Sunday, 19 November 2017

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 25 November


In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November  as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize on that day activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem. 

Two years before, in 1997 "How come, how long" song was written, produced and performed by Babyface as a duet with American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, who also co-wrote the song. The lyrics deal with domestic violence and is inspired by  Nicole Brown Simpson's  case. The music video for this song, directed by F. Gary Gray, shows several people in the same building ignoring the shouts and screams and multiple fights between a married couple, ending with a twist, showing that the woman killed her abusive husband, ending with her being arrested. This video received a nomination for Best R&B Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Unfortunately, twenty years later, one in three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. It happens in every country and every society. It happens at home, in schools, on the streets, at work and  on the internet. 

What can teachers do? My proposal  to collaborate to stop the cycle of violence against girls and women is based on this beautiful song and the high-quality video story F. Gary Gray directed:


You will need to download the handout for your students  and the lyrics of the song.  

(The handout above includes a writing task which you may choose to collect from students for correction  after the classroom session is over)

The first step to ending violence is to break the silence. I hope this meaningful song will help all of us to take this first step. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

World Science day for peace and development in our classrooms


Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the important role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.The 2017 theme is “Science for Global Understanding”. Global Understanding is key to peace and sustainable development in that it promotes the commitment of individuals and local communities in sharing knowledge for actions and behavioral change. Science is thus central to global understanding as it not only helps understand the world but also it assists in designing, developing and implementing the change we aim for. 

UNESCO strongly encourages all to join them  in celebrating World Science Day for Peace and Development by scheduling something special for that date. 

My proposal for your  Secondary classrooms needs three sessions and is based on the following video:
 
Before starting viewing the video above, prepare a handout for students with the most difficult words which are key to understanding and check they know those words.

While watching the video, ask students to write down the name of each of the scientists who,  according to the author of this video, changed the world. They should also try to understand  the reason why he/she  was essential for mankind. (Students  can use this  simple table to take notes while they listen).

Let students watch  the video twice and after watching the video for a second time,  ask them to  share their notes in pairs for about 15 minutes. After that,  proceed to check their understanding  of the contents of the video by asking different pairs to tell you what they have written. 

In the second session, group students in threes /fours and ask them to think about a  STEM discovery/ theory that   exemplifies the important role of  Science in our society. Each group  will have to write a paragraph about their favourite discovery and the reasons for their choice. This language support document will help them to express their opinion, agree and disagree with their partner. You can prepare copies of it and hand them out to students before  they  start talking in pairs. They will need about 45 minutes for this second task. 

Help students with websites they can use to carry out this task:

https://www.factmonster.com/science/general-science/life-changing-science-discoveries

http://list25.com/25-biggest-scientific-discoveries-in-history-of-mankind/

https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/5-scientific-breakthroughs-we-couldnt-live-without.htm


The third session that wraps up this micro-unit on the importance of Science and its impact on society will be aimed at listening to the different groups. Allow students to read their paragraph aloud for other  students to listen  and, if you feel like it, after all groups have been heard,  you can ask  students to vote for the "most important" discovery/theory/development. 

I hope this simple proposal will raise awareness of the importance  of Science in and for society. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH CLIL


Today I would like to share with CLIL practitioners in Secondary schools a project which was developed with the support of the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union. Participant countries were Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania, Turkey and Spain and their project mainly aims at providing learners with skills in 3 key competences:


  • social entrepreneurship skills;
  • foreign language skills;
  • ICT skills.
The project was thought for the field of Vocational Education and Training but when you see the intellectual outputs, you will find it really useful for your Secondary classrooms too. Before proceeding to describe what this project consists in, I would like to  insist that  all users of the SET2CLIL materials should refer to the project when using those materials. The reference source will be the SET2CLIL website.

The trainers' guide will provide you with an overview of the project so that you can figure out  the magnitude of the materials and the way they have been organized. 

The e-repository  offers   5 modules which contain 30 KITs with over 150 activities and resources. A KIT contains suggested teaching activities as described in its corresponding lesson plan at the end of the trainer’s guide. Most KITs offer activities related to real-life cases. Apart from these modules, the repository also provides you with 30 case studies from the five countries that have taken part in the project. 

As you have probably guessed by now, the range of teaching units which can be used in our CLIL classrooms is enormous. I am sure that teachers who implement Economics, Citizenship, Ethical  Values, Tutorials and Global issues will find an invaluable source of teaching materials. I would like to encourage you to contact the team who has developed the project and also to let them know what you think about it through the evaluation form provided on the website.  

Once again, I would like to express my most  heartfelt  congratulations on this project to all participants. Your hard work has truly paid off.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

CV- Historical Europass


Have you ever wondered what Galileo's curriculum would have been like? Or Marie Curie's? Or Napoleon's? Europass has thought of an original way to make students between 14 and 18 learn how to write a CV while deepening on the aptitudes and biography of a historical character they admire. 


The jury will consider both creativity and historical coherence. Therefore, accuracy regarding both the biodata of the chosen character and  the different sections of the CV within Europass platform will be taken into account.

You can download the template of the European CV and a series of video tutorials from here.

If your students decide to take part, they have to send their CVs in pdf format together with the registration template (Anexo 1) to the following e-mail address: 

europass@sepie.es (Asunto: CV histórico

If students' CVs are chosen, they will be invited to Infoday Europass in Madrid and they will also enjoy public acknowledgement of their work. 

Everything you need to know in order to take part in Historical Europass can be found in this document.

Sooner than later, our students will have to create a real CV when they start searching for a job so we may as well start teaching them how to write this document to present their skills and qualifications effectively and clearly. Why not start with what this  historical CV Europass suggests ? 

Friday, 29 September 2017

A school for all of us


UNESCO defines inclusive education as the process of identifying and responding to the diversity of needs of all students through greater participation in learning, cultures and communities, reducing exclusion in education. It involves changes and modifications to teaching contents, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision that includes all boys and girls.

It is based on the principle that every student has unique learning characteristics, interests, capacities and needs, as well as the fact that educational systems and programmes must be adapted and designed by bearing in mind the extreme diversity of these characteristics and needs. Now it is the school that must adapt itself  to the needs of the students, not vice versa.

Fortunately, educators are not alone in this process. ONCE was created over 80 years ago to obtain social inclusion for people with visual impairments and, later, for people with other types of disabilities. The purpose of this 34th School Contest by ONCE and its Foundation is to raise awareness among students, parents, teachers and society as a whole on the importance of creating a school where there is space for everybody, dynamically and via teamwork, joining forces and ideas to build it together.

How can you participate? Click here and you will find how to take part in the contest as well as teaching materials you can use in your classroom. Scrolling down the page you will find the project your students will have to create and the criteria the jury will take into account.  Deadline to submit projects finishes on February 4th.


Winners will be awarded with interesting prizes although the best prize will be the chance to actively collaborate in offering   quality educational responses for every student. Do you also want a school for all? Then, join in and sign up your class by filling in this form. Small actions like this are the ones that transform a school into a place where boys and girls learn together how to build a more fair and inclusive society. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Scientix 3: Scientix Ambassadors Training Course 3rd edition


Another school year has started and with renewed energies and promising projects ahead, all of us will go on "CLIL-ing" in our diverse educational contexts. From these lines, I wish to welcome all of you to take part in our first seminar session on October 10th and I would also like to encourage you to enrol in the third Scientix Ambassadors Training Course to become a  Scientix Ambassador.

Just in case you have never heard of Scientix, I will start by letting you know that Scientix is  the Community for Science Education in Europe. It offers a superb network for Science Education Projects and it  has just published a new call for teachers who would like to become Scientix Ambassadors and a part of its fast growing Scientix Teachers' Panel.  

What do you have to do if you want to join this community of STEM teachers across Europe? You would have to apply for the on-line course they are offering for free. The current  edition of the course will run between 2 October and 4 December 2017. Places are limited to 300 participants per edition. 

Participants will be chosen from among those that apply through this  form  before September 20th  taking into account the order of application and a fair country distribution.

The main goal of the course is to introduce teachers to the Scientix tools and practice, but also to help STEM teachers from across Europe and beyond to get the information and develop skills and competencies that can contribute to their professional development.

Further details on the contents and aims of the course can be found here.


I hope you will not miss this opportunity if you are a STEM teacher and I would like to end this first post by thanking all of  you, STEM and non-STEM teachers, for having registered for our CLIL seminar at Secondary 2017-2018. 

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.