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young learners

More than five ways to use milk carton cubes

About 25 years ago, my co-author Ritsuko Nakata taught me how to make cubes out of milk cartons, and I’ve been using them in class ever since. I love recycling things and coming up with new ways to use them in lessons. I know that a lot of you do, too, so I’m beginning a new category for Teaching Village so that you can share your own ideas for creating and using inexpensive or free teaching materials. Recycling always makes good sense for the environment, and in tough economic times it also makes sense for our classrooms. (more…)

Four Skills and Five Senses (by Anna Musielak)

Blog of the month
Two weeks ago the director of my school announced that the teachers should organize a “family” lesson. Kids could bring their parents, grandparents and relatives to accompany them on the lesson to observe how their little ones learn and interact. I have to admit – I was a bit worried and well… stressed out. I’ve organized shows and performances for parents and families and I’ve had teacher-parents meetings. But I couldn’t imagine how to have a lesson with parents and relatives observing pupils (who would definitely be stressed) and watching (and probably silently judging) me of course….I decided not to overthink it and as I didn’t have a lot of time to “prep” my pupils just do what I normally do hoping it would go well. (more…)

Female Pirates Weren’t Sexy (by Lesley Ito)

Wacky facts I’ve Learned from teaching cross-curricular lessons.
Female pirate Anne Bonny

(The information contained in this article was originally presented as a Pecha Kucha at the JALT National Conference in Tokyo, Japan in November 2011.) (more…)

What is a PLN, anyway?

A  good friend (and a great teacher) e-mailed me after my last post. “Great links,” she said. “But what’s a PLN?”

A good reminder about why I try to avoid acronyms and jargon in my writing.

PLN is an acronym for Personal Learning Network. The acronym is relatively new, but the idea is not. Teachers have always had learning networks—people we learn from and share with. Teachers are information junkies. We’re also social. Put the two together and you have a personal learning network. (more…)

Learning Lessons in Thailand (by Rob Newberry)

I teach in an International School in Bangkok. The “internationality” of the school is an interesting term, as there really are two languages spoken here — English and Thai — and not necessarily in that order.

There used to be signs posted around the school saying, “Proud to be an English-speaking only school,” but when I went to find one today, hoping to include a photo of it in this blog post — I couldn’t find any around anymore. Curious. (more…)

Raising a Digital Native in Argentina (by Jennifer Verschoor)

Deciding where to send your child to school is arguably one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. My  4 year old daughter attends a regular school in Buenos Aires,  Argentina. The school is not bilingual and offers English as a compulsory subject.

I have been speaking in English to my daughter since she was born. She understands the language and feels very confident. Children at school even thought she came from “Disneyland” because she was fluent in English. (more…)

Teaching in a Small Village in Poland (by Anita Kwiatkowska)

anita 4

In September 2003 I got a phone call from my former primary school teacher offering me a part time job in the old primary school I started my education in. I felt extremely excited!

It was my first real job offer and I was supposed to work with teachers who had taught me the alphabet as colleagues! At that time, I was still a student at a university but as I had already completed my pedagogy and methodology courses, I was more than welcome in Szkola Podstawowa in Tuchom, Poland. (more…)

When Did I Become a Teacher? (by Conchi Martínez de Tejada)

It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when you become a professional in your area. Some will say it’s when you start your degree, others when you finish it still others will say it’s when you start working. Even more people feel that they need years of experience in order to consider themselves a so-called professional.

In my case, I don’t know when I became a teacher. Maybe it was when my parents hung a blackboard behind my bedroom door. Maybe when I first arranged all my teddy bears and my little cousins as my first students. It might have started many years later when I wanted to drop out from my dreary Economics degree and I bought books about teaching, but I didn’t have the courage to actually follow through on my instinct (fate, desire, willingness) at that time. Maybe it happened when I left my bank job, went to Yemen and by chance ended up in front of 20 Yemeni men teaching them English. It might also have been when I came back to Spain from living in Laos and I studied Education. Or maybe it started a month and a half ago when I got my position to work in a primary school in a village in my home region of Extremadura, Spain. (more…)

My Teaching ‘Journey’ in Greece (by Christina Markoulaki)

Imagine a persistent traveller who suddenly sees an ominous mountain in front of her obstructing her way.
A photo I took on the island of Santorini

A photo I took on the island of Santorini.

Determined to arrive to her destination, she climbs up the steep slope, ignoring the surrounding thorns and other invisible dangers. What is her eventual reward? She has reached the peak right on time to feel the calming effect of a most memorable sunset.

This is how I personally perceive teaching to be: its initial joys give way to responsibilities, potential trouble in class and special needs to cater for. But every single time the teacher has the chance to witness the progress her class has made, all efforts are justified and there is a soothing effect on the soul. (more…)

EFL Teacher’s Kit for Surviving Kids (by Shelly Sanchez Terrell)

When I first began teaching very young English language learners in Germany, I went a bit insane! Kids climbed the walls literally and flew the paper airplanes I had actually thought would be a creative lesson plan. With 14 children running around and yelling, “Shelly Belly” I nearly quit.  At least they were using English, right? My extensive years of teaching had been to English speaking children who were much older and to English language learners who were in their teenage or college years.  I did a lot of research, because I love a challenge. The tips I learned are included in the Glogster below, which you can click and explore! (more…)