domenica 31 dicembre 2017


Some more hours and the  new year  is  coming : what we did is now part of us .
Maybe  we did something wrong. But we learn by making  mistakes and  it is important to be positive to start working  again in the new year.

Let's be positive and let's try to build new opportunities for the ones who are suffering, children and people living in the poorest areas of the world.

giovedì 21 dicembre 2017

Christmas trees

The Story behind the tradition of  Christmas  trees

This interesting video explains how  the decoration of  Christmas trees  started in the Victorian Age

I have often  decorated my Christmas tree: I used to do it as  a little child.

Today we are  using some old trees and love decorating them with  balls made of  paper, we  recycle materials which we would not use anymore. Usually small Christmas  trees are  given as presents  at Christmas. They are in different  sizes , shapes and colours....  a nice  tradition which makes our homes  welcoming and  we love them.

We are continuing  a tradition that  started  many years ago......

15. desember - December 15 (6475927021).jpg
By Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway) from Oslo, Norway - 15. desember - December 15, No restrictions, Link

Albert Chevallier Tayler - The Christmas Tree 1911

Attribution : Albert Chevallier Tayler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

mercoledì 20 dicembre 2017

Dickens and Christmas


Some  years ago I was in London. I was doing a  Teacher Refresher Course and I visited some houses which had been inhabited by important  English Writers and Poets. This was part of my  CPD as a teacher doing  the course.
It was  a great experience for me since I could visit the places where some of them had  written their works.
I visited  Charles  Dickens Museum and my adventure into visiting this kind of museums   would never stop.

Christmas is associated to  Dickens.
Dickens was associated to London and the Victorian  Age.  His works are well-known and most children have  read his famous  books and stories about  Christmas:

This December some  people might go to the cinema and see  the last  film about  Christmas and Dickens but  I think that  this document provided by the British Library can  help us understand the man and his time:

I think the film may be interesting and worth seeing but reading the book which he wrote to celebrate Christmas is much  more involving.                                                                                                        
You can  find some  nice editions online and read something  which can make you  see the beauty of the old  Christmas when Dickens  wrote his  stories.                                                                                                                                                                                    

For younger  children you can find  a nice cartoon  in English:

Merry  Christmas !!

martedì 12 dicembre 2017

The Christmas Truce

Friendship in the midst of War

It happened on the eve  of Christmas  1914 and it was  a special event, a special event.......when people stopped fighting...... looking forward to peace.....

A nice and interesting  activity can be found online to remember what happened in  1914. I am thinking of  using it in my  fifth year class to focus on the theme of peace and war.

Here is the link online :

Since we are still faced with wars, we should remember that men can be friends in spite of wars which we cannot understand.

mercoledì 6 dicembre 2017

Teaching about Pollution while using posts online

Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage Beach
Attribution : [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are searching interesting materials that are related to real problems and in particular pollution, you just need to check online and you will find lost of interesting posts shared on social networks like   Twitter and  FB.
 I have been working on a Mooc  about   the Earth recently and what we can do to save it. I will write later about this online experience, but I would like to share some simple and  easy to understand texts posted on Twitter.
I was online in September and found a post dealing with cleaning  coasts and beaches, I bookmarked the information shared online and later I found this interesting one  dealing with pollution and how  we should cut plastic pollution:

Internet and  Social Networks can help us when dealing with  these issues while working on the English  Language with  our  students: we could work on the Language used and try to involve our students  in creating  presentations and taking part in activities that can save the Planet  Earth:

The next lesson for us is to create activities in which we  try to be more careful when dealing with the issues  related to our  environment. The  sources can be found  online.

sabato 2 dicembre 2017

Google Slides - Thinking about how to work online and give homework

This year I am working with two new classes of the First Year at Liceo G.Chierici in Reggio Emilia.
I am working with another teacher, Daniela,  and we are trying to implement our teaching activities not only by working longer hours  with our students but also by providing more  materials for our English language  learners. We do some extra tuition and students will have extra-hours  with an English mother tongue teacher from January.

Last summer we prepared activities to reinforce the students' language performance . We asked the  families and students to work by doing some activities which were presented online.
I chose Google  Slides as they are easy to make and provide lots of links; they can be embedded in websites and also in wikis.

The slides can also be  used to create ebooks online.

Since we are going to finish the first term by 23 December, I have created this slide for one of the classes.  They are working on reading activities in Italian too and  therefore I have  created a slide with links to a short text in English with a text and a video about  a famous  book- Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The students have also been guided to work online by doing more  language revision online.

Here is the  document which  I have also shared in the blog which I have  created :

Our aim is help  the struggling  learners to empower and learn better.  We would like the students to learn on their own and  develop some skills that are often neglected  when teaching English.

domenica 19 novembre 2017

Elt and learners : how can we support them.


Image Attribution :By Ms. Cagan [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

More and more I have had students with difficulties in learning English. I teach  students whose language level is not the right one for the classes they are attending. Some  follow a different  course as they need  special education. The others are often struggling learners. Some are really good and they would like to work better and to master the language.

Support and  differentation are important for me as  I need to cope with  different  language  levels.

What should I do?

I have tried to come to terms with individual learning differences and the only thing I can do is to provide more language  opportunities and exercises for the  less able ones. I can also provide some links for the students who can work on their own and wish to better. It is only  a pity that  I cannot do much for them as  I teach  3 hours per week in their classes  and we do not have good technology in class.
Most classes have 28-30 students, this is the worst learning environment as  we do not provide them with a lot of  engaging activities. It is difficult to work in class as pair work can be very noisy.
I do need to rely on their own  devices and on their  hopes and interests as they should care about what need to do to become better learners.

How to approach the needs: how I began to work online to provide support to my students

The first thing I had to do was to focus on their  difficulties. My planning was  full of topics and ideas but I was making  mistakes. I tried to focus on what to do and I realized that they should become aware of their difficulties and I should be ready to offer them some help.
I talked to my students and  began working online by  providing activities or video tasks that had been also shared by  other teachers. I had to work on what language competences needed improving and then I created  online activities by using web 2.0 tools  and my websites.  I had to provide links with  solutions or feedback . I must confess that I was not ready to do this when  I began.

Hopefully I found some interesting platforms and online communities that provided me with ideas.

What followed and what is following  now is  a different approach to teaching and learning.
Not everybody is working on line, some are not interested but  I have seen that others are working on self-development and  are trying to better because they care.
It is sometimes difficult to work with the younger students as they are not used to planning in advance what to do. I need to  set goals and time. It is my task as I am responsible for what is happening in class and also in the follow-up activities.

Does it work? Is it working for most of my students?

Kids with Education Tablet Computers

Image Attribution By Intel Free Press [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It is not easy: some students do not have  technology at home or they  do not rely on good internet connections.
Tablets are now becoming more popular and they seem to enjoy what they are doing. Most of my students use their smartphones to do some tasks. It is important to trust them and  thanks to modern technology they can do some exercises also by using  them. New apps have been developed and  this means that  I will be able to support them. I am trying to learn more and I am doing  some self-development online to learn more.   
I am starting to use  a new platform that I am going to use for some courses I am doing at school and I hope they will  use it.
It's called   Weschool
It is a user-friendly platform and I can work online by creating groups and  tasks. 

Creating ebooks and activities for my  language learners


I have started to create some ebooks  where I provide  links, videos and materials which  can be found online. Some of them can be done  during the summer time. Currently I am thinking of  writing an ebook  about  writing skills as  my learners are  not used to writing on their own and they need some more  exercises and tips to follow. I rely on  Google apps for  creating them. 

You can find here  an example  of  the language  support I am providing by using ebook creators online:  most of them  are not free but you can find some that can be used  and  you can  publish  online materials for your learners. 

Presenting Verb Tenses In English

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