Sunday, January 31, 2016

Interview with an Inspiring Educator- Sylvia Duckworth

   One of the wondrous effects of technology is that you come across inspiring Educators from all corners of the world and distance is nothing, when you are willing to cross all the borders and get in touch with them and learn from them. This has had the effect of magic on me. I am so honored to present to you an Inspiring Educator, whom I came across her amazing sketchnotes and felt the need to know her more. Hence, I contacted our guest Sylvia Duckworth and she welcomed the idea with a warm heart and a very prompt reply. I am very thankful for her kind heart and inspiration. No wonder great Educators behave likewise.

Here is the interview I conducted with this amazing Educator . 

1- So honored and glad to be interviewing you dear Sylvia. How do you introduce yourself to the ELT community in Tunisia and the world?

Hello Faten, I’m honoured that you asked me for this interview! I am a Canadian teacher and I teach French to grades 3 to 5 in an independent school for boys in Toronto. I am enamoured with sketchnoting because it is a quick, effective way to get ideas across. Most people seem to respond very positively to a visual way of conveying concepts.

2- You are well-known by your amazing and inspiring sketchnotes, how did you start making them? would you tell us the story behind this wondrous talent?

I started drawing just over a year ago, inspired by other great educational sketchnoters: Silvia Tolisano, Karen Bosch, Brad Ovenell-Carter, Rachel Smith, Rebeca Zuniga, Julia Forsythe.

3- Which tech tools do you advise teachers to try as beginners in sketchnoting?
ProCreate App is the best app out there for drawing on the iPad, and the Musemee Notier Stylus is the best stylus.

4- Have you ever presented a webinar about sketchnoting, would you provide us with the link for the recording?

Here is a tutorial in Google Slides, and here is a webinar. Here is a playlist of YouTube videos on sketchnoting.

5- Thank you so much for your inspiring sketchnotes. What would you like to add to my blog readers?

Try your hand at sketchnoting! It is fun and rewarding and your students will love it, too!

     Thank you so much dear Sylvia for your prompt reply and willingness to share your experience with us. You are such an inspiration!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Proud of you!

       This activity is part of our e-twinning project. Our partners are from Serbia, Luthwania, Turkey Roamnia, Italy and Greece. We agreed on crafting some handmade postcards and sending them via post to each others' schools. Thus, we had, me and my 14-year-old students, some of the most pleasurable times together. We met on friday aternoon, as usual. Learners were not obliged to come and they enjoyed the two-hour session and were so absorbed in the crafting process that they didn't notice that time was flying. They were not only engaged but also highly-motivated.
    We used the internet to collect as many samples of handmade postcards as possible. Then, we met, each group decided which postcard to work on. The students used their mobile phones to take pictures of the postcard they are going to craft together in earnest. What amazed me is their creativity, collaborative spirit and willingness to create something special and unique so as to offer "valuable" gifts to our European partners. 
      I am so proud of them all and they were so proud of themselves. I couldn't not to write my reflections and feelings about this project and session. We really had a whale of time. 
Some of my students suggested they craft more postcards on their own. I welcomed the idea and encouraged them. There were many questions, suggestions and exchanges of ideas.
      Many of them suggested we work on more projects which deal with handicrafts. Who said that Gen Y is not a skilled generation ? Who said that that they are not skilled enough to create nicely-designed postcards? 
     I am so proud of them and their creativity. Here are some samples of their postcards. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Resolutions this year ...

    Apart from the "heavy" & pleasurable ( I am not ranting but rather describing a reality) load of family responsibilities awaiting me, which I consider very crucial for my own self content and peace of mind, I have many professional worries and I'm considering this year to be the one essential step in my PD . Thus, I will try my best to find solutions, within the walls of my classroom, according to the needs of my students to the problems I am sick of their repititive occurence. Thus, my resolutions this year would revolve around seemingly new topis, though considerably recurring every year relatively different in acuteness. Besides, carrying out a project till the end with some European colleagues within the framework of Etwinning platform. My students are enjoying it so much that they wish all our lessons were connecting with our partners and doing simultaneous projects, according to a monthly plan.
With all of this in mind and heart, I dream of succeeding as an Ed speaker. I do feel lucky and thankful that the lovely and inspiring Educator and Ed Tech inspirer and International Speaker Shelly Terrel thought of me and this is a very heartwarming suggestion. Added to this, I think of creating much time to my blogging and starting the 30 goals EduBlogging project. I am sure I will get inspired by the 30 goals and the worldwide teachers' blogs.
If I were to write clearer professional goals, I would list them as follows:

  • Read more articles about my interest areas. ( Pedagogy, Creativity, ED Tech, Integrating Tech effectively and effciently.
  • Reflect on my readings, think of how to implement new ideas in my teaching and save my teaching style from monotonous practices.
  • Write more about my experiences in CPD, hopes, fears, successes and failures
  • Videotape some of my lessons and invite peers to critically assess my teaching effectiveness
  • Say NO to those who belittle my ambition and ignore their demotivating voices. Give importance to the voices that lift me up and do the same with my caring colleagues from everywhere. We need at some time to lift others so as to feel content. 
  • Surround myself with more inspiring people and learn more from creative people, which means reading more from my PLN 
  • Spend less time on Facebook, something which I have found extremely effective, because the more I connect on Facebook, the Less time I find for reading. 
  • Connect more on twitter, because it helps me read more articles of interest 
  • Eat healthier food and drink less coffee
  • Exercise more, even if it is just walking by the seaside... 
  • Learn more how to use new apps and think of practical ways to integrate these tech tools in my lessons
  • Be more creative, inquistive and critical ...
  • Submit more proposals, which are based on my teaching practices, to International conferences
  • Enrol in new inspiring Moocs and follow the footsteps of inspiring Educators
  • Start writing the first pages of my book...
Listing goals is easy, but putting these goals into practice is the most demanding part of it. yet, much of my enthusiasm will make even the toughest part enjoyable.
Happy New Year 2016