Sunday, 19 November 2017

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning combines face to face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to form an integrated instructional approach. In the past, digital materials have served in a supplementary role, helping to support face to face instruction. The goal of a blended approach is to join the best aspects of both face to face and online instruction. Classroom time can be used to engage students in advanced interactive experiences.  Meanwhile, the online portion of the classes can provide students with multimedia-rich content at any time of day, anywhere the student has Internet access, from school to the coffee shop or the students’ homes. This allows for an increase in scheduling flexibility.
In addition to flexibility and convenience for students,  there is evidence that a blended instructional approach can result in learning outcome gains and increased enrollment motivation.
The following scheme, from the blog Free Technology For Teachers, sums up how an educator can take advantage of using tools, such as a blog or a wiki, as a complement of traditional ELT:

Monday, 30 October 2017

Halloween 2017 Class Activities

Can you match these frightful, spooky idioms with their meaning?

1. I don’t recommend that horror film. It will scare the living daylights out of you!

2. My old car finally gave up the ghost, so I’ll have to buy a new one.

3. When she saw the dark shadow in the in the moonlight, she was scared stiff.

4. What’s the matter? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost!

5. Oh, don’t be such a scaredy-cat. Nothing bad is going to happen.

6. That spooky old house gives me the creeps.

7. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. It will come back to haunt you.

8. No one lived there anymore. It was a ghost town.

be a mistake
very frightened
make (someone) uncomfortable
make (someone) scared
very white, pale
stopped working 


If you want to get the full text by BBC Learning English, you can click here.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Feeling superstitious this Friday 13th?

According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century.The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in Henry Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.
Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve Gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.
If you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you're in for a whammy of a year. This  unlucky day is the second of three for 2012. Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up. In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.
If you're not scared of Friday the 13th, you should be scared of the word used to describe those who are: friggatriskaidekaphobics. (An alternative, though just as tongue-twisty, word for the fear is "paraskevidekatriaphobia.")
For a superstition, Friday has long been considered an unlucky day - according to Christian tradition, Jesus died on a Friday.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in the USA, about 17 million people fear Friday the 13th. Many may fall prey to the human mind's desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events.
"If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind," psychologists say. "All those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored."

Source: Live Science

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Happy World Teachers' Day!

We miss you, Steve...

photo credits: Charis Tsevis @ FlickR
Steve Jobs left us six years ago, but the world cannot forget his incredible genius. Without you, Steve, it's even more difficult to "Stay hungry. Stay Foolish."
Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, to Joanne Schieble (later Joanne Simpson) and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave their unnamed son up for adoption. His father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor and his mother, Joanne Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child, Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents. As an infant, Steven was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs and named Steven Paul Jobs. Clara worked as an accountant and Paul was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist. The family lived in Mountain View within California's Silicon Valley. As a boy, Steve and his father would work on electronics in the family garage. Paul would show his son how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby which instilled confidence, tenacity and mechanical prowess in Steve. While he has always been an intelligent and innovative thinker, his youth was riddled with frustrations over formal schooling. A prankster in elementary school, Jobs's fourth-grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Steve tested so well, however, that administrators wanted to skip him ahead to high school—a proposal that his parents declined.
Not long after Jobs did enroll at Homestead High School (1971), he was introduced to his future partner, Steve Wozniak, through a friend of Wozniak's. Wozniak was attending the University of Michigan at the time. In a 2007 interview with ABC News, Wozniak spoke about why he and Steve clicked so well: "We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people, especially back then had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests. We both had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in the world. ..." Apple Computers After high school, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
Lacking direction, he dropped out of college after six months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes. Jobs later recounted how one course in calligraphy developed his love of typography. In 1974, Jobs took a position as a video game designer with Atari. Several months later he left Atari to find spiritual enlightenment in India, traveling the continent and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. In 1976, when Jobs was just 21, he and Wozniak started Apple Computers. The duo started in the Jobs family garage, and funded their entrepreneurial venture after Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak sold his beloved scientific calculator. Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive and accessible to everyday consumers. Wozniak conceived a series of user-friendly personal computers, and—with Jobs in charge of marketing—Apple initially marketed the computers for $666.66 each. The Apple I earned the corporation $774,000. Three years after the release of Apple's second model, the Apple II, sales increased by 700 percent, to $139 million.
In 1980, Apple Computer became a publically traded company, with a market value of $1.2 billion on the very first day of trading. Jobs looked to marketing expert John Scully of Pepsi-Cola to help fill the role of Apple's president.
However, the next several products from Apple suffered significant design flaws resulting in recalls and consumer disappointment. IBM suddenly surpassed Apple sales, and Apple had to compete with an IBM/PC dominated business world. In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM compatible. Scully believed Jobs was hurting Apple, and executives began to phase him out.
In 1985, Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO to begin a new hardware and software company called NeXT, Inc. The following year Jobs purchased an animation company from George Lucas, which later became Pixar Animation Studios. Believing in Pixar's potential, Jobs initially invested $50 million of his own money into the company. Pixar Studios went on to produce wildly popular animation films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar's films have netted $4 billion. The studio merged with Walt Disney in 2006, making Steve Jobs Disney's largest shareholder.
Despite Pixar's success, NeXT, Inc. floundered in its attempts to sell its specialized operating system to mainstream America. Apple eventually bought the company in 1997 for $429 million. That same year, Jobs returned to his post as Apple's CEO.
Much like Steve Jobs instigated Apple's success in the 1970s, he is credited with revitalizing the company in the 1990s. With a new management team, altered stock options and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. His ingenious products such as the iMac, effective branding campaigns, and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again.
In 2003, Jobs discovered that he had a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead of immediately opting for surgery, Jobs chose to alter his pescovegetarian diet while weighing Eastern treatment options. For nine months Jobs postponed surgery, making Apple's board of directors nervous. Executives feared that shareholders would pull their stocks if word got out that their CEO was ill. But in the end, Jobs's confidentiality took precedence over shareholder disclosure. In 2004, he had a successful surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor. True to form, in subsequent years, Jobs disclosed little about his health.
Apple introduced such revolutionary products as the Macbook, iPod,  iPhone and iPad, all of which have dictated the evolution of modern technology. Almost immediately after Apple releases a new product, competitors scramble to produce comparable technologies. In 2007, Apple's quarterly reports were the company's most impressive statistics to date. Stocks were worth a record-breaking $199.99 a share, and the company boasted a staggering $1.58 billion dollar profit, an $18 billion dollar surplus in the bank, and zero debt.
In 2008, iTunes became the second biggest music retailer in America-second only to Wal-Mart. Half of Apple's current revenue comes from iTunes and iPod sales, with 200 million iPods sold and six billion songs downloaded. For these reasons, Apple has been rated No. 1 in America's Most Admired Companies, and No. 1 amongst Fortune 500 companies for returns to shareholders.
Early in 2009, reports circulated about Jobs's weight loss, some predicting his health issues had returned, which included a liver transplant. Jobs had responded to these concerns by stating he was dealing with a hormone imbalance. After nearly a year out of the spotlight, Steve Jobs delivered a keynote address at an invite-only Apple event September 9, 2009.
In respect to his personal life, Steve Jobs remained a private man who rarely discloses information about his family. What is known is Jobs fathered a daughter with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan when he was 23. Jobs denied paternity of his daughter Lisa in court documents, claiming he was sterile. Jobs did not initiate a relationship with his daughter until she was 7 but, when she was a teenager, she came to live with her father.
In the early 1990s, Jobs met Laurene Powell at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. They married on March 18, 1991, and lived together in Palo Alto, California, with their three children.
On October 5, 2011, Apple Inc. announced that co-founder Steve Jobs had died. He was 56 years old at the time of his death.

Source: Bio.TrueStory (slightly adapted)

Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address in 2005

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Teaching & Learning is 6 years old today!

Teaching & Learning was born six years ago on a rainy afternoon, just like today! It doesn't seem so long ago, and yet so many things have changed...
We intended to give suggestions of ELT resources and Web 2.0 tools applied to English language teaching, gather some practical examples of students' work and discuss their relevance/success in class context, create an interaction tool with Students/ other Teachers and keep close to Steve Jobs' motto: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” as we believe work can be done with pleasure and it can be much better if we don’t forget about enjoying it and adding a pinch of foolishness!
More than 740 posts and 130000 hits later, we believe those objectives are being achieved.
T&L audience is growing every day, it comes mainly from the USA, the UK, Russia and Portugal, but also from the United Arab Emirates, China, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Guatemala, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. 
THANK YOU for reading T&L, for supporting it and above all for being here! I would also like to thank all those who spend their precious time commenting and giving important feedback!
This whole experience is a pleasure for us, so we intend to keep on going, posting more about Didactics, English, Culture, Students’ tasks and foolish things, too, of course! We hope to see you all around here a year from now… 

Six years and counting… STAY HUNGRY. STAY FOOLISH. 


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Summer Break 2017

Teaching & Learning is now officially on Summer break! 
It has been a school year full of new challenges. Now it is high time to have a
 break and relax to be able to face the new year with energy and creativity. 
Meanwhile, do enjoy your Summer to the fullest, 
forget about your worries and be happy!
Hope to see you soon. <3

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

July 4th - Independence Day

Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776 in the United States of America. On this date, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies' separation from Great Britain. The Constitution provides the legal and governmental framework for the United States, however, the Declaration, with its eloquent assertion "all Men are created equal," is equally beloved by the American people.
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the USA's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. There, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. Here you can read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration.

The US Flag
photo credits: US Flag Vector
The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read:
"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."
The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle.
Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the US flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14th.

Hurrah for the USA, 1915
Over time, various other summertime activities also came to be associated with the Fourth of July, including historical pageants, picnics, baseball games, watermelon-eating contests, and trips to the beach. Common foods include hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, cole slaw, clam bakes and some incredible fireworks.
While the Fourth is celebrated across the country, historic cities like Boston and Philadelphia draw huge crowds to their festivities.
In Boston, the USS John F. Kennedy often sails into the harbor, while the Boston Pops Orchestra holds a televised concert on the banks of the Charles River, featuring American music and ending with the 1812 Overture.
Philadelphia holds its celebrations at Independence Hall, where historic scenes are reenacted and the Declaration of Independence is read.
Other interesting parties include the American Indian rodeo and three-day pow-wow in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Lititz, Pennsylvania, candle festival, where hundred of candles are floated in water and a "Queen of Candles" is chosen.

If you want to know more about American and British holidays and celebrations, visit the wiki: British & American Festivals and Holidays!


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

eTwinning Quality Label for our Project @ Zarco

The project "Let's get to know each other" developed by the 11th grade professional courses @ Zarco Secondary School in Matosinhos has been awarded the eTwinning Quality Label.
An immense THANK YOU to all the participants.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Portugal Wins the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest!


Our adorable Salvador Sobral has won the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Amar Pelos Dois', written by his sister, the also talented Luísa Sobral. Thank you all for the amazing support!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Please vote for the Portuguese song in Eurovision

The Portuguese song this year is really incredible. Written by Luísa Sobral and sung by her brother Salvador Sobral, "Amar pelos dois" (Love for the both of us), makes us fly in space and time, feeling the true power of love. If you enjoy the sound and the voice of #Salvadorable, please vote, using the number below, according to the country you're in. Thank you very much! 

100 Years of Our Lady of Fátima Apparitions

Credits: Ana Figueiredo
Today is a very special day, 100 years ago, three shepherd children experienced the apparition of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, at Fátima. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The apparitions at Fátima were officially declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church. Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima events. John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following an assassination attempt on the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him to the Roman Catholic sanctuary at Fátima, Portugal and it was placed in the crown of the Virgin's statue.
On May 13, 1917, Lúcia described seeing a lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun". While they had never spoken to anyone about the angel, Jacinta divulged her sightings to her family despite Lucia's admonition to keep this experience private. Her disbelieving mother told neighbors as a joke, and within a day the whole village knew. Further appearances were reported on June 13 and July 13. In these, the lady asked the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation and make personal sacrifices to save sinners. According to Lúcia's account, the lady also confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima.
Credits: Santuário de Fátima
Pope Francis is in Portugal for the centenary celebration of the Marian apparitions of Fátima, which wouldn’t be complete without the presence of the Pope as he is part of the message of Fátima. Francisco and Jacinta, two of the childrem who saw Our Lady, will be canonized today, during Pope Francis's mass at the Santuary.
To know more about Our Lady of Fátima and this special place, visit the page Santuário de Fátima.

Bênção das Velas (Blessing of Candles)
Credits: Santuário de Fátima

Friday, 12 May 2017

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

For a dear Friend, who is an inspiration for everyone.

If you want to know more about Fibromyalgia, you can click here or here.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Let's Get to Know Each Other powered by eTwinning

The eTwinning project "Let's Get to Know Each Other" was developed in the English classes at Zarco Secondary School, through an online partnership with schools of Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Poland and Hungary, with a total number of 246 students and 14 teachers from 7 different countries across Europe.
The students created an e-magazine on different aspects of each country's identity. Together with the crucial intercultural contact, a special motivation for written tasks in English has been created by using the Twinspace as a web 2.0 tool for active learning.
You can see all the project clicking here:

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Happy Pi Day!

Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th.
With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. Pi is an irrational and transcendental number meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating. The symbol for pi was first used in 1706 by William Jones, but was popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737.
There are many ways of celebrating Pi Day. Some of them include eating pie and discussing the relevance of π.
And it's just a coincidence, but it is also Albert Einstein's birthday... So, one more reason to celebrate!
Read here and here on T&L for further information about Pi Day!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

London Bridges

How many bridges are there in London?

Thirty-four bridges span the Thames. The oldest is London Bridge, which was originally made from wood. It was replaced by a stone bridge with shops and houses along its sides.

Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge is the central bridge of the three bridges in the photograph on the left. Nearest the camera is Westminster Bridge and in the far distance is Vauxhall Bridge. Seen from the London Eye observation wheel.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge has stood over the River Thames in London since 1894 and is one of the finest, most recognisable bridges in the World. It is the London bridge you tend to see in movies and on advertising literature for London. Tower Bridge is 60 meters long with towers that rise to a height of 43 meters.

London Bridge is between the City of London and Southwark. It is between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge. London's original bridge made this one of the most famous bridge in the world. The first London Bridge is thought to have been built by the Romans sometime in the first century, with several rebuilds over the centuries. Throughout its history, London bridge has been a busy thoroughfare, and was once lined with shops. The road over the bridge was only about 4m wide between the shops. It was so narrow it often jammed with people, horses and carts. The present London bridge opened in 1973.

London Bridge
The Millennium Bridge
The Millennium bridge is a pedestrian bridge erected to connect the Tate Modern Art Gallery to the City and St Paul's Cathedral. Almost immediately after opening the bridge had to be shut because of dangerous swaying. It has now been reopened. The bridge is about 320 metres, costs 16 million pounds to build and only takes pedestrians.

Southwark Bridge

Southwark Bridge is a road-bridge linking Southwark and the City across the River Thames. It was designed by Ernest George and Basil Mott and opened in 1921.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a railway bridge crossing the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.

Westminster Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames between Westminster and Lambeth. The current bridge opened in 1862, is the second on the site and replaced an earlier bridge that had opened in 1750.

Westminster Bridge