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
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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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