{October 22, 2015}   Blended Learning

As I mentioned on my last post, I started a post graduate course on English Language and Literature, and I’ve been doing lots of interesting activities to comply with the regulations of the different seminars.

In the Applied Methodology seminar we debated over the use of technology in the classroom, both by teachers and students. 

In a world where we are connected 24/7, and where technology is growing at an extremelly fast pace, I feel the urge to include some technology in my lessons, for my students to find the connection between what we do in our classroom and their lives outside school.

Do you think it is important to add some nee technologies to the classroom? What do you like to include? Some think it is not a good idea since children spend too much time online and having some hours with no connectivity may also help. Do you agree?

{October 19, 2015}   So long!

Why bothering to make a come back? This year has been pretty mad. I decided to switch jobs completely and went back to work at primary school. It meant leaving my comfort zone and going back to what I’ve always loved – working with children. Well, of course I miss my in company students, but I can live with that. Working 10 blocks from home is a dreamy experience I want to keep forever.

The job swap also provided me with loads of opportunities to read more (I’ve already read almost 50 books in 2015!) and with more time to study for my post graduate studies. That is why I’ve made a comeback almost at the end of the year, I’ve been full of uni assignments (I still am) and extra activities. However, today I was thinking during my spinning lesson (oh yes, I forgot to share that having some free time also helped start spinning and swimming!) and said “why the hell am I not posting on my blog?” At least, I can make the usual comeback, but it would be great to keep it updated.

So, this does not mean I’m going to be here every day (I still have to update my facebook page, haven’t had time since July!) but I promise an update from time to time to keep you posted.

BTW, have you visited English with Dora on facebook? If you enjoy what you see, give it a like – I am already scheduling new posts with fun facts and interesting information about English 🙂

{November 27, 2013}   A menu for learning

This week I’m starting lessons with a new group and I thought of introducing the course in a different way. I thought of language as a complete meal, and so I designed my language learning menu based on a similar menu I was presented with during a conference on Spanish as a Foreign Language.

On the board, before my students arrived, I wrote my menu:


When my students arrived, I asked them what they thought about the menu I was presenting and told them to add any other “course” they considered worth including to personalize their menu/learning experience.

It was a nice, different way to start a first lesson with adults, with whom I like to set objectives for the course during the first lesson.

Do you use something like this in your first lessons? How do your menues look like? Are they easy to follow? What do they suggest for learning?

{December 5, 2011}   Interactive Whiteboard Activities

It’s been some months since I’ve first tried the device, and I must admit I love it! Here are two excellent sites with tons of activities for you to work with on an interactive whiteboard:

TES Iboard


English is Cool

Teacher Led


ILearn Technology

Learning Today



Promethean Planet

{December 5, 2011}  

Sometime ago I shared this list of easily confused words and phrases in the forum, but I forgot to share it with you. All the credit goes to

Here’s a quick guide to alleviate (or is it ameliorate?) your suffering:

1. a while / awhile: “A while” is a noun phrase; awhile is an adverb.
2. all together / altogether: All together now — “We will refrain from using that two-word phrase to end sentences like this one altogether.”
3. amend / emend: To amend is to change; to emend is to correct.
4. amount / number: Amount refers to a mass (“The amount saved is considerable”); number refers to a quantity (“The number of dollars saved is considerable”).
5. between / among: The distinction is not whether you refer to two people or things or to three or more; it’s whether you refer to one thing and another or to a collective or undefined number — “Walk among the trees,” but “Walk between two trees.”
6. biannual / biennial: Biannual means twice a year; biennial means once every two years.
7. bring / take: If it’s coming toward you, it’s being brought. If it’s headed away from you, it’s being taken.
8. compare to / compare with: “Comparing to” implies similarity alone; “compare with” implies contrast as well.
9. compliment / complement: To compliment is to praise; to complement is to complete.
10. comprise, consist of / compose, constitute: Comprise means “include,” so test by replacement — “is included of” is nonsense, and so is “is comprised of.” The whole comprises the parts or consists of the parts, but the parts compose or constitute the whole.
11. connote / denote: To connote is to convey (“Air quotes connote skepticism or irony”); to denote is to specify (“A stop sign denotes the requirement to halt”).
12. continual / continuous: Continual events are frequently repeated, or intermittent. Continuous events are uninterrupted, or constant.
13. credible / credulous: To be credible is to be authoritative; to be credulous is to be gullible.
14. deserts / desserts: If you eat only cake, pie, ice cream, and the like, you eat just desserts. If you have it coming to you, you get your just deserts as well. (However, the connotation is negative, so hit the gym.)
15. different from / different than: The former phrase is preferred in formal writing; but “differently than” is always correct usage.
16. discreet / discrete: Discreet means “subtle”; discrete means “separate.” (“He discreetly reminded them of their discrete meanings.”)
17. each other / one another: “One another” is preferred in formal writing when more than two of something are being discussed.
18. economic / economical: Economic refers to the science of economics; economical suggests frugality.
19. elemental/elementary: What’s elemental is essential or integral to nature; what’s elementary is basic.
20. ensure / insure / assure: To ensure is to guarantee, to insure is to indemnify, and to assure is to comfort or convince.
21. epidemic / endemic / pandemic: An epidemic is the outbreak of disease in a limited place and time; an endemic disease is a recurring one peculiar to a place or population; a pandemic is pervasive over a wide geographical area.
22. forgo / forego: To forgo is to go without; to forego is to go before (and is generally used only in the forms foregoing and foregone, which are themselves rare).
23. gibe / jibe / jive: To gibe (soft g, as in gym) is to taunt or insult (though jibe is an alternate spelling), to jibe with is to coincide or fit, to jive is to deceive.
24. historic / historical: Something historic is remarkable for its impact on history; something historical is simply an event in history.
25. home in / hone in: To home in is to close in; to hone in is to confuse one word for another. (“Hone in” has no meaning.)
26. jealousy / envy: Jealousy is resentment; envy is covetousness.
27. lay / lie: Lay is transitive, associated with a direct object — “Lay that pencil down.” “Yesterday, I laid that pencil down.” “That pencil has been laid down.” Lie is intransitive, not so associated — “Lie down.” “Last night, I lay down.” “It was my plan to have lain down already.
28. leach / leech: To leach is to dissolve by percolation; to leech is to remove blood with a leech or to exhaust; as a noun, it means a parasitic worm or the human figurative equivalent, or the edge of a sail (also spelled leach).
29. libel / slander: Libel is written defamation; slander is the spoken equivalent.
30. may / might: May refers to factual or possible; might is appropriate for the hypothetical or counterfactual.
31. nauseous / nauseated: To be nauseous is to cause sickness. To be nauseated is to feel sick.
32. notable / noticeable / noteworthy: Something notable is worthy of note. Something noticeable is capable of being noticed. Noteworthy is a synonym of notable, though the former implies the unusual and the latter the commendable.
33. partly / partially: Partly means “in part”; partially means “incomplete” or, rarely, is an antonym for unfairly.
34. peak / pique: To peak is to reach the pinnacle; to pique is to arouse interest or to bother.
35. people / persons: People has assumed primacy; persons is reserved mostly as a synonym for bodies (“those belongings carried on their persons”).
36. persuade / convince: To persuade someone is to motivate them to do something; to convince someone is to lead them to understand or believe.
37. predominantly / predominately: Both forms are correct, but predominantly predominates.
38. purposely / purposefully: What’s done purposely is done on purpose; what’s done purposefully is done with a purpose.
39. regrettably / regretfully: Regrettably is a synonym for unfortunately; regretfully means just that — full of regret.
40. repetitive / repetitious: Both terms have acquired a negative connotation, but the former retains a more neutral meaning.
41. sensual / sensuous: Sensual has an erotic connotation; sensuous refers more neutrally to what is pleasurable to the senses.
42. since / because: Informally, these terms are interchangeable, but in formal writing, since should be used only to refer to time.
43. stationary / stationery: To be stationary is to stand still; stationery refers to letter-writing materials.
44. that / which: That is used restrictively (“The pencil that is sharp” — among more than one pencil, the one with that characteristic); which is employed nonrestrictively (“The pencil, which is sharp” — one pencil alone, possessing that characteristic). The distinction is rarely observed other than in American English.
45. tortuous / torturous: A tortuous experience is a winding one; a torturous one is painful.
46. transcript / transcription: A transcript is a thing; a transcription is the process of creating it.
47. verbal / oral: Verbal refers to both written and spoken communication, but oral is useful for distinguishing the latter from the former.
48. while / although / whereas: Informally, while is a synonym for the other two terms, but in formal writing it should be reserved for temporal connotations.
49. wreak / wreck: These terms do not share etymological origin; you wreck a party, but you do so by wreaking havoc.
50. whether / if: Both words are correct in expressing a choice, but the former is more appropriate in formal writing (“I can’t decide whether to go”), whereas the latter is better reserved for reference to possibility or probability (“I’ll go if you do”).

{June 17, 2011}   Stories in a Bag!

Some weeks ago I attended a seminar at the Teacher’s Training College I attend, and I must say it was TERRIFIC Fabiana Parano showed teachers how to TELL stories in the classroom without resorting to a book, and using gestures and body language to help students understand the story.

Thinking on the effects stories have on children and adults, if you have the chance to attend any of her courses I highly recommend them!

More info

As some of you know, in one of the subjects I’m attending at the Teacher Training College this year we are working with a topic that many teachers are still afraid of: technology.

Our professor invited us to a talk Nicholas Burbules was giving at UNQ last Tuesday and I must say it was amazing to listen to all those trues. I hoped to listen to some tips as regards how to implement technology in the classroom for those teachers that are still reluctant to do so, but anyway, the overall impression after the talk was that of having heard a precise round up of what I was working with at College.

To begin with, Nicholas provided a very clear explanation of why teachers MUST include technology in their lessons. Basically, he believes that there is no longer a one to one relation between teacher and student but a triangular relation:

With the presence of this new connectivity element, the teacher acquires a new role in the classroom: that of mediator of information. The teacher becomes a designer or the learning environment, s/he will have to adapt the situations according to the interests of their learners. The children of today are not like us: they prefer multitasking rather than doing one thing at the time, and they seem to have been born glued to a computer. That’s why we have to include technology. Schools are now full of digital natives, who demand motivating activities from their teachers.

Nicholas Burbules also demystified some teachers’ beliefs about technology in the classroom, concluding that edutainment IS posible and that we as teachers should concentrate on providing a “translation” of the information students come across.since there is nothing that can be understood exactly as the speaker says it – we have to negotiate  meaning in a meaningful context.

In his conclusion, he stated something that I want to quote as exact as I remember since I found it really important:

“Information is NOT knowledge.

The integration of learning and knowledge to create more complex structures is something that takes time.

Information comes quickly, but knowledge comes slowly

If you are interested in learning more about this conference and Nicholas Burbules, you can take a look at:

Interview (In Spanish)

Blog entry on Technology in the Classroom (In Spanish)

{May 9, 2011}   Teaching Intonation

If you are interested in teaching intonation patterns to your students, it is a nice idea to look at this fantastic presentation!

{May 9, 2011}   Teaching English Sounds

Some years ago I came across this presentation in Slideshare, which I shared on my other blog. Today, I was looking for it and I couldn’t avoid sharing it with you.

Hope it’s useful!

{March 22, 2011}   Storytelling

A friend of mine asked if I knew of any good courses on storytelling. My answer was the one you are thinking of:

“Why do you want to do a course of something that you know naturally? Why don’t you do a web search to clarify your doubts, and enlarge your knowledge?”

And as she was working, I did a google search for her and send her some links via e-mail. The first link I came across is a “manual” for beginners in storytelling. The information you will see there perhaps is not new, but it is clearly organized and it gives a general idea of what storytelling is. The second link, a set of resources for storytelling, was chosen simply because I found it really interesting!

As I always say, what works for one person perhaps doesn’t work for another. The truth is, all of us know naturally how to tell a story. We all have little brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, nephews, nieces and neighbours to tell stories to; and as teachers, we have our own students. Also, children are the best judges who are going to tell you what works and what needs to be changed. We all have our own techniques for storytelling, but we all change our voices to represent different characters and we all “make faces” for children to become really interested in the story. I, for instance, use puppets whenever I don’t want to use a book. And children laugh of my faces, and voices, and movements. A friend of mine likes acting out the stories she tells, so if you peek into her classroom, you will see a clown and not a teacher! 🙂

To end this post, I leave a question to all of you: Which do you think is the most useful technique for storytelling?

et cetera