Monday, August 24, 2015

#30Goals: Inspire them to inspire

This goal is the best follow up to my presentation at the 30 Goals Convention this summer!!

#30 goals hero from Theodora Papapanagiotou

Trying to make our students better people, I think that teaching them empathy is one of the greatest values they should learn.
Issues that could be covered with our students are:
  • Disabilities
  • Vulnerable children
  • Poverty 
  • Racism
  • Kindness
Role play,  organizing or taking part in charity events, bringing guest speakers to the classroom are some ideas.
You could use lesson ideas from the Disabled Access Friendly site  
or get information from various charities in your corner of the world!
Few ideas for Greece:
 Helping people gives so much joy....

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#30Goals: BLOG!!

Well I have been blogging for years, but how about our students?
With my classes this year, in the STEAM lesson (A for Arts) we talked about blogging!
We have shown the students different kinds of blogs, talked about why we blog and also created our own blog account at kidblog.
I chose this platform because it is actually very safe for children, nobody can get in unless you give them a code. It is a nice way for students to communicate outside the classroom and show their parents and friends the work they have done.
So first of all the kids made a profile - played with the pictures and the extra features:
 Then the kids wrote something about themselves and at home the students from different classes commented on each other
My colleague Thanassis who is in charge of STEM and me (in charge of the A in STEAM!!)
In some posts, we put the videos we worked on our English class
Our favourite songs and images.
Homework: How will life in the future be?
I have to say that the students loved it, no matter their age and we intend to keep this blog next year as well!!!
As an alternative, we have made a padlet with their ideas for the summer:

#30Goals: Thank a teacher mentor

I started teaching 20 years ago.
When I graduated from the university, I didn't really know how to teach, I mean, we had courses like linguistics and literature and theories on methodology, but nobody  actually taught us how to go into the classroom and do what...
So, when I found my first job,  teaching a beginners' class in German, I didn't really know what to do.
So I got the book, the workbook and the grammar and that was it... I was "teaching"
I have to say that there are a LOT of teachers still doing that and that what is what is expected by everyone.
But somehow it didn't seem enough to me.
So some years later, I decided to go to the British council and attend a course on teaching children and teenagers. Fist of all because I wanted to expand my knowledge in teaching English as well and secondly because I needed new ideas to make my lessons more interesting.
It was the last year that the British council offered classes in Thessaloniki, so this was my last chance I guess!
I had the luck to meet Olha Madylus and she made a tremendous impact in my life as a teacher.
When you go to a course or a seminar or a convention, you know that the person who trains you has a huge experience on the subject, lots of studies and lots of recognition.
The moment I went into the classroom, Olha asked us to call her by her first name, after all we were all colleagues....
  • Olha taught is not to be dependent on the book.
  • We learned how to do research on our own.
  • We learned different kind of activities,
  • We learned how to use music.
  • We learned how to organize projects.
And the best part: She taught us that we have to try the activity ourselves first. How will you know if it's fun for the kids if you don't have fun yourself?
I have to say a big thank you... Without your guidance I would never have developed to the teacher I am today.... 


#30Goals: Learn outside the classroom

I have always believed that learning outside the classroom is the best way to learn! That\s why a lot of the projects I organize with my students take place outside.
"On the air team at the city port"

  • Learning mission no 1: Learn your city! This project took place during the "We're on the air" project. My students and I devoted a whole day going around the city, looking for information on historical and cultural sites and made a video, which was presented to students in 4 different countries, who did the same about their hometowns!!

Lieblingswort exhibition - Goethe Institut - Thessaloniki

Herzliche Gruesse Exhibition - Goethe Institut - Thessaloniki
Music section - Lieblingswort exhibition - Goethe Institut - Thessaloniki

  • Learning mission no 2: Exhibitions! There are wonderful photo - painting exhibitions around the city and also exhibitions that have to do with the language!! Why not have your students do a little research on a museum or a gallery exhibition, give them questionnaires while  visiting and let them create!

Uwe Kind performing
  • Learning Mission No 3: Take them to concerts that have to do with the language. There are wonderful teachers performers like Uwe Kind (in German) and Jason Levine (in English). If you don't have a gig near you, organize a music (karaoke) evening at your school!

  • Learning mission no 4: Take them out! If you have to do with older students (teens or college students), why not take them out in a cafe or a restaurant and have a conversational class with them in different surroundings?

  • Learning mission No 5: Make a movie or a video clip: In our "8project" some years ago, we went out to the part to "shoot" our creation.

Learning mission No 6: Take them out to do something different and write about it!!! The pictures above are from the professional photo shoot I had with my student Konstantina. I don't say that you have to hire a professional photographer to do this, but students can visit a place or a professional and write reports!

Learning has to do with fun! Pleasant experiences make the brain ask for more!!

#30Goals: Enjoy a zen moment!

What I have learned in the past 20 years I have been teaching is that there is at least one time in our lives that we teachers will suffer from burnout. There will be a time when we will realize that we have worn ourselves out, taking care of our students' needs but we have forgotten to take care of ourselves first.
Don't worry! It happens to everybody!!
So you should find ways to unwind! You need to stop being a teacher and be there for yourself!

  • Watch what you eat: I know that some of you will not consider this as a zen moment, but actually it is. If you take the proper amount of nutrients, you will feel better, happier and have more energy. Most of us teachers do not eat at all, drink a lot of coffee and then come back late at night and consume large quantities of junk food. Toxin, toxins and more toxins! Treat your body right and gain the energy you need!
  • Yoga / breathing: It doesn't have to be a yoga class. Just devote a few minutes to yourself. close your eyes and try out some breathing / meditation techniques. It works! It clears your head, it releases you from stress and negative thoughts.      

  • Running/ walking: I know that some of you will say that they don't have time to devote because of work. I know. I work 13 hours a day. You have to make time though. 30 minutes, three times a week. If you don't consider yourself fit to run, walk. Get up half an hour earlier in the morning or get back from work on foot. It helps, it makes the blood flow, it gives you the chance to change scenery, to stop thinking about work, to listen to your favourite song. I am lucky enough to live in a city with a wonderful seafront - it is a fantastic place all year round to walk or run!

  • My ultimate zen moment is exercise: It's the time I leave everything behind, concentrate, focus on my goal and have a feeling of achievement at the end of the session.
What I have realized all these years is that in order not to suffer from burnout in every profession, the rule is one: You don't live to work, you work for a living.
It doesn't matter if you love your job, you have to take care of you so as to be there for others.
Do one thing that you love. For me is movement, for you it can be reading, solving crosswords, knitting. Being with other people who are not teachers is also crucial.
Don't forget!  #Selfcompassion #Selfcare

#30Goals: Get them moving!

When I saw this goal, I thought to myself, ok this is me! Being a kinaesthetic person, I always try to get my students move.
I have been trying to have at least one movement activity that has to do with language, miming, games with running, balls, coordination, even singing.
One example of German teaching vocabulary is this song:
I got this song from Uwe Kind, who has dedicated his life to give movement, dancing and singing in German (and other languages as well)
I also had the luck to present a movement project at the TESOL Macedonia Thrace Convention this year, together with my wonderful trainers, Nick Maragkos and Penelope Tourtourea, proposing activities combining movement and language:
  • Vocabulary activity throwing a ball to each other, where the player who has the ball has to name a word that has to do with the theme. For example, if you have the theme "environment" in your cycle, some of the words to call are "recycling", "pollution" , "rain forest" e.t.c.
  • Running game: one player runs a distance gets a balloon which contains a jumbled phrase, goes back to their team, burst the balloon, find the pieces of the phrase and put them together! Great fun! Works great with idioms and grammar rules!

  • Running dictation game or should I say: Relay. Students get a small text and have to memorize it in a few seconds, they run to find their partner, write the text on their partner's back and it goes on!!

  • Direction game (blindfolded if you wish). You give your students a map, one is giving directions to the other! And off you go!
Movement is a great way to have fun and your students will remember everything they have learned!
You can adjust everything to fit your classroom if you can't get outside!