domingo, 31 de janeiro de 2010

Another good site!

Colleagues, when you have time it's a good idea to take a look at I mean... when you have time because there are maaaaaaaaaaaany things there for us to see. There are lots of nice printable exercises for different levels. And we all know that it's very important to have a "trump card" every class. Really interesting! Have a look!

sábado, 30 de janeiro de 2010

Students CAN have fun with listening exercises!

Sometimes listening exercises become boring because they are almost all the same. The teacher plays the CD and the students are supposed to listen to it and follow in their books or not, depending on the method. The thing is that we, teachers, can use some different activities in order to make the listening part of the class even more challenging and interesting for them. Here are three ways to let your students have some fun while they're practicing their listening:

1) Just before class you can put some statements on the board related to the conversation they're about to hear. But only some of these statements should be true. Students are supposed to keep their books closed and look at the board while the CD is playing. They have to check which statements are true and which ones are false (notice that they don't need to copy anything from the board);
2) A fill in the blanks exercise can also be done. In advance, type the conversation which the students are supposed to listen to and ask them to fill it out while you're playing the CD. You can ask them to do it in pairs so the task can be even funnier for them. Notice that a simple activity as this one can become an exciting game!! Give a reward to the students (as a pair) who understand more words listening to the conversation only once, for example!
3) Type the conversation in advance and cut it all in pieces. Students have to listen to the CD and at the same time put the conversation in order. You can ask them to work in pairs! Let them free to sit on the floor if they want to ( remember students love anything different).

...let's listen, repeat and have fun!

sexta-feira, 29 de janeiro de 2010

In February...Valentine's!

So here is a picture of my mural decorated for February. It's nice because my students can also learn a little about the American holidays and I'll tell you what...they really enjoy it!

quinta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2010

Music in class is great!

As almost all teachers I love working with music in class.But the point is...HOW? Some teachers use certain songs to teach a grammar topic and I think it's amazing! But to be honest I've never found the perfect song for the grammar content I had to teach, and I confess I've never had enough time to spend hours and hours searching for a song that would fit my lesson.But of course I'd love to teach grammar using a song! The last time I used music in class was two ot three weeks ago. It was an Elvis Presley's song because my student is a big fan of him and also because people were talking about Elvis's birthday (if he were alive) was in January. Well, I never give my sudents a song without asking them to do something about it. Just listening to the song and following it is not enough in my opinion. So here are some examples of what you can do when giving your students a song: Most of the times, I use a "fill in the blanks" exercise. I type the lyrics and they're supposed to listen to the song and try to fill them out. I always tell them that it's impossible to understand everything at first so they don't feel demotivated during the task. Some other times, I type the lyrics but I put two options for a certain word so they have to listen to the music and circle the words they hear. And another very nice option is to type the lyrics, cut it all in pieces and ask them to put the song in order as they listen to it. All these activities can be done individually, in pairs or even in groups. Have a nice class!

quarta-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2010

"Friends" forever!!

In my opinion "Friends" is the best sitcom ever! And you can use their DVD in your classes!! Yesterday, for example, I had to present a lesson and its topic was "I don't like working on weekends!". So I started talking to my student about working, job skills and job interviews. I wanted to to get to that point, because the episode from Friends that I had chosen showed Rachel (one of the characters) going to a job interview. Using the DVD I could illustrate the topic of the unit and at the same time I gave my student a chance to watch a part of a funny sitcom with the audio and the subtitles in English! Of course she couldn't understand every little thing, but she could understand something and that's what is important! She could feel she's able to get the idea of an American show even though she doesn't understand everything they say. I know that at home it's pretty hard for them to watch a TV program in English (especially beginners/intermediate students) 'cause they feel the difficulty and usually give up. So here is my tip: when you prepare your class, pay attention to see if there's a good American show related to the topic you're going to present that could implement your class! I'm sure your students are gonna have a great time learning!

terça-feira, 26 de janeiro de 2010

"The good and old Hot Potato"!

Ahhh!! The good and old Hot Potato game!! I was playing it a lot with my groups and it used to work pretty well! Notice that you can practice lots of things with this activity: Simple Past of irregular verbs, Past Participle, or you can even use it as a warm up in your first day class with some personal questions like "What's your favorite color?", etc. I loved to play this game when I had a reading exercise to do with "thousand" comprehension questions for the students. Reading tasks are usually tiring and imagine answering lots of questions afterwards! So, I used to write all the questions in pieces of paper and pout all of them inside a bag. Then I asked my students to sit in a circle, played a CD with very happy songs and they should pass that bag around until I stopped the song. The one who had the bag by then had to answer the question about the text they had just read. If the answer was correct I would give him/her a reward and the game continued! It was always funny!!Students used to love it, and a lesson that had everything to be boring ended up being the best part of the class!! Try it and you'll see!

segunda-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2010

Let's practice vocabulary/verbs with "The word chain"!!

Another easy and good way to have your students practicing vocabulary or verbs is playing a game called "the word chain". The good thing is that this activity lasts the time you want. You can interrupt it whenever you need, it means, you can use this game as a "warm up" or as a "wrap up" (to finish your class). Have all your students sitting in a circle and explain that the first one has to say a word, for example, "book", the student sitting next to him has to say another one that starts with the last letter of the previous word, in this case, "k" so this second student could say "key". Remember to tell them that they cannot repeat a word and they gotta say it fast, so that the game can be even funnier. verbs can also be practicied with this activity, in this case, students should say only verbs like: "drink", "write", and so on. Have fun!

domingo, 24 de janeiro de 2010

I introduce you my mural.

This is the mural I have in my mini school. I intend to keep it always decorated with something related to the US so that my students can learn about some American holidays and so on. I've already decorated it for Halloween (October), Thanksgiven (November), Summer (ok it's winter in the USA I know...), and now I'm starting to prepare something for February which is gonna be Valentine's! Lots of red and purple! Lots of cute hearts!! Love is in the air...(Don't worry!! I'll show you the pictures as soon as it get ready, colleague!) This is a picture of the last decoration: "I love summer time". Hope you like it!

sábado, 23 de janeiro de 2010


If you have never played "Stop!" with your students, it's time to start thinking about it. I've already played and it was great! It's very nice for reviewing vocabulary and practicing their writing. All you guys need is a piece of paper and pens/pencils. Elicit from them the categories they'd like to play with, for example: names, animals, colors, cities, countries, etc. and put all of them on the board. Ask them to copy the categories and you are ready to start. Students should write as fast as they can words that start with a certain letter and the student who first finishes everything has to shout "Stop!".The others should stop by then. This is the time the group should score the points - 10 points for each different word and 5 if more than one student used the same word. Have a wonderful class!

sexta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2010

Take a look at!!

Yesterday I found another cool site with some veeerrrrrry nice printable worksheet. Attention to: "making predictions", "name 3 (5 or 6) people that..." and "what do you remember?". Don't forget you can use them as a warm up or when you have those three minutes left and there's no time to start the new lesson. Really nice! Take a look!

quinta-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2010

Presenting kinds of TV programs.

Every time I have to teach my students the kinds of TV programs I use a dynamic activity (after presenting the content) in order to see if they really got the subject. Teacher should prepare in advance as many plastic bags as the types of TV shows which were presented and label all of them. So it would be one bag for "documentary", another one for "sitcom" and so on. Some names of TV shows also have to be prepared in separate paper. I always place all plastic bags on the floor and put the names of TV programs around. In pairs, groups or even individually, student(s) should put the names of TV programs into the corresponding plastic bag. This activity can also be done when "kinds of movies" are being presented. Have a nice class!

quarta-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2010

Two dictations "of the year 2010"

Dictation doesn't have to be necessarily something boring. There are two dictations that I particularly like and I'm sure your students are going to love! The first one is called "RUNNING DICTATION". You need to prepare in advance some small texts with the content that is being studied. Your group should be divided in small teams or in pairs so you'll have to prepare as many texts as the numbers of teams or pairs you have. The second step is to put all these texts outside your classroom. They can be placed on a wall, for example. And don't let your students read them!! So after dividing your group in small teams ask them to choose someone to be the "writer". Explain that after you say "ready!" the one who is supposed to be the "writer" has to stay sitting in class waiting for the others from her/his team to run outside, read the text, come back and dictate the text to the writer by parts. The first team to finish is the winner. Remember they should write everything correctly! The second dictation "of the year 2010" is the "PICTURE DICTATION". You only need some pictures. Tell your students that you're not going to say a word, you'll just show them the pictures and they have to write the corresponding word for that. Piece of cake!

terça-feira, 19 de janeiro de 2010

My name is Ben Yellow. (Teaching/Reviewing "What's your name, "My name is...")

A few weeks ago I had to teach my 6 year old student Manu how to say "What's your name?" and the corresponding answer "My name is..." She'd already learned it at school and I actually just needed to review the structures. So I prepared some flashcards with pictures of dolls (girls and boys) and I gave them full names. During the class I told her that we would not be "teacher Bianca" and "Manu" anymore. We would be those dolls. She chose some of them and I did, too. And then we were ready to practice the structures many times but this time using our "fake" names. WITH TEENS AND ADULTS, a very nice way to teach or review that content is to prepare in advance names of famous people and put them on the students' back. Tell the students that now they are those people whose names they have on them. But they should not know their names! The funny thing is that they are supposed to walk around the class asking Yes/No questions to the others in order to find out who they are! With this activity you may also practice or review the questions: "Am I an actor?", "Am I a man?", "Am I Brazilian?" and so on. Good luck!

segunda-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2010

Wrap up!

A very easy and nice way to finish your class is with a game called "wireless phone". It's just like the game we used to play when we were children and believe me, it's really funny! All you have to do is ask your students to sit in a circle and say you're going to choose a sentence (you may choose something that was studied on that day) for them to whisper to each other. They're allowed to repeat only once if the colleague sitting next to them doesn't understand the sentence. You start whispering the sentence to a student and the last one has to say it out aloud. They usually say really crazy things at the prepared! Remember you can play this game even with adults! They love it!

domingo, 17 de janeiro de 2010

I simply adore!!

There is something we always have to keep in mind: when we give a reward to a student we also transmit motivation which is the key for a successful learning process. As I'm giving private lessons I cannot give them certificates by the end of the semester or the book, but nothing can keep me from rewarding them with some veeeeeeery cute "certificates" from Internet. Just don't forget to tell your students that those certificates don't have any value outside but they DO have a big value for you both 'cause they show the teacher's happiness with the student's improvement. People, you just can't imagine how glad my students get when they receive one of those "certificates". One of my students even asked me to leave his on the mural for the others to see and take it home in the following week! And so he did! The best part: you can print them easily and free of charge!

sábado, 16 de janeiro de 2010

Let's make the difference!

Today I used the TV set I bought a couple of weeks ago for the first time!! I confess I was anxious to start using videos in my private classes so that they can be more interesting and different! So the book unit was about fame. Famous people. Celebrities. Then I remembered a movie called "The Devil wears Prada" which clearly shows the advantages and disadvantages of being famous. But the point is I couldn't spend two classes showing the movie, and at the same time I really wanted to use it to illustrate my I decided to choose among the scenes the one that could illustrate better my lesson. I chose two. Tracks 26 and 31. Before I showed the movie, I put on the desk some pictures of famous people and I asked my student if she knew them and what they had in commom. After that, I put the DVD with the audio and the subtitles in English and after each scene we were talking about it. It took us only a few minutes but the "element of surprise" (the film) really made the difference!

sexta-feira, 15 de janeiro de 2010

I simply loved what the author of this site, Shelly Ann Vernon, asks us: "Do you have enough fresh ideas to be the most inspiring teacher that you possibly can?" WOW! What a question! As I'm always looking for new things, I read the clues she gives on how to work with children and now that I've got a 6 year old girl as one of my private students I'm really interested in learning how to deal with them. Teaching a child is completely different than teaching a teenager or an adult. First of all, we don't TEACH a child (as I read one of these days in another article) they LEARN - it's different. I also learned that planning a class for a child sometimes can be a waste of time because we have to follow their rules more than anything. We have to feel the environment and skip activities we think are not going to work. My student Manu, for example, sometimes she wants to play the game more than once and I allow her to because she's practicing anyway. Some other times, she feels like listening to the CD sitting on the floor. That's okay. Of course discipline is important and also the content we, teachers, have to transmit. But as the Beatles once said: "Let it be...". Manu has been a challenge for me even though I've already worked with children 'cause now I'm a private English teacher so she doesn't have colleagues to interact and also because she has a hearing problem which makes her even more intelligent and special. So now I'm ready to buy some puppets and follow one of Shelly's ideas: use a puppet to present the new vocabulary. I've never done that. I'll tell you afterwards if it worked or not with me, ok? An inspiring teacher! That's what I wanna be!

quinta-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2010

The best reward ever!

And talking about a reward...I'm pretty sure a chocolate can make the winner of a game really happy!! Mmmmmmmmmm!

Iupiiiiii, Bingo!

All my students were really excited when I used to come into class telling them we would have a Bingo.I miss working with big groups when I remember those classes with that game! Now that I give private lessons it became impossible...Anyway, a Bingo is a game that gives you the chance to practice many grammar points. I'll give you some examples: Simple past or the past participle of irregular verbs, adjectives, numbers,etc.What you have to do is simple: using the computer you can make a proper paper for them to fill out with the words you're working on, prepare in advance in pieces of paper the same words so that you can call them out for them to mark. You can put those pieces of paper in a box or even a sack. To make the game more interesting,suppose you're practicing the simple past of irregular verbs, you may call out the verbs in their base form and the students should mark the corresponding past simple form. This way, they would have to think and not only listen to you. Now a top secret: let's say you didn't have time to prepare anything in problem! Elicit from them the words you want to be practiced and put all of them on the board. They can make 9 (or 6) squares in a piece of paper (or even in their copybooks!) then you ask your students to copy 9 (or 6) words from the board. After that, you start calling those words out. Simple as that!!! Remember to tell your students that they cannot say the words they have (if they do that you simply won't call them out!) and never forget to give a reward for the winner! Have fun!

quarta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2010

Teaching Countries/Nationalities

I'm a big fan of working with pictures! So when I have the chance I use them in my classes and I always get good results. When teaching Countries and Nationalities, for example, it's very nice to use pictures because students have the opportunity to practice a lot the vocabulary and the grammar structure. So I prepare the "flashcards" myself. These ones I prepared a long time ago and I didn't even use a computer for that. You need some magazines,a colored pen, paper, scissors and glue. Find pictures of different people and label each picture with the "name" of the person and his/her Country. If you put real names and nationalities it's okay,too. But in my case, I didn't know their real names or the countries they were from, so I just guessed. With those pictures I ask the student to say, for example, "Her name is Jane. She's from England. She's English." After practicing that I start asking: "Is she Italian?" and the student this time should say "No, she isn't." and then I ask "Where is she from?" and the student gives me the answer "She's English". time you teach this content, how about bringing some imaginary foreigners to class?

terça-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2010


Hey, colleagues! Don't forget to write comments telling me the results of the activities you've used!! I'm curious!

Breaking the Ice - First day Class

Yes! This is a toilet paper! I learned this activity when I was in the States. We were on a trip to Montreal by bus and the tour guide came with this idea. That's a good option for the first day class, but it cannot be used with beginners unless it's in Portuguese. All you need is a toilet paper. Students become very curious when they see the teacher coming to class with that. Well, you should just ask each student to detach as many "squares" as he/she wants from the toilet paper. They don't understand anything at first and you should not say anything. After that, tell them that now they have to count how many "squares" they have and say one thing about them (in English, of course!) for each "square" they have.For example: a student got 4 "squares" so this student must say 4 things about him/her like "My name is Sarah", "I'm a student", "I'm from Brazil", "I like chocolate". It's funny because the ones who detached many squares at this point feel they're in trouble 'cause they're going to have a lot of work to do. Really nice activity for breaking the ice!

segunda-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2010

A "cool" warm up!

Here is a nice idea of a warm up. You can use it for intermediate or advanced students. I've already used with a beginner student but we have to know that their vocabulary and grammar are limited, anyway it's a good opportunity to practice the language. All you need is an envelope and 8 different pictures. Give the student the envelope closed and ask him/her to open it (the element of surprise!!) then tell that he/she has to choose 5 pictures among those eight and create a short story involving only the one he/she has chosen. The funny thing is that the stories are usually really crazy!! If you teach big groups it's a nice idea to have them in pairs for this activity. After some laughing you and your students are ready to start the class!

domingo, 10 de janeiro de 2010

A good book for new ideas!

I bought this book ("Inglês é Teen!") a few weeks ago but I confess that only this weekend I had time to ckeck it up. I could notice that the book brings many ideas and also several activities for students with different ages. I liked it a lot! One interesting thing is that the author gives the idea of creating a blog for the students in order to make them interact and so, but I tried this idea with my students some time ago and it just didn't work... Anyway,the book is worth it because of the suggestions it has and also because of its price. It costs only R$ 35,55.

sábado, 9 de janeiro de 2010

Working with objects in class is very nice!

During all this time I've noticed one thing: students learn much better (and faster) when they deal with objects during class. It makes the content much more interesting for them and they end up having fun! In the past I used to work with big groups, so for example, when I had to teach them how to talk on the phone I was using real telephones (of course they were not working anymore) and they could practice in pairs. It was really funny! Now with private students it's a little bit different but I always try to look for manners to bring the student an object related to the content I would like to teach. Here are some examples: A clock to teach clock times, and some plastic fruit and vegetables (which are really cheap) to present their names. Good luck!!

sexta-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2010

Teaching Directions

Every time I want to teach directions I use a map that is pretty easy to do and I make it myself. The students like it because I implement the activity using some little cars (the car thing was an idea I got from another teacher that used to work with me and I loved it!. So the students can ask each other to give the directions and they also use the "car" to go from one place to another on the map. I've already tried with both children/teen and adults and it worked really well!!!

I love English!

People, do you know when there are a few minutes left and we don't really know what to do in class? The answer is!!! They have great acitivities and the students love them! And the best thing is that those activities are printable so we don't need to waste time downloading anything. You should try it!!

Teaching the alphabet

I have a student who is 6 years old. Yesterday I was supposed to teach her the as I read in an interesting article that the best way for a child to learn is to make her/him participate actively in class, I decided to print the letters of the alphabet, then I glued them in a piece of colorful paper and we made a clothesline with the alphabet letters in class we sat on the floor, that's another good idea)!! During the activity I was singing the alphabet song ("A, B, C, D, E...") and I asked her to sing with me. At the end of the activity we decorated the room with our masterpiece!

quinta-feira, 7 de janeiro de 2010

I introduce you my mini-school.

Hi!! This is my mini-school. I started teaching English when I was 15 but always in certain English courses. This is the very first time I'm doing something on my own and let me tell's been great! So in September I found this amazing room close to my house (which was great because of my baby) and downtown at the same time. I prepared everything and since then I've been giving private English classes!I simply love this place!