Tag Archives: ESL


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

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!!!

Hello Goodbye

Here’s our version of The Beatles ‘Hello Goodbye’.  We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed performing it…

We began the lesson with this easy to follow version:

We wrote all the keys words on Show-Me boards and placed them around the room.  Then we listened again and ran to the different words when heard them.  This was very hectic but lots of fun!!

What a fun lesson to start the term!

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!!

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

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.