Thursday, 27 April 2017

How and why to write a magazine in any content area

We are starting the month  of May and I know that all of you are very busy developing your assessment tasks  for the end of the course. I would like to highlight that  assessment tasks can take many forms. Some of the most common assessment tasks are exams, tests and essays. Therefore, why not ask our students to include their essays/articles on different topics related to our content areas in a magazine?  In this way, they would profit  from the positive outcomes  of both essay writing and group work:

  • Essays help students  to learn academic writing skills, including formulating an argument; presenting evidence; integrating material from sources; and referencing appropriately. Students  will synthesize and evaluate theoretical ideas and concepts and develop their research skills. 
  • Group work emphasises collaborative learning, problem-solving and critical evaluation, and is a valuable preparation for the workplace since students  will develop team skills and learn to work with a range of people.
Let me facilitate your work by providing you with everything you need to help students design their own magazine:
  •          A couple of ICT tools that can be used to create digital magazines:
      The second one is very easy to use and you can follow a simple tutorial here:

If you choose the digital format, you will be able to embed the magazines   into the school/class website or blog.

I hope that you will like my proposal and encourage your students to create their own magazine. You will have an opportunity to assess their knowledge of some topics and their writing skills while  they will develop their critical thinking skills  and enjoy a very positive teamwork experience.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Participate in an exciting Robotics competition

A variety of projects on Robotics is already being developed in many of our schools and the new  official  call to present new projects on Innovative Science and Technology for 2017-2018 is open  till May 8th. If you choose to take part in Robotics, you will probably be interested in knowing about World Robot OlympiadTM (WRO). This association  brings together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity, design and problem solving skills through challenging and educational robot competitions and activities. If you want to engage your students in Robotics, why not participate in the competition in Spain and try to qualify for the international WRO final which takes place once every year in November.  The winning teams from national competitions will represent their countries from November 10-12 in Costa Rica, the hosts of WRO 2017! 

There are different categories as well as different age groups, ranging from under 12-year-olds to 17-25-year-olds so both Primary and Secondary students can take part in it. You can read the general rules here.  Why not start by trying the local competition on June 10th in Bilbao? As Patricia Briggs says, "trying is always enough".  Good luck!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

I live in Getxo and new containers, including the ones for organic waste, have just been installed. Maybe that is the reason why   I have become more sensitive about the need to recycle, reuse and reduce. The Town Hall of Getxo has also launched an on-line  competition for Primary and Secondary students  in the area so that they face a series of challenges that will let them learn about the benefits of recycling. Eight schools are taking part in this competition and I can say that families and teachers are as happy as students themselves. 

I was wondering how I could contribute to raise awareness about this topic in other schools and I have thought of sharing a simple proposal I have thought of with teachers of English or teachers who implement Science or Global Issues through the medium of English. You can find my proposal here.

If you can spend more  than two sessions on the topic, I would recommend a great website by Michelle Henry, a teacher of English. There is a huge variety of activities on vocabulary, audios, games,  and even songs related to the topic. Jack Johnson's "The 3 R" is my favourite. You can listen to it  below these lines:

Jack Johnson was   named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2015 but seven  years before that he was interviewed  for ABC news and maybe his words  leave a mark on your students. While listening to the interview, ask them to keep these two questions in mind:

-  What did he do as a singer so as to protect the environment? Name at least two actions he carried out while he was recording. 

-  In his view, how can music change the world?

You can follow the interview here:

I hope that by  trying one or more of the suggestions above your students will collaborate to the 3 Rs.