sexta-feira, 28 de março de 2014

The Babel Tower test

          Where could you see Spanish, Albanian, English, Portuguese and Japanese language all together? The answer is very simple - in the English test! The students from the last year of high school went through a distinct experience - to complete a test with texts in many different languages, but focused in the abilities that are necessary to achieve comprehension when reading any text that is not written in your mother tongue. These abilities are also involved wish perception, and in this case, attention is an important ally. That is the reason the texts were used as a test and not as an activity. In fact, it could be as simple as an activity, but let's speak the truth: I want to have some fun too!!! But unfortunately, due to a health problem, I couldn't make it, so I missed an important part of the process (and I am not referring to my own fun). I missed the opportunity of observing my students' reaction when they received the test, when they were working on it and their comments at the end of the test. It may sound something quite unimportant (or even silly) not being there during the test, but during all these years, teaching for different grades, I've learned a lot with the messages that come to me by a non-verbal language and when we (my students and I) are talking in a very informal way, without any kind of pressure.          
          I know it is not the same thing, we are not "in the heat of the moment" anymore, but even though I would like to ask the students to write down comments (suggestions, critics, opinion, complaints) about the test.
          I also would like to thank you guys for doing it and to give a huge "thank you" from the bottom of my heart to the Physics teacher Thaís. Her help was crucial and it is exactly because we have friends we can count that life becomes much more interesting and easy to go on.
          And as an example of how the beauty of languages can be combined in a very harmonious way, look at this Multi-language sequence video from Disney's Frozen movie of the Music "Let it Go".

Post Question for students: What is your opinion about the test? How did you like it? What was the difficulty level of the test? Write an interesting and uninteresting point of your test. 
Tip: If you got interested and curious about learning another language, there two good suggestions that can help you. On the BBC website we can learn 40 different languages, including Albanian and  there are useful information about teaching yourself foreign languages on the How To Learn Any Language website.

sexta-feira, 21 de março de 2014

A test as sweet as Chocolate!

        2ºE students had what we could say "a delicious test" today. It doesn’t mean that the text where edible at all. It is just because the test where based in a very tasteful subject: Chocolate. We had already read a text about chocolate, in our booklet, some weeks ago. What was interesting is the fact that one student said it wasn't fair - so much information about chocolate and such nice pictures, that he, obviously, feels like eating chocolate. I do I. And when he said that, I thought to myself "how come I didn't think about bringing some chocolate or even ask them to bring some, so we could exchange it among us and try this delicacy while studying about it." However, it was too late. At the end of the class I still felt like eating chocolate and I drunk a hot one during the coffee break. To try to compensate it, the test (text, cartoons, and exercises) was based on chocolate and the students could eat some chocolate while during the test. It was curious to observe that some of them were comfortable about doing the text and eating their chocolate. Others were so focused on the test that barely notice the chocolate on their desk I guess they eat it after the text, during their break. Anyway, within a few days, we will be celebrating Easter and for sure, they will have the opportunity of eating lots and lots of chocolate. It is exactly during Easter that the consumption of chocolate peaks in Brazil, which is the second in the world ranking producers of chocolate eggs. (Britain is in the first position). And according to Charles M. Schulz, "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." I couldn't agree more!

Post Question: What is your opinion about the test? How did you like it? What was the difficulty level of the test? Write an interesting and uninteresting point of your test. Do you like chocolate? What's your favorite one?

Tip: Do you know when it is celebrated the Chocolate Day? To learn about it, answer a Chocolate trivia and get the Original Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, just click here.

segunda-feira, 17 de março de 2014

St. Patrick's Day - it's the whole week!

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Because of his connection to the Emerald Island, Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: the color green, pots of gold, shamrocks, leprechauns, beer and luck. Some celebrations has become an icon, such as the dyeing of the Chicago River, which has been done since 1962. Although we also have our patron saint, Our Lady of Aparecida (celebrated on October 12th) and the Irish immigrant community here is not exactly an expressive one (comparing to Italian, Japanese and German imigrants), even we, here in Brazil, have been celebrating the Irish patron lately. However, what really caught my attention is the fact that this celebration is increasing over the years. During the last decade, St. Patrick’s celebration is getting meaningful (we can hear our priests talking about it, as father Marcelo Rossi has done in his radio program) and bigger (in 2014, instead of St. Patrick’s day, there will be a St. Patrick week festival).  Three years ago, we need to go to São Paulo to participate in any kind of celebration related to St. Patrick. Nowadays even our city pub has offered some good promotions and a special menu for this whole week. We know that the beer companies are sponsored the celebration and probably that is the reason it has become more popular over the years, but it’s very nice to have the opportunity of getting together with our friends and having some fun in an authentic Irish style.
Cheers and May the lucky of the Irish be yours!
Post Question: Have you ever celebrated St. Patrick's Day? How did you celebrate that? How would you like to celebrate it? Where would you like to celebrate it?

Tip: To get more information about St. Patrick's Week in São Paulo, just click here and to learn more about St. Patrick, see the History website.

sexta-feira, 14 de março de 2014

Where Wild Things Are - audiobook to 1ºEM

Where Wild Things Are

As we have talked in our class, for the students who would like to train their pronunciation and listening, here you are! The audiobook is really practical and very interesting!
By the way, do you know where the wild things are?
As I wrote in a previous post (June, 2013), this book was published, for the first time, in 1963 and after all these years, it has been one of the reading icon in the American childhood literature. I like it a lot and I do enjoy using it in my classes. And what really get me surprised is that no matter the age, most of my students have a great time reading it. I believe it happens for two main reasons:     
it is a very simple story, easy to read and easy to get involved. 
- the book describe the world of children's imagination. It's the story of a little boy who is messing around and get punished. He is forced to go to his room and while he is there, he starts to imagine stories, fantasizing about being in a forest and traveling to a place where the monsters live, facing various adventures.
Students identify themselves with the book because all of us were children before and there is still a "little child" inside each one, so they know exactly what is happening with the boy because they did and have done the same thing ... dreamed, imagined and created many stories. It is a sweet memory that comes back and reminds us how fun life can be, even though we are "grounded".
So...Where are the wild things? Thanks to Sendak, we know that they are wherever our imagination would like them to be and the best part...just waiting for our visit!
Post Question for the students: In your opinion, Where are the wild things? Although you are in High School, do you still read children's book? How often? Which one is your favorite? Why?
Tip: To read more about Sendak's work and see the Doodle created by Google about his work, just click here. 

quarta-feira, 12 de março de 2014

Literature and English all together!

                High school students had their first combines test - Literature and English together! Although people would think of it as just one topic, in our case, it is not. Literature and English are two different subjects, but after some meetings and talk with Ingrid (Literature teacher), we joined the concepts learned in both classes to create just one evaluation instrument. Students have English classes (as a foreign language) and Literature focused on Brazil and Portugal. If we were lucky enough to have the privilege of studying English literature, then the test could be based in just one subject. Unfortunately, we barely have time to explore the English Language, so there are no possibilities of getting into American or British literature as it should be done. The idea of creating this test was exactly the integration, because learning is not a separated process as we usually see in the schools. Sometimes the disconnection among the subjects may create damages beyond repair. Life is integrated and so it is the learning process. Now, the most important point is to hear the students’ opinion, and together with the Literature teacher, Ingrid, we must analyse what could be done to improve the process and make it better for both, teachers and students.
Post Question for the students: What's your opinion about the test? How did you like it? What was the difficulty level of the test? Write an interesting and uninteresting point of your test. 
Tip: This website has a brief list of some key terms used in Literature. It may be very helpful! And to learn more about English Literature with a list of books, relevant information  and great videos about them, just click here and have fun.