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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Monday, February 17, 2014

Strategies for close reading

Here follow some great questions to ask your students about books. Samantha Cleaver suggests eleven tips to turn every student into a close reader. Click HERE to read the full article.
Image via We are Teachers
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Today we're celebrating St. Valentine's Day at our school. I hope you, guys, are enjoying this day and the surprises we have prepared for you! I shall post some photos of this venue next week! Happy Valentine's Day!

Image credits: a creation of Cristina Ferreira, a vocational course student

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How well are we connecting?

Depending on the proficiency level of your students, you might like to use this in class when the topic to be studied is 'Young People and the social media'. 

'We, as human beings, think that through social networks, we’ve somehow become more social creatures. The problem with this theory is, the more we 'connect' online, the less actual human interactions we have, making us actually fairly unsocial. A new video breaks down exactly how the social aspects of human beings have evolved and transformed, showing how we’ve regressed from a social standpoint.

Shimi Cohen shows exactly what’s wrong with our social structure now, and how we manipulate how we want to be presented to peers, family members, and potential mates on social media, rather than having vulnerable and genuine conversations in real time. Check out this video below, and take a moment to truly assess how you conduct yourself, both online and in person.'
The Voice of Generation Y

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

St. Valentine's Day lesson tips

Here follow some resources suggestions you might find useful to celebrate St. Valentine's Day with your students, next friday: from short films, like 'Paperman' or 'Cupidon', followed by worksheets to guide the students while viewing them, to love songs, fun activities for kids and e-cards. This year, JibJab allows you to create an animated e-card under the version of 'Love is in the air'. Last, but not least, a video, by 5-minute English, which explains the history of this day. You might also like to take a look at my last year's Thinglink on this topic. (In case you are not familiar with Thinglink, an interactive web 2.0 tool, you just have to click over the icons in the picture and will be re-directed to a specific site).

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Safer Internet Day 2014

The 11th Safer Internet Day will be celebrated worldwide on Tuesday 11 February 2014. The theme for the day is: 'Let's create a better internet together'. We hope that, once again, all stakeholders – be they children and young people, parents and carers, teachers and educators, or industry and politicians – will join with us in marking the day and working together to build a better internet for all, but particularly children and young people.

In, (abridged)

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Would this be your dream job?

Another very interesting video to show (y)our 11th form students when lecturing the topic 'The world at work'.

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Passion-based learning

I would like to share with you this beautiful article written by Ainissa Ramirez for Edutopia, entitled Passion-based learning. It is really worth reading!

Image via WeAreTeachers
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Thursday, February 06, 2014

What makes you come alive?

Sean Aiken is the creator of 'The One-Week Job Project', an inspiring journey across North America in which he worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to find his passion. He trekked more than 46,000 miles, slept on 55 couches, raised over $20,000 for charity, and tried every job he could: Bungee Instructor, Advertising Executive, Stock Trader, Baker, NHL Mascot, and more. Sean has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, MTV, TIME, and The New York Times. He frequently speaks about what he learned from his One Week Job experience and has developed an international program to empower others to discover their passion by taking on a series of 'One Week Job's. Source: TEDxVancouver

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Happy birthday, FB!

Today is Facebook's tenth anniversary!... Amazingly, Mark Zuckerberg and his team are offering us a present: this beautiful one-minute video which highlights the best moments since we have made friends with Facebook! Thank you, it was a lovely idea! I really appreaciated it! This is probably the coolest thing Facebook has ever done is an article written by Shellie Nelson which I recommend reading.

Printscreen of my Facebook/lookback video
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Monday, February 03, 2014

Groundhog day

Groundhog Day falls on February 2 in the United States, coinciding with Candlemas. It is a part of popular culture among many Americans and it centers on the idea of the groundhog coming out of its home to 'predict' the weather.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plays an important role in organizing Groundhog Day in the town. Club members, news reporters, locals and visitors meet at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2 each year to await Phil’s appearance and his weather prediction. Pennsylvania’s governor has been known to attend Groundhog Day ceremonies. Many weather researchers questioned the groundhog’s accuracy in predicting the weather but some of the groundhog’s fans may not agree. Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.

Thousands of years ago when animalism and nature worship were prevalent, people in the area of Europe now known as Germany believed that the badger had the power to predict the coming of spring. They watched the badger to know when to plant their crops. By the time the first German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania they probably understood that this was not true but the tradition continued.

Unfortunately there were not many badgers in Pennsylvania so the groundhog substituted the badger. Tradition has it that if the groundhog will sees its shadow on February 2 it will be frightened by it and will return to its burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. If it does not see its shadow, then spring is on the way.

Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the United States in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2, 1887. It is said that Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) was named after King Phillip. He was called Br'er Groundhog prior to being known as Phil. Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day.

According to Groundhog.orgPhil's 2014 predictions are:

Image credits: Gene J. Puskar/AP
A Super Bowl winner I will not predict
But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict.
That's not a football lying beside me
It's my shadow you see
So six more weeks of winter it shall be!