Tag Archives: ELT


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?





My Idiom/Vine lesson has proved to be a winner with all age ranges and levels.  It has worked well as a cover lesson, as it needs hardly any preparation; I just put the lesson on the screen and it’s good to go.  In bigger groups, when i didn’t have enough ipads, the students used their own phones and many already had Vine accounts.  It’s quick and simple and best of all…the students love it!!

Here’s a selection of my favourites so far…

You’re pulling my leg

At Death’s Door!

Kick the Bucket!

No point crying over spilt milk!

Which is your favourite?

Check out My Vine Page to see other attempts

Be CREATIVE – Resource Round-up II

Here is the second instalment of my Resource Round-up, this time of things to use in the classroom with a more creative focus.

I think ‘doing’ poetry for learners of English as a second language can be quite a liberating experience.  It’s the chance to throw the rule book out of the window and take an anything goes attitude, allowing students to take more risks with their vocabulary choices.  So the following lesson ideas are with this in mind.


Book Spine Poetry (an idea courtesy of TheTeacherJames.com) would work as a fun, low-stakes introduction to poetry.   Take the kids to the library and see what they come up with…

Metamorphoses Where the wild things are dirty beasts survival of the fittest

Where the wild things are
dirty beasts
survival of the fittest

Insist that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t quite make sense, that’s the beauty of it!! To develop the activity, suggest that the poem is a synopsis for a book or a film and get the students to pitch it to publishers/producers (the class).  Which poem turned into the most interesting sounding book/movie?

I’ve come across Blackout Poetry a few times.  Not only is it outlined in the previous link but newspaperblackout.com and visualnews.com also give loads of very cool examples.  It is when you give the students a newspaper, magazine text or old book and they attack it with a marker pen.  There’s even a method of doing in on an iPad!!

Introduce students to Haikus using examples to elicit the syllable count per line (5,7,5) and the stylistic features.  Use nature photos on a powerpoint slide or hung around the classroom to inspire students to write their own e.g National Geographic wallpaper images or better still get them to take their own photos.


Ok let’s now presume that we have our poem…here are some cool ways to display them.

Festisite allows you to put your text into different shapes like a heart, waves or a spiral – great for young learners or teens…


But what really excites me the most about this site is this….


Not sure how this is relevant to displaying poetry but as well as putting your face on money you can change the text in logos.  Go on…



If your learners have got access to iPads, they could use the Sketch Book Pro app that allows you to add text to your own art work.  You could make a class anthology and send them home with their school reports.

iPhoto Library1

Box of Tricks’ post on Word Foto shows how this app can be used to reinforce vocabulary.  But you could also use it to combine photo-inspired poetry like the aforementioned Haikus.

But why settle for displaying work on the classroom wall – how dull!

Go through flavorwire.com’s 10 guerrilla poetry projects and get students to select an alternative way of sharing their poetry!!

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.

Body Parts

Body Parts/Halloween Lessons

We love this video by ELF Kids Videos, it makes a welcome variation to Heads, shoulders, knees and toes.

Once the kids can confidently recognise the different parts of the body we make the following resource provided by the British Council.  While the students are making the skeleton, the key vocabulary is being reinforced.


After printing out a selection of the following monster resources from Kaboose.com we matched the arms, legs, bodies and heads to the correct monster.

DSC06157 DSC06160 DSC06146

Then we had lots of fun mixing the monsters up.




And finally, we took photos of the muddled-up characters and this is the video we came up with…

We hope you enjoy it.  The key vocabulary has been highlighted.