August 31, 2013

30 Goals Challenge Interview

This last week, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by dear Shelly Terrell for the 30 GOALS CHALLENGE round of interviews with participants.

Like Shelly said in her blog Teacher Reboot Camp

Each week ( I think), Shelly interviews one of the participants (past and current) of the 30 Goals Challenge about various topics and close to the end of the interview, the interviewee recommends the next person to be interviewed. I was tagged by my friend Roseli Serra, another admirable educator from Recife Brazil. Our interview was about Edtech, mobile learning and life in general.

Conquering Fears- Edtech and Life: Interview with @anamariacult #30GoalsEDU

 I'd like to thank Shelly one more time for taking her time to talk to educators around the globe and for helping us, interviewees, feel so at ease.

She also included a slideshow I created last year when we met in Brazil.

 Meeting Shelly on PhotoPeach

August 26, 2013

Sharing Journals with classmates

By eltpics

This past week, I started attending a very interesting class given by my M.A. tutor and a teacher from Canada. We're going to study about Teacher Development and Narrative Inquiry.

One of the evaluation tools suggested by the teacher was writing narratives as journals. We all discussed in class that it would be a little bit overwhelming for the teachers to answer all the journals written so we suggested having different "reading partners" each month. For example: each week, I have a partner with whom I'll be sharing my narratives with. We'll be reading each other writings and give feedback to each other. Then, the following month, we can have new partners. I'm really anxious to start this experience as I believe we can learn a lot by reading each other's reflections. 

Then I thought, where and how am I going to write my narratives?

With Penzu, you can write your journal entries on a notebook page which resembles the traditional paper journals. You can keep your writing private or share it with others either via e-mail or by getting a public link to be shared only with the ones you wish to share it with.

To learn more about it, watch the TUTORIAL below.

The tutorial I've chosen to add here is great. However, it doesn't show how to grab the public link to share with those you want to, which I think is the easiest option.


Anyone wishing to use PENZU with students can suggest the FREE ACCOUNT which is pretty good. But if you wish to use it frequently, it might be interesting to invest in a PRO ACCOUNT which is only $19 for a year membership. As a PRO member you get the chance to customize your journal by choosing from a very rich variety of background templates and pad styles.

My first narrative for the first class we had last week (written in Portuguese).

August 24, 2013

BYOD apps for ELT

Would you help us build a list of cross-platform apps (IOS and Android)?

by Ana Maria Menezes

Roseli Serra and I have started collecting apps which can be used by our students with their own devices.

All the apps added to this list can be found for BOTH SYSTEMS ( IOS and Android), therefore, ideal for BYOD classes.

To contribute to the list, click the pink button ADD TO LIST and paste the URL of the app.

August 23, 2013

Revising for tests with Thinglink

I love tools which are a surprise to me. Thinglink is one of these tools. When I first saw it, I imagined just a few ways to use it in class. However, the more time goes by, teachers have been doing amazing things with the tool.

An example is the one brought below created by Daniela Tomatis, an EFL teacher in Italy who I admire a lot, and her students.

They've created a REVISION BOARD adding links to audio recordings, videos and online exercises to a drawing.

I asked Daniela a bit more about it:

She says,
"The drawing was made by a very creative girl, Clara (Daniela Becchio's daughter) !
We gave her some instructions, basically that we wanted something like a bookcase.
Then, we linked the different parts of the picture to a digital source.

We wanted to give students:

- a complete digital version of the curriculum.
- a possibility to revise for the exam autonomously ( that's why we provided both the written and the oral version of the stories, for example)
- suggestions on how to practice grammar and vocabulary.- examples of student-created content ( "my grammar book""personal coursebook")
- a possibility to check their material, in case they missed some lessons during the school year.

Our aim was also to help them with pronunciation, to support parents and also to facilitate success for dyslexic students."

August 22, 2013

Collecting Animations for the classroom

I love using animations in class. I believe there's a lot we can do with these short, really cute videos easily found on youtube. 

I was having a look at JUX.COM and impressed at how beautiful and different  blog posts can be. As I am a highly visual person, the wide screen images and the way the texts are displayed really attracted my attention.

As I see it, it's one of the most creative blogging platforms there is. The only drawback  I noticed is the impossibility of sharing embeddable applications and the option for a mobile app for blogging on the go. From what I understood, it's possible to publish quotes, articles, videos, photos and slideshows. 

Here I was, thinking of how I could use this beauty for the classroom when I came across a blog post saying would close down 31 August 2013 and a message in Jux saying the platform is still running. I truly hope they have changed their minds.

Ok, so what does have to do with the animations I talked about at the beginning of this post?

Well, as my first trial using the site, I created a playlist with animations I've selected to use in class.

How else could we use JUX? Provided it doesn't close down.

- Teachers can use it to showcase student's work such as drawings, videos, poems they've written, stories they've created.
- Students can tell their own stories using images, texts and video. A multi-modal digital story.
- Anyone could use it as a digital portfolio to showcase their work.

If you're interested in using these animations with your own students and would like some ideas, check out this blog post from a while ago YOUTUBE ACTIVITIES IN A FLASH

Would you have any other animations you've used with your students to add to my collection?
I'd love to hear from you.

August 9, 2013

Learning about Schools around the world

I've just started a unit with a group of EFL teenage students about Education.

In order to help them learn about how different school can be in other countries (or not), I'd love to have students from different countries participate in our VOICETHREAD.

Do you have teenage students? Do you have teenagers at home who could give us a hand?

To add a video-response and participate in our project, click COMMENT and record a video message, please.

These are some questions students can answer:

- What kind of secondary school do you go to? (private / state school)
- Do you like it?
- How many students are there in your class?
- How many hours a day do you stay at school?
- What kind of subjects do you like best?
- Can you choose what subjects to take?
- Do you have to wear a uniform?
- Can you describe the sitting arrangement in your classroom? ( in a U shape, in lines, in groups)
- And the classes? Does the teacher do most of the talking or do you work mostly in groups?
- Do students stay in the same room the whole school period or do they move to different rooms according to the subject?
- Is discipline very strict?

If you have teenage students and wish to join our project, you can record the whole class using your own voicethread account and have different students come to the webcam and answer the questions (an in-class activity) or you can set it as homework and students record themselves individually. What do you think? We would love to hear from you.

August 7, 2013

Android APPS for ELT


This week, in one of the EDMODO groups I'm a member of, a teacher asked suggestions of Android apps for English Language Teaching.

I know many people blog about IPHONE/ IPAD apps and it's not that simple to select good apps for a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach.

Here in Brazil, specially with well-off teenagers iphones are very popular. However, what about all these other devices our students carry in their bags, not to say on their hands all the time? Once schools invest in providing free wifi to students, there's a lot we can do with the devices that belong to them. 

As a teacher, I've decided to invest in an ipad and an android cell phone in order to be well acquainted with both systems. 

The best source of suggested Android apps, in my opinion, is Richard Byrne's blog  .

Nevertheless, I've started a collaborative list of ANDROID APPS FOR ELT.

Android apps for ELT
View more lists from Ana Menezes

Would you help me enrich this list?  TO CONTRIBUTE, just click ADD TO LIST and paste the URL from the android app you suggest.