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

Read more publications on Calaméo

Teaching in the XXI century can be very demanding but  teachers can rely on tools which  can  empower them.


mercoledì 18 ottobre 2017

"I have a message for you "

I was  checking some posts online tonight and found this interesting document about  the importance of  remembering people and how the holocaust   shaped the life of some people.

Woman recalls jumping from Auschwitz train, leaving her father to die. Decades later, she got a message from him.

It is the story of people who suffered but left  positive messages to their children.

I cannot but  write about it , you just need to watch the video and think about it.

domenica 8 ottobre 2017

# World Teachers' Day

5th October is   World  Teachers' Day.

I was at school all day last  Thursday so I couldn't  follow some important events which  were online. I am going to check them online as  there are  recordings available for free.

You can find them on the British Council Website  :

Thanks to  social network I remembered this  special event: school  relies on us and on our  efforts.
In my country I could not see many  people involved in this event.  School and education have been under attack in the last years and although some families are supporting  teachers, others are not.

When I think about my life as a student I must say that I have had good teachers and  I will never forget them.

I have also learnt from the ones who did not love teaching.  They are responsible for what  they  did not achieve.  But I do not want to write  any more about this. 

In a modern country education is important and thus it is important  to  remind everybody that  their work is carried out by  silent  teachers who continue working  in difficult  school situations. Those  who love teaching will do their best to empower their students.

It is the future of the  nation that depends on what we can achieve and  everybody should say thank you to the  teachers they  had.

venerdì 22 settembre 2017


It is Autumn, one  season I like at the beginning, then when days get shorter and cloudy I feel sad because of the falling  of  leaves. I like the colours and the sunny  days which we have now ,but  days can be also gloomy and  our days are  colder, not like in the summer time when I can lie in the sun and enjoy the  sun and its rays.
It is also the  season of colours and I can associate it to the great poet  Keats who wrote his ode To Autumn.

If I had to choose a picture to describe this season , it would be a tree with plenty of  yellow  leaves.  It would be a pumpkin  on a table, reminding me that nature will have to continue its life  cycle also when leaves have fallen and the earth seems to be sleeping under the snow.

giovedì 21 settembre 2017

Peace Day

These days when we feel that the world might risk more wars and we need to remember that only peace can make our world a  better place where we can live together.

lunedì 11 settembre 2017


On September 11  2001 I was at home in the sittingroom, it was   3 p.m. in Italy.  I was working at home and teaching German , we were working on some grammar  revision with a student. We turned on the  TV  as the  girl I was  teaching  had told me about the event and we saw  images from New  York and the  Twin Towers which were burning.  I was speechless and   wondered what was going on. I finished my lesson and  couldn' t but  continue  watching what was happening  there.  I was  not aware of the  great  violence which would  destroy the hopes of thousands of  people. 
Today after  16 years such images are still in my  eyes: I am not  American but  I cannot  forget what happened there.  It was the beginning of  a new war which would  change our   lives forever.
Since then we have  experienced violence in squares and streets in different countries and in the name of a religion which is used to spread the ideas of attacks and violence against  women and men that believe in freedom.

I have read articles about what happened and also in Europe we have come to terms with the great conflicts between   some values which belong to the civilized world and the ideas which are carried out by some people  who  follow  the voice of  hatre and  violence.
Today many young  men  are continuing their attacks against  those who  consider enemies. We cannot  forget and as a teacher  I will never forget what was documented online and in the news: innocent people died because  others believed in the power of  destruction and wanted to  kill  other people because of their  religion and  beliefs.

 As an educator involved in teaching the  values of  democracy  and  respect of the others I will use some documents online to teach my students about the beginning of the 21st century: September 11 2001

from  BBC  Radio  4:

Crossing  Continents  " Toxic  Ash"

Poetry  can also teach us about  the  feelings of the ones whose  lives  were deeply influenced by what they saw:

Poetry of September 11

Photograph from September 11

This is a poem about the  people who died: it is  read by a laureate poet.
 - Billy Collins is  reading " The Names"

More resources online:

Twitter - reading and  sharing  images and  feelings  

domenica 10 settembre 2017

# Brexit

Yesterday a lot of people protested in London because they wanted to remain in the  European  Union. It was a huge protest  with thousands of people.

Since  2016 the British Prime  Minister has continued her work that is aimed at leaving  the UE.
However, some people who supported Brexit have changed their minds , some educators and  businessmen living in the  City are afraid of the next steps because  things might change and create more problems . People living in Scotland would also like to choose to part of  the UE.

The European Union has never been loved by the  Britsh  people.  Those who chose to leave thought that European  Laws   and   money spent to support  the  poorest  areas in Europe were not  good for the British.
The issue of immigrants was also one of the main  reasons for  choosing  to leave.

There are a lot of problems in the UK but it is true that  a lot of jobs are not  done by the British  people: immigrants and  other  European  citizens work in fields where no British  man or woman  would work.
Personally  I feel that Britain has always felt  an island  and   British  citizens  do not always  share  a European attitude. They also live in the past, when  Britain had a great Empire. First of all, they are  British   citizens.
In education  Britain has been chosen for the quality of many university courses and for  studying English. Educators and many students  have  visited the UK many times and most of  the tourist industry  relies on people coming to Britain to study and to visit its  famous landmarks.
If they leave  Europe , there will be fewer  students and people who choose to go to Britain to study and work.
The world of  finance is  also  worried. What will London be like once most  institutions have left it?
A city like  London relies on the presence of a cosmopolitan society where people  come and choose to live.

This is an interesting  document which I found online and which I might  use with my students to discuss the  issue of  Brexit.  We love  Britain and  most of  our  students visit it and study  there. The future might be  different. The projects supported by the European Union  will not be able to  finance mobility of  teachers and students.  We will choose  Ireland and other European partners but  it will not be the same. My hope is that  things might change and Britain doesn't  leave Europe.

venerdì 8 settembre 2017

Literacy Day 8th September

Reflecting on  Literacy  Day 

8th  September  2017

I was online tonight and I could follow  some hashtags for  this important event which was  remembered online by Unesco and many educators  .

Why is  Literacy  important?                                                                       

Why are books important for learners?

The reality today ............................... too many  men and women,children and young people  do not have  access to education.

What we do need to do is to underline  the importance of  literacy when talking about the  right to education  for everybody. I cannot but support this important day !

lunedì 21 agosto 2017

Lesson Planning Tools

Planning and sharing  lessons online is now possible and teachers  can rely on many  tools which are free and which can help them develop their lessons: in most cases teachers need to have an account and start browsing  lessons or  create their own  lessons. Lessons can be used in a flipped learning mode and they can contain the main documents, videos, images, audios which teachers have chosen for their students. They guide the students as they can also  find activities to do with quizzes.
Most of the tools enable the teachers to create their content by using  OER and documents which are online.
Students can have access to the lessons thanks to a link and can be embedded in many  LMS or blogs and websites.

This new way of working is based on cloud-based tools and lessons can become more engaging  while students can work from home and also have access to  documents and lots of visuals  and language input.

Here you can find interesting tools:

For Italian  Teachers  :  RAISCUOLA

Teachers can rely on a database of documents and choose the content which will be later  shared with the students and other teachers :


Online there are interesting lessons:  the links I am providing is from a lesson  about  the Elizabethan Theatre. Most of the lessons are in Italian and created for Italian learners.

LESSONPATHS : a tool for browsing and  creating  lessons online

Here is an example of a lesson about   The Diary of Anne  Frank- it is based on videos related to the time and the life of  Anne Frank.

Create your own Playlist on LessonPaths!

Here is a tutorial teaching about  it :

Another interesting tool is  TES:

You can find  here  my lesson plan about  V. Woolf:

The tool is versatile and enables you to work online while choosing materials like videos, images and creating context and quizzes.


This tool enables you to create  lessons  starting from a video :

You need to have an account and then you can  create and share  the lesson. I have often used these lessons for presenting further materials with listening comprehensions in English.  Usually videos are short and students are guided online by using  wh-questions and detailed reading questions.

A new and interesting tool is Symbaloo  Learning Path: it shares  similarities with TES. You have access to lessons online.


An interesting tool which enables teachers  to create lessons and check the students' working online.

Here is a short introduction online  about it :

Shared lessons can be found online :

This is a lesson plan for Italian teachers  studying and learning about  Google:

Here is my  first learning path about the Victorian Age - it needs improving but  I managed to create it in a short time:

All these tools share a lot of good features : they are created online and can be seen from any device.
You only need to rely on the many documents online which are also on Youtube and sometimes channels  can be closed.  It is therefore important to rely on good channels for the videos.

giovedì 17 agosto 2017

Big Ben in London

Landmarks in London :  The Big Ben Tower

You travel through London and this tower is a famous  landmark for any tourist. It's  famous  because of it has  Big Ben, this  is a stricking clock inside the tower.

London, UK - panoramio (602).jpg
By Guilherme Peev dos S…, CC BY 3.0, Link

A bit of  History about this famous Tower

Let's listen to true story about Big Ben

Big Ben and its Technology

What's going to happen to Big Ben?

domenica 13 agosto 2017

Stop Racism

13th August  2017

I have just watched the news and it seems that  racism and negative attitudes are prevailing in many parts of the world.  People hate the ones who are different from them.
Right now in the USA there are   white people who  showed that they have not learnt the lesson from the past. They believe in a society which discriminates the black people....... meanwhile we are living in the XXI century.

It is the old past that is not forgotten and that makes America a modern country full of contradictions.

Racism is still in the mind of many citizens because they are afraid of the others .  This is also true for many  European people who are against foreign people who are arriving from lands where they lived  the experience of wars and also hate.

I really liked to find President Obama twitting and  reminding us that we are not born hating another person:

The poem  by Langston Hughes should remind many people living in the USA that we are not living in the  XIX century now, people have the same rights and there should not be any discrimination  for people who are living in the globalized world. The color of the skin and religion do not matter, what really matters is to be friends.

mercoledì 9 agosto 2017


9th August

I must have always been in love with  Reading. I was born in the XX century and I consider myself a bit old compared to the young students I am teaching now. They work and read books but they have acquired different skills from me. They use e-readers and depend on the internet. Some love reading while others  prefer the new media and tools.

My world has become a new one. I can read books, ebooks and I also  read online. At school I can work in the traditional way but  I can also use interactive books.

Why do I love reading books in my free time ? Because  reading can open my mind and I can learn and develop ideas about some topics.   But first of all I am a lover of the book, in the way I can see it and touch it. I may fall in love with a book when I read it for the first time. I may decide I do not like it and give up. I have read a lot and I have met a lot of characters and visited a lot of places.

I can say that I could not live without my books. Some have been piled in the  bookcases and the bookshelves.  Others  lie on the floor, they have become part of me and they show my interests in different fields: Literature, History and  Art.   Sometimes a book can make you dream or it can help you learn about  yourself.  A good book will never disappoint the readers' expectations.

Today is a special day for the ones who love books.
I hope more people will continue  reading.  A good book can really make us feel better and we  will never get bored.

Teaching Art and English (2)

Learning  English, Discovering  Art and Using Modern Web 2.0 Tools and enhancing  Learning among Learners and Educators

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

Patricia Macgowan shared these interesting links in her mail to the educators of Edweb. I found some which are  worth sharing as they are related to the world of  Art and  also because  in most schools  English Language Teachers  work together with Art Teachers.

Google Art  Project and how it works

Web links  related to Art and Learning online
Famous  Painters: CARAVAGGIO
The documents online provide a high level of English in some cases  and thus videos  could be assigned as homework to the students doing  Art in English  after teachers have worked on the content and language input . Edpuzzle or any type of editors for videos could be used to enhance the students' listening and viewing comprehension.
As a follow -up  activitiy students could write and present a text with the information provided in the videos.
Learning by doing while listening, watching, reflecting and........visiting some museums abroad. This could be an example of activities which Teachers of English  and  Teachers of Art  might do together.