7 Free Online Courses in January

7 free online courses

How are you in 2018? After my winter break I’m ready to rock! To my organised self it’s a double charm when the beginning of the year matches the beginning of the week (which in my case is on Monday). The New Year, as always, brings new challenges, new opportunities and new things we can learn – and I’m quite excited about all this!

Here’s my monthly bulletin on seven courses I could recommend for teachers, DoSes and educators in general. We’re taking January resolutions seriously, so most of the courses have their starting dates, no lazy self-pacement this month!

1 How to Succeed at: Writing Applications by the University of Sheffield

Start: 8th January

Duration: 3 weeks

For whom: people who are ready for a big change in their lives – both teachers and students

This course has been designed and developed by experts from The Careers Service at the University of Sheffield to help people write successful applications, whether they are applying for jobs or planning to study at university or college. When you complete this course you may go straight to How to Succeed at: Interviews (starting on the 29th of January) and then follow with How to Succeed in the Global Workplace which was produced in collaboration with The British Council.

2 Academic Discussions in English by University of California, Irvine

Start: 1st January

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: students preparing to start university education, people who want to practice and improve discussion skills

In this class you will learn not only about different types of conversations you will encounter in academic settings, but you will also discover some strategies helping you understand other people’s meaning and helping you express yourself effectively. In the paid version, the curriculum includes recording several videos of oneself for peer feedback, however free users have access to all instructional videos and handouts.

3 Supporting English Learners: Resources for Leaders by Stanford University

Start: self-paced

Duration: self-paced

For whom: teachers, educators, DoSes

This course provides a set of resources designed to support educational leaders in driving educational change for English learners and guide you through a process of examining existing system around TEFL as well as help developing a plan to encourage shift practices. The overall goal is for participating educators to better understand students of ESL in their context and use what they learn to design a better system where students may achieve more.

4 Becoming a Confident Trainer by TAFE SA

Start: 8th January

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom:  educators, trainers

The course focuses on more practical aspects of training and facilitation like: practical techniques, approaches, hints and suggestions that you may apply to your own training environment. Confidence as a trainer comes from the awareness that you are well prepared in your topic, but it is also understanding that an effective trainer is someone who presents in a professional manner, is an effective communicator and has developed the awareness of the learning needs of their learner group.

5 Young People and Their Mental Health by University of Groningen and University of Cambridge

Start: 15th January

Duration: 5 weeks

For whom:  parents, caregivers, teachers and medical professionals but mainly young people aged over 14 wanting to know more about mental health

The course is designed primarily for young people as mental health problems often develop during the teenage period. It may be really useful for teenagers to know how to recognise common mental health problems, know how they arise, what can be done to prevent them and what should be done when one actually suffers from them. Naturally, it may be only useful for adults to take this course as well, as it may help us develop not only the knowledge, but also ways of communicating with teenagers.

6 Cybersecurity and Its Ten Domains by University System of Georgia

Start: 1st January

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom:  anyone and everyone interested in cybersecurity

This course is designed to introduce the more and more important issue of cybersecurity. You will gain access to materials that address governance and risk management, compliance, business continuity and disaster recovery, cryptography, software development security, access control, network security, security architecture, security operations, and physical and environmental security. You do not need prior experience in IT security to do well in this course. All you need is a willingness to learn.

7 Leadership Through Social Influence by Northwestern University

Start: 8th January

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom:  people interested in persuasive influence situations

Well, that’s a bit tricky course – I think there are two types of people who might find is useful – those who want to use persuasive approach… and those who want to recognise and defend against it (as it is, in its crudest meaning, manipulation). The broad goal is to provide learners with not only an extensive persuasion tool kit, but also with an understanding of how different tools are useful in different situations. For some, such knowledge may be interesting to use, for everyone – to study.

And, last but not least, a course that is not really free, but may be of use, especially for our students:

Writing Better Emails by the British Council

Start: 29th January

Duration: 3 weeks

For whom:  for all working professionals, especially young people, CEFR level B1 and above

Cost: $59

It isn’t very often that we have time to cover professional e-mail writing during our EFL courses – I know that some of my students would be more than happy to practise this skill at home, especially that they feel like practising in-class writing is a waste of time. This online course develops planning, organising, writing and editing skills, to enable students to write more effective and efficient emails and is an interesting option to recommend to your students.

I hope the courses I’ve chosen will help you pick something interesting to study this month – I’ll probably pick the one for Confident Trainers.

Enjoy and see you online!

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What school leaders need to know…

is thiswhatwe needto know-

… About Digital Technologies and Social Media – it’s a book by Scott McLeod and Chris Lehmann written with many authorities on the topic on educational technology. Published in 2012 is an interesting read and a source of inspiration.

First of all you may sensibly ask whether a five year old paper book is not obsolete – after all, technological advance speeds up rather frighteningly. My answer is simple: of course, parts of the book are sometimes ridiculous (using RSS readers in the classroom sounds like history, doesn’t it?), but even though some ideas seem rather old-fashioned, it doesn’t mean the whole publication is a waste – quite contrary.

A series of articles touches various aspects of using digital solutions in the classroom, from blogging to online course managing systems. You can read about wikis, webinars, videos, social bookmarking or online mind mapping – but the best thing is that each article focuses not only on a digital tool, but also on its application in the classroom.

For example, the first article (Blogs by Kristin Hokanson and Christian Long) not only explains what blogs are and what is their educational rationale, but also introduces the Alice Project which turned out to be more than encouraging children to write a blog. We can read about technical steps and framing the whole process as well as after-project reflections – I found this really inspirational, because there’s nothing better than learning from someone else’s experience.

Apart from personal experience, each chapter mentions some potential uses of various tools that may still be useful – like a lot of ways you may use open source software, a full list of ideas on how to use digital videos to make your classes more interesting, etc.

Moreover, you can find tips that will make you think before you decide to implement a particular digital solution – like the three Rs, vital when it comes to including instructional video games in the class (repetition, reward and reason, useful not only in this case).

One of the things that caught my eye, however, was not connected to digital technology as a useful tool – it is a matter of responsibility, something we should teach our students along with technological solutions. We are going to read about responsible blogging, free open source software, protecting the school image etc.

To sum up, while I found some parts of the book a little bit outdated, the majority of the articles shed new light on some of the digital tools I’ve been using for a while. If you want to read a book that gives you a moment of reflection on your technological approach – that’s a great book for you.

You may also consider this book a nice gift for a fellow teacher (or a principal) who is not really up to date with technological tools in the classroom – quite often teachers feel awkward to start with a new solution, especially when they realise their students have a far greater knowledge on this topic. This book may be a good start on a journey, pointing out some basics and guiding through more problematic issues connected with using technology (responsibility, classroom management etc.).

Enjoy!

What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media

Scott McLeod (Editor), Chris Lehmann (Editor), David F. Warlick (Foreword by)
ISBN: 978-1-118-02224-5
224 pages
November 2011, Jossey-Bass

7 free online courses in December

7free onlinecoursesin December

Today, I feel pretty much like Santa, bringing you a fresh batch of free online courses you may enjoy during the December break, so that “New Year, New Me” spirit will have a solid background of December-learning. This time I’ve focused more on self-paced courses, as with the holidays preparation on our heads, we may be too busy to seriously focus on learning.

1 Teaching for Success: Practices for English Language Teaching by the British Council

Start: flexible

Duration: each course takes 4 weeks

This program is more than a mere course – it consists of three courses that can be taken in any order, and will equip you with the tools you need to take responsibility for your own CPD. Each course will look at four professional practices, explain their importance and offer a range of practical advice and suggestions in three areas: Lessons and Teaching, Learning and Learners, The Classroom and the World. Recommended for fresh teachers, but also those who want to connect with teaching buddies around the world.

2 Game Theory by Stanford University, The University of British Columbia

Start: 4th of December

Duration: 8 weeks

Game theory is getting more and more popular in everyday life – and the course will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), Bayesian games (modelling things like auctions), repeated and stochastic games, and more. The good thing is that this course is designed for beginners, so no extensive knowledge of maths is required (you should be familiar with basic probability theory though, and some very light calculus would be helpful).

3 Working in Teams: A Practical Guide by the University of Queensland

Start: self-paced

Duration: 4 weeks

This course is an introduction to teamwork skills that will help you improve your own performance and that of your team. It covers why teams are important, the roles of individuals in a team, systems and processes for effective teamwork and communication, and methods for addressing team conflict. I would recommend it to everyone who manages classrooms to improve teamwork, as throughout the course you will be provided with a range of tools and templates that you will be able to use with any team.

4 Blended Learning series by Relay Graduate School of Education

Start: self-paced

Duration: flexible

This, again, is more than a course – a set of four modules that will teach you about blended and personalised learning as a whole. You’ll learn the how and why of “blended” and how blended/personalised learning is changing the face of teaching and learning. You’ll leave this course with four blended “recipes” you can implement in your classroom immediately. You’ll leave this course knowing why your blended practice should be grounded in instructional challenges/student needs and how you can leverage technology to address those challenges, so you can teach each student in a more personalised manner.

5 21st Century Learning by Grainne Conole

Start: self-paced

Duration: 6 weeks

This MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) will introduce you to 21st century learning tools and practices. You will examine how they can facilitate learning and teaching, and evaluate your own digital literacies, create your own personal learning environment, find open educational resources, explore virtual worlds and more. Recommended to fresh teachers or those who feel the pressure of using technology in the classroom but are somewhat shy to start.

6 Educational Technology by Georgia Tech

Start: self-paced

Duration: 16 weeks

This is a proper university course (you can read its detailed description and requirements here) for those who want to focus on educational technology for real – maybe in order to help with their MA or PhD, maybe because this is something they want to do in their lives. This class is built on a number of pedagogical strategies, including project-based learning, authenticity, and apprenticeship. The ultimate goal, supported by these strategies, is that through this class you will make an actual contribution to the field of educational research, and start a project that could be continued even after the semester is over.

7 The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture by Smithsonian

Start: self-paced

Duration: 6 weeks

Can you imagine a course with Stan Lee as one of instructors? Well – here we are! You’ll learn about how cultural myths, world events, and personal experiences shaped the first superheroes, you will apply these frameworks to create your own superhero– or you can choose to do a deeper analysis on existing comic book heroes. At last, fans, students and seekers of knowledge have the opportunity to enrol in the ultimate comic book course – so this may be a great idea not only for you, but also for your students of EFL!

I guess I found something I want to study this month…

I hope you’ll feel inspired and together we’ll have fun picking the best course of the month!

Enjoy!

7 free online courses in November

iloveyouso

Yes! My favourite month is almost here! I love November – especially when I can stay in, wrapped up in my favourite blanket, with a purring cat snuggled against me and a great book to read… or a TV series to watch. Have you already seen Stranger Things 2? If not, you should totally do, as you can actually see what Role Playing Games are and how important they may be in real life!

Apart from RPGs (currently I’m writing a nice article about the idea behind this phenomenon, give me a fortnight or so), I don’t mind spending my time learning new things – and as every month, I’d like to share my picks of the month: seven free courses you may attend online:

1 Engaging ELLs and Their Families in the School and Communities by Arizona State University

Start: 13th of November
Duration: 6 weeks

The course is focused on K-12 classroom environment in the U.S., however you will learn how to better and more successfully engage your students and their families in the school and community, how to engage a student in the classroom setting as well as in various aspects of the school including extracurricular activities and the inner workings of the school and education system. You will also be introduced to strategies for engaging the families of your students in the school community. It may be useful for those teachers who deal with parents on a regular basis.

2 ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children’s learning across the curriculum by University of London

Start: 13th of November
Duration: 6 weeks

Why and how are teachers integrating ICT (Information and Communication Technology) into primary education? Here you will compare your own ideas with other teachers around the world and will learn how to be aware of the range of reasons for using ICT and how to analyse the strengths and weakness of different decision-making mechanisms. You will also become familiar with a wider range of useful tools and resources for integrating ICT. It may be useful for those teachers who are slightly overwhelmed by technology in their classrooms.

3 Social Media – What No One has Told You about Privacy by Dr. Anne Kayem

Started: 23rd of October
Duration: 2 weeks

Have you ever accepted a friendship request from the guy or girl you met at the shop only to regret it the minute you clicked on “accept”?  If you have, then you probably know about the nagging feeling of discomfort that you try to ignore or comfort yourself by telling yourself that it does not matter. However,  if you feel concerned that something is not quite right, it most likely is the case. I believe privacy and social media is (or should be) a hot topic at the moment for everyone, especially teachers dealing with teenagers.

4 Applying to U.S. Universities by University of Pennsylvania 

Started: 30th of October
Duration: 5 weeks

This course will help international students (non-U.S. citizens) and non-native English speakers navigate the U.S. university admission process by offering practical information about the documents and pieces that make up a U.S. university application. More importantly, admission officers will discuss how they use those pieces to decide who is accepted and who is denied, so that you can understand the process beyond the pieces. I would recommend this course to anyone thinking about studying in the U.S. – and those teachers who work with students planning to do so.

5 Develop your knowledge of studying in the UK by the British Council

Start: 13th of November
Duration: 4 weeks

This course is designed primarily for those counselling students looking to come to the UK to study, including school counsellors, education agents and those interested in becoming education agents. Potential students and learners will also find the course informative and useful. You will learn about the UK education and training system, quality assurance systems and how they operate, student lifestyle issues, welfare and support for international students, application processes and entry requirements. It may be useful for those students – and their teachers – who think about studying in the UK.

6 Mentoring in Schools by European Schoolnet Academy and Inducas

Started: 15th of May (but materials are still available)
Duration: 6 weeks/ self-paced

This course may be a really great help for DoSes.  It is focused primarily on mentoring of colleagues within a school. Particular references are also made to the mentoring of beginner teachers, supporting them to find their place in the school and classroom.  You will learn how mentors can support and develop the work of teachers in schools. The course aims to support mentors working with teachers by offering them strategies and tools for their work with teachers as well as examples of effective mentorship approaches leading to more effective, happier, and successful teachers.

7 Coursera: Lesson Planning with the ELL in Mind by Arizona State University

Started: 30th of October
Duration: 6 weeks

This course is perfect for teachers who are just starting their adventure with EFL teaching! In this course you will learn how to design lesson plans around the needs of your students and their language level through the analysis of content language and cognitive demands. You will learn how to align language objectives to the adopted standards of your school and content area. Analysis of second language acquisition theories will be applied to lesson planning.

And, as a bonus – just for your teenage students:

World of Spies: Keeping Secrets by Purdue University

Start: 20th of November
Duration: 4 weeks

What does it take to be a spy? Strong critical thinking and communication skills, a firm grasp of logic, and a love of puzzles are all useful. This course, designed for 13-18 year old students, will help them develop those abilities while exploring the exciting world of espionage. They’ll learn about code-making and breaking, encryption, logical thinking and more as you find out whether you would make a good spy. If you have ambitious pupils – that may be a great beginning of their e-learning career!

I hope you’ll enjoy the courses I recommend – I still have to make up my mind on which course should I take. Definitely the one by the British Council, but maybe I should satisfy my inner child and have fun with espionage? So many options, so little time!

Enjoy!

7 free online courses in October

7 Free OnlineCoursesin October

September is over, and October brings long evenings when you can drink tea or hot chocolate and read books… or learn, of course! With leaves falling in many beautiful colours, let me shower you with lovely online courses, that are free to participate and open for everyone. And if autumn cosiness makes you slightly lazy, the courses I want to show you will wake you up and inspire for a nice change!

1 Storytelling for Change by the Ariel Group

Storytelling is an extremely popular topic nowadays – teaching, coaching, even sales reps operate on using stories, as they make your message memorable, give your audience something to relate to, and above all capture their attention. You will get familiar with important storytelling tools, and create a rehearsed presentation that can help you connect with your audience and inspire change.

The course starts on the 10th of October and takes 8 weeks.

2 Teaching Flipped by University of Utah

Flipped Classroom in one of the most popular ways of introducing Blended Learning. This course is taught flipped/MOOC-style by veteran flippers and MOOCers to give you experience with the tools and learning methods. By the end of the course you should have a good idea of how to flip your own course plus you’ll have the tools to do it well.

The course starts on the 2nd of October and takes 8 weeks.

3 Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change by Case Western Reserve University

Coaching can inspire and motivate people to learn, change, and be effective leaders, among other roles in life. The course focuses on “coaching with compassion” (coaching someone to their dreams and desires) as the most effective form of the process. You will learn about psychology and neuroscience behind coaching which may be very useful not only for a teacher, but also for a DoS.

The course starts on the 9th of October and takes 5 weeks.

4 Launching Innovation in School by MITx Microsoft in Education

Innovation in school is a very popular topic nowadays – each school wants to be unusual, and sometimes a teacher is simply asked to introduce and innovative change – and left alone. Now, this course is for school leaders of all kinds (from teacher-leaders to principals to superintendents) who are launching innovation in schools – starting new efforts to work together to improve teaching and learning. It’s a great way to exchange ideas and share experiences!

The course started on the 28th of September and takes 7 weeks.

5 Growth Mindset: How to Help Your Child Learn, Grow, Thrive by The Institute for Wellness Education

Carol Dweck introduced growth mindset and introduced a new approach to education as a lifelong process. In this mini-course, you’ll learn the psychology and science of how mindset works to shape child’s future, and the life-altering power that a growth mindset offers. You’ll learn powerful skills to help develop a growth mindset that will set the stage for children to develop and thrive throughout life. Perfect not only for teachers, but also parents.

The course is self-paced, which means you can take it anytime you wish.

6 Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing by University of London, UCL Institute of Education and Dyslexia International

This course is perfect for those teachers who want to learn why some children have so much difficulty with reading and writing (an issue often called “dyslexia”), and to learn more about best practice in teaching literacy to all in light of recent scientific discoveries. You will study not only theory, but also practical approach.

The course starts on the 2nd of October and takes 6 weeks.

7 Teaching Literacy Through Film by the British Film Institute and Into Film

Almost every student likes watching films in the classroom, but teachers (and parents) aren’t so sure that this is the best educational help. Recent research, however, has shown that film can be a powerful tool to help improve children’s reading and writing. In this course, you’ll find out how you can help your students learn with film using various approaches and activities.

The course starts on the 16th of October and takes 4 weeks.

 

I hope you’ll find something interesting – I personally pick Coaching Learning, as being a DoS means constant changes and challenges, especially when it comes to relationships with people. If you choose the same course, let me know and let’s meet online with a cup of hot chocolate!

Enjoy!

7 Free Online Courses in September

Seven

Between all the new school year themed workshops and IATEFL I feel like I’m back at school… only as a student. It’s an interesting feeling for someone who’s left her official educational process years ago, but it’s always better to learn new things than forget the old ones.

If you feel you could do with a little bit of learning yourselves, worry not – here’s my traditional set list of seven great courses you may enjoy in September: they’re online, they’re free, they’re awesome! And since I remember how hectic Septembers can be for teachers, I’ve tried to find courses that are either short or self-paced, so you can start them on your own:

1 Creating Effective Online and Blended Courses by Stanford University

If you’ve ever thought of switching your classes online (to a lesser or greater degree), this course may be a good beginning. It is designed to help develop online courses or incorporate online learning approaches in on-campus classes. It’s also nice for those who are rather busy: modules are self-paced, so there are no deadlines, and the materials will be available indefinitely for you to work through on your own schedule.

2 Becoming an Expert Learner by Northpoint Bible College

This course will explore the diversity of intelligences – and helping develop student’s own. You will also explore study and note-taking methods and techniques to support a variety of learners, helping each to become an expert learner. This course may be great for teachers who want to experiment on various methods of teaching – it may also be useful for your students.

The course is also self-paced, which means you can take it or leave it whenever you want.

3 Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills by University of Melbourne

This course explains the social and cognitive skills that are known as 21st century skills. It focuses on their representation in the curriculum, but also explores how teachers can recognise these skills in students, how the level of skill of a learner can be assessed, and then how learners can be supported to develop their skill. This course is designed for teachers who are wondering exactly how they can incorporate teaching and assessment of 21st century skills into their classrooms.

The course starts on the 25th of September and takes 6 weeks.

4 Positive Behavior Support for Young Children by University of Washington

This is an experimental course, hence no certificates will be given, however, it may turn out to become a proper support for those teachers who start working with kids. A lot of children may happen to experience various issues, and this course will focus on current research on the developmental trajectory of children with early-onset aggressive behaviours; positive behaviour support program models; and intervention efforts that promote positive early childhood mental health.

The course is self-paced, which means you can take it or leave it whenever you want.

5 Business English for Cross-cultural Communication by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Everyone who’s ever dealt with international business knows how important CCC (cross-cultural communication) is. This course is focused on common cross-cultural theories and how they are relevant to everyday business practices in a globalised world. You are going to learn some savoir-vivre tips along with strategies to overcome possible cross-cultural issues and misunderstandings in communication. I find this course great not only for teachers, but also students of Business English.

The course starts on the 4th of September and takes 6 weeks.

6 TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide by ETS

This course may turn out to be extremely useful not only for teachers, and not only in September. This course is highly interactive, using videos, sample questions with explanations, short quizzes and collaborative discussion boards, so anyone deciding to take this test will learn all they need to know. Moreover, this test preparation course is developed by the experts who create, administer and score the TOEFL® test. In addition, there will be free resources and discounted test prep offers throughout the course.

Here’s the best thing: the course is self-paced, which means you can take it or leave it whenever you want.

7 Understanding Classroom Interaction by University of Pennsylvania

This course is perfect for the beginning of school year. Have you ever wondered why some classroom discussions are lively and engaging and others more like painful interrogations? Why everybody (or nobody) laughs at a teacher’s jokes? You’ll learn the analytic tools to answer these and more questions about classroom communication. Sounds great and is probably my pick of the month!

The course starts on the 19th of September and takes 5 weeks.

I hope you’ll pick something useful for you – let me know which course you’ve decided to participate in!

 

7 lifesaving websites for EFL teacher

7 websites

I already made one list of my favourite websites months ago, but there are so many great things you find while websurfing that I’ll probably make more of such sets.

Also, it can be easily seen that I love making lists.

Being a DoS I happen to be a “victim” of non-English language teachers complaining that English teachers “have it easy”. Well, I have to admit that’s quite true… So let’s use some of the great sources we may find online – and here’s my present top seven:

1 Twinkl

I’ve already written about some features that are great for teaching English (Spring Poems – lesson plan and Twinkl Imagine), especially communication. But the site itself is far more than that and I encourage everyone to browse it a bit – I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking. I’d definitely use Twinkl for CLIL classes. Perfect source for home schooling as well.

2 Truetube

It’s one of the websites my fellow teacher showed me (thanks, Krzysiek!) and I find it a great source of topics perfect for teenagers and young adults: culturally relevant, sometimes taboo, sometimes controversial – great for discussion, and full of various authentic accents, awesome help for the students who love debating serious issues.

3 Elllo

When we’re talking about accents and listening, I have to admit Elllo is top of the tops. It’s an online library of thousands of free lessons with audio or video materials for all language levels. It’s a real treasure chest with each lesson having audioscript, grammar part and a quiz. You can use it in the classroom or encourage students to use the exercises at home.

4 Lyrics training

Students usually like learning a language by listening to music. This website provides you with literally everything: popular songs, fill-in-the-blank exercises on four levels (from beginner to expert) and it’s not only in English! Now the teachers of other languages may brighten their lessons with Rammstein or Despacito (oh, sweet Cthulhu).

5 Busy Teacher 

Warning: you may spend hours browsing through this website and finding more and more useful stuff: articles, posters, warm-ups, review materials and lesson plans galore! Seriously, with this site you’d be able to teach a proper 120-hour course without even a page from a coursebook. Awesome help from a busy teacher… to a lazy one.

6 Flo-Joe

If you’re stuck with Cambridge exams, or simply want to prepare your students for their FCE, CAE or CPE test – that’s the best source you’ll find on the Net. All the exams are clearly explained, and there’s a lot of exercises on skills development. There are also practice tests, and there’s never too many of those!

7 Film-English

I’ve used this website more than once, as it’s the perfect source of films and communicative exercises connected to various topics – friendship, growing up, life as it is… You can adapt those free lessons to various needs, age groups and language levels and have fun with all your students.

 

I hope you’ll like the websites I’ve shortlisted today – they’re really helpful for teachers who want to bring something new to the classroom… Or who are basically quite lazy (like yours truly).

Enjoy!