venerdì 14 luglio 2017

PBL: interesting resources and ideas in today's webinar by Shelly Terrell

Project  Based  Learning

Project Based Learning

Friday night is  my  favourite day spent online  while learning from the others for just half an hour . I am a life-long learner and I love to learn from a  great  teacher and  expert in new  technologies I have met online: Shelly  Terrell.

You can see her  30 minute  webinars which  are  followed by  passionate  teachers and  learners from all over the world who want to learn about   the use of  new technologies and can help them develop  better  lessons.

Her webinars are free and can be followed  by anyone: here is the link to the service which you can access if you want to follow her presentations  - Uk time 9:00 p.m. in the  summer time.

This Friday she  worked on  PBL by  providing  some tips and  a long list of resources.  I had  followed her webinar last year too and  I am just embedding the many recources which she  shared on line and which I will check in the next weeks.

First of all, I need to say that after doing the Mooc about  PBL I became aware of the importance of collaboration and the use of webtools in education. PBL can really  change our way of working and Shelly  reminded us that  education and  learning  need to provide topics and issue for discussion and also for carrying out  researches.  When I was  a secondary school student  part of my tasks  were based on doing  researches and working in team but we could not work from home by using  internet or a smartphone. Now our  students can  work from home, in school and with  people living in different countries.

Project Based Learning with Technology from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

Shelly presented the main framework of what we  mean by  PBL and  provided  some tools and activities which we  can use when we work on  PBL  activities.

Why PBL?

There are many  reasons for  choosing   it .
Online you can rely on the  great  site  ttp://  which can  provide you with lots of ideas and tips.

"PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn - and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career, and civic life. "  
See   more  online

Shelly has provided us with a webpage  where she has collected most of the resources related to   PBL:

The main  steps of  PBL  can be  summarized  into these   steps:

1) starting with a  problem

2) working with the students in Group to discuss the problem 

3) reseraching the problem

4)  finding  a solution

5)  working on a presentation or  a product

The driving   question

When dealing with  step one-  we need to be able to find a  driving  question that can explain the problem

The driving question is important as it will guide the project work.

 For the  students it creates interest and a feeling of challenge . 

Working on  PBL tasks implies  teaching  and working in a  different  way and  students will work with new tools and collaborate, they will work on different   skills and  develop skills which they need in real life.

More references are online:    ( ideas about  action  research)

Some examples of   PBL in  Europe :  E-twinning

In  Europe we have  good  examples of projects like   E-twinning  :
I have not worked on this project but   I know that classes  work together on some topics and they make videos, learning  diaries and webpages  showcasing   what the students have done. 

Link to some  projects


Shelly  reminded us of the importance of  evaluation and  provided us with some links  which  need to be  checked to find out more:       ( you can  find  a rubric for downloading)


After checking on line   I could  find these interesting  links for  webtools in  PBL:

A  good   website created by a teacher who shared tools for  PBL:

Thank you   Shelly for your  great support online: I will study more to develop  my   students' skillls and I really think that   PBL   can  be  a great   journey into learning. 

mercoledì 28 giugno 2017

Web 2.0 Tools

I have just  finished a   course for  Italian  Teachers working on the Platform Edmodo.
We had to  learn and  share ideas about   some Web 2.0 Tools.  Most of them were  not new to me but   I could  do some work and see the great  mastrepieces the other  teachers had worked on. Every week we had to post some homework.  I worked online and could train in some way!!

Here is my  Tackk: I have learnt about a new Tool  which I will  use next year  : Trucider.
It can be used for  brainstorming, taking  decisions and  it is user-friendly.

Thanks to  Edmodo for this  free  online Learning  Community Experience!!

I am  aware that the Learning  Community of the Italian  Teachers is active and  also engaged during the  summer  time!


martedì 27 giugno 2017

Creating Motivation, Creating Learning

                                        Getting  everybody engaged  

In March I was online and  I could see the great  webinar presented by  Chaz Pugliese - the main topic was motivation .

You can find  Q& A which  followed the  webinar in the  Iatefl blog

I could not watch the webinar again but I would like to share  the link from the blog as  the presentation was  focussed on important  issues in education.

Chaz  Pugliese is a great educators who has worked on  Motivation and Creativity.   He has just written about  the importance of  Motivation in  reading and  ELT :

Pugliese has also talked about  teachers and  why they should be motivated when teaching : this is one of the most important  issues in education.

Watch the short interview which he gave last spring at IATEFL : he invited  teachers to reflect on what happens or happened  in their lessons.

                                                            IATEFL   2017

Pugliese has developed a new approach to teaching and as a trainer he has tried to find new ways in teaching:

                                                TEACHING WITH  MIKE  DAVIS

More  resources online   about   Motivation

Made with Padlet

lunedì 26 giugno 2017



I have  always loved reading but reading and understanding  poetry can sometimes be difficult for our  ELT  learners.
Teachers need to find  the right approach and some strategies for enhancing  learning  while  reading  a poem .
When  teaching  poetry in English I usually  introduce the poem by using  images: sometimes it works, sometimes I need to work on words and sounds. Wordclouds are often used to brainstorm the topic in a text.

Thanks to  Twitter and the many educators who were involved in sharing ideas about  poetry in April this year I was able to  collect some interesting  documents online. They will help me develop  some activities for my Literature Lessons in English.

Using  Videos in the Introduction  Phase : Internet is now a great source of texts and we can rely on a lot of free material and videos online helping us for developing a better presentation and lesson.



Why teaching  Poetry?

 Because we can learn how to use words and think about what we want to express by using just a few words sometimes or by following sound patterns and rhymes.
Because we can express our  creativity and  use new language structures while learning a language we do not know very well.

Shelly  Terrell made a great webinar about teaching and learning with  Poetry: here is her  presentation shared in  April when we have " National Poetry  Month".

Learning with Poetry: Activities and Resources from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

More ideas are available online thanks to the many webinars which focussed on teaching  Elt  and Poetry:


martedì 13 giugno 2017

# Mrs Dalloway Day

mercoledì 31 maggio 2017


I have always been fascinated by English Writers and  Female Writing.  Today when we talk about  English Literature we are faced with a variety of  voices. The community of Writers is now  cosmopolitan and   the writer  ZADIE SMITH is one of the most important novelists. She  describes the society in which she has lived and she focusses on the conflicts which we have in a world which is changing and has changed.
I have read some extracts from the book  " On Beauty" thanks to a seminar which took place  at LEND REGGIO EMILIA   meetings. Thanks to the tutors I could learn more about this great  British voice. I discovered a woman and her ideas about  writing: I also searched online and I found a lot of documents about her works and her ideas . They are all Worth  sharing!! 

Why  writing?

                                              On Beauty

Zadie Smith Reads from On Beauty di TobiasGerry


sabato 20 maggio 2017

Learning Diaries : Tools and how to reflect online

Reflecting online

We are often  asked to work online for our  Professional  Development and to write about  our learning experience while sharing lessons and tips with other learners.

Learning  Diaries are now part of the  PBL activities which can help  the learners  to reflect when they are asked to think about the steps and write more about their process and way of working. In most schools and  institutions  students are used to working online.

Anna Laghigna has  shared this presentation with the links to the main tools we can use.

I think that we should all bookmark the tutorials of these apps as our learners are often asked to work together, collaborate and present their activities.

My favourite tools are  Padlet and Tackk but also Sway can offer a  great  presentation online which can be  shared and be embedded in websites and

Some of the tools are not free : just check them online before beginning the presentations. They all combine a mix of  videos, links to documents online and texts.  Our students can write online, share the documents on social media and in most cases also collaborate with other students.

domenica 23 aprile 2017

Digital Storytelling : Reflecting on the Mooc by POLITECNICO MILANO which I have just finished

In November I enrolled on a course run by POLITECNICO MILANO about Digital Storytelling.
I had previously done another MOOC about this interesting topic in education thanks to Coursera and wrote about it as I had started it by chance and I didn't think about the great potentialities of  DS.
The MOOC was in Italian- last year I did another course about creating ebooks thanks to the Italian platform and it was really helpful. This MOOC was a lonely journey- the online tutors did not provide much feedback but they gave us lots of documents online and information about the many web tools which we can use to write our stories.
This is a personal reflection on what we should do as  DS is a wonderful way for getting our students more engaged and I would add that it is useful for  English Language Learners too as they can use the target language and in a creative way.

Today we have a lot of platforms and we can choose a lot of tools to write and present our stories.It is very important to plan how to do it but we have a lot of tutorials online which can guide teachers and learners.
We were guided by an expert teacher who presented different stories which the University in Milan had supported and studied by creating a special platform. I might decide to try to participate in the annual events they run for schools presenting their stories next year.

In the final task I was asked to create an activity online and I chose the topic " Earth Day" to create a task that might suit many classes while students read, watch videos and write about this global issue.
I decided to start by using Twitter and thanks to this social network I could have access to many resources for educators.
I also checked what people had written about this topic and I found this interesting ebook created by using a tool which was listed among the many tools we can use to do DS tasks: Story Jumper.

Book titled 'The ABC's of Earth Day'Read this free book made on StoryJumper
Here is the first part of my activity created by using a new tool which combines the features of narration with collaboration too: I think that it could be used by students to mix their stories in projects. Its name is Sutori.
The topic was  Earth Day but you could use the tool for writing skills and other class projects.

When we plan DS tasks we need to think about a lot of things:
- how to work
- what kind of final output we might expect our  students to create
- how to evaluate the student's work

It can be very demanding and that's the reason why I have not done it so far.  The projects they have presented us in theMOOCc show very simple stories so I am thinking of trying to use some of the best ideas for getting starting with  DS  in my school next year.

Here is the link to the task which I have just uploaded :

In the final part of the document you will find important links to rubrics for evaluation.
There are so many tools that I feel I will need to try only the simple ones but  it will be worth trying them.

Resources and Ideas online

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

sabato 22 aprile 2017

# Earth Day 2017

I am working on storytelling for an Italian Mooc right now- I will have to submit one task this week and that's the reason why I have chosen to create an activity on Earth Day. In the last two weeks I have found plenty of useful resources: free resources which can be used by any educator. 

You may be surprised to find so many interesting documents online, videos, songs and important conferences all over the world. I have decided to use Sutori, a new app which can enable teachers to work online with their classes and students can collaborate. I like the idea of relying on so many resources in English as my students might benefit from reading or listening to them.Once you have finished your presentation you can share it with the others and embed it in a website or a blog. The app is free and you just need to have an account to start using it.

If you check online you will find a lot of documents about the issue of " Earth Day" and educators are involved in sharing ideas and materials. I love the idea of using videos and texts so I have chosen a poem and a short story for my presentation.

Here is the link to my presentation which you can find here :

I could create it in a short time and I think that it can offer an interesting activity for teaching our learners of English about  Earth Day while they are working together and also creating their own personal presentations.

If we search online we will find many more tips or interesting documents in English: films, cartoons, lists of videos and more. We just need to find some time and choose them for our  lessons.
Let's all celebrate Earth Day!!

lunedì 17 aprile 2017

Outside in: bringing new technology perspectives to ELT

Tuesday 4th  April 2017

A talk about technology in ELT

I did not follow the talk which took place on 4th April but it was and it is a must do activity for every teacher. I watched the recording and I would suggest it to anyone who loves teaching and thinking about what is changing in our schools.
The topic was technology in ELT. I just found the time this week to check it and I think that what was discussed is the reality in which we are working now. There is a new world which goes beyond the walls of our schools and is outside our ELT lessons and classes.  Internet, social media and new devices have entered our life. We cannot live without our tablets and in Italy the king of the modern devices is the smartphone. 

The presenters were   Geoff Stead, Donald Clark, Paul Driver and  Yvonne Rogers. They shared their ideas about this revolution which is changing our work as educators but also the life of workers and students in the XXI century.

More than in the classroom we have learners studying on their own in virtual worlds and a lot of teachers have moved from the book to the whiteboards with internet connections, flipped learning approaches, blended learning while the new book is the ebook. Hyperlinks, Open Sources and shared documents or videos are now part of the courses and lesson plannings of the 21st Century teachers.

What is good about this revolution is the idea that we can learn outside the classroom: our students have access to online courses, MOOCs, Youtube videos and songs and music. Most of these resources are now available for free. When I started learning English I could only rely on a book and later I was given the opportunity to buy a book with some cassettes to listen to and to check the pronunciation in English. I spent hundred of pounds on buying something to listen to. Now we are provided with a lot of free materials which we can download and share online. I feel this is the advantage we should all be proud of.
Our students can be connected to people living everywhere as we have Skype and a lot of chatrooms which they can access thanks to modern devices. The smartphone is more than a mobile phone as we can work by using it and it is the memory of activities with lots of files, photos, documents and videos we have liked or viewed.  Social Media are part of this revolution: Twitter, FB and other important ones are also used in education. Anytime I do a course online I can rely on social networks for sharing ideas and it is also nice to be online and share ideas with people living all over the world!!

Having said that we have to think about some problems which are related to the use of modern technology in education. Yyonne Rogers focussed on the importance of new media as they can help us collaborate but  she pointed out that there are also some risks in using them.
I am using modern devices in class only from time to time, I have to do this as we do not have a good internet connection and my students cannot have internet for free in our school but I agree with what was said in the discussion that our students lack concentration when they work with modern devices and sometimes we need to stop using tablets as learning requires the use of modern technologies but  also concentration. We do need to continue working and thinking and it is also important to learn together not only in a virtual world. Educators can take advantage of the new tools but learning a language and mastering a foreign language requires also love and passion for learning and it is up to the teachers to create the best conditions for using the new language items.