Working from home: Yes or No?

Hi everyone!!

As you may (or may not know). I have lost it completely, and have started making YouTube videos :p. Yup. I filmed this very short video a while back and I talked about what I do. I thought I’d share it here.

Oh! Yeah. I know my background sucks. Dunno why I thought hanging pearls (fake ones) on the cupboard would look good. It doesn’t!

Anyhow, this is me, talking briefly about working from home.

 

See ya soon!!

xx

J.

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My Polka dot Productivity/ Vision Board

Hi everyone!!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a  ‘thing’ for productivity and pretty things. I love planning and scrap booking. While I am not the most talented arts and crafts gal, I do like putting together things that help me feel like I am more productive. Key word feel. Since this post can fall under the gilrie side of ELT posts, I am sharing this post here as well. So, enjoy!!

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So, I watched a lot of videos about notice boards and vision boards,but I was not happy. I wanted to make a notice board that would help me remember things, make me more effective,  as far as getting things done is concerned, and I also wanted it to look pretty. That is what I am sharing with you guys today. I will give you a brief description of what I used to make my ‘productivity board’ and you can also watch my YouTube video if you want more details.

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What do you need?

Digital/ scrapbook paper

Glue

Post it notes

Quotes/ pictures/ photos/ prints of what you like

A jewelry bag

A photo frame

Washi tape

Deco flowers/ plastic flowers

A notice board

Procedure

I sat down with a big cup of coffee and wrote down what I want my notice board to do. I wanted mine to

Look Pretty and be part of the decor

I also wanted it to help me do stuff and remember stuff.

I then laid loads of crafty stuff and started playing around with everything, moving in on my board and trying to think of what matched in my eyes. Fun fact. I am colour blind and no one was at home to help me with the colours so I just went with what looked nice to me :).

I stuck my digital paper onto the notice board.On top of that I added stickers/ quotes of things I thought were cute. I used thumbnails to hang on my notice board a white frame (without the glass), a cotton jewelry bag and a board with my to Do list  Once everything was hanging where I wanted it to, I added post it notes in the frame. On the side of the notice board I stuck a flower.

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In the pictures you can see my final product. You can also watch the video for more info.

You can check out my video here 🙂

My picks from Amazon

(affiliate links)

Punch Studio Butterfly Script Sticky Notes Pad Portfolio

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Click here

Lilly Pulitzer Sticky Note Set, Pink Lemonade (154518)

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Click here

Don’t forget to follow my blog/ YouTube channel. Connect with me on social media. Click on the ones you use and connect with me 🙂  Pinterest / Twitter/Instagram/Google+. or give my Facebook page (sidebar) a ‘like’ so you do not miss out on my super duper posts!!

Thanks for stopping by.

xox

Joanna

Happy 2017

Hi everyone!!

I thought I’d pop in to say Happy New Year and wish you all the best for 2017.

May 2017 be full of

Creativity & inspiration.

Good health & safety.

Great moments with your loved ones.

Gratitude for what you have & drive for what you want to achieve.

Opportunities in every field.

Different flavours & tastes.

Good reads.

Students who learn & teach us.

Finally,  and probably most importantly……

Pens that write!

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Thanks for stopping by!!! Happy New Year!!!

xox

Joanna

Chucking the Lesson Plan Out of the Window

Hi everyone,

Today I had a lesson with a learner and I had planned to do a lesson on phrasal verbs. I had my lesson plan ready (not really a plan, just a few ideas on what I would do and when), my presentation uploaded (this was an online class) and everything was set. The phrasal verb lesson was quite challenging and my learner did want to be challenged, so I was really pleased with what I had prepared for today.

My lesson started and I did a bit of chit chat. My learner said,

I am working from home because I get distracted at work.

and bam…. my lesson plan went down the drain, and I just changed everything!! You see, this phrase got us talking about distractions and working from home.Penny dropping.

I then decided that THIS was the chance to change the lesson into something that was prompted by the learner and something that made her very chatty. So, scratch the grammar lesson, we are gonna do a speaking/ listening class.

What did I do?

I found the Jason Fried TED talk about ‘Why Work Doesn’t happen at Work’ and asked her questions that were actually answered in the TED talk.

I asked,

Where do you go to get important things done?

What is the connection between work & sleep? She actually got this right!! It is phase based.

What distractions do you have at work? Can you categorise them in real and not important distractions?

We spent about 10 minutes talking about those questions.

I then asked her to take notes of the answers Fried gave to those questions.

Because the TED talk was long (15 mins), I broke it down into 2 halves. Half way through, we discussed her answers to the questions and issues that came up from what she heard. We then heard the rest of the talk and did the same.

So,we talked about what the learner already knew,  what she learnt from the talk, and what she wanted to learn from what she heard. This talk actually inspired her to do some research on meetings, managers differences between  the USA and France, and Jason Fried!

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Did I just have a learner driven lesson?

I think I did. Yes, I prompted her and gave her a provocative TED talk as stimulus. I have never had this learner be so chatty before! She loved it because she is a manager and she could relate to what was being discussed. She actually asked for the link to the TED talk cause she wanted to use it during a meeting.

Me, to myself.

YES!

Did I meet my learning objective?

Well, we did not do anything about phrasal verbs, and if my objectives were to

*familiarise learner with phrasal verbs of verbs XYZ and blah, blah, blah,

then, we didn’t, but this spontaneous 5 minute planned lesson was one of the best we have had and she loved it. I am glad the penny dropped when it did, and that I was actually ‘listening’ to my pre-lesson chit chat.

Joanna’s words of wisdom

Do not underestimate the power of chit chat.

Listen to the ‘chit chat’.

Use it to guide you in your choice of material.

It’s OK to chuck out the lesson plan and be spontaneous.

Oh! But do keep in mind that I do have a lesson plan for the Jason Fried TED talk (which I have shared here) and I have used it many times, so while the ‘chucking out’ was spontaneous, I did know what I was doing and talking about. I knew my material very well. I just hadn’t prepared it for today.

So, folks that was my lesson today.I am a Happy Teacher today!

Do you guys have similar experiences? Let me know when you chucked out your LP and did something completely different. How was it?

Till next time…..

 

 

 

The girlie side of ELT: my Xmas book gift guide/ reading list

Hi everyone!!

Today’s Girlie Side of ELT  post is a video about books I will be reading during the Christmas break ( I am a teacher) and some book suggestions.When I am not reading books about teaching,  I like reading romance novels, so light reading. I also like historic novels and books about productivity, business, getting things done and so on.

The books mentioned

(Affliate links)
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect:

These are books about a guys search for the perfect girlfriend/ wife. This is a fun/ light hearted book to read.

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Bridget Jones mad about the boy

Bridget Jones? This is the latest book and it has nothing to do with the movie. That’s what I’ve been told.
Queen’s Sorrow

Novel about Henry the 8th wives. I have read a few books written by Dunn. They are easy to read.
Girl boss:

This book has been written by the owner of Nasty girls and she talks about the company and how she rose to success/ advice and more.
The Decision book:

If you want to be more productive, read this book. I read it in one night. Yeap. A page turner.
Presence:

I love Amy Cuddy’s TED talk , so I had to get her book. It is about challenging yourself.

For more details about the books, check out my video. Do subscribe to my channel cause I am really tying and I do know I need to improve and get proper filming equipment, bt for the moment, I am testing it out.

Thanks for stopping by.
xox
Joanna

Hi everyone!!

Today’s blogmas post is a video about books I will be reading during the Christmas break ( I am a teacher) and some book suggestions.

I like reading romance novels, so light reading. I also like historic novels and books about productivity, business, getting things done and so on.

The books mentioned

(Affliate links)
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect:

These are books about a guys search for the perfect girlfriend/ wife. This is a fun/ light hearted book to read.

Books thumban.jpg
Bridget Jones mad about the boy

Bridget Jones? This is the latest book and it has nothing to do with the movie. That’s what I’ve been told.
Queen’s Sorrow

Novel about Henry the 8th wives. I have read a few books written by Dunn. They are easy to read.
Girl boss:

This book has been written by the owner of Nasty girls and she talks about the company and how she rose to success/ advice and more.
The Decision book:

If you want to be more productive, read this book. I read it in one night. Yeap. A page turner.
Presence:

I love Amy Cuddy’s TED talk , so I had to get her book. It is about challenging yourself.

For more details about the books, check out my video. Do subscribe to my channel cause I am really tying and I do know I need to improve and get proper filming equipment, bt for the moment, I am testing it out.

Thanks for stopping by.
xox
Joanna

How talking about’makeup’ has affected my teaching

Catchy title eh? Yup . I am proud of this one! Now, let’s talk. There is a lot of convo going on about whether or not we should talk about our personal life, things we like with our learners on not. When does sharing become over sharing? When do you draw a line? Do you bring yourself down to the learner’s level or are you up on your teacher pedastol?

I am now going to tell you what I think what is essential for ‘good teaching’. Maybe even THE most important.

Rapport

No matter how many diplomas and MAs you have, if you are distant, in my books, you will probably be able to teach the mixed conditionals, but you will not be making an impact and you probably won’t be remembered.

Do you need to be remembered as a teacher? Of course (me thinks) but not as the scary teacher, but the one they smile at when they see after years.

Why?

What do you mean why? When your learners like you, they learn better. When you have a good relationship with your kids, they thrive. They feel comfy to ask questions, they don’t mind making mistakes. They enjoy coming to class. OK, sometimes there may be a danger of overenjoying coming to class aka turning your class into a playground, but let’s not focus on that one.

Rapport and good relationships with your students allows you to use the second best ‘weapon’ in the classroom.

The guilt trip

If your students don’t give a crap about you (sorry for the bad langauge but I am trying to be dramatic), then you cannot use the guilt trip card. You know the card you use when you say,

I put all my energy into:

  • correcting your essay,finding material

  • trying to make the lesson interesting

  • teaching you on a Sunday

  • and you don’t want to pay attention?

The wake up call when learners are in lala land, arrogant or just not putting enough effort into their work. That’s freakin great child psychology (the guilt card) :p

Now, let’s move on to some more focused and serious reasons why ‘becoming friends’ with your learners can be very beneficial.

Finding Material

You learn about your student’s likes/ dislikes, so you know how to choose better material. They become your ‘theme’ syllabus!!

Being more concious of learner needs/ problems

If your learner feels comfortable with you as a teacher, they are mosre likely to talk about any learner problems/ issues they have. It is not just about understanding the Passive Voice, it may be “I am a slow reader”. In Greece, very often, parents do not talk about learning difficulties and you are left scratching your head, trying to figure out what’s going on. If your student feels safe, they will open up. This will help you as a teacher.

Disadvantages of good rapport?

Are there any? Yes, depending on how you define ‘good rapport’. Number 1 is drawing the line. I have had students tell me stuff they haven’t told their parents. that’s when I have said,

Do not tell me this. tell your mum because if you do not, I will

Becoming too invested in your learners and worrying about them.Taking your ‘work’ home and having trouble persuading yourself that it is NOT your problem, you cannot solve everything.

So, yeah, the lines can be blurry, but taking the distant teacher hat off, getting off the pedastol, is better than being the one who does not make a connection, does impact.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Joanna

 

An Ietls Speaking Session turned into a needs analysis session

Hi everyone,

I had an Ielts class with a new learner and I decided to start with a speaking session. I thought this would give me a better picture of my learner’s level and a first idea of what I needed to focus on when choosing material.

What I already knew about my learner

Adult, engineer, post graduate level learner who wants to do an MA in the UK. He already had a B2 level language proficeincy certificate and used his English occasionally.

The day of the lesson came.

After a bit of small talk,

How are you? (that’s the end of the small talk)

I then took out the Ielts Practice Tests book and went to a speaking test. Of course, my first lesson was not going to be a mock test, but I did want to use ‘authentic’ exam questions.

 

Why?

I wanted:

to give the learner an idea of the speaking questions (topics, level and activities).This is going to be a crash course (intensive course?). We started this week and the learner will be taking the test in March. I needed to know the weaknesses asap, and I thought a speaking sessions would allow me to do that. This was going to be my productive skill needs analysis session.

I also wanted:

to have a communicative lesson (because they are more fun) + a lesson that focused on a productive skill..

to focus on a skill that is a bit more relaxed compared to the others.

The lesson: some thoughts and reflections.

I found a speaking test about being famous. In my mind, talking about being famous yourself, and other people who are famous, is probably a topic everyone can talk about because famous can be defined in so many ways. We also live in a day and age where being famous is not that hard.

Task 1: Ice Breaker/ Intro Questions

I started off with the first part of the Ielts test which is the ice breaker. Talk about your self, your friends, neighbourhood, life / work.

This actually was a good task cause I got to know my learner much better.

I did not stop him or time his answers, I went with the flow. I did not make error correction either. unless it was something major that impeded communication. Instead I lifted up my notebook and took notes. I said to my learner that I would jot down good points and corrections.

I noticed my student was making pronunciation mistakes and grammar mistakes, so I made that the focus of my notes. My needs analysis speaking lesson was in progress.

After we finished the 1st part, we talked a bit about his mistakes. He took notes, and wherever possible he corrected the mistakes he made. If he couldn’t find the correct answer, I told him.

Part 2 The Card

I then gave him a card with questions (this is the 2nd part of the Ielts oral exam). I told my learner he could think as long as he wanted to, take notes and then tell me the answer to these questions.

Again, I took notes, then at the end, we corrected mistakes, discussed issues.

Part 3: Open ended questions

This part was tricky because it required:

Longer turns/ monologues.

Critical thinking.

Digging deeper into the question and elaborating.

My learner had difficulty answering longer/ open ended questions, so I gave him an example and told him how I would answer a question like that. He then did answer the questions. This part showed me that when asked more complex questions my learner struggled, so now I had info about pronunciation, grammar and expressing opinions/ holding monologues/ longer turns.

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On the downside

My learner did look at me while I was writing, so while I did tell him that I was taking notes of good/ things and weaknesses, he wasn’t really convinced and there were times when he asked,

What are you writing now?

There were others where he felt a bit discouraged by the questions, so I did stray off the original exam type questions.I do not think that is a downside though (just to be clear). There was a lot of brainstorming and scaffolding in the last part.

In fact, the last part of my lesson allowed me to see how easy it is for my learner to come up with ideas and organise thoughts.

So, by the end of my one hour course, I had a first impression of what my learner needs help with. I have already made a list of some of the grammar points that need to be addressed in future classes as well as ‘sounds’ my student needs help with. By the end of this first lesson, my learner was also aware of what the Ielts speaking part is about.

All in all, I was happy with this type of ‘needs analysis’ speaking session. It was very hands on, dealt with ‘real language problems’. As this is a crash course, I really need to be very focused and have clear objectives. I always think that my 1st lessons are flops, a lot of let’s meet and become friends vibe and this was

Let’s meet, become friends and get down to business.

That’s all folks.

Don’t forget to follow my blog. Give my Facebook page a ‘like’ so you don’t miss out on my super duper posts.

Have a nice day/ evening.

Joanna