Saturday, 10 October 2015

Hotel Transylvania


Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 American 3D computer animated fantasy comedy film.
It tells the story of count Dracula, the owner of the Hotel Transylvania where only monsters can go. 
On the occasion of the 118th birthday of his daughter Mavis, Dracula invites some monsters for a party, but the hotel is unexpectedly visited by a “human” young boy, Jonathan. Dracula must protect Mavis from falling in love with him.

Hotel Transylvania 2 was released in 2015 and the story takes place seven years later. The hotel is now open to human guests, too. In the meanwhile, count Dracula had a grandson who is not a pure-blood vampire…


     Hotel Transylvania - Trailer


"The Zing" song

Hotel Transylvania soundtrack 

Let' s meet the main characters


I made this Piktochart poster for you

STUDENTS' TASK
Answer the following questions after watching the film

  1. Did you enjoy the film? Why/why not?
  2. Which is your favourite character? Why?
  3. What is your favourite scene? Why?
  4. Would you like to be Jonathan? Would you like to have an experience like his own?
  5. What would you do if you were Mavis, would you always obey your overprotective father or would you try to win more freedom?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Using Google Versal to create an interactive (and flipped) lesson - An introduction to the UK

I have just tried Versal to prepare an interactive lesson about the UK.

With Versal you can create interactive online learning experiences (from full courses to short lessons or homework assignments) to share with your students. It could be great for a flipped lesson. You can add text, links, images and videos; you can create slide shows, quizzes, diagrams, maps and timelines. This is my example.



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Migration in Europe and multiculturalism in Britain

Europe is struggling to cope with a growing migrants flow. More and more migrants and asylum seekers are coming to Europe from Africa and the Middle East.
First of all, we are going to try to understand what migration is and what it means today. Then, we are going to talk about multiculturalism and, of course, about multicultural society in Britain.
Read the following articles, watch the video and answer the questions.


READING

HISTORY OF MIGRATION


History of migration:




http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=bbv

Migration from the colonies to Western Europe since 1800:




http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/europe-on-the-road/economic-migration/pieter-c-emmer-leo-lucassen-migration-from-the-colonies-to-western-europe-since-1800

Migration to Britain:




http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyhistory/next_steps/int_05_europe_01.shtml


MIGRATION TODAY

Some articles explain what is happening in Europe today 


Migration in Europe today: 
The following article try to answer these questions:

Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum seekers? 
What has caused migrant numbers to rise?
What is the EU doing about it? 
Are all the EU countries sharing the burden?




http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286


These 5 Facts Explain Europe’s Deadly Migrants Crisis:




http://time.com/3833333/ian-bremmer-europe-migrants-deaths/



Multicultural societies in an historic perspective:


http://ndla.no/en/node/89615
LISTENING

MULTICULTURALISM

Multicultural Britain

WRITING
Answer the following questions


Unfortunately, because of the migrants crisis, xenophobia and anti-immigrant attitudes have recently risen across the continent. 

  • What do you think about that?
  • Do you live in a multicultural place? 
  • Is there migration from or immigration to your country? 
  • What is your opinion about multiculturalism? What are the pros and cons of a multicultural society?
  • Watch the video above about multicultural Britain and write a summary.


SPEAKING
Role-play

If we are travelling to a foreign country, we are all immigrants although we are going to stay there for short periods. In fact, as soon as we set foot in a foreign airport, we have to pass trough the Customs Office, show our documents and answer some questions.
Watch the following video.  Imagine you are in a British airport, you and your class mate are respectively a customs officer and and a traveller. Invent dialogues like the one in the video, ask and answer questions like: 
  • What is your final destination?
  • How long will you be staying in the UK?
  • What is the purpose of your visit?
  • Where will you be staying?
  • Do you have anything to declare?

English communication - Airport Immigration and Customs

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Blogging in the classroom - after two years I weigh the pros and cons of my "teacher blog" (...and create a "students blog")



I have been a blogger for nearly two years. 
I use my educational blog The Travelling Teachers  almost every day in my classes and my students are asked to use it at home.
I have already written on this blog about the advantages of blogging in the classrom and  I propose again my Popplet mind-map about it below.

Click on the image to open it

After two years I can say that my students are more engaged than before, they are enthusiastic about using my blog both at home and in the classroom. 
Blogs support writing, reading, listening and even speaking skills
In the classroom (blended learning) we read some posts, translate them and comment on them. We watch some videos, listen to some songs or surf the Net through the suggested links. 
At home students can enter their reflections on posted questions, publish their own questions and share opinions. They are sometimes asked to study a particular topic on the blog at home and relate to the classmates and to the teacher about it in the classroom. (flipped learning).


By blogging, we also reach some important goals concerning technology. Students exercise their digital citizenship and understand some ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology; they also learn to use some technology tools to increase their productivity and creativity; they improve their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language (CLIL); they use the English language both within and beyond the school and, in the end, they start becoming life-long learners by using the foreign language for personal enjoyment and enrichment. 



But I realised that something was missing... 
Students did not willingly leave their comments on the posts. 
An educational blog should improve the students' way of expressing themselves.  In fact being published, by leaving their comments, should be an incentive for many students. Even the most shy students should feel empowered and motivated by expressing themselves better in a written discussion than in front of a class.
But, when asked to leave their comments on the posts or to answer some questions in a written form, my students felt intimidated. Absurdly, they preferred writing them on their exercise-book because they were afraid of my blog visibility (my students are young learners, unaccostumed to social networks and impractical in using social forums).



How to solve this problem? I really wanted my students to write more. I decided to create a students blog to make the learners more active, more self-confident and more and centered on their own learning process.


I created this image with Cacoo.

The Michelangelo English Club was born, on an experimental basis, a month ago.
It is meant to be a blog for the students of my classes, it will contain all their projects, works, reports and researches. The posts will entirely be written by the students. Learners will gradually feel more confident in writing posts and leaving comments because this blog will be their own, they will feel "at home".
Of course we will continue to use my blog, as well. The "teacher blog" and the "students blog" will be closely related and... we will see what happens!


Monday, 13 April 2015

Martin Luther King - 47 years ago, on April 4th the civil rights leader was assassinated


Martin Luther King Jr. was the most important representative of the American Civil Rights Movement, which fought for equal rights for all. He used nonviolent resistance against segregation laws. He truly believed  that "all men are created equal" as he said in the famous speech he delivered during the march on Washinghton on August, 28 1963. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April, 4 1968 when he was just 39 years old. 
Move the cursor on the image below and some links will appear. Open them to get some information about M. L. King.


STUDENTS' TASK

Read the above information and watch the videos about M. L. King, then use Projeqt to prepare a presentation. You can add documents, links, images and videos.
You can see an example of a Projeqt presentation of mine at the following link: https://projeqt.com/robertamartino/the-ant-and-the-grasshopper/aesops-life/g


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

What can we do to save our planet?


To talk about the Environment to my students, this time I have created a simple Emaze online presentation. 
Emaze is a very interesting web tool, you can select a pre-designed template (or make your own slides from scratch) and easily create your presentation (slideshow, video and even a 3D presentation) by adding text, images, charts and videos. 
You can also save the presentation to view it offline.


This work is just a starting point to talk about many topics related to the environment. Students will learn:
  • the meaning of the word environment
  • to consider that we belong to a global community which shares resources
  • to become more responsible and care about the planet Earth
  • to think critically about the impact of people on their planet
  • to take some real actions for the environment
  • to understand the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling

Click on the image below and watch the presentation:


Let's save our planet!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to write a letter: formal or informal style?


Knowing how to write a letter is a very important skill (at school, in business, for general personal relationships).
I have created two simple Glogster interactive posters to show  formal and informal letter layouts. By moving your cursor over the images, some links will appear. Click on them to get more information.

You will learn:
  • the structure of a letter
  • the difference between a formal and an informal style
  • the conventions of formal letter writing



Informal letter


Formal letter


Some useful resources about letter writing:
http://www.letterwritingguide.com/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic/writing-a-letter
http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/letter-writing.php
http://www.studyenglishtoday.net/business-letter-parts.html
http://esl.about.com/od/businessenglishwriting/a/Formal-Letter-Structure.htm
http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/letter-writing.php

Some exercises:
http://www.tolearnenglish.com/english_lessons/writing-letters-exercises


Monday, 16 March 2015

St. Patrick' s Day QR Webquest!

A different Webquest for St. Patrick' s Day!

For this webquest I am going to use QR codes! My students will have to use their own device (smartphone or tablet) in the classroom (BYOD) to get all the information they need and answer the questions!

Goals:
  • Talking about cultural aspects of a festival in a fun way
  • Facilitating students' engagement
  • Ensuring aesy access to selected information and material
  • Allowing students to aquire digital skills

Anticipatory Set and Instructions:

For this webquest I have created some QR (Quick Response) codes. They are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read using tablets or smartphones. You need a camera and a QR code reader on your device to read them (there are many free apps available). These codes link directly to websites, videos and more.
Of course if you want to create your own QR codes you also need a QR code generator (there are many of them for free online, as well).
For my webquest, I have used the "QR stuff code generator" (online on my pc) and I have asked my students to download the "QR code reader" free app (for Android) on their mobile devices. It's very easy and quick!

Classroom activity:

On St. Patrick' s Day I am  printing the QR codes and I am putting them on the walls of my classroom (you can also use more than one room or a different location). I am going to divide the students into teams, they will have to answer some questions (to get points) after having read the information and watched the video.
I have prepared a Google form with all the questions and of course it is available with a QR code, as well! 
The team with the most points will win. 

Follow-up:

After our classroom activity, students will have to write a report, make a poster or a presentation to sum up all the information about St. Patrick' s Day.

If you don't want to create your own QR codes but you  like this activity, you can use mine, just print them or show them on your pc or your Interactive Whiteboard of your classroom. All the students have to do is use their mobile' s camera to open the links and get the information  through the QR codes.

ST PATRICK' S WEBQUEST


1) St. Patrick' s Day origins

2) Sacred sites linked to St. Patrick

3) Watch the video

4) What is a Leprechaun?


5) St. Patrick' s poems
Choose a poem and memorize it!

And now open the form, answer the questions and click on "send"!
You will get 1 point for each correct answer 
and 5 points for the poem!




Sunday, 15 February 2015

Carnival and Pancake Day in the UK: a webquest

It's carnival time!

Surf the following websites and have your own (virtual) 
pancakes race!





First of all let' s take a look at some Carnival glossary
http://www.carnivalarts.org.uk/Portals/0/Carnival%20Glossary.pdf


Now let's see UK carnivals by region:
http://www.carnivalarts.org.uk/Carnivals/UKCarnivalsbyregion.aspx


Carnival festival culminates on Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday,  is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. 'Shrove' derives from an old English word 'shrive', meaning 'confess all sins'. In the UK it is also called Pancake Day because on this day people traditionally eat pancakes.

Surf the following site for more information about Shrove Tuesday in the UK:
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/uk/shrove-tuesday


Pancake day in London:

Basic Pancake recipes:
http://www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/recipes/eggs/pages/basicpancakes.aspx

Some videos:

Pancake Day

The great pancake race

WEBQUEST

Your own pancakes race...


Click on my Thinglink image below (I made the mindmap with Spiderscribe), follow the route, open the Word documents, answer the questions about the websites you have just visited... and win the pancakes race!