Monday, December 5, 2016

Top 5 Photo Collage Tools

       To make photo collages within an online project, we always stumble on sites which do not provide free services and after a long work on design of the collage, we are surprised that the site is not offering free services and we cannot download the collage. That's why, it is mandatory for teachers to go directly to a safe site , and save time. Thus, this is a list of the top 5 Photo Collages that I recommend so as to make the required work to do easier in some way.
    1-Photo Collage




Happy Collages! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

European Quality Label

      This is one of the most exalting news ever! I would like to thank all of those who made this possible: my partners in the project, my amazing pupils, my supportive colleagues, the staff of my school and the whole staff of the CNTE , who were of great support and help to everyone of us. Zillion thanks to everyone of you! I shall not forget to thank my family, to whom I owe much of my success. Yet, this is a small step in front of what many are making. I hope many of the steps to come would be mostly successful. THANK YOU FROM THE HEART

Monday, November 21, 2016

Activity: Using stuffed penguins to motivate students to write

        This is a low-tech activity which I have implemented lately, with my 9th grade students (aged 14-16) and it was quite successful. That's why I think it is worth-sharing. I hope you like the activity, adopt it and adapt it to your own classes. I know this might not be new to some of you, but it could be inspiring to some of those who are looking for something out of the ordinary routines to try in class, during third hour classes, which is meant in our Tunisian syllabus to make fun and enjoy learning English. I do not think this could be implemented with adults, though I think this is tempting to try and see! 
   Materials: Stuffed animals 
   Organisation: Group work
   Time: 15 mn
   Aims: To write a first person paragraph
            To narrate a story based on the stuffed animal 
            Recycle and consolidate basic structures to write correct/ meaningful sentences
            Collaborate in groups to share ideas and use imagination creatively
   Description: In this activity, the students (assembled in groups of 4)get a stuffed animal,( this time, a penguin). They decide whether to write a first-person paragraph, or third-person paragraph about the penguin. What is crucial is that they decide to write a short story revolving around the penguin. 
   Preparation: You will need to bring stuffed animals to the class depending on the number of groups. Papers and markers are optional. 
1-At the beginning of the activity, the teacher writes a set of questions, which could give the students clues about the flow and the sequence of the paragraph. The questions revolve around the name, age, hobbies, feelings of the penguin, why and where is he/she! The story is not long, but every student can make it longer, when interested, to resume writing , but this time a longer version of the story. 
2-When the students agree on all the necessary details to include in their writings, they write the story and then share them with their peers. 
       The students have been so excited to see, use stuffed animals and share ideas in a very collaborative spirit. They have been engaged during the whole process of writing. The newness of the activity have boosted their motivation to write. Some other pupils volunteered to take pictures of the activity, while working. Some of the pictures are posted below. 
The paragraphs, or the stories are far from being perfect or void of language mistakes, but they become aware of their mistakes, due to the conversations going on while writing. This is a demanding activity for the teacher, because he has to ensure that every pupil is taking part in the activity. Some funny names the students have used are: Penguy, Pengushi, Penguat, Pengury. Some funny lines are: Today, we'd like to present Penguat is fat. The rhyme of the names have helped the learners to think of corresponding adjectives. Some other examples state: Pengury is angry. 
What is interesting is that learners have used their imagination and put heads together to take appropriate decisions concerning many parts of their writings.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Etwinning Quality Label

Seven days ago, I received a very heart-warming e-mail announcing that our project (me and 25 educators from around Europe) were awarded the quality label for our project "Tell Me Your Story". I do like to present this award in return to many inspiring members at the CNTE, to my students and to my family and to my inspiring colleagues. We worked together on the project for the whole year, we enjoyed exchanging views, learning from each other, connecting and working jointly on similar goals. The experience was rewarding to a very large extent. We had the pleasure to exchange handicraft cards, sing a song in the language of one of our partners ( in our case Romanian) and write a story in which we invite our guests to visit the most interesting sites in Tunisia.
Last but not least, Thank you Etwinning Tunisia for supporting us. Thank you CNTE staff for all your efforts.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My First Twitter Chat- ECG2016ccc Edcamp Global 2016

This is my first attempt to share my views with like-minded professionals in the form of a twitter chat. I will certainly share more after the chat itself. This event is held by the Edcamp Global 2016.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ebook- Final outcome of our Etwinning Project -

     This is the final outcome of my students' hard work for a whole year. They have written collaboratively this short story so as to give an idea to our European partners about some famous Tunisian towns. I haven't interfered but to correct some grammatical mistakes.The spirit of the task is that they choose heroes from the ancient history of our country and give them new roles. The towns they have picked are their own choice. I am so proud of their devotion and commitment. Special thanks to Nour for her hard work and utter engagement in the process. It is true that only few of them have been fully engaged. Some of them were more worried about their final exam than being part of an invaluable project. But what is heart-warming is that during the project itself, much has been learned and a lot of interaction has happened. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hiba & Nour singing in Romanian

         Who said you cannot fully enjoy a language though you do not know a word of it? Here is the proof good music and nice melody  nicely performed by my two sweet students ! Part of our Etwinning project, every couple of partners should learn a song chosen by their corresponding partners. Hope you like the video and encourage my 9th grade students after they learned the Romanian song "Oglinda".

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Post-it Notes

                                             What could Post-it notes be useful for?

Although technology is one of the most important aids of learning, this does not exclude "physical" practices that are far from technology and could be as effective as well.

In fact, I find using sticky notes extremely useful to use for various aims during my classes. They could be used during any of the three stages of the lesson.
       Here are some of my classroom ideas using sticky notes.

  • I use sticky notes during the Lead-In part of the lesson for:

1-Individual brainstorming :completing a spidergram with words related to a specific semantic field. This activates the learners' schemata. After they finish jotting down their words, the students exchange their spidergrams.
2-Recap: Remind them of previous vocab that we worked on a previous session and ask them to jot down synonyms/ antonyms to certain vocab that could pave the way for a new targeted lexis.
3- Paraphrasing proverbs/ sayings/ quotations: Sticky notes are handy and easy to exchange. Moreover, some of my learners feel that these sticky notes are personal notes and strive hard to do their best. Some others see them as sth in extra  and comment upon the color and some other students prefer another color.

  • Using Sticky notes during the While-Stage: Some of the activities that could be dealt with during this stage thanks to the sticky notes are:

1-Dictation of some words related to any kind of text, either a text as a "listening" or as a "reading" text.
2-Ponder over some extra questions that were not dealt with during the lesson.
3-Write down some reflections.
4-Ask for help such as scribbling some words in Arabic and ask for an instant translation of some words while performing a task. Shy learners tend feel more comfortable using these sticky notes essentially for the first sessions of the academic year so as to write questions about some words they do not know how to translate them in the targeted language, especially while writing essays or answering questions.
5-Tweeting definitions of a specific concept. Learners are asked to tweet a definition, by using a real username and choose the proper hashtag. Then, they are asked to stick them on the Twitter wall poster & collate .
6-Chain sentences: Writing sentences or writing stories. This depends on the level of the students. Writing collaborative sentences. One student starts with the first words and the folowing students build up either, sentences exemplfying a certain structure or writing short stories. When the sentence is over, the student who gets the sticky note reads it out loud to the whole class. This is collaborative writing and learners are amazed at the inspiration and vitality that occurs during the activity. By the way, during one session learners might write several short stories. Some learners, might add a lot of creativity, while others might feel bored and do not feel motivated but the collaboration happening between the learners themselves makes the activity interesting. In fact, the students learn a lot of new vocabulary items and become aware of the sentence structures , the connectors, the coherence, the correct collocations. For some students, it's hard to add one word, while for others, it is so easy to add details. Motivation is contagious and the activity turns out to be motivating to all the learners.

  •          As for the post-stage of the lesson, sticky notes could be valuable if they are used as:

1-Exit slips: Learners write down three words they learned in the lesson thet they fully grasped their meanings ,by using them in clear, coherent sentences. Or they could simply jot down their feelings about the lesson, what did they learn and what they missed. These exit slips could be very informative about the quality of the lesson and the quantity of information missed or learned by the learners. These sticky notes could help the teacher get honest evaluation because learners do not uncover their identities. They are asked to speak up freely their minds.
2-Dictation: At some point and mainly with students who do not give importance to how words are spelled, especially because of the hybrid of codes they use while texting or chatting with their peers. In fact, they tend to mix letters with numbers and symbols to convey any kind of social media message. Thus, IMHO, Dictation is one of the crucial activities to be dealt with during any of the stages possible.

Below are some pictures of some sticky notes I used for feedback from my fellow teachers during a training sessions with my colleagues so as to incite them to use technology in their lessons. These sticky notes help me regain a lot of my confidence in times of difficulties.

          Last but not least, while writing this post, I came across a very interesting post where the teacher uses sticky-notes on projects to collaborate, collate, categorise and connect. Here is the link:
Sticky notes and project nests By Russel Tarr.

All in all, Sticky notes help me vary the activities and we enjoy using them in class. As for tech tools that help you create and save sticky notes online, I do recommend Lino.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Handmade Postcards for our European Partners

This padlet showcases the work of my creative students. They have been so excited to design these handmade postcards.
Have a look at their work! What do you think?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Interview with an Inspiring Educator- Sylvia Duckworth

   One of the wondrous effects of technology is that you come across inspiring Educators from all corners of the world and distance is nothing, when you are willing to cross all the borders and get in touch with them and learn from them. This has had the effect of magic on me. I am so honored to present to you an Inspiring Educator, whom I came across her amazing sketchnotes and felt the need to know her more. Hence, I contacted our guest Sylvia Duckworth and she welcomed the idea with a warm heart and a very prompt reply. I am very thankful for her kind heart and inspiration. No wonder great Educators behave likewise.

Here is the interview I conducted with this amazing Educator . 

1- So honored and glad to be interviewing you dear Sylvia. How do you introduce yourself to the ELT community in Tunisia and the world?

Hello Faten, I’m honoured that you asked me for this interview! I am a Canadian teacher and I teach French to grades 3 to 5 in an independent school for boys in Toronto. I am enamoured with sketchnoting because it is a quick, effective way to get ideas across. Most people seem to respond very positively to a visual way of conveying concepts.

2- You are well-known by your amazing and inspiring sketchnotes, how did you start making them? would you tell us the story behind this wondrous talent?

I started drawing just over a year ago, inspired by other great educational sketchnoters: Silvia Tolisano, Karen Bosch, Brad Ovenell-Carter, Rachel Smith, Rebeca Zuniga, Julia Forsythe.

3- Which tech tools do you advise teachers to try as beginners in sketchnoting?
ProCreate App is the best app out there for drawing on the iPad, and the Musemee Notier Stylus is the best stylus.

4- Have you ever presented a webinar about sketchnoting, would you provide us with the link for the recording?

Here is a tutorial in Google Slides, and here is a webinar. Here is a playlist of YouTube videos on sketchnoting.

5- Thank you so much for your inspiring sketchnotes. What would you like to add to my blog readers?

Try your hand at sketchnoting! It is fun and rewarding and your students will love it, too!

     Thank you so much dear Sylvia for your prompt reply and willingness to share your experience with us. You are such an inspiration!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Proud of you!

       This activity is part of our e-twinning project. Our partners are from Serbia, Luthwania, Turkey Roamnia, Italy and Greece. We agreed on crafting some handmade postcards and sending them via post to each others' schools. Thus, we had, me and my 14-year-old students, some of the most pleasurable times together. We met on friday aternoon, as usual. Learners were not obliged to come and they enjoyed the two-hour session and were so absorbed in the crafting process that they didn't notice that time was flying. They were not only engaged but also highly-motivated.
    We used the internet to collect as many samples of handmade postcards as possible. Then, we met, each group decided which postcard to work on. The students used their mobile phones to take pictures of the postcard they are going to craft together in earnest. What amazed me is their creativity, collaborative spirit and willingness to create something special and unique so as to offer "valuable" gifts to our European partners. 
      I am so proud of them all and they were so proud of themselves. I couldn't not to write my reflections and feelings about this project and session. We really had a whale of time. 
Some of my students suggested they craft more postcards on their own. I welcomed the idea and encouraged them. There were many questions, suggestions and exchanges of ideas.
      Many of them suggested we work on more projects which deal with handicrafts. Who said that Gen Y is not a skilled generation ? Who said that that they are not skilled enough to create nicely-designed postcards? 
     I am so proud of them and their creativity. Here are some samples of their postcards. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Resolutions this year ...

    Apart from the "heavy" & pleasurable ( I am not ranting but rather describing a reality) load of family responsibilities awaiting me, which I consider very crucial for my own self content and peace of mind, I have many professional worries and I'm considering this year to be the one essential step in my PD . Thus, I will try my best to find solutions, within the walls of my classroom, according to the needs of my students to the problems I am sick of their repititive occurence. Thus, my resolutions this year would revolve around seemingly new topis, though considerably recurring every year relatively different in acuteness. Besides, carrying out a project till the end with some European colleagues within the framework of Etwinning platform. My students are enjoying it so much that they wish all our lessons were connecting with our partners and doing simultaneous projects, according to a monthly plan.
With all of this in mind and heart, I dream of succeeding as an Ed speaker. I do feel lucky and thankful that the lovely and inspiring Educator and Ed Tech inspirer and International Speaker Shelly Terrel thought of me and this is a very heartwarming suggestion. Added to this, I think of creating much time to my blogging and starting the 30 goals EduBlogging project. I am sure I will get inspired by the 30 goals and the worldwide teachers' blogs.
If I were to write clearer professional goals, I would list them as follows:

  • Read more articles about my interest areas. ( Pedagogy, Creativity, ED Tech, Integrating Tech effectively and effciently.
  • Reflect on my readings, think of how to implement new ideas in my teaching and save my teaching style from monotonous practices.
  • Write more about my experiences in CPD, hopes, fears, successes and failures
  • Videotape some of my lessons and invite peers to critically assess my teaching effectiveness
  • Say NO to those who belittle my ambition and ignore their demotivating voices. Give importance to the voices that lift me up and do the same with my caring colleagues from everywhere. We need at some time to lift others so as to feel content. 
  • Surround myself with more inspiring people and learn more from creative people, which means reading more from my PLN 
  • Spend less time on Facebook, something which I have found extremely effective, because the more I connect on Facebook, the Less time I find for reading. 
  • Connect more on twitter, because it helps me read more articles of interest 
  • Eat healthier food and drink less coffee
  • Exercise more, even if it is just walking by the seaside... 
  • Learn more how to use new apps and think of practical ways to integrate these tech tools in my lessons
  • Be more creative, inquistive and critical ...
  • Submit more proposals, which are based on my teaching practices, to International conferences
  • Enrol in new inspiring Moocs and follow the footsteps of inspiring Educators
  • Start writing the first pages of my book...
Listing goals is easy, but putting these goals into practice is the most demanding part of it. yet, much of my enthusiasm will make even the toughest part enjoyable.
Happy New Year 2016