’m not. And then this is their video. We watched that. That’s like a five minute video. If you want, you can give it to them after. Welcome to young learn. There is yeah, that’s the bunny I was telling you. That’s me. 

Host (David Cole): That’s you. 

Brenda: And here on the top left, I give them guided questions. And this one is a timer. So this one, along with the guided questions, I’m giving a scavenger hunt. So while the teacher wants to do the scavenger hunt, they have to find pink, white, black, blue. So you go find something pink. 

Brenda: So then the student can find it on the screen. 

Brenda: It could be on the screen, or it could be I like the moving. That’s where it becomes kinesthetic. Go find it in the house. And each one of those, like, if you click, they say the characters names. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah. 

Brenda: These are my brothers and sisters. 

Brenda: And so if I wanted to say, I found something pink, like in the bunny’s ears here, student could say, I found something pink. That’s awesome. 

Brenda: Okay. That’s the I spy game. Scavenger hunt means get up and run. My scavenger hunt is like, no, we’re not going to sit down and we race against each other. I don’t play these games unless I race against them. I want to make it fun for them. And of course, I always lose because I’m a good teacher or I really can’t remember. Then we have if you click on the character, I don’t know why wait, I got to click it. You should hear the name. I don’t know why it’s not doing it right now. Let me check. Well, sometimes when they’re I forgot it was Easter Sunday in Pioneer Park. Student can read, or they can listen to the whole thing and read. Usually seven to nine, I play the whole thing out. 

Brenda: And then again, there’s your interactive questions and then something to do on each one. So basically, that’s what the stories are like. So these all fall around the same thing. I don’t want to take you guys too much time. This one’s fun. Can you find the Easter eggs? 

Host (David Cole): I see. Yes, I can find them. 

Brenda: Not the ones in the no, because it says right there, where did Brenda find an egg? They read the kids have to go and read. Nope, you don’t have to underline go. The kids will remember. And then they have to find where was her egg? 

Host (David Cole): Oh, I see. I can click on it. Easter one on the climbing wall. That’s right there in the kiva’s in there. And then we had one on the slide. Brenda found the one on the slide. I see that. And Nikki, who wasn’t paying attention to the ground, even saw an egg on the swing. Oh, I didn’t even see that one until I read. 

Brenda: And then I’ll tell them which one is your favorite egg? And then they click on the egg and we can tell me which egg do they like? And they describe it. And so this is the math. That’s where math comes in. Zigzag line, wavelength, different colors. Then we have the I spot. 

Brenda: Count the colors, count the styles. Okay. 

Brenda: And then here there’s another what’s this one? They just describe the bunny at the end after the animation, it tells them what it is. And somehow animations aren’t working right now. It could be the bandwidth. Sometimes with the bandwidth, the character, it. 

Host (David Cole): Might be it’s a little slow. But you’re in Bulgaria and I’m in Ecuador. 

Brenda: Yeah, rabbit and money. And then he dropped and they’re like, okay, guys, at the beginning, how much do you think is in the egg? And the kids are all like, $5. And then you click the egg and we can see how much money is in the egg. And then I asked them, what would you buy with $100? So somebody tell me. An iPhone. I was like, that’s going to really be a very cheap iPhone. Because $100, maybe a used one. 

Host (David Cole): A used one with a cracked screen. How about that? 

Brenda: Basically. And then this is the maze. Then here we have another maze. Then this one is actually a game. It’s so simple that you close your eyes and the other one has to tell you which direction I made. It a listening game. Instead of just doing straight out, matching the eggs. I close my eyes and one partner tells the other partner where to go. Like if I start here, okay, I need the other purple egg. I close my eyes and you actually have to tell me how to get to the purple egg. 

Brenda: I say draw down and to the left. Back to the right, back to the right. 

Brenda: Because the left for me is the opposite side. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah, I do. I was wondering to see how what would happen. 

Brenda: And then there’s our quiz, which is like the other one, except for this one is a multiple choice one. 

Host (David Cole): So they have three different choice in here. That’s awesome. 

Brenda: This one’s coded in. It’s part of the coding on the quiz. And then it tells them how many they got right. That one doesn’t show them where it’s right. Then we have the moving of the games and they choose their character and they answer their questions. They can hear the questions if you click them. What was the dice? The name of the park? 

Host (David Cole): Is the dice block animated random, or is it just going to be the same ones every time? 

Brenda: Different every time. 

Host (David Cole): That’s cool. 

Brenda: And somehow the second player always loses. So never be the second player. 

Host (David Cole): Never be the second player. 

Brenda: Make sure the teachers yeah, and this is the symmetry. So they listen Jack Cartman kids music. 

Host (David Cole): I like, Jack. 

Brenda: You can lower it down. And they only have till this song is over to finish the picture. So they teaches interesting timer timing instead of a regular timing. And trust me, they’re going, Bingo. And I’m like, no, it’s B-U-N-N-Y. So they were like, no, bingo. I did this with a 15 year old. The next level up. I did it with a 15 year old. It was hysterical. Then it’s left or right. All they have to do is bring a paper. So there’s your witch origami. I am horrible at it. This is my origami. It did not come out right. I’m very bad. So doesn’t have to be perfect. Some origami’s come out. And then we have the word wall, one that I told you I liked because they’re brand new. This is matching the characters. 

Brenda: And I think it has if I’m not mistaken, I might no. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah, like a memory game. 

Brenda: Yeah, there’s the memory. And then it comes with a bonus workbook, the video, which is an MP4, so they can send it to China if they have to. Again, PDF, which can be sent to China of the story. So everybody gets a copy of the story once they download them. Then they have the COVID photo. So if the teachers are marketing it somewhere, they can use the COVID photo as marketing. And that’s it. So that’s that one. And then this is the other little guy that I just updated because the other ones, they love this story. 

Brenda: Most of the kids I’ve talked to seem to like things that have to do with space. Yeah. Nice center. 

Brenda: That was too long. It wasn’t supposed to be that long. And then these are like the Flashcards moon. The moon lights up the sky at night. And it’s not supposed to be that long. So I have to go through and. 

Brenda: Make sure a little bit of a lag. It might just be some lag. 

Brenda: Yeah, I’m like it’s. Not that long. I cut it. So those are the Flashcards. They learn from the Flashcards and basically the same stories. 

Host (David Cole): But how do you play automatically? Or do you have to click the Play button? 

Brenda: Click the play button. And then this is their quiz. Yeah. So that’s kind of the interactive stories. 

Host (David Cole): That’s very good. I love it. It’s very interactive. It’s very animated, very much like the action. Like, you can see this is the moon. I like that it’s wiggly. 

Brenda: Yeah, the picture of the moon. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah. 

Brenda: And the kids like them. They seem to oh, I didn’t answer the question, did I? Oopsie. And then that’s the other story. And this is for the younger kids. This one has a little bit of Rhyming in it. 

Host (David Cole): Do you have the same story for different levels then different age groups? 

Brenda: It’s the same it follows the same story, the same animation. Because I don’t want to do three animations and I just level the story up or level it down so that way I can really recycle my animations and I can use them again or just change maybe some of the questions or some of the guided questions to make it for that level. Like, some of the words are going to be different. Rocket could become a different word. But yeah, that’s it. And I love this creator. They’re really good. Like Brenda. 

Brenda: Here, buy More. I don’t know if I pronounce it correctly or not, but yeah, I like that. 

Brenda: I call it I just they’re always on box. We’re having a sale. We’re having a sale. I’m like, oh, God, not again. 

Host (David Cole): So that’s very good. Those are awesome stories. It’s really cool. Use of the different tools that you’ve been talking about. You showed us I think there’s at least four different tools in each one of those. We saw wordwalk. I know. We saw the Gina Lee. Plus, I’m sure you use something to edit those photos, some of those pictures, and make them like do you remove the backgrounds on some pictures that you have, or do they come with no backgrounds? 

Brenda: No, I buy them so they’re commercial images, so most of them have no backgrounds. I usually use giphy, and I have commercial images in most of the photos, but I am very good at that one, too, for the changing of pants or bodies. I love remove, and I just like, okay, we’ll move their head and we’ll use that part of the head, and I’ll put that costume on them and so we can change the position. But yeah, remove BG is another tool that we use. I mean, we could make a huge list of creators. 

Host (David Cole): Tools would be like, yeah, very much. You were telling me that you have somebody else who implements this really well with their students in an ongoing basis. How did you start with the implementation of the interactive story based curriculum with your student? How did you first introduce it? Did you tell the parents, this is what we’re going to try? 

Brenda: Parents usually trust me, this is the one good thing about me with as many years as I’ve been in there. And usually when a parent tells me what they want to do and I’m like, well, you’re always free to teach the kid if you like. You think that book is doing really good with them, then what’s the aim of the class? That’s what I ask them, first of all, what’s your aim of the class? Is it to get them talking? We’re not school. We don’t have to be school. Can we get them to learn and have fun? Yes. They have enough pressure at school all day long. I’m not having them come to my class and feel like they’re back in school again because then the kids won’t want to come to class. 

Host (David Cole): True. Because I’ve got several students, parents that are like that. My kid already learns vocabulary in class. They’re like, I want them to be prepared if they go to the US. Or England. And so that was their aim. And so we made lessons to go along those routes. Not necessarily what they’re going to learn in school, but what they are going to want to use when they’re actually. 

Brenda: Yeah, because we don’t want to repeat what they learn in school. It’s the same. Like if you teach math. One thing I hated is we learned from math teachers. Like, you go home, dad does it this way, the teacher does it that way. The teacher will come in and say, you know what? You’re wrong, because you can get into the same result by different ways. So I didn’t like helping even with my homework. My poor kid, he came home, it’s wrong. Where is it wrong? Find the answer. I was like the mom that you don’t want to have for homework. I wasn’t going to write it for you. I’m just going to tell you there’s something wrong. I’m not going to tell you where. Maybe the page, but I’m not going to say this is wrong because I want them to teach themselves. 

Brenda: Because if you can teach them to teach themselves, you can see that. 

Host (David Cole): So let’s see here then. We’ve talked about making it age appropriate. We’ve talked about different tools, and this is a very unique approach with these interactive stories. Do you have any kind of thing that you would sum up for any of our viewers about what we’ve talked about on this? 

Brenda: Yeah, first, to sum up, wow, that means you’re going to go back and remember what we said from the beginning. It’s their choice. I believe that the teachers have so many beautiful options out there now. We have so many other teacher creators that make it so different than places like Education. Some of the other major ones, I mean, Twinkle is okay, it’s just not the same. Guided lessons. Education had guided lessons, but their guided lessons were very fast paced English, like the way I’m speaking to you now. So they were harder for the kids to understand. They had all the animations there, but they just didn’t have it slow enough. And I think one thing I definitely. 

Host (David Cole): Noticed, your speech speed while reading the audio parts was perfect for new readers or people or even on ESL students. It was very slow and deliberate and clear, which is good yeah. 

Brenda: Not like I speak normally to regular people. Even my older students, I used to feel bad for them because I’m like, but you’re speaking English, but we don’t understand you. And I’m like, oh, yeah, I keep forgetting you’re not Native. 

Host (David Cole): Definitely full time, like I do. Yeah, we see that all the time. We’re in Spanish speaking countries right now, so we’re always saying, Maslinto, slow down, please. 

Brenda: Spanish speakers are very fast. They’re known. 

Host (David Cole): Yeah. And so I try to do the same thing with my students now, my older students who are more advanced. The mom is even like, I was listening in. You speak really fast with him. I’m like, yeah, he understands a lot, and I want him to be able to hear it, and he’s really going to hear. I want him to really hear when. 

Brenda: They get that older, because they go to America. If they go to America, England, any English speaking country, no one’s going to slow down for them. And I’ve known people that have had that happen. They go to school, they learn how to speak, and then they would come into America and not know what happened to them because they’re like, it’s a whole new language because we speak fast. Northeast, especially anyone on the Northeast Coast, new York, Boston, we think like computers. We move at the speed of light. So we’re like, you go to the West Coast, they’re calm, easy. If you go to the south, you’re not going to understand them at all. We don’t even understand some of them. Too far south. 

Host (David Cole): Oh, I agree. Everywhere. It’s a big country, and not the only English speaking country that they’re going to visit, either. I don’t want to do, like you said, a disservice, that’s for sure. 

Brenda: Also wordwall, that’s another thing when I incorporate, like, I was trying to see if that activity didn’t have it. But I love now the word wall, because we can do British accent, male, female, we can do Irish accent. So this is really good for the kids to hear multiple I wish they had Indian English accent or an Eastern Europe English accent, because we have to know them for the kids. This is really great for them. I lost you. 

Host (David Cole): I think my microphone had timed out. There we go. My microphone battery timed out. It was like, yeah, I think that’s excellent. There’s so many different options. And I like that. I’m going to have to check out those accents on word wall, too. 

Brenda: Yeah. And I have the kids choose them, that’s all. They’re having fun with them. They’re like, I want the Irish one now. Or like when I teach at Bridge Academy, I make the kids speak in the British accent and in the English accent. She has the American accent and the British next to each other. So the kids, it’s hysterical, are like, Come on, do your best, impersonation. Go for it. Speak British. 

Host (David Cole): All right. Well, I know you and I could probably talk all day, But you have a special promotion just for the online summit attendees today, right? 

Brenda: Yes. There is a book that will give you the 20 tips and tricks into genially. It’s like part of the beginning of that. And if this happens later, then you can help me with my coupon again and we can put a coupon inside as a discount so that they could see if they want to use it towards something in my shop as well. But you’re going to have to help me with that again, I’m doubt. Again. 

Host (David Cole): Hi. I think the battery on this thing is failing on me, but we’ve had a good long conversation here. I’m going to have to. 

Brenda: Yeah, you need a wire, but it’s a good microphone, though. It’s a clear microphone. 

Host (David Cole): If I switch it to my headset. Microphone. How’s it sound now? 

Brenda: Now it’s better. We can actually hear you now. 

Brenda: Kind of important to be able to hear you. 

Brenda: I can read lips, I’m fine. 

Host (David Cole): Oh, good. Well, not everybody can. I’m going to put some closed captioning on this. Yes, we will make sure that there’s going to be a link at the bottom of the page for the downloadable. Now, when people do the tips that you give there on there and they want to try that out, can they follow up with you anywhere? Do you have any groups that they can join to find out? 

Brenda: They have free to join? Like, I have my group, they can definitely hop in and ask me. I have a couple of groups. I have one for VLE. I didn’t want to start a third for Young Learners. Actually young learners was another group that I transformed. But, yeah, we have a Young Learners curriculum, so there’s a group on Facebook that if you want, I’ve got to send you the links you’re in. 

Host (David Cole): So we’ll include those links on the page as well so people can find you and follow you as well. All right, well, it’s been great talking with you, Brenda. 

Brenda: It’s been great talking to you, David. It’s been so long. 

Host (David Cole): I’m sure that our followers, our viewers here are going to have some questions and stuff like that, but other than that, do you have any parting words for us today? 

Brenda: Just do what you enjoy and always love what you do and never doubt what you do. And don’t look left and right, because the best way to go is straight ahead. And that’s when I started enjoying what I was creating, because I didn’t want to keep well, I’ve never really wanted to imitate anyone. Anyone. But anyway but I hate oh, do like them. Do like them. And I’m like why I want to be out of the box as far to the left as I possibly can get. 

Host (David Cole):I love it. I like to say that I like to think outside of the box and sometimes throw that box away. 

Brenda: Exactly. So if you think you can do it. And you got to have faith in yourself. And there’s so much guidance out there, and there’s so many of us out there that work with each other, that help you. It’s not like you’re the first person that will do this. So there’s plenty of people out there. The community is much larger. Well, still kind of small, because it’s always we find the same people, but it’s still a good community of support out there. 

Host (David Cole): All right, well, thank you, Brenda. And we will be talking with you again, I’m sure. 

Brenda: Okay, bye. Have a great day. Bye.

Similar Posts