Geekyteacher











{April 29, 2009}   Build-a-bug

My students and I had lots of fun today playing with the online version of Magic School Bus! They created their own bugs by putting wings, bodies, heads and legs together! Best of all… it’s free! 🙂



{April 25, 2009}   Sand and Stone

While checking my mailbox, I came across this wonderful story to share with our students.

Sand and Stone

This story tells of two friends walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand, and now, you write on a stone. Why?”

The other friend replied, “When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand, where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. When someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone, where no wind can ever erase it.”

Learn to write your hurts in sand, and to carve your benefits in stone.



{April 25, 2009}   Thinking aloud

Yesterday as I was coming back home I recalled something a friend of mine said on a meeting and I thought: What’s the use of lying to your fellow teachers about silly things? I really don’t care about other’s private lives, but when the truth is so evident, I don’t want to listen to so many lies…

This relates to one of my beliefs related to teaching: you are a model for your students. Not only a language model, but a life one.

You should be tender, caring and respectful.

You should be punctual, tidy and responsible.

Your students will love being like you.

If you have a “not so good” day, don’t make your students realize it.

If you are tired, sad or angry, smile. Your studetns love your smile.

Praise your students.

If you need some ideas, why don’t you check these ones?

101 Ways to Praise a Child!*

WOW • WAY TO GO SUPER • YOU’RE SPECIAL • OUTSTANDING • EXCELLENT •
GREAT•
GOOD • NEAT WELL DONE • REMARKABLE • I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT • I’M PROUD OF YOU • FANTASTICSUPER STAR • NICE WORK • LOOKING GOOD • YOU’RE ON TOP OF IT • BEAUTIFUL • NOW YOU’RE FLYING • YOU’RE CATCHING ON • NOW YOU’VE GOT IT • YOU’RE INCREDIBLE • BRAVO • YOU’RE FANTASTIC HURRAY FOR YOU • YOU’RE ON TARGETYOU’RE ON YOUR WAY • HOW NICE • HOW SMART • GOOD JOB • THAT’S INCREDIBLE • HOT DOG • DYNAMITE • YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL • YOU’RE UNIQUE • NOTHING CAN STOP YOU NOW GOOD FOR YOU • I LIKE YOU
YOU’RE A WINNER • REMARKABLE JOB • BEAUTIFUL WORK • SPECTACULAR • YOU’RE SPECTACULAR • YOU’RE DARLING YOU’RE PRECIOUS • GREAT DISCOVERY • YOU’VE DISCOVERED THE SECRET • YOU FIGURED IT OUT • FANTASTIC JOB • HIP, HIP, HURRAY • BINGO • MAGNIFICENT • MARVELOUS TERRIFIC • YOU’RE IMPORTANTPHENOMENAL • YOU’RE SENSATIONAL • SUPER WORK • CREATIVE JOB • SUPER JOB • FANTASTIC JOB • EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE • YOU’RE A REAL TROOPER • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE • YOU ARE EXCITING • YOU LEARNED IT RIGHT • WHAT AN IMAGINATION •WHAT A GOOD LISTENER • YOU ARE FUN • YOU’RE GROWING UP • YOU TRIED HARD • YOU CARE • BEAUTIFUL SHARING • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE • YOU’RE A GOOD FRIEND • I TRUST YOU • YOU’RE IMPORTANT • YOU MEAN A LOT TO ME • YOU MAKE ME HAPPY • YOU BELONG • YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND • YOU MAKE ME LAUGH • YOU BRIGHTEN MY DAY • I RESPECT YOU • YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME • THAT’S CORRECT • YOU’RE A JOY • YOU’RE A TREASURE • YOU’RE WONDERFUL • YOU’RE PERFECT • AWESOME • A+ JOB • YOU’RE A-OK MY BUDDY • YOU MADE MY DAY • THAT’S THE BEST • A BIG HUG • A BIG KISS • SAY I LOVE YOU!


More here.

Teach with the example, teach by doing.

*Extracted from a display poster I’ve got in my classroom 🙂



(1) The word “news” is not the plural of the word ´new. ´ The word “NEWS” came from the first letters of the words North, East, West and South. This was because information was being gathered from all different directions.

(2) The idiom “it rains cats and dogs” originated in 17th Century England. During heavy downpours of rain, many of these poor animals unfortunately drowned and their bodies would be seen floating in the rain torrents that raced through the streets. The situation gave the appearance that it had literally rained “cats and dogs” and led to the current expression.

(3) The saying “all roads lead to Rome,” goes back to the fact that the ancient Romans built an excellent system of roads. This saying means that no matter which road one starts a journey on, he will finally reach Rome if he keeps on traveling. The popular saying also means that all ways or methods of doing something end in the same result: No method is better than another.

(4) The origin of the word “quisling” comes from the name of Major Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian who collaborated with the Germans during their occupation of Norway. The word “quisling” now means “traitor.”

(5) The word “set” has the largest number of definitions in the English Language: (192 definitions according to the Oxford English Dictionary

(6) The study of insects is called entomology, while the study of word origins is called etymology.

(7) “Rhythms” is the longest English word without the normal vowels, a, e, i, o, or u.

(8) No word in the English language rhymes with the words “month, orange, silver, and purple.”

(9) A bibliophile is a collector of rare books. A bibliopole is a seller of rare books.

(10) A hamlet is a village without a church and a town is not a city until it has a cathedral.

(11) “Bookkeeper” and “bookkeeping” are the only words in the English language with three consecutive double letters.

(12) “Underground” is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters “und.”

(13) The word “queue” is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.

(14) The word “queueing” is the only English word with five consecutive vowels.

(15) The only three words in the English language that begin with the letters “DW” are Dwarf, Dwell, and Dwindle.

(16) There are only four words in the English language which end in “-dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

(17) Strengths (nine letters long) is the longest word in the English language with only one vowel.



{April 15, 2009}   E-teaching

A nice idea that got on my mind while attending to the EVO Kick off Session (yeah, it was a long time ago… I really forgot to change this post status to “published”), was to create a chat room where my students can join one hour a week, to practice colloquial English. Since classroom work focuses mainly on formal English, this would be a nice way to engage those students who are not so interested in learning English “the old way”. Furthermore, if you know some native speakers, or another teachers, you can invite them to join your chat so as to make it a more interesting experience. Another option could be to make the chat “topic based”, so each different meeting, you could provide your students with opportunities to talk about varied topics.

Second Life (or any other VR) is another option that many teachers are taking into account. I guess it would be kind of a playing with dolls situation, where one of the characters represents a teacher and the other,  the student.

Blogging is a well known tool nowadays, but with some training on web tools, it can be a really powerful teaching tool. Many teachers publish a class blog for parents to see what their children are working on, or just to share some extra knowlede with their students.

There are lots of tools for language teaching and learning but where should we start? I tend to use IT with my private students, since they are all grown ups and acquainted with technology.  My advice is to start by using those tools you are familiar with, and then gradually start including new ideas into your teaching practices. Of course, you don’t need to be an IT expert to choose what to use for your teaching practices, but be sure you know all tips and tricks before you make your students work with technology (and, if they are under age, do not forget to ask for parents’ permission if you are planning to work on the net!). Sometimes school policies do not allow teacher-student contact after school hours, so be sure to ask first!



{April 15, 2009}   Crazy English

Do you really think English is easy? If so, check the following sentences!

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

2. The farm was used to produce produce.

3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7. Since there is no time likethe present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10. I did not object to the object.

11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13. They were too close to the door to close it.

14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index,2 indices?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a
form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this..

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’

I received this as part of an email from LAMI.US. Hope you enjoy it as I did!


{April 5, 2009}   Brainy Teachers

As I’ve said before here, this year I’m working at different schools which favour the theories of MI and Brain-related Theories. I borrowed this book from the school library and I’m half way through it. You know me… I’m kind of curious and today I sat down on my pc…

I was doing some research on the brain and was thinking about how important is for teachers to learn about how the brain works to provide better learning opportunities. Some of the sites I came across that provided me with tons of interesting information are:

Brain Connection

Teach the Brain

Brainy Friendly Grammar

Brain Friendly Teaching

News from Neurosciences



{April 2, 2009}   What Teachers Make

I got to know that the writing I received some days ago and posted yesterday, is a piece of slam poetry by Taylor Mali (TKS Ryan!). Here you have the video!

(Slam Poetry its spoken word poetry, sort of a performance type of poetry. Many slams are held in certain places where there are a lot of people, mostly coffee shops and such)



{April 2, 2009}   The Teacher

I received this text as part of an email. Hope you like it and feel proud too!

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO of a large company, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What ´s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?” He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: “Those who can, do. Those who can ´t, teach.” To stress his point he said to another guest; “You ´re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?”
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make?” (She paused for a second, then began…)
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like a Medal of Honour. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can ´t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental. You want to know what I make?” (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)
´ ´I make kids wonder. I make them ask questions. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn ´t everything. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand and sing O Canada every morning, because we live in this great country called Canada. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.”
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)
“Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn ´t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant… You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO?”



et cetera