mercoledì 30 dicembre 2015


30th  December  

Reflecting on the  Mooc-ed course :  DIGITAL LEARNING  TRANSICTION   FALL 2015

After taking the first MOOC  run by  Friday Institute last summer I wanted to do some more activities with them. I had really appreciated the work and the activities which they presented last summer. If you are interested, you can see what I did online .Just follow the link to my website, the topic of the MOOC was  " Learning Differences".
 If you are interested you can enrol for next year Mood-ed courses: just check online what they are going to present. I feel that we can learn  a lot from the educators who work in the USA as they are involved in bettering the system of education and they share  ideas and their experiences in different fields:

This is an interesting  MOOC  platform that provides  online courses for educators, most of them are American but I have also found the names of teachers working in European countries who are doing these courses too.
The MOOC courses are run by following  scheduled  modules which are released  every Monday. Usually, you are provided with the syllabus and information about the educators  and tutors before you start studying online. Each unit has a presentation online with a video and a long list of web links with videos and also materials that can be accessed online and saved on  your PC too. You are asked to interact with the other educators and to write your own plan - the final activity -based on the topic of the course. In order to get your certificate, you need to interact online and post in the forum of the MOOC. You are required to submit your task  or the online presentations you have created and you have to evaluate the other students' activities. If you have the time you can also  work online thanks to  Twitter hashtags they provide you with and sometimes they also run Google hangouts to interact online with the teachers. Last summer I had great discussions online with an American teacher online and other teachers from the USA and also Europe.

I chose to do the MOOC in September but I was very busy so I started later but they gave us more time to finish the activity. I worked online by doing all the activities and I was able to finish by 19th December; I must admit that it was really engaging. In particular, I liked the idea of thinking about what we all should  do in order to work in a different way.
This is the final certificate  which I got when I finished all the activities, for each week I had also to provide the feedback and think about the best ways for improving the course next year.

I would like to add that I have learnt a lot of new things as digital learning is now considered important also in my country, but most schools do not have good technology. This is true also abroad.
The course had a lot of links with the USA  and  its reality but I was able to think about my teaching situation and to see what is missing and what should be done to work better. It is a pity that resources are poor and most of the schools cannot  offer learning environments that are meeting the needs of the students who really want to be engaged.

This is the padlet where I wrote and saved the material and the interesting links they provided online. I must admit that it was the  discovery of a great community  of educators who share their knowledge. Everybody wanted to work better with their students. This is great because education can suffer because Governments  do not invest, but  most of the educators are lovers of their jobs.

And this is my Action Plan as presented online: 

Flipped Classroom
This is the infographic which describes how flipping the classroom can empower our way of teaching and better the results in our classes. This is the main reason why I have devised an activity that aims at providing tools to the teachers of my school:

Yes, we can.
We can work better
We can help our students to work in a different way and work in the XXI century and help them  learn about new  skills! 

Created by Knewton

lunedì 28 dicembre 2015

The Holocaust Mooc course by Futurelearn part 1 and part 2 2015

                      The  Holocaust
The Mooc platform Futurelearn
had an interesting course about the Holocaust which was on line in two parts this year. The course was developed  by  the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem and Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research together with Tel Aviv University.It was a demanding course, worth seeing. I must admit that it was followed by people who provided me with interesting links and some had met people who had been imprisoned and thus they had also personal interest in this course as they had also lost parents or relatives. A sad story which we all know and which we studied in our history books,but after more than seventy years   these people remind us that we must not  forget.
When we search the web, we usually find a lot of information about the Holocaust- ,but the course was also an interesting lesson about   history that described how Germany became a nazi nation under the dictatorship of Hitler that aimed at destroying all the Jews. It was a plan that took years before they thought about the final solution. Many people supported this terrible plan which is part of the history of WW2.
The following padlet is a sort of the summary of what I watched and learnt and this brings me to January 2016. On 27th January we will talk about  The Holocaust in our classes, let's all share materials and discuss this issue with our students. Because we cannot forget what happened and we must remember.
In Reggio Emilia there will be an important exhibition: Istoreco is going to present the works by a child who made the sketches while she was imprisoned in a concentration camp. 

I am going to write a module about this topic and to read something in class : I would like my students to be aware of the importance of " Remembering" what happened.  

domenica 20 dicembre 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year- SEASONAL GREETINGS TO THE WORLD

December 2015

Just a few days before Christmas and the holidays are going to begin.The long winter is going to start tomorrow- 21st December.
The year has been a hard one, I have changed school and students : it has been hard and I need to recharge my batteries in the next weeks. I am going to continue my PLN, I am just finishing some more courses online but I wish you all the best.  
I have just discovered this new tool and I tried to use it by using their templates for sending my best wishes to everyone. My posts will continue in the next weeks, there will be more things I have done and learnt about. As a life-long learner this year has helped me develop new skills and I will try to implement my teaching.


For educators and teachers of English : this  is a nice presentation about this period of the year  worth seeing!! Thinglink offers great opportunities for making presentations.


sabato 14 novembre 2015

We need peace Paris 13 November 2015

13 November  2015        
            It happened in Paris: a terrorist attack against people  who were in  Paris

What happened last night Paris  was terrible and made me think about the importance of teaching good  values, democracy and  respect  and what we should all teach our students. 

We should  all teach " love  and respect" for anybody.   There is no  religion that tells us " go and kill the others".  Those who kill are not human beings. Why should I kill people  I do not know?   You may be a  Catholic, a Muslim or  a person who is not  religious,but   you must  respect everybody.

We believe in freedom and respect: this is the only religion I am following. I will never  destroy your freedom and I would like the others  to let me choose and do what I feel is right for me.

I am so sorry  for those who died in the terrorist attack in Paris and  I am against all people who destroy the lives of people who happen to be just in the wrong place. 

I hope we can still build  a  place  where we are all friends and respect those who are  different from us.

Hoping there will be a better day from now on

Happy Children Playing Kids

Free picture of Indigenous Indian children playing little kids in the parenting park of Quito. 

Image by

Happy Children Playing Kids

“Whoever is happy will make others happy.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

   Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” 
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition

mercoledì 11 novembre 2015

Changing faces of heroism Futurelearn MOOC autumn 2015

I have been doing a Mooc about  WW1 : " Changing Faces of Heroism  " run  by chose to do it to learn more about this sad war which reshaped " Europe" but also had events that also led to the rise of Nazism in Germany.
As a teacher of English I have also written a short blog online where I  have kept files and documents which are in relationship with this interesting topic. Much has been written and said but we still cannot understand it and what values were shared by many soldiers who loved their countries and were ready to accept war and also death.
The focus of the course was on heroism and on how it changed.  I must admit that I  could reflect on what ideas of heroism we have today and how different it is today from the past.
By reading the poems by Ungaretti in Italy I have the idea that the war had a  deep impact on the mind of  the men who went to war.  The course focussed on Britain, France and Germany but I know that also Italy had its  heroes.There were many voices against this war that marked the beginning of a new nation with new territories for Italy. In England many poets criticized it , but we also have voices of poets like R.Brooke who were supporting  the war.  Who were heroes?  I think that many soldiers who lost their lives were heroes but also their women and  wives who worked in factories and helped their families to continue living.  Some soldiers  came back home and never lived a life which was worth living. They had lost  their identities, they had seen so many  atrocities. Books and films have been reviewed in this  course and in particular I liked the critical voices of many who thought that making war was the best way to solve  problems.

What I liked was the idea of sharing a padlet about WW1 Memorials and  presenting a review about a film or a book that  dealt with the topic presented.Many voices and also many opinions.
As a child my  primary school teacher used to talk about the values of WW1 : Italy was a nation with the new territories like Udine and Trento/Trieste. Her father had been to war and he had to suffer because he had been hurt at war.  Then there was the second worl war and again there were new values: people  and civilians fought against the Nazis and maybe most of the Italian people forgot the many soldiers who had  died in the First World War.
This poem by Ungaretti  is  a good  summary of what soldiers had to see and how they suffered: 

Valloncello dell’Albero Isolato il 27 agosto 1916
Di queste case
non e’ rimasto
che qualche
brandello di muro
Di tanti
che mi corrispondevano
non e’ rimasto
neppure tanto
Ma nel cuore
nessuna croce manca
E’ il mio cuore
il paese piu’ straziato

This video shows us how Italian soldiers suffered but also  how people celebrated the end of the war in November 1918.  It is an old document but it shows the cruelty of wars and the poor soldiers who suffered and also died to have a united nation- Italy. 

Dio segnò i confini d'Italia (Sezione Cinematografica del Regio Esercito Italiano) from Cineteca MNC on Vimeo.

This is the  padlet where you can see many interesting pictures/photos about memorials. Also in my country we have places that remind us of those who died at war.  This could be an interesting idea for teachers who want to work on memorials and would like their students to carry out their researches. 
I have also done other Moocs about  WW1 and they all described many interesting issues about this event that changed the lives of millions of people. 

mercoledì 4 novembre 2015

Reading and studying Literature on line: new MOOC about Pride and Prejudice

The Mooc platform has been providing interesting courses online about Literature. It is a sort of a Book Club online where  readers share ideas and what they have learnt about the writer and the book they have been reading. This month I am doing  Jane Austen.

The Professor running the course  is Maggie Sokolik, Ph.D., Instructor 
We can follow her  on Twitter: @maggiesokolik,   by using the hashtag #cwp3x for this course. 

I finished my MOOC " A Study in Scarlet" in October and 
now I have just started reading " Pride and Prejudice"-  you  can check the link to the  course on line : 

Why reading it? Because I am a lover of Jane Austen and also because I want to develop my reading skills and to continue doing some Literature. Currently, I am not teaching Literature and I miss it.
The course will last four weeks and I will have to read the text, do some quizzes and enjoy reading.

This is my first padlet about the research that I am doing this month: the aim is to bookmark and keep a lot of materials online that I might use if I can move to another course next year. But what I like most is the idea of reading  a classic that  I loved as a teenager and  I studied many years ago when I was doing my English Literature course at Parma University. I am going to write more about this experience by the end of the month.

sabato 31 ottobre 2015


Halloween: not only abroad now                              

Picture taken tonight in my street - beautiful pumpinks  along an Italian streeet and children playing and asking for sweets. 

Halloween is now part of  a cultural tradition that goes beyond the USA and  the English speaking countries : tonight my street presented pumpinks almost near every building,at windows  and by the main entrance to houses. I live in Italy and the tradition came  some years ago, it was mainly shared by many American soldiers who were living in my country. In the last 10 years  Halloween has become part of our life and children and young  people now go to Halloween parties.
What is now available online:

Materials to be downloaded and used in class:   ( to download materials)

For more information online:

Nice collections online where teachers share what they have already found :  Pearltrees, Pinterest and more social bookmarking are now offering  many weblinks. This is just one I have found by googling " Halloween  and ELT":

Halloween, by yessicadahlman

Some recipes: a recent video on the YouTube 

An interesting weblink for  searching  more  recipes :                                                                             

Finally  more information about   Halloween in Ireland  

Here is a nice listening exercise for  ESL learners done by using  Zaption  : a nice way for doing English and culture  :                                                                                                                          

I am now looking for short stories in English to be read in class but up to now I have found only long ones.                                                                                                                                                         


mercoledì 30 settembre 2015

PLN: internet, twitter and more for educators


Teachers need to be connected, share ideas and be involved in professional development.
This is true for any teacher. English and foreign language teachers can enjoy learning online thanks to the new tools and internet.
Here are some interesting weblinks or hastags for getting to know more. My PLN has developed in the last two years and I must admit that teachers have provided me with many interesting ideas.  I have found a lot of  free resources and  also students should work online and take advantage from the new media.
Begin your activity online : these are some tips by PEGGY GEORGE from the  USA.

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

SEARCHING ON LINE     A discovery engine for educational 
tools   A safe search for kids


twitter-hashtags-for-teachers     This is an interesting weblink with hashatags for teachers who use Twitter.     

You send a voice message and later they will reply.  (dyslexia- for ELT  teachers)    ( for ELT teachers)

INTERESTING ARTICLES ON LINE OR BLOGS   ( interesting ideas about education  now and  in the future)

FOR ITALIAN TEACHERS WHO WANT TO LEARN ABOUT NEW  TOOLS ( most of the articles are in Italian)

For English Language Teachers
Good luck: I hope you will enjoy your PLN trip on line!!

giovedì 27 agosto 2015



This summer I  took up a  course run by  The Friday Institute

The issue was great because it was about the best ways we  can approach our students and their difficulties.I teach in a vocational school in my  country and more and more  I have to  cope with students who are  struggling to get positive  grades and  families are not aware of their  learning difficulties.
The six modules were engaging, with  lots of interesting weblinks and we  could discuss online important issues:

  • Working Memory
  • Executive Functions
  • how we can   better understand the  difficulties of our  students
  • Student Motivation 
  • Coaching for  teachers  

We were provided with interesting web links for learning  about   Motivation and how to work with students with learning  difficulties.
I have kept most of the notes, I have bookmarked a lot of pages so that I will try to learn more about these  interesting topics which were  discussed online and I have  written about this  great  course in my  website - the one I use for writing about my learning experience on line as  a teacher :

This is part of my  CPD, but I would like to say that I have learnt a lot. 
The activities were  guided and had to reflect on videos and  experiences shared by  learners and teachers.
We could also use   GOOGLEHANGOUT for  getting in touch with other  teachers and share ideas.  
The Toolbox was part of the final session and I could learn more about  ways and tools which can help us teach and  support our learners. You can find them in the weblink to my site.
There will be a new session in autumn and I think it is worth doing such an experience as the tutors of this course have made a great  MOOC on line.  

Thanks to the Friday Institute!  You can access the hashtag of this MOOC  if you are on Twitter:


And finally this is my certificate for  attending the course online:  I am proud of what I have learnt and I will  try to better my teaching because  "we are all different but we can learn together".

We have  talked about   mantra  and I have   created mine . 

domenica 23 agosto 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL September 2015

Getting organized and  getting more engaged
Yesterday I was online and I could  follow some interesting sections about the new school year and how to approach it.  There were some interesting webminars with  SimpleK12 -  this is the link where you can have  access to the many  webminars which they run for  CPD and  PLN  :

The day was centred on presentations by great educators who provided ideas about the best ways for approaching the first day at school with students and the best ways for getting in touch with families and parents. It was a great  experience. I particularly liked the  ideas  expressed by  Sally Sanchez who made a presentation about  Teacher Zen, which I  have  now embedded and I think I will have to think more  about   her  great ideas.
Her ideas were inspiring as she suggested some key points to bear in mind when starting school again:
1) try to organize your way of working so that you can manage the beginning of a new school year in the best  ways. She also
suggested some  tools for better organizing the activities and getting in touch with other  teachers and developing  a PLN
2)find  a way to be connected with your students and develop nice  activities and more creative ways of teaching.
The ideas were presented in a  30minute presentation on line but  I think that these  documents should be  read twice or more times because she  has created a list of tools and documents to help all teachers.  She made me realize that the first thing we do need to have is  enthusiasm and love for what we do need to do.

Teacher Zen! Ways to Prepare Yourself for Your Best Year Yet from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

This is her work on line, there are plenty of useful links:

Teacher Zen, by shellyterrell
This is another  presentation by Shelly which is  worth  checking:

Finally, there is a great source which  Shelly  Sanchez  left us:
A  Teacher's Survival Kit:

Goal: Build a Teacher's Survival Kit, by shellyterrell

Another interesting webminar by a great teacher was about  GETTING  CONNECTED WITH  STUDENTS: the presenter was   TIA SIMMONS

This is  a list of the tools we should use to get in touch with  students and establish relationships with students and families:

  • google docs and  google spreadsheets
  • Padlet
  • TitanPad
  • Today'sMeet

All these tools  can help us to " break the walls" and try to communicate with our  students, they can post their presentations with Padlet or they can collaborate and discuss with the teacher.  Google docs is a great  suite as we can work online and share documents.  Google spreadsheets can help us to collect  information like  emails, data from the parents so that the teacher can work better.

Some teachers provided this  interesting link about the best ways for using  Padlet :

Matt Bergmann -  this is great blog  with some tips           -
 provided an interesting presentation for teachers who need to work  without   technology but  do need to work with students:

I liked the approach: we can use any materials for getting organized and work with our  students! Never give up!!!

Matt introduced also a new webtool which is useful in education:

This is a great use of the tool, especially for students with special needs:

But the tool can be used to give voice to students too: it seems to be  a  " cool " tool, you just need to follow the link and you will learn more.

Here are Matt's suggestions for teachers who can use social media to get engaged with other  teachers by using  this tool:

Finally, there were some engaging  sessions by Catlin Tucker:

She made a great presentation by providing links to her website
and I am sharing this with you:

I found her ideas were new to me: less teacher-centred activities and more  engagement from the students.She suggested  using a  learning style quiz on the first day:

Catlin has also  provided us with two new web tools:     to create infographics , but it is not  free        to create  templates and infographics


Some great webminars that have helped me become a better
" learner" and now it is time to get  started with the new school year.