New Year’s Puddin’: first helping


Merry Christmas                                by Fiona Mauchline

As a post to close the door on 2012 and kick off 2013, I thought I’d answer that question: What have we done? ELTpics and its curators have been pretty busy, so here’s a ‘Compendium of Stuff‘ for you to mull over while your wine does likewise close by and a new term beckons with glee. Happy New Year to you all.

ELTpics busyness: the Resource

ELTpics turned two in mid October, 2012, and celebrated it with its 11,000th image being added to the resource. Not bad, considering the whole thing started as a photo-swap between three friends (Victoria, Vicky and Carol). We had wanted to celebrate with some sort of symbolic action and photos, something like setting off balloons, but ecological and time issues dampened the fuse on those plans. However, we did celebrate by posting an article written by Shelly Sánchez Terrell on Take a photo and… , and subsequently had our Best Day, hitwise, thanks to that article. The blog has had, as I write, just under 13,200 hits since its start some14 months ago, and we hope to keep it running strong, through 2013.

Another birthday ‘present’ came in the form of the ELTpics portal, a webpage bringing together the various sections or facets of ELTpics to increase user-friendliness. If you’re a regular ELTpicser, you may like to bookmark the portal.

Around our second birthday, we also started to talk about spreading from Twitter to Facebook, to reach more people via a more visual medium. Thus, at Christmas 2012, a page was born… and the ELTpics facebook group took off. As an open group, it had 83 members by the time it was 24 hours old. Right now, it’s 48 hours old and has 121 members. Let it grow…

The last set to be opened in 2012, and therefore the first to collect images via Facebook was Dreams and Ambitions, which looks set to be a great way to wander the pathways of your imagination as you peruse and use photos of dream cottages, guitar-players, balloons, travellers…. At the time of writing, our latest contribution via Facebook and the last one from either source in 2012 was from Antonia Clare

Image courtesy of Antonia Clare for #eltpics

Image courtesy of Antonia Clare for #eltpics

and a few hours earlier, our last image via Twitter was from Michael E Griffin in Korea, which, while it was meant for Food, certainly shows a Dream and Ambition of mine….

I dream of carrot cake.....

I dream of carrot cake…..  Image by Michael Griffin for #eltpics

The first image to reach us in 2013 was this Dream/Ambition from Christian Schenk

Oh to be a professional football player....  Image by Christian Schenk for #eltpics

Oh to be a professional football player…. Image by Christian Schenk for #eltpics

and, at a little before lunchtime on New Year’s Day, we already have 7 images this year.

In addition to Take a photo and…, in April 2012, we added a second blog, The Burning Questionnaire, which is a collection of interviews with the guest writers who have posted on Take a photo and... As well as answering the questions in the interview, the guests choose four ELTpics which say something about them, and the images are used to illustrate or decorate their interviews. I have to admit to having become a bit slack re sending out the interviews since summer – sometimes life just gets in the way – but I intend to come back with a vengeance now in 2013, so look out guest bloggers past, present and future, you have been warned….

ELTpics busyness: the Events

ELTpics is increasingly being mentioned by people giving talks at conferences, training days and so on, with ELT folk such as Ben Goldstein, Ceri Jones and Jeremy Harmer waving the flag for us, for which we are immensely grateful.

Jeremy Harmer, in fact, used ELTpics to create his Pecha Kucha when asked to compère the IATEFL Glasgow Pecha Kucha evening in Spring 2012. He then wrote a post for Take a photo and… and added his interview to our Burning Questionnaire.

ELTpics was also invited to take part in round table (or rectangular screen, I guess) as part of the online Virtual Round Table organised by Heike Philps in April. This was a new web experience for me. I sat newly showered in my slippers, smart from the waist up, in a tiny hotel room in Córdoba, very few metres from the Mezquita, with the windows tightly closed in the hope that the street sounds wouldn’t interfere too much, and presented ELTpics to people around the planet via slides made using, hey guess what, ELTpics. It was a great feeling of intimacy and expansion at the same time, and was vaguely reminiscent of the opening sequence of The Brady Bunch.

ELTpics also went to TESOL France in November, and provided me, at least, with one of the most satisfying moments of the year, in true ELTpics ‘togetherness’ style. Prior to the Colloquium in Paris, Bethany Cagnol the then-president of TESOL France, mentioned on facebook that the speakers would be coming from over 30 countries. We decided to ask them to send photos from their country – either of residence or origin – which we would then use to make a slideshow.

Canada  Image by Tyson Seburn for #eltpics

Canada                                                                  Image by Tyson Seburn for #eltpics

This was to be beamed onto a wall during the coffee breaks. Little by little, the photos arrived, and by the time the Colloquium came along, I had 97! Some were labelled, some I labelled, then, with the indispensable (ie life-saving) help of Brad Patterson – without whom there would have been no slideshow – we stuck ’em all together. Well, no. That’s not quite what happened. Two days before going to Paris, I had a message from Bethany asking me to contact Brad about a logistics problem. It turned out that the wall we wanted to beam the slides onto was very brightly lit AND bright red. So it wasn’t going to work. Instead, Beth suggested showing the slides as the grand finale of the Open Mic Evening, and…. turning them into a kind of karaoke sing-along slideshow. With me leading the singing…..eek.

As anyone who saw me there can verify, my knees trembled so hard at the thought, my brain descended to meet them. The original suggestion for the song was Come together, but as I was supposedly going to sing in front of everyone, I wasn’t sold on the ‘…over me‘ bit, so took the liberty of throwing out that idea and choosing something I felt was more in the spirit of what we had done – created a show together, crowd-sourcing the photos which were then to be donated to ELTpics as a set; I chose (oh my goodness, and I then had to sing…) We are family.


Greece Image by Despoina Galanaki for #eltpics

On the night, the slideshow came at the end of a great show: beautiful opera, brilliant piano-playing and guitar numbers, Sue Lyon-Jones’ great ELT version of Killing me softly, stand up comedy… my knees dissolved, though if I’m honest, seeing my vastly more talented peers quiver with nerves did help me calm mine. And in the end, it went fine. I found my voice or what there is of it – and even danced, but that’s quite by the way as no one noticed anyway (thankfully); they seemed to love the pictures and Brad’s masterful addition of the lyrics below them in synch with the instrumental version of the song we’d managed to find. Everyone sang along in a truly inspiring show of what people can achieve when they work together. Me, I thoroughly enjoyed dancing in the dark and singing at the top of my voice with no one looking 🙂

Those were the three main ELTpics events in 2012 that I know of, but if you know of more, please feel free to drop them into the comments box and I can add an addenda later. 2013 will see us at TESOL Spain and who knows where else – hope to meet you somewhere down the line.

Also in 2013, we hope to continue to expand (the resource, not our waistlines…) and offer teachers of English, and of any language or subject if they’d like to join in, a wealth of great images and ideas, and we also have a couple of surprises up our collective sleeves, so watch this space.

I’ll be back in a couple of days with a second helping of New Year’s Puddin’, for you (ideas, pictures…), but for now:

A very merry Christmas And a happy New Year Let’s hope it’s a good one Without any fear.

Fiona (with a little help from J Lennon)

Happy Hogmanay and may your 2013 be bright and shiny.   Image by Carolyn Kerr. Taken in 2013 for #eltpics

Happy Hogmanay and may your 2013 be bright and shiny.                       Image by Carolyn Kerr. Taken in 2013 for #eltpics