Thursday, July 14, 2022

My first presentation after a while: Speak a language from the first day!

 I haven't taken part in a convention for a long long time, so when the teaching platform I work with announced that they were going to organise a web conference, I immediately jumped on the occasion and applied.

I was really happy to be accepted and I held my presentation in the beginning of the month.

So in my intro I talked about:

  • why learners, especially adults are impatient
  • some hints on how to motivate learners to understand and speak a bit of the language in the first lesson
  • how to avoid using a medium language even from the first lesson
Some chunks of language I introduced as examples were:

Introducing ourselves


Greetings



Some objects and /or animals


Numbers (Finger counting)


Food (and how to order)


Since I was speaking to an international audience, I chose to use Greek as the target language and had another teacher act as a student.
It was really fun, I enjoyed it very much and I have a lot of ideas for next conventions!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Learning the Klingon language? Why not?

 



People who know me, also know that I am a huge Star Trek fan!! And I am a linguist as well. I teach, I learn, I translate, I do research.

What is more natural for me to learn tlhIngan Hol' (Klingon)?

I know that most of you don't know what that is! Klingon is one of the constructed languages in the world, that has an alphabet, a grammar and actual speakers. Other constructed languages include Esperanto and High Valyrian (in Game of Thrones)

It was first mentioned in Star Trek Original Series episode "The trouble with Tribbles" in 1967 but a few of its phrases were only heard in "Star Trek: The motion picture" in 1979. 

According to the actor who spoke the lines, Mark Lenard, James Doohan (Scotty) recorded the lines he had written on a tape, and Lenard (Spok) transcribed the recorded lines in a way he found useful in learning them. (Wikipedia)

Marc Okrand was actually the linguist who developed the language and also wrote the Klingon dictionary.

Fan fact: There are at least 9 translations of world works of literature in the Klingon language including Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

There is actually a Klingon language Institute nowadays, and you can also learn Klingon in the Duolingo app.

wo'rIv


I started learning the language just because I love Star Trek and one of my favourite characters is Worf (wo'rIv). I found it really fascinating that an artificial language can have vocabulary that makes sense and a structured grammar and syntax. 
It is really difficult to learn to pronounce the sounds and it is even more difficult to write in the actual Klingon alphabet:


What I am finding really fascinating is the syntax: 

For example, in a simple sentence, the verb comes first and then the subject:

HoH (kills) HoD (the captain) : The captain kills

Also the Object comes first. This means that the structure of a simple Subject verb Object sentence will be:
jagh (the enemy) HoH (kills) HoD the captain: The captain kills / killed the enemy

If we have an adverb, then it comes on top:
batlh (honorably) jagh (the enemy) HoH (kills) HoD (the captain): The captain killed the enemy honorably.

From what I have understood, there are no verb tenses.

Here are also the basic personal pronouns which become a compound word with the basic form of the verb: 

for example 
jIQong (I sleep)

but 

vIqIp ( I killed him)

There's so much more to learn and I just can't wait!

batlh Qapla' je'






Sunday, May 29, 2022

Peace Project

 


This year, my students and I had the opportunity to take part in a wonderful project organised by Twinkl.

Our subject was "Peace" and we had the chance to talk about war and peace, the detrimental effects that a war can bring to people and also talk about great pacifists, their lives, their work and visions. 

It is amazing how much interest the students showed - they found art, quotes, pictures and they were very enthusiastic in their work.

Here are a couple of examples of what they did:



We had fun listening to songs from the Spotify list  we were offered by Twinkl:



We played "Lyrics Training" guessing the lyrics from John Lennon's "Imagine"



And in the end we wrote messages to children who live in areas of conflict.


We had lots of fun and learned a lot! Thank you Twinkl for giving us this great opportunity!

You can find our project along with similar projects from other schools in this interactive map:

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Let's learn about the weather!







 Recently I have presented emotion vocabulary with my students. You can find some ideas in my previous post. 

One more thing that we did, was actually stick the emotion cards on ice cream sticks and played them as puppets. 

So, I decided to play a little. I downloaded weather flashcards to introduce weather words to my students.

I showed them the words, we played pantomime and then we combined them with the emotion - words and made sentences. "It's rainy - I'm sad"

We also acted out the sentences.

It was a lot of fun!


Friday, March 25, 2022

Some lesson ideas

 

A wonderful idea that I heard on a Story telling webinar this week is improvising stories with story dice.
You can find this special dices at bookstores, in Greece I found some in Ianos and Flying Tiger. 
You can do this online as well over here. I am definitely going to try this in my next lessons.

And on today's lesson plan, we are going to play with the emotion cards I found on Twinkl.
First we are going to mime the emotions and then we are going to read simple phrases pretending to be happy, angry, sad etc! It's gonna be fun!!!

Friday, March 4, 2022

Teacher Diary: Week collection

 Here I am with some more activities from this week.

Working on the coursebooks was our main activity, but I always try to include some more games / ideas to make it more interesting.


  • A very favourite activity when I teach body parts is picture dictation backwards. This means that the students write the word on a blank piece of paper where the body part would be if they drew it. So for example the word toe goes at the bottom edges of the paper.  When we have mentioned all the words we make an outline and we create a monster. Students LOVE it.

  • Another activity that my students loved this week is find (hidden) objects game. We used the app from Super course (the publisher of the books we use), but you can find numerous free games (prented and online), I am posting a link from islcollective where you can find a lot of activities and exercises. 
  • Grammar of the week was gerunds and infinnitives. So I decided to work with songs. Here is a compilation with songs you can use to teach this structure. 
  • Another idea is to use Lyrics Training to practise both grammar, vocabulary and listening comprehension




More ideas to come ... 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Teacher diary : Weekend edition

It's been a long time since I've written over here, but I thought I'd start a new series of posts called "Teacher Diary", describing my preparations and reflecting on my lessons. 
Saturday
1. 1st Lesson: A2-B1 Level. English. Adult. Focussing on grammar mostly. We have a book, but my student prefers to work alone and just check the answers with me. They don't like writing/speaking so much, although I try to. Today's lesson was grammar/ vocabulary revision on the phenomena we had worked on the previous lessons. Lot's of mistakes, I needed to explain everything again. Just how to make my student understand that they have to actually use the vocabulary and grammar in their own examples. 
For homework I have sent them some exercises I created on my own, but a great website I use and recommend is Perfect English Grammar.
2. Lesson: B1 Level German. Teenager. We use Beste Freunde - Hueber. We are also preparing for a B1 exam. Their website contains a variety of materials according to level and A1-2 have also got intaractive exercises. We also watch Jojo sucht das Glück in DW, which is a great "Telenovela" for German learners. With interactive exercises and Teacher's guidebook. Students love it!
3. Lesson 3: A1/2 Level. German. Teenager: My student is supposed to take the A1 exams in May, so we have started working on some tests with not much success, I'm afraid. Let's hope for the best!
4. Lesson 4 got cancelled due to sports competition.
5. Lesson 5: C2 Level. English. Teenager. Not much creativity here as well, since we are preparing for a C2 exam in May. Reading tasks, vocabulary exercises, grammar and lots of speaking
6. Lesson 6: A1 Level. English. Child. We use Our World -Cengage. Although it's an old book, its interactive material is still fantastic. Lots of videos, songs, interactive exercises and games. This is usually a face to face lesson, but we had to do it online due to covid. We used Skype which was a bad idea, since my student could not have control of the games and got a bit bored. We did a lot of talking and reading though. 
Sunday
1. Lesson 1. A1 Junior English. Child. I had downloaded wonderful material on Day and Night activities. It contains lots of pictures, a maze, cutting and gluing, colouring and lots of speaking tasks. Unfortunately, my lesson got canceled, since the child did not want to cooperate at all. I know it's a Sunday morning and the young child wanted to sleep some more, or do ssomething else than studying, but they should have told me before I went over. Anyway, somemore free time to prepare my next lessons. 

 

2. Lesson 2: A2 Level, Greek, Adult. Todays lesson was about houses. I have downloaded some pictures of different kind of houses like the one in this picture and talked about then comparing them, practicing parts of the house, furniture and getting around in the neighborhood. Finally we read a diallogue about somebody renting their home and role-played a diallogue asking for information on the appartment that was supposed to be rented. 
I actually loved these pictures, especially the ones with the strange houses and I am going to use them as prompt for my German A2 lesson this week, along with description of places and people. 


No more lessons for today, but I still had to prepare for tomorrow for my medical student. (German B2/C1 level, Medical terminology). We have a book, but I also consult an online medical dictionary, which also has videos explaining medical prcedures in simple language. 



Well, this was more or less how my working weekend went. 
Tomorrow is another day 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Be different - iTDi webinar


Some years ago, I had the luck of participating at a wonderful webinar series wth teachers from around the world.
In my webinar, I have described the work I have been doing using blended learning as well as STEM teaching, but most of all, it was a talk about fulfilling my goals.
Watching myself after all this years, I reaaly miss my enthusiasm and my willingness to set goals and work towards them. 
Working towards my own improvement personal and professional is something I have set aside in order to survive in this crazy world. I think it's time to get back on it though.
More to come

Thursday, July 29, 2021

#8weeksofsummer: Share new knowledge


This post is week 8 of 8 in the #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge for educators.

What have I learned this year?

Working and collaborating remotely. Not, that is not true. I already knew this. It's the other people who learned how to work with me remotely.

People who were hesitant to collaborate online in the past were obliged to do so and guess what? Some of them liked it!!!

Seriously now, staying home has given me the opportunity to study and learn new skills and write about them!

So I am sharing some of my posts hoping to give you some ideas on how to acquire new skills:

I hope I have inspired you even a bit to start learning!

It was a wonderful challenge as always!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

#8weeksofsummer: What specific personal development do you need for next school year?


This post is week 7 of 8 in the #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge for educators.
 Learning new things is never a bad idea. And it's always great to reflect the past year and see the stengths and weaknesses of your performance.

So you have to ask yourself. 

What were the difficulties that I have faced during the past school year?

Have I taken advantage of all the technology that is offered to me?

What activities could not be performed with online learning and what should I do to replace them with equal online ones?

If I look back on my lessons, following things could change or get improved and this is what courses (or  other kinds of professional development I should take:

  • How should I give my own material a more professional look (a self publishing course)
  • How I can build my own professional website in order to make my work and business  know and accessible to students and parents a.k.a potential clients (tutorial on how to build a website)
  • How to use social media to ahow my work (social media advertising course)
  • How to build / use a platform to create and asynchronous learning data bank for my students (tutorial on moodle or other similar platofrm)
I believe these are the issues I have to focus on. I can't wait to read yours!

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