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Tag: learning

Zoo Barcelona

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Yes, it’s another Barcelona post but nothing to do with football – promise!

Last week when I was in Barcelona on a Comenius Regio visit, my colleague Jane and I hared around numerous sites in the city, collecting resources.

One place we visited was the Zoo de Barcelona. Are all zoos the same, we wondered? Well, no! Whilst there were plenty of animals in common, this was nothing like Twycross (our local zoo) You could get very close to the animals (a little too close we felt in some cases – aren’t hippos and rhinos rather dangerous animals to be kept in enclosures with 2 foot high walls) and the information was in three languages – Catalan, Castillian (Spanish) and English. Hence I pootled around happily snapping signs to the amusement of anyone who saw me, ready for comparison of languages activities, guessing games and reading activities.

I also took plenty of animals pictures to fit into our creative learning journeys – Are you my Mummy?  The Circle of Life. Big teeth. A walk on the wildside. The Blue Planet. And more.  It’s amazing how many links you can come up with when faced with a near empty zoo and armed with a camera and a creative thinking colleague to ‘bounce’ off. We tried to get some footage/ images for Down Under but the kangaroos were uncooperative, lying on their backs in the sun and  refusing to hop.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about these ideas and will be collecting the many pictures into folders and writing up some ideas for colleagues as well as giving them the opportunity to think for themselves given the footage and photos. And I had a look at the website to see what I could find.

Like the Zoo, it is tri-lingual and I LOVE IT! At last I’ve found a site in Spanish to rival the French Zoo Palmyre

There’s an interactive map that allows you to click on an animal silhouette and discover photos and information about that animal – scientific classification, habitat, how endangered it is and also a lovely chunk of writing about the animal too. And it’s all available in the three languages – great for Spanish teaching but also good so that the non-specialist who wants to use the Spanish version has a ‘safety net’ ;o)

Then there’s the Espacio Lúdico or recreational area where there are some fun games. One involves solving clues to find out to which animal the pawprints belong. Simple sentences that can be decoded with minimum help and a bit of previous knowledge of animals perhaps! And so easy to use in non discrete language lessons – which had be jumping up and down excitedly!

Other sections caught my attention such as the zoo rules, the history of the zoo and even the map of how to get there and the price list. Some people say I have a one track mind and never switch off from learning mode – I guess I do! And it doesn’t bother me much to be honest! If only there were enough hours in the day to explore all the ideas that come to mind in a place like that!

As we work on our ideas at school, I’ll try to share as many as I can here.

I’ll leave you with Copito de Nieve (Floquet / Snowflake), for many, the (sadly deceased) face of Barcelona Zoo. A powerful image and thought.

 

 

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!

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

Today I’m at a cluster training day entitled Practical strategies for thinking learning and motivation.

It’s being led by Ian Gilbert of Independent Thinking who, so far, has given us all lots to digest!

More detail later as I start to digest what we’re discovering, but so far I have learnt that-

I shouldn’t have a job
AQA stands for ask any question
Picasso said ‘every act of creation starts with an act of destruction.’
‘It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.’

Photo – Davide Restivo on Flickr

MFL Show and Tell

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A not to be missed event fast approaching is the 3rd MFL Show and Tell.

Following on from the inaugural event at the Isle of Wight conference 2008, and the second edition held in Coventry in November 2009 , José Picardo (he of the sexy Spanish accent and highly informative Box of Tricks) has volunteered himself and his school for the 2010 edition.

As José himself explains –

The idea of the MFL Show and Tell session is to give teachers an opportunity to share good practice on the use of technology in the classroom in a relaxed, informal environment.

The session will take place in our brand new 6th Form Centre, where there will be access to a networked laptop computer, speakers, Wi-Fi, a data projector and screen for presentations.

If you want to sign up for the event, either as a speaker or as an attendee, pop along to José’s school site

The event is by teachers for teachers, and is all about sharing experiences.  Whether you’ve been teaching since the Stone Age or don’t remember life without the Internet, YOU have something to say.

I’ll no doubt throw in my ‘euro’s’ worth on a yet to be decided subject – good to keep you guessing ;o)

Thanks to Nottingham High School and Links into Languages East Midlands, the event is FREE!

Bargain!

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