Happy New Year to all readers of this blog! May 2016 be a creative year full of health, love, travel and special moments to cherish!
For most of us, it’s time to get back to school and our busy routines. Admittedly, the first few days after a holiday break aren’t always easy for students or teachers. In order to make this transition smoother, I’ve decided to create a lesson plan based on Matt Cutts’ inspiring TED Talk about setting and achieving goals. This way I plan to familiarize my students with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions whilst helping them adjust before plunging back into our coursebooks.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions? I’ve decided to take Matt Cutt’s advice and start posting an image of a happy moment to my Instagram account for the next 30 days. This way I’ll keep remindingmyself that ‘Every day may not be good but there’s something good in every day’.’ 🙂 🙂
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Every year Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April worldwide. Our planet is changing rapidly so it’s vital that we help raise students’ awareness of the damaging effects of modern lifestyles on the environment before it’s too late!
In today’s post, I’d like to share the way my students and I celebrated Earth Day this year. They’re low- level students preparing for the IELTS exam so this was a great opportunity for them to expand their vocabulary, think and learn about environmental issues hands- on. Technology made this much more fun and motivating since we decided to make a video using the ever amazing Animoto!
The students’ first task was to take two pictures of nature each, with their mobile phones. Our school ’s beautiful surroundings provided the perfect location for this!
Next, we set off to plan the video’s structure and write the script! I wrote the following words on the board to help them brainstorm relevant ideas and slogans.
We also googled some supplementary images and chose ‘Paradise’ by Coldplay as the soundtrack of our video!
Surprisingly, on that same day a couple of dolphins made their appearance in Thermaikos Gulf, in the city of Thessaloniki. This isn’t a common sight but luckily one of the students managed to catch it on video! Animoto not only allows users to combine text, images and music but also short videos so we have included part of it as well!
Our main aim was to show some of the beauties of mother Earth, to pinpoint the destructive impact of human activity and share some easy things we can do on an individual or group level to make a difference!
This is the final result 🙂 Click here to download the handout I prepared for my class with useful vocabulary and phrases.
National Geographic has published some lovely images that have been submitted by NG readers. Students can describe or write catchy captions for these stunning photos. You may also choose to show them only a small part of the picture first. Let them use their imagination and guess what it is! Have a look here!
Finally, this a great list of 12 interesting TED talks on climate change that you can watch with your students and reflect on!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Remember that our well- being depends on how we take care of our planet. Awareness is the first step to really making a change! So let’s start by informing our students and celebrating Earth Day, every day 🙂
Tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices have changed our lives profoundly in the last few years. Similarly, they are bound to revolutionize the ways we teach and learn. The ability of ipads and other tablets to deliver a wide range of content, support streaming video, audio, text, images and social media makes their educational potential great! New technology-oriented terms like mobile learning, moblogging, and mobile storytelling have made their appearance while a big number of pilot ipad programmes are already underway in countries like the UK, the USA, Brazil, Turkey and India. As estimated, tablets will eventually replace whiteboards, traditional PCs and pricey heavy books in educational spaces.
The purchase of my ipad triggered a childhood memory a few months ago. Those of you who grew up in the 80s will definitely remember Penny, Inspector Gadget’s niece. Back then, the portable ‘magic book’ that Penny used to gather information and save Gadget from M.A.D’s devious plots, seemed completely fictional! Interestingly, now these super duper tablets are actually real and students can use them to learn at their own time, pace& space :-)! The truth is that once you buy an ipad you are amazed at its endless capabilities and the abundance of apps, educational or not!
Below, is my randomly ordered list with the top 20 free educational apps that I’ve found really useful both in my teaching practise and everyday life.
1. Tellagami is a great app that you can use to create a short story called ‘Gami’ on the go! Customize your character, add a background, record your voice or use the text-to- speech tool and your Gami is ready! Then share it on FB, Twitter or via e-mail and sms! Have a look at my Gami here: https://tellagami.com/gami/BBEE6W/
2. Animoto I do love this app! Both you and your students can make impressive videos with it! Choose a style, add pictures, captions, music, video clips and get a professional-looking video instantly! Then tweet, email or download it to your ipad/ iphone. This is the video I made to assign an ‘alternative’ kind of homework to my students for the forthcoming summer :-). Feel free to use it too!
3. Tell a Tale offers a great collection of writing prompts! Students get the first and last sentence of their story and three pictures to construct an imaginative narrative! Isn’t this challenging :-)?
Evernote helps you stay organized and remember everything across all the devices you use. Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and access them whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.
TeacherKit is a very handy personal organizer for the teacher! It enables you to organize classes and students. Its simple and intuitive interface lets you track attendance, students’ grades and behaviour easily. You can also save parents’ contact details as well as send them group e-mails.
Get inspired and learn on the move while watching TED Talks on a wide variety of topics. The app also allows you to bookmark or download talks for offline viewing. It’s undeniably a must-have resource for every progressive educator.
Is there an interesting article, video or web page that you want to read, watch or view later? Put it in Pocket! It automatically syncs across to your phone, tablet and computer so you can view it anytime on any device, even without an internet connection.
Lino is an online stickies service that allows you to post and peel off colourful stickies on canvases. Insert your text, images and videos freely. Then share your canvases on Twitter or via mail. Stickies posted from your iPhone/iPad App can be accessed with PC browsers too.
Screenchomp turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard! Explain a tricky concept, create an animated lesson, add commentary to your photos or teach someone from afar. Just sketch out your ideas, record your tutorial and share it via e-mail or Twitter with your students. What’s more, you don’t have to create or manage an account!
A must-have app for every educator! Get connected and discover the huge online ELT community! Learn from your PLN and exploit this wonderful stream of teaching resources, articles, ideas, and links! An ideal app for your free professional development and a very useful tool for your classes!
Which are your favourite apps?
Stay tuned for part 2 with the rest 10 ipad apps of this list…!