March 28, 2012

Easter baskets for irregular verbs

This is the lesson I created this morning, for a group of 11 year olds, to be used in a classroom without a computer, three days before our Easter break.
I was very happy because my students loved it and I could see they were learning and having fun.

The aim of the lesson was to revise a set of ten irregular verbs.

I brought a number of paper sheets in various colours and a pair of scissors and started by cutting out egg shapes. My students immediately guessed they were Easter eggs and joined me. I distributed the paper stripes to be folded and cut. They exchanged eggs because they all wanted the eggs in all colours.

While cutting, we talked about the story we read in the course book. When we mentioned an irregular verb, I wrote it on the blackboard. I chose to write only the ten irregular verbs I wanted to focus on.

I suggested writing the verbs on the eggs. We wrote the simple past form, too – on the other side. Now they could check if they remembered all the irregular forms.

I had more paper. The sheets were square – shaped. I challenged the students to play a game and win a prize, a paper basket to keep the eggs. I saw this beautiful paper basket used in a lesson on where I also found the link to the instructions on how to make a basket:

The task was:

1 Ask me a question in the past, using the verb on the egg I pick from your desk.
2 Listen to my answer (Yes, I did / No, I didn't; Yes, I was/No, I wasn't)
3 Make a sentence about what you have learnt (Ms Bozinovic … /The teacher didn't )

While my students were making their questions and sentences, I was quickly making the baskets and giving them their prize. After I'd made a few, some stronger students joined me in making the baskets for friends. Then they asked and answered the questions in pairs and I only monitored.

As a follow-up activity the students wrote five interesting sentences they remembered.

They took the baskets and eggs home with the task to decorate the eggs and revise the verbs,
and to add a handle to the basket ( a piece of thread, wire, a straw, or whatever they find appropriate).
The optional task was to use the verbs to tell a short story.

At the beginning of our next lesson I expect some stronger students to share their stories and the weaker students to show that they can use the past form in single sentences. I am sure they will all want to show me the decorations on the eggs in their beautiful baskets and all kinds of handles.

March 21, 2012

Video interviews - what a treat!

It's been a busy day. I had to miss some events at the conference in Glasgow. The consolation: there are recordings to be watched on a quieter day, there are reports written by four roving reporters and a whole group of registered bloggers. There is no reason to be sad.

What I can't miss is the forum.The forums are very lively. I introduced myself in Young Learners and Teens Forum and already met people enthusiastic about international projects.

The choice of today's videos is also great. The list of people interviewed today is impressive:
Vicki Hollett
Lindsey Clanfield & Luke Meddings
Associates from around the world
Michael Carrier
Penny Ur
Jeremy Harmer
Robert Hill
Associates from France, Japan and Bulgaria
Hornby scholars from Venezuela, Ethiopia, Nigeria from Venezuela, Yemen and Nigeria
Interview with associates: Patricia Rose (the Netherlands), Simon Gillett (Korea) and Dimitrios Primalis (Greece)
Scott Thornbury
Hornby scholars: Awgichew Arega and Getachew Melaku Yitbarek (Ethiopia)
David Graddol
Catherine Walter
Meet the Online Team with Marion
Russel Stannard
David Heathfield
Andrew Hockley

Do you know which interview I saw first? Of course, Marion and the Online Team, the people who have been making this all possible for teachers from all over the world for six years now. Then I had to see a few more videos... :)

March 20, 2012

Glasgow Online Forums

Before a conference starts, interested teachers go through the Conference Programme checking day by day: plenary sessions, workshops, poster exhibitions, events… The most difficult but also the most interesting first activity is to choose the best, the most interesting ones.

Attending a conference online makes the process much easier: the choice is between Live Sessions and the recordings, and you don't think about what you can miss but about what you can follow from home. The website of the conference, if prepared and organised as well as Glasgow Online is an essential part of the conference, even for those attending some f2f sessions, because it helps them do what was until recently impossible – be everywhere at the same time!

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

The omnipresence of the conference - goers is a talent we wish from a conference website and Glasgow Online gives it abundantly: if I am at work, I follow the conference events during breaks or at home in the evening. I guess I am one of many already used to getting information on demand.

The real gem of Glasgow Online is The Forum. All SIGs are represented and the moderators in all Special Interest Areas help participants feel at home. Teachers introduce themselves, presenters give additional info about presentations, young and less experienced teachers learn from more experienced teachers and teacher trainers who share and teach about the importance of sharing in education. Old friends meet again and new friendships are born every moment, day and night – forums opened before the official start of the conference and will stay open after all f2f participants have already gone home.

IATEFL Glasgow Conference Begins!

It’s the first day of the 46th Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition in Glasgow, Scotland, which lasts 19th – 23rd March, and I am not in Glasgow, but following the online edition.

This is my first post as a Glasgow Online Registered Blogger. I have been accepted to be a registered blogger and so I can have the conference badge embedded in the sidebar of my blog.

By clicking on the badge you can access Glasgow Online, where you can find the latest news about and from the conference, watch the sessions and interviews, live or recorded, see the images shared on Flickr, find all the sessions organised by date and the names of the presenters.

Glasgow Online seems an ordinary web site with all the useful information, but it is not just that. For all of us following the conference from all over the world, Forums on Glasgow Online are the place to meet and share ideas with colleagues. It is the first day and there are already hundreds of posts. Old friends and first-time participants share ideas on teaching, learning, topics specific for various IATEFL Special Interest Areas, and the conference itself.

Live Channel is already active. Today, all online participants could watch and comment in live chat a series of very interesting interviews with Eric Baber, Chia Suan, Neil Ballantyne, Nik Peachey, Gavin Dudney, Ilnur Minkhmetov, Viktoria Ostankova, Sirin Soyoz, Adam Simpson and Jamie Kadie. Tomorrow, there are the plenary session with Adrian Underhill from 9.00 a.m. and British Council Signature Event: Global Primary ELT Issues from 17.35. For those who won’t be able to watch them live, there will be the recordings, of course.

Plenty of learning and fun for someone who “isn’t attending the conference this year” :)))

March 6, 2012

Getting ready for my second TeachMeet

Last Saturday I took part in a professional development online session which was really special – TeachMeetInt'l.A group of teachers from different countries and continents, 24 of them presenters from 17 countries, met in an Adobe Connect Pro Meeting Room to share and listen to three-minute presentations about various educational topics. The moderators of the event, English teachers Arjana Blazic from Croatia, and Bart Verswijvel from Belgium talked to the participants between the presentations and introduced the presenters. Sonja Lusic Radosevic, a Math teacher and ICT expert from Croatia and Hrvoje Lisac, a tech guy from CARNet, Croatian Academic and Research Network, which made the organization of the event in Adobe Connect Pro possible and free, helped the participants with uploading the presentations and all technical issues.

I was very proud to be one of the presenters. It was my first three-minute presentation. It felt great to share my work with colleagues. The biggest challenge was to fit all I wanted to say in only three minutes, but Bart was merciless. He showed me the stopwatch, a mild warning to remind me of the time limit, and after a few seconds, his hilarious monster bell, a sign I had to stop talking. I felt very happy because I managed to say everything I wanted.

This is my presentation about how and why I use wikis with my students:

TeachMeet is a kind of professional development event I would recommend to every teacher. All you need is a computer with the Internet connection, a headset and web camera, and an idea you want to share with other teachers. What you get is meeting colleagues, sharing ideas, discussing various relevant topics, all in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Next Saturday there is TeachMeetRegional: teachers from Croatia and the region meet and the presentations are in Croatian. This time there aren't so many teachers who applied to present. I wouldn’t miss for it the world and I hope some more teachers join us for one of the future editions of TeachMeet – International or Regional.