Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cool Fonts

Thursday, 25 March 2010

More from Howard Gardener

What most appealed to me when I first heard of Gardener´s MI theory was the way all children could be "smart". Whether they were "word smart" or "people smart". I loved the way the theory made it possible for all children to be some kind of "smart".

I have just read on Judie Hayne´s blog, that Howard has a new book out called Five Minds for The Future. According to Judie, Howard says the Five minds of The Future are:

* The Disciplinary Mind: The goal of schools can no longer be the memorization of an assortment of facts. Students need to learn to think across many disciplines (historical, mathematical, artistic, scientific) and to become experts in one discipline.

* The Synthesizing Mind: The ability to synthesize information has become more and more important. There is so much information available to students that is undigested and unevaluated. Students need to be able to synthesize the information that is available and communicate it to others.

The Creating Mind: This is the ability of a person to clarify new problems and come up with new solutions. The Creative Mind thinks outside the box and is not afraid to try new things and fail.

* The Respectful Mind is respectful of the differences among human beings. Diversity is a fact of life and we must go beyond mere tolerance to show our respect for others.

* The Ethical Mind demonstrates the ability to conceptualize oneself as a good worker and a good citizen. We must take our responsibilities in these two areas seriously.

He also talks about the importance of lifelong learning which is all the rage here in Spain at the moment with the introduction of the Key Competences. It looks like a good read. Thanks to Judie Haynes for bringing it to our attention!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

TESOL Spain Convention 2010

I´ve just got back from the TESOL Spain convention. This year the convention was held in Lleida from the 12th to the 14th of March. It was my first year and there were many speakers to choose from covering a wide variety of topics and themes. It was a long journey from Fuerteventura but worth every minute!

My favourite speaker was Luke Prodromou whose talk was titled "Getting and Keeping Children´s attention". Luke´s talk was nothing less than inspiring. He spoke about the importance of a touch of "magic" in the classroom. The talk was packed with ideas and suggestions but my favourite was about "The Forest of Hands".

As teachers we ask children to put their hands up to answer a question right? Well, Luke said that when you think about it , it ´s not the most effective tool. Why? The same children always put their hands up. Some children never put their hands up and some children put their hands up even if they don´t know the answer to the question.

To solve the problem he wrote the names of the children in his class twice on small pieces of card and them plastified them. Next he cut them up and put them in his pocket. Then, instead of asking children to put their hands up to participate he simply slipped his hand into his pocket and took out a name card! I love the simplicity of this activity and the Magic.

Thanks Luke for a great idea!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Why I love using "real books" in the classroom

In the past 18 months I have started to use "real books" in the primary classroom. I have always used the occasional story book but after attending a CLIL course in Las Palmas given by Tim Herdon I developed a real love of them. My favourite author is Eric Carle who is best known perhaps for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

"Real books" are a great resource for primary teachers of EFL. They are originally written for children's enjoyment and have no specific teaching aim, but they can easily be adapted to use in class. They are books originally written and illustrated for English children to read. The best books are ones that are repetitive. They are called pattern books.

There are many pattern books out there but here is a list of my personal favourites:

1. Brown Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carle.
2. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
4.Old MC Donald.
5. There was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly.
6. The Bad Tempered Ladybird by Eric Carle.
7. Wait and See by Sue Heap.

You can buy these books quite cheaply second hand from e-bay or from an English book shop. If you are interested in seeing some of these books check out u-tube for videos. They are rich in language and structure and can be easily exploited for classroom use and, the children really enjoy them.

Have fun reading!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Why children misbehave

There are many reasons for bad behaviour. Here are some of the most common ones. This list is based on my classroom experience. I am sure that you can think of other ones.

1. Children are bored.
2. Children are tired,hungry,sad, angry, thirsty....
3. Children find the work too easy or too difficult.
4. Children have problems at home.
5. Children have not bonded with the teacher.
6. Children want attention.
6. Children have low self-esteem.
7. Children are challenging the teacher.
8. Children have other learning difficulties.

Here are some possible solutions.

1. Try to include something FUN in every lesson.
2. Think about how you are going to group students.
3. Think about and plan how you are going to get students to move around the class.
4. Make sure your lessons have activities that calm as well as stir.
5. Have high expectations about behaviour and enforce classroom rules.
6. Praise students doing good things rather than calling attention to bad behaviour.
7. Try and make sure that you are relaxed, not tired or stressed when you go into the classroom ( I know easy to say!).
8. Remember that all children will behave badly at one time or another (just like adults).
9. Never give up and never lose your temper! (only in a controlled way)

Why blog?

I started this blog for many reasons. Here are some of them:

1. I am participating in a teacher training course and it was a task.

2. I may be having an early mid-life crisis.

3. I think I have something to say.

4. I think it´s a great way to share ideas and develop as a teacher.

5. I am jumping on the bandwagon.

and lastly why not?