Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

When I first saw this video, I thought of some of my 10th/11th form female students who lack so much self-esteem. I think this video could be an approach to the topic, especially in the 10th form, as 'Being a teenager today' is one of the issues that I'm currently talking about in class. Then, and to lighten up the atmosphere, showing them this Dove beauty ad spoof would be a funny way to end such a painful topic!

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Images of our beautiful world

I'm sure you'll find the best way to use these pictures in class. Either to talk about environment, or our multicultural world, they're so fresh and appealing that, simply by showing them, you'll get a reaction from your students. Especially from your visual learning students. Click HERE to view all the images and the text that follows them.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

#Epic selfie around the world

What a fantastic video to use in class when talking about 'The Multicultural World'! Why not ask your students to try to identify the 36 countries where the guy in the video has taken such fantastic selfies? I'm sure enthusiasm, and a little bit of jealousy, will spread along the class and you'll have fantastic moments of interaction with your students, especially if they are privileged enough to have already traveled around some countries!...
To contextualize the adventure, you might like to take a look at this interview with Alex Chacon, the lucky globe trekker, for CBS, or look into Chacon's blog The Modern Motorcycle Diaries, which has fantastic pictures of this beautiful planet! 

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Disconnect to connect advertisement

Published on Jul 17, 2013
Thai advertisement: When you are busy playing with your mobile phone, remember the people beside you. Sometimes we ignore the most important people in our life but its about time to STOP and make them feel how important they are for us. A public service message by Thailand DTAC with brilliant creative work.
Source: Youtube
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Look up

'But none of these times ever hapened. 
You never had any of this. 
When you're too busy looking down, 
you don't see the chances that you miss.' 

Published on Apr 25, 2014
'Look Up' - A spoken word film for an online generation.
'Look Up' is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.
Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.
Source: Youtube
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Monday, May 12, 2014

If I should have a daughter...

'If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... ' began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis - from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. - and gives two breathtaking performances of 'B' and 'Hiroshima.' This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 28th APPI Conference

I will be attending the 28th Conference APPI for the next three days at the Sheraton Hotel in O'Porto. This year's conference is entitled 'Language & Culture - encourage, engage, empower'. In three days, delegates can make the most of the presentations and the socializing bit by participating in the conference dinner party. In addition, two pedagogical theatre shows may prove inspiring to planning our teaching, I'm so eager to listen to the speakers and meet so many fellow workers from across the country that I only get in touch with in venues like these! I'm sure it will be a great conference! See you in a couple of days!

Image via APPI
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ashton Kutcher Speech

Published on Youtube, August 13th, 2013, these are encouraging words from an unlikely source. Someone in Hollywood telling kids (and whoever else is listening) three keys: building a life rather than living one, find your opportunities, and always be sexy. Source: Youtube (adapted)

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Nike Commercial 2014

Football and commercials are best friends, and a great tool to use in class. Nearly every kid loves football. Football players are amongst their idols as well, so this commercial might be a great tool to boost their urge to speak. After all, the world football championship is only two months ahead.

Published on Apr 25, 2014 on YouTube.
Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more. 
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Book and Copyright Day 2014

April 23 marks the anniversary of the birth or death of a range of well-known writers, including Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Maurice Druon, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Haldor Kiljan Laxness, Manuel Mejía Vallejo, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and William Shakespeare. For this reason, UNESCO's General Conference chose this date to pay tribute to books, the authors who wrote them, and the copyright laws that protect them.

A range of activities to promote reading and the cultural aspects of books are held all over the world. Many of these emphasize international cooperation or friendships between countries. Events include: relay readings of books and plays; the distribution of bookmarks; the announcement of the winners of literary competitions; and actions to promote the understanding of laws on copyright and the protection of authors' intellectual property.

In some years, the Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance is awarded. This is a prize for novels, collections of short stories or picture books that promote tolerance, peace, mutual understanding and respect for other peoples and cultures. There are two categories: one for books aimed at children aged up to 12 years; and one for those aimed at young people aged 13 to 18 years.

Source: timeanddate.com (abridged)

Picture via Google Images
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#Global Selfie for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day and NASA is asking us something very special: take a selfie, post it online and NASA will use it to create a mosaic image of Earth. This is how it works: 

'NASA today is asking fans to submit their photos for the agency's Earth Day #GlobalSelfie effort. NASA has plenty of satellite images of our planet taken high above the Earth, but "for Earth Day we are trying to create an image of Earth from the ground up while also fostering a collection of portraits of the people of Earth." "Get outside and show us mountains, parks, the sky, rivers, lakes - wherever you are, there's your picture," NASA said. Spell out where you are using rocks, sand, or a print-out from NASA's website, which is available in several languages. Post your photo to Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie, or post it to the #GlobalSelfie event page on Facebook or the #GlobalSelfie group on Flickr. Once the images are collected, NASA will "create a mosaic image of Earth - a new 'Blue Marble' built bit by bit with your photos."
"NASA scientists have helped identify thousands of new planets out in the universe in recent years. But the space agency studies no planet more closely than our own," the agency said. "On this Earth Day, we wanted to create a different picture of our planet - a crowd-sourced collection of snapshots of the people of Earth that we could use to create one unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." (Source: pcmag.com)

Well, I didn't miss the call, so here goes my selfie, taken this afternoon with my schoolmate Gorete Borges, at PineTree School, 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter

Now that the assessment week is over and it is time for a break, I'm going to enjoy a few days to indulge in some free time and recharge energies. Spending quality time with my family will surely foster my stamina to face the last term of this school year. In the meantime, I wish you all a great Easter.

Picture via Google Images
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Up the river, we go

Today I've spent the day doing one of the things I love the most: taking photographs! It was the end of the assessment week, and the school board organized us a trip by boat up the Douro river, with several elements of our school community: from teachers, to vocational courses students, staff and parents' representatives... It was a beautiful sun shiny day, with astonishing landscapes to view and shoot. Everybody was happy and relaxed, as some days free of work are ahead of us. I am going to enjoy those days the best I can. I am going to the beautiful Madeira Island, here, in Portugal, with my family, where I'm sure I will take wonderful pictures! As soon as I return, I shall create a video of the day spent with my schoolmates on the river Douro. Until then, enjoy your free time and recharge energies! We still have a 3rd term of hard work to get through, and the exams season! See you in a couple of days!

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Assessment Meetings Week

Yep! It's the assessment meetings season! Students are already enjoying the Easter break; we still have some days of intense work ahead! I'll be back shortly! Now, it's high time for rating students' performances. See you soon! Hopefully!...

Picture via Google Images
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Grammar Nazi

A substitute teacher from the inner city refuses to be messed with while taking attendance. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele go hard on the syllables and even harder on a group of unsuspecting high schoolers in this hilarious sketch. And this is what happens when you play 'Grammar Nazi' with your teacher!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Best classroom April Fools prank ever

A group of students decided to prank their instructor, after he established a policy that if a student’s phone rings during class, he or she must answer it on speakerphone, no matter the consequences. The best part of the prank is the professor’s reaction.

Monday, March 31, 2014

March in review

March was a great month for Teaching@PineTree. We've had international celebrations, school events, the Oscars, inspirational moments, fun cartoons and ELT suggestions. We've started the month with the Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day, Pi-Day, St. Patrick's Day, the arrival of spring and Happiness Day. At our school, we've had the first ever Color Run and the 'Semana da Leitura', with reading activities and theatre plays. 
March was also the month of the Oscars. We've suggested teaching resources on film literacy, two inspirational moments by two of this year's awarded actors, Your dreams are valid and Be creative, work hard and do something special. To finish the topic 2014 Oscars, The most retweeted selfie ever.
The English language was not forgotten: What is a G-check? and What does 24/7 stand for?. And neither were the younger students, with this delicious 'Pete, the cat'. And because laughing is the best therapy, Are you a typochondriac? and Oh, those Romans.
March has its less pleasant side, as well: it's the month for marking endless piles of tests and the scheduled oral assessments - That time of the year! But it is also a month in which students surprise us with beautiful moments of English fluency: Advertising is.... Last, but not least, two moments to make you think: Why I hate school and Reading is...

Dancing zumba at the First Color Run at PineTree
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Advertising is...

A student of mine has presented this video in class to express her opinions on marketing and advertising. It was a great moment of oral assessment, as it was so easy to mark her presentation with a 20 (which corresponds to an A in US schools). Fluent speech, American accent, excellent pronunciation of words, wide range of vocabulary... Moments like this make our assessment tasks so easy and so rewarding!... 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pete, the cat

A reading of Pete, the Cat from Scholastic with pages. A funny way to practise vocabulary, speaking, listening and reading! To use with younger students! Fantastic!
Author & Reader: Eric Litwin
Art: James Dean
Produced, Engineered, Sound Design: Michael Levine

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

That time of the year...

Here we are back to the assessments season! I wish the day was longer than 24 hours... So much paperwork ahead of me! Will I ever end marking these piles of tests?

Picture via Google Images 
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring 2014 & International Day of Happiness

Today is the first day of spring! Fresh buds bloom, animals awaken and the earth seems to come to life again. Farmers and gardeners plant their seeds, and temperatures slowly rise. It's the season for new beginnings. Coincidentally, spring has arrived on the International Day of Happiness promoted by UN. Pharrell Williams has joined the United Nations Foundation to celebrate this day, 'because people everywhere deserve a chance to be happy.' Go to #HAPPYDAY to know more about this project and how you can be part of it. In the meantime, clap along and watch this new version of Pharrell Williams' Happy.

Image via UN Foundation
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's day 2014

Telegraph presents a selection of St. Patrick's Day celebrations on its online edition. Watch the full gallery HERE. You can also wath the Chicago river turn green for St. Ptrick's Day in THIS article by TIME. To view many other photos and videos from St. Patrick’s day celebrations, check out the Instagram blog. Restrictions on eating and drinking for lent are lifted on this day, adding to the merry St. Paddy's Day atmosphere. A public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, March 17th is also widely celebrated across the world by enthusiastic expats.

Image credits: mandygaga via Instagram
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Semana da Leitura' 2014

This week we are celebrating the 'Semana da Leitura' (Reading Week), all along with many schools across the country. From 17th to 21st March, the Portuguese language will be celebrated, and students will have the chance to meet authors, whose books they have already read, declaim poetry and watch /perform plays at the school library. In the foreign language classes, such as English and French, poems/quotes will be read at the beginning of each lesson: 'Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone' is one of the seleted quotes. Books, poetry and plays: it will be a very pleasing week!

Image via ebspinheiro.net
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

If you're Irish, today is the day to wear, eat and drink GREEN! St. Patrick's Day is here to remind you the history of the Patron Saint of Ireland, and why there are so many parades around the Irish world! In short, this is a day of celebration for millions worldwide, which involves lots of feasting and celebrations that include traditional Irish music, drinking Guinness and eating bacon and cabbage. Another tradition is one has to wear green clothing or they will be pinched. Green is the national colour of Ireland. Scroll down to the end of this post for more information on the topic! The image credits go to Randy Glasbergen.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I hate school

... but love Education!

"I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate" picks up on the education topic but takes a different stance and angle from "Why I Hate School But Love Education". This poem talks about how we have been made to think about how education and getting university degrees can give us opportunities to have a better chance in making our dream careers a reality. It also touches on how as individuals we are judged and tested by how well we perform on exams, but not all people perform well in exams so why are they made out to feel like they're dumb? The inconsistencies of the education system are really peeled open to reveal a deep problem that needs to be addressed and how society's needs have changed to make this even more apparent.

When it boils down to it, why are we misled into thinking that education is the only way forward for successful means in our work and career lives? We need to open our minds and educate ourselves that exam results aren't the barometer of success and that we can't let them decide our fate. We are in charge of our own destinies!
In Youtube (adapted)

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Friday, March 07, 2014

The most retweeted selfie ever

I couldn't finish this series of posts about the 2014 Oscars, without mentioning that hilarious and unique moment when Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie with some of the celebrities at the Academy Awards Ceremony. It was a very informal and funny moment, rather unusual in that kind of ceremony that made  me love watching it live more than ever. Yep! I was one of those that stayed up until dawn, 5 a.m., Western European time, to watch the whole show live! And one of the techies that immediately retweeted the selfie, as Ellen challenged the audience to make it the most retweeted image ever! And WE did it! The photo was retweeted more than 2.5 million times within a matter of hours - a record, surpassing the one held by President Barack Obama's photo, embracing the First Lady when he won the American Presidential elections for the second time.

The picture was taken by Bradley Cooper, star of American Hustle,
not by DeGeneres herself, and was posted the@TheEllenShow Twitter account,
which the audience at home could  immediately see on their phones,
or the tablet computers on their laps.
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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Be creative, work hard and do something special

Keeping up with the Oscars' inspirational speeches, I now suggest you (re)viewing Jared Leto's acceptance speech. Jerod won Best Supporting Actor for his performance at Dallas Buyers Club, even though he is best known as the lead singer of 30 seconds to Mars. Watch the video HERE.  

Photo credits: Peter Hapak for TIME
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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Your dreams are valid

You just knew that Lupita Nyong'o was going to give an amazing speech if she won the Oscar tonight. Her one at the Critics' Choice Awards was fantastic and her speech at this weekend's ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon was beautiful. Tonight, Nyong'o scored her long expected Best Supporting Actress award. She got up on stage and was graceful and emotional and great. 'No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid.' Watch the video HERE.
Source: Vulture (abridged, March 3rd 2014)

Picture via Google Images
Lupita Amondi Nyong'o (/ˌlˈptə ˈnjŋ/; born March 1, 1983) is an Academy Award-winning actress of dual Kenyan and Mexican citizenship. She identifies as Mexican-Kenyan. Nyong'o made her feature film debut in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave (2013) as Patsey, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among numerous other awards and nominations. She is one of the few actors who has won an Academy Award for their debut performance in a feature film. 
Source: Wikipedia (abridged)

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

It's Shrove Tuesday

TimeOut London presents an article on Pancake Day, in London, and suggests a failsafe recipe for the perfect pancake and the best places serving pancakes in the city. 

What is Pancake Day all about?
Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. It's commonly known as Pancake Day because it represents a good opportunity to use such ingredients ahead of the fasting period. Pancake Day takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday. Because the date of Easter Sunday is dictated by the cycles of the moon, Pancake Day can occur anytime between February 3 and March 9.
In TimeOut London (abridged)

photo credit: rpavich via photopin
Meanwhile, it's Carnival in Portugal, which also marks the last day before Lent. I hope everyone is having a great time, despite the rain!...
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Monday, March 03, 2014

Teaching Resources on Film Literacy

As tonight is the magical night of the Oscars, here follows an interesting article by Matt Davis for Edutopia about teaching resources on film literacy. According to him, "there are a number of nominated films that can be great teaching tools for educators this year. It looks like it might be a big year for Steven Spielberg in the classroom and on Award night his Lincoln has been nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture. With the abundance of media messages in our society, it's important to ensure students are media literate. The Oscars provide a great opportunity to use the year's best films to teach students about media and film literacy - they can also be an engaging teaching tool that provokes students' interest in a variety of subjects and issues. Here, we're providing some classroom resources from around the Web (read the full article HERE), but firstly, we'll start with an Edutopia classic; acclaimed director Martin Scorsese discussing the importance of visual literacy and the power of film as a teaching tool."
In Edutopia (abridged)

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Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014 in review

February has started with two grand events: Groundhog Day and Facebook's tenth anniversary. The first one expresses our urge to see winter days being over, and the second proves that Facebook still has a long way ahead; at least, it is my belief. February is also the month to celebrate Safer Internet Day, on 11th, and Saint Valentine's Day, on 14th. The latter had three posts: St. Valentine's Day lesson tips, a thinglink created for this topic; Happy Valentine's Day, a poster announcing the activity at my school, and, finally, A look on St. Valentine's Day, this month's most viewed post, with an animoto that has recreated the activity and showed how the school community reacted to it.
This month, I've also dedicated some posts to reading and ELT: a diagram with Strategies for close reading, a cartoon about Books vs Technology, a site for young kids to learn English, ESL games+, which was also on the top of the week views, 45 ways to avoid the word 'very' and Adjectives with the endings ED or ING.
Thinking of the topics I usually approach on my 11th form classes, I've dedicated some posts to The World of Work and Environment: What makes you come alive?, Would this be your dream job?, About Environmental hazards and Take aim at climate change. Technology was also one of the topics approached, besides the Safer Internet Day and Facebook's anniversary, mentioned previously: How well are we connecting? and The Outernet. Bullying was not forgotten in Bullying is everywhere and neither were teachers with this Passion-based learning post: 'When you teach what you love and share what you know, you open eyes, minds, hearts and souls to unexplored worlds.'

Image via Smashing Magazine
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Take aim at climate change

An upbeat invitation to 'Take AIM at Climate Change' - with 'AIM' standing for Adapt, Innovate, Mitigate. The lyrics are based on the latest science of Earth's changing climate, with the music a mix of rap and pop. Four verses connect changes in the Arctic and Antarctic to conditions around the planet, with choruses encouraging long-term thinking, and individual and community action. Optimistic, forward-thinking, but now's the time to act. 'Yes, we can!' take AIM at climate change.
Source: Youtube

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

About Environmental Hazards

'An inconvenient truth' is a documentary that can be used to explore the topic 'Global Warming / Environmental disasters'. I've been using its trailer to introduce/revise vocabulary on the item. I've also used it as a listening activity. Students firstly listen to the text without watching the video, and only after having the exercise done and verified, are given the chance to watch the images and talk about them. It is also an opportunity to highlight the American accent, as Al Gore speaks American English. This is a strategy that has worked out very well in my classes for the past two years, as the documentary has very powerful images that grab students attention, and urge to speak, and express their views/concerns about Environment.

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