Saturday, 28 May 2011

Seeta Jazz Up Your Digital Storytelling - Feedback

Storytelling is big news at the moment, and so it should be! I have recently finished another wonderful e-course via the SEETA (South Eastern Europe Teachers' Association) on Jazz Up Your Lessons with Digital Storytelling with the lovely Ozge Karaoglu as the tutor. I knew I wanted to do this course, come what may, as soon as I saw that Ozge was going to be the tutor. She is the Queen of tech tools and her vast repertoire of sites and amazing experience in dealing with digital stories with young learners was a guaranteed sign of an exciting and jazzy course. I had the great pleasure of meeting Ozge in person in Brighton.

Press the link to listen to my Fotobabble feedback on the fab course!.

So, did I jazz up my digital storytelling skills on the course? Yes, I did! It gave me the chance to review some sites I already knew, but it also contained some really nice new tools which I'd like to look into, time permitting.

I was inspired to create a new comic to illustrate how you could use ones like makebeliefscomix.

Seeing so many faces I recognised was also a lovely feeling and everyone was very keen to share and encourage each other to do our best. Taking part in e-courses such as this one is also a great way to learn how they flow and to see the dynamics and interaction patterns within the forums.

I liked the way Ozge organised the course. It was very effective. Links to a pdf sheet of carefully selected tools in 6 different categories, and then the chance to participate in a forum to give our feedback on one or two of the new tools. I found that this was very manageable and I could easily pop in once a day to add to the forums and comment on other course members' work. A lot of creativity abounded and I learned a lot from everyone!

You can see a lot of Ozge's amazing links and resources from her blog here: 100 Digital Storytelling Tools.

I love "Daisy and Drago" that Ozge wrote herself.
Daisy and Drago
View more presentations from ozge
You can also view the amazing video of her fabulous story "Daisy and Drago and the Magic Wand", created by her 6-year-old pupils.

Thank you very much Ozge and all the course participants for helping to make it a very enjoyable and worthwhile course!!

ELTChat - Storytelling
Last Wednesday I missed one of the most interesting topics that have been discussed recently. Yes, you've guessed it already. I missed the ELTChat session on Digital Storytelling!! It's one of my favourite topics and sadly, I couldn't attend. However, Leahn Stanhope, a teacher from Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, has done an incredible job of summarising the session in great depth. Just reading through all the links, resources, tips, ideas shared in ONLY one hour, will give you enough information to keep you doing "Storytelling" lessons happily for a very long time!! Here is the link for you to copy and then share with your colleagues. Enjoy looking at all the resources at leisure. Thank you Leahn!

A Few More Links
Eva Buyukesmiyan from A Journey in TEFL blog has also written a fab blog post called "Teachers as Storytellers"

This blog post by Anita Kwiatowska caught my eye: "It was a dark and stormy night..." The blog post has some great ideas for exploiting this theme.

I recently gave a presentation on Storytelling in the Digital Era. Ana Maria Menezes from Brazil, invited me to hold a session via Wiziq. She then kindly wrote a lovely feedback post entitled "Learning with/from Janet Bianchini."

Below is my very own digital idiomatic story that took me months to create! "An Idiomatic Love Story."

An Idiomatic Love Story

Finally, one of my favourite (true) stories I've ever written is "And Then There Were Three".

Everybody has a story within them just waiting to come out. Don't wait too long otherwise the moment will pass. Life is one big evolving story just waiting to be written!

Quote made up by me!

Top 100 Language Lovers Blogs 2011

Press here to vote!

If you would like to vote for one of the amazing blogs in the Lexiophiles Top 100 Language Lovers Blogs 2011, simply press on the link under the button, and then go through the list of nominated blogs until you find one you want to vote for!

Voting ends on Sunday 29th May.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

It's Voting Time for the Lexiophiles Top 100 Language Lovers 2011

I found out yesterday via Barbara Sakamoto's Teaching Village blog, that Janet's Abruzzo Edublog has been included in this year's list of 200 blogs nominated for the Lexiophiles Top Language Learning Blogs category. I was thrilled to read this piece of lovely news and thank you Barbara for mentioning me :-) Best of luck to you!

Click on the makebeliefs comic cartoon to enlarge it.

You can find out how the competition works here.

How to vote: First of all, go to the voting page of each category (links below). Then click on the name of the blog/Facebook page/Twitter account you want to vote for. All entries are listed alphabetically. You can vote once in each category.

Language Learning Blogs
Language Professionals Blogs
Language Facebook Pages
Language Twitterers

I've added the Lexiophiles badge below, but there is no obligation to vote for this blog at all!!
I'm just happy to be included in this year's nominations.

Just in case you were wondering why I chose my blog's name, here is a little bit of background information:

Janet- my name is Janet (very imaginative, I know :)
Abruzzo - I live in Abruzzo (again, a very inspired choice)
Edublog - it's an educational blog (a good mix)

That's it! Very simple, really.

Writing my blog has brought me a lot of happiness and satisfaction. I hope it can help inspire people to follow their dream of doing something different.

Writing this blog is a dream come true, and I'm loving every moment. Thank you so much for reading it!!

There are so many fabulous blogs and sites that it will be difficult to select only one for each category. Have a look through the lists and enjoy discovering new and exciting people to follow. Best of luck to all the nominees!

Vote in each of the categories here:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Worlds Apart

I was born in Oxford and lived there all my life until 2008. Then I moved to the wilds of unspoilt Abruzzo, a total contrast to the cosmopolitan, lively and historical world I had been brought up in.

Oxford is a stunningly beautiful city, with dreaming spires and turrets in abundance. I love the atmosphere, the cobbled lanes, the mixture of youth and wisdom, the culture, the array of exciting activities, the olde-worlde pubs, the grandeur of the colleges, the perfectly manicured quadrangles, May morning choristers singing from the top of Magdalen College Tower, Christ Church College with the smallest cathedral in England. Well, I could go on......

So, you may ask, "What does Janet find so appealing about living in a place surrounded by hills, olive groves, vineyards, peace, quiet, solitude, falcons, hawks, snakes, lizards, frogs, chickens, dogs, cats, fruit trees, an ever growing jungle, an impassable road? Well, I could go on......

Norris enjoying the country lifestyle - as free as a bird, literally. Here she is quietly contemplating her next move, after having dutifully laid her daily egg....

These two sites are literally worlds apart in terms of lifestyles.

I am happy in Abruzzo.

I am happy in Oxford.

I am happy in Cyberspace.

I am happy anywhere and everywhere I have ever lived in.

"Non, je ne regrette rien", as Edif Piaf sang so memorably.

Below is a fabulous Bookr that one of my teachers created on the Learning Curves Teachers' Refresher course at the Lake School of English in November 2011. I felt very proud that she had been inspired to create such a lovely digital book of my city.

This is a slideshow I have just created using my own images of Oxford, taken in April this year.

Have a look at how much fun you can have studying at the Lake School of English, in Oxford!

Below is one of my favourite Animoto videos on Abruzzo that I've created, called "A Change of Lifestyle".

Create your own video slideshow at

And, here's another slideshow on My Abruzzo created via Slide:

About Abruzzo blog is my absolutely favourite blog on this area.

Read "Abruzzo App-roved: A Handy Guide to Exploring Abruzzo

Now, the BIG question is: which world would you choose to live in, and why?? I'd love to hear your views :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Shelly Terrell Hosts The Young Learners (23rd) Edition of the ESL / EFL / ELL Blog Carnival

The lovely Shelly Terrell from Teacher Boot Camp has just hosted the 23rd Edition of the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival with a special emphasis on Young Learners. She has put together an amazing array of posts in the form of a Vuvox slideshow. Shelly has kindly given permission to her readers and followers to embed the presentation below. These posts and links are extremely useful for all teachers of Young Learners. Shame I'm not teaching Young Learners now, but I will make sure that I highlight this compilation in all future teacher refresher courses!

Click on the link to access the whole post on Shelly's blog. Have fun!!