I recently saw some of the bloggers I follow taking a challenge made by David from one of his sessions in the VRT- Virtual Round Table. After checking his blog I thought it would be interesting to reflect on my writing here. So here’s my Wordle word cloud:
I was very happy to see that the two words teachers, to whom I most write, and students were the biggest words. If I could choose two words to summarize my professional life they would certainly be these two words or a variation of them: teaching, teach, studying…
The verbs teaching, thinking, learning, following, creating, posting can really summarize how technology has changed the way I teach and what are my actions since I adopted the attitude of a lifelong learner, which has made me feel more comfortable at work. Those verbs are so connected and it is difficult, if not impossible, to classify them in order of importance.
Great is also a fairly big word, and together with some other adjectives, such as good, wonderful, amazing, show how positive I am toward my life as a teacher and everything that concerns it.
Something surprising was the word tools, maybe it is because I have discovered tons of them in the past few months, through connecting to teachers around the world and I’ve been trying to share everything I have learned.
By the way, connecting and sharing are two words that should appear in my word cloud, maybe I should write about them.
Sorry for being away for so long. I come here every day, but find no time to write because of school work, children and studies, but I couldn’t resist today and stopped everything to write a post.
Music is one of the best ways to catch students’ attention. I learned English because I wanted to understand the songs I liked, when I was young (just a little time ago) Then nowadays I see my students motivated by the same reason, they love listening to music, they love singing, they love everything related to music.
I was taken today to Nik Peachey’s blog : and was amazed by the ideas he gives on using music to teach English.
• Students can draw simple pictures like the ones in the video and create their own video in pairs or in groups;
• Also, the teacher can use the videos to teach vocabulary and other expressions that are in the lyrics;
• It is possible to create a digital story at Animoto, which is another great tool to create videos online with music and other great effects;
• And finally, the teacher could select a song with the class bring the sentences of the song and give one for each student. Then, ask them to draw a picture of the sentence they got and with a camera take pictures of the drawings and use the images to create an animated video.
I can not imagine how funny it would be!!
Thanks Nik for sharing your wonderful ideas!!!
Bringing students to participate more effectively used to be something difficult, especially if we thought about those shy ones who would come to our classes and spend it all checking the time on their watches, when they did not ask us: “Teacher, what time is it?”. You then knew your class was terrible, but there are, also those students that even if you taught them upside down , they wouldn’t express any reaction.
That doesn’t need to be true nowadays, because that was a time when teachers really had to do magic everyday to have their students attention. Things have changed a lot and for the better, we now have access to a great variety of tools that can catch our pupils attention, have them participate and interact, get better and real learning results and even have fun.
Where can I find those tools?
One of the best ways to find these tools is, definitely, through Twitter. Twitter is not just a way to tell friends what you are doing, but there you can get in contact with teachers all over the world and learn from them what are the best technology tools up to date.
How do I find those teachers?
Start by logging up to Twitter. After you have your account, edit your profile and show people who you are. Then, you can search for people twittering about a hashtag, such as #ELT, #EFL, #ESL or other you might find possible in your area. You’ll probably find teachers that twitter about that content, so just open their profile and start following them.
You can also, look for them at edublogs. Once you’ve found a teacher’s blog you’ll probably find a link to follow them on twitter, just click the link and follow him/her.
What happens then?
Well, then, these teachers will get a message telling you are following them, and most of them will do the same, open your profile and start following you. You will now receive their tweets with great content on the Internet, links for good blogs and posts, invitations for Webinars and conferences and, amazing tools to use with your students.
You might also, be invited to participate in chats about teaching issues and learn more and more each day.
Some great interactive tools I got from teachers I follow on Twitter
AnswerGarden is great tool to provide interactivity among our students. You can embed it to a wiki or blog and ask them to answer as part of the homework. That will make them keep thinking of your class. They can use only 20 characters to define something or answer a question, so being concise is something important and it is a required ability nowadays. This is an example of a Garden we can create:
If you are tired of those PPTs, you should try PREZI. It brings and interesting cycling movement to your presentation, you can use pictures, videos, or links to make it interesting and customize it giving different directions, colors and fonts, creating an amazing and helpful tool. It is really easy to use, and you can also ask students to create their own Prezi related to the content you are teaching. Here is my first Prezi, which I intend to use at school with the teachers:
Teaching in a funny way is not difficult nowadays, but it is necessary that teachers leave their comfort zone and try different things. Stop being a teacher and become a lifelong learner. There is a fascinating world to explore and have as much fun as you can provide your students with.
I have spent some time thinking about what I could write about and include a meaningful image into my blog and then, checking the images I could customize from my computer I found a beautiful picture of a friend Spanish teacher at CIL (Centro Interescolar de Línguas), the school I work at.
Clívia, that’s her name, is someone I admire because of all her capabilities and sensitiveness. She’s the kind of passionate teacher, by whom all students fall in love with. They have even created a community at Orkut: “Amamos a professora Clívia – We love teacher Clívia”.
She would spend all her time preparing the best classes with all technology tools she could have available so that her students would have the best experience and really leave feeling they could spend another hour in a Spanish class.
As the coordinator of the Spanish teachers, she’s 100% of the time available for them, and whatever they need or require, no matter how far she would have to go, be sure, she would, and would never disappoint one of her colleagues. The only difficulty teachers have is to follow her speed, if they are trying to explain something they need, she already has it in her notebook, ready to be printed or used.
As the manager of Pró-Línguas (an association of teachers of Foreign Languages, created to support CIL with materials and resources the government would not support), my friend couldn’t be more responsible and engaged with all the work that organizing a school requires. She’s also 100% ready to solve problems, help teachers, assist students and parents and have everything perfectly organized.
Clívia is also a great friend, although as in every school we have groups that engage according to their interests, Clívia is engaged with everyone. French and English teachers feel comfortable to ask her for assistance, and she’s always there, not only for school work, but also for personal support.
You might think that is enough, but no, her best role is still to come. Clívia, as you can see in the photo, is also a mother and she is so very passionate and dedicated to her cute son that it was the only reason why she has ever thought about quitting her job. Thanks God she didn’t.
For my friends at school, that might think I would be writing about Márcia. C’mon, that would be so obvious! Clívia is not a surprise of course, we all know she is awesome!
This blog is a space to share impressions, ideas, knowledge, links with people interested in learning all around the world.
2. To blog or not to blog?
Blog definitely. It opens one’s mind to a great world of information on your interests. That means there is always something useful and interesting to read and learn.
3. When did you start?
4. Why did you start?
First, my goal is to learn and be able to help teachers in Brasília about the advantages of using blogs in class, as I work in a public language school in Brazil, I think it is going to be of great interest.
Second, I want to work on my PLE/N and share thoughts and ideas about learning and teaching ESL.
5. What is your most exciting moment?
I think viewing comments is a pleasure to a blogger, that means there is someone interested in what you are writing, and your opinions. I feel like a famous writer, whose readers are sending comments on his/her books.
6. What is the hardest moment?
As a novice, I need guidance, so I know what to write about. Sometimes trying to write and not being able to start, makes me feel I have nothing to say. But then a topic appears on twitter, or other blogs and the ideas come and flow.
7. What is your opinion on blogs?
The possibility to express ideas through the web is an amazing and democratic aspect of blogs. People who usually would have no voice can now open their minds to the world, they can be heard, no matter what their social or financial condition, sexual orientation, age, school background, skin color, religion or political position is, people can say what they want to say.
8. What is one way blogs can be used in an ESL class?
Students individually or in groups can create a blog about a book they read, creating a page for each character and posting information about everything in the book.
9. What is something teachers starting a blog should know?
Teachers should know that students are already using blogs and we are far behind them, mainly because they are native digital literates and although it is not easy, everyone can learn and use them (blogs) effectively.
Where does your future lie?
Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a consultant in Brasilia on techie tools for teaching. Or maybe I’ll just continue learning and sharing with my teacher friends and students.
I was thinking about some of the tools I got in contact lately, and they are amazing. So I thought that giving a practical aproach to CSCL would be interesting as we have lots of theories on the web. Of course, I’ll also be posting on the texts I read, but I believe that giving ideas, after I have tried them, would be good to start.
I first saw this tool at http://techietoolstotry.edublogs.org/, and I started thinking of ways to use it in class. So here are 10 ideas to use VOKI with ESL students. If you try any of them let me know.
1. Elementary: Students can introduce themselves through VOKI;
2. Describing: Routine, house, rooms, food.
3. Reading: Create a VOKI for a character of a book and perform the part of the book they like the most;
4. Pronunciation: Students should record their voices reading a paragraph;
5. Pair work: Students can interview each other using their VOKIS;
6. Students could also sing thier favorite song and here it’s possible to add some great effects to their voices, too;
7. Create and broadcats news about anything;
8. Record comments on movies;
9. Send holiday messages to their colleagues;
10. Create a blog and add a VOKI to it.
The following VOKI was just a try, singing: Have FUN!!!
Welcome to this blog where I first intend to propose reflections and practices about CSCL, which is a quite modern way to relate to students and manage teaching.
As a teacher and school manager I joined this Teacher Challenge, because I’m taking a post graduation course and focusing on CSCL, so I believe that a blog is a great tool to promote this process of learning.
I want to learn more about blogs because it’s part of the language students are using and I think teachers should really try to be aware of that.
It’s been quite easy so far to work with this blog. Let’s see what comes next!!!