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About this Issue

Welcome to Issue #8 of The Rag. Many new writers, both from Israel and abroad, have contributed to this issue. Parts of this issue may still be a little rough around the edges, and we are still making adjustments as it goes to press. If you find any problems, please let us know.

And here is a brief summary of what you can find in this issue:

In our article section, Tziona Levi describes the process by which teacher unit plans are conceptualized and formulated in a community of EFL teachers working in Arab Israeli high-schools in the ORT Israel Educational Network. Gilda Haber, from Montgomery College and University of Maryland University College, discusses Diversity and Seat Position among College Students in America and Israel. This is the second time Gilda has contributed to The Rag and we hope to see many more contributions from her in the future. Sigalit Arditi shares with us the many things that the Amit English website has to offer, as well as providing information on the Amit Network, as a whole. The Amit English website has been a leading innovator in bringing the Internet into the English classroom and we hope you will take advantage of its offerings. Naomi Epstein explains how we can use pictures to help students prepare for the Bagrut Exam. Mitzi Geffen joins us once again, this time explaining how to use drama in the classroom to get students to talk. Maxine Tsvaigrach, a child of the sixties, tells us how to to recreate a semblance of the Sixties at your own school. Robin Eisner discusses listening, which she believes to be the teacher's greatest tool, not only in providing the student with a sense of confidence and pride in knowing that their teacher heard them, but also in helping the teacher learn about important aspects of the student's life that could make all the difference in their relationship. Nancy McKeand, director of the ESL Institute at Eastern New Mexico University, explains how to incorporate technology into the classroom through the use of WebQuests. Seth Eisenberg, Executive Director of the non-profit PAIRS Foundation, discusses how the use of animated PowerPoint presentations demonstrates significantly higher levels of understanding, integration and retention of key concepts and skills among students. Declan McCabe, Associate Professor of Biology at Saint Michael's College, explains the challenge of having teachers alter their teaching style to meet the needs of ESL students as a part of his Biology in elementary schools class for education majors. Nicola Avery tells us about a session on navigating the live virtual environment led by Nellie Deutsch, a part of the bi-monthly lunchtime sessions at the University of Surrey aimed to provide an opportunity for staff to chat informally with each other, meet others and share experiences with both internal and external presenters. Nellie Deutsch details her observation and interview of an ESL teacher who integrates a variety of media and technologies in her instruction. Carsten Ullrich studies the usefulness of microblogging in second language learning using the example of the social network Twitter at the Distant College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. And Aviva Shapiro explains how reflection can help us move forward.

In this issue's feature, Naomi Epstein presents an Illustrated Guide to returning from a sabbatical.

In her regular music column, Laurie Ornstein explains how to brighten up lessons and add interest to the run-of-the-mill "listening comprehension" through story songs. And in the Poet's Corner, Barry Gonen, Phyllis Oded and Maris Mohr share with us their most recent contributions. And no issue would be complete without Barry Silverberg's biting satire.

To read more about the writers who have contributed to this issue, you are invited to visit the About the Writers page.

As always, your input is more than welcome.

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