Introducing Project-Based Learning in your Classroom


What is PBL and why use it

P2P – Reflections on our current teaching practice

Let’s think about how PBL links to our current teaching approaches. Write a short Learning Diary entry reflecting on your own teaching strategies, classroom setup, students’ needs, etc.


My regular classroom is very interactive still I have the students sat in rows as it has traditionally been  for years. I started tying PBL 3 years ago and I’m still not happy with the outcomes:

  • anything that requires working collaboratively generates anxiety and frustration among the students if they don’t get to work with that specific colleague they envisaged working with. If I let tem choose there will always be a few out. Therefore I use TEAMUP and they know in advance that the program will generate their working group
  • I also notice that the groups have a lot of trouble organizing their working method and some don’t even reach that point. They inevitably tend to procrastinate. To avoid this I make a mid-project assessment using GOOGLE FORMS or SURVEYMONKEY so that they stop and think about what they are (not!) doing.
  • Then there’s the piggyback issue, mentioned in the vídeo. As this isn’t a regular teaching method, some students prefer to rely on their colleagues and lay back while someone else does the working. To prevent this I also give different grades to members of the same group. It’s the only possible way.
  • As such, assessment is not always easy especially if you’ve got 30 studnts classes like I do. Sometimes it’s really hard to know who is being productive and who isn’t. Some students even complain that they’d rather have a test since they were the ones to do the whole project.
  • I truly believe that what they get from their project will last longer than a mere lecture on the same subject. Right now I’m still struggling with the right methodologies to make good use of PBL


My favourite eTwinning project so far

This is a weekly task for the #twinmooc I am currently follwing in the eTwinning platform.
In  a, no more than,   140- charaters -tweet -post I had to define eTwinning. Easy. eTwinning is connecting my students and my school to the world!

What else could I say? Well, a lot.

#1 I came across wonderful people in the eTwinning platform, some of them I have even met face to face.

#2 I engaged in several simple projects which contributed to my students growing as pupils and as citizens of the world

#3 I started  exchange student projects with different countries such as Hungary, France and Belgium

#4 I even started an Erasmus+ project with fantastic people whom I will never forget and hope to work further in the future

#5 I had the chance to attend a PDW (Professional Development Worshop) in Guimarães, Portugal, where I met a colleague from Luxemburg who rapidly became a friend. Together with some others from Croatia, Germany and Norway we started a project with our 6th graders. My favourite eTwinning Project:

Share the tale

Starting in Luxemburg, the students from the 5 countries involved had to write a chapter for a story whose characters they had previously been introduced to. They had to use Simple Present, write a pre-defined number of words, make sketches to illustrate their episode and include a monument from the city they lived in. At the end the book was turned into an audio book and later printed as paperback. As so, the students were able to buy it for a really affordable price and can now be used in class!

The book’s name: THE MAGIC RING

Very proud of it. 🙂



Letter to my students


Dear students,

Some of you may have heard this story before as I make no secret about it. I’ve told it as a way to encourage and show you that life isn’t always as linear as it seems. Things change and people too. Don’t ever regret your choices. You made them for a reason. Don’t be scared of changing your route. Taking risks is what makes the world go around.

I never wanted to be a teacher. I had nightmares imagining myself in front of a class of mocking teenagers, not knowing what to say, exposing my failures. That seemed so terrifying. Hence, I took a decision: I would be a Translator.

That seemed the best choice. How safer could it be? I sat secluded behind a computer screen with no eager little eyes inspecting and scanning me every minute. How safer could it be?

And so it was. For some time. I used to sit at my desk and perform the tasks irreprehensibly.  One after another. Day in, day out. Alone. Secluded.

The work was scarce but the payment was excellent. What else could I want? I sat at my computer alone and away from those flipping through little eyes, immersed in routine…

How dull could it be?

One day I had to say enough. I mean, I am a communicator. I love to talk , I love people and I love interacting with them. Laboratories were not made for me. I need eye and physical contact with HUMANS! I felt abandoned and away from the most important thing in life: us!

And so I made a huge turn in my life. I never, ever regreted the decision I took: nor the first or the second. I had to follow the course of things but there is no doubt I was right the second time.

Where else could I feel I make the difference in someone’s life? Where else do I get the chance to Learn everyday sipping from eternal youth. Students are eternally young. They are always the same age and I feel rejuvenated just to be around You!

You make me laugh, you teach me about simple things in life, you make me cry. You say goodbye and you come back to visit me years after.

You remember me!

You make me feel so important when you recall moments we had together, secrets you shared with me.

I am so deeply proud when you thank me for doing what is right: listen, guide, support you.

How empty my life would be without you.

Thank you for being part of my life and making it so much better.

I  have always wanted to be a teacher.

Yours sincerely

Cristina Silva

Teacher’s Survival Kit- Revisited

Last school year was quite hard for me. I engaged in  several projects at the same time. I was away with students or teachers for longer than my family deserved. I was on a plane for 17 times. I prepared workshops, conferences and webinars. I worked all weekends with no exception. I lost my Head teacher who had been working with me for the past 20 years. Ufff. You name it.

At the end I was  a complete wreck but still strong enough to go to Oxford again and attend Exeter College’s Teacher Seminar for 2 weeks. It was so hard to get started. I hadn’t been sleeping much and my memory was really affected. It seemed impossible to focus during lectures and yet they were incredibly interesting. I felt so bad, irritaded, moody. Not even pills seemed to help me get through. Anxiety always takes the best over me.

This year I decided I would do things differently. I did.


Here’s how my kit works

  • Expand week time work so that weekend is left (rather) free to rest and enjoy family activities. Who wants to have a crumpy mum complaining about her work misfortune?
  • Refrain from working after 9pm as it troubles the sleep and stirs your brain in a way it does not let you relax
  • Control anxiety to avoid wanting everything done NOW. It kills you and the others. There won’t be much damage if THE worksheet is not done for tomorrow.
  • Do not despair if you’ve left something  unbelievably and undescrivably important at home.  There are sure other alternatives. Teachers are the best to find a Plan B.
  • Stop thinking abot work  everytime you’re with friends. Going for a walk does not have to mean you will be looking for nice quotes or realia. Leave resource hunting for some other time
  • Do not take work with you if you’ve arranged a weekend out. You won’t have your head free to be with the people who love you,  and work will not be productive either
  • Do not drink too much coffee. It provides fake energy which will leave much more tired after the cafein effect is gone.


🙂  It was really important to revisit this 30 Goal Challenge and get a badge!


Week 4 #ICT4ELT task

This is a wonderful tool I learned about in my #ICT4ELT course that I’m following right now.
It is very simple to use and I created this wordpuzzle during a break between classes. I’ve used it straight aaway with the class and they loved it. simple irregular