sabato 23 aprile 2016


23rd  April  2016 

The world is  celebrating  William Shakespeare. On most social networks and online we have plenty of links.

Here is my collection of web links and interesting materials I have found which I can use for learning and teaching  William Shakespeare. Thanks to the internet the world is not only connected but we are also sharing  materials.  

FROM THE NEWS TODAY ....................

venerdì 22 aprile 2016

Teaching the 4 C's and Education in the XXI century

                                          Education in the  XXI CENTURY
The 4 Cs for Education : Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking.

I learnt about   21st Century Skills when I did one of my first MOOCs  and then I took it a second time in 2015  - just check what I wrote   about them  in  my website about this experience online which was  really  challenging

It was then that I  became  aware of  the new skills which we need to develop.
Here is a video which can summarize what we mean when we talk about education and the 4 C's:

I did   the Mooc  about  COACHING  DIGITAL LEARNING  some months ago and I am pleased to write about what we learnt and  shared  with other teachers about the importance of the  4 Cs: 
the MOOC-ed course was run by  Friday  Institue- an important American Institution that provides  MOOCs for educators and which I have appreciated   - more information can be found on line:

Details about the  course  are online  :

COURSE   CONTENT ( 6 units)
 The essential questions for this unit are:
  • What is your vision for instructional technology coaching?
  • How will you guide educators toward building a digital learning culture in your school, district, or state?
  • What essential dispositions and skills are necessary to be a instructional technology coach?

The essential questions for this unit are:
  • What are the digital age skills and how do they enhance digital learning and teaching.
  • What does your current personal learning network look like and how can you expand it?
  • How do you, as an instructional technology coach facilitate continued learning for those you support?

The essential questions for this unit are:
  • How can TPACK and SAMR guide educators to the best intersection of curricular standards, sound pedagogy choices, and digital tool selections to directly enhance and support student learning?
  • What should you look for when planning or observing technology-infused learning activities?

The essential questions for this unit are:
  • How do you know the teachers you support understand how to design and support technology-rich learning environments?
  • What digital assessment tools and data do you use/ are you considering using to inform your practice and why?
  • What strategies, frameworks, or rubrics will you use as guidance in selecting digital tools/resources to use in your work?
  • What insights have you gained upon completing the Transformational Coaching Rubric?

The essential questions for this unit are:
  • In your role of supporting and guiding educators, how do you share lessons, develop strategies, and more importantly, model best practices to create responsible and skilled digital citizens?
  • How can you create a safe and responsible digital culture in your school, district or state?

This unit presents you with a high-impact opportunity to develop your course of action developed out of the previous units. Participants will construct a manifesto comprising of their:
  • Mission as an instructional coach
  • Vision for digital learning and teaching
  • Goal for their instruction and practice
  • Plan to share learning with others


    The ideas expressed by the experts make me think that we do need to work on the skills students will need in a new " world and reality "- which is being reshaped and asking us to work, live and study in a " digitalized", " connected"  and web-based society.

I am not a coach but my interests in IT and Web 2.0 tools have led me into the world of technology and how new tools can really support our teaching and help  our students.

What I liked in the MOOC were the ideas shared and the approach to  coaching and  teaching  new skills.
This is my first video  created with  PowToon imaging myself as a coach who needs to work with the teachers in the school and support them and their work and wants to promote the 4 Cs.

The tutors provided us with a list of websites and articles online dealing with the issue of  technology and teaching and  the way coaches can work in a school. 
Personally I wish I could become a coach but I need more  training. In the school where I am working now we do not have  technology so I am learning and I hope that in the next years  I will be able to share my ideas about a new way of working where more students and teachers are engaged and maybe we have more successful students. I am starting now to learn and  I will work on my skills as an educator who loves working and wants to develop  as a  keen learner .  

The four Cs are high objectives in terms of  performance but if we can work  step by  step we can enhance our  way of working in class and outside class and help our students to develop  new skills.
I liked the article suggested online dealing with the idea of working with adults and professional development:

High quality professional development ( PD) can be  successful if we plan and create carefully, facilitate learning, build on existing expertise, ask for feedback and  celebrate. A coach needs to establish  goals and  good relationships with the teachers who are  often afraid of modern technology.


Resources    ( the document can be downloaded)

martedì 19 aprile 2016


ALAN  MALEY  " Ten great educators and their legacy"

Day 2- 14th April  2016 

Children come first for  great educators........

Reflecting on the ideas we can share with educators from the past.

I was favourably impressed by the great presentation by Alan Maley. It is a must " read and see"  for every educator as the focus of his presentation was on the many voices of educators who have changed education. We have had " mothers and fathers " who shaped new ways into teaching and learning and just from the  names he has mentioned we have the best of  the thinkers   who have tried to change the old school systems that have roots in the XIX century.

As I am Italian I liked the way  Maley remembered the great ideas by  Maria Montessori , but also the man  John Dewey who  criticized the way schools taught children in the past. 
Today we have  Ken  Robinson who has talked about new ideas about teaching :"  Education should foster curiosity through creative  teaching".   I am always interested in learning about  new ways of teaching and learning so I can  understand why these ideas are still " part" of any innovator in education.

There should be a shift from the teacher to the world of the child and the learner and creativity should not be killed.
I feel that the great videos  Maley has suggested watching should be  shared here :   sometimes I feel that I need to find new ideas in the world of  the innovators of today's changing school system, but  we owe much to the past and the ideas which were developed by people who are inspiring us.

A  great  lesson comes from the XX century and the many educators who  tried to  meet the children's and students' needs. 
Thanks for  reminding us that we are not alone in this mission of educating more people and need to " support" everybody and help them develop their " best" qualities.

sabato 16 aprile 2016


I came across the C Group last year and the issue of  creativiy has always fascinated me. In the short interview which  Malay gave at IATEFL he underlined the importance of sharing ideas and how teachers should be more connected. The group is also on  TWITTER and teachers can learn about the interesting activities which are promoted. As a teacher of English I am particularly interested in Creativity as learning and using  English in creative texts can be one of the greatest experiences we can have.
More  ideas can be found in the book which can be downloadedf from the website by the  British Council :


DAY 2-  14th April    2016
The main focus was on the following topics:
- Building the massive online community
- Peer assessment as reflective learning in language MOOCs 
- Why MOOC? Teacher development through global social interaction 

An interesting session took place on the second day. It was about  MOOCs.
Presenters  Claire  Ross and Chris Cavey  discussed the main ideas about the courses run by  British Council on the platform Futurelearn. It is an experience which I have become familiar with as I am  a  fan of MOOCs. I must confess that  I did most of them as I wanted to check the quality of the MOOCS which were organized by the British Council. My choice was also based on the idea that something which is free might not be good quality. But I realized that  British Council was using the platform to promote and support learners and teachers of English by providing links, interesting activities and videos.  
Courses are for learners of English and also for  teachers who want to work on their self-development. My CPD online was a great MOOC and I liked to work online as I could discuss and learn about better  teaching practices.  Some Moocs can help us  and provide good learning opportunities.
The focus by the speakers was on the ideas of interaction which can be improved while working online and sharing ideas in a  MOOC. As learners need to improve their language skills  the Moocs can really help them and their language improvement. They used modern tools and  social media too.
Peer interaction is also important as many activities are based on peers' evaluations . In the Moocs described  teachers used  tools like  Padlet , they also used  FACEBOOK and TWITTER for sharing ideas and made the activities online available to different learners who could work from home and  check the ideas online so later. This is probably the reason why people love  Moocs. You can work  seven days a week but you choose when you want to work.
An interesting experience online was with BLAB  - A  lot of  activities were guided and  required interactions.  In particular the sessions for teachers were considered to be an online experience where people shared pictures, they provided  feedback and  links to materials where they could learn from the others.
I could not but agree with what the presenters said about these courses: I continue checking some sources online and they have helped me a lot. 

Reflecting on Peer's  Assessment - the views by Sha Luo (Shenzhen University, China)
This session was focussed on the ideas of reflecting and sharing learning. An interesting point but also a point some learners might not agree on as learners belong to different cultures and have different  language backgrounds. But we have learnt a lot as learning can happen in different ways and with Moocs we are still learning.  Peers are now part of the group of evaluators.My first Mooc was a great surprise  as I was used to teachers who had to provide feedback.  Some ideas to follow also in our daily practice.  No everybody will agree with me. But we are changing our way of working.  

mercoledì 13 aprile 2016


DAY 1-  13th   April

I am a virtual learner and I could follow some sessions of the fabulous " Birmingham Online  IATEFL 2016" only late this week.
But I wanted to see what was going on as " English language teaching " is undergoing great changes and our way of working
is still relying on the teachers' efforts and the use of new technologies.
On the first day I chose to check  " SHAKESPEARE  LIVES" which is an international event that is followed by tutors, educators and also students.

British Council Signature Event - Shakespeare lives: love, hate, death and desire in English language classrooms -
 See more at:

This year marks an important anniversary for everybody who loves  Shakespeare:

Enhancing speaking and writing outcomes using Google Apps -
Speaker : John Dale
This is a  session every teacher should watch: thanks to  Google apps we can work online and share materials.
The presenter made a practical presentation where he shared some ideas and interesting points about the use of technology in education and in ELT.

Some tools which can help us work in class or while working online:      An interesting app for giving  audio feedback:you just need to have  chrome installed.

An extension splitting the window in two parts ( Tab scissors)

An extension which glues Windows together:


This tool can be used to create an audio bank of listening  comprehensions .


Link to the presentation about  CPD and quality in ELT

domenica 3 aprile 2016

Think Aloud and Reading

                               An  Italian MOOC   

"Stop and think. Modeling the process of Online Reading Comprehension Using Think Aloud "

The course which I  attended  online was run by the University of Florence ( ITALY)  THINK ALOUD I DO PRESENTATION

I was given  the link to the MOOC by chance as  the school where I am currently teaching  sent me an  email about this course. I had not heard much  about   THINK ALOUD so I found that it might be interesting for me to learn more about  it as the topic of the course was  Online Reading Comprehension.

More and more technology is changing our way of working and learning and I thought that I should  widen my horizon and get to know more  about  the methodologies can help our learners to cope with reading difficulties. Reading goes beyond silent reading: reading aloud, thinking aloud and asking questions are now great strategies to understand a text while reading. This is particularly true when we read online and study and search online.

As a teacher of English and German I am always  struggling when I  need to teach the reading  skills in the foreign languages I teach: poor literacy skills and the lack of interest in what we are doing can have a negative impact on our learners, especially when you work  in difficult and marginalized areas in your town or  city.  Reading  skills  require  special techniques and  THINK ALOUD is a great approach as our  learners become involved in the process of reading and which is based on different levels of reading . The role of the  teacher is vital as teachers  provide help  and support .

The model we were provided and which we learnt about  was based on these  principles:

                                Guided Practice

Reading will be focussed on the structure of the text ( a poem, an article or an extract taken from a novel,  an article on the internet after you have googled the topic you are interested in), the vocabulary and the writer's attitude  in the text. What kind of text is it?  

The role of the teacher is  crucial as he/she will present the main approach to reading and how to grasp the techniques in reading a text or comparing texts. These techniques are required in the  process of  reading online texts and in selecting texts  from the internet for studying .   

I was guided in learning about  HOW TO WORK  with  THINK ALOUD but I also  searched online and discovered that teachers have been sharing a lot of experiences dealing with reading and reading  strategies.

MODELING WAYS - THINK ALOUD  ( Video from Youtube)

Resources online and interesting videos for  educators    ( Evaluating online information)

THINK ALOUD ONLINE   ( video on the Youtube)

INTERACTIVE READ ALOUD  ( Video on the Youtube)

Bringing Close Reading and Text-Based Questions into an Interactive Read Aloud of Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! (K-2) from TC Reading and Writing Project on Vimeo.




My ideas about reading  and  thinking aloud
I was asked to develop an activity where students would have to  use  THINK ALOUD strategies. I had to develop this activity in the fourth week of the course and my idea was to focus on the theme of war by using some texts online : a poem  by Ruper Brooke and poem by  Vera Brittain and an extract from her autobiography.
I decided to create an online presentation which I am sharing with you.

My approach was based on a close reading of the texts in English by guiding the students about how to work online and also by using
an online tool  for checking meanings and words online while reading. 


After reading the texts I would have the  students write about what they have learnt and ,in particular, they should  compare the two different  attitudes  towards  war. While Rupert Brooke thought that he should be a soldier and also die for his country, the  woman's attitude is different as she has seen most of her  beloved have died. 

This is the text by R.Brooke: I have also used the video with the reading aloud of an English actress as reading aloud means listening to words and trying to understand and guessing.

Here is my video for presenting the importance of reading skills by using  Powtoon:

Here is my  presentation used by using  GOOGLE SLIDES for the activity in unit 4 of the MOOC:

Here is my video presentation for week4:

venerdì 1 aprile 2016



I am pleased to be part of the Birmingham Online IATEFL 2016  also this year.  I have just been  registered as  a Blogger and I will try to follow some  sessions. I will be  a virtual  learner and I hope I will be engaged in the many activities that will be presented.
40 conference  sessions and  great  speakers are  sharing their  ideas about   English learning and  will provide us  with  tips, suggesting new approaches or  reflecting with us.

I will  write about  some events and  what teachers need to  know about  English.  On 13th April we will have the  great speaker of the  Conference   David  Crystal and then  we will have  other  speakers  and teachers who will inform us and make us  reflect on the great  world of English.

Looking forward to the Opening  Cerimony and the  events online!