Pretty girls, a determined boy and a Comenius project

Sep 27, 2011

It was in October last year when a teacher from Turkey sent me a friendship request on Facebook. I gladly accepted it, as I really like connecting with teachers from all over the world. On the very same day, however, it turned out that he was not a teacher but a high school student. As my policy regarding student friends on Facebook is very strict, I defriended him immediately and explained clearly why I couldn't be his friend. The boy, however, didn't want to disappear from my Facebook page just like that and it took me several messages to find out what he really wanted. It turned out that he was eager to connect with students from Croatia because someone told him that Croatian girls were really pretty!

And so here we are now - his school and my school together with schools from six other European countries have just begun a Comenius project, entitled Imaging Europe, and at the end of October I'm going to Athens to meet the participating teachers. In January 2012, Croatia will be hosting all the students and teachers and I hope the boy from Turkey will be able to meet some pretty girls - not only from Croatia, but from seven other countries as well.

Icebreaker extension

Sep 11, 2011

The September edition of the ELT Carnival was hosted by a brilliant teacher from Istanbul, Eva Büyüksimkeşyan. The theme of this month's carnival was Warmers, Fillers and 1st Week Activities - because for most of us September means a new beginning - and meeting new students. Eva has compiled a fantastic list of posts about amazing acitvities for the first day of school, which would ease the nervousness many teachers feel before entering a new classroom.

I contributed to the Carnival with my post - Who am I? - about one of my favourite icebreakers for large classes. But this year, I extended it a bit, and it worked very well with my students.

Even though it was their first English lesson of the new school year, I made an exception and gave them homework. (Yes, they looked at me with disbelief in their eyes, but didn't say anything, of course.) They had to write a short composition about themselves, about their family, their likes, dislikes and hobbies and about their wishes - to put in words what they drew on paper as part of the icebreaker activity. On the following day they took turns in reading their classmates' work and had to guess who the author was as well as to explain why they thought so. We had a lot of fun with this guessing game, especially as they remembered very well what their classmates said about themselves the day before - like who wants to climb the Eiffel Tower on foot (an easy guess), who has an older brother (absolutely impossible to guess for me, but not for them) and the like.

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