Tread Softly

May 28, 2010

I know, I know, you've already seen Sir Ken Robinson's latest TED talk, but I want to have it here on my blog:

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!'

60second Recap

May 25, 2010

My Google Reader brought me a very interesting post by Patrick McGrath from Teaching & Learning @ Mohonasen entitled Definitely Read This If You Teach High School English about a site that I think deserves to be bookmarked.

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:

My first video listening quiz

May 22, 2010

Can you trust people on the internet?

May 21, 2010

As my TickerFactory widget, which I found in Mrs Bluebird's Classroom, is counting down days until the last day of school, allow me a small digression from edublogging. My travel bug is nudging me to write a post on travelling, which I haven't done for almost a year.

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!

Dear class IVB, IVC and IVE

May 17, 2010

If I could offer you only one piece of advice for the future (you do remember, don't you: advice is uncountable, and so is information!), Sunscreen would be it, says Baz Luhrman in this video.

I wish you the best of luck!

The Odd One Out

May 15, 2010

I'm just writing an article for the Partners in Learning website. It's about Twitter so I print-screened part of my Twitter background, created by Twilk so many months ago. But these people are still valuable members of my PLN, together with others who are not in the photo. However, there's someone who doesn't belong to my PLN. Can you find the odd one out?
And yes, there'll be prizes!

This time of the year

May 14, 2010

It's this time of the year again. The seniors leave on Monday. What a relief! Now don't get me wrong. I love them, but this has been an exhausting school year with the implementation of the new standardized testing procedures, the results of which will be published only at the beginning of July. Not to mention the grading part of every school year's end which makes the lives of teachers so miserable.

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?
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