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Inspired in IKEA 2.0

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

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I love visits to IKEA as, along with the scented candles and plastic bags, I invariably come away with all sorts of unexpected items.

In 2008 I posted Inspired in IKEA and quickly followed it up with Inspired in IKEA part 2. I continued being inspired in on A visit to IKEA in 2010 and with Breakfast from IKEA and En la granja de IKEA in 2011. And then there was my (continuing)  love affair with Señor Brócoli.

On Friday I decided it was time for the annual trip to buy gingerbread for the tree – and a gingerbread house too as my domestic goddess status doesn’t extend that far.

I always get excited when I approach the children’s section but this time I nada surprise as I met the LATTJO collection  mid way around. What an exciting development!

This little video showcases the new range

IKEA have started a collaboration with world class storyteller DreamWorks Animation highlighting the power and importance of play. DreamWorks Animation brings the LATTJO world to life through more than 25 short animated stories that celebrates and expands the imaginative world of the LATTJO characters.

Well, first of all I saw the Jenga-like stacking game with coloured bricks adding to the fun. I know that Jenga is used widely in language teaching – see Eleanor, Amanda and Erzsi‘s blogs! – and this could well add another dimension to its use. IMG_7377
Then I came across these cones – great for directions, target practice with a bean bag (for practising colour, number, counting up the score etc) IMG_7378
Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 20.54.45 And then I saw these number ‘sleeves’. The suggestion was to put them around bottles of water to make skittles which is a great idea.

I immediately thought of using them as arm bands and making human ‘skittles’, not to be knocked down but for counting activities. For example, give a sum in Spanish/French/German and the answer has to stand up, or children have a pile of cards with word problems in Sp/Fr/Ger that they have to assign to the correct ‘skittle’

I was also rather taken with the large inflatable die and the giant sacks but then I saw the dressing up! Oh my! I actually started jumping up and down!

I find puppets and dressing up to be an excellent way to get children talking in an imaginative way as I’ve shared before and here for example. So what did I see?

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Moustaches and beards. I think I look rather fetching with a beard, and you can still talk and see the mouth even wearing it!

And then there were wigs…

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…and other made head gear! I was particularly taken with the snail head, and also the brain which I decided to try on but I think – well, know!- I have a very big head as it kept popping off!

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And then if you’re feeling like splashing out more than £3-£6, you can get full dressing up costumes! The parts are available separately too 😉

You can also be an eagle or a bat, and you can add monster claws to make your rat scary!

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Queen

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Robot

 

Getting away from the dressing up and LATTJO, I made it to the children’s department where I found some great cushions. I bought the sunshine one and I’m going to use as an incentive/ to reward excellent work. Impress Sra. Stevens and make her smile like the sun, and you get to sit on the cushion next lesson. I may yet add the cloud to my collection for excellent ideas, but, as with everything, it’s where to put it between lessons! IMG_7395
IMG_7393 My final inspiration came in the shape of these piglets. Can you guess my thoughts…?

Indeed. Los tres cerditos. (Their Mummy is available too!)

Oh, one last idea – these GLON templates for a house, some flats, a church-like building and a mosque-like building look great for describing the town, particularly thanks to the variety of building shape that accommodates the shapes the children I teach see around them!IMG_7396

I hope I’ve managed to communicate my excitement. I didn’t buy all the items but I may well do over time. I do have the moustache and beard, brain hat, sunshine cushion and two sets of the number sleeves though!

Practical Pedagogies Conference 2015

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 15.38.53I always get excited when people invite me to speak at conferences but I was very excited when Russel Tarr (created Classtools.net and was famously attacked by Gove for using Mr Men to help teach History resulting in a mass Mr Men Twitter avatar protest in solidarity!) asked me if I’d like to speak at a conference he was planning in Toulouse. A trip to France? Don’t mind if I do! And when he told me who else was speaking, I was even more excited and also perhaps a little daunted when I saw who else was speaking!

Practical Pedagogies takes place at the International School of Toulouse on October 15th and 16th and is

A high-impact training conference for classroom teachers by classroom teachers.
Two days of inspiring keynotes70+ workshops and networking activities: only 150 Euros!

 

I’m very much looking forward to the conference as there are so many different sessions under the umbrella theme of “Creativity, internationalism and innovation in the classroom” that it was very hard to choose which I’d like to attend. The programme is packed with goodies as you can see! And Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh @notosh  who is keynoting and also delivering workshops always inspires and challenges!

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My session will be about using ICT in the Primary Language Classroom:

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There are threads for

  • Pedagogy, Personal and Professional development including sessions by Miles Berry (@mberry), David Rogers (@daviderogers), Bill Lord (@Joga5) and Marisa Constantinides (@marisa_c);             
  • Computing including sessions by Miles Berry (@mberry) and Chris Mayoh (@chrismayoh);
  • Drama, Music and Design and technology including a session that I want to attend on Using drama games and activities across the curriculum led by G. Fearnehough (@gfearnehough), Curriculum Leader for Drama at IST, and E. Renou (@emmanuelrenou31), Modern Foreign Languages teacher at IST;
  • History including a session about collaboration between History and Geography (and beyond!) led by Russel Tarr, author of ActiveHistory, and Matthew Podbury, author of GeographyPods.
  • Science which offers diverse sessions on data logging, helping EAL learners and using SOLO taxonomy;
  • English and Literacy with sessions led by Julian Wood (@ideas_factory), and staff from IST about using picture and story books to work creatively and cross curricularly (hopefully I’ll get to attend one or both);
  • Mathematics with sessions on using Lego and Geogebra;
  • Assessment and reporting with a session entitles Marking:Is it really worth it?;
  • Tech tools including sessions by Dave Stacey @davestacey and John Sutton @HGJohn;
  • CAS (Creativity, action, service) and TOK (theory of knowledge);

and of course

  • Languages that features people I know like Isabelle Jones (@icpjonesand those who I have yet to meet like Dico Krommenhoek (@dico_kr). Oh, and me! I’m very much looking forward to finding out more about AIM and how IST use a FUN reading programme to boost comprehension and expression with their upper primary language learners.

There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend. It costs 150 euros (very reasonable) and if you can get a cheap flight it’s not much more expensive than two days of INSET!

And if you can’t attend in person, you can follow on Twitter! You can follow the Twitter account @pedagogies and the conference hashtag is

 

#pracped15

 

It’d be great to see some of you there and if not, converse via Twitter. And of course I’ll share my thoughts (and sketch notes!) on my return!

 

UnderstandingModernGov conference – June 16th 2015

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

IMG_4621A little bit delayed by end of term madness…

On June 16th I travelled to London for a day long conference organised by UnderstandingModernGov on the subject of Primary Languages – “Successfully implement the new Primary Modern Foreign Languages curriculum”. It was great to see Janet, Sylvie, Nadine and Julie, and to meet all the delegates to spend a day exploring how we can effectively plan, manage and deliver languages to primary aged pupils.

My part of the day was all about using technology; you can see the presentation below, and you can also access links to tutorials etc here.

I sketch noted all the sessions as you can see below.

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Policy to practicality – Janet Lloyd

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Phonics and Literacy – Julie Prince

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Develop an innovative approach to Primary Language Teaching – Sylvie Barlett-Rawlings with Nadine Chadier


Additionally, you can see what Janet said on her blog.

And here’s the Storify of tweets from the day!

Reflections on #ililc4

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 21.07.15After a week in which my exhaustion was overcome by the enthusiasm of my learners, I’m finally getting around to posting about #ililc4, the cause of said exhaustion.

I love #ililc. Every year, I look forward to it, and it’s especially special as I’ve flown back from Switzerland the last two years to speak there. #ililc1 there was the possibility of us moving to Switzerland; #ililc2 it was the first time I’d been ‘home’ since I moved to Switzerland and last year at #ililc3 I was about to announce my return to the UK when I was offered a job that threw a spanner in the works – therefore, I’ve ended up rather emotional each time. And that’s why I love this conference so much. It’s about far more than the things we learn about language teaching and learning; it’s about looking after each other, supporting one another and encouraging people to keep going when they feel like giving up. It’s for hugs, pats on the back and hand squeezing; listening and sharing, laughing and crying; for pep talks and words of wisdom. And in the past it’s even been for providing ‘exiles’ with essential supplies of paracetamol and Horlicks (I can never thank you enough for that!)

No big dramas this year (thankfully!) so a much more even keel was held and I enjoyed ‘spreading the love’ with much squealing and hugging (apologies if I squished you too hard or squawked just a little too loud)

And so to the reason we were there. I admit to taking very few notes as I was too engrossed in listening and tweeting. So here’s a Storify of my tweets, and i’ll try to summarise other bits!

Joe Dale’s keynote was packed as usual with facts and figures, great thoughts, funny pictures and plenty to give pause for thought. I need to watch the re-run and pause it to catch it all I fear!

Then I did my session on A beginner’s guide to iPads in the Primary language classroom (see my next blog post!) – seemed to go down well!

After a swift cup of tea, it was off to Clare Seccombe’s session on mini books.  WOW! You wouldn’t think that there were so many types of mini book. Like Clare, I love books and appreciate her sharing “It’s a book!”, a story that I bought in German. I tweeted madly, taking pictures of the different types of book, and was left wanting to make books for the rest of my life. Find out more here

A lunchtime presentation on This is Language was interesting. Not necessarily useful in a primary context but fun to have a look at the videos and activities designed for GCSE learners of French Spanish and German. I discovered that my ability to type fast in French is very suspect! 

Next was MFL PE Rap and ICT with Dominic Traynor aka Spanish Bootcamp. Dominic shared how he has a dual role as PE and Spanish teacher, and how he combines the two. I loved playing some of the games he uses like La batalla de cojos that involves hopping whilst trying remove your opponents’ ‘tails’ (bands tucked into their waistbands) and Cabezazos (heading a beanbag); I even used Palmadas (throw a beanbag in the air and count to a specific number in Spanish before you catch it) in assembly this week! He also recommended Memrise which is something I spoke about a couple of years ago at various Teachmeets but had stopped using, It seems to have developed more now and it’s possible for teachers to write their own courses. 

Final session of the day – Don’t worry be ‘appy with Rachel Smith aka @lancslassrach. Subtitled – The Power of One; 1 iPad, 1 classroom; 1 teacher, Rachel talked about her experiences of using one iPad in there language classroom. She recommended several apps that interested me including Pass the parcel and Shake and Boom for games playing, and  StopGo for timed activities. Have a look at her presentation or my tweets for more ideas.

The evening Show and Tell was good as ever with really interesting and practical ideas from many people including ClareRachel, Nina Elliot and Sam. Simone shared about her Chinese New Year celebrations at school – including a real live horse (at school, not the SAT!), Helen sang beautifully and advertised ALL (join if you haven’t already!) Dom shared a game called Mot de passe when you have to communicate a person, place or thing to someone using single words, Eleanor talked about using physical actions for punctuation and accents, Glennis talked about my beloved Tellagami, Chris talked Teachmeet, Garry talked about Sporcle.com and Simone and John sang (anyone got a video? Mine didn’t record!)

Day two started at 8.50am – and I was speaking! Find out more in my blog post on Something old, something new – coming soon!

After coffee, off I popped to see Isabelle Jones talking about Pinterest, a very addictive site. As I tweeted, it’s not all about cake pops, shoes and wedding dresses, and as Isabelle shared, it’s very useful for collaborating with others in collecting ideas and resources for language teaching and learning. Much oohing and aching followed her presentation as we were given time to play and pin whether online or using the app, following one another and discovering that those in other sessions were pinning too – multitasking they called it 😉

Jo Rhys Jones was my next session (wish i got to see her more – must try harder!) talking about Big ideas for tiny schools, or extreme differentiation for little people. I was glad that someone else gets an idea/motif and runs with it as her use of gnomes rivalled the wedding photos in my presentation. Although most of us aren’t teaching mixed age classes, everything that Jo said was good practice for differentiating in a same age class. Her ideas of progression in terms of skills was particularly helpful, e.g. word to word+adjective to short phrase to sentence to extended sentence. And Pigloo and Tchic et Tchac too 🙂

My final session (well, ¾ of the session) was Flipping the classroom with Sadie McLachlan. Loved the videos that have been made by the department to facilitate learning and interesting to see how Flipping is working for them as we continue (slowly) to flip lessons at Welford. A bit trickier for me as I don’t set homework and can’t make participation compulsory, but ideas can be adapted! Find out more at fliplearningmfl.blogspot.com

Then home, happy and exhausted.

However, that wasn’t the end really as I read Clare’s keynote on the train and promptly welled up, tears streaming down my face much to the bemusement of those around me. I could identify well with all that Clare said and although I wasn’t there, I felt that I was. Heavens only knows what state I’d have been in if I were – perhaps it’s better I’d left as I had another weep when I watched it back on the recording. Well said Clare.

I am looking forward to more fun, more sharing and more inspiration next year at #ililc5 – but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to interacting with the #mfltwitterati on Twitter and hopefully in person.

GlobaNova_ILoveYouMap_Pink-1800Presentations and handouts

List of blog posts (as of 14th Feb) about ILILC4

 

Language Learning in Focus in The Guardian

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.26.58The Guardian is having a ‘Language learning in focus’  week  and the Teacher Network has been publishing articles related to news ideas and resources for language learning.

There have been articles about why people started teaching languages, an interesting article on where we are and where we need to be in relation to language learning, ideas about how best to teach languages, references to resources in the Guardian Teacher Network and ‘my best language lesson’ too.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 11.29.24Today the article is about Primary teachers’ best tips for language lessons. I was asked to contribute and along with others including Clare Seccombe, have shared some ideas that have worked in my experience.

And there’s also an article on how primary schools are getting ready for 2014 from which I’d pick out two paragraphs that highlights a couple of concerns I have – and I know others share them!

“A lot of teachers would appreciate a bit more guidance and practical help, whether it’s schemes of work or things they might be able to read,” adds Board. (Kathryn Board of CfBT)”That’s obviously not what the government wants to do – they want to provide big headlines and how you get there is up to you. But it’s quite tricky because we must not forget this is a new subject, it’s never been compulsory at key stage two before.”

 

Driscoll (Patricia Driscoll, reader in education at Canterbury Christchurch University) fears the draft curriculum does not place enough emphasis on developing children’s cultural understanding. “In ‘purpose of study’ the draft curriculum says: ‘Learning a foreign language is liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures.’ But then when you come to the ‘curriculum aims’ and ‘subject content’ there’s nothing about culture.”

“Languages are taught through interactive methods but also through cultural identity and understanding,” she says.

I wonder what’ll be up tomorrow? There’s certainly a web chat planned so if you’re free between 6 and 8pm tomorrow evening (Thursday 16th) join in with your ideas about creative lessons and teaching tips!

Breakout! #ililc3

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Just like @msmfl, I’m so excited and just can’t hide it, so I’m going to

BREAKOUT! 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ll be in the UK in February to attend ILILC3 or to give its full name, the ICT Link into Language conference taking place at the University of Southampton on 9th and 10th February.

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The theme of the conference is Jailbreaking the MFL classroom and there are sessions on


Mobile technologies  

Social Media
Making the most of Web 2.0 Technologies  
The Global classroom  
Developing Speaking
Closing the gap  (SEN, SOLO, supporting learning etc)

There are many many excellent practitioners participating – I’m particularly looking forward to sessions from Clare Seccombe, John Connor, Jo Rhys-Jones, Dom McGladdery, Jen Turner and Amanda Salt (to name but a few!)  and keynotes by Joe and Isabelle,  and I’m really pleased that I’ve been asked to present.

 

#ILILC2013_I-am-speaking-at-with-QR-code

 

I’ll be delivering two sessions –

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 14.57.39 In I want to break free  we’ll be looking at ways to break away from ‘chalk and talk’ and involve learners, encouraging them to interact with and demonstrate their understanding as they learn using (mobile) technology. We’ll investigate some ways of doing this using tools such as Nearpod, Socrative and Memrise and whilst I’ll be using my iPad and Mac to present, that doesn’t mean you need a fruity device to join in as some tools are web based and others are both Android and iOS. And on top of that, we’re a friendly bunch so I’m sure people will share!
Let out for good behaviour? refers to leaving the classroom being (often) seen as a treat. There are many ways to ‘break free’ of the walls of your classroom, both physical and virtual, and this session will involve both. Participation is required as we explore activities and games, that will enhance teaching and learning whilst bringing a breath of free air to a stuffy classroom. Technology will be involved but you don’t need anything but your imagination and sense of adventure to enjoy the activities. Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 15.02.29

On top of the conference, there’s the Show and Tell on Saturday night at which ANYONE is encouraged to share a snippet sized piece of good practice, song or activity. Everyone has a good idea and has something to say so it’s great to hear from new people each year. You can sign up for it here.

Why should you attend?

  • it’s excellent value CPD
  • the speakers are excellent
  • you’ll learn so much
  • it’s the friendliest funn-est conference you are ever likely to attend
  • you’ll learn as much from conversations as from the sessions
  • your batteries need recharging
  • if you don’t, you’ll miss @bellaale ‘s sequel to Academy Copout!
  • I want to meet you!

And, back to the song at the start. Whilst I’m sure not everyone is at the end of their tether (at least I hope not!),  it’s good sometimes to ‘breakout’ from things that are just not working for you, or your learners, look at things from another perspective and find a new ‘way’. Come to ILILC3 and you might just find the inspiration, support and encouragement that you need!Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 15.13.02

 

 

 

 


 

What I learned today pt3

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The final session today was focussed on learning styles and preferences.

  • Lighting – dark, small light, whole room lit
  • Seating – at a table, on the floor, lying down, standing up
  • Temperature – warm, cold, hot
  • Sound – silent, music, louder noise

All the above affect our learning if conditions aren’t ideal for us.
Personally, I like to work in daylight, lying on the floor or with my feet up, don’t like being hot and like a murmur of noise to learn best.

I loved Ian’s assertion that adolescents become ‘pseudo stupid’ as their brains adapt to all the changes going on in their brains. Makes a lot of sense!

We looked at VAK approaches and learned how to make history  RE and Geography more kinaesthetic.

People moved from country to city due to wealth, industry, education, a better standard of living and better housing. I remembered that by holding out my left arm, travelling from the country (my armpit) to the the city (my hand) and looking at my fingers.

The Linkword approach in the 80s worked on a similar principle to pegging, linking images to things you need to remember.  In language learning, masculine nouns were recalled with an image of a boxer, feminine with perfume.   Language learning skills that are a  key feature of current language teaching use ideas like this, encouraging making links to aid recall.  For example, la sandia – a watermelon is well stuck in my pupils’ minds as we talked about how you eat it on the beach and if you drop it, it gets sandier.

Looking at Gardner’s multiple intelligences, Ian assigned each one a famous person-

Carol Vorderman – mathematical logical

The A A man / David Beckham – physical intelligence

Princess Di – interpersonal social

Mother Teresa – intrapersonal / empathy

Picasso – visual spatial

Mozart – musical

Charlie Dimmock / David Attenborough- naturalistic

Shakespeare – verbal linguistic

How can we teach to all these people? Perhaps not every lesson, but on a regualr basis?

I had to leave early to fetch J from school, but by this stage my brain was really buzzing and quite full!

I hope I’ve managed to effectively communicate some of the ideas and thoughts from today!

What I learned today pt2

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’ve already blogged about Thunks and making kids’ brains hurt which were the key ideas in this session.

However, a few other things that were interesting.

1. A useful reference for philosophy for kids – SAPERE

2. When we ask questions, we’re not comfortable with leaving silence.  On average, we wait  0.9 sec before filling the silene with the answer.  Thus, ‘learned helplessness’ starts. Sometimes we need time to think and process, sometimes we need to struggle for an answer to stimulate our brain.

3. The 4 Bs for finding things out

Brain

Book/board

Buddies

Boss (teacher)

4. ask for three answers to a question – allows multiple answers, multiple contributions and multiple involvement.

5. Can you raise someone else’s self esteem?  Surely it’s their self esteem so you can only create the conditions for improvement to be possible.  As educators, we are literally moulding the brains that will decide the future by helping the neurones in brain amke trillions of connections.

6. The difference between the arrogant and confident person is that the arrogant person will make you feel worse about yourself.

7. Self esteem is determined by feeling loveable and capable.  Childen need to be hugged and praised.

More brain stuff

There are three parts to the brain –

Reptilian (lizard)  – fight flight hunt

Mammalian (dog) – emotions and memories

Neo cortex – the human bit

The PFC (pre frontal cortex) holds the key to our reactions.  The amygdala ‘calms’ it from its rashness.  So using STAR gives the amygdala a chance to work.

Stop
Think
Act
Review

Some quotations to finish –

To teach you need to contain, entertain and explain.

Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do. – Piaget

What I learned today! pt1

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’ve already blogged three times today about the INSET today with Ian Gilbert– twice during the INSET day and once when I returned home.

However, I haven’t even scratched the surface!

So, here is a summary of the key points I noted from session one.

“Nothing is as dangerous as an idea when it’s the only one you’ve got.”

One of the major points made was that we need to encourage thinking – that all too often we stick to closed questions, always searching for a single correct answer rather than asking questions that encourage thought and have multiple ‘right’ answers – or none at all!

An example of this was the picture below – what is it?


A gin and tonic?
A handbag?
A child hiding behind a wall?
A chair?

This sort of ‘pre-starter’ is a good way to get us in the right frame of mind for learning. And the state we’re in when we learn has a profound effect on our learning – our breathing, our surroundings, our frame of mind.
Laughter is a good way to get us in the optimum state as it releases dopamine – plenty of that today!

Next we thought about this – attitude counts for more than aptitude.
Employers are looking for creativity – people who break the rules, stand out, make a difference, to make a dent in the universe. The idea that school is just a phase you go through – important but not the be all and end all – seems obvious when you say it but that’s not often the view taken with our pupils.

I learnt a new word today – fungible (meaning digitized and sent somewhere else).
Many jobs are fungible – like accountancy; others are anchored- a nurse will be needed to apply dressings. Which led to the question – who needs a teacher when we have Google? With services like Tutorvista, are we needed?  However,  the teacher who leads children to learning is important, the one who doesn’t just drip feed  knowledge but prepares kids for our world.

Some interesting quotations at this point –

‘It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.’

‘Every act of creation starts with an act of destruction.’  Picasso

‘To know and not to do is not to know.’  Buddhist saying

The brain.

95% of what we know about the brain we’ve learnt in the last 15 years.

Male and female brains are different. (see Why men don’t iron)

The RAS (reticular activating system) is particularly key, stimulated by physical activity and emotions. So things like fidgeting and fiddling could actually be ways of staying ‘with it’ in lessons rather than signals that people are not paying attention.  I know that I concentrate best when I am multitasking – I was making notes or on my iPad all day today.

We did some ‘fartlek for the brain’ – particularly liked chopping and sawing!

And discussed that pace doesn’t mean speed – it rather means that the ups and downs of your lesson are appropriate to learning – lots of starts and ends – mini chunks of action/learning.

Three things to make your brain happy and healthy

1- eat antioxidants – tea coffee red wine tomatoes strawberries blueberries

2- healthy body, healthy mind

3- use it or lose it.  For example – taste something new each week; brush your teeth with the other hand; listen to Late Junction

Final question of the session

Is our school a teaching school or a learning school?  Is it a thinking school?

(Image by Highwaystar on picasaweb)

UPDATE – ‘TeachMeet styley thingy’ #etwpdw

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Thanks to Lidija from Croatia, here are some brief highlights of the ‘TeachMeet styley thingy’ at #etwpdw, showing some of the people about whom I blogged earlier this week.

Thanks to eagle eyed @joedale for spotting it!