March 28, 2008

The STORY of STUFF (Annie Leonard)

While exchanging tweets with Fabiana Bridi, she said she was watching this video and I decided to have a look at it. It´s so nice that I HAD to share it with you. I also heard through twitter that 22nd April is Earth Day. So , this is a video we should all watch and think about. The video takes a while to download but it´s worth watching. You can also play the chapters separately by clicking on the tabs at the top. The level of language is more appropriate to high-intermediate or advanced students. "The story of Stuff"

How can we use it with students?

  • Well, watching the whole video is interesting but it would take too long and become a bit boring. I´d select a part to play (distribution) or show students differents parts each day. Teachers could have a pre-discussion about the topic first to see how much students know about it. Then, maybe make some comprehension questions to transform the video into a listening activity. There might be space for a post-watch discussion.
  • Another alternative could be to ask different students to watch different parts of the story (Intro, Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, Disposal, Another way) and have them take notes while watching and then present to the whole class what they´ve seen.

The topic "Environmental issues" is of vital importance to us. Really Worth Watching!!!!
You can find all chapters in Youtube as well, just type "The story of stuff" in the search box.


March 27, 2008

POWNCE experience - microblogging with Beginners

I´d like to share a project Camila Sousa and I have started with our Basic 1 students. As you all know, basic 1 students know nearly nothing and can hardly communicate in English. After a month of classes, we set up a Pownce account and helped each of our sts to do the same. It´s supposed to be a closed group where students communicate with their classmates and their teacher.

Each week, they´re supposed to follow a writing task after having received a model from their teacher. Our objective is to have sts start writing in English for real communication since the beginning of the course, starting off with very simple texts and hopefully by the end of the semester they´ll be writing more complex ones. We´ve discovered that students are more open to using internet for learning English when it is proposed at the beginning of the course, the enthusiasm is super. The picture above brings some example texts written by my sts during the first week of the Pownce experience.

Oh, the weekly tasks will cover structure and vocabulary students have learned that week.

What I´ve observed so far is that everyone is reading what all students are posting, they are learning from each other´s texts. They´ve been daring to use structure they haven´t seen in class yet and have been interacting not only with me (their teacher) but with each other.

March 22, 2008

Playing with - SCRAPBOOKS

I can´t recall where I found this site but had a great time playing with it. First I made a flipbook to present FAMILY vocab to my basic 1 students.

Then I made a flipbook with a preset template in order to introduce myself. I guess this could be used in a first-day class or even ask sts to make one about themselves. It takes some time but you feel quite good after you´ve finished your presentation.
Have a look. Do you have any other ideas on how to use this tool with students?

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March 20, 2008

Shift happens

I found this video from a hint in twitter. It really shakes your mind. There are so many implications to this and one is how can prepare our students for this future world?

March 17, 2008

Things I learned last week.

1- USING YOUR MOUSE AS A HIGHLIGHTER PEN during a powerpoint presentation
This something I had no idea it was possible to do with a powerpoint presentation, and believe it or not as I talked to my colleagues neither did they. Well, when you´re presenting a ppt after pressing the F5 key, on the bottom-left-hand corner , as you pass your mouse you can see three symbols, an arrow to return to the previous slide, and pen and an arrow to move to the following slide. Well, as you can see (marked by the red arrow on the picture above) click on the pen icon select highlighter pen and your mouse functions as one, marking anything you want to call attention to.

I like setting time limits for some activities during my classes and I had to keep an eye on the clock all the time. With the online stopwatch, you set how many minutes you want your students to work for, click on start and the clock will ring when time is over. My favourite is the countdown clock. FANTASTIC.

Thanks Joe Dale for the hints. I watched his conference from his blog last week and have learned a lot.

March 8, 2008

Reading and listening about MYTHS

I found this site in Larry Ferlazzo´s blog. It tells the story of 25 myths from different parts of the world. Choose a region and learn about the Incas, the Celtics, the Navaros, the Chinese, The Hindis, the Aztecs and others. After you choose a region you watch an animation with sound and text with explains the origin of these people.

How can we use this with students? One would be to choose one region related to something you´re teaching and ask all your sts to watch the same story and answer comprehension questions afterwards. Another would be letting sts pick different regions, have them watch the animations and then each students would tell the class or write about the different people. Any other ideas?

It´s definitely worth MANY VISITS!!!!!!! Not only can you learn English but also Culture. FANTASTIC!

March 7, 2008

Working with PHONETICS
Many teachers avoid working with Phonetics because they´re unfamiliar with the phonetic symbols. This is a site I found in Nik Peachey´s site which offers various activities in which students and teachers alike can practise recognizing sounds. There is hangman, a maze, flashcards and much more. Worth visiting!

March 5, 2008

A SCROLL message to you

I found this scroll message creator at FancyGens

get MORE SKINS from

How can we use this with students?
Well, students can create messages for their blogs. It´s a pity you can´t e-mail that to people, but you can copy the HTML code and send it to people´s orkut! Any other ideas?


Would you like to create a Simpsons character? Try this out?
How can you use this with students? Well, students could create themselves , print it and them describe each other, either orally or in written form. They can even have fun while doing that, and as the instructions are in English you have an extra bonus, real reading comprehension. Click on the yellow arrows on the top right-hand corner of the image and select the head, the nose, hair, clothes, etc.


I grabbed this optical illusion test from widgetbox. It´s a place I often search for new and interesting widgets. Try it out , it´s really interesting!