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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 8: What do I remember from this week?

One door closes, another door opens... this happens all the time, here too: one week ends, another one starts. On Monday... I like Mondays, when it's a new start. Once I read what somebody said: we live our lives by counting the Monday days...

This week has started in a very nice way - I got feeb-back for my activity last week, I got guidance for the new tasks. I started by greeting Jeff, the great teacher who shared so many interesting things with us. As I am quite curious in general, and I like to try out new things (as I get bored very easily), I wanted to explore some more resources and at the same time, include what I have learned during this course. I tried the message board, which I consider helpful for listening and speaking. If possible, I will try something similar with my students when school starts again, next September. In summer, I will have time to experiment new things I learned about during these two months.

Then, I wrote about my students' self-autonomy. It was not diffcult,as I know what it means and I am not  teacher-centered, but all my teaching is student-centered. I involve them in activities, I enable them express themselves, become engaged and involved. I do all this as in life they will not have a teacher to guide them, they will be all by themselves. Moreover, I don't like teachers who want to have everything under control, who try to impose their opinions at any price... and the long rows of silent students who write after dictation. Students are not robots, they are not imperfect little adults, they live their age, they need training, and we are there to guide and help them. I don't want to hear my students reciting lists of names, rules, commentaries on writers and novels. I want to make them think, understand, remember. I want to hear their voices expressing their own opinions, bringing arguments and giving examples. I want to make them search the internet by themselves, look for the information they need. I offer them ideas, help, but I don't impose my opinions, I don't want to be the totalitarian rigid teacher - the supreme master of the class. I don't want to intimidate my students, but make school their friend.

Then, I designed an activity for a one-computer classroom. I wanted to integrate here the knowledge I got last week, and I created an interactive power-point presentation, this time on vocabulary. My students simply enjoyed it and they could learn by playing: that's what they considered, that they were playing while learning.

Then, I shared my opinions with my colleagues in this course, on their blogs or on Nicenet. I learned many new things and I realized there are so many common things in all the schools worldwide.

And, I've been working on my project. I sent my draft to Shujuan and to Kheri and I got Shujuan's draft. I am looking forward to getting their comments on my draft. Based on them, I will write the final version of the project.

Next week I will have a very tough time - on Monday my students start their final examination in English. And there are about 200... I will have to be patient and objective while grading them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Week 7 & 8: My students reactions

As I have promised in my posts on Nicenet last week, I want to share with you my students' reactions to the blog and to the jeopardy.

Finally, at the beginning of this week, I was able to have my English classes in the IT lab. There were no problems at all, everything worked as planned.

First of all, I will tell you some words about the 9th graders and their blog. I have created a blog just for them, which I expanded and I enriched, adding a special link to the wiki, where they can find all the materials they need. If at the very beginning I was thinking about making it a space where they could find materials (for reading or listening), my initial plans changed and I made it interactive: accessing the wiki they have to work on a task every week. Their reaction was more than I had expected. In class they were very enthusiastic and interested in trying the blog and the wiki, and I saw they continue to access both of them from their computers at home. I was surprised even more to see that some of them brought their laptops in class, to be connected to these tools.

I was very curious to see my 12th graders' reaction to the jeopardy. Actually, last week I created two of them, based on grammar. As I considered the first one to be a little bit difficult for them (as it is based on metalanguage), I created another one, simpler this time: they are given the name of a verbal tense and they have to make up sentences. I tried it in class and I was delighted when their answers were sometimes identical or very similar to what I had imagined. I combined the two presentations and after having their answer on one verbal tense, I went to a slide from the fisrt jeopardy, where they were given the answer and they had to formulate a question. And we discussed in detail every single tense, we clarified some problems and everything was all right. I consider this a great revision exercise before the exam they will take next week.

Unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures as I was quite absent-minded and I left my camera at home... I promise next time I will be more attentive!