Idioms with vision

Teaching idioms is not that bad, is it? But a man can do no more than he can so why not give the kids a push?
If you’re teaching them early in the morning they’re as fresh as a daisy so you won’t have any trouble. But then, at the drop of a hat, they want to go home and have lunch. Sometimes, no matter how you slice it they’re just not with you… So, to pave the way to their engagement in the activity why not Padlet as the icing on the cake?

Padlet could actually help them visualize the idioms (and proverbs). Here and here there are a few examples. You just have to post a few pics and have them guess the idiom or you can ask them to post the pictures themselves and have the others guess.



I also found this wonderful resource by Hana Tichá who has this amazing blog of visual idioms. Not to miss!



Skyping with Kazakhstan

The idea came from Nurbol Bekbaganbetov, a teacher from Aktobe, Kazakhstan. We came in touch through one of the most wonderful tools I know: EDMODO, an educational socialnetwork. Wonderful to share, learn and engage with Ss.

Together we scheduled a set of skype sessions with his students in Aktobe and mine here in Porto, Portugal. It was great. the plan was:

1# Ss had to gather all sort of information about their country including pictures, films and objects.

2# then, when time came, they had to take a Kazakh student skype address and initialize the conversation

3# the sessions were scheduled considering timezone and Ss’ age

4# they could use any sort of device: PC, laptop, tablet or mobile

We had about 5 different sessions and although the connection was not perfect the kids enjoyed and, as far as I know, some of them still keep in touch every now and then. In those sessions appart from talking they shared pictures with each other and showed objects depicting their national culture. It was awesome!

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Headsets ready


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This session took place in the ICT room


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Showing their images


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My colleague from Aktobe


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It works with mobiles!


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And wherever you feel confortable


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They were thrilled to observe the uniforms


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A session with the younger ones


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Did their homework!


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I guess some of my boys were in love! 🙂

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11/12 year-olds


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The girls live from Kazakhstan


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Francisco delighted to meet older, foreign girls.


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Blogging with the students

Every day I hear teachers complaining about how little their students engage in written activities and how wonderful it would be (for all!) if they did. On the other hand I also hear them complaining about how big their classes are and how difficult it is to correct their written papers.
As for me, I have the same issues: 270 students in classes of about 30 and the impossibility of taking essays home every week (or else my personal life would go down the drain…).
However, I must be honest, what bothers me the most is not only the amount of essays I have to mark but the Ss’ handwritings I have to decode. Honestly, I spend ages trying to figure out if the words are well spelt, if the came is not a come or if it is spend instead of spent. Not to mention the ones I can’t even read and try to guess what they could be. Sometimes I ask for help at home but in the meantime an hour has already gone by and I’m still at the top of the pile.


New year. New resolutions.

I decided to have them blog.

1st I made sure that they all have internet access at home and if not (which didn’t really happen) assign them a period of time in the school library where they do. I confess I  didn’t have high expectations on the number of blogposts and as so, I decided with their approval, to go for a sort of Quadblogging but with the whole class.


1# each week we have a different blogger in each class and all the others have to comment. They know in advance when their turn is therefore they can prepare their texts in advance.

2# they can blog about anything they like – which gives them the freedom to choose what most interests them.

3# there’s a minimum of 150 wds for each week’s blogpost

To proceed with this wish of mine I didn’t want to use any of the platforms I already knew such as this one or Blogger or Edublog that’s when I found Kidblog.

Kidblog is a big blog with little blogs inside. I created a big blog for each class and inside it each student has his own blog. As so, when you access the class’ blog what you get is a thread of all the posts from all the Ss of that class.
It is a free platform unless you want to upgrade it to access further features. The teacher can customize, approve posts and comments as a notification is sent to the email everytime something new is posted. All the posts or comments pending are highlighted in yellow as to be easily spotted by the teacher


The advantages are plenty being the organization the most important one:

1# the student (and you) has  access to the total amount of his posts  allowing  a global view on both engagement in the activity and progress in writing


#2 as the teacher gets a notification, posts or comments can be corrected as they come which avoids a huge, simultaneous and discouraging pile of essays.

#3 over with terrible handwriting and marking much easier

#4 the kids have a real audience instead of just a teacher reading what they write

So far this experience has largely exceeded my expectations both on the number of posts I’m getting (not just THE one weekly post but actually many, many more) as well as their quality. Minimum words was set in 150 although many posts overcame the 700! I’m really happy with the outcome and do advise everyone to try. Some are really good like this one, a chapter from a book , this or this. Really proud of them. Who wouldn’t be?

My hometwon “We’re on the air Project”

And finally here I am with the final result! As I have  previously explained the kids were supposed to produce a video where their hometown should be portrayed the way they wished.

Stage #1 Project planning in groups

Stage #2 They filmed with their mobiles and each group (there were 6 of them) came up with a video of what they found more interesting and worth mentioning/seeing . If you click here you will see some of those videos.

Stage #3 Audio recording. In class (sometimes we hear a nearly inaudible ssshhh at the back…) the students volunteered to record what they had written.

Stage #4 Video editing- my task… not a premium editor. Good enough not to let them down.
However biased I may be, I think they did a good job. 🙂

We’re nearly on the air!!


As I have posted before WE’RE ON THE AIR PROJECT  is the name of this simple, easy- to- do project that I’ve just started with my 12th graders.

The first theme of this Project is My Home Town and the point is to make a video about our city
•the students worked in groups
•they filmed using mobiles
•they filmed in different locations
•the film is 2m long


•I provided a rubric for the Project
•had them fill it in class as a way of planning the work

Finally they handed in their videos which will now be edited and shortened into a 5m film

I couldn’t resist to show you some of the videos before editing as they deserve to be stood out.

Have a look:

The boys did quite well. The weather didn’t…

The girls had a personal cameraman (woman?)

The best music choice. Portuguese, no doubt.

English SADI’s (acronym for their names) project

I may say I’m proud of them. 🙂