“Beware of the Underscore!” & Other Classroom Adventures

Moving forward – always something new to learn! Naomi’s Photos

It seems I don’t have to worry about falling into the veteran teacher’s trap of thinking that I’ve seen/heard it all.

I have my students to thank for that!

Access Denied!
Don’t Give Up!            Naomi’s Photos


When your student repeatedly fails to log onto the classroom website, you’ve looked at her username, reset her password twice, tried typing the details in yourself (on two different browsers), and rebooted the computer, check the underscore!

I now know that it is very easy to miss the fact that a student has chosen to use a double underscore in her username (or was it a typo? We’ll never know).

Case Closed
We’re out of here – BYE!   Naomi’s Photos

When launching into your standard “pre-poem-teaching” conversation with a new student about invisible barriers, stereotypes, and racism, your student suddenly shuts the book firmly and declares (in mother tongue):

It is not right to judge people by the color of their skin. That’s what the point of this poem you want me to learn is. See? I learned that. We’re done here.

When this happens, try to remember to close your mouth after your jaw drops…

The Draw of a Drawing

When you decide to add a drawing which you “created” in three minutes* to a message in the class WhatsApp group instead of using a carefully chosen humorous photograph (which you took yourself using a real camera!!) and then a student who never reads messages actually comments on it, don’t get insulted!

It seems that among the countless photos a student scrolls through, a drawing stands out a bit more.

Who knew? I can’t draw so I certainly didn’t know…

– – – – – – – – – – — – – — – – – – — –

I created my drawing thanks to a recommendation from Pete Clements, who blogs at  ELT Planning  

Open Peeps  – A hand-drawn illustration library 

It’s very easy to choose a character and then edit it using the menu. I go into the site from my phone (though you can use a computer), save my “creation” to my phone and send it off.  I didn’t download anything, I just use the “Blush” option.  Play with it!


Two “Feel Good” Books

I don’t know if you could call it “Cerulean” but it IS the sea… Naomi’s Photos

One review that fits two different books.

Now that’s a first.

I just feel pretty much the same about both books.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune and “Britt Marie was Here” by Fredrik Backman

Both books have a basic plot that is clear from the beginning and it isn’t a spoiler. You know  that the main character, a person who lacks self confidence, is ignored by everyone and leads a limited existence,  will learn to spread his/her wings.

In both books the issue is ” the how”  – more than “the what”.  I particularly liked the  self dialogue the main characters held with themselves in both books. In the book about Britt Marie the commentary is also delightful. In the other book the dialogues with the children are a real treat!

Both books promote inclusion and learning to see those who are different from you. Linus, the case worker, teaches others that “magical beings” (as far as I’m concerned, that reads as “children with special needs) should be respected and integrated into society.  LGBQT as well.  Britt Marie meets people whom society would rather not see – you miss them a bit when you have finished reading the book since you now care about their lives.

In short – well written “feel good books”.

Note: I saw the trailer for the film “Britt Marie was here” and I wasn’t pleased. Britt Marie NEVER did jumping jacks with the children, she spread her wings but in a way that was consistent to who she was. I may be judging hastily but the movie looks as if it crossed the line between “feel good” and “Kitsch”…