Saturday, 21 December 2013

Online Authentic Videos for meaningful ESL learnin...

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Online Authentic Videos for meaningful ESL learning:

One of the most difficult issues to work without published English course books is to find good videos (and listenings) adapted for the ESL ...

With the help of my colleague Patricia Meneses, an awesome Art CLIL teacher and teacher trainer, we did a research in Internet on web pages, You Tube channels or Vimeo channels with videos, short films or commercials suitable to be used in the class with elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate students.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Is there any Difference Between Doing Projects and Project Based Learning?

I’ve been posting a lot about PBL (Project Based Learning) and Teaching English as a Second Language: 
But there is a big difference between doing projects in the class and learning through projects. The main goal of a project is the final product, while project-based learning main goal is the process.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Games about Dinosaurs, Birds and Mammals...

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Games about Dinosaurs, Birds and Mammals...:

Some days ago I was surfing the net in search of some information for a project about dinosaurs we are planning in the school. I landed in...

Monday, 21 October 2013

How do cultural differences affect the English Language Learners Ability to Succeed in School?..

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: How do cultural differences affect the English Language Learners ...:

I’ve been teaching in a CAEP School* for two years and primary ELL’s show cultural differences that really affects how they respond, act and...

"People's cultures are a huge part of their life. It has a huge effect on how they see the world, and how they do activities and work in their life".

Monday, 14 October 2013

Is that CLIL or what?

I have received some comments and questions about what’s CLIL and what’s not and, especially about the definition of "language showers"...  it seems to me that this is an aspect not clearn enough!

Is teaching a subject in a foreign language CLIL? Are immersion programmesCLIL? Are “language showers” CLIL? Are “workshops” or modulesCLIL?
Have a look at the following article and decide by yourself if you are doing CLIL or not!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Web 2.0 tools... How to choose the right one?

Start working with Web 2.0 tools in the classroom can be a hard and painful process that can lead to throw in the towel, before getting some...

How to build our “Web 2.0 Tool Kit”? You won't want to teach a lesson with a technology part if you don't feel confident using technology.

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Web 2.0 tools... How to choose the right one?:

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Thinking Global, Being Global

"By introducing children early on to concepts of globalization, we stand a greater chance of the next generation utilizing technology and creativity to create a healthier and happier world"

Have you ever visited the pyramids? Do you like sushi? Can you say “hello” in Swahili? Discover what it means to be global in this sweet and lighthearted book and iPad app.

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Thinking Global, Being Global:

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Some Ideas for the ESL class (or for any class!)

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Some Ideas for the ESL class (or for any class!):

ESL Ideas is a Pinterest Board, compiled by Amanda Avens with lots and lots of resources, tips and ideas for the teaching of English as a Second Language

I will try them in my class this school year, for sure!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

6+1 Action Tips for Project Working

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: 6+1 Action Tips for Project Working:

I remember many years ago, my students turned our English classroom into a TV studio. In groups they decided the different TV programmes they wanted to perform: the weather forecast, News, some advertisements, an interview, and a cooking programme. Then, they did all of the research, decided what information was important to share, wrote the scripts, and practiced after school.

They decided together how to decorate the classroom and how to set the furniture. They invited a TV professional camera to videotape the “performances”. And after that, they showed to the younger in the school and to parents. The video was also viewed in a local TV.

The students still mention it to me when I see them. They are in college now.

Project based learning is learning in its truest form!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

My City, Project Based Learning or Content Based Learning in the ESL class

One of the most important topics in the Primary Social Science Curriculum at Cicle Mitjà and Cicle Superior is the city, the town or the village where the students live.

The city landscape of Vitebsk
Knowing the city is a way to know many aspects of the social, cultural and civic around us. But it is also a way to know about museums, interesting places, monuments, history, famous people, unique buildings and curiosities of the town.

In this project, students will conduct a research on one or more aspects of their city (or another one, if we consider it more appropriate). The main aim is to develop a graphic support with varied information to orally show in front of the class and to make a display in the school corridors.

These are just some examples of outputs produced within the project. Power Points and scaled models are probably the most used resources among primary students, but they also used Prezi, Glogster or Issuu.

And this is the complete Unit Plan.

If you want to know something else about this project, the proposal, the basic skills it covers, or to download a Rubric for the assessment of communication, a peer assessment or a self assessment grid, please visit ARC (Aplicació de Recursos al Currículum). The project is fully published in this link: My City.

This project has been developed by TLEinC. ICE UAB Teacher trainers group work, 2013. Authors: Núria Biosca Perich, Enric Calvet Tomàs, Ana M. Esteban Nieto, M. Emília Masdeu Chimeno, Manuela Moledo Nores, M. Carmen Pérez Martin, Antonio Orihuela Lechuga.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Why CLIL?:

If your school is planning to start a CLIL project next school year or you are trying to find reasons to convince your school staff to....

‘Our educational systems were conceived and designed in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment and the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution...’ (Sir Ken Robinson) So if we do not use wigs, if we do not ride horses as the main mean of transport and if we do not use candles to allow us to see things; why do we have to use so old educational systems?'

Friday, 24 May 2013

Summer Homework? A suggestion...

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Summer Homework? A suggestion...

What can we do about English? Is there any way we can help our child? “I do not know much English but, I would like to help my children maintaining  the language learnt in the school...”

These, and other worries, are typical among parents when Summer is coming and they have to face a “long leisure time” with not much homework to do.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

How to develop CBLT units

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: How to develop CBLT units:

According to the theory of language learning, " CBLT is based on function and interaction of language, what means that language is taught taking into account the social context and the communicative needs of students".

When talking about the objectives and the syllabus that are going to be implemented in a course, CBLT focuses on competencies.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Doing More than Teaching English Language

Teachers of English as a second language to young children must impart English skills at the same time that they foster socialization; heighten an awareness of the self, the immediate classroom community, and the community beyond the school; introduce content concepts; and expose students to art, drama, literature, and music.     

Monday, 22 April 2013

Happy Saint George Day!

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Happy Saint George Day!:

Saint George's Day in Catalonia 

As Saint George is also the Saint Patron of England we benefit of this in the ESL class by talking about castles, legends, knights, kings and princesses, reading books or just listening for fun and enjoyment.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Do you Understand the Size of the Universe?

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Do you Understand the Size of the Universe?

Several weeks ago, I was surfing the net looking for some resources to explain the size of the Universe. This is a really tough topic, specially when the learners are above 10 and you need some "interactive help" to answer this difficult question in English as a Second Language!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Effective Spontaneous English Speaking Activities

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Effective Spontaneous English Speaking Activities:
Speaking is probably the most important skill in learning English as a second language and it is the most difficult one that primary English...

A spontaneous speaking activity is not synonymous to “speak whatever you want”. "Spontaneous speaking means that students have the chance to use the language resources they consider to be necessary or useful to achieve the task”.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

When I grow up, I want to be...

Talking about the future and the jobs students plan to do, it is always very rewarding. Children like to imagine how things will be like in their lives and, what’s more, you as a teacher can learn a lot about the personality of your pupils.

In my year 4 Primary ESL class we were involved during three sessions in practicing some research, reading, talking and writing to do a final display on the window corridor about future jobs

This is the way we did in our class, and it was a complete success.

As main objectives I planned:
  • Students will practice their writing skills by writing about what they want to be when they grow up.
  • Students will learn about their profession of choice by researching it.
  • Students will read, choose and write positive comments for their mates and their future jobs
  • Students will practice small motor skills by making a flower for a big display of what they want to be when they grow up.
Materials Needed:
  • The corridor wall or a window for the display
  • Coloured Papers Pencils
  • Crayons/Markers
  • Glue (or other ways to attach finished products to the window)
  • Posters, books or Internet finding on various professions
  • 100 ways to praise a child poster

You can start by leading a group discussion on different jobs…have the students discuss things like what jobs their parents have and what they think they want to be when they grow up.

Show the students the blank space where the project will be displayed. Explain that they are going to fill it up with their writings and pictures (or flowers with a positive comment in each petal).

Invite them to write a paragraph on what they want to be when they grow up. For struggling students, you can make the writing assignment shorter; for advanced ones, you can have them write more. They may go to the school library to get a book on that profession or have a research in Internet in order to know some basic characteristics on it. Then, ask students to draw a picture of themselves in their chosen profession.

You can either post on the display their drawing and writing, or the flowers with nice and praising sentences (this was the way we did!).

To do it more challenging:
  • Put all of the writings together in a class book about jobs.
  • Invite other classes to come take a look at our jobs display.
Please share any new ideas or resources on this topic!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A cooking workshop in the ESL class

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: A cooking workshop in the ESL class

Carnival is a festival of immense cultural and historical significance:   “There are many advantages in holding a nursery or school carnival ...

You must strongly think on the idea to do some cooking projects in English. They are a great resource of vocabulary and grammar in a rich context, full of motivation, fun and hands on activities.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Tiny Texts, for learning English and hearing some ...

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Tiny Texts, for learning English and hearing some different accents

ESL teachers who do not use published materials or course books, know how difficult is to find good listening and reading materials for their young English Learners.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Language or teaching? Linguistics or Pedagogy?

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Language or teaching? Linguistics or Pedagogy?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to give a short talk with other colleagues (very short talk, indeed!) at the Departament d’Ensenyament...

Friday, 25 January 2013

Catalonia: two languages... no problem!

Right now everyone argues about if we have a language problem in Catalonia. So occasionally we get to discuss whether or not we need special cinema laws to protect Catalan language, whether Catalan should be a requirement to work in universities or whether or not should have language immersion at schools.

But make no mistake; we do not have a language problem.

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Catalonia: two languages... no problem!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

School Camps and ESL

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: School Camps and ESL

School Camps have become, over time, an essential activity into the teaching and learning process of children...

We can improve English language (as a second or foreign language) in a free and secure environment just by preparing different games to fill the leisure moments.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

ICT in Education, Bloom’s revisited

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: ICT in Education, Bloom’s revisited: If I said that Bloom’s Taxonomy has been revisited, you may think that this is another point of view of this famous taxonomy and not worth spend a minute on it!

But it worths, believe me!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Chaos Theory in Education?

Cockroaches and Ladybugs: Chaos Theory in Education?

A teacher friend of mine said categorically that " no a unit plan supports classroom life ". Teachers spend many hours and efforts to prepare, plan and program units, assessments and activities, in order to have a maximum control over the teaching and learning.

But, how many times it has happened that a so meticulously prepared unit plan has been ruined by tiny incidents that have nothing to do with school?