April 25, 2014

Appear.in: a free video chat room

This post is an account of my first test with the website APPEAR.IN , which allows you to video chat with up to eight people for free. https://appear.in/

How does it work?

As usual, I was super excited to try it out. I created my own room TESTINGANA, copied the link and sent an invite to my PLN on Facebook.

A few minutes later, I got my first visit, an American lady (I didn't get the chance to ask her much as she only dropped in to say hello). Then, Cíntia Rabello, an e-friend, an e-colleague, I had never had the chance to talk f2f accepted my invitation to try the room. Thank you, Cíntia!

As no one else joined us and we wanted to see how the webcam images looked with more than two people, Cíntia got into the room with another device. We talked a bit about her PHD experience in England which I had been following via Facebook and also checked what was possible to do with the site.

Two Brazilians together..... our conversation was in Portuguese, of course. I also tested recording a part of our conversation with QUICKTIME on my Mac. I guess the same kind of recording (a screencast) would work with SCREENCAST-O-MATIC or JING.


What did I like about it?

1. It's free.
2. There's no need to log in or to have an account.
3. It's not necessary to download anything.
4. A simple interface, just click and talk.
5. The chat room also provides a text chat space.

How could we use this site with students?

- To meet with a small group of students.
- If you have a big group of students you can organize groups of 8 who could get together on different days to practise discussing a topic or even chat using English.
- A group of students could interview a foreigner or an expert in a field.

April 23, 2014

What's the time in Montreal? : an IWB activity

This is an activity shared by a colleague of mine, Stela Morgado.

Language focus: the time
Level: Basic
Device: Interactive White Board
Interaction: student - student
Time frame: 10 mins.
Connection: online

Stela describes the activity:

Project: What time is it in...? 

1. Go to the website http://24timezones.com/  
2. Invite a student to come to the board and choose a place around the world. Click on the place. 
3. The student should then choose a friend and ask "what time is it in London?" (for example).  
4. Elicit alternative ways of asking about the time: What´s the time...have you got the time, etc. 
5. One of my B1 students, Crissiê, invented a follow-up activity. The T can publish the link at Edmodo. Ss take turns choosing places and asking the time around the world to other students through the reply icon. (I´ve attached the photos of Giselle and Geovana during the activity).

* Alternative topic: What´s the weather in...? What´s the temperature in...? 

Ss can use the site http://weather-finder.com/?gclid=CNvq_qHW2L0CFUoV7Aod4B8AEA or upload an app to the mobile(e.g A weather life)- Suggestion from Patrick a Basic 3 student. 

April 19, 2014

Paper + coloured pencils + a child = 2 activities

I love simple activities!

A very creative colleague of mine, Luiza Helena, shared two activities she has tried with her junior students recently.

Luiza explains:

"Well, here is a photo of a very simple activity. The students were organized in a circle. The teacher gives a piece of paper and they have to start drawing a monster. When the teacher makes a sound students change papers and continue the previous monster and go on. The teacher continues making sounds so students change the position of the monsters until get their own. The fun is that students don't make only one monster but it is a collaborative work. At the end, students laugh a lot and say: This is not  mine. What have you done with mine?... They create a name and then others vote for the best one."

Then, Luiza shares a second one:
"Today I did an activity and I also took a picture of it. It is a sleep diary. You give each student a sheet of paper (A4). They fold and cut it and then staple it in a format of a diary. Inside they write one information in each side, for example: I go to bed at...; I wake up at...so on... Students can tell if they dream or not, how many hours do they sleep ... etc. The diaries are so simple but cute. They made cute drawings inside.

Thanks for your interest in these simple ideas."

April 15, 2014

Mobile Activity: going to with Tellagami

Language focus: describing appearance and going to.
Device: Cell phones or tablets (one per person)
App: Tellagami
Interaction: student - student, student - device
Time frame: 15 mins.
Connection: offline

Some weeks ago, I presented a workshop at Cultura Inglesa Uberlândia on OFFLINE MOBILE ACTIVITIES. We focussed on some apps which allow students to work offline once the app has already been downloaded to the device.

We had great fun and brainstormed several activities we could develop with the apps TELLAGAMI and SIMPLE MIND. Both apps are available for IOS and androids.

A few days later, a very creative colleague of mine, Ana Cláudia, tagged me on a facebook post where she shared pictures of her students using Tellagami in class.

Then, I asked her to describe the steps she had followed.

1. Students created their avatars using the app. They could customize the hair, eyes and clothes.
2. Students interacted showing their avatars to other students and asked and answered questions about their appearance.
3. Students recorded the avatar saying what they would be doing the following day. Ex: I'm going to play tennis tomorrow.
4. Students exchanged devices, listened to the avatar speaking and repeated what they heard.

Another variation for step 4 would be for students to listen and write the sentence they hear, then they could keep exchanging devices and write other sentences they hear.

April 7, 2014

Project: Hello, there! (Brazil + Argentina)

I'm very excited to share a new class project which is about to start. It's going to be a collaboration Brazil + Argentina. After contacting my PLN friends from our neighbour-country, Argentina, Jennifer Verschoor accepted the challenge.

We both have teenage students who are going to be in contact during 4 weeks.

What's the project about?

PROJECT: Hello, there!

GOAL: participants will be able to develop communication skills in the English Language.
TARGET AUDIENCE: a group of teenage students (14-16) from Brazil and Argentina.
TECHNOLOGY EXPECTED: students will be using their own devices (cell phones, tablets or computers) to communicate in Edmodo.
STAKEHOLDERS: teachers, parents, directors.
DEADLINE: project will be developed during four weeks.

18 students from Brazil will be paired up with 18 students from Argentina to communicate during 4 weeks.

Objective:  to learn as much as they can about the other student and the place where he/she lives during this period of time. At the end of the 4 weeks, each student will write a report to the teacher expressing what they have learned.

Platform: students from both countries will join an Edmodo group. Both teachers, from Brazil and Argentina, will be the managers of the group. Students will be divided in small groups in Edmodo (pairs) where they can develop a conversation. Their communication can be via text, audio files, videos, photos using any kind of file they wish to attach to their messages. Teachers will have access to their communication the whole time.

Teachers' role: to get students in contact, divide them into pairs and manage their conversation. Students' messages don't need to be corrected by the teacher beforehand as the objective is not accuracy but the development of a conversation. However, the teacher can prepare activities to be carried out in class with some common mistakes observed (without identifying students).

Final Task: by the end of 4 weeks, each student should publish a report to their teacher, explaining how the communication took place and what he/she learned about the other student. The final report should contain at least 200 words and images/ videos to illustrate it.

The reports will be posted on a common wiki: http://projecthellothere.pbworks.com/  which will then be shared with parents.

Our students are joining the Edmodo group this week, so let's see how it goes.