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venerdì 22 settembre 2017

Autumn







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

#9/11


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"  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013qz7c

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. 




 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2017/mar/29/no-turning-back-theresa-may-statement-article-50-brexit-eu-video-highlights

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 :

RAISCUOLA LEZIONI


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.


http://www.raiscuola.rai.it/lezione/elizabethan-theatre/11587/default.aspx#1

LESSONPATHS : a tool for browsing and  creating  lessons online

http://www.lessonpaths.com/splash


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:

https://www.tes.com/lessons




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

https://www.tes.com/lessons/QVKo3kvQ6BG4Kw/virginia-woolf-and-the-modern-age

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




TED-ED LESSON SHARING AND CREATING LESSONS

https://ed.ted.com/lessons

This tool enables you to create  lessons  starting from a video : https://ed.ted.com/videos

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.

SYMBALOO LEARNING PATH

https://learningpaths.symbaloo.com/




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

Here is a short introduction online  about it :
https://en.blog.symbaloo.com/easily-build-custom-learning-paths/

Shared lessons can be found online : 
https://learningpaths.symbaloo.com/Marketplace

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

https://learningpaths.symbaloo.com/preview/L50576/


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

https://learningpaths.symbaloo.com/preview/L59597/




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
from http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/07/podcast-episode-189-truth-big-ben/#

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.

 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-charlottesville-ugly-reminder-racism-thrives-2017-article-1.3406189

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

#BookLoversDay



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
 
 
 
 
 
VISITING SOME MUSEUMS ONLINE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Learning about  CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 

martedì 8 agosto 2017

First Day of School and Back to School

Beginning a new  school year and how to approach  the learners




The key words are  " get them engaged " and "  make them feel part of the class " 






It is importat to start in the best way and to remember that learners need to be  " cared" and find interest in what we are going to do.
It is vital to be focussed on the relationships and our  learners.  If we don't connect with them, we may lose them. When  beginning a new  school year and when meeting our  new learners we are  asked to be " open" and more " interactive " with them, so that our first meeting can have a positive impact on our way of working and their learning . Dealing with  teenagers can be hard, we must remember that  if we  cannot  establish a  good relationship , we might  find a lot of difficulties as they will  skip our lessons and feel that they cannot manage with the new subjects or learning English in my present situation.

Sources online :  http://www.shellyterrell.com/back2school.html


POEMS  IN  ENGLISH
Reflecting on the first day at school  : reading a poem in English

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/schoolradio/subjects/english/poetry/roger_mcgough/first_day_at_school

FOR EDUCATORS- YOU MUST READ THEM OR LISTEN TO THEM! 

Here are some interesting  reflections which some educators have  provided us with.
I am aware of the difficulties but educators need to  focus more on the learners than on the " content" when dealing with them on the first day at school.











Finally, I would like to go back to the precious  tips which  Shelly  Terrell shared in her  slides
last year:



Back to School Survival Tips from Shelly Sanchez Terrell







I hope your students will have a nice day on their first day back to school this  year!!

domenica 6 agosto 2017

GLOBAL STUDENT CONFERENCE 2017


An Interesting Conference online mainly dealing with Students'  activities  with the focus on STEM and  ENTREPRENEURSHIP                                          

4th  March 2017







                                           Access to Recordings on line 
 

I was online and did some webinars- I was favourably impressed by the presentations of the students who shared ideas and made me understand that education is changing everywhere. Projects and  the use of Internet are reshaping our lessons and tasks. This is happening in the developing  world and  also in countries  where technology is not always  the best. Our students need to be equipped with the best tools and they should know how to work and live in this new world.
Dealing with STEM implies that educators aim at providing  learning opportunities that can open new job opportunities in a world that is globalized.  In most countries  STEM is considered  a priority as girls usually prefer to study humanistic  subjects. Hopefully, things are changing.







                                     Worth  checking

Robert  Hernandez  " Jovrnalism" -web journalism
It was an interesting webinar dealing with the changes that are  happening in the world of media.
 
The presenter focussed on the use of new media tools, virtual realities, games and also art. He provided with interesting examples as he is currently  teaching at university.
I would  suggest watching the recording.

bit.ly/jovrnalism-android
 
 
Finding and Using Great Open Source Media - Presenter   Margaret "Laney" Blair
 
An interesting but also short presentation focussed on how to use  Open Source Media
Using  Google search for images:
 
 
The Search Engine for  Creative  Commons 
 
 
 
                                   Using   Soundcloud for listening to  Music
                                   https://soundcloud.com/creativecommonsmusicfree
 
As more and more we are working online , it is important to know how to use sources!
 
More links online for finding pictures :
 
 
Haltern am See, Westruper Heide -- 2015 -- 7965-9.jpg
By Dietmar Rabich - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
 
  

 
http://photopin.com/ ( free photos for bloggers)
 
 Here is an example  of a picture which I found by using this website
 
misty morning

photo credit: Piyushgiri Revagar misty morning via photopin (license)

I searched online and found this interesting resource dealing with open domain  and also creative commons:

http://guides.library.harvard.edu/c.php?g=310751&p=2072816

venerdì 4 agosto 2017

Robert Burns - a Mooc by FUTURE LEARN



Robert burns.jpg
By Alexander Nasmyth - Unknown, Public Domain, Link

Discovering the  Poet     Robert Burns

" Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of AyrshirePloughman Poet and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest."
( source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Burns)


The Platform Futurelearn ran an interesting Mooc last year about one of the most important poets of Scotland: Robert Burns. I did the Mooc and  I could learn a lot about  him and also Scotland.
I had studied only some poems he had written in English but I had never studied his poetry. The Mooc was an interesting opportunity  online which helped me appreciate  a voice I had never  understood and the man  Robert Burns, the poet and also the lover.





 
 



THE MOOC

The Mooc focussed on three main modules :
- presentation of the life of the poet  and what we  knew about  him

-  some poems and songs  he wrote were analyzed and explained

-  what  we can remember  about him and that was focussed on Scotland and other places where we can  still find  monuments dedicated to the man and lover

We were given a lot of resources and weblinks, I might read more online when  I have more time but I think that I have liked  the man who has become a  symbol of  freedom in Scotland and in other countries.

Some videos about  the man and the poet




An interesting video about the legend:


 


What we wrote about him online when we  started the Mooc:






Music is still related to his songs and that's the main reason why we can say that  Robert Burns is still alive and  is loved by people living in different parts of the world:

                                               My love is like a Red Red Rose











What we continue  reading and studying in Literature:








Sharing our  resources in the Padlet



Made with Padlet


Resources online
http://www.robertburns.org/

http://www.burnsscotland.com/

http://www.dsl.ac.uk/    ( Dictionary of the Scots Language)

http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/more-heritage/the-history-of-robert-burns-statues-around-the-world-1-4007818