Sunday, 31 July 2011

Comics and Cartoons - My RSCON3 Presentation

I had the greatest of pleasure to present at the Reform Symposium 3 yesterday and I have just uploaded my presentation on Using Comics and Cartoons to Slideshare. I would like to share it with you below. Thank you so much to everyone who attended last night at 6pm London time. The time flew past for me and I really enjoyed myself, once I got going!!!

A huge thanks to my lovely moderators Clive and Sabrina de Vita. They really took care of everything and the whole presentation went off very smoothly, thank goodness :-)

In addition, I would like to thank all the incredible organizers- Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible!! Their dedication has no bounds, and they all did a grand job of making sure that everything went off smoothly. A million thanks!! I feel so proud to have taken part in RSCON3 and to have shared what I am passionate about with other educators. It was a truly fabulous experience!!

I had great fun creating all the comics and cartoons!! I am thrilled that I was able to show off quite a few comics created by my students as well, and also one by my young niece. I asked her to do some research amongst her school friends. The result was that she and her friends absolutely love using comics for creative story writing and literacy sessions at her primary school!

I will be uploading the live session as soon as it becomes available on this post or a new one. Watch this space!

I have the link to my live session now, and you can view it here. Once again, thanks to all the many attendees and lovely moderators!!

You can view my presentation on Youblisher if you prefer to read it as a clickable book!

RSCON3 - Fun with Comics and Cartoons

View the fun news headline below, which is hot off the press!

personalized greetings

Monday, 25 July 2011

Reform Symposium: The Final Countdown

Create your own Animation
Comics and Cartoons
The excitement is mounting, the pressure is building up and it's time for me to pull my socks up and put the final touches to my Reform Symposium virtual presentation on Using Comics and Cartoons in Lessons.

I am currently teaching 24 delightful primary school teachers of EFL at the Lake School of English, Oxford, and as a group we are analysing and incorporating the use of comics wherever possible.

Below is a MakeBeliefsComix created by Group A to practise collocations with HAVE. Please click on it to enlarge it.

A Writecomics example to practise the use of 2 phrasal verbs is below:

I have gradually created and built up a store of comics to use in class and I now need to organise them to present them in the session in a logical manner. I only have 30 minutes approximately to get my message across and there is so much information available that it's difficult to know how to condense it all.

I still have a dilemma. How can I be truly original when everything has already been published on this subject? Well, I guess I have to create some original comics and cartoons to convey my meaning.

A Young Learner's View on Comics
My 8-year-old niece was able to create the following Marvel Superhero comic in a matter of minutes. She grasped how to use the tool very quickly and she planned how she wanted the comic to look before she created the comic. She told me that she used comics at school to help in literacy classes and for storybuilding. She was very enthusiastic about them and she explained how much she enjoyed learning French via the use of comics. Comics contain few words which are easy to work out the meanings of and they are memorable and engaging for younger learners in particular. I was very impressed with the result.

She enjoyed the whole process very much and the final outcome was that I emailed the comic to her parents to show them what she had done. They then simply printed it off and had the option of making it into a poster.

I have been burning the midnight oil recently and I hope I won't be dog tired by next Saturday. I am as keen as mustard to present at this unique e-conference and I am over the moon to be presenting. Below is a recording of me practising with my webcam. I want to record a short introduction to my session and put it on Youtube. Other RSCON3 presenters have already uploaded their lovely introductions on the site.

Below is an introduction from Eva Densiger, who is going to present on Using Web 2.0 Tools in the Primary Classroom. The session looks very interesting, and maybe my group of Primary school teachers can watch the presentation if they are still around.

The Power of a Twitter PLN
I had no idea how to delete a video (to introduce myself for the Reform Symposium) from my newly created Youtube channel! The video recording had somehow got completely out of synch and I wasn't happy with it. I went onto Twitter and posted a plea for help. Within moments Ron Hautman aka EduTechGeek had very kindly done a screen tutorial to show me how it was done and posted the link on Twitter for me. I was able to follow the very clear instructions and so I immediately removed the video. Many thanks to Ron for helping me in my hour of need!

Below is a new Youtube video presentation I uploaded tonight straight from my webcam. It's much better than the previous one I did!!

Click on the link to view lots of other presenters introducing their topics on the Reform Symposium Conference 3 Youtube channel.

RSCON3 Information

In a few days, nearly 8000 educators from over 40 different countries are expected to attend a free 3 day virtual conference, The Reform Symposium, #RSCON3. This free award-nominated e-conference is going to take place on July 29-31st, 2011. Participants can attend this online conference from the comfort of their homes or anywhere that has Internet access. This amazing conference provides educators new or currently active on social networks the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide. With over 12 Keynotes, 80 presenters, and 3 keynote panel discussions you are bound to be inspired!
We would like to thank the incredible organizers- Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible.

We hope you can join us for this incredible professional development experience!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Joey - RIP

The news from Abruzzo came totally out of the blue today. Joey my faithful companion and beloved mascot has sadly passed away, and is now at peace. He had reached the grand old age of 14. I am over a thousand miles away from where he is, but my thoughts are with him. He is buried near one of his olive trees and my vegetable plot.

Feline Confidence
Joey was the best cat you could ever wish for and I will miss him. I owe a lot to him. My technology integration history began with him nearly 3 years ago. He kind of gave me the confidence I used to lack. I felt it was ok to hide behind his lovely face in the picture you can view above. As you can see, I am hanging onto him for dear life. He was very dependable in that respect.

Create your own video slideshow at

A Virtual Jet-setter
Joey has featured in many of my lessons and blog posts. Let Sleeping Cat Lie is one of my favourite blog posts ever. He became quite an international virtual jet-setter. He adapted to his new life in Abruzzo and I can say that he was truly happy there. Lizards, mice, grasshoppers and all manners of wildlife kept him on his paws, and he availed himself freely of their services and often took advantage of their lack of agility. He allowed two Italian cats to take over his territory and ever the quintessential British gentleman cat, he welcomed them into his countryside abode. He even befriended the chickens, and they often eyed each other up with mutual interest. The dogs treated him with the respect he fully deserved. During the latter part of his life, he was even keeping a watchful eye over Fluffy, the latest and most recent addition to the growing menagerie.

We will miss his presence. Life will inevitably move on, as that is the natural order of things. He will remain in my heart as a most loyal pet and companion.

Cat Poetry

A Cat's Prayer to Bast

As I lay me down to sleep
I pray to Bast my soul to keep,
I pray to Bast my soul to take,
And transport it to the sandy lands
Where my forbears worshipped were,
Where my ancient kin were much revered
And where the cat first learned to purr.

As I pad on velvet feet
I pray Bast will give me mice to eat,
And as I use my litter tray
I ask that she will find me play,
In her bright heaven where all cats,
Are stroked by Bast's most blessed hands,
And bask and gambol in her care,
Remembering Egypt's ancient sands.

As I knead upon your knees,
I hope that Bast is greatly pleased
To see her child at rest and play,
Fed and cared for every day,
And when I reach that glorious place
And gaze upon her feline face,
I'll ask that Bast will grant you grace
To join me in eternal play.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 - Comics and Cartoons for RSCON3 cartoon created with

My first curation of comics and cartoons for my webinar at the Reform Symposium at the end of July via has been a painless and relatively easy affair. I decided to create this topic to make it easy to give any potential attendees a list of internet resources all under one roof.

My special dedicated site is called Comics and Cartoons. I am very proud to be one of the many Reform Symposium presenters.

An Original Deadline
I now need to get cracking on the actual presentation itself!! I didn't realise that there were so many resources available on this particular theme of comics and cartoons in education. How on earth can I make my presentation truly original?? This is a question that will be dominating my thoughts over the coming days. I always perform quite well under pressure and I like to work within deadlines, so I am confident that everything will be ok!!

Eye-catching Scoop.its! caught my eye when I came across Nik Peachey's curation of Learning Technology recently. That encouraged me to look into it and I then discovered a whole range of other educators who have begun curating all sorts of different topics. I wrote about this discovery in my previous post Janet's Top Scoop.its.

I have recently found a very interesting collection of posts which deal specifically with Web Content and Digital Curation.

Tara Benwell has created a to promote her new book, "The Proper Order of Things". I think this is a truly excellent idea!

You can get more information from the blog home page and from this informative presentation below.

More Ideas?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Janet's Top Scoop.its!! has recently caught my eye on Twitter. It's a news aggregating tool where you can pick and choose your favourite resources on a theme (from blogs, Twitter, videos etc), and then a newspaper is generated for you. You become the "curator" of your favourite topic. It's a very clever idea, and the results are quite stunning. Have a look at this! video below and see if you fancy becoming a curator? looks professional and easy to organise. I am thinking of setting one up soon and will post it here when it's done.

Did you know that "curation tools" are set to become the next big thing??? I certainly didn't know that! Read this article by Mashable in which 4 of the top curating tools are analysed. If you have always wanted to be a curator of your favourite topic or hobby, what are you waiting for??? Get curating with!! Come to think of it. What am I waiting for?

Janet's Top Scoop.its!
Here are my top picks of the moment. You can also suggest topics and links on people's Scoop. its! so that is a great tool for sharing information and for building up a nice repertoire of lesson ideas.

Nik Peachey is the curator of Tools for Learners - a great collection of web based tools.

Brad Patterson has put together a fantastic collection of PLN interviews, and Dave Dodgson is the creator and curator of the PLN Interviews...who's next?

Patrick Jackson is the curator of a fabulous selection of posts - Pre-Primary and Primary ELT which are perfect for Primary school teachers of English. I will definitely be showing this one to my 2 groups of Primary school teachers at the Lake School of English in Oxford.

Mike Harrison has done an awesome job of curating all the posts referring to IATEFL Brighton 2011 conference. It is great to have everything all under one roof. Now I can easily read the top posts about the conference.

Sharon Hartle curates a very useful collection of posts suitably called Inspiration for tired teachers. You will have a huge bank of ideas and resources to jazz up your teaching skills.

Shaun Wilden is the curator of #ELTChat - this is a fab collection of the weekly ELTChat topics that are discussed on Twitter every Wednesday.

Sue Lyons-Jones has a Dogme ELT collection of super articles if you are keen to find out more about how to teach "unplugged".

I am sure you will find some real gems amongst these specially chosen Scoop.its.

Happy reading!

PS See if you can spot some of my posts in the Scoop.its!!

Below is a vertical version of my new comic created with Pixton. I'm not sure which style I prefer so have included both styles :-)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

La Strada.......

...that is not 'a road' is getting worse. Thunder, lightning, torrential downpours has turned it into a quagmire. August 2008, we first started making noises that we were not happy. Our dream of turning our small holding into a Biker's B&B "Far From the Madding Crowd", started to hit serious problems. Only truly hardy bikers would ever contemplate travelling down "La Strada".....

Video of "La Strada Brutale" to follow soon, only if I have the courage to publish it. You might have to watch this space. It does exist, and 3 copies have been made and sent to the Comune.

A Bold Biker
Ian was one such brave and non-plussed biker. Had he known the true condition of our road, he would never have attempted to ride down it at midnight one dark and scary night. He hit the road, but undeterred, he carried on until he saw the flickering lights of our abode, shining like a beacon in the distance.

He stayed for 4 nights and the experience was truly magical. Many fairy lights on the balcony, many talks long into the night later, Ian proved to be a fantastic guest of Moto-Abruzzo. I tried to be the 'Hostess with the Mostess' and I was in my element!!

Back to 'La Strada'......

Ringing up the Lord Mayor of Civitaquana on his mobile phone is not something I relish, but I have had no choice. My livelihood has been at stake and so has K's. I don't want to damage our car by constantly driving it up and down 'La Strada', so I have had to take up working virtually, which I hasten to add, has been a dream come true.

This is a fantastic area of experience for me and one which I am really enjoying immensely. In fact my dream was to work from home, all because of "La Strada".

I love the name GIULIETTA. It's my sister's name. Nobody in England can spell it correctly or pronounce it correctly. I think it's a beautiful name. Giulietta Masina won great acclaim for her portrayal in La Strada. My father named my sister after the actress Giulietta Masina. A fabulous circle of events, don't you think?

An ever evolving theme: Life is a CIRCLE.

Facts about Giulietta Masina here. Not many people know that she was known as the female Charles Chaplin and that she was married for half a century to Federico Fellini, one of Italy's most outstanding film directors.

Romeo and Giulietta
In a way, I'm glad my father didn't have his way. He had planned to call his future son ROMEO. Can you imagine how my possible brother's life would have panned out in school before the days of Romeo Beckham?? Yes, he might have been teased remorselessly. On the other hand, what an intriguing life he might have had! Maybe that is why I have a fascination with the story of Romeo and Juliet? To have had a brother and sister named Romeo and Giulietta might have been seriously cool.

Confession: A part of me does regret not having a brother. I wonder if my life might have turned out differently?? Having two wonderful sisters is amazing, but having a brother might have been quite cool. I will never know.