Looking for online practice tips? – by Sandra Luna

If you’re looking for online practice to suggest to your students, try one of the following links:

Lyrics Training
The website has been slightly remodeled, but it’s still great! Lots of songs with different levels of difficulty to help your students improve their listening skills!

Free Rice Game
http://freerice.com/ – /english-vocabulary/1374
Have you fed anyone today? This game helps students improve their vocabulary, and it donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme to help end hunger!

Poetry Board
Encourage students to play with words to form sentences and poems. They can then save and share their masterpieces with you and the rest of the class! Great to include in class blogs.


CARROT vs. CCOL? by Shawn Severson

I couldn’t believe that Cambridge had changed to 4 categories, CCOL, not that CARrOT is perfect, but it’s just really handy, giving you 5 categories. For me, it’s easier to give more European-style grades with more categories to grade on. Perhaps that is simply a gap in my assessment skills, but what I decided is that CARrOT is really just “my” system which rips apart the descriptors and makes them more teacher friendly. Yet, I thought I saw my marking safeguard fade
away, as the criteria was no longer valid.

Then it dawned on me: we are, in fact, assessing writing and the rubric is meant to help us, which it has in the last several years, perhaps back to 2007 or so when I came up with it. Furthermore, I looked at the new descriptors for First and Advanced, and they have somewhat puzzling descriptors for 4 and 2, which are “shares features of 5 and 3″ and “shares features of 3 and 1” respectively.

So, for this reason, until we have written our own clearer, more student-friendly descriptors and until we’ve also analyzed the latest Cambridge seminar work, we’ll leave the CARrOT in place to lead us along. Perhaps in the next year we could change and actually write a student explanation rubric sheet into more usable and accessible language. I think that CARrOT works for teachers and also
helps teach students about what is expected. In the near future, we might write
up some CCOooL specs so we all score uniformly and, of course, change the selfcalculating writing template accordingly!

If you want to learn more about CARrOT and CCOooL, contact Shawn.