Monday, February 06, 2017

Video Prompts for Young Learners of English

I remember myself preparing (not only in primary, but also in higher levels) extensive worksheets with vocabulary and grammar questions before to work with a video clip in my classroom. I thought this was the right way to pre teach unknown words and chunks of grammar and to prepare global understanding.

Fortunately, I changed my view of how to work with videos in the ESL class. Teaching is not spending few hours trying to find a good pedagogical exercise to keep your students sat on their chairs!

I'm fond of using videos in my primary classes (from 8 year olds), especially the ones that gets the children attention for the ingenuity and its realistic relevance, and because they captivate their interest!

I use them as prompts for speaking. By watching these videos children will want to know and talk more about and, what’s more they will encourage them to feel a greater motivation to speak in English.

Here are a few videos you can use as prompts to start a conversation, a short dialogue or just to elicit short sentences about them.

And do not miss the paper at the end of the post. It is a very interesting experience of English language learning by 10 years children attending the last year of primary school and in particular an extra curricular project focused on oral skills.

Bridge (Ting Chian Tey) In this short funny animated film characters are only concerned with their own needs, forgetting the importance of understanding and respecting the rights of others.

The Butterfly Circus (2009) Short film of 21 minutes starring Nick Vujicic. 
It uses the magic of cinema to show that the limitations of human beings are in their minds.

Doll Face (2005) It is ideal for teenagers who are constantly pressured to meet female stereotypes shown in the mass media.

Idiots. It is a criticism of consumerism and sedentary lifestyle caused by technology.

Monsterbox. It is an emotional and tender animation about friendship.

Changing Batteries. It is a sad story about an old woman that live alone with a robot.

Chicken or The Egg.Short offbeat cartoon about a pig who has an addiction to eating eggs. But when he falls for a chicken, you have to choose what comes first ... the chicken or the egg.

Empathise. Animated short about adopting an animal responsibly.

There are many more, of course! But I'll leave you to find them in the net!

Really interesting!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Time To Rethink Priorities...

Cockroaches and Ladybugs 2009-2015

I'm a teacher!

In the last 6 years I have invested a great amount of time and effort in Cockroaches and Ladybugs.

I have visited thousands of web pages, I have read many articles and posts from other blogs, I have known very interesting people engaged in Teaching English as a Second Language, passionate with their job and anxious to be good teachers.

I received lots of comments from teachers, educators, researches and pedagogues, congratulating, suggesting, pointing out, or encouraging going ahead...

I have written many posts about resources, theories, methodologies, opinions, experiences, projects... Everything with only one goal in mind: to spread out and to reveal those hidden "bits and bobs", that can be useful and innovative for our schools, in general, and for our job and English classrooms, in particular.

I've neither been silent nor neutral about those things I consider unacceptable in my job. But I also have congratulated "good teaching manners" and those "wonderful" things other teachers do in their classes.

I have also published my own experiences and projects done with my students. Innovative or not, thid blog has helped me to put my ideas in order, to improve in my profession and to grow up as a teacher.

I don't know if my time as a blogger is over, but I want to give myself a truce, a break, a time to relax... I want to devote some more time to my classroom and to my students... In short, I want to devote more time to self-care. The only thing I want is to do my job, Disconnect, do less, be single tasking..., I am only a teacher!

Six years... 235 posts... More than 175,000 visitors... More than 300 comments... That's nothing!

It is time to rethink our priorities and rethink the way we approach life and all thing in it. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being Bilingual

Is the phenomenon that researchers call the “bilingual advantage” overstated?

Is the statement “When we learn to speak a different language, we learn to see a bigger world” really true?

Is Bilingualism Really an Advantage? 

This is a very interesting article by Maria Konnikova, published in The New Yorker (January 22, 2015) with some very good points for discussion and reflection.

The New Yorker

Food for Thought:

In 1922, in “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

Idea Generator

Idea generator is an app that trains students’ brains to be more language creative through the use of multiple combinations of words. It is a really fun and curious prompt for creative writing with more or less complexity.

 You can generate random words and images then use them in a variety of activities to help their creativity flow. Move the items around, resize them, refresh them and let it guide your mind as it wonders.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with Idea Generator:

• Brain training creativity games

• Freestyle story telling - quite funny.

• Brainstorming • Word games

• Wordle like word clouds from random words

• Charades • Pictionary

• Freestyle rap practice

• Flash Fiction writing ideas

As there are no rules you can use Idea Generator however you like.