Tuesday, 10 January 2017

ICT tools that help teachers of any content area

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Our seminar session on January 10th will aim at  presenting some ICT tools that will be very useful for our CLIL practice:

The first one we will focus on is www.memorizenow.com, which allows you to enter text and then use a variety of devices to help you commit it to memory. You can read the text as it is, reduce it to reminder letters—filling in the additional letters to complete the words as necessary to help you remember the passage—and display the passages you've entered in a flashcard style system.

The second tool we will see in our session will be www.thatquiz.org.  This tool is a free service for teachers who want to create online tests for their students. Registration is for free and teachers who register  receive complete record-keeping of their student grades.  They have access to more precise test-generation tools, can create single tests with questions from different categories, can create matching and multiple choice questions, and can access a public test library.

Another tool which is bound to faclitate your teaching practice is www.helpteaching.com. This site  enables you to create and save your own questions and tests. Their library of pre-made tests, worksheets, and activities covers all K-12 subjects.

I hope to provide seminar members with plenty of examples on the usefulness of the websites above  and from these lines I would like to invite all teachers to try these very easy to use and time-saving tools. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Let's start eTwinning!



Last month, a total of 2644 eTwinning projects received the European Quality Label 2016 for their outstanding work and I am very happy to write the names of the teachers and projects from the Basque Country below these lines:

- Amaya Alonso
  IES Antonio Trueba 
  Project: Go look in the mirror


Amaya is one of our CLIL Seminar participants and she has kindly shared their project with us. You can access it from here.


Another three teachers whose projects have been awarded the European Quality Label are the following:

- Idoia Ajuria
 Artxandako Trueba Ikastetxea
 Project: IC what UC

- Maite Elejalde
  CEP Virgen de la Guia
  Project: Our eTwin diary

- Izaskun Insausti
 Txingudi BHI
 Project: My grandmother's stories

I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to these teachers and encourage all of you to start taking part in eTwinning.  How can you start? I will gladfully spend some time in our next seminar session on this challenging project but in the meantime, I am sure that   the following video will be highly clarifying:





 Therefore, you can  start   joining the eTwinning Community by  registering on  https://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm. Then, you can   catch  a glimpse at  the  eTwinning Europe  youtube channel so that you check how eTwinning is perfect for CLIL contexts because it can be carried out in different languages and it  can be applied to any content area.

To be continued in January 2017…

Meanwhile, please let me say to all and each of you:


“You are a dreamer, and you are an achiever. May you dream and achieve bigger feats, with every passing year. Merry Christmas  and Happy New year 2017.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

International Day for the elimination of violence against women November 25th 2016



Even though decades of mobilizing by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas, not enough is done to prevent violence as we still witness  too many cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. From these lines I would like to suggest some activities and lesson plans which can help us to arise awareness on the topic in our classrooms. 

The first classroom proposal  I would like to suggest is based on an empowerment song by Katy Perry called "Roar": 




You can find some activities I have developed to work on this song here. The lyrics of the song can be downloaded from this link.

My second proposal is based on the huge impact celebrities have on our students. Therefore,  we can choose some celebrities that have taken a stand and support the cause to end violence against women. You can ask them to read this handout in pairs and vote for their favourite. Then, in groups of four they will have to reach an agreement and later report to the rest of the students giving reasons for their choice. 

If you like quotations, you can make students read  the ones here , which were said by famous people belonging to different fields in life. Ask them to work in pairs and print their favourite one  on a sticky note. You can find an easy tutorial that describes how to print onto sticky notes directly from your computer. Students can then leave inspiring quotes either created by them or said by a celebrity they admire  around the school. 

If you wish to develop a deeper approach on the topic, this lesson plan  from Amnesty  International is a very good option since it offers a range of activities for use in different curriculum areas  for 11-18 year old students. 

I hope that our classroom practice on November 25th can  contribute  to a faster solution to the  social scourge of violence against women. 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

WORLD SCIENCE DAY FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT 2016


UNESCO encourages us to celebrate the World Science  Day  for Peace and Development.  It  is annually held on November 10 and its purpose is to  renew the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. The World Science Day for Peace and Development also aims at raising public awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and societies.

The WSDPD's objectives are :
  • To strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies
  • To promote national and international solidarity for a shared science between countries
  • To renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies
  • To draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raise support for the scientific endeavour
In order to raise your students' awareness on the topic, you can place the official poster on your classroom walls  and develop an activity that highlights the important role of  Science in society.  If you wish, you can use   this reading comprehension  activity that describes   how researchers from Virginia Tech attempted to reforest post-mined soil using biochar.  Teacher's notes and answers can be downloaded here. This activity is an example from www.readworks.org, an excellent website to improve students' reading comprehension skills.

I cannot  end this post without sharing   the UNESCO Science report towards 2030 with you. It provides more country-level information than ever before. The trends and developments in Science, Technology,  innovation policy and governance between 2009 and mid-2015 described here provide essential baseline information on the concerns and priorities of countries that should orient the implementation and drive the assessment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the years to come. Therefore, a must-read for Science and Technology teachers.

Happy WSDPD and let us hope that our young students become aware of the essential relation between Science and Peace and Development and fight actively for it. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

One! Two! Three! CLIL-to-go!

Next Tuesday I will have the pleasure of meeting a new group of Secondary teachers  and develop the first seminar session of eight that willl take place during the year course 2016-2017. It is always an inspiring challenge for me because I will have to cater for what they need for their classroom practice and they belong to different schools, teach a variety of subjects through English and different levels too. Therefore,  the beginning of a new CLIL seminar is a type of cooperative game that allows all of us to develop our problem solving skills  as a team and is awarded with the best prize for a teacher: increase learner's motivation.

As I have  just introduced the concept of games, In this first entry I would like to encourage CLIL teachers to make their students take part in healthy competitions - those that  will  help them develop important skills they'll use well into adulthood, like taking turns, developing empathy and tenacity.

Let me provide you with three of them for different subjects: 

- "We are different, not indifferent" is a contest to fight against bullying and it is organized by the ONCE. All students from Spanish public, private and government-subsidised schools can participate. The contest is open to all groups of non-university  students: Special Education, Primary (years 3 to 6), Secondary, Basic Vocational Training, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training (intermediate and higher levels).

- The European journal for Science teachers Science in Schools organizes a  writing competition on the strangest species on Earth. (If you are a Science teacher and you do  not know about this magazine, please have a look at it because it is really worthwhile: the contents include teaching materials and projects in Science education, up-to-date information on cutting-edge Science, interviews with inspiring scientists and teachers, reviews of books and many other useful resources for Science teachers. Online articles are published in many European languages and you can download them for free)

- For Math teachers, Math counts  Foundation  organizes a series of competitions but this time you have to pay if you want your students to take part in them. However, the resources section of the website provides you with a huge variety of problems and the video library offers a collection of videos that pose very interesting topics for Maths. 


We will develop the topic of healthy competition in length in our seminar session, among other essential  topics  for our CLIL contexts: classroom language, planning a CLIL lesson, developing the 4 Cs, task types in CLIL, etc. 

Therefore, One! Two! Three! CLIL-to-go!


Friday, 27 May 2016

The language of Mathematics in Science





The Association for Science Education (ASE) is the largest subject association in the UK. As the professional body for all those involved in Science education from pre-school to higher education, the ASE provides a national network supported by a dedicated staff team. Members include teachers, technicians and advisers. The Association plays a significant role in promoting excellence in teaching and learning of science in schools and colleges. Working closely with the science professional bodies, industry and business, the ASE provides a UK-wide network bringing together individuals and organisations to share ideas and tackle challenges in science teaching. The ASE is an independent and open forum for debating science education, with unique benefits for members. It provides a unique range of services to promote high quality Science education by developing resources and fostering high quality Continuing Professional Development.

From these lines, I am very pleased to inform you that The Language of Mathematics in Science: A Guide for Teachers of 11-16 Science is now available to download from the ASE website http://www.ase.org.uk/resources/maths-in-science/ . The aim of this guide is to enable teachers, publishers, awarding bodies and others to achieve a common understanding of important terms and techniques related to the use of Mathematics in the Science curriculum for pupils aged 11-16.

This publication provides an overview of relevant ideas in Secondary school Mathematics and where they are used in Science. It aims to clarify terminology, and indicate where there may be problems in student understanding. The publication includes explanations of key ideas and terminology in Mathematics, guidance about good practice in applying mathematical ideas in Science, along with a glossary of terms.
The main part of the guide consists of ten chapters, organised around the "kinds of things we do in Science":

  1. Collecting data
  2. Doing calculations and representing values
  3. Choosing how to represent data
  4. Drawing charts and graphs
  5. Working with proportionality and ratio
  6. Dealing with variability
  7. Looking for relationships: line graphs
  8. Looking for relationships: batches and scatter graphs
  9. Scientific models and mathematical equations
  10. Mathematics in the real world

You can download the publication directly from here.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your active participation  in the CLIL seminar in Getxo and to remind you that I will let you know about  the new seminar sessions for 2016-2017 next September. Meanwhile, we will go on meeting through the diverse virtual learning spaces we share. 

Last but not least, let me wish you a very well-deserved summer break and remember that  “ rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” (John Lubbock, The Use Of Life)