Posts tagged blog

EFL Learner-Blog – A Rubric

Last year, collaboratively with some great colleagues from Twitter and Posterous, I wrote a blogging rubric for my EFL students, based on the excellent work by Andrew Churches. The idea of the rubric was to help them gauge what they should aim for in a “great” blog post. Although I didn’t continually refer back to the rubric all year, it did give my students an idea of what I considered, and is considered, “excellence” in blogging. I think that a mix of my students’ enthusiasm, their talent, and the clear nature of the goals in the rubric helped many of them to achieve the excellent results they did last year.


Time to shift

Image from:


Below, there’s a copy of the rubric if you’d like to try it out with your students, but before you look, there’s a link to a Google docs version beloiw, too. So if you are feeling in the mood, you can improve the rubric / alter it etc and of course USE it with your own students, too!

Again, please, please do feel free to add, remove, alter or in any other way you feel fit improve this EFL blogging rubric. If you’d rather just print it, or browse it, here it is 🙂

Quality Blogging for Language Learners – A Rubric


All the best, and happy blogging!


Blogging with EFL Students – Part 3 – Get Your Blog Moving!

In this final part of my short series on how to blog with EFL students. If you missed the first two you can find them here:

Blogging with EFL Students – Part 1 – Setting Up a Blog

and here:

Blogging with EFL Students – Part 2 – Blogs Grow With Comments


In this final set of slides I’ll discuss a couple of the essential things every blogger should be able to do to whether they be a teacher or a student. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything a blogger should do, but it should help you get the final basics in place.

Uploading a photo to your blog post makes it far easier on the eye and therefore more likely to be read. Adding a link to other related posts or interesting information helps give your reader a bit of background and adds context to your post and finally sorting out your profile lets your reader find out a bit more about you which, hopefully, will make them more likely to want to connect with you.

So, on to the slides: Once again, please do ask if there is anything you’re unclear about or if you want a bit of help with something. If you think I’ve missed out another vital skill for bloggers, do tell me. I’d love to know and will happily update the slides in the future. Down there at the bottom in the comments section, let it rip! 😉


Take care and all the best,


Blogging with EFL Students – Part 2 – Blogs Grow With Comments

As I mentioned in the first post in this series blogging offers a lot of scope for authentic communication from EFL students. From “guest speakers” to reflective jornals, to simple discussions, to stronger “opinion pieces” there are all sorts of ways EFL teachers can use blogs with their learners.

For example this year at the high-school I work at, we’ve been discussing social issues that we feel strongly about in our personal blogs. We’ve also used a class blog to share hints and advice for classmates about how they can improve their own blogs.

Although the slides in this series are all quite specific to my own students (and trainee teachers,) I hope they can be helpful to other teachers and teacher-trainers, too. I’ve learnt a lot from what other people have generously shared over the internet and I hope now to be able to “put a bit back” for others.

In this second set of slides we discuss how important comments are to a blog (and a blogger) and how to enable them. The slides use screenshots from Blogger itself. On occasion things have changed in Blogger slightly from when I originally wrote this guide, but the basics have remained more or less the same.

If you want any more information about edublogging, or if you’d like to share a lesson idea that you’ve tried out with your students, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.


All the very best!


Blogging with EFL Students – Part 1 – Setting Up a Blog

Blogging is a great way to allow your EFL students a little space to be creative, talk to a “real” audience and connect with other learners.

This year at the high-school I work at, Martino Martini, in Mezzolombardo, Italy, we’ve been experimenting with using student blogs as a kind of reflective journal to discuss things we’ve learnt in class. We’ve also started a class blog as a digital noticeboard for pasting slides I’ve used in class, homework reminders and examples of great work from within the class.

Although they are quite specific to the needs of my students (and trainee teachers,) I’ve decided to share the slides I use to teach blogging.I hope they can be helpful to other teachers and teacher-trainers, too.

So, this will be the first in a series of three presentations to help EFL students and teachers learn how to blog and how to use Blogger. In these slides I go through the basics of what blogging is all about and show how to set up a Blogger account, using screenshots from Blogger itself.

I hope these slides will help you and your students get started with this great communicative tool! If you have any questions, or have any advice of your own about setting up a blog to use with students, be sure to leave a comment to tell us about it 🙂


p.s. I know, I know what you’re thinking. This presentation breaks many, if not all the “rules” I shared in my Death By PowerPoint – and How to Avoid It post I wrote recently. My only defence is that I wrote this guide about 18 months ago, before I’d spent time studying how to improve presentations. Tell you what, I’ll make a promise. If I get round to updating these slides, I promise to upload the improved version here, okay?! 🙂

All the best,


€50 Interactive White Board – Back In Action?

Last summer I wrote a post about a n IWB that costs just €50 that the technology guru / geek Johnny Lee had invented using an infra-red pen and a Wii remote. I was really excited about it thinking that maybe this could help many more schools get IWB technology into the class.

I made myself the €50 IWB, I tried it out a few times last summer and I must admit the results were not all that encouraging. I didn’t think much more of it until recently when I “met” a guy called Chris Hill (thanks to my friend Enza via Twitter). Chris is a big evangelist of the Wii remote IWB. This started getting me interested again in the project. I’ve been looking again at my Wii console think “Should I drag you back to the classroom? The answer now, I think is, yes, I will.

My desire to try out the Wiimote IWB again is because Chris has written a handy and comprehensive FAQ on the Wii IWB drawing on his experiences and sharing solutions to the niggly little problems teachers might find when trying to set up their own Wii IWB. Here’s a quick snippet of his post:

How much does it cost? / Is it really only $50?
The controller for the Nintendo Wii is for sale throughout the United States for $40. [It costs about €50 in Europe – Seth] You can build an infrared pen for $5-6.  The software is free to download.  The cost of the computer, projector, and Bluetooth adapter (if your computer does not have built-in Bluetooth) are not included in the $50.

I can’t make my own infrared pen.  Can I buy one?
Absolutely.  Do a Google search and you will find several options starting as low as $6.

Do I have to modify the Wiimote? / Can I still use it with my Wii?
No / Yes.  The Wiimote connects to the computer via Bluetooth, the same way it connects to the Wii.  You don’t have to open the Wiimote, break it, or reprogram it.  So, if you (or your kids) have a Wii, you can use the equipment you already have for both purposes.

How do I get started?
Download the free software (Mac version or PC version), build an infrared pen (see my demo) or buy one online, connect to the Wiimote via Bluetooth (open your Bluetooth devices, push the 1 and 2 buttons on the Wiimote, add the device) , run the software, calibrate it (push the “calibrate button,” click on the targets), and you are done.

And Chris has loads of other great advice in his post as well as elsewhere in his blog. Definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in trying out the Wiimote white board!

All the best,


Wiimote Image:

Social Media in Plain English

Social Media – Blogs, Podcasts, Photo sharing,  Video Blogs (Vlogs) etc – as we know these can be really versatile tools to use with our students.

This video by Lee LeFever from the fantastic Common Craft explains why the “Social” part of social media is bringing new life to publishing while allowing small, content publishers (our students?) to have meaningful interaction with other students and their readers/listeners/viewers via the comments system. If you’re looking for a simple explanation of all this, you can’t go wrong with this golden oldie (from 2008!)

If you have lower-level students you can also find a subtitled version of the video on the Dot Sub website.

Go to Top