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Posts Tagged ‘blogathon 2012’
A Bit of Nostalgia: ‘Blogathoning’ in Spain
wces opening merveoflaz

DAY 1 Barca, Catalonia

Me & Barca :p

I’m happy to be in Barcelona (after a cancelled flight and another one delayed because of the heavy snow in Istanbul). I feel like an author or a journalist writing on a journey during that journey:) I have always wanted to do that and here I am:)One of my colleagues and I will present an article we wrote at the 4th World Conference on Educational Sciences. It wil take place in Barcelona University.  It’ll be interesting and of course challenging to continue running at the blog marathon here in Spain, but I’m so excited. Tomorrow is the first day of the conference. The opening will be huge as far as I guess. There will be hundreds of academicians from different countries. I will try to share things about the plenary speeches and workshop sessions I attended. I may not be so active in reading and commenting, but I will do my best :)


DAY 2 ‘Hola’ from Spain

Me, just before my presentation at Barcelona University

We all like to attend conferences and enjoy being a part of the audience while we are watching our favourite course book author or a world famous presenter and digesting the concurrent sessions. There are of course other sweet things like seeing ex colleagues, meeting new ones, stopping by the book stands, munching the cookies and biscuits and looking forward to raffle time to get a prize.What about being there as a “presenter”? If you have never attended a conference or a seminar as a presenter, it is time to take a step. I know that some people do not like to be on the stage, but if you have a little bird twitting in your heart and telling you to do so, it is not difficult to reach your aim.

Here are some suggestions from me:

-    Decide on the type of the conference you would like to attend. An ELT conference or any other one such as Educational Sciences, Social Sciences etc.

-    Start with baby steps and try a local one, then you can go on with the international ones.

-     Try to be unique in some part of your presentation, so people will not forget you. -     Follow and watch the presenters and trainers, but never try to act like one of them.

-    Never think that your ideas are not valuable.

-    You can enlighten the way of (a) colleague(s) with your experiences.

-    Believe in yourself. The door of the courage is already in your heart, waiting to be opened.

Buena Suerte (Good Luck in Spanish:)

DAY 3 Tapa Tapa

Happy and relieved after I ate up my 'tapas':)

After people heard that I was going to Spain, they suggested me to eat “tapas”. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a specific dish with some kind of sauce. I don’t know why, but the sauce was visualized in my mind as a green smoothie. (human mind is strange, esp. mine:))) I don’t like reading or searching about a place before I visit it (the same strange mind again:))), so tonight I tasted my first “tapas” and understood what it really is. (actually it was more than one :) )“tapas” is a dish of different kinds of snacks and appetizers. You have the chance to get a small or big dish, but I preferred the small ones to taste more of them at the same time. Yummy! They were delicious. Now, I’m back to my hotel room and reflecting about my day to decide on the post of the day. What I just realized is the similarities between “tapas” and English lessons. A good lesson should include bits of pieces (as different tapas dishes) to keep the attention. Imagine yourself in a lesson working on the same type of activity using the same skills or having different type of activities appealing to different skills. Which one would make you feel better? Would you prefer a cauldron of beans to be eaten without any pauses or little dishes of “tapa” (food) with a wide variety of food to be enjoyed:)

P.S: Thanks to Turgut Turunc, my colleague, for suggesting me (at the dinner) to write about “tapas” for today’s post though it was a bit challenging for me to connect it with English lessons:)

DAY 4 The Soul of the Flamenco Dance

A shot from the awesome Flamenco Dance Show

Tonight, we were at ”El de Tabloa Carmen”. It was a tremendous dance performance. Watching a live Flamenco dance show left me breathless though I was not one of the dancers:)) I admired the performers who were in such a great harmony. Their handclaps and steps were increasing the speed of the dancers’ movements in some parts and slowing down in other times.  A story seemed to be hidden behind each dancer’s own mimes and gestures. Imagining a Flamenco dance show as an English lesson, I would probably be the handclaps and steps and my students would be the dancers adjusting their movements according to my actions.What about you? What part of the dance show would you be as an English teacher?Hope you can catch the soul of the Flamenco dance in your English classrooms:))

DAY 5 ‘Woke up’ in Spain and ‘Slept’ in Turkey:)

Me and my dear colleague Turgut Turunc (Thanks to him for making this 'conference' journey so special) - We are posing with the 'dragon fruit' before tasting it:)

I woke up in Spain and slept in Turkey yesterday. The world conference is over and I’m back to my home sweet home.Luckily it was my half day today and I woke up late. Today was the beginning of the second module at the university I am working. I was so excited like a little child. Although I’ve been teaching for fourteen years, I always have this feeling before I start a new term at school.  Teaching at a university preparatory class is a bit different. You do not teach the same classes for the whole year. There are 3 modules and in each module your classes change. The first module takes 17 weeks and the others are 8 weeks at my university. This makes 3 different starts:) New beginnings are always nice and refreshing, but some teachers think that teaching the same classes during the academic year is much better than this. The teacher can develop a better rapport with the students in a longer time and can also be more beneficial. What about you? Do you think teaching the same group of students in a shorter term is better? Why? Why not?

P.S: Today was also the first day of the primary and high school students in Turkey. Wishing all the teachers a nice and successful term / module. Welcome back to school :)


This post was first published here

A bit of Nostalgia: My Blogathon Resolution – Losing Weight by writing:)
merveoflaz blogathon tshirt

Today is the third day of the Blogathon and I feel happy and relieved with the very scientific new resolution I found for myself. Losing weight! Yes, sounds crazy but as I said it is scientific and proved:)A couple of days ago, I came across a Facebook post shared by Oya Uslu, one of the Blogathoners of last year. The post was a link to a news article saying that writing helps you lose weight. According to the research done by Waterloo University in Canada, half of the students wrote about the things they like and they cared for and the other half wrote about the least important things for themselves. At the end, the first group who wrote about their favourite stuff for 15 minutes every day lost approximately 1,5 kg and the other group gained about 1,25 kg in 4 months. The duration of the Blogathon can be much shorter, but it is OK for me. Writing about the things I like won’t be problem, because I am already doing that. If I count the comments I write, that will make more than 15 minutes. My scientific calculations reveal that by the end of the Blogathon, I will have lost about 4 kilos. That makes 4 bottles of cola :) Seems easy and fun. If I can prove it, that will be great to share it with my writing class but I should be ready for the students finding excuses like “Sorry Ma’am, I couldn’t write the first draft not to put on weight because I don’t like the topic” Ha ha!This is the link to the news article I mentioned, but it is in Turkish.

This post was first published here


Good-bye to 2012 by “Wh- Photos” Activity

This is a speaking activity that your students will enjoy a lot. It aims to help the students use wh- questions in different tenses.The only thing you need is a power point presentation of “your” photos taken in different places at different times. You can choose the best shots in 2012 and that might be a sweet good-bye to it:)

Instead of using photos of people your students don’t know, it is really exciting to use your own ones. Since the students always want to learn about their teachers’ lives, through this activity they will be able to ask questions to the teacher and get responses as well.

Here are the steps of the activity:

* Divide the students into pairs or groups. You can also use it as a classroom activity.

* Write the question words (who, what, where, when and so on) on the board.

* Tell the students that they’re going to make up a question using the question words in order. (While group A is using the question word “who”, the next group can use “what” and the others use the ones in the order.

* Do not forget to give a specific time expression for each photo, so they make their sentence using the related tense.

* wh- question words written on the board beforehand can be used in turns by the groups.

Here are some questions for the photo above:

- Where were you?

- What were you doing when the photo was taken?

- Whose bag is that?

- Did you read that book? / Did you like it? / Who was the author?


Any additions or adaptions?

This post was first published here


“Blogathon”, The Ongoing Journey

I stepped into the blogosphere by joining in “Blogathon 2011” that took place on the TeachingEnglish website. Being involved in a blog marathon has been one of the best moves in my professional development. It was my first blogging experience, but I was so lucky to have met so many great colleagues ready to swap ideas and share experiences. I was as happy as a clam when I learnt about the results of the marathon. Like I said in my last post at the Blogathon, this ending was a beginning.

Soon after I received a silver award, I created my own blog. It was just a month before my blog’s first birthday when “Blogathon 2012” started. Once again, I was running with other teachers not only from Turkey but also from five different countries. I was not a novice blogger anymore, but I felt the same spirit especially while wearing my Blogathon t-shirt. The Blogathon Team was really understanding to show respect to the ‘holy’ connection between me and my precious blogathon t-shirt, so they permitted me to wear my ex number, 120. Just like the first one, the marathon took a month long. I believe it was much more challenging with more people joining in. That meant more blogs to read and more comments to make. The word limit (250 words per post) was a big pressure on me in the first one, but it was not a big problem this time (I confess that I was glad about that, because there so many great posts to follow.)

The best thing was to meet teachers from different parts ofTurkey and other countries (including Blogathon 2011 runners). Blogathon has played the role of a magnet which gathered us together ‘automagically’ and blogging became more enjoyable with the motivating comments of the readers, their collaboration and the support of the Blogathon team that fired the runners with enthusiasm. I was honoured to get another silver award (and felt a bit like a silver award collector:). This was another ending which would open the doors of a beginning for each participant. That’s why I believe the Blogathon is an ongoing journey which will never end.I’d like to thank to the British Council Turkey and the Blogathon team for organizing these kind of events and giving the English teachers a chance to develop themselves (for free:) ). Another thank you goes to my fellow bloggers for making the journey so special.

Tips for beginning Blogathon runners

The world is changing. Learning and teaching are beyond the classroom walls now. The number of the blogging teachers seems to be increasing day by day and it may be your turn now. If you haven’t gone over to the world of blogging teachers yet, you should definitely give it a shot. Maybe you don’t like writing or you think you don’t have enough time for that. Don’t worry! You can still be a part of it by following the other teachers’ blogs. You can share your ideas and experiences, ask for advices and keep yourself updated.  Here are some tips for you if you decide to run at a blogathon:

  • Decide what you want to post about. Keep a list of the possible topics. Using your (smart) phone might be good for that. You never know when a new idea will pop up in your mind:)
  • Comments are as valuable as the posts. Never miss them when you visit a blog post.
  • Reply each and every comment of your posts and do not hesitate to leave a comment when you visit a blog. That creates the real connection between you and your readers. Besides, the bloggers you are interacting with can turn into lifelong friends and colleagues.
  • Use a positive language and soften it while criticizing something.
  • Do not worry about the word limit. You can continue in another post and that may even be more advantageous by drawing the readers to your blog again.
  • Make your posts “reader friendly”. Expressing yourself clearly and adding some humour can help a lot.
  • You may have international readers as well as the local ones, so try not to cause any offence by targeting a group of people. Respect all the political views and religious beliefs.
  • Be ready to say ‘No’ to all invitations and social activities during the marathon, because you will be sooo busy :S
  • Stick to the guidelines and criteria.
  • Getting an award is of course motivating, but finishing the marathon is also important in terms of its spirit.
  • Enjoy the Blogathon and enjoy the moment:)


An acrostic poem I wrote and dedicated to the Blogathon:

Bringing ideas all together

Leading the discussion and helping other

Organizing new posts every day

Getting replies and comment, ready to share and care

A door to be entered into another world waiting over there

The taste of each post makes me feel great about all that jazz

Hearty welcomes and warm good byes

On air all the time, running to the end ready to rise

Negotiating and interacting, broadening our minds


Other links you might like:

Does Everything Happen for A Reason? by Merve Oflaz

A Post on an IATEFL Interview with Adam Simpson (The Gold Award Winner of Blogathon 2012) and Sirin Soyoz by Merve Oflaz

My Blogathon Experience by Adam Simpson (The Gold Award Winner of Blogathon 2012)

Blogathon Journey by Özge Öztürk (The Runner-up of Blogathon 2012)

My Blogging Journey by Hale Yurttabir(Silver Award Winner)

Blogathon 2012 by Leman Ulas (Silver Award Winner)

An IATEFL Interview with Karin Tirasin (The Gold Award Winner of Blogathon 2011) and Eva Buyuksimkesyan (The Runner-up of Blogathon 2011)

Ready, get set and GO! ELT Blogathon 2011 by Sirin Soyoz


This post was first published here



IATEFL 2012 is not over!

The official website of IATEFL 2012 provided us with the online access for the conference, gave the chance to join in the chats and feel the IATEFL spirit even when we were miles away.  The conference is over practically, but it is still on theoretically:) The videos of the interviews and some sessions are waiting for you to be viewed. You can also read the blog posts about these videos written by the Glasgow Online Registered Bloggers. As one of those bloggers, I’ve been mulling over the videos to write a post about. Finally, I made my decision on Adam Simpson and Sirin Soyoz’s interview. Their interview is about the story of “Blogathon” which means a lot to me, because I started my own blog after Blogathon 2011.

Once again “Blogathon” has opened new doors to many English teachers by giving an opportunity to enter the blogosphere. Receiving the golden award at the blog marathon, Adam became the roving reporter of IATEFL. Adam is talking about his “Blogathon” experience modestly and states that he has learnt a lot from the other participants. Adam mentions about his three aims throughout this marathon: To share the theory, practical teaching ideas and the life of an English teacher. Being involved in the same race, I believe he has done this very well by drawing our eyes to his great posts.

Sirin, from the British Council Turkey, gives information about the aims of the race, participants and the criteria. I’m sure their job was harder this year because of the number of the participants from 5 countries. Will there be a third round of the Blogathon next year? Well, watch the video and listen Sirin to find out:)

Reaching the other videos is a cookie for you. Just click the titles below and soak up the conference spirit:

All Interviews

All Video Sessions

I’m sure the conference website will maintain to be a valuable resource including countless new ideas. Thanks to the British Council and IATEFL team for making this happen.

Run Merve Run:)

I’ve put on my marathon t-shirt (number 120) again and started running at the blog marathon. Feeling very excited and full of energy, I’m trying to reach the finish line.

The Blogathon has been a lot to me so far. As one of the silver award winners of last year I opened the doors of a new world after the race. Being inspired by the race, I started my own teaching blog and I believe this has been the biggest award I have ever received.

Teachers of English from different countries have been running at this year’s Blogathon started by the British Council Turkey. The race takes place on TeachingEnglish site of the British Council. The blogging teachers are supported by the motivating comments of Karin Tirasin, last year’s gold award winner, and the 1st runner up, Eva Buyuksimkesyan.

Teachers send great posts about their experiences, share their ideas, discuss issues and comment on each other’s posts. The race started on 16 January and it will end on 12 February. The gold award, a ticket to IATEFL Conference 2012, has been really motivating for most of the blogging teachers. More teachers are about to enter the magic world of blogging planning to start their own blogs. The British Council Blogathon team is doing a great big job by giving an opportunity to the teachers of English by helping them update themselves, opening a free space to blog and of course motivating them with awards.

If you want leave a comment and support blogging teachers, you should become a member of TeachingEnglish site and it will only take a minute. It is free and fun guaranteed:)

If you want to read my posts at the Blogathon, just click on the titles below.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

My precious blogathon t-shirt

My Blogathon resolution: Losing weight by writing

The personality you carry with you

Using movies in class

Sorting sticks of a teacher

One minute

Teachers of Crystal Teacher

Are you in danger of …?

Have you been to Barcelona?

A poem dedicated to Blogathon

Today’s Menu

The biggest snowball ever

Other post about the Blogathon:

The race is on in the ELT Blogathon by Adam Simpson

Marks, set,  go! ELT blgoathon 2011 by Dave Dodgson

I’ve entered a competition by Naomi Epstein

Taking part in the TeachingEnglish Blogathon 2012 by Sanja