Thursday, 29 June 2017

Factworld Journal 17: Sustainability Education




Keith Kelly, Hristina Bancheva, Dilyanka Bezlova, Lyubov Dombeva  and  Rod Holmes have dedicated Factworld Journal 17 to issues related to Sustainability Education. (You can download the entire pdf version of Journal 17 at the foot of the page).  Their reports offer really accurate insights into sustainable development and if you have encouraged your students to take part in the competition I mentioned in my last entry, I am sure they will find plenty of support and evidence for their ideas. The journal also includes  students' feedback on the classes in Sofia. This feedback  is the best proof that eco-schools that embrace education for sustainability are also schools that succeed and do really well.


Last but not least, all of you who are working on  sustainable education with students are encouraged to send  Keith Kelly and Stefka Kitanova  your own work, classroom materials and articles for publication . Requirements and details are described in the inside cover of the journal. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Youth citizen entrepreneurship competition


      Resultado de imagen de youth citizen entrepreneurship competition
                         
Encourage your students to participate in the UNESCO Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition.  In their own words, young people aged 15+ can demonstrate all their STEAMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Sports) skills by submitting their innovative ideas and projects with a societal impact, which champion and implement one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets address the most important social, economic, environmental, health and governance challenges of our time.

First of all, register and create an account.  If you have an innovative idea on one of the  17 SDGs, you can send your entry until the entry deadline (31 July 2017).  You may also support your entry by submitting a video presentation of your idea or project (up to 3 minutes).
Entries will be posted on the competition website and are subject to online commenting and public voting. From among the finalists, the judges will make the final selection of three winners (Grand Prize, 2nd Prize and 3rd Prize) in each category.

Entries will be evaluated based on their entrepreneurial vision, feasibility,   innovation, leadership, social impact, and sustainability, among other factors.
The People's Choice Prize will be given to the entry with the largest number of votes in each of  the two categories.

In addition, an Entrepreneurship Campus Prize will be given to three entrants who have  demonstrated outstanding ‘entrepreneurship spirit’ by actively taking part in the Entrepreneurship  Campus.

I reckon this is a great opportunity to  empower young entrepreneurs to create a sustainable world so I would like to thank Stiftung Entrepreneurship and Goi Peace Foundation for organizing this competition. Good luck to all the young entrepreneurs ready to take part in it!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Debates in the classroom to help students handle the 4Cs


In addition to providing meaningful listening, speaking and writing practice, debate is also highly effective for developing argumentation skills for persuasive speech and writing. Debating is, indeed, an essential thinking skill that our students have to practise in order  not to be afraid to express their opinions when they are not the same as others’ . Equally important is the ability they will acquire to respect others’ opinions.

I would like to share a  lesson plan  that any teacher can use either for English language or for any subject which is implemented through English.  It includes some guidelines for the chairperson, the timekeeper and the audience. You will also find a very simple assessment tool so that the students who act as the audience can take an active part throughout the debating process. I reckon this peer assessment tool would be an effective way to engage students and foster their critical thinking skills  by asking them to assess their peers. 


Apart from the lesson plan above, teachers will also need   a tool to assess their students debating skills. 
(With permission from:    http://course1.winona.edu/shatfield/air/classdebate.pdf)

I believe that the 4 Cs which have become a must in our English classrooms can be developed in a natural way by setting  up debates in our lessons throughout the academic year. We can also use debates  as a tool to review argumentative language  and specific vocabulary before the exam period we  are immersed in right now.

Finally, I would like to recommend  debatingmatters.com, a website which will help you to develop debates with your students on a huge range of topics. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Sport). Just brow subjects by A-Z here.

I hope that  this article provides those of you who are interested in debate with enough to get started. Then, you will need to adapt the resources to suit your educational  context  needs . The best argument to defend debates is to keep in mind that they bring creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking together. Therefore, let’s debate in our classrooms and  help students to become well-practiced critical thinkers.  

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Presentations for every content area: teachers' models and students' presentations

In our last seminar session, we were talking about assessing students in our CLIL contexts and many of you commented that your students are delivering oral presentations on a specific topic using ppt or prezzi. Therefore, I am writing to let all of you know about www.worldofteaching.com. You can download a huge number of Powerpoint presentations for free on a variety of subjects. If you wish, you can also upload your own presentations so as to share thenm with teachers from around the world. ANother good site to search for presentations on different subject is this one.

A similar website that is specific for History and Global Studies is Power Point Palooza.

All these  sites can be very useful when you have not  got enough time to build your own slideshow orto look through for ideas for creating your own slideshows. 

For History teachers, Tom Richey has wonderful PowerPoint presentations and hundreds of useful videos in his youtube channel.

If you need a tool to assess students' Powerpoint presentations, I would like to share this one with you.

If you are interested in a rubric to assess students' oral presentations following a different format from ppt, this one can help you.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

ART AND MUSIC

Encourage your pupils to develop their creativity by listening to music they like and creating a work of art to represent how it makes them feel with this activity from Tate Kids.


The Idea:

Different types of music can create different responses. Responses to music can be made through drawing, painting, 3D sculpture, movement, dance, story, poetry, photography, slide projection and video. You can probably think of others, too. The idea here is to show how the music inspires you. Your work will show how music makes you feel, what it makes you think of and what you can create from what you hear.
 The Plan:
You are going to respond to your chosen piece of music by creating a sculpture known as a 3D kinetic (that means movement) sculpture-drawing. This means you will respond by creating a sculpture that represents the way the music makes you feel.
 
  You Need:
  • A selection of any bits and pieces you can find, including lolly sticks and different sized and coloured pieces of paper.
  • String, wool or ribbon, so you can make a music sculpture mobile if you wish.
  • Scissors, sticky tape, glue.
  • A hook - if you want to hang your mobile up.
  • Your chosen piece of music or sounds.
  

Do it!

  • Listen carefully to your music and think about how the music moves.
  • Does it make big swooshing shapes? Does it make small, quiet movements or is it jerky and repetitive? Perhaps it sounds like it is creeping along the floor? Or is it more like it is flying and swirling through the air.
  • You might find yourself moving to the music. That’s good – dance if you want to.
  • Now you are ready to make your 3D sculpture by choosing bits and pieces that represent the feel of your music. For example a curled waving piece of paper might move in a whirly, swirling way or a collection of lolly sticks might clink against each other in a jerky, clicky way.
  • Hang your sculpture up like a mobile so it can rotate and move freely.
 
 Top Tips:
  • Think about how the sounds fit together and move. Then try to make your 3D sculpture move in a similar way.
  • Try different ways of responding to other pieces of music or sounds.
  • You might enjoy just working with a sound effects CD.
  • You could make a response to the natural sounds around you – go into the country, into the city or by the sea if that is possible.

See it: 


Friday, 5 May 2017

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse through TrashedWorld



I would like to congratulate Keith Kelly, Clive Oxenden and  Keith Halstead   because their project TrashedWorld is among the finalists for the ELTons 2017. TrashedWorld is a global schools' platform for curriculum exchange work on the topic of waste. Its aim is to help develop English language skills in secondary schools while developing awareness among young people of the worldwide problem of waste and its impact on the environment.

To celebrate their  nomination, they are offering free subscription to TrashedWorld till the finals on June 14th. This means access to resources from over 300 schools from all over Europe for free!

Listen to  Keith below these lines to see how to take part in this  wonderful project which is so necessary for our beloved  planet:


 


You can also read the  TrashedWorld Bulletin 04 , which is  dedicated to this announcement and includes simple steps for finding and working with partners for exchanging student work. You can find it here

Once again, congratulations to Keith Kelly and his team   on the superb work they have done and thank you very much for offering our CLIL teachers  this great opportunity. Taking part in TrashedWorld  will sure  contribute to making our students aware of the impact of waste and  change habits so  as to prevent damage to our environment.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

How and why to write a magazine in any content area


We are starting the month  of May and I know that all of you are very busy developing your assessment tasks  for the end of the course. I would like to highlight that  assessment tasks can take many forms. Some of the most common assessment tasks are exams, tests and essays. Therefore, why not ask our students to include their essays/articles on different topics related to our content areas in a magazine?  In this way, they would profit  from the positive outcomes  of both essay writing and group work:

  • Essays help students  to learn academic writing skills, including formulating an argument; presenting evidence; integrating material from sources; and referencing appropriately. Students  will synthesize and evaluate theoretical ideas and concepts and develop their research skills. 
  • Group work emphasises collaborative learning, problem-solving and critical evaluation, and is a valuable preparation for the workplace since students  will develop team skills and learn to work with a range of people.
Let me facilitate your work by providing you with everything you need to help students design their own magazine:
  •          A couple of ICT tools that can be used to create digital magazines:
      The second one is very easy to use and you can follow a simple tutorial here:
  

If you choose the digital format, you will be able to embed the magazines   into the school/class website or blog.

I hope that you will like my proposal and encourage your students to create their own magazine. You will have an opportunity to assess their knowledge of some topics and their writing skills while  they will develop their critical thinking skills  and enjoy a very positive teamwork experience.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Participate in an exciting Robotics competition

A variety of projects on Robotics is already being developed in many of our schools and the new  official  call to present new projects on Innovative Science and Technology for 2017-2018 is open  till May 8th. If you choose to take part in Robotics, you will probably be interested in knowing about World Robot OlympiadTM (WRO). This association  brings together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity, design and problem solving skills through challenging and educational robot competitions and activities. If you want to engage your students in Robotics, why not participate in the competition in Spain and try to qualify for the international WRO final which takes place once every year in November.  The winning teams from national competitions will represent their countries from November 10-12 in Costa Rica, the hosts of WRO 2017! 

There are different categories as well as different age groups, ranging from under 12-year-olds to 17-25-year-olds so both Primary and Secondary students can take part in it. You can read the general rules here.  Why not start by trying the local competition on June 10th in Bilbao? As Patricia Briggs says, "trying is always enough".  Good luck!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

I live in Getxo and new containers, including the ones for organic waste, have just been installed. Maybe that is the reason why   I have become more sensitive about the need to recycle, reuse and reduce. The Town Hall of Getxo has also launched an on-line  competition for Primary and Secondary students  in the area so that they face a series of challenges that will let them learn about the benefits of recycling. Eight schools are taking part in this competition and I can say that families and teachers are as happy as students themselves. 

I was wondering how I could contribute to raise awareness about this topic in other schools and I have thought of sharing a simple proposal I have thought of with teachers of English or teachers who implement Science or Global Issues through the medium of English. You can find my proposal here.

If you can spend more  than two sessions on the topic, I would recommend a great website by Michelle Henry, a teacher of English. There is a huge variety of activities on vocabulary, audios, games,  and even songs related to the topic. Jack Johnson's "The 3 R" is my favourite. You can listen to it  below these lines:



Jack Johnson was   named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2015 but seven  years before that he was interviewed  for ABC news and maybe his words  leave a mark on your students. While listening to the interview, ask them to keep these two questions in mind:

-  What did he do as a singer so as to protect the environment? Name at least two actions he carried out while he was recording. 

-  In his view, how can music change the world?


You can follow the interview here:



I hope that by  trying one or more of the suggestions above your students will collaborate to the 3 Rs.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

2017 International Essay Contest on "Learning from Nature"


Based in Japan, the Goi Peace Foundation is a public benefit organization supported by members around the world working together to create a culture of peace.  Every year they organize an  annual essay contest in an effort to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of the world's youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.

The theme of the contest 2017  is ‘Learning from nature’, so your students will have a great opportunity to take full advantage of everything they have learned in their Natural Science lessons. I would like to encourage you to develop this essay writing skill with your students and ask them to take part in this exciting  essay-writing contest.

There are two categories: a) children (ages up to 14) and b) youth (ages 15-25).  Essays must be 700 words or less and can be written in Spanish, English, German or Japanese. 

If you are interested in helping your students to take part in  this contest, I have developed a simple document which includes some basic tips on essay writing, a list of connectors in English  and a checklist for students that will help them to see if they can improve their essay  before sending it. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Art competitions for children and teenagers



Look and Learn is a London-based picture library specialising in educational images and a member of BAPLA (the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies).
Since 2006 they have run monthly online children’s art competitions with the explicit objective of creating the world’s best gallery of children’s art. All entries appear in their online gallery, and children and their sponsors (teachers or parents) get their own personal online galleries. 
There are two main choices for your Art classrooms: 
1) Enter the Art gallery, just  click on any picture to enlarge it, download it or  send an e-card of it to friends and family. 
2) Take part in monthly competitions (entry to the competitions and gallery is free). 
Competitions focus on a different theme each month and  entries are  divided into three age groups (0-7, 8-11 and 12-18). Entry to the competitions and gallery is free so I am sure you will be interested in taking part in the next competitions  with your students. 
From these lines,  I would like to thank  Look and learn for offering children and teenagers this great opportunity to enjoy Art. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

International Women's Day 2017


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took a historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality and on every March 8th they focus on a theme to keep on advancing towards achieving gender equality. 

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The website is, as usual, a superb source for educators but I would like to recommend the section called "From where I stand", a collection of stories of women around the world who are bringing real change regarding gender equality.

I wanted to contribute to the celebration of March 8th in our classrooms through a lesson plan based on a film. Why? I would say that sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in  films are known to all. However,  there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names were known to only a few, but whose stories deserve to be told. This is the case with "Hidden figures", which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

One of these women,  98-year-old Katherine Johnson,  is a true hero who was totally hidden until this film was released and I would like to pay my humble tribute to her and to all hidden women whose deeds should be known to all. The starting point of the lesson I have developed is Katherine's biography  but let me suggest using the uplifting Gospel song from the film as a warm-up:


If you wish, you can ask students to carry out a  fill in the gaps activity while they listen to the song. The complete version of the lyrics can be downloaded from here.

After listening to the song you will have created the environment to start this lesson plan on "Empowering Women in the changing world of work".

I hope my proposal will help your students to reflect on the need for gender equality regarding acknowledgement of work achievement. 


Downloadable resources for the lesson plan:

Handout for the student: Katherine's biography

Handout for the teacher: Katherine Johnson's biography

Handout for the student: biography writing frame

Handout for the student: feedback on peers'  presentations

Handout for the teacher: oral presentation rubrics for a biography

Handout for the student: listening activity

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Using newspaper and magazine articles in the content areas






Needless to say that we do not have to supply students with physical newspapers. We are very lucky to have online versions of most newspapers, some of which with lesson plans that can be very helpful when you like the article but you lack the necessary time to prepare some activities for students to carry out while and after reading. The Guardian includes a series of free  lesson plans for different content areas. The New York Times also offers a learning section with lesson plans. 

Next seminar I will present some of my favourite activities to make the most of using newspaper and magazine  articles in the  classroom but before we meet let me share some of them with you.  You can find them here

To help students with summarizing skills and  new vocabulary when reading newspaper articles, you can use this template  provided by Readwritethink.


Most newspapers are included here:

You can find some worksheets that relate to newspaper articles here:

The following is a collection of online magazines on very different topics:

For Science topics:

http://www.sciencemag.org/


For History content:

http://www.historic-newspapers.co.uk/blog/


Spanish El País can be read in English:

More student-friendly  websites you can use: