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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The mother-teacher

Now many of us must have heard the term "teacher-author, where the teacher is also adapting the role of author when s/he starts reflecting and writing about his in-class experiments and practices.

Today, I am not going to talk about myself as the teacher-author but as the teacher who happened to be a mother. Although this may seem ridiculous to many as being a mother is just part of your role in life, you could be a mother, sister, daughter but also have a career where you can be a designer, an architect , singer, doctor.

It is also a world wide known fact that being a female ,especially in a developing country, who happen to have a career is undoubtedly a ruthless battle.

What brought me to reflect upon this situation is the fact that I am a teacher-mother who is also 8 month pregnant. I wish to share with all my fellow teachers/mothers/ pregnant the barrel of fun that you will not have when you are in such situation, but I also wish to share with you the how to get over all the drudgery that you are bound to meet on a daily basis.

Here we go:
a- Embrace it, because just like every phase in life it will go away.

b- Compromise , and although this may seem like you are sacrificing a piece of yourself , it is not.
c-Break it down, you have piles of work at home and at the work place, do not launch into all of it but break it down according to how your energy is on that day.
d- Celebrate it, you managed to get to one of your goals ,no matter how small, celebrate it and enjoy it.

Therefore, I will celebrate and share Some of accomplishment  that happened to me this year

-I travelled to Suez with 3 of my fellow teachers and presented in a NILE TESOL PD event.We stayed the night,first time for me, in a hotel there and we had more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

-I wrote a proposal and got accepted at ILACE 2016 conference.Also first time to get accepted!

-I showed up  on that day and presented a successful presentation at the ILACE conference. I also stood up for the whole hour talking my audience through my in-class experiments that day. I remember the full room and the anticipating faces. I also recall what one of the ladies told me after the presentation " I was only passing by with no intention to get into any of the sessions, until I saw you standing there with full belly and said to my self I must see who is that fighter!!"

- I joined the British Council bloggers and wrote a couple of articles one of which got featured!!

- I also managed to get up and sit at my desk to type this blog, despite the fact that I feel that my mental abilities have declined a great deal. So excuse me if you feel that I am making no sense at all !!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A chant to practice the past simple tense (activity)

Today I am sharing an activity that worked really well with my students at the AAETC, AL Azhar University.

Main aim: To practice the past simple tense through a song that is written by the teacher

Timing: 1 hour
Age: any
Level: elementary


 Tell your students that you are going to share with them a song about a fairy tale. 
In pairs: ask students" what are the fairy tale you know?" 


Write this song on the board

Once upon a time, there was an ugly ogre
This ogre was a really kind one
Yet one day he saw a beautiful girl
To far away land he followed her
Funny at night, she also was an ogre
But the ugly ogre fell in love
And happy ever after was an end

Pre-teach:( ogre, happy ever after, once upon a time)

In groups of three
-ask your students to first underline (the verbs, then the nouns, then the main expressions)

-Now ask your students to turn around and give their back to the board

-With their notes only, ask students to reconstruct the song.

Start singing the song together as many time as they like.
First :with you leading and them repeating

Then :With you leading , them repeating and using as many body gestures to mimic the events

Finally: when they feel confident, invite one of the students to lead the group.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Four Online resources to help raise learner autonomy

Thanks to the android system and to free Google store that almost any program is just a finger-touch away.

Any student around the globe who has got Internet connection can at a finger-touch download endless amount of educational programs.In this blog I will share some of the mobile applications,websites,and Facebook pages that helped some of my students improve their English language skills. 

1-A Facebook group that helps Egyptian students to learn some idioms using their L1 to help make these idioms memorable and also give tips of how to learn English.
2- A website that helps students develop their Writing skills.It provides several common topics for students to write and then gives an error and a sentence feedback.The student can re-write again,then receives a second feedback with a score according to CEF.
A sample of this feedback:

3-A website and an application that can be used inside the classroom with students mobile phone is allows teachers to plan quizzes for her students where students log in laters and answer the quiz.A detailed feedback is sent to the teacher of individual performances that,if the teacher chooses, can be sent in different statistical form to be viewed later by the student.

4-Another mobile application that I intend to use with my students is phrasal verb machine.

  ‪Phrasal Verbs Machine‬‏- لقطة شاشة   ‪Phrasal Verbs Machine‬‏- لقطة شاشة

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Jan Blake, IATEFL 2016

Never in my life have I ever seen a hall so silent except when a storyteller was there performing in a stage.Twice in my life have I ever seen that amount of audience interact and chant back except when it was Vanessa Esteves at the NILE TESOL,and today when it was Jan Blake telling her mesmerizing stories that she brings with her from Africa, the Caribbean and beyond.She talks of  love, men, women , life ...

She marches into the stage with the flowery pink dress and cast a spell on the audience, she says crick they say crack,she says ew they say awl.

Personally it was her second story about a girl named Nia Pouko that I found really compelling. The moral of that story is that beauty comes from within ones soul, it is your generous soul that shines and compels others to acknowledge your beauty -no matter how different you are from the common standard of beauty. What is so special about this stories is that the themes are universal, every one every where can simply relate to them.

This is the link to her seminar at the IATEFL
That is the link to her website.

Monday, 23 May 2016

The 5 minute lesson plan

So you have an observation this week.You will need to write a detailed lesson plan the one where you end up writing 12 pages for ONE hour observation.What is more you are delivering the session and trying to follow up with the 100 steps you yourself added  the night before.
Well, that is me anyway but not any more,because I came across this magical solution.

In this blog I will share my reflection and thoughts after using the 5 minute lesson plan 

It has the same content as a normal lesson plan : a time-table fit (the big picture), a main aim (objectives), subsidiary aim (stickability), a lead-in (engagement), lesson stages (teacher led or student led), key words taught in the lesson.Yet is has a new part which is Assessment for Learning which is a new concept to be added in a lesson plan.

I have found that
a- It can be modified according to the teacher's need for example I have changed the differentiation part to be reflection.

b-It is not always easy to commit to using this format as I occasionally used the checklist instead.

c- Using this form does not mean that you are not going to spend time preparing your lesson,it is just a way to reduce the amount of the time used in the actual process of writing a detailed lesson plan.

d-It can not be used for long lessons,as in my case a 4-hour session,or you might break down your lesson and end up filing 4 forms.  

e- It is worth mentioning that there is a digital form of the five minute lesson plan (digital)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Find your niche- Self Marketing IATEFL 2016

An interesting session was held by Jenny Giambalvo Rode.It was titled :Self-marketing for English teachers - use your strengths for competitive advantage.

Jenny is not an English teacher but in the field of marketing.She starts off by describing teachers as one person company whose consumers are their students.Then she walks her audience through defined steps that should help the teachers to find their strength and to market it .The steps are as follows

  • Critically analyse your current situation(using this SWOT Analysis sheet

  • Take a look at the market
  • Divide your professional goal into(short,middle,long)term action.
  • Develop your business profile
  • Find your niche(define what makes you stand out from your colleagues)
  • Get online/visible ..get into social platforms
  • Explore possibilities ,expand your network
  • Evaluate your attainment.Be specific and honest with yourself.

This is the PowerPoint Presentation used by the speaker

This is the link to the video conference

Thursday, 14 April 2016 -IATEFL 2016(reflection)

Dear Diary,

Today I am sharing some inspiring news!

The first interview I saw on the day before the start of the plenaries 12-04-2016 was Rob interviewing Julie Pratten.

She shared such an inspiring story about teaching at  Syrian refugee camps in Iraq, as a logistic officer named Khaniwar Ali approached Julie via Facebook asking for help to teach children at camp.This is when it all started and the started.

During the interview she called for all the ELT community to contribute to the movement either by work or money donation.

they have asked teachers from all around the world to read a letter of their own choice and write a simple activity and simplified teacher note for the use of the teachers at camp.

This a snap shot from the 

That is the link to the interview of Julie Pratten the founder of