{January 5, 2010}   New EVO Sessions 2010

I’ve already registered for some of the sessions EVO proposes for this year. Last year was my first EVO year and I loved the sessions. I’ve improved a lot my digital teaching practices, and now I include more interesting and better prepared materials in my classroom practices.

For this 2010 sessions, I’ve chosen completely different sessions (although it’s advised not to join more than 2 sessions, if you have free time, you can join one or two extra sessions!)

Hope you join them too!


{October 26, 2009}   It’s Pumpkin time!

This is my favourite part of the year: Halloween celebrations at school begin and so begin the complaints of all those people I can’t understand.

I always tell my students the true story of Halloween. And no matter how old they are, they love it, as they love what I call the “modern version of Halloween”: parties, trick or treating… Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that different peoples have different traditions? I’m talking about this since, last year by this same time, my cousin forbid my nephew to go to his school’s Halloween party, since, according to her, Halloween parties meant  “worshipping devils”.

And I know there are many people that think that way, but for those – like me – who like enjoying Halloween parties, here are tons of materials you can use both with your students and for your personal Halloween parties!

Colouring Pages, Crafts and Lesson Plans




Halloween for Kids

Classroom Resources


Theme Unit

More Games

Party Ideas


6 Terrifying Halloween Tales





{October 13, 2009}   Nice Idea!

I’m working on a small project with my little students that may be useful for you too!

Ask them to bring colour papers (legal size if possible) and pictures of themselves, their family members and pets.

They can decorate the first page of their “Family Album” as they like: stamps, glitter, stickers, etc.Then, they write a short caption next to each picture.

We are going to give these albums as a present for parents for Family Day (Next Sunday).

I promise I’ll take pictures of the best albums!

{January 16, 2009}   Online Learning

For the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve been taking part on a series of online teaching and learning sessions, and I’m really looking forward to tell you all about them.They are 6 week courses and this was the first week.
Some courses’ topics are blogging, digital media and education, teaching a language and conflict resolution in the classroom.
I’ll try to upload a weekly summary of the activities, so you can see what this geekyteacher does during her holidays!

BTW, I have to sit down here and order my bookmarks! I’ve got lots of nice things to share with you, but first, they should be in the right place 😉

{December 10, 2008}   Thinking Aloud

I’m an active participant in an ESL forum. Last weekend, there were some arguments which I’m glad I didn’t see then.

What is an ESL resource?

Is it just clipart or a frame to embelish your activities? NO. That’s just something you may add to motivate your students with prettier worksheets.

An ESL resource is something your students will use to improve their language, whether it has clipart or not.

And it’s just that simple.  If those who read this post know where this discussion took place, they may understand me. But when you plan your activities carefully, you design your worksheets taking every single detail into account, and someone comes and claims that a single frame made out of small clipart is something you may use to work with your students… you can go really mad. And here came another complaint. Some said that the most active teachers were acting like know-it-alls… Here I must say that if you have experience, you can talk and do and criticize… New people in this profession (let’s say those who have been teaching for less than 3 years) can learn LOTS of more experienced teachers and professors. But well, as in every instance of our lives, there are stubborn people everywhere!

And here is when I say: do this teachers behave like that at school to? I mean, do they complain about everything?

{November 12, 2008}   End-of-Year is Here!

Classes in Argentina are finishing in a month approximately.
Are you preparing something special for those last classes? Do you need to prepare an end-of-year presentation?

A great end of the year activity is to put on a little play on a topic chosen by the students. Last year, the institute where I work organized an end-of-year musical party. My 1st Children (1st level) students decided they wanted to recreate a choreography for “Do, Re, Mi”, the well known song from the Sound of Music.

This 2008 end-of-year situation is really special for me and I decided to prepare something special for my students. I don’t like very much to work on the language itself during the last classes, relying mostly on context based or game-like activities.

One great idea I got from this site is to create a class magazine or newspaper.
In this case, 8th grade students will choose a topic each and write a short text about it. They will create comics, riddles and crosswords too! Then, after checking students’ productions, we type everything up and we get a printed version of the newspaper. We generally charge a minimum of $ 0.25 for each copy of the newspaper (to account for paper and copy expenses)

For 9th grade students, as they are finishing a level of studies, I thought that they could write their autobiopgraphies.
Writing 5-8 sentences, they will have to leave a message for younger students at school. These autobiographies will be part of a Book of Class Record, made up with pictures and activities (For instance, when working on comparatives and superlatives I devised a nice activity where students had to choose the “most” student – “the one with the nicest smile, the fastest runner, the tallest, etc- and they had to draw a picture of each of the chosen classmates) collected throughout the year.
Students will design the cover of the book for one of their mates (chosen at random!) Each student will get one copy of this the day of their graduation.

The most difficult group to choose a final activity is 7th grade. They knew almost no English at the beginning of the year, and they had difficulties in most subjects.
So, what I think will be really funny, is to make them feel they are professional writers. I will take a bunch of binded sheets of legal size papers, with a cover reading “Yeah! I survived 7th Year! Read to see HOW“.
Each student will be asked to write a sentence on how the year went for them. When it’s finished, we’ll read each sentence and reflect on what we did this year.

Basing on what is proposed here I decided to prepare a last-class picnic for my 1st Children students, where they will receive a diploma and a beautiful card with a poem:

My 4th Grade students will work on a Teacher Report Card, where they will be the teachers for one hour, and I will be their student. I will tell them that I would like to see what they think about me, so children next year can have a teacher that improved her practices thanks to other students.  Then, I will provide my version of what a teacher’s report card would look like (I’m trying to upload it!) and I’ll tell them they have to grade me and that they can leave a message for me, either in English or in Spanish.

What do you think about my choice of activities? Would you work with them the same way? What would you change? Would you like to share your end-of-year classroom ideas? Comment down here.

This last month was terrible for my annual plannification. At the institute I work, there were parties, movie watching classes and now, today, there is a Nations Fair.

It’s not that I don’t like taking part in this kind of events, but just by looking at the calendar, I’m starting to go crazy. We have 5 weeks left and I still have to introduce one more topic, make the corresponding final exam practice and, if there’s nothing new to add, by December 17th my little chickens will learn to fly.

What is the problem? I asked if we could choose whether to participate or not, and I was told it was compulsory. Not only had I worked more hours at home than expected (preparing leaflets, some snacks for visitors) but I also had to make parents work at home preparing material with their children. In my opinion, it’s really nice to participate in such events, but, thinking about it twice, I would add:

*It’s not the time of the year for such an event – guys, I don’t work just there, I’ve got tons of work to do from everywhere (and the other teachers too).

*What’s the point of having students investigate about a NON English speaking country (not my case) when they go to an institute to learn English? Having such an amount of English Speaking countries in the world… why do we have to choose countries only from America?

*The idea of this fair was a copy of what other institute did last year. I know that people are not that original, but I’ve got to thank them not to tell us about the fair two weeks before the event, like they did last year with the end of the year rehearsal (Oh, yeah, I went crazy then).

*This kind of events should be organized from the very beginning of the year, by the headmistress/headmaster of the institution and they should be in charge of all extra work, to avoid overwhelming teachers with extra work they have not time to do. It’s just that I could hardly sleep 5 hours a day this last week to avoid leaving things unprepared. And being tired all day long is not what I want. I want to enjoy my classes.

So, now, as I have some more minutes to spare, I take a deep breath and think if I prepared everything:
-work for those children who were last week – ready
-thank you notes for visitors – ready
-snacks – ready
-big book (oh, my kids did such a nice work!!) – ready
-videos – ready

I guess I’m ready for the event of the day.

*”the pig and the twenty” refers to an Argentinian proverb (“la chancha, los veinte y la máquina de hacer chorizos”) where it’s stated that someone wants everything without effort or money.

{November 9, 2008}   Thanksgiving in the classroom

It’s well-known that we generally don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the classroom as it is a religious holiday (or at least the idea of thanking god it’s religion-related)

But couldn’t we just make some kind of activities to show students how one of the most important celebrations in the US takes place? I guess that if we handle the topic really carefully, we can share lots of wonderful activities with our students.

A personal idea I hope to make a reality this year

is to organize a kind of “open class” where parents will be invited to share group activities with the children. (Hope I can do this, too much events this year made me go nuts with my year planning)

As Thanksgiving is not a celebration here in Argentina, I’ve looked for material on the topic – and I must say that there are tons and tons of interesting texts, activities and resources to teach your students about this cultural celebration. Some of them I list here:

How Thanksgiving Works

Thanksgiving History

Thanksgiving 2008 – resources, information and everything you need to celebrate Thanksgiving

History.Com – tons of information and resources on this holiday

Teacher Planet

Thanksgiving Resources on the Web for Educators 1

Thanksgiving Resources on the Web for Educators 2

Kiddy House – all about thanksgiving for kids and teachers

USA Official Website

Thanksgiving Resources

Family Education

Teaching Heart

Teachers First

Kiddy House

Teacher Help

Thanksgiving Resources @ Local

101 Kidz

Adopt a Turkey

Thanksgiving Resources and Lesson Plans

Thanksgiving Activities for the Elementary Classroom

Flint Public Library


The Holiday Zone

Thanksgiving and Pilgrims
Hope you find this useful!

{October 24, 2008}   Wow!

If you are in London or just near that wonderful city, you can’t miss The Language Show from 31st October to 2nd November!

More info form the Independent

Official Site of the Event

et cetera