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©Natalie Murray, 2015. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

Has it been a good year?

Well, I have to say that my year has been pretty good!  We came back from Abu Dhabi and settled back into our life here in Spain.  Mike has got on with putting the finishing touches to the house and land. We have a pool! The landscaping is coming along slowly but surely.  And we’re decorating the house to our liking and comfort.

As planned, I have gone freelance. Originally, I thought I would do proofreading and did the necessary training. ELT (English language teaching) was to be my USP (Unique Selling Proposition/Point).  However, I’ve found that my experience in ELT has equipped me well to become an editor, both content and copy, within the ELT publishing industry. Therefore, most of my projects thus far have been editing.  And I love it!  I already have projects lined up for the new year. So professionally, life is good!

Winter has descended on the mountain but, as usual, this brings great variety in the weather. This morning, for example, we are sitting in cold grey wet cloud:

Winter cloud

Winter cloud

Sitting in the clouds...

Sitting in the clouds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s feeling very Christmassy!

However, three days ago, we had a pre-Christmas trip to the coast for fish and chips, and the weather was gorgeous!

 

Yacht, anyone?

Yacht, anyone?

The Marina, Garrucha

The Marina, Garrucha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a browse around Garrucha market…

Garrucha market

Garrucha market

Last minute Christmas shopping!

Last minute Christmas shopping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then headed along the coast road to Mojacar, where we had fish and chips at the Irish Rover.  I know, not very Spanish! Then we had a stroll along the promenade…

 

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As you can see, it was very quiet. It’s the winter season – only residents around.  The perfect time to visit!

So, who knows what the weather will be like on Christmas day? But, you know what? I don’t mind at all! I’ll be with friends and family, and yes, that does include our dogs!

Wherever you are this Christmas, we wish you the happiest of times and a hopeful, healthy and inspiring 2015!

From our little corner of the mountains…

 

 

©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

Are you using multimedia in the classroom?

I consider myself to have a fair amount of experience using multimedia in the ELT classroom. In previous teaching posts, I have been lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard, and laptops and iPads for student use.  See one of my previous posts on iPads and teaching here.  As a result, in class my students could view movies, make movies, do research, record audio, complete online quizzes and exams, make interactive flashcards, use ebook versions of course books, and a whole load of other great stuff!  But we all need a refresher or an injection of new ideas from time to time, so yesterday I attended one of the talks at the Macmillan Education online conference.

The talk was entitled ‘Using Multimedia in the classroom’ and was presented by Robert Campbell, an ELT author. It was an interesting and informative talk, especially for those new to using multimedia and mobile technology in the classroom.  As well as discussing different ways of using multimedia, Robert also considered issues such as students knowing more about the technology than their teachers, and the misuse of smartphones and other such devices in class.

I was particularly pleased with some of the non-teaching trivia which I picked up.  For example, the term ‘tech-savvy’ was only included in the Oxford dictionary this summer! I was surprised; seems to have been around awhile. If you want to know how tech-savvy you are in comparison to a 14/15 year old, who, apparently are the most tech-savvy age group, visit ofcom.org.uk to take the test.

And, before yesterday, I’d never heard of Raspberry Pi.  Have you? Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer which can be connected to a monitor or TV, keyboard and mouse, and away you go. Apparently, the idea is to help educate children in the use of technology and programming skills. Read more about it here.

I also learnt a new acronym: BYOD.

 

Can you guess?

 

Bring Your Own Device!

BYOD

BYOD

 

Are you using multimedia in the classroom? As with anything it has its benefits and drawbacks, but I think the benefits win out.

If you’re thinking about it, I believe all the webinars on the Macmillan conference have been recorded and will be made available to view, so I suggest you have a listen to Robert’s talk.  It might help you make that first step.  It’s worth it!

 

 

 

©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

What’s new?

Crikey!  The last couple of months have been a bit busy, hence the lack of posts.

I’m pleased to say that I passed the proofreading course with flying colours! So, if you need anything proofreading, anything at all, get in touch to see what I can do for you. I have also been content editing on a project for an international English language teaching organization whilst continuing to develop resources for an online teaching website.

I’ve always thrived under pressure. So this is me in my element!

At the beginning of October, our area of Spain experienced a ‘gota fria’ (literal translation: a cold drop) which is violently wet stormy conditions often with hail.  Due to our elevation, whilst we experienced the wind, rain and hail, it wasn’t, fortunately, particularly destructive. Other, more coastal areas, were not so lucky. One Facebook feed showed a whole swimming pool floating down the street of a local town! Over the last few days though, the sun has reappeared and, hopefully, will stay for more than awhile.

 

Mountain Vista

 

 

©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

Dedication

In the heat of summer here in Almeria, which has a hot arid climate and averages between 30° and 40° during these summer months, it can be difficult to find the motivation needed to work for oneself. It’s especially hard when our three dogs, after their morning walk, spend the whole day lying around the house avoiding the incessant heat and blinding light outdoors. Why can’t I do what they do?

 

Sleeping baby... shhhhhh

Sleeping baby… shhhhhh

 

 

Leader of the pack...sleeps with one eye open!

Leader of the pack…sleeps with one eye open!

 

 

Jilly dreams of stones... Why? Because she spends her waking hours collecting them!

Jilly dreams of stones… Why? Because she spends her waking hours collecting them!

 

 

Why can’t I just spend the day by the pool?

 

Because the landscaping isn’t finished; that’s why not!  And someone has to pay for it!

 

Seriously, though, I LOVE my new occupation!  I have all the dedication and motivation that I need.  Being able to work how I want, when I want,  is invigorating.  If you’ve ever thought about working for yourself, think no longer. Do it!  Now!

Currently, I am working as an ELT (English Language Teaching) Resource Developer.  It’s something that I’ve done as part of my teaching for the last 14 years, but now I have the time to really get my teeth into it.  I’ve always enjoyed the creative aspect of teaching; thinking of innovative ways of developing and using resources in the classroom, of creating a more exciting and enjoyable learning environment for the students, of designing assessments tailored to a particular set of students.  So now I get to build on that without worrying about getting to the classroom on time!

Of course, it’s still early days for me, and too soon to tell whether this lifestyle is sustainable. You can be sure, though, that I will give it my all.

Back in March, I told you about a proofreading course which I was completing.  After struggling a little with widows and orphans, I am finally on the last unit of the course.  Up to now, I have enjoyed it immensely and, although I have the final and toughest assignment to get through, I believe (hope?) that I will successfully complete the course and go on to enjoy a new dimension to my business.

So, dedication?  At the moment, I have it by the truck load: even in the heat of August!  Who knows,  maybe next August I’ll have a big enough client list that I can take the month off!  Here’s hoping!

Enjoy your summer!

 

 

 

 

 

©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.