Thursday, August 19, 2010

On Doodling Songs

Originally uploaded by elsvo.

Music livens up the spirit, helps people connect, triggers emotions, brings up memories and cuts through barriers.

On doodling songs 
I came across a Great idea On classroom 2.0.

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

Show this video to make sure your students know what is expected from them.
Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0
  • Choose a song your students like;
  • Make a powerpoint with each line/chunk of lyrics on a slide;
  • Practice the song; 
  • Print out each slide and give it out to students to draw their pictures.
  • Make a clip and spread the word!
My students had a blast! How would your students react?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Language Learning Tips (updated)

!Update: here's the link to the voicethread created with this video:

If you plan to show this video to your students, please use this link and encourage them to leave their comments on the thread. (=

In the beginning of the semester, I think it is a good idea to discuss second language learning with adult and advanced students.
As teachers, we have a lot to offer on the matter. However, as this semester begins, I decided to give the students a chance to contribute on a group wide discussion, and had them come up with ideas to maximise specifically grammar and vocabulary acquisition.
After this discussion students had 10 minutes to place their ideas into a text, which was then read and recorded.
Here is the result.

Now, there are a few ways to do this, the easiest is using a digital camera to record the clip. You can later compile and edit the segments using Windows Live Movie Maker.

On the technological side, WLMM can capture both video and audio from notebook standard hardware, but the audio might not be very good.

This video will be later uploaded to voicethread in and attempt to continue the student-created pool of tips and tricks to English learning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Embracing Changes

Using our recently acquired skills, Cleide Frazão and I carried out a piloting project this past semester.
Here is our workshop in brief. It focus on using web2.0 in a systematized way, make the most of it and do NOT get stressed out.
Cleide and I are not the savvy type, we have been just starting our digital literacy program, and we both still wonder when the old days of chalk and blackboard will spin back in vogue. But we both share a love for pedagogy, for understanding how our young learners learn best. Technology offers us a broad horizon of possibilities to reach out, engage students in writing and connect with families. Here is our workshop on different media. Choose the one that pampers your reading style best and let us know your ideas and suggestions. What tool are you experimenting with? Do you have a favorite tool?

About Prezi

Spent all morning learning how to deal with prezi editor. I had seen it once - no idea where- and  I have to confess it was a bit too all over the place for me until I saw this wonderful presentation on EFL Classroom 2.0.My advice if you will prezi soon: Watch the tutorial beforehand and choose the constrain to back and forward move when you embed. ( if you are a linear kind, like me.)

About voicethread
We decided to upload our workshop on voicethread and post on the project's wiki. This is our paperless, green way to connect for further discussion and feedback. I am in love with this tool! It provides us the chance of extending our learning opportunities... Amazing!


Monday, May 31, 2010

5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities


This interesting post about Tech Integration raises important pedagogical issues when we are considering integrating web-based activities into our lesson. One important feature of this tech integration is exactly our reflection upon the kind of pedagogical approach we are taking. It´s not technology for the sake of technology, but it is technology with pedagogically-sound, meaningful contexts.

Would you add other questions to the list?

Friday, April 23, 2010

EFL teaching - Superlatives

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Superlatives - Class 52, Sudoeste

Hi dear friends,

I'm so proud of my Teens 5 group that I've decided to share their
work with you. They wrote about their family members using superlative adjectives. All I did was to compile their files into a ppt one...the rest was all their work! Hope you appreciate their effort! 
Please take a look



Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cutting movie segments.

This video assumes you already have a digital version of the video file. (Digital video files can be ripped from DVDs, VideoCD or BluRay. There are many programs that make this conversion, I use DVD Shrink.)

Even though Windows Live Movie Maker is a practical and simple solution, it has limitations regarding file type, it will handle .avi (today's standard for shared SDTV media) well but it won't open other popular formats like .flv (flash video from the web) or HDTV's standard .mkv.
Also the settings need tuning if you want to work with widescreen (16:9 and 16:10) files.
Another downside of using WLMM is the output format: it only exports video in .wmv. Although .wmv files are easily uploaded to youtube some third party software are not able of playing it (this is not an issue unless you work with different platforms, like a Windows desktop and a Unix/Mac laptop).

The mentioned keyboard shortcuts are:
'j' for frame-by-frame backwards
'k' for play/pause
'l' for frame-by-frame forward

Active and passive websharing.

There is enormous hype around Web 2.0, using it effectively, however, has been difficult for most of us. Teachers are usually much more excited than students when it comes to creating content on-line. One of the reasons for this is that students are 'web lazy', that means they do not wish to create new accounts for projects (face it, they already have e-mail, IMs, Orkut, Facebook and Twitter accounts to name a few).
The reality is that the Web is still used for passive information exchange by most users, who are open to receiving content but uncomfortable with creating it. With that in mind, here are two suggestions on how to use the Web with your groups without requiring students to create content.
First let me tell you about Glue: Glue is a cross browser tool that allows users to share likes and dislikes in one click. After the user has liked something and made a comment, it is categorised and displayed in a user friendly web page.
Go to the Glue website and install the tool bar. It will load when visiting websites such as, wikipedia or This makes it easy and simple to make suggestions on books, movies, music and topics for students.

This came in surprisingly handy for Movie Talk; since students watch segments from many different movies I post them (and others who didn't make the cut) on my Glue profile and students can see the suggestions on my Glue profile without having to log in.

Second on the list is Twitter. If you have a twitter account you can use its hashtag and search functionality to let absent students know what happened in the class. This works naturally for teens and young adults who know how to use Twitter, but a quick guide on the first class is necessary when dealing with older students.
All you have to do is teach students how to perform a search on twitter for their group's code as a hashtag (our naming system helps by providing unique codes for every group).
I have a Thomas Flex 6 group on Saturday, so their tag is #TF6S (notice tags do not allow '-'). After the class I log on to twitter and post the tag, followed by the pages we covered and the homework assignment. This makes it possible for absent students to catch up and do the homework. Best part is that it takes less than a minute to post and you can do it from your mobile.

Hope you enjoy the suggestions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A site for elementary teachers

Guys, I've just found a great site called Poisson Rouge. I'm sure elementary teachers will profit from it. It's very visual and great to be used in the mimio. They offer over 200 games and interactive activities that include a vast array of topics, like music, numbers and art.
Interactive games include real world applications and everyday objects. By clicking on images, you are taken to a game or activity. By naturally exploring, children will learn to grow their minds and their creativity. For example, when you click on the clock, you are taken to a game where you can move the hands on the clock to match the correct digital time that is being displayed.
In the bottom right hand corner, you can see pictures of castles with a Greek Flag, an English flag, a French Flag and a Chinese Flag. These flags represent the languages that are used in a specific game. When you click on one of the castles another castle appears. By scrolling over areas of the castle, you can learn categories in these languages of different words like toys, animals and numbers.
Teachers can use this site to let their students simply explore. They can even create a scavenger hunt of their own list of items and have students try to find them. The simple activities are great enough on their own for vocabulary reinforcement and practice.
Because there is no main text on the site, creators decided to give parents and teachers who are preparing lesson plans a quick guide to all the games, activities and animations on the site.
With so many engaging activities and games, your students may get lost in this exciting site! I have to say that I did! Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

PowerPoint X All the rest

It’s amazing all the effort we have been putting into adapting to the world of technology in the classroom. It seems that the need to naturally insert the computers and projectors in our lesson plans has fallen on top of us as an avalanche. Now we’re right in the middle of it and we are working hard to survive.
Many of my colleagues are investing time and money in this venture and Powerpoint is definitely the most popular topic in the conversations I could participate. The reasons for that are very easy to understand after observing a good lesson prepared in Powerpoint. The visual gain is enormous. We can organize the content better and it’s great to work with pictures, making flashcards obsolete. There are a lot of activities that can be developed using Powerpoint, and in that our friend Lilian Marchesoni is an expert. It’s really fun to play games and the animations make our presentations interesting. The ideas are many and knowing how helpful they are we share them with other teachers. Our wiki (CTJconnectED) is the place to share and explore them.
However, I can’t help thinking about all the doors that the computer-internet-classroom combination may open. We can bring the world into your classrooms and probably the only amazement will be our own. The internet is part of our students’ lives just as the television is. We should take advantage of this fact and foster the so desired language production and aquisition through this means, which is very natural to them. Wikis and blogs are two very powerful tools to create a link with the students, sometimes even with parents. Storytelling now is something much more stimulating and there are many sites that allow you to create your own multimedia stories. Pictures, songs, articles, they are all a few clicks away. And of course, we have to mention social networking. Visiting Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and others are part of the routine of most internet users.
I’m certainly a Powerpoint fan, but our students will benefit a lot if we use the internet as a production enviroment. The students will produce under our supervision. Besides the e-folder exercises that are meant to help our learners with reviewing the class content, we may encourage them to write blog posts, embed videos they create at the class’ wiki or blog, use their own pictures to tell a story or as a trigger to a discussion thread. Let’s remember that there is a huge number of online resources to use in class and many of them may be used by the students at home. Powerpoint is a great tool, but we’ll benefit a lot from learning how to apply those other online resources in our pedagogical practice. Some good online tools we can use are Voicethread for storytelling or anecdotes, wikis or blogs as a way of communication among students and teachers, You Tube and Flickr as source of images and videos, which we can embed in our wikis or blogs with just a few actions. Take some time to get to know them and in case of doubt talk to the EdTech team.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ice breakers

and now..., originally uploaded by Zero Rae.

An ice-breaker...
  • Opens the way
  •  Sets the course
  •  Clears the path
  •  Facilitates the movement
  •  Cuts through barriers
  •  Breaks resistance
Icebreakers are more than fun and games. They are activities that help people connect. These creative interactive processes open the way to learning. I have been collecting activities that I usually use and adapt from. I have been thinking about how to add a digital twist to old timers.
I could take my students to the computer lab and ask them to share some of their pictures -  
I could ask students to choose some pictures that they relate to and ask them to talk about themselves using the images.
Students could get in small groups and guess information about  each other through the pictures they chose.
I've read about this great site on Life is a feast,  you can learn more about this tool on her blog post. I really liked this web2.0 because it's user friendly and we can make visually rich quizzes to enliven our classes. I used Photopeach to upgrade an ice breaking activity called 
        What's True? 
Students write sentences about themselves, preferably something funny or unusual that most people wouldn't know. one of the sentences should be a lie. students read their sentences aloud to the group and they try to guess which one is the false one.

This simple interactive activity can help you set the course and start a great semester! Have fun!

esl warmer on PhotoPeach

 For the very beginning of the semester we could use wordle to design an ice- breaker.

You could write a text about yourself, turn it into a cloud using wordle and ask students to guess pieces of information about you using the words. Students could do the same in the computer lab using wordle or on a blank sheet of paper.
This activity might generate lots of interaction and exchange of information among your learners.
What tool would you use to design an ice-breaker? How would you use it?