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Friday, 18 April 2014

No Miss, I didn't bring that notebook....

Some of you, like myself, will sometimes feel you're getting old. I don't, usually, but every now and then I get students who no longer know what a pen is, let alone a notebook. It's all about laptops and tablets and smartphones and IPhones and god knows what else... Don't get me wrong, I do love technology and I think it's a powerful tool available to teachers nowadays, but don't you think that sometimes, just sometimes, it's a little too much? I do and I think I'm not the only one. However, I also know something else: teachers can't burry their heads in the sand and just hope it will go away... So here's a brilliant article on how you can use tablets in the classroom. Know any other? Please share :).
Using a tablet PC as a teaching tool

Friday, 28 March 2014

International Organisations

The second year students at CICCOPN are required to do some research on international organisations.
My two classes 213565DPAA and 213027PCAA did a wonderful job.

Here are their works. Well done!

Hugo Pereira - Sennheiser

Friday, 21 March 2014

Simple Present vs Present Continuous 2

Here are some more exercises contrasting the Simple Present and the Present Continuous. I'm also embedding a video with some more advanced information on the two tenses.

Now for exercises:

Advanced Exercises - You can do exercises, but try these first (exercises 1, 11, 13, 14, 19)
Intermediate level
Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Elementary Exercises - You should do all exercises because you need a lot of practice, but you can start with these: 5/9/26/27
Extra Elementary Exercise

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Winnie, the witch

Winnie, the witch has been around for many years, though I must confess my absolute ignorance until about a month ago. She then moved in and is a regular visitor, often staying overnight (coming from the library)! 

But, here, she's not called Winnie. Here she goes by her Portuguese name - Mimi - a silly translation as the "w" repetition in the titles is lost. Well, I've become a huge fan and her books are being used both in English and in Portuguese and now I found this wonderful video from the first book. This is wonderful to show your children, or, if you're like me, to watch yourself with a nice cup of tea in your hands. 

Ladies and gentlemen, here's Winnie the witch.

Teaching material - Review

The internet is undoubtedly a valuable source of teaching materials. Worksheets, videos, tutorials, online exercises, games (board games & interactive games) and material for interactive boards. 

Whenever I type something I need in the Google search bar, thousands of entries come up and the truth is - I don't have time to browse through all of them, and I doubt most teachers do. However, I do find myself spending a lot of time (sometimes time I don't have) looking for that perfect worksheet, that online exercise that will grab my students and make them want to come back the following lesson. This is quite time consuming and I get to a point when I no longer know what it is that I'm searching for. My laptop is full of files, links that I will (not) one day use. 

After having spent another 3 hours looking for the perfect material for a lesson I decided I need to reorganize my time. I thought some of you might be feeling the same, so I'm going to review a few sites I use regularly and hopefully help you spend less time searching for material.

This is a website for ESL teachers. It's free and has fantastic material about everything. Resources are classified according to level and age (which is a huge help) and you have several types of resources. There are downloadable worksheets, online exercises, PowerPoint s, tutorials, etc. All of it is original material by the authors. However, in order to download you need to contribute with your own material. The more files you upload and the more downloads people make from your resources the more points you'll get. It's like a piggy-bank! Then you can spend your points to download what you need. 

Most English teachers know this. It has everything, literally everything! I particularly like the board games and have used them with both adults and children. They all love them. The only thing wrong with this, in my opinion, is that there isn't enough information about a resource until you've downloaded it. There's a "quick view" button but if you're looking at a PowerPoint or a worksheet with lots of pages it won't tell you much. Still, this is one of my favorite places for looking for material.

I like using this when I take students into a computer classroom. The exercises are great and they get their results right away. Of course there are lots of similar sites, but this is a user friendly site where your students can have lots of practice. You can also ask them to do some exercises as homework. Just ask them to print out the results s you know how well they did, and let's be honest. If they cheat and take the same exercise more than once to get a better grade, is that bad? After all they are getting more practice, aren't they?

This is it for today. I'll come back sometime soon with more suggestions of websites you can use to make your lessons a lot more interactive.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

I've been to London to visit the Queen.

This cat hasn't been to visit the Queen (or so I think), but it's a cat that will make you think and wonder. It was written by Edgar Allan Poe - an amazing writer of a number of short stories. Here's one I really like: The black cat.

The black cat by Edgar Allan Poe

Music Composition 7

We haven't had one of these in a long time, so here it is another Music Composition. Here is how to do it.

You are going to write a composition inspired by the song you are about to hear. How to do it?
1. Go to a place you are not likely to be disturbed.
2. Get yourself comfortable - but don't fall asleep. Relax
3. Listen to the song, once, twice, as many times as you like!
4. What does this song tell you? What's its story? What is happening? Is someone sad, happy, angry, what? What feelings do you get? What can you see when you close your eyes? What can you smell, taste? Can you get inspiration from the music title?
This is a difficult, but great exercise. And it is very good to help you relax, too.