Tag Archives: creative lesson ideas


Fantasy Dinner Party

You are hosting a dinner party for four famous people (dead or alive)

Choose 3 people from the following list to attend your Dinner Party.  Choose one other famous person of your own choice.  Give reasons for your answers.

  • Stephen Hawking,
  • Martin Luther King,
  • Alan Turing,
  • Mark Zuckerberg,
  • Oskar Schindler,
  • King George VI of England,
  • Kurt Cobain,
  • Oscar Wilde,
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Steve Jobs

All of these famous people have had movies made about them.

  • Can you name them?
  • Have you seen any of these movies?
  • How have these people made a contribution to society?








You see the following announcement on a website.  Great Lives

Reviews Wanted

Send us a review of a book or a film that focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society.

Did you learn anything new about the person’s life from the book or film?  Did the book or film help you understand why this person made their important contribution?




Body Parts Lesson

Today we learnt all the different parts of the body.  We watched the following videos and then danced and sang along…

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

This is ME!! A fun recap of key vocabulary.

British Council Learn English Kids has a great video and learning resources – We love this song!!

Then we reinforced all of the target vocabulary with a great App called Fun English Language Learning Games for Kids.  It covers a range of different topics.   Clown Face names all the parts of the face which you touch to colour in.  The Juggler does the same with body parts, all the time repeating the target vocabulary. The Gorilla game gets the students to spell out the different body parts.  Our favourite game was Monster Match which is an observation game, the children have to recall the eyes, ears, legs, feet etc of the monster.  The children worked well as a team to decide who was going to focus on the different body parts.

photo 1photo 4photo 3photo 2-1

Then we played our own version of the Gorilla Spelling Game with these letter tiles:


Then we wrote out all of the words we had learnt on post-it notes and stuck them all over ourselves!!

We had so much fun!!!

Using Vine for Lesson on Idioms

A Quick and Easy Lesson on Idioms 

Begin the lesson by sharing the following fantastic images (all credit to Christine Kawasaki-Chan @ Dribbble, found via Laughing Squid).  Do you know these similes? Had you heard of them before? Do the visualisations make them easier to understand? etc etc…

photo courtesy of Warm Squid



Then explain that the purpose of the lesson is to visualise an idiom – to bring it to life in order to make it easier to remember…

“It’s not my cup of tea!”

Is it clear what the expression means from the video?

Now it’s the students turn…Obviously, how you set up the next part of the lesson is entirely up to you. You could either check students understand the meaning of all of the idioms, just those they have chosen or get them to find out the meaning themselves. Hand out the list of idioms, when they have chosen you could cross them off from a central list on the board to avoid repetition.

Vine is a really simple app to use – you record by touching the screen. You only have 6 seconds but you can use as many shots as you need (or can fit into 6 seconds!).

Here are some idioms that i thought would be manageable within the restrictions of a classroom/school setting.  But please drop me a comment if you can think of any more.

  • To have a chip on your shoulder
  • A piece of cake
  • (that cost) an arm and a leg
  • To get a taste of your own medicine
  • (no use) crying over spilt milk
  • Have your cake and eat it
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • drink like a fish
  • the icing on the cake
  • It takes two to tango
  • Kick the bucket
  • Sit on the fence
  • Over my dead body
  • To pull someone’s leg
  • The ball’s in your court

I can’t wait to see how they interpret this task!
Show me your versions @Directors_chair and let’s make a Gallery of Vine Idioms!!

Also if you have any other ideas of how to integrate Vine Videos into the ESL classroom, please share.
Thanks for reading

Resource Round-up – SKILLS

So before i totally forget where i’ve saved all of the excellent resources that i’ve come across in the first few weeks of my holiday, i thought i’d do a Resource Round-up.  Here is the best of what i’ve found so far; resources that i’m really looking forward to using in the next school year.


The following links are to resources that i plan to use with pre-intermediate plus classes with a focus on Exam Skills.


I follow i great blog, Read. Know. Learn. Go, which shares learning tools for the ESL classroom.  Here i came across a really useful website called Cowbird.  There are loads of stories, poems and pictures.  Some of the stories are read aloud with voice-overs and so could be used as a listening exercise.  Each story has a corresponding photograph; i think students will really enjoy personalising their stories with an image and uploading to the internet for a real audience.

Similarly, Storybird allows you to write an online story with a bank of cute animations, you can then share your story with friends and family.  However, i’ve heard that to order the books and get them printed is quite expensive.  I think this resource will work well with my Year 8 or Year 9s.  I will give them a choice of issues e.g bullying, eating disorders etc (therefore could be a tutorial task) then get them to write a story for a younger audience.  Once the book is complete they can read it aloud (using the iPads) to a small group of primary students and lead a discussion on their topic.  Credit to The Guardian for bringing this resource to my attention.


Check out EFL Shorts, graded readers for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.  Each story has follow-up comprehension and vocabulary activities.  Great for homework tasks.

Use of English

Tower and Castle – This really useful website takes current news event and turns them into CAE Use of English practice papers.  Now that’s certainly more relevant than some of the random texts you find in practice test books.


Language Lego is a really thoughtful blog that offers reflections on Teaching  theory alongside lesson ideas.  Here is a really novel way of integrating instagram to improve students’ pronunciation – Instagram for EFL

How much do you love StumbleUpon???!!! (I’m only slightly addicted).  You’re bound to find something interesting…uh…i guess that’s the whole point!  I will use this website in the classroom ‘stumbling’ upon images that i have already saved to a list and then give students 1 minute to describe the picture.  Here is a link to my ‘cool pics’ list, then use EFL Classrooms 2.0‘s extensive list of how to incorporate images into the classroom if you’re feeling stuck.

There’s more than Speaking Activities to these haunting images: More than just photographs.  Learners can write the backstories or character monologues, read them aloud at the end of the class and other students guess which picture the stories go with.

A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words

This link, (found via Stumpleupon) is incredibly disturbing, so for use with older learners.  It outlines 10 psychological experiments that went wrong.  Depending on the group dynamic, you could even attempt a mini mock-up of the Stanford Prison Experiment and discuss how it made participants feel.  Then use the article as a gate-way to a discussion on ethics.

Another StumbleUpon find, Life’s 100 photographs that changed the World will make an interesting Team quiz.  Students have to speak about chosen photograph  for set amount of time, explaining its significance.

Tutorial Ideas

Of course the following resource can be used for any number of activities but i intend to get my tutor group, at the beginning of the year, to find a quote or motto and explain why they chose it.  Then, using Recite we ‘turn a quote into a masterpiece’ and display them around the classroom.  Quotes can also be uploaded to social media sites and students could report back on how many ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ they got.

You can't always get what you want...oh wait, wrong quote!!

You can’t always get what you want…oh wait, wrong quote!!

Massive Thank you to Topical Teaching for sharing this video of an 11 year old girl who escaped her destiny as a child bride.  The students in my tutor group are 13 and this will certainly make an interesting starting point for a discussion.

As will Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the UN.  Hopefully it will help teens to see a bigger picture.

Writing this post has certainly helped me to categorise some of the resources that i’ve saved so far.  It was originally going to be one post but the process has made me realise that it will form part of a series with at least 3 more posts: Creative Writing Resources, Cine Club Resources and Stuff for the Little ones, which i will get round to a bit later but for now the beach is calling me!!  I hope it’s been useful.  Please comment any links or further suggestions of what you use.