Tool #41: IMDB: Movie Information

imdbInternet Movie Database (IMDB) is a great place for reference for anything to do with movies. I love to discuss movies with my students. Unfortunately, the names in Japanese often have no connection to the names in English.

With this web site showing, though, I can lecture and show short pictures or even trailers to make a visual connection with the language. I often have my students keep track of the logical connections that are between movies (one actor was in another movie, who’s director made another movie with an actor, who married an actress in another movie…).

Tool #40: Evernote: Organize your online stuff

Keeping notes organized is hard enough on paper. But when you add web pages, media clips, videos, audio, podcasts, and whatever, it gets hard to handle. Try EverNote, for keeping things organized and connected to what you do.

Just like most other Web 2.0 sites, you can share part or all of your online notes and great finds with your friends, family or students.

Tool #38: Pace, Speed

I am often astounded by how slowly everything goes in class. It is like everyone is living in molasses. The answers are always carefully considered before being uttered. This is not how communication works. It is not good enough to speak correct English, you have to speak it fast.

Learning goes the same way. You need to have a steady pace, and be constantly learning. I like to say that the absolute worst language learning environment is the classroom, a room with no input, bare walls, only other students for interaction, with perhaps one or two exchanges with the teacher each session. Dismal.

Look at this kid learn. He knows how to do it.

Tool #37: 10 Days in the USA: Board game

Better than Monopoly
Better than Monopoly

OK, OK. It’s not a computer thing. This is a simple board game, one you play at the dinner table after dinner. Did you know Germans are real big fans of board games, instead of TV?

10 Days in the USA is a simple geography game that takes about 45 minutes the first time you play it, but after 2 or 3 tries, you can do it on about 20 minutes. The goal is to set up a travel schedule for a 10-day trip in the USA.

The gameplay is very simple, you play with cards that you replace each turn you get. The first to set up a trip with no gaps in it is the winner.

This is great for student to read the instructions (which are very simple), and sometimes check each other (no real negotiation necessary), and it really helps with the geography of the US.

If you want to give the students a great little electronic (computer based) geography lesson, try Statetris (that’s Tetris with US states…Japan version too.)