Building Background – Benefits of Using Sentence Frames to Build Background Knowledge

Even as native English speakers we sometimes struggle with just the right word to explain, describe, clarify, or elucidate what we want to convey. We always understand more than we can speak. One of best ways to engage English language learners (ELL) in actively acquiring new material is to connect their background knowledge to the new topic. So, let's give them some brackets to help them use language.

We will be most successful if we remember to always start with the concept or theme.

# 1 When beginning a new topic, let pairs pretest one another. Write this sentence frame on a board, overhead, or PowerPoint, or make your own blackline master with the sentence frame repeated four to six times on a page so you can cut them into strips to hand out to the pairs.

A: "Do you know anything about (topic)?

B: "I'm not sure, but I do know _____."

Egypt "I think it could be _____ because I learned _____."

After students copy the sentence frame, or use the handy strips, erase the word 'topic' in the first sentence. Write in the topic for today. It may be a theme, or a characteristic, or an emotion.

  • Read the sentence frame aloud to the students.
  • Read it again, and this time the students should repeat after you.
  • Give them sixty seconds (yes, really time it, using the entire sixty seconds) to look at the word and think about everything they know about it. No talking. No writing. Just thinking.
  • Next, let students use another 60 seconds (yep, time it again) to write words and phrases to capture their thoughts about the topic.
  • Finally it is time to talk.

This is time well-spent. Your lesson will be stronger and more relevant. Your students will be engaged. You can continue to spiral the content, connecting it to what they already know or previously learned. The ELs will build confidence as they are encouraged to think, write, and talk about what they already know.

# 2 Plan more opportunities for pupil interaction. Here's another sentence starter than can be used with individuals, then shared in small groups.

This new theme of _____ reminds me of a time in my life when _____.

# 3 Make sentences frames with the word 'because' to have students explain connections between previous learning and the new topic.

"I think the next topic will be _____ because our last lesson was _____."

This kind of sentence frame encourages prediction according to prior learning. This is a good time to show the students how much they have learned and how it all links together.

# 4 After reading a story, a sentence frame can be used to let students speak with a partner. You can expand this speaking activity to include a second partner, like elbow- partners and across-the-aisle partners. Provide a sentence frame:

For example, "I think _____ is a hero, because _____."

# 5 Ask students to make comparisons to concrete objects in linguistic ways. Hand out objects to students and give them some time to think and write again, before speaking.

Try this sentence frame with a variety of objects:

I am like this _____ (Snickers bar), because I am _____ (nutty).

I am like this _____ (Matchbox Ferrari), because I am _____ (small and fast).

I am like this _____ (red pencil) because I am _____ (my face is red because I have to talk aloud).

The objects you use can be almost anything!

Now that your imagination is raising up, make up some brackets to use tomorrow.

  • Think about how you would want the smartest student in the school to speak.
  • Then use your target vocabulary and academic language to make a sentence frame.
  • Encourage your ELLs to speak in complete sentences in all conversations in the classroom. This will increase their academic vocabulary, which maximizes learning, and builds confidence.
  • Kids like to feel smart!

Real Estate SEO for Beginners

The world of real estate is going through dramatic change and I don’t mean the current market upheavals caused by the change from a Seller’s market to a Buyer’s market.

Independent of price level there will always be buying and selling of homes going on. But the way people search for and find homes is in the middle of a dramatic change. The Internet is the great equalizer but also the great differentiator.

People searching online are not aware of your achievements, everybody is equal at first. If your website does not offer the design and services people appreciate they will not stay long enough to find out. This is where you can differentiate yourself.

But design and functionality are a secondary issue to the problem of how to get found in the first place. Use the analogy of websites being online business cards. New business cards are deposited not at the top of the pile but at the very bottom. Customers are picking up business cards from the top of the pile. SEO or search engine optimization deals with efforts to move ones business cards further up the pile so that customers can find one’s site through popular search engines.

So you have a new website. So you basically just had your business cards printed but nobody knows how to find them. Or even more dramatic you don’t even know if somebody is picking up your business cards and you don’t know if your business cards are in the big pile yet.

I would define SEO as the efforts to purposefully move ones website to be placed higher on the results page in response to a search query at a range of search engines.

But there are thousands of search engines out there. True. But all but 3 are irrelevant to your optimization efforts. Google, Yahoo and MSN control about 98% of all searches performed on the Internet. Focus on the three big search engines and the rest will take care of itself.

What is there to optimize? The aim is to be found by people searching for things that you offer on your website. When people search they do this textually by querying a search term or phrase. For you to optimize your site you first have to understand for which keywords or key phrases you want to be found. As I am practicing real estate in Aspen, Colorado and appropriate search term could be “Aspen Real Estate”.

Make sure you repeat your keywords and phrases on your homepage. Make the most important key phrase a headline and type it in a bold font.

It is important to understand that search engines are automated computer systems programmed by humans to evaluate the webs content without human interference. This means that search results are based on what is called a computer algorithm. This is basically a set of instructions for the computer on how to evaluate certain criteria and translate the results into a sequence of importance. Most important website first, least important website last.

The art and science of Search Engine Optimization is to try to understand what the search engines are looking for in a good site and then giving the search engine just that. The Google search engine algorithm probably looks at hundreds of different criteria. It is so complex that not even the engineers inside Google know the whole picture. Well you might say, how should none Google employees then know what to do?

Basically the most important fundamentals of what makes a good websites are known. Google for example uses a patented mathematical concept they called “Page Rank” at the root of their systems. Links are seen as votes. The more links are pointing to one website the more important that website must be. The more important the website is that votes for another website the more weight that vote caries.

So, try to get people to link to your website. It is important to know that links from website that have the same topic as your website seem to be more important than links from website that do not fit the subject. Links from other real estate related website are more important to my website then links from websites promoting toys.

Search engines like content rich websites. The more pages with useful content the better. Blogs are a great way to accumulate great on-topic content over a period of time. This is all the more important as search engines like website that have fresh content on a regular basis.

DMOZ.org is a human compiled directory of websites. Read their instructions carefully and submit your website to a relevant category. Yahoo and Google use this directory and it helps to be listed.

Generate a site map and place the xml file on your web server. A site map is basically a long list containing all your web pages in a format that is readable by computer programs employed by search engines to browse the web. These programs are called “bots” or “spiders”. This will help the search engines to find all the pages on your website. Remember, the more web pages the search engine knows about the better for you.

Search engines cannot read certain content. Graphical content is one such thing. If your site consists of mainly pictures the search engine will not understand what your site is about and therefore will not offer it as a result of a search. Make sure your site is text rich.

Real Estate website can have pages for the different subdivisions in the area serviced. Write a blog on the property of the week. Incorporate a section of “Frequently Asked Questions”. Write about yourself and give people a bio on you. Explain the buying and selling process. Offer sales statistics. The list goes on.

Get a program Like “Advanced Web Ranking” to search the search engines for search results containing your keywords. Optimization is fun when you start to see results. But manually looking for your website in search results is labor intensive and a good job for an automated program.

Read web forums and a couple of books on SEO once you are past the basics. The field is constantly evolving and there us tons more to learn.

All About Online Shopping

Identification

The process of online shopping is really easy. It allows people to shop for products and services from the comfort of their own home with the help of a computer and internet connection. A person can visit an online retailer and purchase an item with their credit card. The products or services are then delivered to the address that was provided. With a growth of 33% in 2005, online shopping is continuing to gain popularity all over the world.

Benefits

There are a number of benefits attached to online shopping. The most important advantage is that of convenience. Customers can buy whatever they want during breaks at work or while they are at home without going into crowded malls. Online shopping allows people to shop at any time of the day. One can also book mark a page and come back when they think that the time is right without feeling rushed.

Warning

Always make sure that you are shopping on websites that are legit. You can do so by looking up their names in the Better Business Bureau database. Be careful of phishing. Make sure that the website is secure by ensuring that the address starts with ‘https’. Only give out information about your credit card once you are sure that it is secure. Try and use a credit card as opposed to a debit card or checking account as it is easier to have the theft stopped as compared to the other two alternatives.

Considerations

Don’t get carried away with the cheap rates that you are getting online, as they may pad up process in the shipping. So, be careful and ensure that you double check the shipping rates and compare them with postal rates from UPS, Unites States Postal Service or FedEx. Also, make sure that you do not over pay your shipping charges and look for other details like cancellations, return policy etc. Make sure that you have the contact information of the online retailer in case you have any questions or want to track your shipment.

Types

Today, you can buy absolutely anything online. People buy groceries, food products, medicines and even herbal remedies. The most popularly bought products online are books. According to an online article by Nielsen in January 2008, 41 % of internet users bought books online. Clothing, DVDs, electronics, games and tickets are a few other things that are popularly bought through the online medium.

Shopping for Cruises Online! How?

Are you planning a cruise vacation but do not know where to start? Have you shopped for a cruise vacation? How did you accomplish your shopping? Did you do your shopping for cruises online? Were you successful in getting the best cruise vacation for you?

I could continue with questions regarding cruise shopping and in particular on-line cruise shopping. But that would not accomplish much without some answers to some nagging questions:

1. Where do I start to find the right cruise vacation?

2. How can I find a cruise vacation itinerary that suits me, my family, my loved one?

3. What cruise line should I consider for my vacation cruise?

4. What stateroom category would best suit my vacation needs?

5. How can I compare cruise vacation deals?

More questions. Perhaps we can answer a few of these questions and help you plan the perfect cruise vacation and purchase the best cruise deal.

Planning a vacation can be an exciting part of the vacation experience as a whole. As you explore and research, the excitation buildings. You become more and more interested in finding information – without being overwhelmed – and can get great satisfaction that you will purchase the very best cruise vacation deal.

Where to Start Shopping for Cruises Online!

One can find information on cruise vacations in many locations – newspapers, friends, "brick and mortar" travel agencies and cruise travel agencies, and on-line. The best bet is to start researching for your self. Decide on where you would like your cruise vacation to travel – should it be a warm winter vacation, a fascinating and relaxing Alaskan cruise, an interesting European vacation cruise or an exciting adventure cruise. At a1-discount-cruises.com you can find merchant links, and more importantly at the start, articles about cruises, cruise itineraries, cruise lines, cruise ships, cruise wear and more to help you plan your special cruise vacation.

The Cruise Vacation Itinerary!

You have already decided on the destination of your vacation cruise. The internet allows you the quiet time needed with all resources necessary to research your cruise vacation destination. You will have no salesmen pushing a particular cruise on you because they get a special incentive to sell that cruise. You can investigate which cruise lines travel the chosen destination and find itineraries that intrigue you. A1-discount-cruises.com offers articles regarding many cruise destinations and itineraries.

What cruise line?

This question requires you to look at your lifestyle and what you would like and expect a cruise vacation to be. Different cruise lines offer different price points, different levels of luxury (although they all offer a certain amount of luxury), and different styles.

Generally speaking, the higher priced cruise lines offer a higher level of service, cuisine, and staff per cruise passenger. This does not mean that the "high end" cruise lines are right for everyone. We've all heard Carnival's advertising – "The Fun Ships". These ships and the "Free-Style Cruising" of Norwegian Cruise Lines tend to be more relaxed and less formal than say Radisson Seven Seas. It becomes a matter of preference at this point. Specific ships can also offer different levels of comfort, formality and service.

Which magnificent stateroom?

The question of what level of stateroom is a matter of taste, preference and of course cost. If you do not plan to spend much time in your room, sometimes an interior room would be suitable. These tend to be the best price point rooms as well. An "ocean view" room provides the passenger with a window from which to look at the day before getting ready for the day's events. Our personal preference is a stateroom with a private deck or veranda. We can sit early in the morning for a few minutes and enjoy each other's company taking in the fresh sea air. And later in the day, before getting ready for the fine dining aboard the cruise ships, we can again have our private time together sipping a glass of fine wine on our deck watching the islands drift by. Sometimes a suite is more suitable. On some cruise lines, the upper level of suites offers concierge or butler service. Whatever stateroom you choose, you will surely enjoy your cruise vacation in comfort.

How to compare Cruise Deals?

Now for the "biggie". How can I compare the cruise deals to get the absolute best value for me? If you have done your research well, it will likely be a simple task. "This cruise offers the itinerary on our preferred cruise line in the stateroom of choice at a price within our budget." However, you will want to compare deals with those exact specifications. At a1-discount cruises.com, we have a number of on-line cruise merchants who are waiting for you to send a request. Do not be afraid to offer your email address when requested. This will allow dialog without pressure so that you can ask questions or get clarifications in the privacy of your home or office. Check out two or three three – or more – of the merchants to see how their pricing is and what incentives if any they have to offer you. If you are still unsure about dealing with an on-line merchant, check out your specific cruise with a "brick and mortar" cruise travel merchant and compare the value.

After you have done this, you can book your cruise knowing that you are getting the best cruise vacation. You have planned for your needs, interests and lifestyle. You have compared pricing with a number of qualified cruise merchants. All that's left to do is book your cruise on-line and get excited!

Check out some of the other informative articles relating to cruise vacations at a1-discount cruises.com. You may just find the cruise vacation deal that's best suited to you!