PD – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

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Having participated in the inaugural Practical Pedagogies at International School of Toulouse in 2015 (reflections and sketchnotes, presentation)and then returned there for the second edition #PracPed16 (presentation and sketchnotes), I was over the moon when I was invited to participate in the part three,  this time held in Cologne at St George’s School. This is what I said after the first two conferences…

…and do you know what? Edition 3 didn’t disappoint!

From start to finish, I laughed, nodded, puzzled and pondered. I didn’t stop for 72 hours, and am now utterly exhausted, but it’s the sort of exhaustion that comes from having had a good time, not wanting it to end and having lots to think about. It was lovely to meet ‘old’ friends and, as we discussed several times, pick up as if we’d seen each other last week rather than two or three years ago. It was also wonderful to make new friends, and deepen friendships made at previous meetings. For example, I loved having guided run home with Laura, exploring the woods and parks between school and the city and having a good chat as we ran. 

 

As usual I sketchnoted my way through the conference. It was lovely – and also slightly weird – the number of people who greeted me with ‘oh, you’re the doodler!’ or ‘ooh! I thought it was you, I recognised your writing from Twitter!’ and also those that started to see my notes over the conference and sought me out to find out more. Below are my notes from the sessions I was able to attend. One day I’ll work out how to sketchnote my own session…

 

Opening keynote by Hywel Roberts – could be subtitled Let’s say…  or How to teach Tyler. Via stories of teaching early years, kids in Barnsley, Vikings and an abandoned factory, Hywel shared his three words – imagineering, botheredness and phronesis – and challenged us to consider our curriculum.

 

After my first choice was cancelled, I attended a session on Language for Maths, a reflection on how games can be used to practice maths vocabulary. Without the necessary vocabulary, EAL students cannot enjoy success in solving maths problems, and the games we played and discussed required repetition of key words and phrases such as more than, fewer than, equal to, equivalent to, ratio, decimal and fraction. An interesting session that I’ll be feeding back to my colleagues.

My second session has not been sketchnoted as it was an immersive experience and to fully participate you have to join in rather than sit in a corner doodling, but I do have a photo of our island! Oh Brave New World; Getting to grips with Shakespeare, presented by Emma Bramley and Matt Wardle, took us on a journey through The Tempest focussing on Caliban as he is born (that was interesting acting…), loses his mother, grows, is ‘adopted’ then rejected and abused by Prospero. We considered the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, and ended considering what Caliban should do – follow Prospero and continue being ‘civilised’, stay on the island and stay ‘savage’ which raises all sorts of questions about what it means to be civilised, what isolation is, what freedom is, and what the power of language is. Was Prospero? Is Caliban? Very interesting and very challenging questions!

Session 3 saw me face another challenge – playing with LEGO whilst sketchnoting. Dominic Tremblay presented a session on Storybricks: Using LEGO for Literacy. He offered some advice on LEGO organisation as well as suggesting several ways in which LEGO can be used to provoke language sharing, reading and writing. A fascinating session in which my group and I wrote a Halloween story involving a witch, two children and a hero police officer. We were so engrossed in characters that our setting is rather sparse, but that demonstrated the need for greater coordination of effort, and perhaps reflected my preoccupation with sketchnoting… Here’s our story (imagine the children in the last picture – I didn’t take one after we’d moved them from scene 1 to scene 3!)

Two children are trick or treating on Halloween, dressed as a pirate and a ninja. A wicked witch spies them, waves her wand and chants a magic spell. Poof!  The children are turned into an owl and a spider. Fortunately, a police man passes by and commands her to turn them back into children.  The witch does as she is told and all is well once more.

Dominic was a brilliant presenter and is obviously very much in demand as he had to leave dinner that evening early to present via video link!

Last session of Day 1 was the ambitiously entitled 60 tech tools and tricks in 60 minutes – tech tips, tricks and tools you need to know as a primary teacher. Jon Kitchin whizzed his way through nearly 60 (I counted 51 but I’m sure I missed a couple!) ideas, tips and tools, all free, to make teaching and learning easier, more interesting or more effective in the primary classroom. I had heard of several of the ideas and some weren’t really relevant to me but there was plenty that was new and helpful including some music sites like Sampulator   Hum On and Incredibox that I’ll be trying out in Y5 music lessons! 

Day 2 began with Finding quality images and media resources led by an old friend, Theo Kuechel who led us through how to choose images that are suitable in terms of size, quality and possibly most important in this litigious day and age, safe to sue without being sued! I now understand Creative Commons much better and Theo kindly shared a curated bank of sites that provide images – and other media – for use via CC license.

Then it was on to a session I’d been looking forward to, my only ‘languages’ session over the conference as all the others were for older pupils than I teach, and also one that I knew would be high energy and great fun. I certainly wasn’t disappointed as Laura ‘Smiley’ Riley presented Grammaté and more with such energy that I defy anyone NOT to enjoy languages if she’s your teacher! Lots of ideas for teaching grammar including human sentences, hats, Gringo, Battleships and the aforementioned Grammaté which involves combining movement to parts of speech – the title coming from grammar and karate.

Here we are in action (everyone else can actually speak German, properly!)

Great fun and a good way to test my German (made slightly easier by Laura kindly colour coding the sentences!) Another activity I loved and will ‘steal’ was her take on Tagtiv8 that involved retrieving words from the walls, firstly verbs, then pronouns to sort, match up, discuss, create sentences and so on. 

And what’s more, I  now understand about TMP and know that Sven who likes wenn kicks the verb to the end 😉

Session 7 concerned Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the classroom, led by Adele Bates. This session challenged us to consider what these words mean for our students. Adele gave each of us a pupil profile and took us on a Privilege Walk though a school day in their shoes. I ended up far behind others due to being a wheelchair and being EAL. I was very interested in the Pyramid of Hate, and how bias escalates into acts of prejudice and upwards. Really thought provoking. Key thoughts – Avoidance is not a neutral strategy (@r_e_e_t_a_) and sometimes you have to forget about being a “teacher” and be “human.”

I was speaking during session 8 (post to follow!) so my final sketchnote was from the closing keynote by Hywel Roberts.

And then it was time to leave St George’s and drive off into the sunset (literally!), wondering where #PracPed20 will be taking place. 

Another brilliant conference, with great teaching and learning as well as opportunities to socialise in pubs, restaurants and bars. Looking forward to October 2020 and the fourth edition of Practical Pedagogies – if you want to find out where and exactly when, sign up for notifications here.

See you there!

After two successful years at the International School of Toulouse in 2015 and 2016,  Practical Pedagogies is returning in 2018. This time it’s moved to Cologne and St Goerge’s English International School. Here’s what Russel Tarr, the conference organiser says:

Educational conferences can be prohibitively expensive for ordinary teachers, and often focus on abstract theory delivered by academics with little hands-on classroom experience. In contrast, “Practical Pedagogies” believes the best training conferences are delivered by practising teachers, for the benefit of each other and their students, at an affordable price.

Practical Pedagogies 2015 and 2016 took place at the International School of Toulouse, France. Teachers from all over the world delivered upwards of 100 sessions in a vibrant, friendly and enriching event lasting two days. Hot lunches, refreshments, an evening restaurant meal after day 1, and a bar tour after day 2 provided social opportunities for carrying on the conversations with old friends and new acquaintances.

The feedback was so enthusiastic that it’s been decided to take the show on the road, with St. George’s International School Cologne scheduled to host the next conference in November 2018. Session proposals will be invited as from January, a programme will be drawn up in February, and delegates will be encouraged to book their places from March onwards.

Russel Tarr, conference organiser (@russeltarr)

100 workshops have been confirmed, led by educators from all over the world – including me! – and delegates can pick 8 to attend over the two days.  And the good news is, you’ve got two more days to get the Early Bird discount.

Still need convincing? Here’s what I think!  

Would be great to see you there. Lisa x

 

It’s that time of year when people look back on the last 365/6 days and look forward to the next year. And at the end of 2012 I wanted to acknowledge the achievements of the last year as much to say ‘you were right’ to those who encouraged me when I was despairing as a celebration of some of the great things in which I was involved.

Moving to Switzerland was a big thing for my family, and it left a huge gap in my life where ‘work’ used to be. I miss teaching at WCPS (and judging by the reception I received when I visited in July, the feeling is mutual) and sometimes feel that I’ve thrown away all my hard work as here I am ‘just another foreigner’ rather than Lisibo. I am a very optimistic person but at times it’s not been easy to keep smiling so thanks to those who kept me hopeful because, you know what? I’ve done all sorts of things this year!

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I teach English to two lovely Spanish kids each week. They went to British School in Madrid and now attend Swiss school so their parents want them to keep up their English skills. They are amazing and I always leave the lesson smiling having had a great time. We especially enjoyed talking about the Olympics and the Jubilee celebrations. And since October I’ve also been teaching English to a Mexican mum from the boys’ school. There are so many people that she’s managed thus far without speaking English but now feels she needs to make an effort for the sake of her children, and so that she can talk to more people. Her confidence is very fragile but she’s doing really well!

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Since May I’ve also been ‘subbing’  at ISZL in Baar thanks to someone introducing me to someone else at just the right moment. It is SOOO wonderful to be back in the classroom and to know that ‘I’ve still got it’. I’ve taught right across the age range from 3 to 11 year olds, and I keep getting asked back so that’s good! A week of Kindergarten awaits me next week (that’s Year1 in English speak) and I’m really looking forward to it.

And now I work a morning a week in the school library at my boys’ school having helped out on a voluntary basis since I got here. In fact, that library and especially the lovely Librarian/Media specialist Gretha have kept me going at times. It’s wonderful to be involved in the school and is a big step as I was told in no uncertain terms that they didn’t employ parents! Another big step was being given admin control of the school’s Facebook page.

The Lingo Show

Perhaps one of the highlights of my year was seeing my name ‘in lights’ on the television! I’ve been involved in The Lingo Show from the very beginning when the BBC was exploring the idea of doing something for very young children with a language element, through the tender process, meeting Lingo (who is also Postman Pat!) and auditioning prospective Quesos, seeing The Lingo Show launched on the Cbeebies website and finally being involved in the proposal for and production of the Spanish episodes of The Lingo Show shown on Cbeebies. I have to admit that I was very excited as I sat down to watch on 26th March, hoping that it was all OK (especially as I’d had to let someone else do the very final part of the Spanish as I was literally moving as they did it) and was overjoyed when I was contacted by people who had watched it with their children and liked it!

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I’ve also done some chunks of work for the BBC Primary Languages website over the last year, writing lesson ideas, information for parents and teachers, and writing content for the various sections. Still waiting for much of it to be uploaded and appear on the site but it’s there and waiting…

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And I’ve been on the TES Primary Languages panel led by the lovely Rachel Hawkes too – reviewing resources is fun but can be hard when there are huge glaring mistakes in them as you know that people have uploaded them out of the goodness of their hearts…

Whilst I’ve missed out on physically attending TeachMeets, I’ve been an avid online participant and have contributed presentations to various, both in the UK and international online ones too – see LisiboTV

bsel And the ‘techie’ bit of me has been occupied too as I’ve worked with Apple Switzerland as an ADE and AEM, supporting at an ELS in Geneva and presenting at a conference in Basel in October as well as sharing with them some of the things that I did in the UK. I’ve also become an Apple Professional Development consultant and done training in Ticino, Zürich and Harrogate.Yes, I’ve been allowed back into the UK. In fact, twice!

Another high point of the year was in February when I spoke 1  2 at ILILC2 in Southampton. It was so great to be with ‘old friends’ and make new ones, and reaffirmed what a great bunch of people us language teachers are. I swapped Toblerone for paracetamol (you are all lovely xxxx), made everyone sing German drinking songs (and harangued those who weren’t getting into it!), reflected on being in an uncomfortable position and enjoyed the ideas, inspiration and company of others who share my passions. The Show and Tell was … unforgettable, the sessions inspiring and the conversations uplifting.

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And that brings me to this year…

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Well, I’m not exactly sure what 2013 will bring, but I’m excited to find out!

I do know that I’m teaching Kindergarten next week at ISZL, and I’m sure I’ll be back there regularly.

I’ll continue to teach English to M and M and Sonia, and also work in the school library – next project is working out how to fit the increasing stock into the library and media centre so that a)people can still in get in and b) find the books!

I’ll carry on delivering APD, wherever and for whoever asks, working with Apple Switzerland to promote the effective and well considered use of technology in the classroom, and helping anyone who asks with advice, training and support.

And you’ll see me at various TeachMeets – virtually in all likelihood but you never know…

February brings a definite though – I’m coming to the UK, to Southampton because…

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To quote @MsMFL, I’m so excited… But more of that in the next post!

Other than that, I’ll continue

1. running (I did 950 miles last year, thwarted in my assault on 1000 by hospitalisation, and am determined to run a half marathon in 2 hours) including leading a running group for mums at ISW

2. ‘blogging’ – here, on Smiles365, and on SwissMiss-Adventures

3. tweeting – what would I/we do without Twitter?

4. writing – articles, resources and opinions

5. practising German

and most importantly

6. smiling :o)

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Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a 2013 that’s even more exciting than 2012!

 

 

¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo ©2019. All Rights Reserved.
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