Blog Archives

RSCON3: It’s all about them…

RSCON3 is over… is it really over? Of course not, there are still a lot of presentations I would like to watch. But wasn’t it on 29 / 07 you may be wondering… Yeah, but that’s the magic of an online conference. If you could not attend, don’t worry you can always watch the recordings. I strongly advice you to do so, if you haven’t yet. You can find all the recordings here.

Fortunately, this time, appart from attending this wonderful conference, I was able to give my own presentation. I really enjoyed it. Even though at the beginning I was a bit nervous ( it was my first presentation ever), I managed to relax and have fun. I would like to thank @davedodgson for having helped me by doing a wonderful job as a moderator. I love learning collaborately, so I am very thankful for having had this opportunity of giving a bit back to my PLN, after so much taking. If you haven’t attended my presentation, and you’d like to see me in action:  here you can watch the recording, and here you can find the powerpoint I’ve used during it. I would love to know your opinion about it, get some advice on how I can improve my presentation skills or whatever comment you may want to do.

But let’s stop talking about me and let’s pass on to the important thing: my reflection about the conference. I don’t have a lot of things to say, apart from the fact that it was a wonderful experience, I’ve added a lot of new memebers / friends to my PLN, and I’ve learned a lot. However, what struck me the most, was that I have attended many sessions about completely different topics, and we all ended up speaking about the same: our students. Our students were the main protagonists of the whole conference. That shows how much passion we all put into our profession. We are all trying to improve and to find the best way in which we can teach them. We may not have found the answer yet, but the fact that we are treading this path, looking for it together, is more than enough. We are already reforming education, by making little (?) changes in our classrooms. Let’s keep on walking along this path, let’s meet again in RSCON4. See you there! =)

Collaborative learning path leading to RSCON4

Reform Symposium 3: Dogme with young learners and beginners…are you nuts?

In a few days, nearly 8000 educators from over 40 different countries are expected to attend a free 3 day virtual conference, The Reform Symposium, #RSCON3. This free award-nominated e-conference is going to take place on July 29-31st, 2011. Participants can attend this online conference from the comfort of their homes or anywhere that has Internet access. This amazing conference provides educators new or currently active on social networks the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide. With over 12 Keynotes, 80 presenters, and 3 keynote panel discussions you are bound to be inspired!

I am very proud to count myself among the 80 presenters and I would like to invite you all to attend my session. It is really important for me to receive your support… I would appreciate if you can invite the people you know to attend and spread the word…
Here you can have a preview of what my presentation will be about… Hope you like it…

We would like to thank the incredible organizers– Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible.
We hope you can join us for this incredible professional development experience!

Dogme with Young Learners

I’m writing this post in response to @kalinagoenglish challenge presented in her blog. You can read my answer to the previous challenge here.


Been thinking quite a lot about dogme recently, and it has just struck me that I am applying it in my young learners classes without even having noticed it. The quotation with which Karenne has opened this new challenge is:

The teacher’s primary function,

apart from promoting the kind of classroom dynamic

conducive to a dialogic and emergent pedagogy

is to optimize language learning affordances,

by directing attention to features of the emergent language;

learning can be mediated through talk,

especially talk that is shaped and supported

(i.e. scaffolded) by the teacher.

According to Wikipedia “Scaffolding Theory was first introduced in the late 1950s by Jerome Bruner. He used the term to describe young children’s oral language acquisition . Helped by their parents when they first start learning to speak, young children are provided with instinctive structures to learn a language… Scaffolding represents the helpful interactions between adult and child that enable the child to do something beyond his or her independent efforts. A scaffold is a temporary framework that is put up for support and access to meaning and taken away as needed when the child secures control of success with a task. ”

With my second grade students (they are between 7 and 8 years old), we always start the class with a set routine. It consists of completing a calendar that we have hanging in our classroom with the date, month and weather; establishing who would be the teacher assistants on that day and finally, the dogme part, talking about their news and problems.

I devote quite a long time to this part of the lesson and my students love it. They all want to participate and tell the rest of the class about their news and problems. They talk about birthday parties, problems at home, their illnesses, their trips, or whatever comes to their mind. They sometimes even make up some stories and they retell them as if they have really happened to them. As they are not very proficient in English yet, they say whatever they can in English mixed with a bit of Spanish. They come up with something similar to: “Yesterday, I went to the park and played in “las hamacas” (“the swings”).

And this is the point that reminded me of Bruner’s experience.  There are some things that they don’t know or they don’t remember how to say in English. They need help, and it is provided by the teacher or by their peers. Sometimes,  I just  repeat what they have just said with the English word they need, and in general, they repeat it after me and incorporate it in their sentence without giving it too much thought. They are more concerned with the message they want to get across. There are some other times, in which they don’t remember a word we have previously seen in class, so they are helped by their partners or by the posters we have in the classroom. I believe that students are greatly helped by visual scaffolding.  As Stuart  Ewen said ‘… if you really want to move people, don’t use words, use images’.

I have been doing this for a long time, and I haven’t realised it was kind of a dogme class till last Monday 18th. The previous day had been Mother’s day here in Argentina and therefore, I asked my students to share with the class what they had given their mothers as a present. Most of them had given them clothes. As they had never seen clothes vocabulary before, I taught them the items of clothes as they needed to use them and made some drawings on the blackboard for them to remember. When we had already repeated T-shirt a thousand times (most of them had given a t-shirt to their mothers apparently!) one of my students said: “We have repeated this word so many times, that now I remember it!”. That was one of those magical moments for a teacher! Learning was taking place now and there!  I’m sure they will never forget that v0cabulary as they will always associate it with Mother’s Day!


The Hokey Pokey

We all know that children learn through playing and singing. Trying to find something to change a bit my class routine, I realised that I have totally forgotten about the Hokey Pokey song. It’s been a long while, since I last used it in my class. I’m sure it will bring a lot of  laughter and fun to my second grade students. A good way of starting the class. So here it goes the video and the lyrics from http://www.supersimplesongs.com

Lyrics & Gestures

(Begin with everyone standing in a circle)

Hey everybody. It’s time to do the Hokey Pokey!
Make a BIIIIIG circle.

You put one hand in. (Put one hand in the circle.)
One hand out. (Put that hand out of the circle.)
One hand in. (Put the hand back into the circle.)
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. (Shake your hand.)
You do the Hokey Pokey (Spin and dance) and turn around
Everybody turn around. (Turn around in a circle.)

You put two hands in.
Two hands out.
Two hands in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and clap your hands.
Everybody clap your hands.

You put one foot in.
One foot out.
One foot in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and sit down.
Everybody please sit down.

You put two feet in.
Two feet out.
Two feet in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and stand up.
Everybody please stand up.

You put your head in.
Your head out.
Your head in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You to the Hokey Pokey and sing a song.
La la la la la la!

You put your backside in.
Your backside out.
Your backside in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and be quiet.
Everybody please be quiet. Shh!

You put your whole self in.
Your whole self out.
Your whole self in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and take a bow.
Everybody take a bow.

What do you generally do in your class routines? Can you give me some more ideas?

Robots Lesson Plan

With my second grade students we are doing a thematic project on toys. As in the last classes we’ve been talking about robots, I’ve decided to prepare a lesson plan on the trailer of the film “Robots”.

I started the class by asking them if they had seen the film. As most of them answered yes, I asked them how many characters there were in the film, if they remembered their names, their colours and what they can do.

After that, we watched the trailer. They were supposed to count how many robots appeared.

After watching it, I asked them: Can the robots talk, sing, walk, take photos, kick, read, cook? Then, we watched it a second time and I stopped the video each time a new robot was introduced. I questioned them:

What colour is it? Is it a boy or a girl? Is it tall or short? Is it fat or thin? Is it beautiful or ugly?

Finally, I gave each of the students a picture of one of the robots. They had to colour it and complete the sentences about it. You can download the worksheet here.

The following class, my students in groups created their own robots. They made a poster in which they draw them and wrote similar sentences about them.

Hope you find it useful and if you use it in your classes share your experience with us.  I would also love to get more ideas on how to work with this topic in my class. Thanks in advance!