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!

Title Companies Vs Real Estate Lawyers

Is a real estate lawyer a better choice than a title company when it comes to selling your home? You can choose any one of the two but you should first be aware of the difference between real estate lawyers and title companies. Here is some information about both the entities and whose services can benefit you most.

Real estate lawyers

Real estate lawyers specialize in laws relating to real estate and make sure that your interests as a seller are met in the transaction. These lawyers can act as escrow agents as they can hold your earnest money, down payments as well as help you with the requisite documentation. These attorneys can also help you understand the legalities involved in the sale transaction, the offer made by the buyer and your rights as a seller.

An attorney can also handle a closing in case the lender’s lawyer doesn’t do that. Every real estate lawyer has two most important responsibilities.

• To advise on the documentation process of the transaction

• To represent you at a closing

Besides these two important services, an attorney also negotiates any modifications in the purchase contract that the seller wants to incorporate. Preparing the seller’s deed, another crucial aspect, is also taken care of by the attorney. The attorney you hire will also accompany you on your meeting with the client/buyer at the time of settlement. He/she will also advise you on the tax implications involved in your home or property sale.

Title companies

Title companies are insurance agencies that represent title insurance companies. Such companies insure titles to lenders and buyers by ensuring that a title is free from any encumbrance that can cause financial loss.

The title company assures the buyer that he/she can get his/her title on the home or property with no liens against it. The availability of a title on the particular home/property is made clear and vouched for by a title company. In the process, such an entity protects the rights and interests of both parties in question.

Usually, most title companies insure a closing with the help of a lawyer to fulfill certain requirements. Closings also depend on the area you are living in. Toronto natives can hire the services of a real estate lawyer for sale closings.

Keep the following things in mind when you sell your property:

Title companies can hold the down payment and close your home without additional costs. Also, there is a possibility that title companies may give you a discount on your title insurance if you had previously used their services to either refinance or buy your home or property. Lawyers can also close your home/property sale and hold your down payment but may charge an additional fee.

A lawyer can charge a higher fee to write a contract. In cases of simple transactions, this can complicate negotiations. But in most other property sale transactions, the services of a real estate lawyer can prove invaluable.

How to Save Money on Your Calls While You Travel

1) PLAN AHEAD

If you know you will be traveling in the near future, start planning for it. Many calling providers have special plans for use abroad . If your provider does – you might want to use it. Typically, they offer an add-on for a small charge a day. If you are the type of person that spends a lot of time on your phone, it is probably worth it to go for that add-on to your regular plan. Just remember to stop it when you get back, you do not want to be paying that extra charge forever.

If you provider does not have an international add-on or you do not want to use it, there are still plenty of other options to call your home town while you are abroad at a cheaper rate.

Consider buying a local SIM when you are abroad. This is an excellent solution if you travel to the same place often or if you are going to stay in the same place for a long time. When you buy a local SIM card in the place you are visiting, you will usually pay for a bundle of minutes and the price will probably work out a lot cheaper than using your regular phone plan plus you will not need to pay roaming (in Most countries).

If you have a locked phone, you will not be able to use a foreign SIM card without unlocking your phone first.

You can also buy a local calling card which you can then use to call from hotel phones, pay phones … Calling cards are not that popular anymore these day, but if you need a solution for cheap international calling then they are a good option . Also here you have the advantage that there are no roaming costs.

2) WHEN YOU ARE ABROAD

Whenever you need to make a call, think of what you want to say beforehand . This will usually make your call shorter and it will also prevent you from forgetting to say something and then needing to call back.

Text messages are cheaper than calls, so sometimes it may be worth it to send a text message instead of calling , if it is just a short message you need to give over. Remember that text messages are free to receive while calls are not. If someone needs to tell you something, ask them to text instead of call.

Beware though that a back-and-forth text conversation will probably work out the same price as a phone call.

Even if you do not call abroad, you need to pay for incoming calls – so you need to pay when people call you and also some provide make you pay if someone leaves you a voicemail while you are abroad (depending on the country you are In).

You can eliminate at least one of these problems by deciding – do you want people to be able to contact you while abroad or do you want to enjoy you holiday in peace and quiet without being disturbed by anyone calling?

If you do not want to speak to anyone, divert all your calls to voicemail . This way you will not be charged for roaming. You might have to pay if anyone leaves a message for you though.

If you do want to stay in contact with people and answer calls, then disable voicemail . This will eliminate any charges for voicemail (if applicable) and when your phone rings you will be able to see who is calling and decide if you want to answer of not. If you answer you will need to pay roaming charge and if you do not answer, there will be no charge.

Do not listen to voicemail when you are abroad unless you really have to. Calls to voicemail are charged at the same rate as regular calls so you can end up paying a lot of money for just listening to your voicemail.

3) DATA AND WIFI

For many people, high phone bills when abroad do not actually come from speaking on the phone that much, but rather from high data usage. When abroad, your provider will charge you a high rate per megabyte used. If you need to use the internet then by all means use free WiFi when possible, there are loads of places where you can get free WiFi. Some hotels offer you internet at a small charge but that will probably still be cheaper than using mobile data. Just to make sure your phone does not switch to data automatically, it is best to switch off your data for the duration of your stay.

If you are using your phone for GPS and need to download maps, do so before your trip or when you have WiFi. Many navigation programs allow you to download the map beforehand and once it is downloaded no internet is needed for the navigation itself.

4) INTERNET CALLING

Many people these days are turning to internet calling when they are abroad as it offers so many benefits. Internet calls are practically free if both end users are on the same network and provided there is WiFi. If there is no WiFi then you need to count in the cost of data. If both users are not on the same network, then there is a small charge for using VoIP but it is still a lot cheaper that using your regular phone plan.

So obviously the price is a major factor as to why people use VoIP when abroad. But also, VoIP is not connected to a physical place so it can be taken anywhere. Think of business people who want to keep the same number when traveling. With a business phone this would be impossible but with VoIP, people can call you anywhere if you have your mobile / PC with you and there is no roaming charge.

In addition, many VoIP service providers offer features that are not offered with standard phone plans. These may include video calling, sending locations, group chats, and more

There are different types of internet calling:

• Phone to phone calls – using regular phones, VoIP adapters are used to connect the phones to the internet. If both end users are on the same network – the call will be free. If they are on different networks – there will be a small charge.

Calls can also be made using IP phones instead of VoIP adapters to make the calls.

• PC to PC calls – using an app to make calls between PCs.

If the person you are calling has the same app on his PC – the call will be free. If the person you are calling does not have that app there will be a small charge.

• PC to phone calls – make calls from PC to a phone.

If you are calling a phone on the same network the call will be free. If the phone is not on the same network, there will be a small charge.

• Mobile to mobile calls – using an app to make the calls between the mobiles.

If the person you are calling has the same app on his PC – the call will be free. If the person you are calling does not have that app there will be a small charge.

Many apps also allow you to call mobile to PC and PC to mobile.

Whatever type of calling you use while abroad, if you plan a little before your trip you definitely save yourself a lot of money in the end

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.