Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday Special for teachers by teachers

Today was a special day. Special for many reasons. Special because the world is full of dedicated teachers willing to give up their time to share their experience and expertise with others. Their willingness would not have come to anything if there wasn't anyone to give them a platform from which to shout. And all the shouting would not have come to any good if there wasn't anyone out there to listen.

So, Saturday, 28th of April, morning for some, evening for others, was special. A hundred or so educators sacrificed part of their weekend to listen to five dedicated females, Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Ann Mayeda, Penny Ur and Kate Cory-Wright, discuss "What do we know about language teaching and learning?".

I'm sure most, if not all, felt it was well worth their time. Were you there? What did you take away from the webinar? If you weren't, watch out for the next iTDi event!

We were missing some fast tweeps (Twitter users); I tried my best, but I was moderating at the same time. Here is a collection of the back-channelling going on. Many thanks to these back-channellers, the participants, the speakers, and all the organising team, including the generous Heike Philp of The Virtual Round Table fame.

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To watch on full screen, click as shown in the image below.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Healthy carrot cake with walnuts and raisins recipe

Teachers are human, too, right? We need to be fed and we need to feed our families. We need to feed our bodies before we can feed our minds, so, here's a healthy and tasty recipe of something to give us the energy and motivation we require to face a classroom full of anxious learners!

The last time I made a good carrot cake was decades ago and ever since we moved to where we are now, I don't think I've managed to get it right the few times I'd tried to make one - you know, different oven and all that... Anyway, I felt the urge to dust the cake tins and the spatulas about two weeks ago and although the result looked good, the taste and texture wasn't quite right. I circulated a photo of it on the net and it proved to be rather popular. I knew then that I had to do another sooner than later, so I made some adjustments and re-attempted.

I can tell you how wonderful it is, but who will believe me? Here's the recipe for you to try! You may need a couple of attempts to tweak the ingredients or the time of baking to suit your circumstances. Let me know!


75g seedless raisins, soaked in hot water (or rum/brandy, if you prefer)
380g carrots, grated (2 large ones as seen in the image below)
150g honey (amount depends on how sweet you want the cake to be)
200g wholemeal flour
150g walnuts, coarsely grounded
200g olive oil (or any vegetable oil of your choice)
4 eggs (in the image, you see a set of twin yolks)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
vanilla essence

For these and more, click here.

  1. Heat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients (oil, honey, eggs)  in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, walnuts, baking powder, spices) in a separate bowl.
  4. Drain the raisins and add to the dry ingredients, little by little, mixing as you add them.
  5. Add this dry mix to the wet, again, mixing as you add.
  6. Add the grated carrots and a few drops of vanilla essence.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Pour into a greased and floured cake tin.
  9. Bake on a lower rack in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes.
  10. At this point, the cake will probably start to crack, but will also be sufficiently brown. In this case, place a sheet of aluminium foil over it. Don't burn your hands!
  11. Leave it in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  12. Turn the oven off, but leave the cake in there for a further 10 minutes or so before taking it out.
  13. Leave to cool.
  14. When cool, slide a thin spatula along the edges to loosen the cake before attempting to remove it from the mould.

  15. Slice and serve. If you prefer, you can sprinkle some icing sugar, or accompany it with some honey or chocolate sauce.
  16. Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Opportunity keeps on knocking!

iTDi International Teacher Development Institute

Last month, iTDi (International Teacher Development Institute) held its first webinar and some of you might have been lucky to get in...or not. I myself had trouble obtaining entry because I had a class before and couldn't get back home early. I kept on trying and I eventually succeeded when some people had to leave the room early. By then, I'd missed the first half of it. Fortunately, there was a recording I could watch.

On 28th April, they are holding their second webinar entitled "What do we know about language teaching and learning?" Speakers are the glamorous five, six, if you include the omnipresent Shelly Terrell as the moderator. Barbara Sakamoto will start the session off with The Fashions of ELT. She's accompanied by Özge Karaoglu, Ann Mayeda, Penny Ur, and Kate Cory-Wright.

For more details and registration, visit iTDi's webinar page.

Please be aware that registration does not guarantee you an automatic entry; it will however, provide you with the "key" to the room before the doors are open to the general public. It's always advisable to be early, just in case there is software to be installed or updated, or you encounter audio-visual hiccups; in any case, it's good to be present before the start so you can soak up the atmosphere and chat with other attendees. Learning occurs before, during and after!

See you there!

Other links you may be interested in:

Continuing Teacher Development Scoop.It
Lonely Teacher Blues