Dec 26, 2010
My blog for Cro teachers is still alive - by no means is it a lively, dynamic site, because only three people are subscribed to it and only rarely (actually: never) have my posts been inspirational or catchy to make my visitors leave a comment. However, there have been more than 2500 visits to the blog and more importantly, I've written 45 posts about different web tools that can be used in the classroom. Perhaps one day someone finds something useful in one of my posts.
The tweet-ups began early in January when I met @kenwilsonlondon (and his wonderful wife Dede) in London.
March brought a fantastic opportunity for a tweet-meet with @cheimi10 in Zagreb.
In April I went to Berlin and met @janwebb21, @MrMalcontent, @w2YDAvid, @jugoslaval and @olliebray.
In October came Cape Town and more tweetups: @c_arnett and @coolcatteacher.
My resolutions for 2011 remain the same: more tweet ups and more (more interesting) posts on my Croatian blog. However, there's something else I want to do add to it: more comments to my PLN members' blog posts. Let's say I write one comment a day. Too optimistic? Too enthusiastic? Undoable? Never mind, I'm going to give it a try. (#luvchallenges)
Dec 23, 2010
Dec 20, 2010
Deena from Edu.Glogster created a glogster to celebrate ME!
Dec 16, 2010
Dec 6, 2010
And yes, if you want to give us your vote, please click here.
Dec 5, 2010
This weekend, imagine that, I had a fantastic opportunity to hear David Crystal give two talks at the 10th OUP Conference in Zagreb: Advanced Conversational English: fact and fiction and The perils of being a linguist.
David Crystal held his audience of about 400 (or maybe even 500) teachers enthralled for over two hours. David Crystal didn't use power point. He didn't need it. His speech was powerful without it.
Dec 3, 2010
Dec 2, 2010
But here I go with this year's nominations:
Best individual blog: Janet's Abruzzo Edublog by Janet Bianchini
Best individual tweeter: @europeaantje
Best new blog: Webb's Wide World by Jan Webb.
Best resource sharing blog: Esolcourses by Sue Lyon Jones
Most influential blog post: The 30 Goals Challenge by Shelly Terrell
Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion: #eltpics by @VictoriaB52, @cgoodey and @vickyloras
Best teacher blog: Kalinago English by Karenne Silvester
Best educational tech support blog: iLearn Technology by Kelly Tenkely
Best educational use of audio: Breaking News English by Sean Banville
Best educational use of video / visual: Teacher Training Videos by Russell Stannard
Best educational wiki: Celebr8UandMeDigitally by Eva Büyüksimkeşyan and Alexandra Francisco
Best educational use of a virtual world: ELTChat
Nov 21, 2010
Nov 8, 2010
Firstly, my project Greetings from the world made it to the finals in the Innovation for Collaboration Category. This is the best result ever achieved by a Croatian teacher at a worldwide competition. However, this project is not strictly Croatian, it's rather global in the true sense of the world, and I'm just a member of a team of exceptional innovative teachers who love this project.
The only thing that makes me a wee sad is this little bug: what if I don't make it to MMS WW IEF 2011 in Washington, DC????
Nov 3, 2010
These are the finalists and the award winners in four different categories:
The Innovation in Collaboration Award
(I'm proudly one of them)
Martin Ryum and Mette Hauch, Denmark: Teachers Leave Them Kids Alone
Jan Webb, UK: Working in a Classroom Without Walls
Ian Fogarty, Canada: Xenotransplant Debate
Anna Karlsson, Sweden: ICT Enriched Learning
The Innovation in Content Award
The finalists are:
And the winners are:
Pat Yongpradit, USA: Game Programming with the Microsoft Zune to Promote High School Women in Technology
Adriana Silva de Oliveira, Brazil: School on the Cloud
Peter de Lisle, South Africa: Biodiversity
Samuel Avornyo, Ghana: Rural Food Processing Industries
The Educators Choice Award:
Tareq Mahjoub, Tareq Mahmoud, Shahzlan Al Saffar, Omar Ashour, Futooh Khareetah, Majdi Daoud, Arabic Region: Accepting Each Other
Preesheila Bheem singh Ujoodha, Mauritius: Wellness and Fitness for Life
Ricardo Espino González, Mexico: Electronic Logbook
Oct 23, 2010
Oct 12, 2010
"First of all, I know how interested you are in many creative and interactive internet sites and perhaps you just might use any of 'countries' in your future projects with your future classes or even us, but what really caught my eye was a country named Ning. That brought back the memories. Best ones, of course!"
This is what makes teaching with tech worthwhile.
Oct 10, 2010
This year, I started out thoroughly prepared. Well aware of last year's weaknesses and strengths, I clearly defined the goals and strategies. I put together a clear and meaningful Power Point presentation. I thought long and hard about possible threats. And was convinced there would be nothing to catch me off guard. How wrong I was! There's always been something I took for granted and expected my students to know. But it turns out that most of them don't go beyond the basics of Facebook and MSN. And when it comes to blogging they rely entirely on me. Maybe it's time I said "Go figure it out yourself!"
Next year I'll do it differently.
Oct 4, 2010
What a respectable siganture! I still can't believe that I'm one of those who will have the opportunity to meet innovative educators from all over the world. What's more, I'm one of them!
What have I done to deserve this? I just came up with an idea - and these fabulous teachers were kind enough to join me with their students.
Viviana Alayo, Colegio Machado de Assis, Joinville, Brazil
Candace Townsley, Owasso Public School, Owasso, Oklahoma, USA
Valerie Burton, West Jefferson School, Harvey, Lousiana, USA
Dan Roberts, Saltash Community Schools, Saltash, UK
Eva Büyüksimkeşyan and Culya Yapici, Esayan Armenian High School, Istanbul, Turkey
José Romão,Colegio de Alfragide, Alfragide, Portugal
Clara Vieira, Escola EB 2,3/S de Vale de Cambra, Portugal
Monika Hardy,Thompson Valley HS, Loveland, Colorado, USA
Shannon McClintock Miller, Van Meter Community Schools, Van Meter, Iowa, USA
Judy Uhrig, Latham Elementary School, Winston-Salem, N. Carolina, USA
Shyam Sunder Malhotra, St.Simran School, Patiāla Area, India
Vicki Palmer, Brisbane Grammar, Brisbane, Australia
Rositsa Mineva, The Fifth Primary School, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Heidi Musterós, Colegio Goethe, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jesstern Rays, Catholic High School, Singapore
Gyöngyi Tóthné Bán, Primary School Balatonboglár, Balatonboglár Hungary
Clara Gutierrez, Westwood Elementary School, Houston, Texas, USA
5 continents, 14 countries, 18 schools, 19 teachers, 290 posters and 420 students
Sep 25, 2010
The teaching procedures differed from class to class. Some teachers asked their students to match the proverbs with their definitions, others wanted their students to match the first half of a proverb with its ending. I was lucky enough to sign up for the computer lab so that when I said a proverb in Croatian, my students had to search the Internet to find its English and German translations. I divided the class into two teams, which added a competitive feel to the activity.
The list of proverbs can be found on Google Docs. Feel free to edit it.
Sep 11, 2010
Sep 5, 2010
So I have to make do with what I have. One of my favourite icebreakers that works well with large classes and students who have just met for the first time, is in fact similar to Seth's writing facts on the white board, except that I don't do facts, but photos, and to a certain extent to Karenne's Power Point presentation, except that I don't create a presentation but a poster.
For my Who am I? activity, I created a poster divided into four parts, each depicting a different topic:
Each of the parts contains photos only, so that students have to ask questions if they want to know more about me.
After they've found out "everything" about me, I ask my students to take a piece of paper, divide it into four parts and draw pictures that describe their family, their wishes, their hobbies and what they do. They are not allowed to use words, letters or numbers.
After that, they do a pair-share activity, in which they try to find out more about their partner, based on their drawings. Finally, instead of introducing themselves to the whole class, they introduce their partners.
I've noticed that students talk about their partners in front of the whole class more willingly than they would about themselves. They feel less shy and more confident, as they are not supposed to know everything about the person they've just met.
Sep 2, 2010
For teachers who want to enhance their students' reading skills, Read Print is the website to go to.
Read Print is a free online library that contains over 8,000 online books by 3,500 authors, from classics to non-fiction. There is a huge, easily searchable database of essays, novels, poems and short stories. There are different search criteria: by title, by author, by section (e.g. short stories) or you can simply write what you want to read. Another great feature is that each author page contains a short biography of the author, followed by quotes by the same author.
No additional downloading is necessary and no registration is needed. Great works of fiction and non-fiction are just a click away.
Aug 31, 2010
As I thought this could be a great beginning-of-the-year activity, I searched the Internet for the tapescript. However, not only did I find the tapescript but also a great activity sheet with all the explanations of expressions, proverbs and colloquial words and phrases. There are also some tips on how to use this video with pre-intermediate, intermediate or advanced students of English. I found this activity sheet on Multimedia English Classroom, a fantastic site for English language learners and teachers, where you will find a plethora of fabulous ELT materials which can be used in the classroom.
Another idea is to compare the American sketch with the (original) British version.
Aug 23, 2010
After six weeks it feels good to be home and online. Not that I wasn't online at the seaside, on the contrary, I spent hours and hours on blogging, commenting and discussing various topics from teaching pronunciation to multiple intelligences for my Webskills Building Course, offered through the American English Institute of the University of Oregon.
The course is not over yet, but my final project is complete and ready for marking. (Yes, in order to get the certificate we need to complete the course with a pass rate of 70% or higher and our work is marked on a weekly basis by our mentor. And yes, I'm going to pass with flying colours, I guess, because right now at the end of Week 9 my rate is 104%, because I did some extra work for extra credit:-)
Anyway, my project is a webquest, which I have never done before and I can't wait to implement it in my classroom in October. It's called Cultural Profiles and students are supposed to find info on various aspects of 6 English speaking countries.
Jul 19, 2010
My AEI web skills course is now in its fifth week. Last week we discussed reading and writing skill-building. As always, we were given a list of websites to explore. Can you imagine how thrilled I was to see that on the list there was Breaking News English whose author is Sean Banville, one of the most prolific ELT material writers and someone who I know - although not in person, but virtually! Sean's website was highly praised by my course mates.
Jul 6, 2010
Jul 4, 2010
Jun 23, 2010
Together with 30 like-minded teachers from all over the world I'm taking part in a 10-week online training course "Building Teaching Skills Through The Interactive Web". We all have the same goal - to learn how to teach with tech.
Jun 19, 2010
The teachers from my school recently discovered a fun way of hanging out and testing their knowledge at the same time. Last week we participated in The Ultimate Pub Quiz by Libris communications created by Peter Hopwood, a Brit living in Croatia. Pub quizzes are fairly new here, but they're becoming more and more popular. The prizes are absolutely awesome - a hot air balloon ride over Zagreb or rafting on the River Una. Peter is a fabulous quizmaster and the trivia questions reveal how much we (don't) know.
the name of Liverpool Airport
the names of three American states beginning with 'O'
and two American states that begin with 'North'
where the show Magnum is set
which of these (Vienna, Toronto and Brussels)(Rio, Prague, Marseilles) has the highest number of metro stations
when was Do they know is Christmas released
the name of the character played by Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop
who was the mayor of NYC in 2001
the names of the cities written on the Trotters' three-wheeled van
which FIFA World Cup tournament had the Naranjito mascot
the name of Alf's planet
We thought that
the name of the Italian Captain from Allo Allo was Bertollini,
the postman from Seinfeld was called Newton
Ivy's father from You Rang M'lord was Adam
but we were wrong.
To my husband's outright disbelief, we thought 40 teams qualified for the 2010 World Cup.
In the Phone a Friend round one minute was enough for my husband and sons to google what colour was Anna Karenina's bag when she threw herself under a train, and where ABBA started their 1977 tour.
We had no idea
what the capital of Ghana was
the name of the pub from Only Fools and Horses
Blackadder's first name
the name of the main child character from E.T.
we didn't put Robert De Niro's films (Showtime, Taxi Driver, Meet the Parents, Analyse This) in order from the oldest to the newest
and many many more...
Jun 16, 2010
My knees turned into jelly. I wanted to hug her! I wanted to hug my son too, but he's at the Adriatic, with a bunch of his classmates and has no intention whatsoever of cutting short his holidays for the sake of a newspaper article.
Gosh, I'm so proud of this (little) boy of mine....
Jun 13, 2010
Jun 11, 2010
I have just noticed that I tend to put my computer on stand by rather than shut it down. Firstly, because I don't have time to exit all those open tabs and applications as I sit at my computer until I have to literally run off if I want to avoid being late to school.
Secondly, my computer is ready to take me back to where I left it in a jiffy.
Am I hooked on technology? I don't think so. It's all about relationships and learning, says Kevin Jarrett in his thought-provoking post.
Jun 7, 2010
Jun 3, 2010
Eva and I tried to connect our classes via Skype several months ago, but for different reasons I wasn't able to use the computer lab at the arranged time. About a month later we gave it another try, but this time I managed to be at the right place at the wrong time (time zones have always given me a headache!).
But then came trecha srecha as we say in Croatian ('e' is pronounced as in pet), or the luck of the third adventure. On June 1, Brazil and Spain came to my classroom. Ana Maria , Guido and I successfully connected our classes via Skype.
It was a bit chaotic, but absolutely amazing for all the teachers and students.
Here you can read Ana Maria's post about the chat and watch the video she kindly recorded.
May 28, 2010
together with this wonderful poem by W.B. Yeats:
HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
.....'because every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly!'
May 25, 2010
The site is called 60secondRecap and aims to make the great works of literature accessible, relevant, and, frankly, irresistible to today’s teens.
How, you may wonder, when today's teens spend most (or should I say all?) of their free (and should I say study?) time on their computers? Through 60 second videos! I think this is a wonderful way to bring the great works of literature a little bit closer to students, in a way they're familiar with. What's more, the videos are so brilliantly made that I dare hope they could motivate students to read 'real' books!
For now, there are about 30 novels and for each of them there are 6 - 10 videos. If you sign up you can request a recap of a novel of your own choice. Isn't that great?
There's also a splendid resource section with a glossary and video tips on how to write an essay that won't put your teacher to sleep.
Take a look at one of the videos about Wuthering Heights:
May 21, 2010
Before our recent trip to Beijing, I stumbled upon an in-depth trip report by a Canadian family of four on Tripadvisor. I took an instant liking to this family because:
- before the trip the mother planned a detailed itinerary by reading trip reports
and recommendations written by other travelers
- during the trip the family would patiently, although a bit boredly wait for the
mother to indulge her desire to shop
- the mother made her 15 year old son write this excellent trip report.
(I can easily relate to two of these.)
Anyway, the report said that they hired a car with a driver for a day trip to The Great Wall of China. They hired Victor, whose email address they found on the internet and they strongly recommended his services. So we contacted him and arranged everything via email two weeks before the trip.
He was supposed to pick us up at our hotel at 8am on Easter Sunday. On Saturday evening, however, the worm of doubt started gnawing at us. What if this Canadian family never existed. What if Victor kidnapped us. What if we were never heard from again.
Luckily, it turned out that we had watched too many of those CSI shows. Victor was very polite, really helpful and spoke very good English.
After a pleasant 1-hour ride in his comfortable car, we arrived at the Mutianyu entrance to the Great Wall, where we took the cable car to Tower 14 and then walked to Tower 20, which is the highest point of this section of the Wall. After that it was an easy stroll (well, most of the time) towards the 6th tower where we went for a toboggan ride. That was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it immensely.
After that, Victor took us to the Birds' Nest, but on the way there we stopped at a bank where he translated for us, becuase no one there spoke English. After visiting the beautiful Summer Palace, we wanted to try Beijing roast duck, so he suggested Quanjude, a famous restaurant. Victor went with us inside, made sure that we got a good table and explained the menu, but kindly declined our invitation to join us for the meal.
So despite our worries and fears it turned out to be a memorable day and of course, I heartily recommend hiring Victor!
May 17, 2010
I wish you the best of luck!
May 15, 2010
And yes, there'll be prizes!
May 14, 2010
But do we know how our students feel at the end of the school year?
Take a look at this fantastic video: Kyle's Last Lecture in which Kyle says:
Dear grades; Why do you try to cut me like a cookie and shape me to a mold?
Apr 30, 2010
I introduced it to my students last week:
These are the clips they made:
Apr 25, 2010
I was tagged by Janet Bianchini, who I admire greatly and whose ashcloud motorbike adventure I followed with great interest.
Now my task is to insert the above picture into my blog with a link to the blog where I was nominated, compile a list of ten blogs that I find worth reading and tell the bloggers about their award. What a pleasant task, indeed!
So take a look at these fabulous blogs:
you blog by Monika Hardy
The PLN Staff Lounge by Sue Lyon-Jones
jamiekeddie.com by Jamie Keddie
Life Long Learning by Valentina Dodge
Technology Tidbits, Thoughts of a Cyber Hero by David Kapuler
Webb's Wide World by Jan Webb
The Spelling Blog by Johanna Stirling
David Rogers: Geography. Learning. Teaching by David Rogers
Netend by Marta Mrozik
Turkish TEFL by Nick Jaworski
You can find more fabulous blogs on Eva's blog. Eva is a dear friend of mine, whose blog is certainly worth following, but she's not on my list, simply because she was already tagged by Janet.
Apr 23, 2010
Anyway, have fun with the stories below and don't be harsh on their mistakes...
Apr 21, 2010
A reading exercise on the Earth Day by ESL Holiday Lessons: Earth Day.
Practice: What can I do? Students make a Zimmertwins movie.
Apr 8, 2010
Today I came across a post called The Shy Presenter by Sacha Chua giving tips on overcoming the uneasiness before and during public speaking.
Make eye contact. Don’t stare. Imagine your audience naked. Don’t read the slides. Watch others for inspiration. Practise. Practise. Practise.
Naked? Isn't that hilarious? But why not give it a try and see if it works? Can it really boost my confidence?
Mar 21, 2010
This is a video about the Greetings from the world project that is officially representing Croatia at the Innovative Education Forum in Berlin from 23-25 March. Unofficially, however, it is a truly international project with participants - students and their teachers from Australia, Brazil, India, Portugal, Turkey, the UK and the USA.
Here's also a slideshow that I created for the Forum.
Mar 16, 2010
There will be more than 150 participants from 44 countries. I feel so lucky to be able to take part in such an amazing event and am looking forward to meeting teachers who use new technologies in their classroom.
The fact that Greetings from the world will be representing Croatia at the Forum, by no means implies that this is a strictly Croatian project. I'm proud to represent innovative teachers who I have become friends with via twitter or wiki and whose students have shown the world what Brazil, the USA, Turkey, Portugal, Australia, India, the UK and Argentina are like.
Mar 6, 2010
One day, and I'll never forget it, as it was the day of the tragic AirFrance plane crash, I stumbled upon @TheEngTeacher and I started to follow her. She has never followed me back, but it was thanks to her that I met @burcuakyol, @ShellTerrell and @kalinagoenglish, wonderful and inspiring teachers who helped me with my first steps on Twitter. My personal learning network has been growing ever since then and today I'm part of an amazing virtual staff room.
The connections I've made with teachers worldwide are so powerful that when we meet in person, I have a feeling I've known them for a long time. No wonder, because we have so much in common: friends, interests, enthusiasm and a strong desire to learn.
Feb 5, 2010
I divided the English pages of the website into sections for practising reading, writing, listening and the use of English. They all contain links to free interactive exercises written by teachers who I admire greatly for their willingness to share their knowledge with millions of students and teachers worldwide.
My students and I use these free sites on a regular basis, so I strongly felt I must give something in return. I'm not a materials writer, but I've written about 100 travel posts on this blog. Most of them are way too personal for a practice test, but I managed to create two Hotpotaoes exercises which are free to use.
So maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful carr... oh no, I don't dare to write the word...just let me finish with ....Louis, I think this is the beginning of
Jan 20, 2010
English Online - I love this simple site with lots of tests for different exams and a concise explanation of each of the exams.
Parapal Online offers a wide variety of interactive exercises for different levels. It's also possible to choose the font size that suits you best.
The English Speaker is regularly updated and contains plenty of interactive tests for beginner, intermediate and advanced students.
English Club ESL Learning Centre has lots of interactive tests, quizzes and games, plus tips on how to improve your English.
The ICT in FLT hasn't been updated for a long while, but I like this site because it was one of the first that I used with my students.
Jan 16, 2010
In order to teach our digital natives how to use the Internet more efficiently, we follow these rules:
1) easily clickable exercises
2) there's an answer key.
My two colleagues write their own material, but I don't. Firstly, because I'm not a materials writer and I know how difficult and time-consuming it is. (Up to now I have written only one quiz about books and it took me ages to build it.) Secondly, there are so many brilliant English teachers who unselfishly publish their tests on their websites for the sake of English language learners worldwide.
This is my tribute to them:
First and foremost:
Free English Lessons Online not only because this brilliant site is run by my dear twitter friend Sue Lyon-Jones, but also because Sue's lessons are always up to date, be it about Barrack Obama or the Big Freeze in Britain.
2) Flo-Joe is an award-winning site with plenty of useful tests for Reading Comprehension, Use of English and Writing.
3) Exam English is a great site with lots of tests for different levels.
4) International House Budapest is a very well laid out site with plenty of different tasks.
Update: Unfortunately, there are no exercises on this site any more. They deleted all the pages with exercises. I wonder why:-(
5) Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab is an extensive resource for listening activities.
Jan 13, 2010
Jan 10, 2010
What I didn't mention in the said post was that I decided to set up a new blog for Croatian teachers and write about all these amazing tools that can be used in the classroom.
I'm all enthusiastic about sharing the web 2.0 knowledge with teachers who want to keep up with the latest developments in the educational technology. My new blog is called The Fellowship of Twitter, because it's on twitter that I learn about new techie stuff from my PLN.
Jan 2, 2010
Can you imagine that they ran it in their January issue on the letters-to-the-editor page with the headline The Fellowship of Twitter. I mean, I'm just an ordinary language arts teacher, no one would say that I'm a computer geek, and my letter was published in a computer magazine?! How cool is that? And BTW, doesn't the title brilliantly depict the true essence of twitter?