December 28, 2010

VOCABULARY practice in a flash

I love sites which can make my teaching life easier.

SPELLINGCITY helps your students learn / memorize words by focussing on spelling, pronunciation and contextualisation.

First, you add the words you wish to memorize. Then, the site generates sentences with those words so that you can learn it. You can then, click the TEST button to hear the words and test your spelling or choose one of the GAMES available.

An example:

1. I created a list of words related to MONEY

 2.Once you click spelling test, you can hear the isolated word and then the word in a sentence for to type the correct spelling. LISTENING AND WRITING practice.

3. Games you can use to practise VOCABULARY, WRITING and SPELLING


With an IWB
  • In the last 15-20 minutes of class, elicit the new words learned that day from students while you insert the word in Spellincity. Sts can dictate the spelling as teacher types in the words. Then, all we have to do is click spelling test and start using the practice exercises the site generates.
  •  You can also, assign a specific student to keep a record of the new words throughout the class and then use the list close to the end of the class to generate exercises.
  • Another alternative is to use the practice exercises at the beginning of the following class for revision.

December 17, 2010

MAGIC STUDIO - creative tools

This is a fantastic site I haven't explored to its full potential yet but found it so interesting that had to share it.

With Magic Studio, you can create quizzes, drag n' drop activities and other interactive presentations.


- Once you've dragged the right word over the image, you can hear the sound of the animal.

- click on the objects to hear the pronunciation.

 - an interactive timeline where you can include images, audio files, links to videos and other files.

TUBEOKE - watch and sing

I have a very bad memory for lyrics but love singing. If you are like me, tubeoke is just great. You can watch the music clip and read the lyrics all in the  same screen.

  • For warmer - have students choose a song they like and have them sing together while reading the lyrics.
  • Use a song lyrics to highlight a grammar structure or to call attention to specific vocabulary.
  • Or just have fun and sing, sing , sing.

If you want to find a song for a specific structure, try LYREACH, a site you can use to find songs by typing a sequence of words you expect to find in a song.

Another great site for practising with lyrics is

Animate a text

Want to animate a short text for a blog, wiki or to send your students a cool message?
Use WONDERSAY to help you create the animation and then embed it or share it via twitter or facebook .
Found the site while exploring David Kapuler's great blog.

made on Wondersay - Animate text with style

December 12, 2010

Gems of the week

These are some of the sites I came across this week via my PLN in twitter and facebook:

 Anithings is a brand new children's creativity tool. It enables animated stories to be created simply and quickly, allowing children's creativity to run wild. 

 Write a personal journal via e-mail.

Turn what people post on social media into compelling stories.
You collect the best photos, video, tweets and more to publish them as simple, beautiful stories that can be embedded anywhere.

Take a note right away wherever you are, create reminders, arrange your pictures and movies as you like, share ideas with group members, use stickies to share files.

Should I say ..... or .......?
Great for discovering the right collocation.

Cloze test creator - paste a text and then select what you want omitted.

Type in a text and have it phonetically transcribed.

December 5, 2010

Super easy PODCASTING - Audioboo + Posterous + iphone

PODCASTING can't get easier than this. After reading a great post by NIK PEACHEY I decided to give it a try.
 First, I downloaded the audioboo app to my iphone.
Then, I went to my audioboo account and changed the settings to synch my audioboos with my posterous blog. (You can also synch your audioboo with your facebook and twitter)
To make the recording, I used my iphone (audioboo app), published my recording, attached an image to it, wrote a description and VOILÁ , it was automatically published in my posterous blog.


  • record students reading dialogues and then with a simple click publish it in a class blog. 
  • record yourself reading a text and then add comprehension questions to your posterous post.
  • record yourself reading a text for your students as a dictation to be done at home.
  • record your students interviewing each other.
  • record interviews when you go to workshops / conferences and automatically share them in twitter.
If you don't have an iphone, the same can be done using an ipad or recording directly in the audioboo website.


December 3, 2010

Strategies for using COMICS in the classroom

I've recently fallen in love with comic creators and its various possibilities of use in the classroom.

This WONDERFUL presentation shared below, not only brings several links to comic creator sites but also provides suggestions for teachers.

These are some of the COMIC CREATOR sites suggested by S.Hendy

Web 1.0 , 2.0, and now 3.0!

I've always been excited about what is to come in terms of technology and its implications in our lives.

If you want to learn more about the terms WEB 1.0 / 2.0 / 3.0 , I suggest the wonderful post by NIcky Hockly.

Below is a presentation, shared by Nicky and devised by Steve Wheeler from the University of Plymouth.

Picture Description with GEOCAM. tv

Sharing an idea for using the webcam images from 

Describing pictures in one of skills required for the Cambridge exams, therefore, if you're helping your students to do that, you could show students the various webcams around the world and ask them to choose a place. Click on the camera icon and have students describe what they can see to each other (pairwork). You can then debrief by asking for descriptions from some volunteers.

These are live webcams from Natal, Brazil and Liverpool, UK.

You can also have students predict what they might see before clicking on the image icons. In France, students might say they will see the Eiffel Tower, in Egypt the pyrammids, and so on.

Discovered via @NikPeachey 's tweet.

December 2, 2010

SCREENCASTS + Grammar explanations

I've recently discovered I could create screencasts to offer grammar explanation recordings to my students. After sharing the idea  in a workshop, a colleague of mine (Angela Gonçalves), has made some really good recordings I wish to share with other teachers. The first three were created by Angela and the last one is mine.

  • Making Deductions (must , can't , might)

  • Obligations (have to , must, don't have to)

  • First and Second Conditional

  • Narrative Tenses (S. Past , Past Cont., Past Perfect)

December 1, 2010

Take and share your notes at Noterr

Simple application which you can use to write notes to yourself or to others. Each sticky note can be shared with others via link or sent via e-mail.

November 24, 2010

Comic Strips with

This is the easieast tool I've seen to create comic strips. I've been planning to create a comic strip with my students in class and then ask them to create mini dialogues with language learned that day for their own comic strips.

You don't even need an account. First you click on the characters, then the backgroun, choose a speech bubble, type in the text (click SUBMIT WORD) and when you've finished click FINISHED and you've provided with a link. It's that easy.

:( It's a pity they don't offer us an embed but you can always grab a screenshot and publish it.

These are some comic strips created by a colleague of mine, Angela Gonçalves, to present modals of deduction.
 To learn how to use it, watch this TUTORIAL:

About Tech Talk Live! Conference 2011

There is a conference coming for K-12 IT professionals this April!

If you're an IT professional who works for a school, school district, or educational organization, you may be interested in a conference this April in Pennsylvania.

IU 13 in Lancaster, PA, is hosting Tech Talk Live on April 26-27, 2011. While there are other conferences for professionals interested in using technology in the classroom, this is the only conference that serves IT professionals who work in educational environments. The content is directed toward directors of technology services, systems and network administrators, application developers, and IT support staff.

Walt Mossberg, who writes a weekly column on personal technology for The Wall Street Journal, is scheduled to speak. Breakout sessions delve into the nitty-gritty of deploying and maintaining information technology systems in K-12 institutions. 

Greg Schwem, a standup comedian who pokes fun at corporate and institutional cultures, is giving the keynote, to bring levity to the intense two-day event.

Early Registration is $250 through the end of February, and includes entry to win a free Apple iPad.

For more information on this conference or to register, visit the Tech Talk Live website,


November 21, 2010

Learn Vocabulary w/ movie snippets

Found out about ENGLISH ATTACK via facebook yesterday.

Another fantastic site to suggest to our students. ENGLISH ATTACK, has a selection of movie snippets which students can learn from. First, they pre-teach some vocabulary (words + definitions) necessary for the understanding of the scene, then you watch the scene and move on to the interactive exercises (very cool!).

If you have an Interactive White Board in class, you can use it as a whole class activity. You can also take students to the school lab to work with a selected scene or a scene of their choice.

November 13, 2010

PURPLEMASH - a creative space for your students

This last week, I learned about , a perfect example of meaningful technology integration. Very beautiful work being developed, I wish I could be a student in this class. :)

This same teacher, Alex, used PURPLEMASH to have students create drawings and a newpaper based on the content they were studying.

Watch this video to learn more about PURPLEMASH

I haven't explored it yet and will be posting about my trials this coming week.

November 9, 2010

Helping a student understand how to express the Past

I feel thrilled when my students use our Edmodo group to ask me questions about content. It's proof they've accepted it as  a powerful communication tool. Yesterday, a student of mine sent me his doubts about S.Past, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous. He sent me his questions in Portuguese, nevertheless, I liked the fact he called for help.

So, how can I help him? If I don't want to wait until next class and talk to him face to face (and I believe he doesn't either) I need to answer him as quickly as I can. Traditionally, I would type in a written explanation which would be quite long, I imagine. So which tool could I use? I thought of sending him a video message where he could see me and hear me but then I wouldn't have the written sentences to show him the different tenses. I then remembered SKETCHCAST , a great tool I've posted previously.

This is the answer I sent him today. The tool is incredibly easy to use, no downloads, all you need is your microphone and internet connection. Then you can send your explanation via e-mail or grab the embed for publishing.

Learn more about SKETCHCAST with Russell Stannard's tutorial.

November 7, 2010

Practise LISTENING with Music

The first time I heard about LYRICS TRAINING was a few weeks ago via Roberta Righetto. I bookmarked it but didn't try it out until some days ago after watching Russell Stannard's fantastic tutorial.

First, you choose the language you want to practise (Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, German) then you select the song, the level (easy, medium and expert)and finally start completing the gaps as you listen to the song. The idea is pretty simple, however it's great fun listening, watching  the video clip and trying to understand the missing word. An additional feature is the way you can control the song, if you type the wrong word it doesn't accept and the song stops, to listen to that part of the song again all you have to do is clik ENTER. You listen again and again until you get the word right and the song continues.

Let me tell you a secret: I had SO MUCH FUN, I ended up trying 3 or 4 songs just for the fun of it.

Wonderful  LISTENING and SPELLING practice. Students can try it out at home,or you can use it in class as warmer on an IWB by showing it to the whole class and asking different students to use the keyboard to complete the gaps.

This is a little tutorial I've created to show to students.

October 30, 2010

Monster Project

Sharing a project developed by a friend and a Cultura EDtech member, Roberta Righetto. She invited her beginner students to create their own monsters , write a description , recorded each student and shared the project in a glog.

Grammar topic: it's got .....  / Vocabulary topic: parts of the body.

October 29, 2010

Group Communication Platform

  • Want to send e-mails, text messages and voice messages to a group of friends?
  • Want to set up chat rooms and conference calls for your group?
  • Want to share files so that other group members can collaborate with you?
You can do all of this and more using WIGGIO. I've just learned about it via a tweet from @ShellTerrell and would love to start testing it. The possibilities are great for groups you can create for friends, family, co-workers, your students , all in one place.

Watch the TUTORIAL and learn more about it. 

October 21, 2010

Tell stories using SHOWBEYOND

This is a simple tutorial to show my trainees how to use Showbeyond to develop projects with their students. With Showbeyond, you add the images you want, record the narration for each image and then share it with the world.

A colleague of mine, told me she wanted to develop a project with daily routine and I guess a great tool they could use is SHOWBEYOND. This is my sample story.

October 16, 2010

List of links with one URL

Simple and useful tool for teachers and students.

Let's imagine you want your students to carry out a research by finding bits of information from different websites. We all know how distracting surfing the net is, and here comes in FUR.LY. With FUR.LY , you add the URLs you wish your students to use and grab one URL generated by the site which guides students through the suggested sites.

To test, I grabbed some interesting sites to develop writing I had bookmarked previously and generated a FUR.LY Url to share via twitter.

This is how it looks, you can see the page navigator at the top.

October 15, 2010

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

A dense talk (by Sir Ken Robinson) made visually simple by the medium of animation.
Can't we do the same in our classes, change the way we present, involve our students senses and minds?

October 14, 2010

Create an Interactive Wall with your students

I've always liked WALLWISHER, however, due to the limit of characters you can type on the sticky notes, if you want your students to write lengthy texts then Wallwisher won't work.

I had been looking for a similar tool with more space for writing.
STIXY serves the purpose. You can create a wall where several people can collaborate and share notes (long texts), photos, links and documents.

Watch the TUTORIAL to learn more.

October 13, 2010

Taking care of your mind and soul

I decided to share one of the most pleasant activities I've been doing lately: TAI CHI CHUAN.

Last year, during my cancer treatment, I was looking for some sort of meditation when I luckily found my old tai chi master. The movements are very smooth, gentle to the body and great for the soul. Specially when you're suffering the stress of such a serious disease, the peace of mind you get from the practise of TAI CHI , was exactly what I had been searching for.

This is the trailer of a movie to be released "Masters of Heaven and Earth" 

October 11, 2010

Practise SPEAKING with Sketchcast

I had alredy seen this tool via Russell Stannard @russell1955 but had never given it a go.

It's incredibly simple, you register freely, and click to create your recording. Choose the option of the audio, give it a title and start recording. You can listen to a preview before publishing. As soon as it's published you're offered an embed code for publishing. During the sketcast you can record yourself while you draw and type.

My trial was something simple to talk about my nuclear family

  • have students record sketchcasts and describe their families, their bedroom, their house, a town scene, their city.
  • students can also talk about any given topic you propose while they scribble.
  • for groups, you can create a channel where all students can add their sketches.

To learn more about SKETCAST, watch Russell Stannard's TUTORIAL

October 9, 2010

Better Learning with ICT

Yesterday, while talking to Andréa Borges, I showed her Joe Dale's blog which has concise posts full of links and wonderful ideas. That reminded me of a video from Teachers TV I watched some time ago where they show Joe Dale teaching French to his students.

To watch the same video in Teachers TV, click on the link below

October 8, 2010

A Study Guide for my students

Sharing a simple Study Guide I've created for my students. It has links to various grammar and vocabulary exercises, ppts used in class and a video.

October 4, 2010

Your Online Business Card

While browsing through my PLN in twitter, found this site MYONEPAGE suggested by @ozge to make online business cards where you can include links to your twitter, facebook, e-mail, web site and so on.

After you create your card, there's even an embed code for publishing. How do you like it?

September 29, 2010

Using Cell Phones to engage learners

Apart from a few days ago, I had never tried to use the many cell phones we have available in the classroom to engage students. What I did was pretty simple, I asked my students to create mini dialogues with language we had just practised and then use their cell phones to record themselves performing it . Finally they would have to send the recording to me. I can't say it was a complete success but it sure got me thinking how to best use these mini computers our students seem to carry wherever they go.

This post aims at sharing a few articles and videos I've collected about the topic


September 22, 2010

The Child-driven Education
Take some minutes to watch this INSPIRING VIDEO.

Quotations from the video to think about:
  • "Children will learn to do what they want to learn to do."
  • "A teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be."
  • "If children have interest then education happens."
  • "There was photographic recall inside the children and I suspect it's because they were discussing with each other."
  • "Education is a self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenom."
(a self-organizing system is one where the system structure appears without explicit intervention from outside the system)

The Power of video (TED)

A fantastic presentation to watch. Watch up to the end when he talks about education. REALLY WORTH WATCHING. It's also a perfect example of using media to help presentations.

Talk "How web video powers innovation"
Click VIEW SUBTITLES to select the language.

September 18, 2010

Creative use of GLOGSTER

This last week, a colleague of mine, Estela, shared an amazing glogster she had come accross. This very creative teacher, webname sunrise651 (I'd love to find who this teacher is), from Bulgaria, has created several GLOGSTER posters to provide links to her students to study vocabulary and grammar.

Instead of providing  our students with a boring list of links, making a glogster poster linking to exercises and other glog pages is simply brilliant.

A Glog to provide exercises and games about FOOD:

A Glog with links to Grammar exercises:

September 10, 2010

Create your own TWITTER newspaper

Just found PAPER.LI via Demogirl's Youtube Channel

You can make a newspaper from your twitter feed and visualize your own tweets and people you follow in a different format.


I've posted about recently but hadn't had a chance to try it with my students. Yesterday, we had a great opportunity. My aim was to present new expressions of frequency and help my students memorize the chunks (once in a while, every so often, every now and again, more often than not, occasionally)

Last year, while teaching the same lesson I noticed, students understood the expressions but failed in memorizing the full chunks (once + in + a + while) , as a result didn't use them very often and couldn't remember them in the written test.

  1. I first elicited from sts the adverbs of frequency they already knew (always, usually, never ...) and asked them to talk about their present habits using them (in pairs).
  2. Then, I called their attention to an exercise in the book where the new expressions of frequency were highlighted in BOLD
  3. I used a flipchart page (image on the left /promethean board) to have my students guess the degree of frequency for each expression by going to the board and dragging the expression to the right column. If they were right, an audio clip saying YEAH (sound file) played automatically, if they were wrong, the word would go back to its original position. After the expressions had been placed in the right columns (lower frequency, higher frequency) we drilled the expressions and asked sts to copy the list in their notebooks.
  4. I assigned one expression per student and asked each of them to write a sentence about their habits using them. 
  5. While students were writing, I opened MEMORIZENOW 
  6. Each student dictated a sentence with the adverb of frequency as I typed it in the MemorizeNow text box.
    After typing, I asked each student to read their sentence aloud. Then, I clicked MEMORIZE in the site and a few words from the sentences disappeared. Once again, I asked different students to read the same sentences aloud. Again and again, by clicking on the arrows, more and more words disappeared making it more challenging for students to remember all the sentences. Finally, I clicked LETTERS , and only the first letter of each word appeared. Students were then challenged to read the sentences again. (They did it beautifully)
  7. I asked students to write down all the sentences they could remember.

 By clicking on the arrow, different words disappear from the sentence.
  By clicking on LETTERS, only the first letter of each word appears.

Instead of only drilling the expressions isolatedly, I think this memorization exercise is more successful if 1. the sentences are meaningful to sts, 2. expressions are contextualised.
To learn how to use MEMORIZENOW, watch this great TUTORIAL by Demogirl .

September 6, 2010

Flip Text - turn your text upside down

Found this tool yesterday and quite like it.

You can type any text and they flip it for you. It's a pity they don't provide you with an embed code, therefore, you have to copy and then past the flipped text to use it.

  • Type a series of questions, flip the text . Ask students to copy the text in their notebooks as fast as they can. Then students use the questions to ask each other .
  • Type any text with target vocabulary / structure and ask students to copy it in their notebooks. Then, ask them to underline the recent words they've learned.

September 4, 2010

TYPEWITHME: Live Text Document Collaboration

Another awesome tool to work with WRITING.

You create a document and then invite others to co-edit it. Each author has a different colour and can collaborate all at the same time. There is also a chat box participants can use to exchange ideas. After the text is ready, you can save it as PDF or a word file.

This is my trial with @janetbianchini . We built a story together.

Another feature I liked was the TIME SLIDER button at the top. By clicking that, you can see how the text was built, word by word.

As I wanted to try it out, I sent an invitation via twitter and in less than 3 minutes, Janet Bianchini and Marisa Constantinides joined me. Check out Marisa's contributions in pink. Txs, Janet and Marisa.

September 2, 2010

Revising GRAMMAR with screencast

Inspired by Russell Stannard's suggestion in the video shared previously in this blog, today I created a little screencast for my Intermediate students after having worked with Past Tenses. The aim is to give my students the chance to hear the explanation as many times they see fit.

September 1, 2010

Russell Stannard's presentation at IATEFL

I've always been a great fan of Russell Stannard's tutorials and loved watching this video from Joe Dale's superb blog.

He talks about screencasting and student feedback.
I really advise you to stop for some minutes and listen to this great talk.

I have been using to make screencasts for the course I facilitate but I had never thought of using it for student feedback. It saves so much time and it's so rich as the student can both see what you're marking and also hear you.

August 28, 2010


I love memorization tools.
This week a colleague of mine, Geórgia, showed me a site she'd come accross. We both decided we needed to explore it and see how to use it with our sts.

I was happy to see DEMOGIRL has already made one of her great tutorials about MEMORIZENOW. Watch and Learn.

  • Paste a dialogue you wish your students to memorize. Use the Memorize button to work with repetition in the classroom.
  • Paste sentences with grammar structure to be memorized.
  • Paste poems for sts to memorize.
  • Paste minisagas for memorization.

August 20, 2010

Webtools to enhance LISTENING

This afternoon, I presented a session about sites to help students improve their listening skills to a group of teachers.
These are the sites I selected for the talk.

Webtools to Enhance Listening

Interactive GRAMMAR games

A colleague of mine, Claudia Melo, shared a great link with our group CULTURA EDTECH yesterday. I had already seen the site, but had completely forgotten about.

The site ESL Fun Grammar Games offers a variety of flash games to practise GRAMMAR TOPICS

Types of games:
  • Hangman
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Fling the teacher
  • Spelling
  • Catching
  • Sequencing
  • Walk the plank
  • Jeopardy
  • Spin the wheel
They also offer VOCABULARY and PRONUNCIATION games.