Sunday, May 6, 2018

Welcome, Conference Attendees!

Whether you received one of my MOO cards at the annual TESL London conference or from my friend at BC TEAL's annual conference, welcome to this blog, which doubles as the de facto national PBLA forum and the only one where teachers can share their thoughts and feelings or organize advocacy with the option of remaining anonymous.

I thought that parts of my plenary presentation went well while other parts bombed. My theoretical overview seemed well received, but the free graphic organizers did not trigger very much discussion or many questions. I didn't quite know how to recover from that, so I simply went on with my example of how even the simplest of resources--a set of pharmacy labels--can be the well that you go back to again and again in order to explore vocabulary, syntax and discourse. I think I should have brought up each handout onto the screen to give teachers an explanation of what happens with them in the classroom and why they are so engaging.

I heard a lot of talk during the materials slam of "contextualized grammar" or "grammar in context." Yet when it came my turn to take the mic, I forgot to tie 'Back to the Well' to this very concept. Of course these graphic organizers--which facilitate activities that you can do with just pencils and notebook paper, for that matter--are about just that! Instead of (or in addition to) getting out the old Azar book to teach about clauses or verb-direct object chains or discourse markers, you can take students back into a familiar text to FIND and exploit the examples that are right there waiting for them.

It was very gratifying to be approached and thanked by teachers who appreciate being able to use this blog as a place to connect with others who are extremely upset by what PBLA is doing to our professional and personal lives. The board member who issued the invitation to me told me more than once how much she appreciates the literacy activity packs that I give away on my website. I really enjoyed the entire conference, including both sessions I attended and the materials slam, which left me wanting the game 'Apples to Apples.' Special thanks to Jen Artan for being on top of all things tech and for getting me and my slides up and running.

If you were holding onto a door prize ticket at the end of the day hoping to get one of the posters I brought and did not win one, you can still grab the PDF from my Google Drive and print it yourself if you have 11" x 17" (preferably glossy) paper and a good colour printer.

Here are the links. When you click one, you will be able to copy the poster over to your own Google Drive where you can either edit first then go to FILE - Download as PDF or just download.

Before You Say, "I'm finished"...

The Seven Cs of an Effective Teacher



  1. Hey don't be so hard on yourself - we are our own worst critic, eh? Your keynote address was warmly received. We have heard nothing but positive comments from our attendees - but yeah, just like with our adult learners, sometimes you focus so much on reading the audience that you over-read or mis-interpret cues. For me, it was a morning that started at 3:00am (thanks to the previous night's windstorm and a Rogers outage that precluded me from putting finishing touches on my presentation and report). Keynotes are often at the tail end of a packed and exciting day. Your efforts in engaging the audience were appreciated and we'd gladly have you back anytime.

  2. Jen,
    Thanks for your kind words. A day that started at 3:00 a.m. doesn't sound fun to me. I hope you've recovered by now and that London is getting back to normal after the storm and utility outages. I'm sitting here looking at the TESL Ontario conference "call for presentations" and thinking, "nope, not this time." I think it's time for me to do lino cuts, make clothes, garden and go for nature walks. --KM