9 Sep 2013

New School Year - Getting to Know You Activities for the First Day

September has arrived again! The summer is almost over in this part of the world and many teachers start their classes with new students. It is time to build new relationships, a relationship of confidence between our students and us, but between students and their peers as well.
No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship. James Comer.
After many years of teaching English to students of different ages and levels, I must admit that I still get butterflies in my stomach on the first day of class. However, thanks to all those generous teachers who are online and share their successful activities on their blogs or on Twitter, I have learnt a lot on how to create an atmosphere of trust, respect and learning from day one. Now I would like to share some of those activities with you:

I hope you find these ideas useful for your first day. If you would like to share your own ones with other teachers, don't forget to leave a comment!

3 Sep 2013

Useful websites for students - A2+ level

In August, I was very lucky to teach an intensive English course for adults at the Centre d'Idiomes de la Universitat de València. Apart from the traditional resources usually used in class, I encouraged my students to take advantage of the Internet and practise English outside of the classroom using free online resources. I think that an important part of the learning process is to give students the tools that they need to continue learning independently.

This is the list that I shared with them:

"If you could add any useful online resource to the list, what would it be? Why?"

19 Jun 2013

Useful Websites for PET Exam Preparation

These are all the websites I have found to help my students preparing for the Preliminary English test. Some of them do not include PET tasks, but I have decided to include them because I think they can be useful to improve the different language skills.

All the links worked the last time I checked them, but please let me know if any of them are broken. Equally, if you know other interesting sites which could be added to the list, please leave a comment or write me an email.

You can access the document or  download it:

14 Jun 2013

Adapting a coursebook.

In most subjects and in any grade level, teachers and, therefore, students are expected to use a textbook as a resource in their classes. However, we have to bear in mind that although those textbooks are produced by experts, experienced teachers and teacher trainers, they are created to be used by teachers who work in different teaching contexts, in different countries and with students who are in the same class, but whose level is not exactly the same. Therefore we need some things that the book doesn't provide:

CREATIVITY to adapt the textbook in order to address our students' learning needs.
SELECTION CRITERION to choose just those activities which can be useful, meaningful and suit your students' needs.
SUPPLEMENT the textbook with other kinds of activities which could work for our students and can help them develop their speaking skills and fluency.
ADAPT the activities so that they are interesting, motivating and meaningful for our students.

This is an example of an activity I adapted from the coursebook for one of my one-to-one classes with my 9 years old student.  I was supposed to create a short theatre play with a group of students, but it was just her and me in the classroom. So, I decided that she could create a very short piece on her own including some of the new vocabulary and other expressions she had learn during the school year. She wrote the script and then we recorded it. This is the result. I hope you like it!

The search (Part 1) by inmaav on GoAnimate

 The Search (Second Part) by urpillay on GoAnimate

If you are interested in discovering other possibilities to adapt your textbook I recommend you to watch Shelly Terrell's presentation on the topic:

17 May 2013

The Sunshine Award

This morning I could hardly wake up, I felt exhausted, it was cloudy in the city of light and just when I switched on my computer to follow the latest news, I read that our "dear" Spanish Education Minister has finally decided to impose an education reform, LOMCE, which has been widely rejected. So, the Sunshine Award came at the perfect time from a talented teacher and blogger I look up to very much for all the effort, energy and heart she puts in everything she does! She and her students write on their blog Stop and Learn English where they create and share their everyday learning and practices.

Thank you very much, Mª Jesus, for bringing me some extra sunshine today and thinking of my blog for this award! You definitely made my day! Who doesn't like a little recognition now and then?

The Sunshine Award is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers. It is given to ...
Bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.
Now do you understand how honoured I feel?

Well, as with other similar awards, there are certain rules to keep to:

Rule 1.  Post the Sunshine Award logo on your blog.
Rule 2.  Nominate 5 to 10 other wonderful  bloggers.
Rule 3.  Announce their nomination in their blog’s comment section.
Rule 4 .Mention links back to their blog, including a link to the person who nominated you.
Rule 5. Answer seven questions about yourself.  This is designed to help people get to know you better.
And my nominees are .... (Drums roll sound):
Think and Dream in English by Pilar Pamblanco for the great amount of ESL resources and interesting news on education and technology she shares on her blog. Thanks for all your support and help on Twitter as well!

EFL SMARTBlog by David Mainwood also deserves this awards because he always shares useful lesson plans which include interesting resources from the net.

My First Blog by María Luisa Sánchez for her great work on encouraging little children and parents to learn English together in a fun way using ICT and other resources to develop creativity.

Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals by Claudio Azevedo for his contribution to make language learning through films more meaningful and sharing activities which work in class for him.

Collablogatorium by Carla Arena, always ready to share tips, her thoughts and reflections on EFL learning, teaching practice and technology integration.

Lengüetazos literarios by Silvia Gongo, Una tiza y tú by Carmen González, Educadores Hoy by Isabel Ruiz and Canada Blanch by Mercedes Ruiz (in Spanish), teachers from different subjects, from different educative levels, from different regions, joined for their passion to share, collaborate and change education and the way students learn. Thank you very much for teaching me so much! That would had been impossible without Twitter!

Educación y Virtualidad by Cristóbal Suárez (in Spanish) for your thought-provoking posts on education, collaboration, open learning and ICT. Thank you very much for encouraging me to start blogging when I thought I didn't have anything interesting to share. I have learnt so much from you!

Some things about me...

1. Favourite colour. 
I love purple! For me it's the colour of dreams, it makes me feel calm and usually is one of the best colours on me. 

2. Favourite animal. 
I can't choose one. Can you? So... cats, dogs, horses and dolphins and mythically speaking, dragons.

3. Favourite number. 
Maybe 8?

4. Favourite non-alcoholic drink. 
That's easy! A lovely cup of coffee to wake me up in the morning or enjoy with friends somewhere.

5. Favourite alcoholic drink. 
I'm not a great fan of alcoholic drinks, but it depends on the moment. I always enjoy a glass of wine with some delicious "pintxos" and friends. However, if I go to a party (something I don't do lately... I'm getting old!), I prefer a mojito, a daiquiri cocktail or a chilled champagne sorbet.

6. Facebook or Twitter. 
Well, definitely, Twitter has had a great impact on my teaching life, on my way of understanding education, of collaborating with others, sharing, learning and be informed. Twitter is the gateway to reflection, discussion, resources, free online chats and webinars. What else? Well, this is just my personal experience. I think the Twitter experience is different for everyone, so look for your own one!

7. My passions. 
My family and good friends, travelling, dancing salsa, walking along the beach, sunny days, reading and watching films, new experiences and adventures, writing on my blog when possible, cooking, photography, and of course teaching!

8. Giving or receiving gifts? 
Honestly, both of them make me happy and smile. However, something I find a little bit stressful is trying to find a present for someone just because it's a special day (birthday, Christmas day...). Any day is good to give and receive presents, isn't it?

9. Favourite city or country?
This is one of the most difficult questions for me to answer. I can't choose just one! As a mentioned before, I love travelling and I always discover something marvellous, surprising in any city or country I visit.

I love London, its modern and historical arquitecture, its museums, its lively atmosphere and cosmopolitan lifestyle; Peru, a country full of surprises. Coast, mountains, desert and jungle, all in one place. I love its food and people as well! Greece, what can I say about Greece? It's an amazing country full of culture, sandy beaches, great food and people.

I wish I could travel to all the places I dream of, and take my family and friends with me!

10. Favourite book?
Impossible to choose one, once more! I love reading, it's one of my favourite pastimes. So, some of my favourite books are The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Elogio de la madrastra by Mario Vargas Llosa, El túnel by Ernesto Sábato or Cuentos by Julio Ramón Ribeyro. I also love reading and attending poetry readings, and going to the theatre.

Congratulations to all my nominees! Now it's your turn to spread the positive flow and send the sunshine to other fantastic and inspiring bloggers!  

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More