Monday, 27 February 2017

International Women's Day 2017

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took a historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality and on every March 8th they focus on a theme to keep on advancing towards achieving gender equality. 

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The website is, as usual, a superb source for educators but I would like to recommend the section called "From where I stand", a collection of stories of women around the world who are bringing real change regarding gender equality.

I wanted to contribute to the celebration of March 8th in our classrooms through a lesson plan based on a film. Why? I would say that sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in  films are known to all. However,  there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names were known to only a few, but whose stories deserve to be told. This is the case with "Hidden figures", which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

One of these women,  98-year-old Katherine Johnson,  is a true hero who was totally hidden until this film was released and I would like to pay my humble tribute to her and to all hidden women whose deeds should be known to all. The starting point of the lesson I have developed is Katherine's biography  but let me suggest using the uplifting Gospel song from the film as a warm-up:

If you wish, you can ask students to carry out a  fill in the gaps activity while they listen to the song. The complete version of the lyrics can be downloaded from here.

After listening to the song you will have created the environment to start this lesson plan on "Empowering Women in the changing world of work".

I hope my proposal will help your students to reflect on the need for gender equality regarding acknowledgement of work achievement. 

Downloadable resources for the lesson plan:

Handout for the student: Katherine's biography

Handout for the teacher: Katherine Johnson's biography

Handout for the student: biography writing frame

Handout for the student: feedback on peers'  presentations

Handout for the teacher: oral presentation rubrics for a biography

Handout for the student: listening activity

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Using newspaper and magazine articles in the content areas

Needless to say that we do not have to supply students with physical newspapers. We are very lucky to have online versions of most newspapers, some of which with lesson plans that can be very helpful when you like the article but you lack the necessary time to prepare some activities for students to carry out while and after reading. The Guardian includes a series of free  lesson plans for different content areas. The New York Times also offers a learning section with lesson plans. 

Next seminar I will present some of my favourite activities to make the most of using newspaper and magazine  articles in the  classroom but before we meet let me share some of them with you.  You can find them here

To help students with summarizing skills and  new vocabulary when reading newspaper articles, you can use this template  provided by Readwritethink.

Most newspapers are included here:

You can find some worksheets that relate to newspaper articles here:

The following is a collection of online magazines on very different topics:

For Science topics:

For History content:

Spanish El País can be read in English:

More student-friendly  websites you can use:

Thursday, 2 February 2017


Multicultural classrooms are a growing phenomenon as migrants flows are increasing exponentially. Classrooms now host students from  diverse nationalities and cultures and  teachers have  to acquire new skills, competences and materials to work effectively with culturally diverse students. 

Multicultural Schools project is a valuable bank of resources that will help all of  you who want to foster integration among different cultures and languages within your classrooms. 

The repository will give you free access  different types of ready-to-use materials for students of both Primary and Secondary levels. The materials are available in six different languages corresponding to the partner countries taking part in the project. 

I would like to suggest making students  listen to  and watch Marla Lewis' wonderful song and video "We all laugh in the same language"  as a way to celebrate unity within diversity in our multicultural school contexts:

You can download the lyrics of the song here

Please remember that the partners who are taking part in this project need our feedback to keep on working on the project and improving it. Therefore, let me know about your classroom experience after putting some activities into practice with your students.

Finally, but no less importantly, thank you very much for your immeasurable support towards cultural integration in our classrooms.