December 8, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

Well, in case any Life Feast reader is wondering, I haven't disappeared from cyberspace. kkkkkk

The year 2012 was certainly a challenge and I had to try to use my time VERY WISELY. I started an M. A. program in Linguistic Studies and apart from attending my classes at university and starting to write my paper, I teach EFL to teenagers (love them), am the head of the Edtech department of technology at the language institute I work at and to top it all, I also facilitate an online course. 

So, what have I been doing? Well, since 2006 my online life has changed a bit. I don't feel the need to read EVERYTHING EVERYONE SHARES anymore, I try to select very carefully what I read (my priorities) and try to be with my family as much as I can.

I believe the year 2013 will be as busy.
I've started writing my dissertation online (in Portuguese) at but it's still at its initial stage.
At the beginning of 2013, I'll be offering a free online course for Brazilian EFL educators from public schools during which I intend to observe how participants experience "social presence" in an online environment. This is the poster I'm still working on to advertise the course.

Whenever I feel like unwinding and surfing a bit, I normally check my FACEBOOK notifications, interact a bit and share stuff I like over there as well. The space I've been enjoying the most nowadays is PINTEREST where I've been collecting interesting sites in boards.  Have a look : 

This is a selection of  10 FAVORITE SITES I've chosen from my pinterest boards. 

TYPOGRAFFIT - turn your words into a graffiti

SHUTTERCAL - a space where you can post a photo a day and add a text to it in a calendar and then share with others. I guess it would be perfect for project work.

MAGISTO - video editing with your cell phone. 

POPPLET - create cool collaborative mindmaps (IPAD or iphone app)

MUZY - a new way to blog with pictures.

SMORE - create cool virtual posters which can be printed or embedded.

VINTAGIO - turn your videos into silent films. (U$0.99)

TIKI-TOKI - beautiful web-based time lines.

OUIWRITE - makes academic writing easier by helping you with formats and sources.

POWTOON - create animated presentations.

October 20, 2012

IATEFL scholarship - best present ever

You’ve just been awarded a scholarship for IATEFL 2013.” 
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the email saying I would have the chance to attend the IATEFL conference in Liverpool for the first time.

As a Braztesol member, I’ve always tried to attend the national conventions in Brazil thinking of my professional development. However, going to an international conference such as IATEFL, had always been a far-fetched dream. 

While talking to dear friend Shelly Terrell about my dream of attending IATEFL and how hard it is for us Brazilian teachers to afford such a trip, she advised me to apply for one of the scholarships. There were different possible scholarships but one in special caught my eyes, the “Onestopenglish Creativity in the classroom” scholarship.

What I look forward to in Liverpool? Visit the city for the first time, meet several of my PLN friends , LEARN A LOT so that I can come back home full of ideas to share with other Brazilian teachers and of course, sing all the Beatles songs I love. 

October 16, 2012

Having fun with VOXER - walkie-talkie

You might already use this app or not. I only got invited to use it this week, thanks to Andressa Cardoso for that.

Now, if you can call someone and send text messages, why would you need a walkie-talkie application?

Well, sometimes you don't want to call someone and have a lengthy conversation, all you want is to do is send a message such as "Meet me in front of the cinema." If that is your purpose, I believe it could come really handy as recording yourself speaking is much faster than typing it.

Reading a review from  I discovered other interesting features such as sharing images and your location. You can even send a voice message to a group of people.

I love the fact that it's FREE and available for iphones and androids alike.

How can we use the tool with students?

  • send a voice message to a group of students asking a question and they have to answer back.
  • have students send voice messages to each other in English.
  • using the teacher's VOXER in class, students can interview a teacher from another country by sending voice messages.
Any other ideas? I'd love to hear from you.

October 5, 2012

Developing the 4 Skills with WEBTOOLS

Next week, we celebrate teacher's day in Brazil, so as a gift to fellow teachers, I've decided to share for free the online version of the e-book I wrote in 2011.

As an EFL teacher, I've always explored Webtools with an eye to the possible activities the tools afford.

"Developing the 4 Skills with Webtools"  brings a selection of 45 webtools which can be used to practise the 4 skills. Of course, many of the tools allow students to develop language as a whole, however, by bringing the tools in categories ( reading, writing, listening and speaking) , my intention is to help teachers select a tool based on what they would like their students to do.

The paperback version can still be purchased at

September 29, 2012

PODCAST Technology on the go - Using VOKI

TECH ON THE GO - Episode 2
Technology on the go is back. A podcast created by teachers, for teachers.
Each month, Camila Sousa (in Chicago) and I (in Brazil) interview different teachers around the globe about how they have been integrating technology to their classes.

This month, I am the guest speaker. 
I talk to Camila Sousa about the project I've been developing with my own students this semester. 
The main tool chosen was VOKI.

For more information about the project, you can read my previous blog post
or send me an e-mail to

To follow TECHNOLOGY ON THE GO, visit our podcast page

Some months ago, VOKI sent me an interview about how I had been using the site in my classes.
These are the answers I shared with them.

September 24, 2012

Investigating about SOCIAL PRESENCE: a thesis or a blog?

Inspired by Doug Belshaw's work, , a dissertation shared publicly since its beginning as a wiki, I share the beginning of my own journey as I study about Social Presence and how it  influences learning in virtual environments.

As I'm doing my M.A.  in Brazil, I write in Portuguese. The thesis will be written as a blog where people can comment and suggest right from the start.

September 19, 2012

My past , your past - Using BUBBLESNAPS

I love asking students to create different material using recently learned language using different webtools.

Last week, we were studying how to talk about PAST HABITS using USED TO, DIDN'T USE TO.

In class, I showed them my BUBBLESNAPS talking about my past

Then, for homework I asked them to create one about themselves using positive and negative sentences. My objective was to observe how well they had learned the topic structure and if necessary I would address the problems next class.

 Well, most students created their bubblesnaps using pictures from their childhood and shared it in our Edmodo group with the rest of their classmates. IN the following class, I showed their bubblesnaps using the IWB and then talked about general language mistakes I noticed.

You can try BUBBLESNAPS at

August 30, 2012

VOKI project with EFL students

In a previous post,
I described a project I intended to start with a group of students this semester.

Well, I have  proposed the project to students ...

... and have been surprised with the results so far.

I was thinking of having students write their first draft, show the text to me, then I would correct it and give them back the marked paper. But then, I changed my mind, so now, students send me their draft, I record a screencast while I correct their text, explaining the mistakes and giving them a sample of how to read the text, the student watches the correction , records himself/herself reading their own text and then share it with the rest of the class as a listening dictation.

 To record the screencasts, I've been using a site called EDUCREATIONS, also an app for the ipad.

 Each week, one student is supposed to create a 50-word text with language recently learned. This last week, we've been exploring vocabulary that has to do with education. I was delighted and surprised with the text/recording created for this week where this young Brazilian student talks about education in Brazil.

August 25, 2012

TECHNOLOGY on the go - a podcast about edutech

"Technology on the go" is a podcast channel created by Camila Sousa (living in Chicago) and I (in Brazil) with the aim to talk to different teachers around the world about how they have been integrating technology to their classes. 

Camila Sousa and I often meet in skype to exchange ideas about how we've been using technology in our classes. Then, we thought "Why not share these learning moments with other teachers? "

The episodes will be recorded once a month and will have the duration of 10 mins max.

Check out our first episode which has just been recorded! 

The episodes are intended to be a very informal talk where we can learn from each other. Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did talking to each other. Thank you, Kay, for the lovely interview.

The TECHNOLOGY ON THE GO podcast page is

Songifying the First Conditional

Last week, while studying how to talk about a POSSIBLE FUTURE using the First Conditional, I asked my students to create their own sentences hoping to make it more meaningful to them. I checked their sentences and used my own IPAD to record two different students reading their sentences using SONGIFY (app available for ipad, iphone and androids).

I explained to them that in a following class we would use the sentences as a dictation where they would be the ones reading to each other.

In a class, this week, I attached my ipad to the projector and told me we would have a challenge. We would TRY to understand the TWO sentences on each recording. As the sentences are changed into a musical version by the app, it is truly a challenge. We developed the activity as a whole class: students listened and then I elicited the sentences from them writing it on the board.
 After playing all the recordings and eliciting their sentences, I asked them to look at the examples and tell me what structure was present in all examples. IF + S. PRESENT + S. FUTURE 

Oh, I forgot, to download the audio file created by the app, just send each recording to your e-mail and download it. SIMPLE, SIMPLE.

August 14, 2012

Song APPS in the EFL classroom

I've been playing with some apps on my ipad and am plannig to try them out with my own students next week.

This week, they've learned how to talk about FUTURE POSSIBILITIES using WHEN, UNTIL, AS SOON AS, UNLESS and IF.

My plan is to ask each student to make a sentence using one of the words mentioned above using the First Conditional, then I intend to use my own Ipad to record them reading their sentences using SONGIFY. The app turns any sentence you read to a song. (for iphones or androids)

After making a songify song you can share the link via twitter, facebook or e-mail but it gives you no option of downloading it to your computer. Well, after asking for Dr. Google's help, I discovered in a great tutorial how to download the mp3 created by Songify. I'd need the mp3 audio to embed it in glogster posters or sending it to our class blog in posterous.

LISTENING ACTIVITY -With the recording done, I intend to play it to my students and see how many sentences they can write down.

Other similar apps are AUTORAP and TALKAPELLA

This is how it looks when someone clicks the shared link in facebook

This is the mp3 I've downloaded from songify.
 And this is how it looks after being published   our activities blog.

I've learned how to download the MP3 from Songify from

I came accross this app by reading an amazing post from where Lisa Johnson shares Ms. Carnazzo's ilesson. She developed a project with her students and had them use Screenchomp, glogster and songify to produce content about the content they were studying.

August 7, 2012

PROJECT: Listening Dictation with Voki

This week I´m about to start a new project with my Upper Intermediate students.
The objective is to offer them further reading, writing , listening and speaking practice at home.

The idea is the following:
Each week, one student will be selected to make a 50-word text using recently learned language. The text will be corrected by the teacher and then that same student will record himself / herself reading the dictation for their classmates using a speaking avatar created at VOKI.

To present the project to students and to address the issue of rhythm and intonation to improve pronunciation and consequently understanding, I´ve created two different avatars with the same text. Students will listen to both in class and I´ll ask them which one they found  easier to understand and why.
Voki 1 and Voki 2
For Voki 1 I tried to read the text fast with very little pauses and little intonation.
For Voki 2 I tried to improve the reading.

The voki avatars will be shared weekly by students in our EDMODO group. Students then have to listen to the DICTATION , transcribe it and bring the text to me.

August 5, 2012

My EDTECH picks - August 2012

SCREENLEAP - an easy way to share your screen activity with anyone. No need for downloads or sign ups and best of all it's free.

PRESENTISTA - a way to create a presentation. Very similar to Prezi, but still in it's BETA version. They have very few transitions now but it's promising. Let's wait and keep an eye on what comes next.

SUPALOGO - a super easy way to create text logos.

POWTOON - another promising Presentation tool. You can create your presentation with super cool transitions, add characters, speech bubbles, images and sound effects. You can save your presentation online or download it to youtube. What I miss is the possibility to add links to the presentation. It's a bit more challenging to use then ppt or Prezi but it is surely a breath of fresh air when it comes to presentation tools.  AWESOME !

VISUALIZE - an iphone/ ipad app which allows you to create posters using text, images, cut out photos, stickers and then share it online. LOVED IT!

VIRTUAL WRITING TUTOR - paste your text and have it check the spelling and grammar.

August 3, 2012

CULTURA EDTECH - online course for EFL/ ESL teachers

I started my technology path in 2006 attending different online courses  and then becoming a co-moderator at different EVO sessions. However,  while trying to spread the knowledge among teachers I work with, I noticed that for many teachers it's not easy to break the barrier of our own personal beliefs and start exploring the web with an eye on educational possibilities.

Bearing these difficulties in mind, I devised a 3-month online course which has the aim to help EFL teachers learn about different webtools and how to incorporate them to lessons. 

Each week, participants are expected to watch tutorials, read articles, try out the proposed WEBTOOL and reflect about their possible use in a lesson plan. I do my best to provide full support to teachers via e-mail, tutorials and skype calls. Teachers also have the chance to join an online community where they can be in contact with various like-minded professionals in order to share and build knowledge.

The course completes 4 years in August and we're very proud to announce the beginning of the course for GROUP 10. 

For more information about the course, please visit

Check what previous teachers have developed this year:
Luiza Cardoso 
Roseli Serra 
Ana Carolina Henrique 
Roberta Dayrell 
Aurea Stela 
Ana Paula

August 2, 2012

Creating AUDIO QR codes

I wish we had an app which would allow us to record voice , host it, and automatically generate a QR CODE.

Well, TOKKERS does that for a price :(. As an educator in Brazil, I'm always looking for webtools and apps which are FREE so that they can be used to promote learning.

All things considered, in order to make an audio qrcode, I end up having to use two different tools: one to record and host the audio and another to generate the code.

So first, I used my AUDIOBOO app to record myself reading a poem and then grabbed the audio URL.

Then, I used to generate the QR CODE and saved the image.

So, if you scan the code with you cell phone, you'll be able to listen to the poem.

August 1, 2012

QR Codes - the mystery solved

We see these little codes EVERYWHERE and many people still don't understand what they are for.

Meanwhile, several teachers have been sharing different qr code generators and interesting activities for the classroom.

But first things first, if you're one of the many who don't really know   how different they are from normal bar codes, FIRST, let's  understand them and then see how they can be used in our classes.

Let me tell you a secret , I was one of these people who didn't really see the beauty of QR codes until I came accross the following video

Step 1: watch the explanatory video.
Step 2: download a scanner reader app to your cell phone or ipad.
      - apps for android
      - apps for iphone/ ipad
Step 3: Test your scanner app by pointing it to the qrcode on this post and you'll be taken to the video I mentioned.

Step 4: Let's learn how to generate these codes.
There are different generators you can use, the easiest might be a simple generator such as but one I've found very useful is using URL Shorteners such as:  or

First of all, copy the URL of a page you would like to share, go to one of the sites mentioned above (tinyurl or, paste it and click to shorten. You can customize the name of the link by clicking CUSTOMIZE. Copy the link provided by the site and paste it on a new tab, include /qr and press enter. Then you should have the qrcode of the shortened URL.

Oh, as you can see the QR Codes are black and white but if you want to add some color to it, try

And how can we use QR CODES in education?

You might enjoy reading these articles:

I've been collecting interesting ideas about QR CODES in my PINTEREST BOARD for some time and here are some of them:

Another way you can use QR CODES is ....
Let's imagine you are at a conference and don't have a business card to exchange. NO PROBLEM, with SnapMyInfo you can trade info by using your phone camera.

QR code at a glance

An amazing comic tutorial from the Daring Librarian

July 20, 2012

How to add annotations to youtube videos

Well, I hadn't posted about this because I wrongly presupposed EVERYONE knew how to do this. So here it goes, this afternoon, a dear friend of mine saw a youtbe video which I have edited for my presentation in Brasília next week.  I added some speech bubbles to a video in which my students say what they have learned from a project I developed last semester, AN IMAGE A WEEK. To make it easier to understand what my students say, I've included some speech bubbles from YOUTUBE.

Camila, kindly asked how to do it and this is the quick tutorial. I used  an app called sock puppet to record the dialogue, hosted it in youtube and then edited by adding the speech bubbles.

July 17, 2012

My baggage after ABCI conference 2012 - São Paulo

This month in Brazil, we have three big conferences for English Language Teachers: ABCI in São Paulo, Braz-tesol  in Rio and CTJ seminar in Brasília. Well, as we are human beings after all, with a family and a husband I love, I had to make my choices : ABCI and CTJ.

The conference had over 1,000 teachers and several guest speakers from various parts of the world : David Nunan, Nicky Hockly, Jim Screvener, Jeremy Harmer, Penny Ur, Herbert Puchta, Paul Seligson and many others.

My presentation "Teacher, the dog ate my Homework." HOMEWORK + WEB 2.0, aimed to reflect a little bit about the homework experience and share a project developed with my students last year where apart from assigning traditional homework (workbook exercises) , students had to carry out 10 tasks using different webtools.

With Bruno de Andrade's permission, I share his own notes about my presentation in São Paulo which can be read at Bruno's posterous about the event.

Ana Maria starts by asking participants to talk about their homework assignments when they were studying English.
Most participants claimed that homework was too structured and mechanical.
Then she asked what kind of feelings they related with homework. Answers were: boredom, competition, threat.
Next she asks the kind of hw we assign our students. She talked about the advances in teaching tools in the classroom, but what about hw? Has anything changed at all?
We still tell our students to do the same exercises we did in the past.
There's a big gap between the kind of activities we do in class and homework.
How can we make hw more interesting?
Harris Cooper: the use of HW as a pedagogical tool has had its ups and downs.
Nowadays HW is seen as a possibility for further reading and writing tasks. Some students do their HW minutes before their class.
Technology integration is a process! From user to integration it takes time.
The 3 phases of educational technology 
1 tech to present dynamic lessons
2 tech for sts to have access to information
3 tech for production and the sharing of products developed by sts
Where do you stand?
To reach phases 2 and 3 teachers find some constraints such as one computer for the whole class, syllabus issues.
The project
Apart from assign HW, she alternated with exercises using different tools.
Objective was to provide practice in different skills.
The context involved 3 groups, 35 students who have been studying English for around 2 years.
It's important to point out that these students were economically privileged.
The 10 tasks challenge
She selected the tools according to skills she wanted her students to work with.
Tip: plan and be flexible!
She included the project into the evaluation system.
The space to communicate with her students was Edmodo. There were tutorials and examples included on the guides on Edmodo.
Sharing with parents
Ana Maria, used a wiki to get parents involved.
  • Challenge #1 - Voki
  • Challenge #2 - Write Comics
  • Challenge #3 -
  • Challenge #4 - Stixy
  • Challenge #5 - Picture description
  • Challenge #6 -
  • Challenge #7 - GoAnimate
  • Challenge #8 -
  • Challenge #9 - Voki
  • Challenge #10 - Voicethread

Close to the end of the semester, Ana asked her students which kind of HW they prefer. Most of then prefere the webtools.
A very Nice presentation!

I also had the great pleasure to meet online friends I've had contact with for months and some for years and had never had the chance to meet face to face: Roseli Serra, Nicky Hockly, Bruno Andrade and Raquel Oliveira.

What I'm taking home? Well, lots of insights provoked by the different teachers and speakers I had the pleasure to watch. Very simply put, I'm sure my baggage is a lot heavier than when I landed in São Paulo, with lots of insights, ideas and puzzles to solve.

June 14, 2012

PROJECT: Drawings turned into quiz

I believe personalizing language is usually the best way to learn something. Having that in mind, last week, while teaching about Narrative Tenses, I decided to ask students to create their own sentences using different combinations of tenses.

My objective was to help students see the different possibilities of expressing past actions. Then, I asked each pair to draw an image which would represent the actions described in their sentence. It was nice to observe how students could only draw after they had understood the sequence of events they had tried to express with their sentences.

As a follow-up, students passed their pictures around the class and different pairs tried to guess the original sentence by looking at the drawing.

In the following class, for warm-up, I used a quiz created with PHOTOPEACH where I used their own drawings and sentences.

Quiz: Narrative Tenses on PhotoPeach

Would you like to learn how to create quizzes with PHOTOPEACH ?

1. You create a slideshow.
2. Then click EDIT, edit captions +photos.
3. Click QUIZ, type questions and alternatives.
4. Click OK and your photo quiz w/ background music is ready.

You can see a more detailed tutorial w/ pictures  at Sue Waters blog.

May 29, 2012

AUCTION Time: feedback to mistakes

I can't recall exactly where I learned this activity from but I believe it's an interesting way of giving feedback to mistakes.

This semester I've started a project with students where each week they select a picture , write a text about it and send them both to a designated e-mail address. The texts written by students are not edited beforehand , therefore, throughout the semester I tried to address their attention to the most common mistakes using different activities. For more information about the project, read a previous post.

To play AUCTION is fairly simple. First you select sentences with no mistakes and sentences which contain the most common mistakes you want to draw attention to. You can have the list of sentences on a ppt, a word file or even a poster. Explain to students you will auction sentences and their goal is to buy as many correct sentences as they can. If they buy a correct sentence they will get their money back but if they get a wrong sentence, they will lose their money. If they don't buy any sentence, by the end of the auction, they will also lose their money. I used money from an old Monopoly game to give all my students the same amount of notes.

Then, the auction starts. As soon as a sentence is sold, the teacher writes the name of the buyer and the amount paid next to the sentence. After all sentences have been sold, the teacher collects all the money from students and starts correcting the sentences with the students' help. If a sentence is right its buyer has the right to receive the money back. Keep on going until all the sentences have been analyzed. The student with the highest amount of money WINS THE GAME. These are some pictures taken in class yesterday.

May 12, 2012

Educreations: IPAD app

I had already used EDUCREATIONS on my laptop during an EVO Session but had kind of forgotten it.

Today, while searching for something else I stumbled into it again, but this time I decided to try its IPAD app which is totally free.

 This is what you can do with it:
- You can draw using your finger and record your voice at the same time.
- You can take a photo and record yourself talking about it.
- You can use a picture from your photo gallery or from dropbox, draw and record your voice. After recording and saving it, you can share it via twitter, facebook or even grab the embed code for publishing online.



 How can wwe use it with students? 
- you can ask students to research about famous people in history, ask them to upload a picture and record themselves talking about that personality.
- you can record screencasts drawing and writing explanations.
- you can ask students to share a picture of something special to them and talk about it.
- you can ask students to upload a picture of a place they would really like to visit someday and talk about it.
- students can draw and tell a story.

May 8, 2012

Revision Carousel

This week, I planned to revise content students have recently seen by organizing a revision lesson as a CAROUSSEL.

First of all, I selected 3 activities :
  1. Students would complete a grammar revision sheet and then use the answer key to correct it.
  2. Students would play a  game called "Four-in-a-row" from the book "Grammar games and activities"  where students have to  know the infinitive/past/past participle of verbs.
  3. Students would choose from one of the topics provided in their own course book and write a dialogue discussing it using language to agree and disagree. Then, they would use my cell phone (Audioboo app) to record their dialogues. 
The 12 students were divided into 3 groups of four and I had them seating in different corners of the room. Students would have 20 mins to work with each activity. As a timer, I used the site ONLINE VIDEO CLOCK  where you set an alarm by selecting a video clip from youtube. Before the caroussel activity started I explained what students would do at each station and by the end of the class all of them would have covered the 3 activities. 

I liked the way I was free to move from one group to another and help when I was needed. Students were totally involved in doing the tasks. Moving from the different stations kept a dynamic pace to the lesson. An important point is to organize activities which take a similar time to cover and also have an extra activity up your sleeve for fast-finishers (in our case, I had conversation cards ). Next class, I intend to play their recordings from audioboo and ask them what they thought about it.

One of the recordings created in class by students: