Classroom Resources

A List of Free Grammar Games #1

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Grammar and writing can be a tedious subject to teach. Fortunately, there are so many amazing free games available to make teaching them fun. Until now, you had to Google your heart out to find them. No more! Below and in the following articles is an organized list of FREE grammar games for teaching parts of speech, punctuation, sentences and writing. I’ve described each game so you can decide if it’s for you. Following each section is a Pinterest board including those games. Follow them and be sure to pin this post so you can reference it later. Continue reading “A List of Free Grammar Games #1”

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Classroom Resources

European year of cultural Heritage 2018

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2018 is the European year of Cultural heritage which was officially inaugurated at the European Culture Forum on 7 December 2017 in Milan. In 2018 there will be many events and initiatives to bring citizens closer to their cultural heritage and strengthen their sense of belonging to a common European space.

Why Cultural Heritage?

Cultural heritage has a universal value for us as individuals, communities and societies. It is important to preserve and pass on to future generations. You may think of heritage as being ‘from the past’ or static, but it actually evolves through our engagement with it. What is more, our heritage has a big role to play in building the future of Europe. That is one reason why we want to reach out to young people in particular during the European Year.

Cultural heritage comes in many shapes and forms.

  • tangible – for example, buildings, monuments, artefacts, clothing, artwork, books, machines, historic towns, archaeological sites.
  • intangible – practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – and the associated instruments, objects and cultural spaces – that people value. This includes language and oral traditions, performing arts, social practices and traditional craftsmanship.
  • natural – landscapes, flora and fauna.
  • digital – resources that were created in digital form (for example digital art or animation) or that have been digitalised as a way to preserve them (including text, images, video, records).

Cultural heritage at school

Linking school projects and activities carried out in the class to the European year of Cultural Heritage is a good way to help young people reflect on their experiences and interests and confront with their peers at local and European level. The European Council has published “Cultural heritage and cultural diversity lessons – A handbook for teacher” to provide an introduction to the themes related to the topic. The book contains 8 lessons on  Cultural heritage and cultural diversity.  Each lesson unit has a thematic focus and contains learning objectives, background information and activities for grades 3-6 and 6-9. After evaluating the level of the students, the teacher can choose a lesson that is grade appropriate. The lessons are designed for a forty minute class period, yet activities can be adapted or revised to be used over several class periods.

Classroom Resources

INVALSI 2018

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INVALSI tests are evaluation tests for primary school students (second and fifth year), first (third year) and second grade (second year) secondary school. These tests are proposed at a national level and are used to assess the students’ level of preparation as well as the level of the various institutes, to provide statistical information to the MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research). Starting from the current school year, some innovations will be introduced in the INVALSI tests which, in addition to involving the computer-based methods of testing, will concern the parameters of the evaluation, of the disciplines involved and of the timing of the tests themselves.

Evaluation: From the 2017-2018 school year, the INVALSI first grade tests will no longer be part of the State Exam and will be anticipated during the year. They will have purely statistical purposes but will still be a prerequisite for admission to the State Exam.

Subjects involved: the INVALSI 2018 tests for the fifth and third grades will concern Italian, Mathematics and English.

Timing: the INVALSI tests for primary school will be held in the first week of May; those for the first grade will be anticipated in April. Continue reading “INVALSI 2018”

Classroom Resources

Scaffolding Strategies to Use With Your Students

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What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? Saying to students, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday.” Yikes—no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding—they’re just left blowing in the wind.

Let’s start by agreeing that scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. When scaffolding reading, for example, you might preview the text and discuss key vocabulary, or chunk the text and then read and discuss as you go. With differentiation, you might give a child an entirely different piece of text to read, or shorten the text or alter it, and/or modify the writing assignment that follows.

Simply put, scaffolding is what you do first with kids—for those students who are still struggling, you may need to differentiate by modifying an assignment and/or making accommodations (for example, by choosing more accessible text and/or assigning an alternative project). Continue reading “Scaffolding Strategies to Use With Your Students”