Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Giving your opinion

This will be one of many posts devoted to my online English students. In this opportunity the material is related to "Giving opinions" ( intermediate level)

Activity one: Turn on the speakers, watch this video . Pay attention the speaker will ask you to repeat after him.

Activity two:

Activity two: Watch this excellent video about the topic and take notes in order to define these words/expressions in our chat session:

heated debate
hot topic
give your two cents
sit on the fence
expert witness
political party

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The latest website I designed

This year I have had a new challenge:  the responsibility of coordinating the team that has re-designed the website of the School of Languages of La Plata. It has been built on a PLONE platform. Learning how to administer PLONE and working with web programmers and coordinators of different areas has been an interesting as well as enriching experience. 

In this section you can see the list of blogs I administrate for the School and where IT projects are uploaded :

Friday, 31 May 2013

How to successfully engage your learners in an IT project (part I)

When I coach teachers on how to use web 2.0 tools, I can see that they need to achieve strategies for creating and managing IT learning environments to get students really engaged in the task proposed. Many teachers think IT sessions cannot be related to what they are doing in class :(  , so students cannot see the purpose of the session and take it as a break to "play and have fun". 

For this purpose, IT classes require teacher's skills of the web2 tools to make the IT session or project work well. If teachers show uncertainty they will experience chaos instead of flow. Teachers must be familiar with the tools but be flexible if a new situation appears. What do I mean by flexible? 

Digital natives are not afraid of exploring the web, so they may ask for other possibilities the tool may offer whichthe teacher may not know. So, my piece of advice is do not panic or feel uncertain. Just be honest and say you do not know about that possibility , and that you will give an answer next class or ask students to give you an answer. Students will appreciate your honesty and you will have created a two way learning situation: you teach English to your students and they teach you technology.

If students are engaged in their tasks, they use the second language in real context, ask questions and are really creative. Teachers will experience joy, and joy is a lot less tiring than the frustration that comes with student apathy.

Monday, 6 May 2013

BITSTRIPS comic maker

Making a comic strip may be a very attractive a activity for ESL learners of all levels. (Read about "comic strips" in Wikipedia)

There are different tools to make comic strips but this post will be devoted to Bitstrips- an online tool

  • Bitstrips is free
  • Registration is optional
  • You can log in with your Facebook account
  • Students can create comics and their own characters
  • Students create dialogues using vocabulary they know
  • Bitstrips stimulates imagination and creativity because everything, from characters to complex backgrounds, is customizable.
  • Sharing: Bitstrips is embeddable on blogs and wikis !

  • Students may spend too much time designing their comics, so it is advisable to work on the script before sitting them in front of the PC.
  • Characters can only be human
  • Bitstrips is suitable for tweens with some tech skills.

Possible Activity:

    Creating Story boards. After watching a movie in your class, you can even have your students hand draw a storyboard of the movie's major plot events (a summary) and then turn that storyboard into a comic strip using Bitstrips.

    Possible Project Plan 
    Prof. María Clara Bouvier's contribution

    Sunday, 21 April 2013

    Glogster Edu online environment to design interactive posters

    Definition by Wikipedia:

    Glogster is an online tool that allows users to create free interactive posters, or Glogs. A "Glog", short for "graphics blog", is an interactive multimedia image. It looks like a poster, but readers can interact with the content.


    • It is free
    • It is visually appealing and offers users lots of options for designing their glogs.
    • Stimulates, imagination and creativity : users may inserts text, images, photos, audio , videos, special effects and other elements into their glogs to generate a multimedia online creation.
    • Fosters teamwork and collaboration with classmates
    • Sharing: Posters can be shared with other users on the site, embedded in external wikis or blogs, and shared via many social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
    • Private, secure, safe virtual working.
    • Unlimited shelf life

    • Registration is not optional
    • IMPORTANT: to avoid young learners' registration, teachers can open a class account and students can work simultaneously with it.

    Further reading:

    Well, Stannar Russell a principal lecturer in Multimedia/ICT at the University of Wesminster and has done a video tutorial to help you with Glogster tools. Click on  the link
    below the image to watch it :-) 


    If you have visited the section About me in this blog, you can see that I have added an interactive poster using Glogster.

    Sunday, 17 March 2013

    About me - building your online presence

    About. me gives you the possibility of creating online cards or online portfolios. You would probably ask, "I already use so many services – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, YouTube etc on a regular basis, what’s the need for another one?"



    30 Inspiring “About Me” Pages


    Thursday, 21 February 2013

    Interactive Whiteboard Reasources

    Interactive whiteboards have become more prevalent in classrooms. These whiteboards offer an alternative method of teaching by physically engaging students. The touch sensitive screen on interactive whiteboards provides teachers with a learning tool that can bring an entire class together. 

    Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?

    ESL teachers can use online literacy activities and games that have been pre-made (See suggested links below) and specially designed for interactive whiteboard lessons. However, if a teacher is interested in creating their own activities they could try using "Microsoft Word" and "Paint". Using them on the whiteboard, students will become familiar with these common computer programs and are able to show creativity in their work. Some literacy activities the teacher can create with the students are: 

    1. Cloze activities (fill in the blanks).
    2. Highlighting ("Paint" highlight pen).
    3. Handwriting ("Paint" with writing pen).
    4. Creative writing as a class.
    5. Brainstorming.
    6. Matching.

    Further reading 

    Tips for Using Interactive Whiteboards:

    • Get to know the software
    • Choose your lessons wisely
    • Invite students to do the teaching
    • Talk to your colleagues

    Do you want more tips? Click HERE

    Literacy - Key Stage 1 (5-7 year olds)

    The English Alphabet
    The site demonstrates letter formation of all the letters of the alphabet. Listen to their names and the sounds they make. Each letter is illustrated with a picture which begins with the sound.
    Letters and Sounds 
    Online Reading Books for Kids 
    Links to online Activities for use on an Interactive Whiteboard
    Starfall.com is a free public service to teach children to read with phonics. Their systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL)

    Literacy - Key Stage 2 (7-11 year olds)

    Contraction Match
    A drag and drop activity on the use of apostrophes in contractions.

    Wednesday, 13 February 2013

    Google Docs

    School year is about to start in Argentina and I am thinking about which tools I can suggest teachers to use in their IT projects.

    We can start talking about Google docs which can be used for IT projects with students and colleagues.

    Let's watch a Plain English video to understand the concept of this fantastic tool.

    Personally, I do not save my files in the hard disk any more. I use Google Docs because I have access to all my files from any computer with Internet conection. 

    Sharing files is very useful and important. I hardly take xerox copies or print documents. I just share my files with the people I am working with. Google Docs not only reduces our shelves burden with piles of sheets of paper but also contributes to   protect the environment.

    Here is an example of an IT poject using Google presentations:Spring in art