Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank a Teacher

I have just come across this wonderful video and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the amazing teachers who have had such an influence in my life. Even though I first got a degree as a Translator, deep inside I always thought I wanted to be a teacher. We all know life is not always roses and cupids and we have those bad hair days but I believe I have come to a point in my career I can say I would not know what to do if I were told not to set foot in a classroom anymore.
How about you? Why have you decided to embrace this career? Who has influenced you the most?

Hope you find the video as inspiring as I have.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Josh Groban - "Higher Window" Lyric Video

I originally started this blog to reflect upon the use of music in the classroom. This is something I have been doing for a long time (22 years now!) and since the beginning I've always resisted the tendency to bring pop, meaningless songs to my students. I don't mean that pop music is always meaningless but I've tried to take the opportunity and introduce them to artists they might not have the chance to know for different reasons. Josh Groban is one of these artists. He has never disappointed me, if I can say so. What I mean is students always love his music although so far he should not be considered a pop artist at all. He is about to release a new album and his producers have been making good use of the new medias to promote it. I believe that's why we now have this brand-new song available before the CD reaches the stores in a few days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Youth Ambassadors 2011

October 26th, 2010 - A very special day.

Today the American Embassy announced the names of the 35 students from public schools who will have the chance to travel to the United States in January. A fantastic program the Embassy has which offers these students the chance to open their horizons and see there is so much for them to discover. A very tough selection this year. There were more than 6,000 candidates and I strongly believe that each and every one had something special to share.
I am particularly happy because we have managed to have a candidate selected, Natanael, who is a very special young man. We are sure he will be really successful in the future given his tenacity. I was also selected to travel with them as a coordinator with the organizers of the program. I am sure this is going to be a milestone in our lives. There will be a lot of things to be done before the trip. We'll be leaving Brazil on Janurary 7th and return on January 28th.
I am really glad for the opportunity. It's true we have all worked really hard to make sure everything would be all right - online work (this year), written tests, interviews, visits to the candidates' homes - but it was worth it.
It is really a pleasure to know we have the chance to make a difference in people's lives and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, these "kids" will learn a lot and they will also have a lot to share with the American people they will be in contact for three weeks in January.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stay Relevant

We are always discussing what teaching in the 21st century is all about. As digital immigrants it is quite tough for some of us to let go of some old (successful) practices in favor of new ones. Again, the painful situation of leaving our comfort zones.
The thing is, as Educators, we MUST be ready or at least willing to learn more about everything that might facilitate students' learning not to mention their survival in a world without walls. The attached video will show how important it is to be aware of these changes in the world we live and the way we communicate. Are we supposed to rush and get to know EVERYTHING about it? I would never say that. However, I strongly believe we should be open and receptive to it if we want to survive as well and still be heard. The video is another variation of Karl Fisch's, "Did you know?" video.
I would really appreciate to know about your opinion. Have you been using these social medias? How can you implement it and make a difference in your daily teaching?

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaching x Learning

A teacher writing on a blackboard.Image via Wikipedia

I have just read an awesome post about this young teacher who has decided to give up and try something else, maybe just for a while.
Having been on the road for almost 23 years now I can understand a number of points she is considering. I have been teaching EFL in a Language School, a Binational Center and she comes from the so called regular school teaching fifth graders. However, I think many of the points she highlights will sound familiar for any teacher who happens to be worried about his/her career and what happens in the classroom. It reminds me of a workshop I once attended and the title was "What's happening when nothing is happening in the classroom?".
I know some people who really do not spend any time (waste time in their words)asking so many questions we may never find the answers.
I can't agree. I believe that if we are to survive and be successful as real 21st century teachers/educators there must be room for such discussions and maybe endless questioning.
Recently we have been working a lot on Professional Development and what is said to be effective planning. This is an area I believe we have so much to learn about. Is there really one single effective way to teach? Can't we question rules/theories? Is there room for adaptation? How far can we go? Her considerations about this area in particular struck me the most. I suggest you read her post in hopes you'll be as intrigued as I was and I would appreciate your personal comments.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

To tweet or not to tweet?

I have said many times I cannot imagine my professional and personal life without my PLN. I remember being introduced to Twitter back in 2008 when I did my online course Webtools4BrazilianEducators with Carla Arena from Casa Thomas Jefferson. I must confess at that time I was a bit lost and maybe because I'm rather anxious I wanted to use everything I was being introduced to at the same time.
Well, those days are gone but Twitter, in particular, has been a must have for me. I intend to devote some of my time now, maybe during the break in July, to evangelize my colleagues at CCBEUFRANCA and bring them to this enriching community of devoted Educators who have been so helpful whenever I need either to solve a tech problem, discuss some pedagogical issue or simply share something I may have come across and find interesting. Because of my awesome PLN, I have just come across this great video I believe you should all watch and see the amazing potential of Twitter for all of us.
Hope you enjoy it and, as usual, I would love to read your opinions about it. Have you started using twitter yet? What have you been doing with it? Has anything let you down?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Save them

I know it's not an easy task but I have started thinking more seriously about this responsibility we have in our hands as Educators - save (help) the students that would not be considered the most brilliant ones. The inspiration for writing/reflecting came after reading an oustanding post by another must-follow blogger Shelly Terrell.
I have made a number of mistakes as a teacher and I'm glad I have had the chance to be honest about it and try to see things in a different perspective. Isn't it what living is all about? Learning from mistakes. I can't help thinking about a song "Lessons to be learned", the main idea being in life "there are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned".
Back to the ideas from the original post, I was particularly touched by a list of suggestions, kindly shared by another educator in the comments section of Shelly's post, for us to follow as Educators if we are to survive and make a difference in at least one student's life who is close to us.
From the 15 pieces of advice mentioned I guess number 15 really called my attention and it reads " We have time schedules where students are required to meet a certain level. Yet some can’t work within that time limit. It takes them longer to understand. Should we penalise them?"
This is a dilemma I have faced quite often in my career as an EFL teacher and two weeks ago I was talking exactly about it with a student of mine. She is redoing a course at the Binational Center where I teach and she's not doing "as expected" by the system again.
However, I told her I can see a lot of improvement in her performance since we started working together in February. So just like the other teacher commented she may not have reached the "expected" level of performance to move on to a higher level, yet she has made a lot of progress in the last 5 months and this must be taken into consideration.
So, this is a great opportunity for reflection. I think more often than not we end up turning our backs to "problems" assuming there is not much to be done. We are, as teachers/educators, many times overworked and it's only natural to feel demotivated to fight even harder to motivate the so called difficult, hopeless students. Who is going to motivate us? Well, different people will certainly have a different answer. As for me, I can say it is extremely gratifying when you see someone coming close to you to thank you because you were simply there for them when they themselves have thought about giving up.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Endless Possibilities

Thank to my PLN and the fantastic Silvia Tolisano, whom I have been following on Twitter for quiet some time now I came across an amazing collection of quotations from Flickr and I was immediately caught by this one. I could not help connecting it to one of my favorite songs sung by Barbra Streisand - "Children will listen". As teachers/Educators we must be fully aware of the power we have in our hands and the astounding power of the words: good and bad. Coincidentally, before going to twitter and the whole idea of this blog post come to my mind, I had just finished reading VEJA and the horrid details about this psychopath who beastly tormented a two-year-old girl she was supposed to take care of and become her adoptive mother.
Sad days, crazy days the ones we have been living. Yet, we know we should always be optimists and actually do something so we can live in a better world.
It is no easy task but, again, we know we have been given some special power and we MUST do our best to guide these children so they may, in the future, look behind and say "Mr.Mrs
whoever did make a difference in my life and I'm glad I have followed the right road ".
How about you? What have you been doing with your students? Have you been open enough and resourceful enough to make a difference in their lives? I really hope so.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Open Letter to the Teacher Who Said “I Hate Technology.”

Open Letter to the Teacher Who Said “I Hate Technology.”

I can't help sharing this other fantastic post. I believe we'll all find something relevant while reading it. One of the greatest points for me is the fact that many times we might be afraid of technology just because we may wrongly think we'll be useless in the classroom. This is definitely not true and adapting must be the key word. Honestly, when I think about our local reality I believe students may also be afraid of this new way of teaching which will inevitably affect their way of learning. Leaving one's comfort zone is never easy and most of our students are used to the spoonfeeding they have been receiving for ever and the obsession of "learning" to be successful in quizzes and tests. Well, loads of food for thought here.
Enjoy the reading.
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What Makes a Master Teacher?

What Makes a Master Teacher?

An awesome post I have just come across about the characteristics of a Master Teacher. I believe we can all learn a lot from it and do our best to come as close as possible to this ideal situation so our learners can feel more comfortable when we are together in the classroom.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reading is the Key

I have just come across an awesome video while I was reading the highly recommended blog by Angela Miers. I believe this might be a great way to motivate students to read more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Effective Professional Development

Great post by Peter Pappas about Professional Development and some essential questions we should all think about before we invite anyone to join us on this adventure. I think there is a lot of food for thought here and many times in life it seems we have to look back and reflect. Maybe, just maybe, we are not going on the right track. The worst part might be that most of the time we are so well-meaning.
Click here to read his post and the ones related to the same topic, which I highly recommend.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Education & Technology Quotes

I've just learned about this awesome collection of quotes related to Education and Technology and I should thank Andressa Cardoso (http://rightobe.blogspot.com/)who shared it via Twitter (@dessa24). This is the true power of caring and sharing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

reBlog from Angela Maiers: Angela Maiers Educational Services

I found this fascinating quote today:

As I reflect on these past 20 years of working in this great profession of education, and particularly the past few years of worldwide connections I've been fortunate to find due to the blogosphere, I'm excited about learning now more than ever. I strive for at least one WOW each day.Angela Maiers, Angela Maiers Educational Services, Feb 2010

You should read the whole article.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Well, this must be a pain for the perfectionists (myself included) but the question is: is there such a thing as perfection? I have decided to name this personal bog "A work in Progress" because that's truly how I see myself and this idea became even clearer after my getting into Web 2.0 and everything I learn every single day.
I have just seen this video at John Spencer's blog and I invite you again for reflection. There is a lot of food for thought here and I'd love to read from you.
Hope you like it. To watch the video, please click here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I have just heard about this tool which translates text to speech in different languages. It seems to be a great tool. I've tested it with a short text in English and checked the translation into Portuguese, Spanish and French (the languages I can understand) and I am impressed with the result. Of course whatever you type in English can simply be converted into speech and I can see a lot of potential for students to improve their pronunciation.
All in all, I highly recommend you give it a try. Take a look here and enjoy it.

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