Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Selfie-Epic Adventure

How to meet your new students!

Some days ago, our teacher guru, Shelly Terrel shared with us a new challenge at the 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers... "Go on a selfie adventure". When I read about it, I thought it was a great idea to meet my new students next year.

However, I had a wonderful piece of news at school that same week... I had a new course. The new course is a 6th year at secondary school so I immediately remember the selfie adventure... that was the best way to know my new students! Why wait until 2016 to put it into practice if I could do it now?

I created my own selfie-adventure (though mine was not with selfies and you can see it here) and I also shared Shelly's adventure in our class Facebook group so students could see what they had to do.

Students liked the idea and I told them I would give them a mark for the "adventure". The objective is not to give a mark for the pictures but for the comments they can write in English.

From the moment I told them the idea until the deadline day, I received all the "selfie-adventures" via mail and private messages in my Facebook account. I watched each of the PPTs so I could check mistakes and of course, have fun with the pictures.

I had a fantastic time because I learnt not only about my students but also about new apps which I had never heard before.

In case you want to see the productions, you can see them all here and you can also leave a message if you feel like!

Thanking smiles to Shelly, for her creative idea!! 

My Epic Selfie Adventure

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Silent Way

To be or not to be silent in class? - Reflections after Ayat Tawel's Presentation

This post is a reflection about Ayat Tawel's presentation at Learning2gether about "The Silent Way" method/approach and two goals from The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers - Cycle 5 - 2014 "#8:Share an activity" and #29:Grow through reflection".

Before you read my post, you can both read Ayat's blog about The Silent Way and/or listen to her presentation at Learning2gether.

First of all, let me tell you I was so happy to attend my dear friend, colleague and twin-sister-in-the-heart Ayat Tawel's presentation/webinar at Learning2gether, hosted by Vance Steven.

Ayat was extremely brilliant at presenting how she worked and dealt with "The Silent Way" in her classes. After her presentation, I was thinking of how I could use it in my large classes (36 students in each class) and I came out with some ideas which were put into practice today.

Apart from this, I was thinking that "TSW" (The Silent Way from now on here) reminds a bit of Ferdinand de Saussure's dichotomy - I would say, it might have had its roots there.
Saussure wrote about the Paradigmatic and Sintagmatic Relations. The idea is that the relations are not only vertically but also horizontally.
Let me exemplify:
The cat is big
The black words are in sintagmatic relation with the words in purple. On the other hand, all the other words are the paradigmatic ones since if we exchange them, we have the "paradigm". 

What I learnt from Ayat is that if we use the Cuisennaire Rods (or any other similar supply) we can learn new structures, esp. if we are kinesthetic and visual learners.
Though Ayat exemplified "TSW" with the verb "have got", I was thinking that we can use it with other structures, verb tenses and even with connectors / linkers.

Once the students have lots of practice, as Ayat suggested, they would be ready for the written part. They would have the incorporated structure and later they would write it automatically without mistakes.

Ayat also talked about large classes... I don't think that implementing this method/approach would be inconvenient because teachers can divide the class into small groups and they can work independently. I know that Cuisennaire Rods might me expensive, but, students can use color pencils, or cardboard paper instead. So the teacher can walk around the class and observe them "in silent".

Last but not least, another attendee asked about "confusion with color when teaching new topics". My reply comment was that teachers can skip one or two topics and go back to "TSW". It is not necessary and compulsory to use the same method/approach all the time so you can include the three type of learners: visual, auditive and kinesthetic ones.

This morning, I decided to use "TSW" in one of my classes. I have 36 14-year-old students whose English level is pre-intermediate. The task was to create a poster to advertise any product they wanted. First of all, I told them to take 3 color pens: Blue, Red and Black (because they are the most common ones in the pencil cases). I started saying sentences and showing one color pen with each part of a sentence. After that, they had to do it. My students immediately inferred the rule and started saying sentences in English. As the task was a bit complicated to do it all in English due to new vocabulary, I allowed my students to write sentences in Spanish following the same pattern: Blue (doer of the action), Red (action), Black (rest of information). They did wonderfully! When they were done with the Spanish version (as Ayat suggested), they translated into English using the Blue/Red/Black pattern. I was astonished to see the results because for the 1st time they were able to produce complete sentences in English (in Spanish we can skip the subject).

What my students wrote in Spanish

What I wrote on the board when they were providing sentences in English

Definitely, her presentation made me grow and reflect because with something so simple, my students were able to produce something "big". And now I can share with you what they did. (Shelly... you are awesome for putting all these goals in us).

Smiles to you all! :)

Thank you!! :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Goal 1: Support a Movement

Momevemt... mmm... movement is not only considered as a way of "movement" but also it is considered as an "organization"... a group of people doing things together and this is what I'm going to write about... My movement... Rotary International.

Rotary International was founded on February 23rd, 1905 by Paul Harris. Yes, 110 years ago today!!! And since then, it has spread all over the world with more that 34,000 clubs and over 1,2 million members in about 150 countries.

I support the "Rotarian Movement" because the main objective is "Service above Self". I like helping others, I feel that I have a purpose in life, other than being a teacher!


Apart from "service", Rotary is a way of life where friendship, leadership, diversity and ethics are the pillars in all Rotarians' lives.

I became the 1st woman to enter the Rotary Club in my city in 2012 - the club had been an "only-men club" since it was chartered in 1957. From the moment I became a Rotarian, I have been participating actively in lots of activities not only in my hometown in Argentina but also in other countries. I have attended physical and online meetings and have created the Rotarian Educators forum within RI Website.

Having my Rotarian pin

Rotary International has opened the doors to my professional life as I have had the chance to meet teachers of English from remote countries and learn from them. Rotary International has given me friends with whom I share the same values, the same objectives and the same ideals. Rotary International has also jazzed up my whole being with energy and positivism.

My dear friend Laura from Eugene, Oregon
If you feel you want to join us, please, visit our Rotary International Website, contact any Rotary club in your city or just email me... I will be glad to help you find a club for you because...

My post is the 1st post of "Cycle 6: Inspire Forward" from the The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators led by Shelly Sanchez Terrell.