11 radom facts at Chrsitmas time #2 - Replying Ana Maria Menezes

Good morning , you all!

I have already  replied 2 of the 7 people who've tagged me and  I've already tagged 11 people too. So , I am waiting for them to reply to me . 

How it works:

1. Acknowledge the blogger(s) who've tagged you
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions nominating  blogger(s)
4. List 11 bloggers
5. Post 11 questions for the nominated bloggers you 've chosen and let them know they've been tagged. don't nominate bloggers who nominated you.

Thank you for tagging me  , dear Ana Maria! 

11 Random facts about myself::

  1. I love Christmas and everything related to it! (songs, food, decoration, etc.)
  2. I love celebrating my birthday with a party and a lot of presents
  3. I prefer cold weather although I  was born and live in a sunny warm place all over the year 
  4. I love rainy days and the smell of the rain 
  5. I'm afraid of most insects
  6. My daughter will get married in 2014 and I am really happy
  7. I love playing the role of a housewife but I hate ironing
  8. I'm afraid of diving. I'll never dive into the sea! 
  9. I love watching all CSI series and similar on TV . LOL
  10. If I weren't a teacher, I'd probably be a lawyer
  11. I  want to be a grandma ASAP! 
Answering Ana Menezes 
  1.  Where did you live as a child? - Recife. 
2. What was your favourite toy? - A doll called Suzy 

3. As a child, what did you want to be in the future? - LOL Many things! But mainly a poilcewoman! Perhaps this is the reason why I love CSI and LAW & ORDER! lol

4. Tell us some things you are afraid of: Diving into the sea and cockroaches ( most of insects , actually) 

5. Tell us some things you are good at: Cooking , organizing things and singing 

6. Tell us some things you are bad at:  Ironing. What a shame! LOL

7. Tell us  about a place you'd like to visit and who with: GREECE , with Franklin, my husband

8. What do you normally procrastinate? Going to the doctor  LOL ( I am the daughter of a doctor and the wife of another) 

9. If you could choose a place to live , where would it be? Somewhere with cold weather : IN Brazil. Serra Gaúcha or Curitiba, perhaps a city in the countryside near São Paulo. Abroad, in England near London

10. What would you like to get for Christmas? First- class Air tickets and hotel vouchers (all paid )to go to Greece! LOL

11. What would you like to learn in 2014? More about education technology 

11 random facts at Christmas time

It's Christmas time. A time to be even happier, take a break and play a little with my wonderful friends all over the world, this fantastic PLN full of  amazing people I've learned to love and respect. I feel so proud and happy to be remembered by so many respectful friends and educators! And although I have to give the final touch and prepare dinner for my Christmas Party tomorrow, let's stop a little and play the game!  

How it works:

1. Acknowledge the blogger(s) who've tagged you
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions nominating  blogger(s)
4. List 11 bloggers
5. Post 11 questions for the nominated bloggers you 've chosen and let them know they've been tagged. don't nominate bloggers who nominated you.

I've been  tagged by : Carol Goodey Ana Menezes,  Debora Tebovich, Ika Chieka Wibowo, Juan Uribe, Retno Sofyaniek Date English and Priscila Mateini
I'll start thanking and answering Carol Goodey. Thank you so much, dear Carol! I feel really proud and honoured I've been tagged by you! 

11 Random facts about myself::

  1. I love Christmas and everything related to it! (songs, food, decoration, etc.)
  2. I love celebrating my birthday with a party and a lot of presents
  3. I prefer cold weather although I  was born and live in a sunny warm place all over the year
  4. I love rainy days and the smell of the rain 
  5. I'm afraid of most insects
  6. My daughter will get married in 2014 and I am really happy
  7. I love playing the role of a housewife but I hate ironing
  8. I'm afraid of diving. I'll never dive into the sea! 
  9. I love watching all CSI series and similar on TV . LOL
  10. If I weren't a teacher, I'd probably be a lawyer
  11. I  want to be a grandma ASAP! 

My responses to Carol:

1, What do you most enjoy about blogging? 
I most enjoy sharing my thoughts with people all over the world, learn from them, getting to know new people but most of all the sense of recognition and gratitude about my work. 

2. Do you play a musical instrument? 
Yes, I do! I (still) play the guitar well (people say) and I used to play the piano. I was my son's first guitar teacher! 

3. How far do you travel to work? How do you travel?
I drive to work for about 30 minutes every day. It would be less if the traffic wasn't awful! 

4. What do you enjoy about the work you do? 
I was definitely born to be a teacher but I love mentoring both teachers and students! 

5. What was the first thing you ate today? 
LOL! Papaya! 

6.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
At this very moment I'd love to go to Greece because I've never been there and there are two special people who've become very close friends of mine and who I've never met in person. I'd love to meet them , hug them and talk till we die! 

7. What month next year you are most looking forward to?
November beacause of mu daughter's wedding!

8. What meal do you prepare most often to your friends? 
Seafood. I love cooking and people say my shrimp risotto rocks! LOL!

9. What was the last movie you saw? What did you think?
It was Renoir. I wish I could enter the screen and be part of that film! Wonderful colours, plot , cast and scenery! I do love it! 

10. What three things to you like to have with you when working? 
- a computer
- a lot of space 
- a bottle of water

11. What do you think about reality TV shows? 
I hardly ever watch TV but when it happens to see one of those RS when I'm surfing TV channels , I usually don'r like them. They bring me a sense of unhealthy competition and torturing!

My list of bloggers to answer my questions:
  1. Graeme Hodgson
  2. Tams Lorincz
  3. Rose Bard
  4. Vicky Loras 
  5. Kieran Donaghy
  6. Carla Arena
  7. Marcelo de Cristo
  8. Henrick Oprea
  9. Chew Pang
  10. Dimitris Primalis  
  11. Maria Bossa

My questions for you: 
  1. What's you favourite season ? 
  2. Do you like celebrating your birthday with parties full of people?
  3. Do you have any hobbies?
  4. What's the best place you've ever been to? 
  5. What's the worst film you've ever watched? Why? 
  6. What city in Brazil would you first like visiting? Why? 
  7. Are you a  good cook? What kind food do you cook best? 
  8. Do you have a favourite song? Why is it your favourite?
  9. What was the best year in your school times? Why?
  10. What do you consider to be the best thing about being and educator?
  11. If you had three wishes for 2014 what would they be? 
I look forward to your answers! 

Integrating PBL into your Syllabus: Another ‘headache’ or an opportunity to boost your learners' performance?

A guest blog post By Dimitris Primalis

Special thanks to Christina Martidou for the feedback (Dimitris Primalis:)

At first it was the Communicative Approach, then the multiple intelligences theory, then the Multiple Intelligence theory, Learning Technology, 21st Century Skills and now the final straw , PBL - an exotic acronym for Project Based Learning.

It simply makes you wonder: Is it another fad I have to introduce and implement in my daily teaching or a flexible tool that can help me exploit all the aforementioned theories, and teaching methodology?

Time and practice will tell for sure but in the meantime, let me share a few thoughts and some useful tips and hints with you drawing upon my personal experience.

What's PBL?

Quoting verbatim from Edutechwiki: " Project Based Learning is a teaching and learning model 
( curriculum development and instructional approach) that emphasizes student-centred  instruction by assigning projects. It allws students to work more autonomously to construct their own learning, and culminates in realistic, student-generated products." 

The right approach or not? 

" How much can I cram into my syllabus?" " When will I have time to do some real teaching?" Is this another show off? " These are just a few initial reactions to PBL and they only seem reasonable since overburdening  your syllabus with extra project work doesn't usually sound appealing to anybody.

                                             Graphs created by Dimitris Primalis 

But is PBL really an extra feature? Project work is surely not new in ELT. It has always been part of the syllabus to a lesser or a greater extent. The crucial question here seems to be how do we approach it effectively?

If projects are superimposed or chosen from a series of ready-made projects that cater little or not at all for your students' needs, then they are undoubtedly a burden. However, what if the projects were designed to serve your learners' needs and individual styles while reflecting the curriculum?

Synergy: forming an alliance to achieve learning goals:

Instead of devoting time to using technology, teaching literature, skills development , etc., separately, why not combine everything to achieve your class or even individual students' learning goals?

Graphs created by Dimitris Primalis 

Learning technology devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones facilitate surveys, quests and anable students to take photos . share, store and present their work using PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi - to name only some of the numerous software and Web 2.0 tools  available. Still feeling that this is not enough?

What's more?  Learners will see their critical thinking skills stretched to their limits when dealing with a huge amount of data and asked to select the most important snippets to include in their projects.

Well designed communicative activities - incorporated in the project - can help students develop their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills especially if the project involves joining forces with another school from another country. With PBL  your students' accuracy and fluency will be given a crash test in stimulated-authentic tasks instead of "sterilized" and often decontextualized drills.  Additionally, it's more likely that the teachers' feedback will receive more attention than the gap-fill exercises. A variety of delegated tasks can cater for different learning styles e.g. audio types can search for interviews or radio programmes related to the topic. Finally, chances are that research  will motivate students who may not be keen on language learning but are into maths and science.

In the project described at the end of the post, the initial stimulus was provided by the coursebook. The linguistic aims ( describing/ presenting figures)were achieved while allowing for ICT skills building and - equally important - 21st century  skills practice ( communication, collaboration, critical thinking, presentations). All these were integrated in the project work instead of assigning different tasks with little or no relevance to the syllabus as is often the case.

Planning and Integrating:

One of the most crucial stages of this process is careful planning and wise integration of the project(s) into the syllabus at the beginning of the school year. The closest simile I can think of, is that of  an army general's, planning his campaign. Before launching it, he would have to take the factors given below into account:

  • the strategic goals
  • the logistics (equipment , allocated time in class and at home, resources)
  • his ´troops`current skills strengths and weaknesses
  • existing and potential allies ( in this case , teachers of other subjects or EFL teachers from other schools abroad.   

In other words, no matter how tempting some fancy projects may seem/sound, always consider :

  • What are the learning goals for the class? 
  • How many of these goals can the project serve?
  • How can it cater for different learning styles? 
  • What means (learning technologies) are available and in working order?
  • How close is it to the students' interest /reality? (personalization)
  • To what extent are students expected to be involved? 
  • Which aspects of the existing syllabus ( grammatical, lexical, functional) can blend in with the project? 
  • How much time can  your students devote at school and at home?
  • To what extent can your students develop their own initiative and creativity? 

A project with my 6th graders (aged 11-12):

Photo taken from Access 4 - Interactive Coursebook (courtesy of Express Publishing) 

Based on the text shown in the photo above,  students were asked to carry out a survey on the most popular gadgets among family and friends. A the time, internet-based survey tools such as surveymonkey were not widespread so learners had to create questionnaires  by themselves. In groups of four, they decided on the questionnaire ( which gadget to include and the questions they wanted to ask). Then, each student had to fill in 8 questionnaires asking family or friends - preferably in English. After that, they were asked to figure out percentages and transfer data on a PowerPoint  graph ( I showed them how to enter data but it could easily have been done by an ICT teacher at school. Finally , students had to present their findings in class and attempt to exploit to the maximum the school's and learners' newly acquired equipment ( 1 tablet per student , IWB). Even though we overestimated the learners' ICT skills, the project stimulated their interest and their presentations sparked a discussion in class about data presentation.

To see some projects from Douka School in Greece click here


It would be misleading to claim that introducing and implementing PBL in class is a breeze. Very often, what seems to work on paper wonderfully, fails in practice miserably and your initial estimate for the degree of your learners' autonomy (how much guidance they need) falls spectacularly short of the original prediction. Eventually, it all comes to a critical dilemma:

  1. Should I pretend that I apply PBL to abide by what the Director of Studies has asked me to do and impress parents or 
  2. Do I use it as a tool - combining the technological and methodological means available- to give my students the opportunity to further develop their skills? 

To my mind, it can be just another PeBLe swept by the tide or - paraphrasing the lyrics of the song " Make a Wave"  - "you can throw a PBL in the class waters and make a wave".

The choice is yours!

Dimitris Primalis

Useful link:

The author of this post: 

Dimitris Primalis has been anEFL teacher for more than 20 years and is an examiner for the Cambridge English Language Assessment. He is also a materials designer and has published 5 test books for Macmillan.
Dimitris is particularly interested in innovation and change in the syllabus. He likes to share his experiences in the EFL field with colleagues at conferences ( IATEFL, TESOL France, TESOL Macedonia-Thrace, Nothern Greece), in his column in the BELTA bulletin and through articles (IATEFL Voices, ELT News) and blogposts. He is currently working at Doukas primary school in Athens , Greece.

The Power of Image and the Moving image on students learning and projects

The following post is the result of what I presented on THE IMAGE CONFERENCE in Brasilia on
25th October

"A picture worths a thousand words "

Chilean Patagonia

                   Photo by Roseli Serra

As an avid reader , cinema fan and a teacher for over twenty five years, I have recently started to play closer attention to the power of images, films and short videos more than ever in my life.  Of course it hasn't happened out of the blue. Actually it has to do with the fact that for the last few years I have taught different age groups and I have discovered that they are all more visual than I could expect, not to mention that I am  a highly visual learner and teacher.

Having said that , I would like to reflect upon the power of image and its impact both on teaching and learning.

" At early education books are richly illustrated , but later on images give way to greater and greater proportion of of verbal written text "  ( Ben Goldstein )

                             Photo extracted from http://goo.gl/odQwXY

Later on pictures are usually treated as simply decoration or as a background for important texts. Text has been prioritized over image, which, many times, cause a "negative impact"on the learner who has suddenly  made the transition from lots of images to lots of texts without, most of the times, being prepared to face such change. Consequently and unfortunately,  texts cause an opposite effect on our SS because, sometimes they are not interesting at all .

                                 Photo extracted from http://goo.gl/HrL6rS

Although words and pictures can signify the same thing, the effect they produce can be quite different.
Have a look at the image below. What effect does it cause? Would words provoke the same emotional charge?

                               Photo extracted from http://www.freedomrun.net/ad4.jpg

Likewise, we recognize one another through an array of visual codes . By looking at the image below, it is easy to identify what this person likes, isn't it?   

                               Photo by Roseli Serra

The concept of visual literacy is that it is easier and quicker  to communicate a message with an image. It means that the importance of fostering a visual literacy has been taken seriously 

                                                                                   Photo by ELT Pics

Identity construction from images on the internet :

According to Richard Gresswell  images have all to do with the way we construct our personal and professional network, for example, within our PLN.  In addition, image-based communication has largely influenced our lives in all senses , especially with the recent shift to mobile technologies. Images have become part of our everyday life in a way people construct multiple identities.  It seems that "successful " social networking  depends on the construction of many identities to some extent. Identity regarding images has more to do with "what to do "rather than "who you are". You choose your public mask. And through our lives this is a constantly shifting as we take many different roles. 

                                          Photo by ELT Pics

We conclude then that the digital technology and social networks have empowered the use of images and changed teaching and learning. There's no way back.

"Knowledge is on the web"     Carla Arena - IATEFL -Liverpool 2013 )
Some ideas I have experienced with my students using multimedia: 

I've used multimedia for teaching and learning for two main reasons 
  1. The use of multimedia in teaching and learning leads to higher teaching. 
  2. When we think about images nowadays we actually include videos, pictures, games, etc. Multimedia then refers to any computer- mediated software or interactive application that integrate text, colour, graphical images, animation, audio sound, and full motion video in a single application. 
My goals:

  1. To make my teaching more interesting
  2. To motivate my students by: 
  • Raising interest in the target language they are supposed to learn 
  • Working on different projects along the semester and create an electronic portfolio on wikispaces 
  • making my SS more skilled once they have learned to use different and images to produce language ( both written and spoken ) 
  • Leading them to a better sense of achievement once they produce and work with not only texts , but also images and different medias to present , produce and share ideas:
Some Activities using images, videos and other multimedia tools: 

                                 Photo by Roseli Serra

Actvity 1: Working with pictures: 

Have a look at 5 simple activities at the Power Point Below

Working with pictures from Roseli Serra

Actvity 2: A video  music project suggested by Jonathan Reinaux:

Click the Power Point below  to see the steps for this activity:
A music video – Level Upper Int
View more presentations or Upload your own.

To listen to the original video and song , click on the image below

Daylight Project

The worksheet for the students is available below:

Actvity 3: A video activity. Theme:Stereotypes - The Simpsons in Brazil 

To see the steps for this activity click the Power Point below

To watch the video click below:

The worksheet to be used with the students is available below:
My students' electronic portfolio:

These projects are related to readers, movies, short stories and songs.

  • All the choices are negotiated with the teacher
  • Guidelines are posted on Edmodo. 
  • They do some of them at the school lab , some in the classroom with their mobile devices and sOme at home. 
  • Oral presentations  in class. 
  • All the projects stored in a Wikispaces by the teacher. 
A Photo book: 
SS create an electronic book to talk about their daily routines, things they like and don't like.
Target language: Daily routines, likes and dislikes, frequency adverbs and school subjects; 

A Glogster Poster and a Smore flyer about a book and a movie:



  • SS choose a book to read and a film related to the book 
  • They choose songs that have to do with the film, book and characters
  • Gudelines posted on our groups on Edmodo
  • Presentation in class 
  • Web tool/ App : SMORE


Working with images, films , songs , apps and web tools have completely changed my teaching style because: 
  • I fell teaching and learning have become much more interesting. 
  • The projects raised interest in the target language and in the English language itself. 
  • Working on different projects along the semester and creating an electronic portfolio not only motivated my students but also made them sure I am at their side helping them learn and build up knowledge rather than correcting or assessing them only.  
  • My students have learned to work with different medias and consequently they are more skilled and able to vary their learning strategies and use of tools. 
  • Having a higher sense of achievement my students have also improved their critical thinking skills as well as the use of self -evaluation. 

Enjoy your teaching!

References: Available on  Livebinders

Tips, Tools and Webtools for Memorable lessons


October 2013 has been a really busy and exciting month. Apart from all the work a teacher like me and you have to do,  I presented in two conferences : One ftf and one online. Two different experiences, completely different approaches but  for both audiences   I had teachers sharing and caring about waht we do best: TEACH! (By the way,  I still have another conference on 25th . YES!)
                As for the first one, The Future of Education - The 2013 Reform Symposium it is a world online conference and the other one the ACINNE conference   which has to do with CULTURA INGLESA , the institute I work as a teacher. Considering both conferences were one day after another, I delivered the same presentation and decided to write a post in order to share them with you. Before building up this presentation, I decided to make a survey with teachers asking them What memorable lessons mean to them. See their responses:

After the  listening to them  it came to my mind some teachers who manage to make the difference both in real life ( my life ) as well as those whose stories ( fictional or not) became films that have inspired teachers, educator,  people in general all over the world.  I've chosen two  of my favourite cinema characters who played the role of two amazing teachers: Mr Holland and Sister Act 2 . Two different situations, two different teachers with completely different approaches who've changed their SS' lives forever!

Having been inspired  by hundreds of colleagues and my SS, I decided to experience what I call " The good:, the old and the new " with my SS. 

The aim of these activities are:

They not only involve web tools and apps but also lots of different activities we used to do a  lot in class and which  provide learning and good fun to our SS. 

Some example of the "Old tools" 
  • Board games
  • Speaking -Card games 
  • The "Freedonia Project" - A very old activity I myself took part as a student  

  • Target language:  Can/ Can't. Must / Mustn't. have to/ Don't have to, allowed to/ not allowed to, should/ shouldn't etc.
  • Level: Any
  • Advantage : Adaptble 

Results:  SS engaged, a lot of noise and fun, very good for revising language, a lot of speaking opportunities, skills worked interrogatively,   reached all learning styles , revealed talents - SS' creativity and use of imagination , a room for the SS to revise some rules and create their own. 


Have SS in groups
Tell them they should create a country that ends with - onia Ex: Appleonia Bookonia ...

SS are told to:
  • Draw a map for the country, 
  • Write rules for the country (based on the TL) 
  • Choose from 3 to 5 local places in this  country and create rules for them



According to Nik Peach

It’s important that language learners have the opportunity to use language creatively to express something of their own personality or identity. Apps  which support this kind of creativity can be potentially very useful.They, in some way, develop a digital skill that can be transferred outside of the learning context and used in some authentic way either in the workplace or as part of SS' lifestyle...... If they are motivating for native speakers to use for genuine purposes, they should  also be motivating for language learners for that same purpose as they involve some sort of linguistic input or output that are ideally suited to language teaching purposes.

To work with apps and web tools I made use of two strategies
  1. BYOD - Bring your own device - As you see in the picture above , my SS bring to school their smartphones, tablets and laptops  for us to use in classroom. 
  2. Using the school computer lab - The MLC ( Multimedia Learning Centre) as in the picture below            
First of all I have all my groups of SS on Edmodo. This platform is used for educational purposes only and :
  • I assign homework and projects
  • Give feedback to my SS
  • Grade my SS 
  • Create events and alerts
  • Communicate with my groups  in a safe platform 
  • Parents can access 

  • I also created a wikispaces where I Store all my SS electronic portfolios. It's a good way to have them kept , SS and parents can see and feel proud and for me , as a teacher, I can change, improve , create and manage it the way I want. 

    • Some web tools  I showed on this presentation:

      Glogster  and  Smore : I posted the task on the Edmodo where the SS were supposed to create a book project  based on a book they've chosen to read. The guidelines were:

      • Describe a character from the book 
      • Describe a place from the book 
      • Describe a period when the story takes place
      • Describe the atmosphere of the story
      • What kind of music do you associate with the story?
      • Describe a relationship between some characters
      • Describe how a character develops/ changes during the story
      • Describe a special moment of the story 
      • Describe  your own feelings when reading the book ( explain them) 
      • Think of questions  you would like to ask the writer and explain why these questions 

      If you want to see this glogster click here  

      As for the Smore, click here

      • BookR  It's a cute project! An electronic flipped book  my 10-11 y/o SS created .  If you want to see some of my SS BookR click here and here

      Other web- tools: 
      As for the other web tools, they are self explanatory and you can see how to work with them just click on the slideshare below. 

      My final Tips: 

      Enjoy you teaching!


      Revisiting my interview with Shelly Terrel for 30 Goals for Educators

         Last month I was surprised when I was tagged by Rose Bard  to be interviewed by Shelly Terrel for the challenge #30Goals EDU. I was scared, surprised, excited, happy and anxious, but at the same time, very happy and proud of being tagged by one of the educators I most admire.

         I was challenged to talk about teacher and students motivation. as I play a lot of roles on education, including teaching, e-moderating, teacher training , writing materials and mentoring. 

         As I stated in my other post about  Defining my moment, I was introduced to a brave new world of education , involving new approaches , technologies and a huge PLN on the second semester last year (2012), when I had big changes in my life. The turning point was the IATEFL  in Liverpool in April . There I met in person lots of people from my PLN such as Shelly Terrel, Malu Sciamarelli ,  Carla Arena and Dimitris Primalis, among other great people who inspired and still inspire me. In addition, I had the honour to share a room with Ana Maria Menezes, a personal friend,  mentor and one of the most courageous,  creative  and admirable women I have ever met!

         The purpose of this post is to revisit my interview in order to reply some questions made by another great educator Débora Tebovich  who will also be interviewed. 

         After watching the interview see my replies to the questions: 

         Question 1:  How do you get to know about your Students? Given my own scenario, I find it easy to know about them, but as time goes by, I have become aware the sometimes getting to know students is an ongoing process.

         Question 2: As we involve as teachers , they do as students. 

         Question 3: I love you said SS need to have fun to learn . A challenge question: Have you ever felt bored in class? Have you ever had more fun thank your SS? 

         Getting to know about my Students:
         Indeed, getting to know the SS is an ongoing process. It has all to do with a set of factors, including the first impression they have from us and vice versa. Good rapport is the key for development, learning and classroom management. And no matter how nice you are, you have to be assertive and make things clear from the very first moment. 

         What I do (at least  I try t do) with most of my students is to permanently bet in touch with them, mainly via the Edmodo platform, journal diaries as well as a lot of writing. 

         I also have an e-mail account  just to get in touch with  the SS who want to write e-mails. However. I let them know in advance that I'll read and reply their e-mails once a week in a certain day arranged in advance. 

         Another way to get to know my SS better is by using fun web tools and apps to engage them according to their age. For example, most of my SS love working with livetyping , voki  . glogster and padlet .  To use these tools students have to expose themselves and share feelings, thoughts, opinions, and we end up knowing little by little what they like or not , their feelings and a lot about their personality. This indeed help me a a lot to get to know them more deeply.

         As for the adult SS , I also use the Edmodo. However, I don't know why, they sometimes find it childish. As they are adults, I have Facebook  groups  as most of them have the app on their smartphones and it facilitates communication. 

         Regarding my online SS, I usually keep the track by interacting a lot with them . No matter what the platform is, I always get in touch with them by showing great interest in their assignments, reading  them and giving positive feedback even when I have to point out  areas of improvement . Online courses have a considerable number of drop outs because , at least in Brazil, there is this strong culture of seeing the teachers and having " the knowledge from them. " Interestingly, Ana Maria Menezes raises this issue in her upcoming dissertation. Having said that, I usually propose synchronous meetings via Skype or Google Hangout.  It's funny how the SS like seeing I am alive and that I am  just a real mortal hard-working teacher rather than a "computer ghost". It has worked well so far. 

         Getting involved:
         Being a teacher, gosh! There's no way we do not get involved with the SS and vice-versa. Of course empathy  does not  happen  all the time from both sides. This is when we need to use wisdom, behave as  real adult  professionals and bear in mind it's not personal. This is another mantra we should keep repeating: It is not personal. It has to do with the whole thing about education, studying, level of motivation and lots of  other issues which are out of our control. So let's not worry  too much and act as natural as possible. A  good strategy is to share the responsibility with the SS and  parents.  

         Having fun or feeling bored

         Both! Sometimes I have fun even when I am preparing my lessons and then I picture my SS faces in my mind! This semester, particularly this semester, I am teaching a variety of levels and ages and sometimes I do laugh a lot and pick myself  having a lot of fun and wondering what will happen in class.  It's said that I've got good interpersonal skills and usually it is not that difficult for me to approach  my SS. However, it is not always a bed of roses. Sometimes my SS get bored, I get bored and sometimes I think I had prepared that marvellous lesson and then I fail! It does not work at all. My fault? SS fault? It's not worth to blame anybody. Let's move on , try to figure out what was wrong and find solutions. If you need to change, change! There's no demerit on changing . On the contrary, changes make us grow! Believe me! 

      Easy? Not at all! Time consuming, tiring,  frustrating sometimes ,but usually everything works well eventually and we are presented with effective results , happiness and the willing to go on. After all,  I was born to be a teacher. What about you? I look happy and motivated in the picture below, don't I?

      Enjoy your teaching! 

      How to help children love writing in English

      Many if us don't  often use a pen and paper to write at length in our daily lives, yet this is what we expect of young learners. In this article I wrote for British Council Voices , I come up with some fun class activities that will help students between the ages of 10 and 12 learn and love to write. 

      Have fun and Enjoy your teaching! 


      Defining my Moment: Goal #1 from the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators -

      " God does not ask perfect work but infinite desire"
                                                                                 ( St Catherine) 

      photo by ELT pics

                  Last weekend I was invited by Shelly Sanchez Terrel to be interviewed for the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. I could not describe the feeling of happiness and scare at the same time; a mixture of happy feelings and a bit scared by the challenges we have to face just when you think the Earth had stopped spinning and nothing else will happen to challenge you. Well, it has not stopped and it will never stop! And this is the reason why I decided to make a change in my life, for better, I hope, and share this moment with you here. 

                  2012 was a very peculiar year in my life as I would never expected so many changes were to happen. I had to change my job after 18 years working in the same place. At first it seemed that there was no life outside, no light , no floor, nothing. And I thought , innocently, that I was ready for such a big change. I was not ready at all. However, it was about time for a change. It was time to innovate, to see the outside world with other eyes. Time to make new friends, to get to know new people,  to reinforce old and solid friendships, to cover the mirrors , forget the outside and look at me inside. 

                  As an educator, it was time to re-start, to find something different to make me feel motivated and to find new ways to motivate the others rather than giving up. 

                                                  photo by ELT pics

      " There's nothing permanent, except change"
                                                ( Heraclitus 535 BC - 475 BC )
               Thanks to all these changes and to the priceless support of my family, friends and colleagues, I started to get familiar with a brand new world full of wonders and wonderful people. I met friends and people from everywhere .Some of them I have never met face to face. However , it's as if we have lived our lives together for a long time. What a great world full of amazing people!  I also had the opportunity to visit lots of new places and make my PLN grow. In addition, I have tried to make the most I can of my teaching and learning. 
              So here I am a year later, on August 2013. Now I find myself completely different, still facing a lot of big challenges and having to be wise when making choices. This is how I would like to introduce  goal #1:" Define your moment". 
              The word cloud below shows a bit of  what my moment is like:

                                                      picture created by Roseli Serra

              2013 has been a very special year, indeed! A hard-working year, but still very special! The first surprise was to become a blogger and have my thoughts read by people from all over the world. In addition, I had this blog nominated twice for the respectful Teaching English British Council award as the blog of the month. And this is just my 9th post! I could never imagine this could happen to me the same way I would never imagine I would be here writing this post thanks to Shelly's invitation. 

               It's not that easy to define your moment, specially when your moment is a complete mind map full of things to do , deadlines to meet and dreams to come true. This is the moment I should start thinking about how I can perform my plans and achieve my goals. This is my turn, my moment to become a more independent professional. It does not mean I do not want to or that I am not bound to an institution. I am,  and I am really thankful for the place I work and I am happy to work there. I am also happy for the SS I have and for what I do. However, it is time to make things more independently, by myself. 

              I have heard, from a lot of colleagues, a kind of mantra which says:" I am not only an English Teacher". Yes, I am not, although sometimes I feel this is what I am most of the times: An English teacher, an educator and an educational psychologist. Being all this, this is my moment of producing and discovering the new. I  am trying to bear in mind that I should never worry if I am impressing people by doing extraordinary things. I am not doing any extraordinary things at all and this is not my goal. I am just trying to be a better person and a better professional. This is my goal for the moment. 

            How could I become a better educator? I am a believer. I believe in studying, in better practices, in caring and sharing. Yes, I am a believer. And I think caring and sharing make me feel great both as a person and as a professional because if I care and share, I will be able to  make my SS feel they are progressing and lead them to learner independence. 

      photo by ELT pics

       " Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. "  (Albert Einstein)

      This is my moment of reflection and there are lessons I do want to apply to my life:

      1. Never, ever be afraid of the new
      2. Be brave to share, be brave to try, be brave to recognise your mistakes and learn from them . 
      3. Intelligence is a gift, but wisdom values more
      4. Unpack the standards and use them to develop new teaching and learning goals. 
      To sum up, if I had to pick a defining moment as a teacher and/or as the learner I am, it would be something that began last year and which is leading to something even greater next year. You all get the idea: Nothing is too small! 

      Enjoy your teaching!