Thursday, 11 June 2020


This was a panel event, with speakers from around the world, followed by questions from the audience.

Organized by the British Council,  the event focused on "The challenges of remote learning through online classrooms and resource hubs".

Watch the recording to learn about how teachers from all over the world are responding to this challenge in different contetxs.  I am sure you  will find some inspiring ideas  for your remote teaching context. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2020


Those of you who have been attending the CLIL seminars know about most of the tools I am going to suggest but  this may be a proper time to try  and  choose just a few of them  to help you decide among the many available tools: 

  • Google Classroom 
  • Wizer (an interactive “worksheet” generator)
  • Liveworksheets (interactive online exercises with self-correction on a variety of subjects and topics) 
  • Quizizz (online games)
  • EdPuzzle (create interactive videos)
  • Quizlet (flashcard and game generator). 
  • NearPod ( you can find or create interactive lessons for all subjects in minutes)

 I reckon the following tips by educator Larry Ferlazzo can also be useful:

No matter how many years we have been into teaching, this situation has transformed all of us into NEW teachers  who face a completely new challenge so let's be patient and share our doubts and achievements too. I am looking forward to reading your comments. 

Sunday, 3 May 2020


Why not visit the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco? It is a good chance to travel virtually and use the resources from their amazing website   to help your learners explore Coronavirus and the science of viruses, see how they affect us all and also celebrate International Museum Day (18 May). The resources vary from videos, activities and articles.  There are even activities provided by science teachers.  You will be impressed by how much  your learners can discover about viruses. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day  is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network  in more than 193 countries.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2020, we have two crises: the climate crisis and  the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  The latter reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet. 

What can our teaching tribute be on this 50th Earth Day 2020? I would like to share a simple lesson plan so that our students reflect on the topic and work on two skills of the language: reading and writing: 

  • Ask students to test their knowledge of the Earth by taking one of the quizzes they can find here.
  • Send them a copy of this worksheet  and tell them that they should fill it in. Set a deadline so that you can collect all worksheets in a few  days.
  • Ask each  student to  write  his /her answer  to a pair of  questions another student posed. 
  • Collect all answers, do the necessary corrections and share the questions and answers  with  all students. 
  • Finally, ask each student to write a paragraph about the most impressive fact they have learnt by doing this activity. Encourage them to suggest a possible way-out to the issue they have written about. 

I hope you will have a Happy Earth Day. 

Stay safe. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Some proven strategies for using video effectively in the classroom

I  reckon I should  start this post  by stating  that the essential ingredient you need so that video becomes an effective learning tool is preparation. Let me  just suggest some simple tools and strategies for both language and content learning:

 Before viewing:  

  •     Choose  carefully

 Try to  choose videos which contain relevant content for your subject  and  keep in mind it has to be engaging for your students.  Needless to say you should look for high-quality stuff from a reliable source.

  •      Brevity is the soul of wit

How long should it last? The average attention  span is really short in the case of teenagers  so if you can find a suitable video which is longer than 15 minutes, consider cropping and editing it. Vibby allows you to  edit your video and focus students' atention on the sections that matter.

  •       Set the proper scenario

This includes telling  students what the video is about, the purpose of watching it and eliciting previous knowledge on the topic. Depending on the complexity of the video and the language level of your students, you will need to pre-teach the key words and expressions from the video. 

 While viewing:

  •     Avoid students' TV mode     

Be  sure you ask your students what you want them to do while they watch the video.  In other words, do not let them think this is time for entertainment or daydreaming.  This generic video note-taking worksheet can be hepful. 

For CLIL teachers, the video response worksheets should be  specific-content related.   Let me show you  an  excellent example of  a  video lesson on cladograms by a teacher called Mariana Garcia:


These are the worksheets students had to fill in while and after watching the video above.  

As you can see, students were asked to  use mind maps to show understanding of the concepts in the video. (The use of mind maps is  a very effective strategy when checking  students' understanding. You can use  this strategy  while watching or after watching the video).  

  •      Pause often and use the watch-think-write strategy:
  1. Watch: students watch the section of the video you choose. Writing is forbidden at this stage.
  2. Think:  students discuss the section in pairs or small groups.  Still no writing  allowed. 
  3. Write: students  now write  the required information  in their guided notes, and  prepare new questions  they still have on the topic. 
If students are working at home and you want to monitor the learning process,  use Edpuzzle This is  a great formative assessment tool for teachers who want to  assign videos for homework, or want to encourage asynchronous communication, and unfortunately such is the case now. Edpuzzle will help teachers provide students with valuable information about the degree of achievement of specific learning outcomes that have been set beforehand. 

 After viewing:

  • Do not be in a hurry. Take the necessary time to reflect on what they have learnt, make  students retell the video or parts of it ,  prompt their critical skills by asking them to find videos on the same topic with a different viewpoint, have different groups create posters on it, etc. 

  • Allow students to spend some minutes on  self-assessment of their work. We are fostering formative assessment and  students' self reflection on their outcomes  is an essential part of it.  I hope this tool I have created will be useful for you. 

Some free sources for educational videos:

Last but not least, from these lines, I would like to congratulate Mariana Garcia on her superb work for scaffolding students' learning process while viewing . 

Monday, 30 March 2020

Towards Digital Formative Assessment ( writing skill )

During these last weeks, I have been trying to help teachers by providing them with councelling on how to implement online teaching  as well as with easy-to-use tools to  develop  DFA (Digital Formative Assessment) .  Regarding the latter, a great number of teachers have been asking me about new ways to assess students' written work.  I would like to reply to this request by asking you to watch the tutorial on Kaizena created by  Pilar Torres, a Secondary teacher from IES Angel Saavedra, in Córdoba. 

If you  wish to know what Kaizena is about before watching the video, this would be a very short summary of its many features: Kaizena is a free Google ad-on that  teachers can use  to manage the entire writing feedback process, from prewriting to publishing.  You can add audio comments too because it provides you with the possibility to offer students individual multi-modal feedback.  I would say it is an effective tool for DFA since you can  track students' skill  and scaffold their learning throughout the process of writing.

If you prefer to watch a tutorial in English, follow the one below: 

Tuesday, 24 March 2020


Setting up Google Classroom for online learning is quite a bit different than the setup for a traditional, face-to-face classroom. This video by John R. Sowash shows you 5 tips for using Google Classroom for remote instruction. Here they are:

1. Create a NEW course (don't reuse your existing course)

2. Combine your students into one section (in most situations)

3. Organize your content by weeks, not units (better for self-paced learning)

4. Enable posting and commenting (it's not as scary as it sounds)

5. Put your face in the course (you won't like it, but it's important!)

Just watch the video below and see how to make the most of Google Classroom:

------------------------- John R. Sowash is a former HS biology teacher and principal who helps teachers use technology to improve instruction.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Supporting Digital Formative Assessment (DFA) in schools

All of you who are reading me know why this is a very suitable time to consider how teachers can develop Digital Formative Assessment (DFA). Undoubtedly, online learning offers a unique opportunity to rethink our approach to assessment. The main reason why educators should reconsider the way they assess students nowadays is that research has proven  that digital learning and assessment have the potential to support more powerful student learning. 

Hattie, for example, in his widely cited review of meta-analyses in education research finds significant effect sizes for a range of formative assessment methods in ICT-based environments (e.g. intelligent tutoring systems, formative evaluation, and so on) (1)

We may try to pinpoint some of the  advantages of assessing students through using different digital learning environments: 

• it offers rapid  feedback and scaffolding of further  steps for learning at an appropriate level of difficulty

• it allows for learners’ choices, which leads to personalising  learning and increasing  intrinsic motivation)

• it includes mobile tools to support assessment of ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning

it is beneficial  to  students with special needs  (for example, students can simply touch the screen for the answer instead of writing it. Speech to text is also another great option and a great solution to people facing difficulties in essay writing)

• it supports collective engagement in problem solving in small groups or in massive multiplayer online platforms

• it provides with  opportunities for self- and peer-assessment 

The question is: how can  teachers develop DFA?  I would say there is still a need to train teachers on how to  incorporate online methods in teaching and assessing. From this blog post, I would like to share a powerful review on the literature of DFA  written by   Janet Looney  last September 2019.  I  am sure that you will not be disappointed when you find a great deal of examples of technologies used to support DFA.

Next seminar session we will discuss the broad range of practices included in DFA . Online assessment, in essence, should  support the assessment of student progress and provide information to be used as feedback in order to modify the teaching and learning activities in which students are engaged.

I hope we will meet very soon  so that we can interact  face to face and  discuss  DFA in our CLIL classrooms. 


Suggested Bibliography:

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (2018). Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice 

Taylor and Francis online Journal 

Volume 25, 2018 - Issue 6

Thursday, 13 February 2020

“BLOOM Stories of implementation” competition

Since 2018, the BLOOM project enhances knowledge about bioeconomy by providing teachers with ready-to-use material, to engage young people. This year, in collaboration with the STEM Discovery Campaign 2020, BLOOM is organising the “BLOOM Stories of implementation” competition to reward the most innovative classroom implementations of these materials. Join the competition and share your story!

How can your sctudents take part in this competition?
The ‘BLOOM Stories of Implementation’ competition will reward the most innovative classroom implementations of bioeconomy using the materials included in the BLOOM School Box, in four different categories of submission:

[1] Teaching bioeconomy in primary schools (individual work);
[2] Teaching with bioeconomy in secondary schools' STEM classes (individual work);
[3] Integrating STEM teaching with bioeconomy (teams of two STEM teachers of different subjects);
[4] Integrating STEAM teaching with bioeconomy (teams of up to three teachers of different subjects, including at least one STEM teacher and at least one non-STEM teacher)

Teachers can start organising their lessons starting from November 2019 and prepare their stories to be submitted between 1 February and 30 April 2020 at 23:59 Central European Time (CET)!
The winners of each category will be invited to a teacher training workshop in Brussels, with travel, accommodation and meals covered, and the 20 finalist entries will be published on the School Network page of the BLOOM project!

Steps to participate:

1) Choose which BLOOM School Box resource works well in your classroom from the BLOOM School Box collection
2) Think of how you will implement bioeconomy in your classroom and if you will work collaboratively with other colleagues or on your own.
3) Run at least one bioeconomy lesson with your students and think about what evidence you have of your students’ engagement following your lesson(s).
4) Choose the appropriate submission category, double check the competition’s terms and conditions and fill in the submission forms (available since 1 February 2020).
Whether your school decides to take part in the competition or not, the resources this project offers in several languages , English and Spanish included, are really powerful to work on Bioeconomy topics. 

Monday, 13 January 2020

Teaching with Europeana

First of all,  I would like to start this first blog post in 2020  by wishing  all of you a  very Happy New Year loaded with love,  joy and health. 

A new year always makes us reflect on the importance of  finding new ways to face the essential  challenges in our lives, both personally and professionally. As I write this blog to try and help you on the latter, let me start by reminding you of Europeana, a wonderful platform I wrote about in a previous post you can read here.  

March 2019 marked the official launch of the Teaching with Europeana blog. Since then, the Europeana Education Community has grown and shared numerous inspirational learning scenarios and creative stories of implementation. But are you aware of all the possibilities the blog offers?

In  the  video below these lines,  teachers share their experiences using the blog and explain how its resources  can be very helpful for a variety of content areas. 

From this blog,   I would like to extend my congratulations to the  people and networks behind Europeana   for  making cultural heritage available to a very global audience.  

I am looking forward to meeting you in our next  seminar session on January 21st. Apart from focusing on  supporting students' written and spoken output,  we will enter the Europeana  platform and  blog to choose the most suitable resources for our  CLIL contexts. 

Thursday, 12 December 2019

In this post I would lke to make you aware of a website for 8-to 18-year-old students created by a group of teachers who hope to foster and  develop a love for learning the subject of Geography. 

From the home page, you can browse through the many project types to:
  • Create geography models of globes, volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, settlements, weather, mountains, coasts, and more.

  • Use paper craft templates to make printable models, animals, international theme models, and flags to color.

  • Build 3D maps.

  • Make volcano models with great ideas for exploring the world of volcanoes.

  • Construct pop up models of a river drainage basin, the Beaufort Wind force scale, and population density.
They also offer teachers the chance to let them know about  some other Geography topics which would lend themselves well to being made into models. If you wish, you can get in touch with them through this form and help the authors to increase the appeal of learning Geography. 

May I offer my  heartiest congratulations to the teachers who maintain 3D geography site. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2 December

One may hear comments such as : "Why do we still  have International Day for the Abolition of Slavery? Slavery ended a long time ago". Please, read below and draw a conclusion on this issue: 

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery, an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. 
In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.

Facts and figures:

  • An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.
  • There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
  • 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
  • Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million people in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.
We can, therefore, state that slavery has evolved and manifested itself in different ways throughout history. Today some traditional forms of slavery still persist in their earlier forms, while others have been transformed into new ones.

As educators, we cannot fail to raise awareness among our students on the fact that modern slavery is all around us. Fortunately, there are several non-profit organizations that make our work easier by providing us with a variety of classroom resources. Today I would like to recommend The No Project. This award-winning anti-slavery campaign includes animationsmusic videosfilms and nine free downloadable lesson plans on different themes related to modern slavery. 

I am sure I will hear about the positive outcomes of these teaching units in our next seminar session. Meanwhile, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the partners and sponsors of The No Project for their superb campaign against modern slavery. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Free United Nations (UN) course on Climate Change

UN Climate Change Learning Partnership and Harwood Education have launched the UN Climate Change Learn Teacher Academy to support and inspire teachers worldwide to bring innovative forms of climate change education into classrooms. 

They provide you with information on a range of related topics so that you will feel confident to deal with them in class.  The topics are:
  1.  Climate change Science
  2.  International Legal and Policy Framework to address Climate Change
  3.  Climate change adaptation
  4.  Climate change mitigation
  5.  Climate change Finance
  6.  Planning for Climate Change 

 These short courses can be done at your own pace and after completing them you can receive a UN CC:Learn Accredited Teacher badge. You can access further information about the course here. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Academic language and task analysis for CLIL

In our first seminar session,  I will try to give an  overview of how to use language objectives in content-area instruction for  Secondary students.  The session will cover the following topics:

     -  What is academic language?  Why is it a must in any content area?

     -   How can you explicitly teach the academic language that fits your content area?

    -  What are language objectives?

    -  How can we integrate language objectives in our content areas?

        ( We will work on this tool  "Task analysis for production"  provided          by )

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

End of the year activities

Dear seminar members /readers

Our last seminar session took place last week and we talked in depth about assessment in CLIL so I am not going to write about that today.  I would  like to suggest  just 3 ideas  that you can put into practice to try and make the last month of school a memorable one. Needless to say this is my personal choice based on long-term  feedback from my  teenage students.

 Therefore, I hope these proposals will be effective and memorable  for your students  too, regardless your content area. Here are my 3 favourite end of the year activities:

Make a Class Video: 

Use pictures taken throughout the year to make a video. Ask  students to add captions and music. Add in live footage of students talking about their favorite parts of the lesson.

Ask students to write letters to your future students. 

Have your current students write letters of advice for the new students you will teach next year. What advice would they give on how to “survive” or do well in your classroom? What are the hardest parts of the course?  If you have any special activities you don’t want students to spoil, make sure to tell them ahead of time.

Help students to reflect on their learning process by asking them some reflection questions:
  1. What is something we did this year  that you think you will remember because it is meaningful to you ?
  2. What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
  3. What was the most helpful  thing someone in our class did for you this year?
  4. What was the most challenging part of this subject  for you?
  5. What is something the teacher could have done to make this year better?
Last but not least, would you like to take the survey "How CLIL are you?"   you took when we started working together in October 2018? I am sure you will be very proud of your accomplishments. 

It was an honor and a privilege to work with you so as to make the most of our CLIL practice in our schools. 

Wishing you all a fabulous summer break and looking forward to meeting you all again in September 2019.