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.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea

Some people asked me to make a revision of this post. Thank you for your interest!

Long time ago I had the chance to hear Beatriz Caballero (a wonderful teacher in the Autonomous University of Barcelona) telling this story to a group of English teacher trainers.

It was a Magical Moment full of sea animals, great pictures, language repetition, droning, popular children plays and a surprising ending... It has everything a primary school teacher could desire from a picture book.

Some time later, I found this book in a small second hand book shop in Barcelona and I was happy to introduce it to my Y2 students in my new school. 

With a little preparation of new vocabulary flashcards, with the book on my knees, the students sat on the floor, and taking benefit of the extra motivation that always means talking about animals, I told the story.

My surprise was when, at the end, THEY propose me to do something else: “Why don’t we do a play? Why don’t we make a book? Why don’t we draw the illustrations? Why don’t we ...” (you know sometimes children are such a pain in the neck!)

And off we went! We found some empty boxes in the box room of the school (where else?) and they decided (with a little help!) to make some dioramas. They painted the inside boxes as the deep blue sea (colours, tones, waves). They took some photos (movements, poses, right and left...). They drew, coloured and cut out sea animals (sea horse, starfish, octopus, swordfish...). They added sand, shells, seaweed and coral.   They imagined a pirate treasure with marbles, bracelets and chocolate coins... They stuck everything and we hung all the dioramas in the school corridor in a big display. 

But, it wasn’t the end! As the other children in the school asked what was that, they wanted to tell them the story. So, they needed to practice a lot. We used an mp3 voice recorder and Audacity to “polish” pronunciation and intonation. They organized themselves and, for one day, they became storytellers.

Finally, they wanted to show to parents through the school blog. So, It was my turn to make a short video (Windows Movie Maker) with the photographs of the dioramas and the children voices, and I uploaded in Vimeo.

And that’s all! Hope you enjoy it!

Way down deep in the deep blue sea from Enric Calvet on Vimeo.

Do you know what are these children plays?
"Do si do", "Giddy up", "Hitch a ride", "Touché", "Gimme eight", "Sing along"

Monday, February 02, 2015

Get Ready for St. Valentine!

Every year Valentine’s Day falls on the fourteenth of February; although it is celebrated in many different countries around the world, it remains a work day rather than a public holiday. It began as a celebration of a Christian saint named Valentinus, with many different stories invented around him.
The day was first associated with romantic love by Geoffrey Chaucer’s circle when the tradition of 'courtly love’ flourished in the High Middle Ages. In the eighteenth century in England, it evolved into a day where people express their love for each other, often by giving flowers, confectionaries and valentines; greeting cards. Handwritten valentines have since passed, mass-produced greeting cards taking their place since the nineteenth century. 

Although I am not especially motivated to celebrate St. Valentines in my Primary classes, here you are a compilation of activities about Valentine's Day for Primary, Secondary and High Schools:  



Hope you've got enough if you want to prepare two or three sessions about this festivity.

Wishing You Peace and Love!