Colourblind Friendly Graphs (collaboration with Tekhnologic)

A while back I asked Tekhnologic if he could help with graphs that are more appropriate for colourblind people. We sent lots of mails back and forth and this is what that collab resulted in. I really appreciate the help and I hope you find this post helpful, not only if you have colourblind students, but also if you teach presentation skills and want to show your students a different type of presentation. I am reposting Tekhnologic’s post (our collaboration).

Repost

Back in January, Joanna Malefaki from My ELT Rambles asked me if there was a way to customize charts so that they were more color blind friendly.

She wanted to create charts that weren’t just based on color. She wanted to incorporate lines, dots and patterns. So, Joanna and I ended up collaborating for some time; emailing drafts back and forth and designing some examples.

That collaboration eventually resulted in this post.

Joanna has written an introduction that explains a little bit about color blindness before I continue by discussing the examples and tutorial videos.

Contents

  1. Introduction
    • A brief introduction to color blindness written by Joanna Malefaki.
  2. Line Charts
    • An introduction into changing the line type, style and width. Use dots, dashes and solid lines to make your charts easy to read.
  3. Bar Charts
    • An introduction into using different patterns and contrasting colors to make bar charts easier to read.
  4. Pie Charts
    • An introduction into using images rather than colors for pie charts. Images not only clearly illustrate information but they also make your charts more visually appealing.

#1 Introduction

One color blind student in every class

According to colourblindawareness.org/, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are colour blind and it is estimated that there is one colour blind student in every classroom!

Seeing just black and white is extremely rare. Most people are red/green colour blind and more rarely blue. This does not mean that people confuse their reds and greens, it actually means that they have trouble seeing shades of these colors and colors that are formed with these colours.

I am color blind and reading charts is very difficult for me.

I am color blind and reading charts is very difficult for me. Very often people create graphs that use a lot of colours to display whatever they want to showcase. When I told tekhnologic I would like some help with graphs, he decided to help me out with these excellent tutorials on how to make color blind friendly charts.

I gave him some suggestions as to what to avoid. I asked him to:

  • Use a white background and dark fonts.
  • Not choose colours that are hard for colour blind people to distinguish.
  • Try to find different icons or anything else that could be used to show the results of a survey, research or whatever else a chart is used for.

These tutorials are what he came up with and I think they are extremely helpful not just for people who are color blind, but also for people who would like to make their presentations more memorable!

Joanna

You may also want to watch this video from colorblindawareness.org. It’s part of their #1ineveryclassroom campaign and it’s been made to help people understand the difficulties faced by color blind students. Although it is more for teachers of young leaners, I think it is worth watching regardless of the age group you teach.

And as the song says:

Give a helping hand and be understanding of my point of view.

#2 Line Charts

Line Chart v2

When you insert a line chart into a presentation or document, the default setting is to differentiate the lines by color only.

However, as you can see in the example above, I have attempted to make the chart easier to read by using different line styles with symbols to explain the information. Instead of simply referring to the yellow line, why not talk about the yellow dotted line or the yellow dotted line that illustrates a gradual increase in reading?

Creating a Line Chart

  • Go to the insert ribbon and click on add a chart.
  • Choose line chart from the list on the right-hand side and select your style before clicking OK.
  • Enter your values for the chart.
    • Enter values from a text or sources.
    • Or generate a random chart by typing in the following formula: =RANDBETWEEN(1,100). Copy this formula into the other cells and you will generate a completely random chart using random numbers.
  • Change the chart by pressing F9 – this will recalculate the formula and generate new random numbers.

Don’t choose colours that are hard for colour blind people to distinguish.

This was one of the requests from Joanna. She wanted contrasting colors and different line styles to make the lines easy to distinguish. So, we need to format the lines.

Formatting the Lines

  • Select one of the lines and go to the format ribbon.
  • Select the line color menu (shape outline menu) and choose your line color.
  •  Return to the line menu and choose a line style.
  • You will see five icons under the color selection. Choosing a custom color, the eyedropper tool, width options, line style options and arrows. Line style options is the second from the bottom.
The other way to format the lines is to open the format pane.
  • Select one of the lines and right-click. Click on format data series.
  • The format pane will open. Click on the fill line icon.
  • There are two sections. The line section and the marker section.
    • The line section allows you to change the color, transparency, width, number of lines and line style.
    • The marker section allows you to create a marker and change its color, size and shape. Markers represent the data points in the line.

It’s such a quick and simple trick to change the line style, but it can really make a difference and make it so much easier to distinguish the different lines.

 

#3 Bar Charts

Bar Chart v2

In the same way we can use line style to help differentiate colors, why not use patterns with other charts.

In the example above, I have attempted to make the chart easier to read by using colors that are easier to distinguish and different pattern fills. I also increased the size of the legend, so it is easier to read the text, but it also easier to see and match the patterns. Instead of simply referring to the black bar, why not talk about the striped black bar or the striped black bar that illustrates Person 1’s internet use?

Creating a Bar Chart

  • Go to the insert ribbon and click on add a chart.
  • Choose bar chart from the list on the right-hand side and select your style before clicking OK.
  • Enter your values for the chart.
    • Enter values from a text or sources.
    • Or generate a random chart by typing in the following formula: =RANDBETWEEN(0,10). Copy this formula into the other cells and you will generate a completely random chart using random numbers.
  • Change the chart by pressing F9 – this will recalculate the formula and generate new random numbers.

Use a white background and dark fonts.

This wasn’t only important for the text, but Joanna also pointed out that it was important for the pattern fill. I had originally used a darker background in the pattern fill, but it made it more difficult to distinguish the shapes.

Formatting the Bars

  • Select one of the bars and all the whole group of bars should be selected. Click again and you will select only ne bar in that group.
  • Right-click and click on format data series.
  • The format pane will open. Click on the fill line icon.
  • Select pattern fill from the fill options.
  • Choose a light background color and a dark foreground color.
  • Select your pattern from the options available.
  • Repeat for the other bars.
  • Use contrasting colors and a different pattern for each bar.

Similarly with line styles, a pattern just makes it easier to distinguish different elements of the chart.

#4 Pie Charts

Pie Chart v2

You could use pattern fill with pie charts as well, but using images can make attractive charts that are easy to understand.

In the example above, I have used a different image for each segment of the pie chart and I also increased the size of the legend, so it is easier to read the text, but it also easier to see and match the images.

Creating a Pie Chart

  • Go to the insert ribbon and click on add a chart.
  • Choose pie chart from the list on the right-hand side and select your style before clicking OK.
  • Enter your values for the chart.
    • Enter values from a text or sources.
    • Or generate a random chart by typing in the following formula: =(RAND()+RANDBETWEEN(0,25)).
    • =RAND() generates a random decimal number between 0 and 1.
    • =RANDBETWEEN(0,25) generates a random number between 0 and 25. Adding both those formulas together will give you a random number between 0 – 25 to at least 7 decimal places. (up to 25.9999999)
    •   Copy this formula into the other cells and you will generate a completely random chart using random numbers.
    • In the last cell write the formula =100-Sum(B2:B4). This will calculate the remainder out of 100.
  • Change the chart by pressing F9 – this will recalculate the formula and generate new random numbers.

Try to find different icons or anything else that could be used to show the results of a survey, research or whatever else a chart is used for.

This was another request by Joanna. I used icons and symbols in the line chart example, but you can equally use images. ELTpics has a huge selection of images that can be used to make your charts look both attractive and informative.

Formatting the Segments of the Pie Chart

Click once to select the whole pie chart, click again to select a single segment of the pie chart. Only one part of the pie chart will be surrounded by blue dots.

  • Right-click and select format data point.
  • The format pane will open. Click on the fill line icon.
  • Select picture or texture fill from the fill options.
  • Click on file.
  • Select your image and click on insert.
  • Repeat for the other segments.

Because images contain a variety of different colors, patterns and textures they make it very easy to distinguish different parts of a chart.

I hope these tutorials are of some use and just remember the advice Joanna gave to me. Use white backgrounds, choose your colors well, use images and symbols and format your charts so you don’t only rely on color to read them.


You may also like to visit:

http://www.colourblindawareness.org/

Charts can be inserted into most Microsoft® Office® products. For more help, visit https://support.office.com/

Tekhnologic made some video tutorials for each of these graphs and you can find them on his blog. Press here.  He will be doing a follow up, so stay tuned and make sure you follow his blog cause he writes excellent posts.

Back to me:Some final thoughts

I have written about colourblindness so many times. I am trying to raise awareness. Being colourblind is not just about not being able to coordinate your clothes!It is so much more. As teachers, you really need to consider your learners’ needs and if there is a colourblind student inyour class having knowledge is the best way to go.

Thanks for stopping by! Oh! Don’t forget to follow my blog if you aren’t already.

Till next time……..

 

 

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Fun lesson ideas for February 29th

Hi guys!!

So, I know you probably have planned your Monday already, but I thought I’d pop on for a minute or five and share with you an idea or more :).

Monday is February the 29th and since it’s a leap year, you can do something different!

Ideas

Articles to read and summarise as part of a research project, a speaking or writing activity.

The Telegraph just published an article with a video and loads of info. You can print it and share with your kids.

Wikipedia: Post about February 29 and a post about the meaning of a Leap Year.

Working on the 29th of February. Do you get paid? Interesting article for your BE/adult learner.

There are a lot of videos on Youtube about the 29th of February or explaining the leap year. I chose this one cause it is clear and quite easy to understand (B1+)

A video explaining the leap year

Apart from reading, talking or watching a video about the leap year or February 29th, you could also get your students to write an essay  or a letter to themselves (this does not require watching or reading anything about February 29th)

Ideas for writing

Write an essay about what you would like to have achieved/ done before  February 29 2020.

Write a letter to yourself telling him/her what you want your life to be like in 4 years from now. Or anything along those lines.

Tell your students you will be keeping this essay and making a poster out of it. When 2020 is here, you can have a look at the post again. You could also put the essays in a bottle and keep it somewhere in your class. You can also take a class photo and add it on the poster/ bottle.

Time Capsule

Turn this into a more creative class activity by making a February 29th time capsule. Tell your students to put things in this box and that future students will open it on February 29 2020. They can find newspaper clippings, they can make lists of popular songs/ games/ movies. Anything. They make the time capsule and it is stored somewhere in the class.

February 29th.jpg

So, sorry if this messes up your Monday plans, but I think it would be fun to do something different on a day that is here every four years!!

Do you have any other ideas? The comments section is all yours. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog or follow me somewhere somehow on the different types of social media shared on my sidebar.

Till next time…….

 

Footy ELT Resources

“I want to do a lesson on football” the learner said. ” Ummmm. OK!” The fashionista in me panicked. “So, now what?” Well, I did what every sane  ‘I know nothing about football’ teacher would do. I went to Facebook and asked my PLN. Everyone came to my savior and today I am helping my fellow fashionista and non-fashionista teachers out. So, you want to talk/teach something that is based on the topic of football? Here is what I have.

The results of my search/ my suggestions

The Busy teacher website has 39 free lesson plans on the World Cup.

You can use Wikipedia and find the history of almost every national football team.

Labelled football pitch all the words you need to describe a football field (I think?!?!?).

Videos

TED Ed the Impossible Free Kick

I actually found this video very interesting (physics used to explain a free kick).

Ellen video

I watched this video and found it so funny. It is of a football match in Greece. Dunno how you can use it in the class, but I thought I’d add it to put a smile on your faces :D.

My lovely PLN

Articles

Marc suggested the Mirror Four Four Two

A hot topic, according to Paul, is this one. It’s about Zidane and this dude called Guardiola (?!).

Maria told me to have a look at the Guardian because it is very easy to navigate and has clear tabs (I second that).

Lesson Plans

Christina’s suggestion: LanguageCuster.com: Learn English through football.

Gabriela suggested Premier Skills English

A book

Rachael mentioned this book: Express Series: English for Football: A short, specialist English course which you can get *here

Sue actually sent me a lesson plan ❤ ❤

football Pin.jpg

So that’s all folks. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below :). Enough with the football talk. I gotta go put on some makeup now 🙂 ❤ ❤

xx

 

*I use amazon affiliate links

Top EAP resources part 2

My top (online) EAP resources part 2

After writing my first post on some of the online English for Academic Purposes resources I use and since my next pre sessional EAP course (6th!) is just around the corner, I thought it was time for round two. Time to write about some more online EAP resources I use/ will use.  Some of these websites are solely geared towards EAP, but others can be used for general English as well.

Online EAP resources

Englishcentral

This website has a lot of videos which you can tell your students to watch as a self access study task. The videos focus on various elements and there are level descriptors. What I really like about this website is that on each video there are tabs. Watch/ Learn/ Speak. You can tell your learners to watch a video and then do the follow-up exercises. Some are gap filling tasks. After that they can practise as there is a recording button and the icing on the cake is that they get feedback on how they said the word. How great is that? I often send my learners to the Pronunciation courses.  There is also an academic English course worth checking out (Academic courses).

 Various corpora
True story: I was writing a blog post the other day and was a bit confused about which preposition should follow the word feedback, so I asked people on Facebook if the could suggest a website which would enable me to see words in use and the most common prepositions used after these words. I got lots of comments (Thank you everyone : )) and the two that I have been using ever since are just the word and the British national corpus.Getting your learners to use corpora is imperative as they often do not know how a word. Finding the right preposition is also another difficulty students may have. By using the corpora they will find examples of the words in sentences. Just the word has examples of correct and incorrect usage as well as a tab that shows how frequently a word followed by a preposition is used.
music-department pin

 

Baleap. org

Baleao is where I normally go to look for EAP jobs. It is also where you can find links to EAP related websites.There were two links that I didn’t know of. I checked them out and am now presenting them to you. The first one is the Prepare for Success website. You can send your students to this website during the first week of the EAP course if this is held in the UK. There is a lot of information about p[preparing yourself and studying in the UK (videos/texts followed by tasks which provide feedback) which are useful for your international students ( mainly newcomers).

 
 The other website that I found interesting is the Academic English Online website (Queen Mary University of London). This website has different tabs which focus on various EAP skills. I particularly liked the academic writing tab. You can press the academic tab and find other tabs with information about different features of academic writing. There are exercises which are also followed by feedback. Once again, your students can go to this website as part of a self access study task.
 
 
 
 

Edufind.com
Here you can find an online grammar. There are clear tabs for grammatical phenomena. Your students can find rules followed by examples and sometimes even counter examples. The grammar is categorised by parts of speech. The icing on the cake is that after your learners check rules, they can practice the grammar by doing short exercises and/or a thorough test.

 

 
Resources on universities’ websites

These are websites that do not require signing in or registering. The resources are free. The University of Kent  has free pdf files on all the academic skills. You can find information and mini lesson plans on listening, reading, writing, critical thinking and speaking. The writing development center on Newcastle University’s website.You can give this to your students for self-study.  The university of Reading also has a website with lots of study tips for learners and information about punctuation, grammar and so on.

Mendeley

Your students can use Mendeley to reference and organise their Pdfs.

Good Presentation skills vs. Bad presentation skills videos

I very often use these two videos when I teach presentation skills.

Delivering a bad presentation: spot the mistakes

Delivering a good presentation: identify the good points.

3 minute thesis

This is actually something like a competition held by the University of Queensland. We used it at Sheffield uni this year. These videos are great to practice listening, to get your learners to understand what a thesis, and they can look at the presentation skills as well.

music-department pin

Read my 1st post about EAP resources here.  Subscribe to my blog if you like what I have to say. Connect with me on Pinterest/ Instagram.Do you have any other favourites? Feel free to comment below!

Till next time……

 
 
 

 

 

#GirliesideofELT: Digital paper for scrapbooking

Hi guys!!

You know me. I love me some pretty planning/scrapbooking and journaling. I just popped in to say that I have a coupon code for digital paper (you can only use it for personal use not commercial purposes). If you need it for material you are making for your kids, scrap booking, journaling or anything else, you may wanna press the link and check out this website for some really nice designs. I actually made my first printable!!

Spread (2).jpg

My planner

 

My first printable

I bought my digital paper from an Etsy store called aestheticaddiction link can be found here . You can find lots of pretty designs to use in your planner (shout out to pretty paper designs for mentioning this website). The owner also gave coupon codes for you guys (I am making no money off this).
 20DISC – this is good for 20% off a purchase.
50DISC – 50% of any order over $10.00

You can find my printable here. Full boxes Vintage pink and beige (height 2.4 inches/width 1.5).

OK! I am off.

Talk soon!!!

December Holiday Season Calendar

Just like last year, I will be sharing with you another holiday season countdown till school break up for Christmas holidays. So, here are some suggestions for activities you can do with your learners. Where possible I have added an educational twist.

Tuesday 1st December

Christmas/holidays around the world project: Get your students to find information about how Christmas is celebrated around the world. It may be a good idea to do some research on how people in Australia celebrate cause it is summer over there :). Give your students about ten days to finish their projects. Inform them that they will be presenting to the rest of the class. Depending on class size, you can do this as individual/pair or group work. You can also send your learners to this website and ask them to find information. Presentation date: Friday the 11th

Wednesday  December 2nd

Sock Snowman: Get your students to make a snowman out of a sock. You can watch the video with your learners and make a sock.

Educational twist: Get them to write down the instructions on how to make this. Half the class watches the video and then they have to tell their classmates (the other half) what to do. If you are interested in grammar, get them to practice countable and uncountable nouns.

Thursday December 3rd

Secret Santa time. Explain what secret Santa is. Put all your students’ names in a bag and then each student pulls a name. Make sure there is a money limit or that everyone is making a gift instead of buying something (that’s up to you to decide).Also specify that the presents need to be gender neutral!  Tell them they must bring in their presents on X of December (give yourself time to make or purchase something if a student has forgotten to bring a purchase).

Friday December 4th

Charlie Brown and the Christmas tree: Watch the video with your class.

Educational twist: tell them to summarise what happens in this story (writing). You can also make your own listening true or false questions. This is a great video about the true meaning of Christmas/the holidays.

Monday December 7th

3D paper tree: Again time for some video-viewing. Make some 3D paper trees with your students to decorate your class.

Educational twist: Get them to write down the instructions on how to make this. Half the class watches the video and then they have to tell their classmates what to do OR you (the teacher) make some trees, ask them to try to explain how they think the tree was made and then watch the video and check if they got it right!

Tuesday December 8th

Christmas gingerbread men streamers. Get a string of paper and get each student to draw a gingerbread man. Then cut out the men and make a hole on the top of the paper and hang it in the class.

 

Picture from http://www.enchantedlearning.com. Found here

Educational twist: teach your students the parts of the body while making the streamers.

Wednesday December 9th

Get your learners to look for and find words related to Christmas. Depending on their age, you can choose hard or easy word search games. You can even give them a time limit to make it even more challenging. Find word search games here.

 Thursday December 10th

Time for some Christmas songs/ carols. Find a Christmas song you like, search for the lyrics and start singing with your students. My suggestion: Santa Claus is coming to town

                           You better watch out

                                  You better not cry

                                          Better not pout

                                                   I’m telling you why

                                                        Santa Claus is coming to town

Friday December 11th

Students present their Christmas project.

6101d-cartoon-christmas-tree-20742748

Taken from dreamstime. Link found here

Monday December 14th

Online Christmas trivia: Get your learners to answer questions about the holidays.This can be done online in pairs or groups. You can find the quiz here.

Tuesday December 15th

Make gingerbread men: Get your students to watch the video with the recipe on how to make gingerbread men.

Educational twist: 1. ask them to write the recipe! This is a good way to practice numbers. 2. You could also have the ingredients and ask them to show you how you are supposed to make the gingerbread men (after they have watched the video). 3. Homework task? Based on notes they made, ask them to make gingerbread men and bring them to class.

Wednesday December 16th

Make decorative banners using various Christmas Fonts with your students. You can find free Christmas fonts here.

Thursday December 17th

Pin Rudolph’s red nose. How do you play? Find a picture of Rudolph online, blindfold your students, turn them round in circles for a bit, and then ask them to pin Rudolph’s nose. This activity is loads of fun and young learners really like it. 

f5513-untitled2brudoplph

Friday December 18th

How about watching a movie related to the holidays? Here are some movie ideas:

The Polar Express

Home Alone

Frosty the Snowman

Miracle on 34th Street

The Muppet Christmas Carol

It is a wonderful life

Educational twist: Get your students to write a film review or summarise the main points of the story.

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday extras (December 21st-23rd)

  • Go to audible.com and use the free trial option to listen to Charles Dickens audiobook (it is 2hrs 54 mins long). This is appropriate for higher-level learners.
  • Play Christmas word snake. How is this played? Each student takes turns to write a word connected to holiday season on the board. The final letter of student A’s word is the first letter of student B’s word.

                                     Christmas

                                                       Santa

                                                                 Angel

                                                                           Lantern   

  • Time to make a card for the Holidays! You can find templates here or improvise!!
  • Play Holiday season Bingo (make word or picture Bingo cards). You can find templates here.
f5ac5-bingo

Picture from DLTK website (linked above)

So, that’s all for now. Happy planning your Christmas/ Holiday season exercises. You may also want to check out Tekhnologic’s website for a Christmas advent calendar. Feel free to add any ideas in the comments section below. Don’t forget to follow/ subscribe to my blog.

Till next time…..

The one about the teacher who got cold feet

This is going to be like a journal entry. I am going to talk about something new and how I felt before and after the lesson. So, here goes!

My first medical English class

Before the lesson

I feel nervous and excited.

  • Nervous

I am nervous because this is the first time I have a student who wants to talk about the components of blood, clinical trials and viruses. I also have no ‘real’ idea where I am supposed to look for materials. I have been given a few suggestions, but before the actual lesson, these are unchartered waters.My learner is an advanced level learner which is a bit scary because I am the language expert, not the subject expert. This learner will probably not be making too many language errors, so where will that leave me?

  • Excited

I am excited because I have no idea what I am going to do! This is a new challenge. After 18 years of teaching, something new. This is stimulating. I will have to read up on things, I am going to learn and prepare material from scratch and this is fun. Let’s see how this goes.

My teaching context

This is an online lesson. The learner has already had English lessons with another teacher. This is a B2 level student.

My material for today

I chose to use an article from NPR about Alzheimer’s disease. The good thing about the articles I have seen so far in NPR is that they have videos as well, so your student reads the article and watches a video as well.

During the lesson

First minutes were dedicated to getting to know each other. We then started talking about what she thought the article will be about based on the title. The student then read the article, we chatted a bit about it, like a summary. I did not explain any vocabulary.  We talked about Alzheimer’s, she then wanted me to explain some of the unknown words and I did. After that she watched the video which was in the article and talked to me about it.

This was a get to know you lesson with some speaking which was based on the article/video. No homework was assigned.

Why did I choose this article?

I did not choose a medical journal to start my sessions with this learner because I wanted to get a ‘feel’ of her level. I also thought that it might be a bit hard for me as well to explain terms I did not know and I did not want to make a bad impression (teacher has to know it all syndrome. Yes, I could have prepared and found all my unknown vocabulary had I chosen a medical journal article, but I was too stressed, so I didn’t).

What’s next?

I asked my student what kinds of lessons she wants to do. She said she wants to learn a lot of terminology especially if it has to do with clinical trials and blood. So this weekend I am going to do a lot of research and try to see what I can dig up (if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment in the comments section).

This was a good lesson about a disease. It was not a medical English lesson though. I think my next lesson will be an ESP lesson cause now I know my learner’s general English capability. Time to move on to ESP.

I will share the medical English websites I find in a later post. For the moment, check out NPR if you don’t know what it is cause I like it.

2015-05-17 20.07.07

Till next time….