April 2012 archive

An Unprepared Storytelling Session

I’m so much exhausted these days. There are many thing at school that we have to do. Our Comenius partners visit us next week. Actually it is very exciting to plan everything. We have to deal with arrivals, presentations, meetings, day tips, etc. We are even planning a Europe Day celebration on May 9th. I’m sure it wil be a great event. I will tell about it later.

Well, as I’m so much involved with these things, I can’t spend enough time for planning my lessons. Anyways, I had a lesson with grade 6 today and had no preparation and to be honest, I was very relieved. Even at the door I was thinking whether it would be a good idea to play a word game with them.

When we greeted each other, I suddenly decided to do a story-telling session.

First we brainstormed fairy tales. I wrore them on the board. They told me their favourite ones.

Wordle: little Red riding Hood

Then we chose ‘Little Red Riding Hood’

I told them to list nouns and adjectives that comes into their mind when they think about the story.

Then they listed the verbs in the story.

I wrote ‘Once Upon a Time’ on the board and told them I would tell them the story but they would help me when I stopped.

I started the story and they helped me when I stopped.

All the words were on the board and it helped them a lot.

They learned past simple tense, past continous tense, present simple and present continous also will and present perfect so it was very easy for them to help me tell the story.

When we finished, I told them to write it with their sentences and as we didn’t have enough time I told them to make their story an illustrated book for next week.

If I had planned ahead, I’d have gone to the class with pictures.

Maybe I would give pictures in jumbled order and ask them to put the story in correct order.

Or even I could have prepared slips of papers with sentences from the story and ask them to put the story in correct order.

However, at the end of the session I was very happy with the product. They were great!

Third ELT, Students’ Conference

 I will be at Boğaziçi University tomorrow for the Third Elt Students’ conference. Unfortunately I’ve missed todays sessions as I had to be at school for Teacher-Parent meeting.

I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow as it is organised by a group of ELT students from Bilgi and Boğaziçi University. As far as I follow, they are five very enthusiastic and hardworking ladies. I’m sure we will hear their names very much in the near future. I send them a big applause for what they’ve done and will do.

Reading Activities Spiced up with Web 2.0


‘My students don’t read the books I assigned.’ Isn’t it a problem for many of us? If only they could realise how much they would improve themselves when they read. How about motivating them with fun activities? When they find something interesting, they will love it. In this session we will look into some fun activities to be used with class readers, short stories or novels.



Reading Task Sheet

More links:




Who is this net generation?


Maybe they will see the bridge or maybe I'll see it 🙂

I’ve been thinking about the change. We are all talking about the digital natives but I think I’ve just met them. The ones I graduated from high school last year, the previous years were just the pioneers and now I have to deal with the real ones.

If we really know them, we can guide them.

But the problem is we are just a handful of digital-immigrant-teachers and parents. The rest thinks these kids are just a bit weird and continue doing the things they are used to doing. They complain about their addiction to games, their early acquaintance to mobile apps. Yet, they are rarely aware that they can’t be taught.

I totally agree with ‘If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students’ future’ ( John Dewey) and this must be a quote that every teacher would stick somewhere to see all the time and take action to update herself. And this very quote will be relevant in the future as well.

Marc Prensky calls these new students as ‘digital natives’ and points out that ‘Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors’(Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants; pg 1) He also reminds us that these kids were born into a digital world and have grown using them.

I think I coped with this very well till last year but now I am face to face with the 2nd or the 3rd generation of these new kids.

I’d like to share how my students have changed. I also hope to understand them better and change my attitude towards them.

  1. They get bored easily.  They think everything is useless. There is no need to learn all the stuff as they are a one-click away to reach.
  2. We think they are multi-taskers but actually the only multi-task they are used to doing is texting while watching TV or travelling on the bus.
  3. They love socializing but they do it virtually. Even the youngest kids have twitter, facebook, foursquare, youtube accounts to broadcast their lives. They don’t usually sit and chat with their parents, siblings at home.
  4. They don’t get instructions. I tried many times in many ways, in many languages but always the majority of the class comes up with something totally different than I instructed. (and actually this post is being written because of this, I received two-assignment mails last night but they produced something I didn’t instruct)

So is this the end of battle?

Although I totally agree with the proverb Eric Roth reminded me the previous day ‘you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink’ As I know deep down they are worried about their future and know that learning English will help them open new doors, I will try to follow the advice my PLN gave.

And here is the strategy:

  1. I will tell, retell and re-retell how to learn things, how to use web to reach the information, how to filter them.
  2. I will explain how important communication is. Social networking is a must in their lives but they should realise that they will enjoy the chats with their parents, sisters, brothers.
  3. I will try colourful progress charts as Naomi suggested
  4. I will continue giving interesting tasks but will also focus on more traditional ones.
  5. I will give them choice. ‘Choose a topic and and let’s work on it’ will be the instruction ( and I will hope that this will be comprehended)
  6. As Richard suggested I will allow them to work with activities which will ‘take their minds off other things’. ( I tried puzzles, word searches, games and they didn’t work with this group but, I’m sure I can find something else)

If these still don’t work, I will just take a deep breath and wait for the next group in September.

 Here you can find the summary of an #ELTchat Janet Bianchini reminded me yesterday

 References :

 Prensky. M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part II,  from On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 6, December 2001)

BTW if you are celebrating Easter tomorrow, Happy Easter to you and to your loved ones.

Easter - bolied eggs ready for egg rolling #ELTpics

I want my students back


I always supported the idea that if a teacher is willing, eager and motivated, sooner or later the most demotivated students will respond but unfortunately this year I realised that a teacher, no matter how idealistic, eager, motivated she is needs some leader students who will help her to make others want to learn. Ironic, isn’t it?

This year I’m the same teacher, yet I have two groups of very unmotivated teenagers and nothing moved them to go a bit further.

I feel exhausted.

I feel I’m losing my creativity.

I feel I’m losing my hopes, my optimism.

Nothing worked well with them. Technology, traditional ways, challenges, games, movies…

Is it the same everywhere? Hope it isn’t.

I just want my students back!

IATEFL Chronicles, Year 2, Last post

A last glimps to the venue before I leave.

This time two weeks ago I was in Glasgow. I was both excited and nervous as this would be my first presentation at IATEFL. Although I had presented at many conferences in the past three years, just after stepping into blogging, twitter and social media, yet IATEFL was something else. A dream, a last stop, a new beginning, a meeting point …

me, a first time IATEFL presenter

I enjoyed being there very much. As I previously mentioned, I met old friends, new friends and made new ones. It was a fantastic week.

In the afternoon today, I was writing the invitation letters for the schools for our Comenius project, my husband was sitting on the coach with his netbook on his lap and he, as frequently does, called me to watch a video on youtube. I reluctantly stood up and went near him. While watching the video, I was speechless. As we teachers always do, I thought how I could take it to the class or even to the staffroom.


This is what professional development is for me. I also remembered the teachers attending IATEFL. There were a lot of young and very enthusiastic ones but there were also a lot of very experienced ones. Once again I admired their dedication to their work and to their perception of life.

Some weeks ago, I was chatting with a colleague about life-long learning and she told me about a retired cousin of hers, who living in France, is now attending some sessions at university, asking what the benefit of this could be, adding the life had already come to an end. I then tried to convince that learning shouldn’t stop till we die. We sometimes give up very early in our country. Maybe this is how we perceive the world. After retirement everything finishes. My mum even told us after my brother’s wedding that now she could die as she had nothing to do anymore. All her kids were married. This was how she was raised but she raised me in a totally different way. That’s why I’m still eager to learn new things and I am a true believer of professional development.

I don’t know if I will be able to make it for Liverpool 2013. It just seems impossible at this very moment but we all know that ‘impossible is nothing’. Provided I can’t go to IATEFL next year, I’m sure the online event will be there to follow.

I attended many sessions this year. Some were just what I was looking for, and some were totally different from what I had expected. I missed some great sessions and when I came home, after recovering the post conference blues, I watched some and downloaded some handouts, read the blog posts I missed and still trying to catch up with some more. I think this will engage me till the next conference I will attend in April, The Third Elt Student Conference which is a joint event organised by enthusiastic elt students from Bilgi and Bogaziçi Universities.