Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Edit Teaching - Cards

Today I observed a sample class and was just reminded about the many uses we can have for a deck of cards. 

Ace of spades
How about using them to add some movement to your class? Just by handing out one single card to each student, you make an eye brow raise. Students are immediately hooked.

What can you do with the cards?

  • Use them for pair work and group work. Group students according to the numbers, color or suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades)
  • You can use the cards throughout the class to regroup the students in different ways
  • You can ask the students to add up the numbers they've got in their cards and make a list of XXX (according to the topic of the unit) that needs to have XXX number of items based on the addition they've got. So, for example, if they got 10 summing up all the card numbers in the group, they will write 10 things in their list.
  • Use the number the students have in their cards to ask them about personal things: tell me XXX places you'd like to travel to; give me XXX names of people who inspire you; list XXX things you don't want to do today; 
Can you think of other ways to use cards in the classroom?

Other ideas for the small changes in your classroom:

#editteaching - Day 1: Music Playlist 
#editteaching - Day 2: Box
#editteaching - Day 3: Color
#editteaching - Day 4: Dice
#editteaching - Day 5: Word Harvesting

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Edit Teaching - Word Harvesting

Did you roll the dice?

Fridge WordsHow about ending your class differently this time? Before it starts, post a lot of random words around the classroom. You can even ask your students to help you. Let curiosity mount! And make it a kinesthetic moment of your teaching hour.

In the last 5/10 minutes of your class, invite students for a WORD HARVESTING. They may pick and choose any word and as many words they want from the classroom walls. Then, give them 1 minute to write their life motto using the words they chose. They hand it in to you.

Hummm. This might work wonders and you can even use it for another class.

Previous #editingteaching ideas:

#editteaching - Day 1: Music Playlist 
#editteaching - Day 2: Box
#editteaching - Day 3: Color
#editteaching - Day 4: Dice

Monday, October 22, 2012

Editing Teaching - Roll the Dice

τα ζάρι : Dice

Who doesn´t like to roll the dice?

Well, we keep the challenge of changing bits of our lesson plan to make our classrooms more engaging, fun, with powerful human touch added to them.

In your next class, try this one!

Give each group or pair of students a die. There are different ways to use it.

  1. Write on the board numbers 1 to 6 and categories (food, color, hobby, TV show, music, etc); Sts roll the die and ask a question to their peers based on the topic they got (numbers on the board).
  2. This is one is playful and serious at the same time, for students need to really pay attention to language structure to be able to do it.
    You start with the beginning of some questions on the board; the students need to choose a question to ask to his/her peers and will need to complete it with as many words as he/she gets on the die (i.e., What type of ....? If he gets n. 4, he/she will have to add four words to the question, "What type of FOOD DO YOU LIKE?"). With numbers 1, 2, 3, it is more challenging, so you could either, tell the students that if they get 1 and 2, they are free to choose how they will end the question, or you can have questions on the board that can take one or two words to complete them. It is up to your imagination!
Any other fun and fast ideas for DICE to give a boost of energy and fun in our classes? I´d love to hear them!

Previous #editingteaching ideas:

#editteaching - Day 1: Music Playlist 
#editteaching - Day 2: Box
#editteaching - Day 3: Color

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Editing Teaching - Color

Though I should be expecting the unexpected coming from students, two teachers have already posted their students' reactions-recordings, and I'm totally in awe! 
Justine and her student recorded this: 
Dani's students recorded this: 

Amazing stuff happening with not so much sweat on our part or big preparation, but with very powerful outcomes. 

Day 2 was about the BOX. 

Day 3 is all about COLORS!

The challenge today is very colorful. 

Ask your students to pick a COLOR. Any that they like. You have also to choose one. 
You can start with very unusual questions for them to talk to each other:

"What's the smell of your COLOR? Why do you relate it to this smell?"
"What's the sound of your COLOR?"
Any unusual question will do.
For the rest of the class, every example and idea you give will be related to this color, be it a grammar point, a story, or new vocabulary you've been exploring. Your students should do the same!

I'd love to know your group's reaction!

Have a great PINK teaching day!

#editteaching - Day 1:
#editteaching - Day 2:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Editing Teaching - Box

First, we had the playlist idea.

How about using a physical object today?

Red Velvet Box

Find a nice box to take to class. It can be a colorful one, a plain rustic one or even one that has an intriguing detail on its outside. You want to awaken your learners´ minds, spark curiosity, stimulate imagination. 

Tell them that the box is a special one because it has something very dear to you. Ask them to try to guess. Then, put another box beside your box and tell the students that that box is theirs. 
Ask them
"What´s inside your box? It can be an object, a wish, a feeling. Be creative."

Give students some time to think about their boxes and then for peers to try to guess each other´s box content. They can reveal it by the end of 3 minutes. And you can decide when to say what´s in your box - at the end of the class, or online in a specific link. Remember, our teacher´s imagination is the limit for the Editing Teaching challenge.

What else could you do with the box in you class? If you try this idea, I´d love to hear from you.

Have a great teaching day!

Day 1 - Your students' playlist

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From Inertia to Editing Teaching - A Challenge

Blurred Movement
Many times we are trapped in our own routines, hectic lives and infinite tasks. It is hard sometimes even to breathe. Inertia takes over, and we see our personal and professional lives as if it were part of a film.

I know there are many challenges around for teachers, and I could name a few that you could follow for 30 days to make our lives more bearable and pleasant, but what if we set TWO WEEKS at first not to make revolutionary changes, but just small ones.

Our brains love surprises. The unexpected, unpredictable hooks us up, grabs our attention, so how about very simple changes that won't be radical at first, but could cause some tectonic shifts in the long run in terms of our pleasure in teaching our classes and our students' joy to be in class, connected, absorbed, hyped.

What if you invited your co-workers to join us for TWO WEEKS and take action, move and shake a bit? So, here I am making it public the idea of the EDIT TEACHING movement.

For the next two weeks, I'll blog every single day - which is already part of my own call for action - about a very simple idea that we can do in class to EDIT our TEACHING a bit, to make those changes that in the long run can ignite us to keep in the loop to continuously seek for the new experience, crossing the boundaries of our daily inertia, making us effervescent, upbeat, lighthearted educators.


Start your next class with a very simple question to your students, "What's in your playlist?" Give them five minutes to talk to each other about it, to see what they have in common and something new they learned about a song, singer or band. I'm sure that they will have something to say and you will connect in a more personal level with them!

Our twitter tag will be #editteaching . I'd love to hear from educators if they try this idea out for the next  TWO WEEKS! Ready to edit your teaching routine to smile and connect more often?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Roaming Mode & Productivity Tools for Busy Educators

Educators are are always on the move. In many different ways.

In class, and according to methodology and findings in the neuroscientific field, we should move around to connect to our learners and assess their activity during the tasks.  We ask our students to do the same, moving, standing up, connecting to peers for the sake of keeping them attentive and interactive.

Many English teachers have more than one job, so they need to constantly commute to go from one class to the other, sometimes even going from one part of the city to the other extreme. Even when educators are full-time in an institution, they have to move from one class to the other, one break time to the next. Circulating is part of an educator´s daily job. An itinerant life at its best.

Peseux calibre 320 movement Not to mention our roaming mode trying to juggle the intensity of school work and our personal lives. There´s no need to say that the golden asset for an educator is time. The currency that we always lack and long for more. As there´s no magic trick to extend the number of hours we have in a day, the only viable solution is to find ways to enhance our productivity and efficiency. Educators need to realize they should be managers of their own time, and good ones!

If somebody asked me the toolkit that could optimize an educator´s urgency for better manage his life, I´d start by exploring four! Four seems to be a manageable number for exploration.
An educator´s toolkit should be composed of tools that are cross-platform (working in different devices & operational systems), so here´s where to get started:

EVERNOTE - Your virtual notebook. You create your notes, to-do lists, lesson plans and aggregate them in one single place. Once you download the app to your cellphone, desktop computer, laptop, and you create an account in Evernote, all your notes are automatically synchronized, which means that important moments, documents, ideas, and visuals are kept portable. Wherever you go, you can access them. Evernote is a powerful tool to organize your main resources, be it professional or personal, and easily retrieve them.
Check the Epic Experiment the Nerdy Teacher is doing with his students using Evernote:

DROPBOX - Your virtual flashdrive. Dropbox, just like Evernote, works in the cloud, synchronizing all the files you add to it with all your devices (cellphones, laptops, desktops). When I want to open any file in my iPad, for example, I just add it to my dropbox and open it in my iPad, using the Dropbox app. It stores all my main files and you can share folders and files with whomever you want, including your students and family members! You can share files and folders.
Here´s an example of some questions I used in class with my students:

FLIPBOARD - Your virtual newsstand. My favorite app ever! It works on cellphones and tablets. What makes it a very special tool is that in one single place, you can aggregate all your social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader...), and you can subscribe to specific news feeds, specialized sites, interesting magazines to follow the latest updates. On top of it, the user experience is simply amazing. Though it can add to your productivity and keep you updated on the latest news, you can lose yourself in so many interesting, serendipitous resources that can be a drain to your lack of time. The good thing is that you can always save an article to read it later or email it to yourself and share it with friends and students.

PINTEREST - Your virtual visually-enhanced bookmark. Organize your boards by topic, start following people, grow your personal networks and let the platform and the people behind it filter relevant information for you. You can "repin" relevant resources to your own boards, you can pin interesting links and digital treasures as you browse the Net.
Here are my Pinterest boards for you to have an idea of how it works:

An educator´s life is always in shifting mode, but with the mobile possibilities we have in our hands, we can better manage our routine on the go and add a more enterprising and enthusiastic feel to the many daily tasks we carry out.

I know, I know... The question is always, "From where do I start?"
First, stop lamenting the time you don´t have! Start by signing up for an account in those platforms, click and touch fearlessly, watch youtube tutorials, ask around or ask me. I´d be more than glad to give you the push you need to be a happier and more productive educator! I´m sure once you dig into your digital exploration, you´ll have a smile on your face to have worked on your own personal and professional survival toolkit.

Cross-posted at