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As 2011 draws to a close, I look back at another year and think ‘What the hell happened to the time?!’. I’m sure I am not alone in feeling that sometimes the year accelerates by. With that in mind, it’s quite nice to do a retrospective blogpost – something I may do more of in the future, and probably picking out particular highlights of what I’ll be reading on the interweb, rather than looking back at my own stuff. It also means that I can take up a challenge posted by Adam AKA @yearinthelifeof – pick your top 11 posts from ’11! Here we goooo…

January

  • Head in the cloud – This was actually an attempt I made to try and get my head more around the idea of cloud computing and what I was or could be doing ‘in the cloud’. It’s nothing very technical, just basically a summary of how I was using online storage at the time. Don’t forget, this also includes things like Flickr, and really even Facebook. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about your digital file trunk? I’m mulling over getting some premium Dropbox space, myself…
  • HMD 2011 – This was one of those definite ‘drop the coursebook/syllabus’ moments and take a cue for the lesson material and activities from what was going on at the time. I saw a poster in the corridor about Holocaust Memorial Day and was inspired. One evening’s searching on the internet yielded this lesson, and two follow up posts, and even a collaboration with the Language Gardener, David Warr.

February

  • Film star impressions – I really really like some of the odd and funny videos you can find on YouTube and other online video sites. This post includes a great video where a British Asian comedian called Anil Desai ‘physically’ impersonates a bunch of movie stars, including Rob De Niro and Jim Carrey. Well worth a look.

March

  • Reverse reading comprehension – It seems you lot out there like flipping your comprehension activities on their heads and turning it into a fun, funny creative writing lesson. One of the most commented on and views posts on my blog. Goes to show how sometimes simple ideas catch on and inspire others. Do check out all the comments and follow up blogs to this one – a lot of creative adaptation to be found.

April

  • On tour – This was the lead up to my first ever solo workshop presentation, which I was lucky to be given the opportunity to do at the ISTEK Schools International ELT Conference in April this year. Words can’t describe how crazy, amazing and beautiful an experience this was for me.

May

June

  • Foodoholics Anonymous – Actually the only post on the blog in June, but for me an opportunity to shine the light on a fabulous guest blogger – the wonderful Ania Musielak. Anyone who saw Ania present at TESOL France will tell you that she is a ball of energy, so creative and has some great ideas for using drama techniques in the language classroom. In this particular instance, she’s dealing with some rather odd food-related stuff!

July

  • You can never have too many friends, right? – This is the post where I air my thoughts on the issue of social media and the fact of being a teacher online now – basically, do you add teaching contacts on Facebook, is it different to Twitter? No definitive answers, yet…

August

  • Five minutes to live – This description of a possible lesson procedure features my Most Favourite YouTube Video Ever! Has to be seen! Go! Go, watch it now!

September

  • Unplugged tips: learner dictionaries – A few ideas for using these fab resources in the language classroom. Nothing outrageously new here, but maybe you might find something useful…

October

  • What about you and your TKday??? – A bit of a personal one for me, as I’ve just recently passed my own ten thousandth day alive, this is an interesting idea and in fact a new word coined by…no wait I can’t tell you that. You just have to read Wordwatching to find that out!

Of course, the best bit about blogs is that you’re able to engage with readers, be they teachers or other people in education, sharing ideas and opinions and moving forward all the time. I think there’s been a lot of ground covered, personally, in 2011. Here’s to wondering what the next 12 months bring…