Watch your thoughts

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Does anyone know who wrote these wise words?
I think we should impart this message to our pupils. Regarding the first line, I once heard a lecture about the Holocaust. The lecturer said: ‘The best way to avoid racism is to stop using the word “racism”.’ (Here I go, I used it twice!). But I’m sure you understand what I mean!
Words Have Power


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My affair with Web 2.0

The division between teaching and learning has been steadily blurring for me throughout my many teaching years. Being a teacher has made me into an ardent student. My collaborator has been Web 2.0, (a term coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2004), with its excess of opportunities for information-sharing, experimentation, collaboration, innovation, and user-centered qualities.

This blog is a section of my professional diary and notebook in which I  share my ideas and experience in  project-based teaching.  Every since I created my first website in 2001 (Geocities), I have always shared all my projects  and lesson plans with colleagues at home and abroad. In return, I have entered the world of educational collaboration and contributing.

The blog also contains links to favorite sites that I visit to obtain updates in the world of project-based teaching.

Without realizing it, I became a connectivist before I knew what connectivism was!

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Why I like project-based teaching

Creativity loves constraints!
‘You can’t improvise on nothing, man; you’ve gotta improvise on something.’ Charles Mingus

In all my years of teaching, my favorite part was the project-based work. Projects make English teaching come alive. Projects stimulate the pupils’ curiosity and bring out their creativity and the creativity of the teacher too! Projects encourage imagination, improve the thinking skills through the diverse topics and learning styles they encompass.

The topics I chose for projects in the classroom are relevant, dealing with authentic problems and issues.  The pupils are required to do research, to become internet literate, to deal in investigation, information processing and inquiry. These meaningful learning experiences lead to effective learning. A pupil will never forget something that he or she has taken personal pride in creating.

Projects give pupils a feeling of belonging, of being noticed. If the class chooses an umbrella topic, each pupil can find his/her own niche within that topic. For example, if the topic is “dreams”, one can do their project on psychology, another on a survey, another on a dream they had, another on dreams for the future.The teacher should make a point of noting down each of the pupils’ topics so as to be able to pass remarks on the corridor regarding that pupil’s topic. For example, Hey Amir, I read an article about the basketball player you’re doing your project on!

Each pupil has a feeling on “ownership” and expertise in the area in which they have chosen to do their project. While this encourages individual pride in their work, it also encourages pupils to share their ideas and collaborate through a structured group report at the culmination of the project period.

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Meaningful Open Learning

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Create Your Own Meme

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Celebrating Diversity
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A project for Tu Bishvat / Arbor Day / Earth Day in English.

Tu B’Shvat is the New Year for trees. In Israel, Jews plant trees on Tu B’Shvat. Traditions include the eating of nuts and fruits, donating funds to plant trees in Israel, focusing on environmental issues, and holding a Tu Bishvat seder. Tu Bishvat literally means 15 of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu B’Shvat began as a tax day for calculating which fruit would be included in the tithe brought to the Temple. Tu Bishvat has taken on the character of a Jewish Earth Day or Arbor Day.

A holiday for trees inspires thought about the human impact on the environment. In this project, students receive a graphic of a tree and are told: “Here is a tree. Make it your own!” Each student chooses a topic for research connected in some way to the umbrella topic of TREES. Each stage of the project is assessed and the final product consists of both a written report and a presentation.


1.    Choose a topic

2.    Write a research question about your topic.

3.    Do research about your topic.

4.    Summarize your material in YOUR OWN WORDS.

5.    Write a letter stating your opinion about your topic.

6.    Present your report orally to your group.

7.    Present your written report and creative presentation


1. Choose a topic

Here are some ideas: family tree, ecology, people resemble trees, families resemble trees, trees in literature (movies, songs, novels, stories, poetry), types of forests, famous forests, famous trees, deforestation, trees in the bible

2. Write a research question.

A research question examines the connection, or effect of one thing/ event/ person on another. It must be interesting, simple, not too broad, and clear

3. Research

Look for information in books, internet, newspapers, or interviews.

4. Summarizing




·         The first sentence of the first paragraph of your summary should state the author’s name, the title of the article and the author’s purpose in writing.

·         Use the present tense when writing about someone else’s work.

·         Write one sentence only for every idea that the author has written.


·         First find the:


1.      main point – What is the most important thing that the author wants the reader to know about the topic?

2.      then the supporting point(s) – What two or three important facts does the author use to convince the reader about the main idea? If the author gives contrasting ideas (advantages and disadvantages of something, or comparing points of view), make sure you write down important facts for both points of view.

3.      and then finally the conclusion

·         Use connectors (eg. because, although, in addition, moreover) to help join the ideas together.

·         Check your spelling and grammar.


5.   Write a letter stating your opinion about something connected to your topic

Click here to see how your letter will be graded

6.   Present your report in your group

Click here to download group report form


Fill in the information about each of the people in your group

  • What was his/her tree topic? ……………………………………………………..
  • What was his/her research question?…………………………………
  • What is this topic important to him/her?………………………………
  • Write 2 interesting details about his/her topic.


7. Presentation.


You must present your project in two ways:

a)     as a written report AND

b)     in a creative way.


    1. Your written report must contain these:


SECTION points
i.        Cover page 3
ii.        Table of contents 2
iii.        Introduction – your research question,
why did you choose the topic and what does it
mean to you
iv.        Your TREE PAGE – download it here.
v.        Body of the project – the summary of the
information you found about your topic.
vi.        Letter stating  opinion. See Writing Scale
vii.        Oral Group Report. SeeReport Form
viii.        Conclusion – What did you learn from
your topic and why is it important?
ix.        Bibliography (books, web sites,
interviews, etc.)
x.          At least one illustration 5



    1. Creative presentation ideas: (100 points)

                                                               i.      art work

                                                             ii.      music

                                                            iii.     powerpoint

                                                          iv.      internet

                                                            v.      poster

                                                          vi.      poetry, story, comic strip

                                                         vii.      play

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Get ready to travel!

Where would you like to go at the end of this school year? Nepal? Peru? The Greek Islands? San Francisco?

In this project you will take an imaginary trip to any place in the world. You’ll plan your trip and learn about the country you’re going to.  You’ll create a journal of your trip. Bon Voyage!!

Write a travel journal about your trip. The journal can be a foldercontaining all the parts of the project  or a web site

The journal must contain:

  1. Cover page (title of project, your name, class, date)
  2. Table of contents
  3. All the stages of the project, written by you* either by hand or on the computer.
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography (names of books, encyclopedias and internet sites you used)
  6. Illustrations

* – The journal must be written by you alone. Work that has been copied will not be acceptable. Please don’t forget to include where you got your information from in an organized bibliography.

 – Choosing a Destination

Get ideas for a place to go to:

Cities around the world (Click here)

Lonely Planet (Click here)


5 points

3,4 points

Write a descriptive composition entitled “My Favorite Destination”. Write 3-4 paragraphs (about 150-180 words)

paragraph 1:Introduction. Write an interesting opening sentence about travelling. [Click here for ideas for opening sentences]. Then say where you would like to travel to.



paragraph 2: Body. Write about your reasons for wanting to go to that place, what you know about it, what you’ve heard, why you chose it.



paragraph 3: Body. Write about things you would need to do before you go to that destination, what you would take, who you would like to travel with.



paragraph 4:Conclusion. Write a closing paragraph restating your reasons for choosing that destination and your expectations.


















Answer these questions:

  1. What place did you choose?

  2. Why did you choose that place?

  3. What do you know about that place?

    What have you heard about it?

  4. What do you need for your trip?

  5. What must you do before you go?

  6. What things would you take with you?

  7. Who would you travel with?

  8. When is the best time to go?

  9. What are the activities that you can do when you get there?

  10. What are some facts for the traveler?

– Filling Out Forms

What documents do you need for your trip?

1. Do you need a visa to enter that country?

Click here to find out.

2. Fill out an example of a passport application form:


Family Name:












First Name:


















Mr. □






Miss □  






Dr. □       Other □






Your name in your language  
Gender: Male □ Female □  
Place and Country of Birth: Place Country
Marital Status:     Married □         Single□            Divorced□         Widowed□
I may be contacted at this address while I’m in …………. 


My residential address in my home country is : 
I am employed by: 
My occupation is: 


I will enter (country)………….. on this date:   day-month-year
I will depart (country)…………on this date:    day-month-year
Passport number and expiry date:
What is the purpose of your trip? (general, business, medical, other)
Signature of applicant:

– Flight Information

Find a flight to that country

Yahoo Travel

Cheap Fares

1. What airlines will you be travelling with?

2. What date are you leaving?
3. What airport will you be landing at?
4. How much does the ticket cost?


– Information about the Country

Write the answers to these questions in full sentences. Divide your work into clear paragraphs. You may include pictures. PLEASE DO NOT COPY FROM BOOKS OR THE INTERNET.

  1. Find a picture of the country’s flag
  2. Find a map of the country.
  3. What is the country’s capital?
  4. Who is the country’s president/ prime minister?
  5. What are the main cities?
  6. List 5 tourist attractions.
  7. Describe (in your own words) one of these attractions.
  8. What are 3 natural resources found in this country>?
  9. What are the main imports?
  10. What are the main exports?
  11. Is the country developed or developing?
  12. What is the life expectancy in this country?
  13.  What is the major religion? What other religions are found in this country?
  14. What are the popular foods in this country>
  15.  Name two famous people from this country and write what they are famous for?
  16. What other countries border this country?
  17. Describe the climate.
  18. What 2-3 events shaped this country’s history?
  19. What is a major problem facing this country?
  20. What time zone is the country in?  World Time Zone
  21. What currency is used in this country? How many shekels is this currency worth?
  22. Find one or two pictures of your country.  Click here

Currency Converter

CNN Money


Use these resources to help you find information:

Lycos Travel Guide

United Nations “Cyber School Bus”
Data on countries

Country Reports

Global Countries
Southeast Asia


5 points

3,4 points

You ordered a room in hotel but when you got there you didn’t get what you expected.Write a formal letter to your travel agent explaining your problem and asking for it to be corrected.












Pretend that you are at your destination and send email to the teacher at the following Tell her about your holiday.Ideas to write about:


  1. How does it feel to be there?

  2. Where did you go?

  3. Whyat did you see?

  4. What’s special about that place?

  5. What did you eat?

  6. Did you do any shopping? What?

  7. What impressed you most of all?

  8. What are you going to do until you get back?

    Where are you staying?

  9. How long have you been there?
  10. Who are you with?
  11. What are you doing?
  12. What’s the weather like?
  13. How are you managing with money and food?

Ideas for Creative Writing:


5 points

3,4 points

Write a poem/song about something outstanding that happened to you/that you saw in the country you visited.







Draw a map of the country you visited and write a poem on the map following these instructions:


Lines 1 and 8: the name of the country
Line 2: three to four physical features
Line 3: one to three cultural features; for example, landmarks, museums, main cities
Line 4: bordering countries or bodies of water
Line 5: a short description about the climate
Line 6: three historical events that shaped the country
Line 7: issues or problems of importance; for example, poverty, poor land, war, pollution




3,4,5 points

Give and oral presentation about one of these ideas:
1.Bring a song to class from your country. Explain to the class what this song is about, who sings it, how it is connected to that country.or

2.Bring a video clip of a dance group or singing group from that country. Speak about it  in English.


3.Bring a recipe for food and a sample for your friends to taste of the food eaten in that country. Explain in English how to make it and how it’s connected to that country.


Write one paragraph about what you liked/disliked about doing this project.


Targeted Benchmarks and/or Goals

Criteria for Assessment


Description of the Project Work Assignment

Pupils will create a travel journal for an imaginary trip abroad.


Type of Assessment

Who Assesses

Form/CheckboxRubric/Checklist/Assessment List



Self, Peer, Teacher

Targeted Benchmark and/or Goal

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge

present information in-depth, synthesizing information from various sources

integrate information from different sources for a specific purpose

engage in extended conversations, using language to suit context, audience and purpose

are aware of how cultural practices are reflected in various literary and cultural products

  1. EFL skills

  2. Research skills

  3. Social skills

  4. Organizational skills

  5. Presentation

    Computer / Internet skills (optional)


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Digital Writing Across the Curriculum: Personalized Learning and …

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Digital Writing Across the Curriculum: Personalized Learning and Individualized Instruction. August 27th, 2013 by Amy England. Share Button · gty_digital_tech_130716_wg …

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Don’t Miss These Excellent Back to School Resources from Wikispaces

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A Shifting Learning Environment | Teach Teach Tech

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21st century skills, post industrial age, digital age are the key ideas for modern education. #postsoe #postedu624

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2 Basic Ways How To Add Technology To Your Curriculum – Edudemic

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If you’re looking to integrate social media or add technology to your curriculum, check out this pair of tips for some easy ways to get started.

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Element #6 – Quality Instruction | Digital Learning Now

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Digital learning erases phsyical barriers and provides quality instruction #DigLn

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