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Category: blogging

Educational Block 4 zero zero house 0
Whilst fiddling with my blog today, my hit counter reached the 4000 hits mark. Not quite as impressive as Joe Dale’s 100,000 I know, but I’m still very pleased with 4000 since ¡Vámonos! started at the end of October 2007. Here’s to reaching 5000 by the end of the summer term!

Unfortunately I was occupied by saving and reinstalling widgets when the counter tipped the magic 4000 so I didn’t get a screen shot – so here’s an image from Spell with Flickr , a site with which I love to play.

After I posted Joe’s quiz yesterday, I had an exchange of comments with Langwitch about how tricky it is was to name all the bloggers from their photos with so many people using avatars.

My obsession with widgets and avatars is well known (and well documented on this blog) but less is known about my love of quizzes and very competitive streak!

So, combining the two, here’s my version. Let’s see how ‘Joe’s best class‘ as José put it yesterday in a comment on Joe’s post, you get on with this.

(apologies to those who I’ve missed – any more avatars to declare?)

MFL Bloggers

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Joe Dale of Integrating ICT into the MFL Classroom fame has been playing around with a new tool called MyStudiyo and come up with a quiz.
It’s based on MFL bloggers – multiple choice with four names to choose from for each photograph, so even if you don’t know the answer, you can guess.
Being a girly whirly swot, I got full marks – how will you fare?
PS I’m in it but the less said about the picture, the better ;o)

Twitter strikes again!

@acsutcliffe seems to be featuring a lot on ¡Vámonos! recently – perhaps it’s because we’re both language teachers. Except none of the Tweets have had anything to do with MFL! Anyhow, I saw the following last night –


Looked interesting so I investigated, reading the blog post Adam wrote and following the link to International Edubloggers.
I submitted my details, and lo! My badge (displayed above and right) arrived this morning, as did my details on the site. And I did make it to #22 – just pipped Alex Blagona!

It’s interesting to see the other bloggers registered on the site – several I’ll add to my Google reader. And registering also makes sense for me as it seems a good way of promoting my blog. Not something that I find comes naturally, but I’ve been thinking – if I’ve taken the time to blog it, I think it’s worth reading so why not?

Saved by the blog!

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At 2.20pm today I Tweeted via my mobile –

‘Tearing hair out with yr5 – perhaps rewriting Machado’s Spanish poem Primavera was adventurous, but they only had to change 2 words!’

My words of desperation unfortunately did not arrive in the Twitterverse – Twitter seems to be having the sort of day I have – but by the end of the afternoon a new post had arrived on Vámonos proving that the lesson didn’t end as badly as it might have done!

The Scheme of work for Year5 this half term is based around Unit 17 of the QCA KS2 Schemes for Spanish ‘El retorno de la primavera’. This covers the weather and seasons before looking at a poem by Machado called La Primavera and linking to the myth of Persephone. I’m trying to redo the KS2 scheme as I go along and thought I’d try out some of the QCA units to see what I thought – and also how the kids would like them!
Now, this particular class are lively and perhaps not your ideal ‘guinea pigs’ but nothing ventured…
The idea was to consider the poem La Primavera (not quite the same version but a lovely gerber daisy!), looking how we can work out what it means, and considering the rhythm and repetition, especially of the chorus

La Primavera ha venido
Y nadie sabe cómo ha sido

and then to focus on an extract –

En medio del prado
Hay una escuela y

Una margarita
Que es la maestra

replacing the pink words (una escuela – a school and la maestra – the teacher) with a new place and new job for the daisy ( la margarita) to carry out in the middle of her meadow.

Well, despite my beautiful Powerpoint (I’ll put it in my Box of Goodies) judging by the ideas put forth by some pupils, the idea of poetic language was completely lost on some of them, in English let alone Spanish! However, when we arrived at the point of suggesting new places and matching jobs, there were some good ideas that seemed to fit the theme and feeling of the poem. We had a swimming pool with the daisy as lifeguard, a hotel with a receptionist and a playground with a Mum (we also had the inevitable football stadium with a footballer) Each child made their own version and wrote it up as handwriting practice.

But the class were still so noisy (in an annoying rather than naughty way) I was in need of some magic to regain my sanity.

Step forward and take a bow Sony Ericsson K800i and my lovely pink blog.

Joe had worked hard all lesson and had come up with an original idea of a circus and a clown, so I asked if he minded me blogging his work. Amazing the ripple of ‘blogging’ that went around the room as I took a quick snap of his work and proceeded to text my post. With my blog on the IWB, I pressed the refresh button and ….. the sound of 30 kids exhaling as one, and a hush only broken by Joe squealing ‘that’s my work!’ and then a clamour to find out how I’d done it.

As I told them , teacher’s can do magic – with a bit of help ;o)

The time has come to admit something I’ve tried to ignore and hide for a while – I am addicted to blogging! I’ve just taken a test and, by asking me about my blog habits it concluded that …
81%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Now that’s worrying! What’s more worrying is that I’m sure it would be worse if the questionnaire had asked questions like

  • how often do you casually drop your blog into conversation?
  • how many times a day do you ‘pop by’ your blog to check how many visitors it’s had?
  • how much time do you spend looking for bling for your blog?
  • do you feel bereft if you can’t look at your blog on a regular basis (Birmingham LA hasn’t blocked blogs yet, but I did a course in Gloucester where they are blocked and was beside myself that I couldn’t see ¡Vámonos!)

Joking aside, I am loving my blog, and the time I spend on it is well spent as people are reading it – and I hope finding it interesting and informative. My visitor counter clocked 1000 on Monday and I nearly hit the roof. May not seem many when you think that Joe Dale’s blog is at 81,980, but I’m pleased as punch. In the words of Jaume Fuster De mica en mica s’omple la pica.

So keep stopping by and letting me know what you’ve found interesting and I’ll keep feeding my addiction – which actually is a quite healthy one!


Checking my Google reader I came across the latest post by Jeff Utecht on his blog, The Thinking Stick.
In it, he relates how he has spent today teaching 9th graders about blogging –

The classes were each 80 minutes long…plenty of time to setup a blog, write a short blog post, learn about posts vs. pages, walk through how to manage comments, change themes, update options, change password, and have a discussion on the use of the blog.

Wow! He goes on to explain how he related blogging to Facebook, comparing their new blogs to Facebook pages, and the sidebar widgits to all the Applications you can add to your Facebook page. The language of Facebook was familiar to the students so it made perfect sense to them! That was the first thing that struck me – making things relevant.

The second was the fact that the teacher was in the room, and learning at the same time. It’s a model I like – my best lessons have been when I’ve been learning with the kids – and particularly when they’ve been teaching me. I never tire of learning and hope my pupils are as eager to learn as me!

Jeff comments towards the end of his post-
‘This is the reason why I love blogs, they open up a whole world of opportunities.’

I’d just read Ewan McIntosh‘s article in The Guardian as well in which he concludes
The future (of using new technologies) is in teachers seeing for themselves what bounties await down this yellow brick road, before worrying about how they are going to bring Class 2C with them on Monday morning.’

I’m new to blogging and the like but I can see that the possibilities are endless. The kids need little persuading when I suggest using the latest tool I have discovered, and are learning without realising it much of the time.

For example, my 9 year old son had to do a topic on the Egyptians and decided to do half of it using Photostory3 – the quality and quantity of information he gave in his presentations was greater than he would normally have produced. And he learned how to use a new application – because he saw me doing it and it looked fun!

So, I’ll keep learning and taking the advice of John Hunter quoted in Ewan’s article –

‘Don’t think, try!’

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