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I introduce new vocabulary, either directly or, more often, through a text or explanation. (I just started to talk about directions and cities and rivers and where people are from, so I put up a big map of China on the Smartboard and talked about where Beijing is and where Tibet is and where the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers are, with new vocabulary and structures.)

I talk about the vocabulary, introduce new characters and terms and structures we will want to use.

I introduce text and, if possible, a video of someone talking about the topic. (I asked a few of our recent Chinese visitors to record very short descriptions of where they are from.)

In class, students work in pairs or sometimes larger groups using the new vocabulary and structures. We will also read texts and watch videos or listen to audio to reinforce. Assignments will focus on using the new content as well, whether through listening (MP3 files I record or Voicethread), speaking (Voicethread), reading or writing. Students will also start to use the new vocabulary and structures in their weekly journal entries (both online and handwritten) and chats.

To finish the unit, I will normally ask students to write a level- and length-appropriate essay online that I will correct, and they will then redo.

I also have each student do a brief presentation to the class - followed by Q&A from the class - utilizing what we've just learned. Normally an oral presentation, we also do visuals, perhaps using Powerpoint. I often video tape these and put them up on the class wiki so each student can see and hear him/herself.

Technology In and Out of My Classroom

I use the Smartboard almost daily.

The videos I have taken of Chinese speakers are all on Youtube.

I use Audacity - a free program for PCs - to record audio which I then post on Moodle for my students to listen to.

I use the Flip video recorders we bought for the trip to China to record conversations with Chinese speakers - which I then show to my students - and also to record the students when they do presentations. They are then posted onto the class wiki for the students to view and hear themselves.

I create a wiki for each class using www.wikispaces.com where wikis for use in K-12 are free. I keep a list of structures we learn, post other stuff, and each student has a page where they occasionally post essays and videos.

I use Google docs for students to do online writing. Each student has one Journal and one Assignments document. After they write, I go in and edit. They then have to copy and paste and make the appropriate corrections.

I also use Google docs to share documents with students, for example sample writing or lists of structures.

I use a website called Voicethread.com. At this site a user can upload photos or documents, and record on them. I use it to create content for students to listen to, and also have students use it for recording. You can learn more about the various uses of it here: http://jrteachingstuff.wikispaces.com/Voicethread

I have students chat online with each other using Google Chat (or any other chat program that allows them to save the chat and then send it to me). They then send me the chat and I give them feedback.

Another great tool which students should use but don't is online flash cards, such as those found at www.quizlet.com. There are hundreds of sets of Chinese flash cards, and students can create their own as well.

I post all assignments daily on Moodle.

The Internet is a further source of great content, from Youtube videos to movies to TV, radio and newspaper websites. There are also good online Chinese dictionaries.