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Yesterday and today my school was the skillful host of spring Cambridge English Exams in Sibiu.

Cambridge English Language Assessment offers the world’s most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English. Almost 4 million people take our exams each year in more than 130 countries. Over 12,000 universities, employers, government ministries and other organisations around the world use Cambridge English qualifications as proof of English language ability.

It was the first time we attempted the computer-based Cambridge English Exams in my school, and everything went smoothly.

The young people in Sibiu who chose to take the Cambridge English First, Cambridge English Advanced or Cambridge English Proficiency exams – all of them either current, or former students at my school - will get the internationally recognised certificate upon successful completion.

EUROLINGVA Examinations Centre has made this possible.

Last year this non-for-profit organisation received authorization to administer Cambridge English Exams in Romania as an open, authorised examination centre, following a bilateral agreement reached with Cambridge English Language Assessment.

EUROLINGVA Examinations Centre has been successfully operating in the field of exams administration, foreign language training courses and IT services.

Computer-based testing is ideal if one is more comfortable with a keyboard and mouse than with pencil and paper; there are additional benefits too:

  • faster access to results - scores are available to be seen online just three weeks after the test;
  • the test is easy to understand, and the online timer and help functions permit getting the best from one’s exam performance;
  • one can edit one’s answers on screen during the exam;
  • the use of headphones for the listening elements of tests means that one can adjust the volume to suit one’s needs.

Thank you, EUROLINGVA Examinations Centre!

My own photo – taken today :-)

under: Education, Exams


Posted by: | December 26, 2013 | No Comment |

I’ve been tagged in a blogging meme by my dear friend Arjana Blazic.


The task includes:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.

  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

  4. List 11 bloggers.

  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.


So here I go:


11 random facts about me:

1 My son’s name is Cristian because, while I was pregnant, there was this student of mine named Cristian, 11 years of age, who kept making me laugh and putting a smile on my face every day I saw him.

2 My hobby is reading science fiction stories – particularly if they involve comets.

3 I have travelled to many countries in Europe, and hope to travel to America one day.

4 I love my niece and nephew almost as much as I love my son.

5 I am an eTwinning ambassador, and proud of it.

6 I could fill my pantry with nothing else but milk chocolate.

7 I have a sister whose nickname is Bambi, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, and whose favourite childhood book was the same as mine: “Alice, the Girl from Earth” by Kir Bulychov.

8 My favourite stop-motion animated children’s television series is “Shaun the Sheep”.

9 I was in awe when I found out that there could have been a war called “The Seventy-Seven Years’ War”: 1914-1991.

10 I like beer – Tuborg is my favourite.

11 I look forward to helping my 4-year old son build the next Lego thing tomorrow.


My answers to Arjana’s questions:

1) What is your favourite book?

Isaac Asimov’s “Prelude to Foundation”.

2) How much time on an average day do you spend online?

2 hours, give or take a few minutes.

3) iPad or Android tablets?


4) What do you consider the most valuable thing you own?

My house.

5) What is your favourite way to waste time?

Watching TV.

6) If a movie was being made about you who would you choose to play you and why?

Jennifer Aniston because she could portray both my stubbornness and my ease in being constantly and rather effortlessly amazed.

7) If you could have an endless supply of food what would that be?

Milk chocolate.

8) What’s the best holiday you’ve been on?

On the Black Sea Coast 5 years ago.

9) What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

Longer on the right side…

10) What three things do you love most about your best friend?

Her kindness, optimism and determination.

11) What is your favourite smell and what memory does it remind you of?

I don’t have a favourite smell. I like fresh smells yet have no favourite.


I tag you, Olga, Nina, Fred, Dora, Neslihan, Serege, Valentina, Kate, Aurelie, Clare and Caroline! I’m looking forward to your answers to my questions:

1 If you were a flower, which flower would you be, and why?

2 Have you ever made a book/film/game/project trailer, and, if you have, to what end?

3 What do you treasure above all?

4 How often are you an edutainer in your classroom?

5 What do you enjoy most when travelling?

6 When did you start driving, and what type was your first car?

7 Which colour do you think you look best in?

8 How often do you laugh?

9 Who is your favourite person in the whole world?

10 If you owned a time machine, how would you change which moment of your life in the past?

11 What do you want for Christmas next year?


Thank you, Arjana, for tagging me. I really appreciate it.


Happy holidays everybody!



under: Education

Christmas preparations at school have never been more of a child’s play like this year in my classroom. All my students have handled themselves into working / learning / playing about Christmas, and what follows is a description of the 100-minute low-preparation, fun activity I did with my youngest, aged 11 – 30 elementary students of English.

It is a simple activity that is ideal for young learners. It is entertaining, and straightforward to set up. All the students needed was a leaf of paper, a grey pencil, a black felt tip pen, coloured pencils or crayons, and a little bit of imagination.

There were two classes, and the first started with colours and Christmas vocabulary pre-taught or reinforced. Next each student was asked to take a leaf of paper and outline on it – using a grey pencil – a drawing connected to Christmas, making sure it has specific areas for colouring in. This is a collage of photos of students working on this:

When the drawing was ready, each student took a black felt tip pen and outlined it so that everything was more easily visible. This is Teodora’s drawing on her desk:

By now the first class was ready. For the beginning of the next, I chose – and make one more copy of – 15 of the drawings that exhibited the main feature I needed for the upcoming step: they could be divided into two somehow equal parts – Teodora’s drawing is a good example – on the left Santa Claus, on the right the Christmas Tree:

In the classroom the students sit two side by side – each at their own desk. I gave each of the pairs the same one drawing, and asked them to colour in, as nicely as possible, either the left half or the right half, depending on their seat:

They needed not to peek at their deskmate’s colouring, so they put their pencil-cases up between them on the desks! They all coloured in:

When they were done, each student specified to her or his deskmate, in English, how to colour the other half so that – in the end – they would have the same identical picture! I asked them to use either commands, or sentences, and to repeat each phrase or sentence two or three times before moving on. They did great, and although some ‘copying’ did occur, language transfer did take place because there was still an association with what they heard and what they were colouring:

After swapping roles and being done with the task, all my students were extremely pleased to see their two drawings side by side, very similar indeed – a few giggles could be heard too however, as minor differences got pointed out:

This Christmas collaborative colouring-in dictation helped me check whether my pupils produced adequate speaking and understood a listening text. It was an interesting and agreeable way to especially boost my pupils’ learning of the Christmas vocabulary and reinforce their proficiency in using names of colours. I was delighted to see they all did their best, and the activity was a celebrated success.



Photos, screenshots and scans – all my own.

under: Classroom activities

#etwion – Race of the Smiles

Posted by: | December 20, 2013 | 1 Comment |

Yesterday evening I joined more than 150 educators in the first #etwion Twitter marathon.

I took part in its first 3 hours, and read the tweets of the last two earlier today. Every hour there was a new discussion topic. Here’s the programme:

1703 tweets got sent during the 5 hours – 33 were mine, which put me on the list of top tweeters at number 8. :-)

All this was possible due to two great teachers I am proud to know and appreciate: Arjana Blazic and Bart Verswijvel. They organized and conducted the Twitterathon. Here are their impressions of the event: Arjana’s and Bart’s.

Many friends of mine tweeted with us – and as modern and sophisticated as it may look, Twitter turned out to be our supporter, letting us throw various hues of the eTwinning pallette on the educational canvas and welcoming every bit.

Here’s the story created from the #etwion tweets: http://chirpstory.com/li/177778 – read through it, you are bound to find numerous useful links and ideas!

The evaluation of the event is still underway – you can find it here: http://stickymoose.com/lF4SbKHvn2BMyaI.

This was an amazing display of enthusiasm for eTwinning – I will make sure I will join next time too! Thank you, dear companions!



Screenshots – all mine; a warm thankyou to @sfistrovic for the Wordle.

under: eTwinning, Web 2.0 tools

My fifteen days of openhanded solicitousness began on November 26th, 2013 with a webinar in which five experienced eTwinners, and me among them, talked about their roles as ambassadors with eTwinning. I have written another blog post about it here: http://questsandtreks.edublogs.org/2013/11/26/the-role-of-ambassadors-in-etwinning/.

Two days later, on November 28th, 2013 I conducted a seminar for forty-four of the eTwinning teachers in Sibiu county – my region – who wanted to find out more about, and afterwards be able to apply for, the eTwinning Quality Label.

On Monday December 9th, 2013 I presented a webinar about ways of integrating eTwinning into the curriculum to forty-two interested eTwinners. You can watch a recording here: https://eun.webex.com/eun/ldr.php?AT=pb&SP=MC&rID=5749387&rKey=1c8a7d712b3226c7.

The next day December 10th, 2013 was my birthday, and I spent one hour with many colleagues dear to me, members of eTwinning, in a webinar where members of the Creative Classroom eTwinning Group celebrated winter, Christmas and the coming New Year 2014.

Always kindhearted. Often tenderhearted.


Photos / screenshots – all mine.

under: eTwinning, My workshops, Seminars, Webinars

Earlier today starting 6 pm CET the eTwinning Creative Classroom Group introduced the Expert Collaborative Talks! Members of the group organize webinars on topics they consider are within their expertise, in collaboration with other members.

Today was the first ECT, entitled “The role of ambassadors in eTwinning”. Four other experienced eTwinning ambassadors – Tiina Sarisalmi, Cornelia Melcu, Miguela Fernandes and Costantino Soudaz – and myself spoke about our work as eTwinning ambassadors. We shared our ideas and experiences, and gave tips about how to promote and disseminate eTwinning in Europe.

http://tiinasarisalmi.wikispaces.com/eTwinning+ambassadors+role+2013 - this is where the presentation and the feedback can be found.

An ambassador’s work is varied and can take many ‘shapes’. When it was my turn, I decided to talk about two specific examples: the blog and the seminar.

An exemplification of a blog is the Romanian ambassadors’ blog, started in May 2013 – following similar ‘trends’ in other eTwinning countries.

As for the seminars – and webinars for that matter – that can be delivered to interested eTwinners and potential registrants, an example of an always suitable topic would be applying for a Quality Label.

The Romanian eTwinning ambassadors’ blog was created just 7 months ago and is, in fact, part of a website maintained by a few of the 45 Romanian eTwinning ambassadors.

Just like any blog, it is a place of discussions on the Internet. It is in Romanian and it consists of discrete entries – the posts, 18 in all so far – displayed in reverse chronological order – the most recent post appears first. It combines text, images, links to web pages, and other media related to eTwinning. There is information and dissemination about eTwinning events in Romania, there are posts about conferences in Romania and abroad where eTwinning was mentioned and praised, there are announcements about eTwinning publications, or more scientific or researched articles about, for instance, project kits, multiple intelligences, eTwinning Plus, Quality Labels and more.

The blog is interactive, allowing visitors – ambassadors, eTwinners, students involved in eTwinning, parents, other teachers – to leave comments. It is updated regularly – there are up to five posts a month so far.

The blog, as I already mentioned, is part of a website, and it is of good use to Romanian eTwinners as it complements the Romanian National Support Service’s site bringing together – on specific pages – pertinent information such as the Romanian eTwinning map (where the most active schools in the country are marked on the country’s map), the updated list of Romanian eTwinning ambassadors, all the eTwinning publications in Romanian in one place, forthcoming eTwinning events in Romania.

One such event is a seminar I am organising on November 28th 2013 in Sibiu county for the eTwinning teachers who would like to apply for a Quality Label this coming winter. The seminar will take place in the library of my school, and about 40 teachers have expressed their interest in joining.

I plan to set up a practical session, where the teachers find out handy information about applying but also start their own application. The technical requirements will be framed, and next the 6 quality criteria will be presented, with indicators of a good project. I have had some feedback after another session in September, and I intend to focus a little bit more on curricular integration.

I am confident the participants will acknowledge the session as being useful, and more eTwinning teachers in my county will apply for, and obtain, the National Quality Label and the European Quality Label in 2014!



under: eTwinning, Webinars

As my 6th graders were getting tired of just sitting in the classroom and learning after a mere fortnight of school, I thought about organising an activity that would walk us all away from the plank of simplicity in the classroom!

8 groups of 2, 3 or 4 students aged 12 enjoyed a treasure hunt around our school yesterday!

They were asked to act in their groups and – inside the school premises – to work collaboratively through a team worksheet with various instructions, such as:

- taking photos with their mobile devices;

- bringing grass, pebbles, sand, leaves back to class;

- asking the student on duty (who welcomes all the people who enter our school) to draw certain pictures;

- answering questions about the headteachers, the cars in the parking lot, the library and offices in the school, the sports halls and the sports field;

- solving a puzzle on a handout positioned by a window in the Teachers’ Corridor.

My students loved this hands-on approach to learning English – reinforcing vocabulary and revising grammar points – and they also remembered things about the school that they had forgotten during the three months of summer holidays!

I so loved my students frantically running around the school yard, enjoying the beautiful sunshine after days of rain, taking a break from usual schoolwork, having fun!



under: Classroom activities

Being Interviewed…

Posted by: | July 21, 2013 | No Comment |


Martin Sketchley’s blog, “ELT Experiences – Experiences of an English Language Teacher”, includes my interview – thank you for reading!




Image: morgueFile free photo.

under: Education


The conference “Re-looking ESL: Where we are and where we are going” was organized by Express Publishing and was dedicated to the Romanian teachers of English. It was held in Sibiu, Romania, on 17-19 May 2013.

Hotel Ana

On Friday May 17th I presented the workshop entitled “Making Glogster EDU Waves within eTwinning” to a number of 21 teachers of English from countries in South-East Europe.


My idea was inspired really: to introduce eTwinning and Glogster and talk about how these platforms can make / do make waves – with the best meaning of the phrase – in education today. Because producing sensation can cause change, and the challenges laid before us by eTwinning and Glogster push us towards opening a lot of new doors.

Room 2

eTwinning projects are a challenge indeed. We develop – while working in eTwinning projects – new methods of teaching, of learning, of assessment, we use ICT, we reflect, we share experiences… We are more complex, we understand better other peoples and other cultures, and also what the future can offer us.

We build part of the future ourselves, and the tools we use describe the ubiquitousness of eTwinning and its specific spontaneity and speed. Glogster is one of these tools, providing motivation, inspiration and new ways of expressing one’s creativity and imagination.


This was a successful workshop, from the trainer’s point of view :-)

I am confident that the waves are still travelling… They have touched your shores as well, haven’t they? What’s the feeling?

Thank you,





Photos – all my own.

under: eTwinning, My workshops, Web 2.0 tools

This is the poster my 6th grade students and I prepared for this year’s spring campaign within eTwinning:

The competition is fierce – there has been an amazing response from all over Europe. There are about 200 posters from across Europe! We are second place so far, but there is still time for voting until the 16th of May. It would be great to win that HD pocket camcorder! :-) Keep your fingers crossed for us please!


Own photo :-)

under: eTwinning

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