Lego Batman is a big deal for ‘Team Work’

lego“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change”  Michael Jackson

 

Hello There,

It has been a long time since I posted here. Lot of things have happened and I would like to share with you some lessons plans for Young Learner. Actually,  I have done with my students and also with my kids at home these activities. It might be helpful for your students as well. Moreover, I have been involved with some projects, adapting some materials for an inclusive curriculum.

We have just started a new school year in Brazil. Maybe some of you are working in a new School, of course new students  (just a typical situations for us, right?). In some cases, new methodologies and approaches will come in our ways. Perhaps it may be our first time teaching these methodologies (well, you left your comfort zone?! that’s totally fine and very important to your own development!). There is a moment that you realize that everything is not awesome! It can be very complicated sometimes (yes, it is) – new friends, new staff room, everything is different and WE FEEL ALONE and no empathy…

According to the dictionary Merriam-WebsterEmpathy is the ability of being aware of and sharing another person’s feelings, experiences, and emotions’

I will share with you what a cartoon suggested by one of my kids made me thinking about ’empathy’  and create a lesson plan for my new students.

Last Sunday, we went to see a movie called ‘The Lego Batman’. My daughter was so excited to watch it. One of her friends recommended it and, it was my son’s birthday too. My son simply loves Lego and Batman (perfect combination).

 I have to confess that at the beginning it was pretty silly, just coloful bricks building situations, what I could not have taken into account, it was how many “hidden messages” appeared in there.  Every new scene tried to touch us straight to the head and heart. It was not only for kids, but it was also for all of us.

In a world where ‘egocentrism’ is showing its ugly face, some people don’t see the power of togetherness, community and friendship with good eyes. Lego Batman nailed it. We can not live isolate, NO WAY!! So this is the same thing to our classroom, our school and on.

Just telling a little bit about the story, Batman (Lego) was very confident about himself! No super hero was better than him! He did everything alone in his ‘entire’ life. However, he could not have imagined that ‘Team Work’ would helped him to defeat his most powerful enemy – ‘loneliness’.

Most of the time, we face some situations as shown in this kid’s movie. In our classes, We have the outgoing kids and the shy ones. It is not an easy task to make them working together. However, they have different behaviors, working their differences  can turn into a wonderful team work full of empathy.

And How can we engage these two opposite personalities?  Well, there is not a magic formula, but building some strategies to raise ’empathy’ in class, it might improve themselves to work as a big group in and outside school. 986c2de92af8bb5be23d1aac38713c43

Everything was not awesome this time with that poor Lego character.  Batman went to visit Superman, he thought that Superman was really sad and alone. However, He had no idea that The Justice League Compatriots were having a good time all together with Superman and no one cared about Batman’s presence at the party. Surly Batman’s isolation was the huge problem in his life but when he decided to change his way of living and worked as a Team, he saw that it was easier to handle. This time Batman did everything right! In a movie it seems to be easy. On the other hand,  how tough is to deal with ’empathy’ in everyday life?

Therofore, in an inclusive classroom team work is essential to make a better place to interact and learn. There are no limitation, no fear, no isolation. We are all together, helping each other to overcome our barriers or trying walk with our friends’ shoes. We can make it possible by doing from simple actions to a big challenge. For an inclusive atmosphere, it is necessary  set up some goals during the semester and measure how these actions will develop with the whole group.

I will share with you an activity that you can help your students to work their ’empathy’

Young Learners activity – 7-10 years old

Time:10-15min (It can be a warm-up or a ice-breaker activities)

Aim of the activity: Raise the idea of team work to create a board for Superhero of the day. One day of the week, one student will be the super hero in class. He or She has to help a friend in needed.  So, let’s see how it goes.

Super hero in our class!

1- Find out what kind of abilities your students may have:

  • someone who loves to draw or write
  • someone who can sing, dance or play an instrument
  • someone who knows other languages (Spanish, English)
  • someone who practices sports…

 

2- Motivate the “Hero of the day” share with the entire class what is his/her superpower and weakness.

First give them your own example (Modeling) – My super power is ‘sing’ and ‘dance’, you can show them a videoclip and ask them to dance and sing all together to break the ice. I usually use this video ‘What does the Fox say’ it is top #10 in my classes and they love Just Dance games.

 

3- Encourage them to be superhero everywhere.

The good things they have shared with you during the classes, you can ask them to do it outside as well. Stimulate them to be a good friend and citizen.

  • Help their parents, granparents at home (doing their errands, make their beds, go shopping…)
  • Read or tell a story to a small kid, or special friend, or for elderly people
  • Help them to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle things at school and at home.
  • Teach them the importance of playing Fair games.

 

 

4- Use the social media to interact with other classroom*

This is an example how I use social media (Twitter) with them. I pos16934095_10203022191152353_320569471_nted just the chorus from Michael Jackson’s song  from Lego’s soundtrack, and an Unofficial Lego Batman just replied . It was cool, the kids got really surprised when I showed them the tweet, they just said ‘WOW’.

Most of the time, when I use social media, I ask  for permission. In Brazil, we have some laws that it is not allowed using classroom pictures without parental consent* (*parents should be aware of using social medias during your classes. It is part of your lesson but it is necessary for their kids securities.

 

This activity help them to interact with everyone. Not only the school enviromnent but also wherever they will be. Their superpower is there,  ready to help a friend, their family  or even improve themselves. It is an active that raise equality, diversity and friendship. If we teach our kids kindness and respect, we will let them  grow up in a better place. Don’t forget that kids learn by examples.

 

Sources:

Good readers quotes

Edutopia

LegoTM

Youtube

U.S Department of Health and Human Services

 

 

 

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Authentic Material – Big deal for teachers and learners.

 

keep-it-real

Hello There,

I would like to share with you some great lessons that it was a huge success in two groups of students during this month. Actually, I’m always on facebook or twitter looking for activities that could engage my small group of students.  This time I was searching for something different from their coursebooks. Needless to say, I have to follow the school curriculum but this semester, we are allowed to engage our teenagers with different kind of materials, I mean authentic ones.

The first time, I worked with these kind of materials, it was with my adult class in 2010, specially conversation class (A2-B2). That time, I usually started with something that they had already learned in their coursebook, and then I used to engage them in  warm-up or review activities.  There were articles, videos, ad from American and British tvs, some podcasts and so on.  Some of my students were really afraid of trying this new things. They couldn’t realize that things like ‘Friends’ , it was  a real moment of learning. Because there  are some myths towards Brazilian learners that ‘if you don’t learn from a book, you didn’t learn at all’. It took some patience and time to reconstruct this point of view, but finally, after some lessons they got the idea and, it worked pretty well.

Then, I decided to work with my very young learners projects using this book  ‘Pete, The Cat’ , it was a huge success. The kids simply adored him (Pete) and we had a lot of fun. It was the moment that, I brought the concept of adapting materials for students with special needs to my institution. Besides, adapting the material was a perfect moment to work with an inclusive curriculum and environment, my students were able to interact with all during the school time and why not saying outside as well.

Thus, most of these materials were there, ready to be use and it was not difficult to find them. Today we have many sources and platforms that are available to help us in our classes. Actually, all those materials I have been using with in my classes are on twitter and facebook too. Just a big deal!

Once I caught myself wondering, how my teachers used to prepare their lessons? Teaching english as a second language nowadays in Brazil is not the same way that I learned 30 years ago. Back in the 80’s , I used to have penpal friends from England and USA, it was suggested by one of my favorite teachers that time. It was amazing the feeling of those letters arriving in my home.  They used to describe their lifestyles and so did I – it was a kind of authentic material that time. There were no internet, just the traditional post office! And surprise (I still have two postcards from them). To tell the truth, both experiences had helped me a lot to understand about culture, language and friendship.

Today, when I am in class, I can relate some situation within my students. The use of technology has helped us a lot to use what is surround us – The more we use our reality, the more we create opportunity to learn. That is why authentic material are made for. Thus, I would like to suggest you two great people who create amazing things to improve and motivate our students.

#1 – Phil Wade creation :

Since He has started to share his #minilessons, I have been using quite a lot. His materials 14199367_323865964625586_8782023895156632105_nare really great to lead a good conversation class (from music to divergent topic as refugees). Instead of using games all the time, I decided to work with his minilessons because of the skills (speaking and writing) presented there and of course my students’ needs. Our free lessons happens once in a month, so I was supossed to bring some fun to them, using things about the target language. That was the moment that I saw his post on facebook and voilà. It has been my #1 sources this semester.

#2 – Natural English :

I was tweeting some ideas and activities, when I came across this won14455827_10202355767332174_1395091194_oderful material and I got really impressed with its lesson. First of all, we had worked with the target language presented previously on the lesson and the title  caught my attention ‘Sometimes Bad Things happen to good Robots’  (it is a full sample). In fact, I couldn’t use the whole lesson, but I worked with the video and also the text. During the class we saw the video in pairs, my students discussed about the video and then in a different peer group, they read the text. We did the exercise 4 about vocabulary. However, I didn’t use all the lesson, I didn’t have enough time for it. So, I selected to work with them just some parts, otherwise we couldn’t have time to explore some words in the vocabulary part that it was new for them. Besides,  exercise 6 – as suggested by Natural English it was not appropriate to my group (13-14 years old). This lesson worked during 1:15min. I assigned them the homework part to hand me back in a week. They described some things that happened with their family members and friends. I decided not publish here on the blog their composition, because it was too personal. Anyway, It was a wonderful lesson that raised some very important issues that many people have faced in life, unfortunately.

I would like to thank Phil Wade and Natural English for taking the time to prepare such great lessons. I  hope this post can help other teachers to understand and how authentic materials can improve their way of teaching . A hint for newbie teachers – try to introduce little by little in your classes, starts as a warm up then you will be giving an entire lesson.

sources:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/philwadecreations/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TEFLLessons

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pete-Cat-Love-White-Shoes/dp/0061906220

 

 

Indiscipline – Hey Teacher, come on…

 

“Creativity dies in an indisciplined environment.”  Jim Collins

 

Hello there,

I have been working hard on my research for my MA project, during these 3 months I could observe that many teachers are facing difficult time with indiscipline during their classes. It might sound strange for some people in other countries. However, tumblr_nauopi7nyr1ro49vxo1_250there are many studies and surveys in this area going on in Brazil. Actually, They have shown that teachers have spent more than 20 minutes to calm down their students to start their classes. So, it is not an easy task and, imagine how frustrating it can be.

It is not a lack of classroom management. Most of the time, it’s something that go beyond us. There are situations of chaos, and some teachers simply do not know how to deal with.

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine on facebook posted pictures of happy classes – the students were such as Michelangelo angels; the teacher – a beautiful blonde young lady in her 30 with a stunning smiles… Anyway, I am not saying that, those pictures are unreal, but it was so far from our reality. Of course, teachers including myself go to school happy, excited to teach lesson plans in which usually take hours to be prepared. And when we go to school, we can not teach because of bad behavior, so ‘ who is to blame? 

I love searching words on dictionary. According to oxford american dictionary the word discipline is a way of training your mind and body so that you control your actions and obey the rules. However, what caught my attention was the example “a good teacher must be able to maintain discipline in the classroom” – wow! It is really annoying, isn’t it?

I have been observing many teachers and, I can assure you that they were doing very well their job. In fact, the problem was not only the students, but some aspects that the school could have helped those teachers (unfortunately it didn’t). Therefore, there are some reasons why teachers are giving up on teaching or having burn-outs during the semester.

Many of these issues are bullying, peer pressure, physical violence and in some schools where we have special needs students – Meltdown (in case of autism) and so on.

When some teachers do not have any support from their school and decide to ignore an indisciplined student does not take away the problem; it worsens the situation. In fact bad behavior will encourage other students do the same.  There are some ideas in this post by changing minds might help us to respond some bad behaviors in our classes.misbehavior

On the other hands when teachers have dialogue between school and parents, the problem with the misbehaving child will lead both side to another level of partnership and collaboration.

 It is not a piece of cake to handle indiscipline in our classroom. Even though, we have been prepared for classroom managment, including trainings, workshops – this will happen to us once! This is a kind of situation that it will be out of control, and we will ask this question forever ‘what was wrong with that class?’ so, I suggest you do not take misbehavior personally. Indiscipline is not the teacher’s problem, it is everybody’s problem.

Do not be afraid of reporting this issue to your school. Apparently,  this kind of behavior happens out of school and some parents avoid telling the truth to the teachers during parents meeting.

Sharing what is going on in your classroom with your colleagues, mentors and friends, it might be helpful for you. Because some of them have faced the same problem at once and, they might help you – giving ideas, advice and suggestions how to work and engage your students in some properly activities.

Since I have been teaching english in some schools and institutions in Brazil. I have shared some difficulties and challenges with some friends every so often. Their experiences have helped me a lot when it comes to dealing with different kind of behaviors and moods. I had almost forgotten another good hint – Do not isolate yourself, all of us have walked through the fire (I mean the classroom).

To sum up, I would like to share with you this article from CNN ‘What teachers really want to tell parents’  I read it a couple of years ago, but it is still updated. I hope you like my reflection about indicipline and misbehaviour. Thanks for dropping by.

Sources:

The Malta Independent – http://www.independent.com.mt/

Autism Speaks – https://www.autismspeaks.org

Changing Minds – http://changingminds.org/

CNN.com – http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/06/living/teachers-want-to-tell-parents/

Photos credit

1- http://everythinghardcoremusic.tumblr.com/

2 – http://scils-synergetic.pbworks.com/w/page/11077238/Misbehavior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awareness x Acceptance – Inclusive Education

 

“We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out” . Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Hello There,

This month is dedicated to austim awareness or autism acceptance. Hum, got a little bit confused but there are two points of view about this issue that many people are talking about.

What is awareness and acceptance? According to Cobuild dictionary – Awareness means “be  aware of something is happening because you hear it or see it”. So when it comes to raising awareness about Autism, many  groups, organizations, teachers and parents advocate what autism is about. In the other hand, Acceptance of someone with austim is to think of them as part of the group or in our society.

Besides, we (parents and educators) are trying to discuss and dialogue about this important issue that has been increased every year. Studies have shown autism cases on the rise and many discussions are going around.

And what about the Educational field? What about deal with them in a regular school? Are we ready for them? Inclusive Education – what is it about?

Last week, I was on twitter searching for some news about inclusive education, when I came across #neurotribe a best seller book written by Steve Silberman  who is explaining in a very fascinating perspective about autism. In fact, I am still reading his book and  I agree with some statements on it and,  others that I reckon, we have a long road to investigate as well. It is a book that I highly recommend for Educators and Teachers – It is really worth taking some time and read it.  12970478_10201729580837903_692683208_o

Meanwhile, I was preparing a lesson, to adapt some social skills for three SEN students in a regular classroom. I was wondering why it is so difficult to adapt a lesson that includes social skills (socialization.). Most of the time, the problem is not SEN students but how students (in general) will accept them. That is the moment that we have to raise awareness to accept these new issue in our schools (in other words – What is autism or Dyslexia or ADHD? (Awareness) and How can we learn together? (Acceptance).

Thus, They have to create the rules together and emphasize that they will use them during the school year. This inclusive project might help all the students to understand how they can have fun, learn and interact with all kind of people everywhere else. That is what an inclusive enviromnent does and it is possible to achieve one, if we are ready for it.

One of the materials that I have read for my MA project in inclusive education, it was this guideline from Unesco Bangkok. Our Educational system has to bring up new forms to engage our students. Education means acquisition of knowledge and teachers may interpret education as means for creation a new inclusive society so that, put into practice  these  ideas, projects might bring children with disabilities in our regular classrooms. Although we have many publications and researches about inclusive education, we have been faced bureaucracy and the continued neglect of their right to education. It is sad to see that many children are taken away from school, because of the lack of interest, investment and good will.

To sum up, we have to be aware of the diversity of dialogue and development. Every citizen has the right to learn and live in a more inclusive society. All of  us have our differences and respect each other, it is our best choice to survive in this world. So, it is not only AWARENESS but also ACCEPTANCE… One coin, two faces in an inclusive world.

 

 

 

 

Easter Project – Celebrating Beatrix Potter

“Once upon a time there were four little bunnies and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter” 

Easter with Peter Rabitt

Hello There,

This month we set up a project at school for Young Learners and each grade will be working with children’s literature, including Beatrix Potter’s tales. This year is celebrating her 150th birth anniversary. Beatrix Potter wrote bucolic tales about bunny rabbits. Thus, I have decided to engage my small group of young learners through Peter Rabbit story and, it is also Easter time. We will celebrate it according to our traditions and with fluffy bunnies full of chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday hunt as well.

Anyway, I grew up listening many tales from many part of the world. My mother used to teach English in her free time in a school nearby our home, and I still remember her preparing some lessons. Most of the time late at night after helping me with my homework. One of the books that she used to read for me before bed time was Peter Rabbit – a small golden book that she bought before entering at the University. It was not new but full of memories from its previous owner and she still keeps it on her shelf.

Time passed by and nowadays, I am an english teacher with the same passion that once she was and of course, full of resources that she could not have imagined that one day, it would be possible to use them in a regular class. Thus, I asked for her help and showed  my lesson plan about Peter Rabbit. She seemed surprised to find the lesson planning about the story that she used to read when I was a little girl. Actually, We had such a great time laughing and preparing the lesson together.

peter rabbit

So here it is our lesson: 

Let’s meet Peter Rabbit –  

I will work with this paper book or  if you prefer an e-book version, it is available for free on IOS or Android platforms. It will be a nice time for them learning a new language by stories. Moreover, storytelling is a magical moment for kids in general. As a mother, I really know how powerful telling a story for a kid can help them to develop their emotion and imagination. Children’s minds began to inquire, wonder, think when we (parents, teachers,  storytellers…) start telling stories.

The reason of this lesson is to give a motivating reason for English-language learners to speak and write. Even though our meeting occurs twice in 45-min class per week, They will be exposed and stimulated to interact with the whole classroom using the new vocabulary in a ludic way.  As you can see in the picture below, we can explore activities in many possibilities to engage them learning through12443352_10201601051104740_1415896566_o their contents – for instance numbers (one – two – three) opposites (little and big) family members (mother, brother, sister), prepositions (in, on, under) food ( vegetables) and feelings (kindness, behavior and on).

Besides, you can engage them to create their own stories, using another kind of animal (cat, dog or  pig), they can reread the story and collaborating for their
portifolio project. So that, they will develop even more the four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) which have been exploring in pairs during the classes.

After you have introduced them the story and explored the target language. Finally, you can use this video to check whether they achieved the goals you had set up previously. This is the moment for sense of achievement. I usually do this at the end of the class to measure if they assimulate the new vocabulary and some grammar points.

Therefore, the main goal of this project is to engage them to have fun toward their own pace, supporting each other to collaborate and giving them feedback to improve their confidence to learn a new language.

Many people might think that teaching children is easy, a piece of cake. However, teaching kids goes beyond telling stories and playing around. They will carry with them, the stories that caught their attention, which made them dream and co-participate for the rest of their lifes. Nevertheless to say that, stories can build our personalities, shape our future and make us a better person. To sum up, all languages have their own stories like every culture and every human being… 

Here there are some links that might help you to engage your classroom with Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary. 

The Peter Rabbit Coin – The Guardian

The Letter for a young correspondent – The Guardian

Beatrix Potter  – Twitter full of articles about her 150th celebration

The Tales of Peter Rabbit – You Tube

Stick Tale – Pinterest and BookTime