Why Use Wikis in Classroom

Wikis are a good tool for teachers to use in the classroom it is easy to create documents that need to grow and change.  Documents in a wiki are not tied to time, so they can be continually modified.
You can use a wiki just as a blog in that you can use it to put course information, links to resources students are studying, embed videos.  You can also use it as a portfolio of students work. 

There are a couple of features that wikis have that can´t be beat.

Group Projects
They are the best for collaboration.  Collaborate with other classes at a local or a global scale.  Excellent for group projects.  For example you can do a team project to write about features of their city, with 4 students in each team. Assign each team a task for example one team can research and write about good restaurants in their city.  Another team can write about monuments and so on.  Each team can divide the task among the members.  The restaurant team can each write about one restaurant.  They can put it on the wiki and each team member can revise and edit each others entry.  You can assign another team to be the designers and final editors and they can go into each file and make it look better playing with layout, fonts and adding pictures and videos.  Then you as the final editor can go in and review.

Global Classroom Projects
If you are interested in doing a collaborative project with a classroom in another country here are some links that can help you get started.  Global Classroom Project has a directory of participating classrooms that you can contact and samples of some of the projects that classrooms have worked on.  Flat Classroom is another collaborative group that can give you access to global projects.  Another one is IEARN a non profit organization that has over 30,000 schools participating in 130 countries. They have been around for over 25 years.  You can also check this website which has a list of more ways of finding global partners to collaborate with.

History Revert Back
One of the best features of a wiki is this ability to go back in time to an earlier version.  Suppose that you are almost done with you group project and one student makes a mistake and deletes a major part of what has been written, no problem you can go back to the previous version before he made the mistake and recover the information.  Suppose another students overwrites what another student or you wrote, same thing, just go back to the earlier version before the overwrite and recover the information.

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Book Report Guideline

This is the outline for your book report.  Be ready to discuss it with your classmates.

Paragraph 1 -The Characters
First sentence should get the reader’s attention
Use character traits and adjectives to specifically describe the main character
Describe the character(s) with events from the book

Paragraph 2 - The Plot
You explain the main problem (conflict) clearly
Describe two or three events related to trying to solve the problem
Don’t tell the solution

Paragraph 3 – Book Recommendation
A strong introduction sentence and a strong conclusion sentence
Explain why someone should or should not read the book
Include what you did or didn’t like about the book

Note: Each paragraph should have at least 5 sentences and no more than 7 sentences.


Sunset Park by Paul Auster

Miles Heller is a young talented student with an ordinary life until a twist of fate happens. All the hopes and wishes for his future seem to vanish in just a few seconds. Now, everything is empty, until he meets Pilar, a beautiful young girl who will be the main reason to start from scratch again.

Probably, the most important event related in the book is how to figure out the beginning of his new life. He decides to get away from his family trying to forget the past, while he lives in different places, surviving to his own loneliness. But he knows that sooner or later, he will need to face his past to begin a new future with his beloved partner.

If you don’t like the complexity of people’s relationships or with yourself, this is not your book. But, if you like feelings like love, hate, guilt or fear, which affect us daily, there’s no better choice. They are perfectly described in this novel and you get deeply involved in the private life of these wonderful characters.
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More Phrasal Verbs Review

Here are some exercises with phrasal verbs if you want to practice more.  It is a list of some of the most common Phrasal verbs with exercises to help you test what you know.

Phrasal Verbs

Source: English Channel Teacher Jocelyn
Click on picture for larger image and exercises with Look.

Source: English Channel Teacher Jocelyn

This animated video has some more examples of Phrasal Verbs

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Top Tools for your Students Wiki/Blog Projects

Here are some tools for you and your students to use in your classroom projects.  I've organized them in order of the type of tool.

Create animations



Photo Edit


Various Tools
Read Write Think

A sample of a presentation done on Prezi:

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David - Portfolio

Winning the Lottery - Persuasive

People who win a lot of Money in the lottery usually go under a few years later

The first thing that people think about when they win the lottery is to leave their jobs. People do this without thinking. They leave their jobs and this mean that they won´t receive any money for compensation. So they start losing money. Next thing they do is going on vacation, so they have a lot of expenses. So, they won´t earn money for a job and they only spend money.

Next thing people think is buying a lot of things as if money will never ends. They splurge buying a better car, a better house, a better watch, usually than their neighbours. Most of this things are not needed, but they always desires such of those things and they couldn´t afford them. Meanwhile, the amount of money is getting smaller…

When they realize that this money won´t last forever, they think about investing it. And they try to play in the stock market, or buying several houses for selling them in a short time, or starting up some business, so they try to speculate to continue getting money but very fast. As they don´t have usually experience in those kinds of businesses, they began to lose their money. Therefore, they get nervous and they continue investing in risky business.

Finally, in a few years time, they have less money that when they won the lottery. The only solution is to get back to their former job with humility and shame.

My Teacher's Personality
The best teacher I ever had was my teacher of Chemistry at the high school. If I think about it he had most of the principal characteristics a good teacher must have, in my opinion.

He taught us the effort culture. Every day we had a little exam. We had to answer in 5 to 10 minutes short questions about chemical formulation. So you had to study every day the chemical elements table and the new lessons learnt that day. Then, when the principal exam came, you realized that you almost had studied it yet.

He taught us how to work as a team. He introduced us into the laboratory job. Every member of the team had his own tasks. Therefore, if one member not finished his duties the experiment didn´t work. It was frustrating seeing the other groups with their experiments working, so you tried hard until you succeed.

He taught us always with a great sense of humor. I still can remember his particular chemical elements table with all the names of the elements switch into jokes. When you had doubts about some elements names you always remembered one of that jokes and the correct name came to our minds.

The following teachers that I had couldn´t reach his level any more. So I can say that all knowledge of chemistry I have today I owe it to my old teacher.

How has technology changed society?

Technology is not only the research of microchips, bits and bytes. Each age in human history has his own “technology”. The prehistoric human beings learned how to sculpt rocks to use them for hunting bigger animals or to defend their families. Later, at the Iron Age, metal devices were used to improve agricultural processes, hunting methods and war techniques. So, we can say, society has been changed by technology since the ancient times.

Getting close to our times, the Industrial Revolution changed completely our lifes. The steam machine transformed the society. Lots of handmade works were transformed into industrialized processes. Cities grown up because of the exodus of rural people. Workers formed the Labor Unions to claimed for his rights and new political tendencies appeared (socialism, fascism,…) with two World Wars as a result. Industrial Revolution had the most important influence for the life style of the XXth Century.

The computer research was as important as the Industrial Revolution. Computers have changed the way we work and recently, the way we interact with other people. Besides from making easier most of calculating tasks, computers have transformed our social skills. We can now meet someone who lives in the other part of the world and everybody can access to any information he desires. Everything and everybody is closer than ever, but, at the same time, we are getting far from each other with the excuse to communicate with more “new friends”. Our way of life in the XXIst Century will be determined by the future develop of the social networks. What will be the next step, 3D communications, holograms, teletransport,…? Who knows.
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Speaking Phrases Unit 5 Language of Speculation

Making speculations
I wonder if...
I suppose...
I suspect that...
I'm pretty sure that...
I'm convinced/certain/positive that...
It's impossible that...
There's no doubt that...

Responding to speculations
You're probably right
You may be right
Well, maybe, but...
That hardly seems likely
No way! (informal)
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Speaking Phrases Unit 6 Negotiating a solution

There are some situations when we have to negotiate to reach an agreement.  In negotiating we give up somethings in order to get other things that are important to us.

Would you consider...if I ...
If you'll...I could...
Bear in mind...
I can agree to that
That will be fine
That's not possible
I'm afraid I can't
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Speaking Phrases Unit 8 - Making Suggestions

Phrases useful when giving advice to people who are not close family or friends.  These are softer forms of giving advice with indirect expressions especially in a business setting.

Why don't you...?
How about...?
Have you thought about...?
Have you considered...?
What if you...?
Maybe you should...
You could...

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Money: Saving and Spending Vocabulary

benefit advantage; anything that brings help, advantage, or profit
get my finances in order organize my money, debt, savings, and accounts.
get out of debt to pay all of the money owed to others
invest put money into something to try to earn more money
live paycheck to paycheck spending all of your income before receiving your next pay from your employer
make ends meet have just enough money to pay for the things that you need
max out take something to the limit, reach a limit
pay off finish paying for something
put away save money
reward benefit resulting from some event or action
run out to use all of (something) and have no more left.
splurge buy something expensive that you probably don't need
squander spend wastefully
stick to a budget make a plan how you spend what you earn and no more
sustain support for an extended period of time
economy the system of production and distribution and consumption
emigrate leave one's country of residence for a new one
immigrant a person who comes to a country where they were not born in order to settle there
migrate move from one country or region to another and settle there
mobile moving or capable of moving readily (especially from place to place)
opportunity possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances
start from scratch To do it all over again from the beginning
worth it valuable, deserving you time and effort
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