Wednesday, November 27, 2013

At the restaurant

Lucky me, during this school year I can split the grade 4 class in two groups of 12 children. This means I can devote some “golden” time to oral production without the inconveniences of a big group.

Last October we prepared a role-play, in which children had to play the role of customers and waiters/waitresses in a restaurant.

Children made their own special menus, they gave a name to our particular restaurant, they wrote the dialogues, and they look for some “attrezzo”, plan the rehearsal of the role-play and design the assessment rubric!

Lucky me (again!), the only thing I had to do was to correct some mistakes, and record the play in video.

And, this is the result! (only one group).

At the restaurant from Enric Calvet on Vimeo.

For those of you who wants to try this role play in your class, here you are the menu prepared by the students (with a little help of new technologies!)

Role Playing? What's that?

Why and how to use it in your classroom. From Western Washington University, Woodring College of Education resources

Thursday, November 21, 2013

100,000 thanks

At some point — perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow –this Blog will welcome its 100,000th visitor.

I just wanted to say thanks to all the followers of the blog, and you know who you are:
  • 100,000 small ladybugs doing the most wonderful job: teachers!
  • Lovers of magical moments, of challenges and surprises.
  • Lovers of teaching but also of learning from children.
  • Lovers of being on your feet most of the time, acting out, drawing, playing or interacting.
  • Lovers of new technologies, puppets and board games.
  • Lovers of Teaching English as a Second Language.
These are the reasons why I still love teaching, even after 33 years. I’m energized!

And this is my wish for you all: Be Happy!

Just some suggestions to remind us of the important things...
The illustrations and the captions are from the book "Be Happy - A little book to help you live a happy life." by Monica Sheehan. The music is "Cuore di Sabbia" (Sand Heart) by Pasquale Catalano, from the soundtrack of the movie "Mine Vaganti" (Loose Cannons) directed by Ferzan Ozpetek.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Is there any Difference Between Doing Projects and Project Based Learning?

I’ve been posting a lot about PBL (Project Based Learning) and Teaching English as a Second Language:

But there is a big difference between doing projects in the class and learning through projects. The main goal of a project is the final product, while project-based learning main goal is the process.

Paul Curtis recently shared some excellent visuals on  #NewTechNetwork that shows a different approach to clear up the difference:

A “Doing Project” unit is teacher-directed and it will see a linear series of often tightly-scripted activities that will culminate in a project.

Project Based Learning is student-centred and there is constant checking, revising, feedback, and reflection. PBL has a recursive nature: It starts at some point, and then at another point later the class moves on. This is the authentic–and messy–project-based learning.

Have a look at the following infographics, shared by Paul Curtis, with some key ideas on Project Working, Project Assessment and The Inquiry Process.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Games about Dinosaurs, Birds and Mammals...

Some days ago I was surfing the net in search of some information for a project about dinosaurs we are planning in the school.

I landed in The Canadian Museum of Nature and, surprisingly I found a great collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs!

(Follow this link to get the gallery interactives)

I just tried two games in the Fossils section. The first one “Dinos in Time” is very well organized information about the Mesozoic Era, from 225 million years ago, to 65 million years ago when dinosaurs suffered mass extinction. The second was about reconstructing the bones that make up a horned dinosaur's front foot (a Chamosaur) and then watching a video.

You can find up to 30 games in this section related to fossils and dinosaurs, but you also have the mammals section and the birds section with dozens of on line games.
Just have a look! You will find the games and animations very appropriate for elementary school students. You can link them in your school blog as fun activities or for students to test the knowledge they gained from one of your lessons about mammals, birds, or dinosaurs.