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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Week 5: The best things I learned

One more week has almost gone by... and half of the course. Maybe it's time to have a middle evaluation of the course. I will start by reminding and remembering the Nicenet - a good tool to be used in my classes, maybe next year, as this one is almost over. Then, the blog - it's the first blog I created and I managed to keep up to date, at least so far. Then, Noodle Tools - I felt I needed something more than Google, but I didn't know what I needed. And, so many other things... what's very important for me is that I found out about them (every week, another new thing to learn), but I don't keep all the information in a folder in my computer or in my mind: I put all into practice. Last week I designed my first technology lesson plan - this week I had a lesson based on it (and I even filmed it: to share everything with you and to have a look at myself - with a critical eye: oh, there are so many things I must improve...)

And, here we are, close to the end of the 5th week. The best thing I learned this week is by far WebQuest. I must admit: I read about WebQuests before, I knew what they mean, but I was never curious to try to make one. This week, I managed to do the first one. And I was pleased with the final result. You can see it here: http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=60205. I thought about environment as main theme, as it is very actual and my students are interested in this topic. I spoke about the advantages of using WebQuest in a post on Nicenet - they involve and engage students, they make use of technolgy, and in this way students understand that teaching is not out-dated and teachers are not "dusty": they can learn what internet means (not only chat, Facebook or Youtube).

I was very glad this week when I discovered I have to speak (actually write) about the project-based learning. I am a project-addicted (if such a thing exists) and I consider this is the best way my students learn, as they learn by doing. There are thousands and thousands of projects, of different types, with different themes... both in the virtual world (where we can have a partner) and in our textbooks (helping our students to create their portfolios). As I speak about projects here... this week, more exactly on 5 / 5, the e-Twininning program had its 5th anniversary. As my students have already created many e-Twinning projects, we celebrated this day: we presented our latest e-Twininng project, "Where did the Romans get?", and we launched blue and yellow balloons. Have a look here:







I have to come back to my 9th graders: what could I do for them to involve technology? What can I change? And the idea coming up was: blog. Maybe beacuse I like blogs so much, I don;t know. But I identified many advantages of using them - they are so good for communication, and in my opinion, no communication, to human race.

Then, I created another lesson dealing with traditional and electronic books which I will use with my 12th graders. Last, but not least, as far as I could I helped my mates, I shared my ideas, I found out new things reading their posts.

Now, I am ready for the 6th week...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Week 5: My lesson based on the technology plan

Last week I found out about the technology based lesson plan, and I agree with Hamid that there is a difference between lesson plan and lesson planning: one is the result, the other is the process.

As the unit in my textbook (Upstream Upper Intermediate) deals with environment, I chose and adapted a lesson plan called "Plant Appreciation Day" from http://www.eslholidaylessons.com/04/plant_appreciation_day.html.

I designed my lesson for 50 minutes, I prepared everything in detail, I asked one of my school-mates (thank you, Valentin) to get the camera and film my class, then I spent a couple of hours in front of my computer to process the movie and shorten it: only 12 minutes out of 50.

Unfortunately, as our camera is a HD one, the format was too large, I couldn't upload it here (more than 1 GB) and by converting the movie I lost from its quality. However, you can get a general idea about my lesson. If you are patient enough, you will see my students, my teaching methods, my lesson...


video

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week 4: Conclusions close to the end

Our week number 4 in this course is soon over. I can't imagine a month has gone by and I have learned so many things... The problem is I want to learn more and more and try not to forget. I wouldn't like to say "confirmed" to the saying "The more I learn, the less I know". One of my mottoes in life goes "I give all I know for half I ignore" - and it proves true every single day. For me, this course is a really great chance to improve myself. I am wondering (already) what shall I do when this course is over? I got used to all this hard work, to reading, and writing, and everything... But, till the end it's a long time, so I'd better concentrate on the conclusions of this week.

I have learned many new things - mainly related to resources I can use to make my lessons more interesting for my students, to motivate them more and more. I have designed my first technology lesson plan: it's not only for the task, but tomorrow I will make a lesson based on this. I will share everything with you, be patient and you will see what I mean. :) As they are environmentally aware and most of them love plants, I will have a lesson about Plants Appreciation Day, based on the lesson plan found on the internet.

I thought it's useful to make a comparison between this lesson plan and the ones I have used so far. Like this, things became clear in my mind and I could see the advantages and disadvantages for each of them. Even if I considered one plan the best, and at first I thought the technology lesson plan lacks some important rubrics, I could make a mixture between them and everything was all right.

Then, I expressed my own opinions about reading and writing, I shared my ideas with my mates and then I identified two issues my students in 9 B have. The main idea is that teenagers read less and less and they are not able to understand what they read. This is the case in Romania, I don't know what exactly happens all around the world, but here things are like that, unfortunately. I haven't thought about the solutions yet, but I have an idea about what I can do to solve this. Later, I still have time.

I am very glad I can share all with my mates all around the world, I like reading their posts on their blogs, I like reading their comments on my blog and at the same time, I got used to commenting. This course enabled me to overcome the "express your thoughts" barrier. For a long time (about 5 yeas or more) I have been reading blogs. But I had never expressed my own ideas in a comment. Now I do it, thanks to this course.

And, of course, I have enriched my bookmarks using Delicious. It's a great resource, it's extremely helpful and I am happy now I know it's there...

Last, but not least, I shared all with my mates at school (teachers of different subjects) and my students.