segunda-feira, 31 de maio de 2010

Uuuuuuuuu...(Do you believe in ghosts?)

Talking about ghosts is another good option to work in a conversation lesson. Almost every student knows a ghost story and we can even implement our class with a part of a DVD - the movie “Ghost” is only one example among many other good films about it, or with some pre-selected questions so that they can, in pairs or in groups, discuss the subject and come up with different opinions and conclusions concerning the theme. Ideas of questions: a) Do you believe in ghosts?; b) Have you ever seen one?; c) Do you know any story about it?; d) If you saw a ghost what would you do?; etc. Another idea would be to print some images from Google so that students can take a look at them and conclude if they think they’re real or not. See you tomorrow, colleague!

domingo, 30 de maio de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

6 – “PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND” (Using Modal Verbs) – Students fill out a chart with things they should, must, can, will or might do on their weekend. If you have to teach this content next week, it’s a great idea for some extra practice! Have a lovely Sunday!

sábado, 29 de maio de 2010

About a magazine article.

A few days ago I found an old magazine (Cláudia October 2009) which had an article that caught my attention (English, English, English!). They were writing about the importance of learning English nowadays and also about the way regular schools treat the matter. I selected some parts of it for you to take a look:
• “It’s time to speak, write and think in English with fluency and security.”
• “Nowadays, English students start studying the language earlier than before.”
• “Modern strategies of teaching focus on the abilities of communicating and try to use daily language, proposing interactive activities and putting the student as an important role not only as an expectator.”
• “English is the most used language in business world.”
• “Teenagers nowadays are one step ahead because of Orkut, facebook, Twitter, videogames, etc. So it makes sense learning the language.”
• According to Paulo Sérgio Rezende (he’s a consultant), "learning English doesn’t depend only on the situation, the material or on the school. The most important aspect is that it’s gonna be necessary for the students to be dedicated (they need to study frequently) and always have a good teacher.”

Have a great day, colleague!

sexta-feira, 28 de maio de 2010

It's Friday!

I wish you a very happy weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 27 de maio de 2010

I like pasta. (Teaching Do/Does)

I guess we, teachers, always get a little bit anxious when we have to teach Do/Does. My very first class was related to this topic and I remember I had to teach a group of other teachers who were there to avaluate me...God...maybe a trauma. I don’t know. Well, yesterday I tried something that worked really well and maybe it works with your group/student, too!! I got some pictures that I already had in my folder and they were all about food. Easy vocabulary. Cheese, pasta, bread, pie, apples. I wrote those words on the board, placed the pictures on the desk and started by saying: “I like pasta, cheese and pie” then I said: “I don’t like apples very much...”. Then I asked my students (there were two students having class at the same time) to make sentences just like me, and afterwards I presented the interrogative form as well. In order to present “Does” I only told them that I’d like to test their memory about the other’s tastes. So I asked: “Luana, does Bruno like cheese?”, and so on. Have a great day, colleague!

quarta-feira, 26 de maio de 2010

Answers on the wall???

Yes. Students usually get really bored when they have to read a text and then answer thousands of questions about it. A veeery dynamic way to make them participating is the following: In advance, teacher should write the answers for those comprehension questions in pieces of paper. Each answer in one piece of paper. Then, before class, the instructor chooses a place to glue all those anwers with a tape. When I did this activity I used the door because I wasn’t allowed to use the walls. So you gotta place all those answers on a certain surface and they should be out of order. Each pair or group has to choose someone to go there and choose the correct answers right after you read the question. The one(s) who gets first scores the point!! Have a nice day, colleague!

terça-feira, 25 de maio de 2010

Do you believe in UFO's? (A great topic for a conversation class)

UFO’s can be a great topic for us to have a fun conversation class!! I remember a long time ago when I used to teach at an English school and they had this very nice video related to this topic. So, every time I had a lesson about the subject, I was first showing the video to my students and then we were talking about it. Great ideas used to come up! If you know a movie or even a documentary about life in outer space it would be a good idea to use in order to introduce the theme of the lesson. We can also prepare in advance some simple questions about the subject for the students to ask and answer in pairs, or in my case, for me to ask the student before we start our conversation class itself (Yes! It’s possible to have a conversation class even in private lessons!). Besides, it’s really nice to know what our students think about certain subjects, isn’t it? Have a class from outer space, colleague! See you!

segunda-feira, 24 de maio de 2010

Treasure Hunting

This is a very famous game and it’s also really popular among students! In advance teacher prepares some “clues” in pieces of paper and spread them around. We can write the clues depending on the content we want them to consolidate. So, for example: If you’ve presented prepositions you can make use of them like this: “Take a look under the teacher’s book” or “There’s something for you on the TV set”, etc. It’s really cool in large/small groups but I’ve already done something similar with a girl who was 6 and used to be my private student. She was learning the words “dog”, “cat”, “girl”, and “boy”. I printed some images from the Net and spread them around my reception room. My student was supposed to find the pictures and say its corresponding names by then. It was a treasure hunting for only one student, in a small place, but not less exciting!

domingo, 23 de maio de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

7 - Talking about spelling....”THE GREAT ALPHABET CHALLENGE”: Students are supposed to write a sentence where the first letter for each word starts with sucessive letters of the alphabet. Take a look at!

sábado, 22 de maio de 2010

A book for our children and....students! (Why not?)

A couple of weeks ago I got this book (365 Atividades para fazer com seus filhos após as aulas / Cynthia MacGregor) because I thought it might be interesting for me to play with my son AND adapt some of the activities in order to use them in class. Why not? So here are four adapted activities for us to use in our lessons! Check it out:
a) “The true story” – Students are supposed to write their own version for a famous story, for example: Robin Hood.
b) “Bip!” – Vowels cannot be pronounced during this spelling game. Students should say “Bip!” every time they get to a vowel while spelling a certain word. For example: magazine. They gotta say: “M-bip-G-bip-Z-bip-N-bip”.
c) “Magazine Hunting” – In advance, teacher prepares a list of 15 or 20 things for the students to look for the corresponding pictures in old magazines. In pairs or in small groups students have 20 minutes to find as many pictures as possible. The winners are the ones who found the biggest number of images.
d) “Hunting for letters” – With a list with the alphabet in hands, students gotta find in old magazines pictures that show something which starts with the corresponding alphabet letter. It can be a nice competition, too!

That’s it for today, colleagues! Have a bright weekend!

sexta-feira, 21 de maio de 2010

A spelling game just like a TV show!

I remember Luciano Huck used to have an exciting spelling game on TV! And we, teachers, can have our students participating in a contest like that... in class! After teaching the alphabet, you can ask your students to get ready for this big contest which is gonna be during the next class. All students are participating and the winner gets a prize (remember it doesn’t have to be anything expensive. A chocolate or a cute pencil does the trick!). So the following class, in the last 15 minutes or so, you can ask them to sit in a circle and start saying some words from the book for them to spell. The ones who make a mistake should leave the game and get ready for next class’ competition. I had the chance to play this game with some groups and the result was great! The coolest thing is that they’re gonna study the content without even noticing it. If you’re a private teacher (just like me) you can also play this game with your student. Make a list of ten words and have your student spell each of them. If he/she spells everything correctly he gets a reward! Hmmm! Great idea for my next class!! Have a wonderful weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 20 de maio de 2010

How old are you?

Last Thursday something interesting happened. I had just planned that after teaching the structure “How old are you? / How old is she? / How old is he?” to two of my private students I would show them some pictures of famous people and also ask them to try to guess their ages. The coolest thing is that this simple activity became a very nice competition! We decided to write down their guessings and I’d search on the Net for the correct responses so that we could have a winner – the one who guessed most ages correctly or got closest to them. As in my case everything happened during class I couldn’t do any differently, but you can find the pictures and look for the correct ages beforehand! Have a nice class!

quarta-feira, 19 de maio de 2010

Something to have in class!

“Practice makes perfect, so you shouldn’t stop trying. The harder you try, the more you’ll be able to get what you want.”
(I’m definitely going to print this saying beautifully and have it on my mural!)

Have a great day, colleague!

terça-feira, 18 de maio de 2010

Just Guessing! (Practice any auxiliary verb with this activity!)

A guessing game is always something nice to do in large groups (or even in small ones) because students love it! With this simple activity we can have them practicing any auxiliary verb we want! For example: Today’s class was about “do/does” so the teacher has to prepare in advance a few questions like:
1. like chocolate? (Yes) (No)
2. Eat Bread everyday? (Yes) (No)
3. Watch TV on weekends? (Yes) (No)

Divide your group in teams and give each one a paper with the questions you’ve already prepared. The same paper should be given to a volunteer and this brave student should sit in front of the classroom. The volunteer is supposed to answer the questions with his/her own information. On the other hand, the teams should try to guess (and check) the volunteer’s responses. By the time the instructor is checking their answers to see which team scored the point, he/she might use the auxiliary verb which is being studied: Team A, does he like to eat chocolate? or Team B, does he watch TV on weekends? Remember to elicit the correct corresponding answers: Yes, he does / No, she doesn’t. Have fun!

segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010

In parentheses

Hi, everybody! It's great to have you here again! This is just to say that I've created a new blog focused on our teaching area decoration and organization. And that's why posts about my mural décor, paintings, etc are gonna be at!!! See you there,too, colleague!!

Activities for the World Cup!

As everybody has been waiting anxiously for the World Cup (including me) why not start planning some nice activities to give our students about the theme? Well, at first, I thought about two simple exercises:
a) If you’re teaching colors: let’s make use of the different teams’ T-shirts to have them practicing English! We can print them from the Net and have students asking and answering questions.
b) If you’re teaching Countries/Nationalities: Great opportunity to use the countries which are participating in the World Cup to teach our students their names and corresponding nationalities!
c) Now this is a wonderful site!! Check it out!
Attention to: A footballer letter (reeeeally cute!!! Students have to write a reply by answering a few questions about your school), the song which is this year’s World Cup theme (you can prepare a nice activity with it), a Football word search (always a good option), a World Cup match report where students can write the names of the countries that played and also their impressions about each time (great written exercise!) and very cute football rewards for the students who behave well during the week. I simply loved this site and I’m definitely going to use some of those activities!! Ah! They’re printable!Have a great Monday, collegue!

domingo, 16 de maio de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

8 – USING CONJUNCTIONS (AND THEIR CREATIVITY) The site brings two very interesting exercises (I’ve already used them with different levels / from intermediate on). It’s really nice because students are supposed to fill out some incomplete sentences using one of the conjunctions. At the same time they practice their grammar and written, they have fun using their creativity!

sábado, 15 de maio de 2010

Adapting, adapting,...

One of these days I bought another very cheap game at a stationery: a letters game. As the idea is to adapt as much as I can, I got the game for only R$12,00 and decided to use it next time I teach the alphabet to my students. After presenting the content, I thought about placing all the letters on the desk and ask them to make words in English using the vocabulary they already know which is probably not so wide, as they’re beginners. When they finish, it’s time for them to spell the words they have. Adapting is everything! We may not find exactely what we need, but we do have lots of options around! I wish you a beautiful Saturday, colleague!

sexta-feira, 14 de maio de 2010

Family dinner conversation starters

I got these questions a looooong time ago from a site on the Net and they’re great for us to have our students speaking a little more! We can write them on the board and ask our students at the beginning of the class, or type them and have our students in pairs asking and answering those questions or even play some music and have fun with a “Hot Potato” game (in my case this last option is impossible, but it always works with large/small groups). If you give private lessons, you can be your student's partner and make use of them, too!

Here they are:

a)What was the nicest thing you did for someone else today? What was the nicest thing that someone else did for you today?

b)If you were writing a newspaper article about your day, what would the headline be?

c)Tell us three adjectives that describe your day today.

d)In 60 seconds, tell us as much about your day as you can.

e)Describe your perfect day, from the time you wake up until you go to bed.

Have a bright weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 13 de maio de 2010

Present Perfect with one of Brandy's song!

Once again I made use of my DVD “Divas” to have my students practicing another grammar structure: Present Perfect. The name of the song – “Have you ever?”- says everything! In advance I typed the lyrics but I left in blank some sentences so that they were supposed to fill them out with the auxiliary verb “have” and the following verb in the past participle. Then, we would listen to the song and watch the DVD at the same time! Even though the song is not famous, its English is pretty clear and the students could actually see the tense they were learning in use! Have a nice class!

quarta-feira, 12 de maio de 2010

My board, my best friend.

How do we use our board? In what occasions do we make use of it? Do we use it correctly? I looked for something about it on the Net and I found some great tips here: Check it out:
a) When you write something on the board move away quickly so that students can see what you’ve written.
b) Don’t turn your back to the class for too long.
c) Write clearly.
d) Check what you write as your write (so that students don’t copy something wrong)
e) Organize your board (ops..this one if sooo for me!).
Concerning another ways to use our best friend (the board):
a) It can be used as a surface to display pictures, posters and flashcards.
b) We can also play games like: Hangman, “pictogram” (students draw something and the others have to guess what it is), spelling races, anagrams, etc.
c) We can draw pictures for explaining texts and stories. A story-telling with basic pictures on the board. Create picture stories and use these for further oral or written work.
d) Use it as a support for your voice – to give instructions, examples, etc.
And a last and precious suggestion: Try to encourage your students to come to the board to choose, select, describe pictures or even to draw! Make your best friend as interactive as possible!

PS: Today I simply put on the board some questions realated to the content I had taught previously and it worked really well as a brief review and as a warm up at the same time. When we didn't have enought time to type a few questions before class we can simply write them on the board and get to the same results. Simple but not less effective! Have a great day, colleague!

terça-feira, 11 de maio de 2010

Have you already prepared a Numbers Match Up?

I have! And let me tell you, colleague, that’s a wonderful way for you to give your students a brief review of your previous lesson about the content! Everybody learns much faster when they SEE what they’re supposed to learn, right? So this is a great (and fast) way for you to have your students paying attention to the correct way of writing the numbers without even noticing it!

segunda-feira, 10 de maio de 2010

Consolidating MUCH/MANY with a veeeeery dynamic game!

So I had this other colleague who once gave me this great idea . I tried it with a medium size group I used to have and the result was nice! After teaching “much” and “many”, I divided my group in two teams and the board in two halves. In one of them I wrote MUCH and in the other one MANY. I had brought two small and light balls to class so each team would have one, and their mission was to toss the ball towards the correct half of the board according to what I was gonna say. For example: teacher says WATER. One student from each group should throw the ball towards the word MUCH at the same time. The team whose ball touches the correct side of the board first scores the point! A suggestion is to make use of this activity at the end of your class. Students usually get really excited about the whole competition that it would be difficult for you and for them to concentrate and go back to the book afterwards. Have a great time!
PS: I got the ball at a R$ 1,99 store, too.

domingo, 9 de maio de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

9 - MAKE OR DO? Many students have already come to me with lots of doubts about this subject. That’s why I decided to make use of English Banana to solve their problems!! The site has got three different types of written exercises in which students have to decide whether to use make or do! Great option for an extra homework!

sábado, 8 de maio de 2010

Friends, again! (Reviewing There is/There are)

Last week I used another part of the sitcom “Friends” with two of my students. They were actually reviewing “there is/there are” and its corresponding interrogative and negative forms, so I decided to show them two scenes of one of the episodes. As the theme of the unit was some cities in England I thought it would be a good idea to show them the episode in which Chandler and Joey are in London with the others for Ross’ wedding. In advance, I prepared some simple questions like: “Is there a hotel in the scene?” or “Are there any people on the streets?”, etc. They watched the video and then answered the questions. Is there anything better than “Friends”?

sexta-feira, 7 de maio de 2010

Ahhhhhh soap operas!

What a great investiment it is to buy one of those soap opera’s CDs!! This was the first time I got one and let me tell you: that was one of the best things I did! It was not that expensive (R$ 29,90) and I’ve been using it a lot in my classes.If you're a "high-tech" teacher (unfortunately I'm not...) you can even download the CD from the Net and use it in your classes, right? Well,when we think about giving our students a song, the smallest chance of commiting a mistake and maybe giving them a song they wouldn’t like is to choose one from the current soap opera CD!! In the CD there're many different good options. Students usually loooove those songs! Not mentioning that they have the chance to listen to them many times once they're being played on TV every single day they can sing it AND remember your class as well, which is the best, isn't it? Have a great weekend, coleague!

quinta-feira, 6 de maio de 2010

A funny way to get some discipline from your students!

This one is great. I remember I used to have this nice and really creative colleague at the last course I taught. At the time I had one of those very indisciplined you know those ones we would like to run away from? Those ones. There were many students in class and this fact was making things even harder for me. So one day I was talking to that colleague and she gave me this wonderful idea: why not trying to use a whistle? She gave me one of hers (she had a few in her purse) and I decided to follow her advice. The result was great! Once I used the whistle to catch their attention, everybody stopped talking and...started laughing instead! I laughed, too, and from that moment on they knew that if I had to use my whistle (in extreme situations) they should stop immediately. It worked with me, mybe it works with you as well. The point is it’s necessary to know in advance if the course or school you teach allow this kind of things and be careful not to exaggerate either in the volume or in the situations you make use of your whistle. Where can you get one? At any R$ 1,99 store or even at one of those stores in which we can buy supplies for birthday parties (in this case you can buy a pack paying almost nothing!). Good luck, my dear colleague!

quarta-feira, 5 de maio de 2010

Teach HER/HIS/THEIR using pictures of celebrities!

For a long time I’ve been using pictures of famous people to teach the possessive pronouns HER, HIS, THEIR to my students and the results are great! All you have to do is get some pictures of celebrities from an old magazine! Start your class by saying “MY name is _______”,” YOUR name is ________” (using the name of one of your students), “HER name is ______” (using one of the pictures you got), etc. Then you may introduce the question: “What’s YOUR name?” and continue with the pictures “What’s HER name?”, etc. I usually elicit the complete answer from my students (HER name is...) so that we can practice the structures even more. Finnaly, I teach short answers, so I point to one of the pictures and ask: IS HER name Paola Oliveira? And my student has to answer "Yes, it is" or "No, it isn't". If you work with large groups you can divide them in pairs and provide them pictures so that they can keep practicing asking and answering each other!! Don’t forget to include the picture of someone who you're almost sure they don't know in order to teach them “Sorry, I don't know". Have a bright class!

terça-feira, 4 de maio de 2010

Bring "Alice in Wonderland" to your class!

People have been talking a lot about this movie which I’d looooove to watch! Once I cannot show my students the film (it would be wonderful) I’m gonna give them some grammar exercises about it. I’ve found two nice options and I’m posting them for you so that you can copy the ideas!!
1. Type the following text and ask your students to find the 10 spelling mistakes!
“Alice is sitting by her sister lazily and becomes a bit tired when she sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat carrying a watch. She follows it dawn a rabbit owl and falls into a very long chamber full of strange things on shelves. After landing safely on the ground, she goes into a long hallway with a glas table and a gold key on it. Alice opens up a curtain and founds a small door, which the key fits into perfecly and behand it there was a beautiful garden. Alice then finds a small botle labeled “DRUNK ME” and drinks it . The drink causes her to shrink. Alice accidentally leafes the key on the table, and with her diminished stature can no longer reach it and becomes very scared. She then sees a cake that says “EAT MY” and proceds to eat it. “ (

THE MISTAKES: Dawn = down / owl = hole / glas = glass / perfecly = perfectly / behand = behind / botle = bottle / drunk = drink / leafes = leaves / my = me / proceds = proceeds.

2. The second option is great for us to work on prepositions with our students. In advance, type the following part of the book and have your students identify the prepositions.
“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister, and of having nothing to do. Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book”, thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” So she was considering, in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a white rabbit with pink eyes ran close to her.”(

Ahh! I’ve just remembered I bought some months ago a magazine which brings an article about the main actress of the movie! So it would be really cool if I could give my upper intermediate and advanced students an additional reading exercise using the mentioned article!! If you work with kids, a good idea would be to print one of Alice in Wonderland images and have your students find in it the white rabbit, a caterpillar,a cat, a queen, etc. Wonderful!!

segunda-feira, 3 de maio de 2010

Weird presents: another nice way to practice If Clause!

I’ve used another great idea from that book “Inglês é Teen” (I've written about it in one of my old posts)! In order to practice the second "If Clause", I asked one of my students if she’d already gotten a weird present or something that she didn’t like at all. Then I started asking her what she would do IF SHE GOT a broken vase...or a plastic cat...or even a wig! The activity went on really well, and we had a great time because she had to explain what she would do with each of those “useful” presents and at the same time she had the chance to practice the structure a lot! Attention to the other weird presents: a broken computer mouse, a wooden leg and a parachute. Remember we can use our creativity and add some other crazy gifts!!! Activity approved!

domingo, 2 de maio de 2010

Top 10 banana printables!

10 - “How to get from bed to work in 27 easy steps!” This is a great activity to work Present Simple and Past Simple with your elementary student/group. Students have to put the underlined verbs in the proper verb tense. You can find this printable exercise going to english banana, then to free printable worksheets and finally to Free Elementary Worksheets!!

In parentheses

After “Fast Tips”... “Top 10 banana printables”! Every Sunday I’m going to post some very nice printable activities you can get easily from and use in your class as a warm up, a wrap up or even as an extra homework! Enjoy!

sábado, 1 de maio de 2010

Memorial Day: Getting my mural ready for May.

As every month I look for an American holiday to decorate my mini school mural and at the same time inform my students about it, a couple of days ago I was reading something on the Net about Memorial day! You can get some information from: and other interesting facts in
As usual, I also looked for some printable to give my students at the end or at the beginning of a class. I’ve found great ones in
For the decoration, I thought of nothing but American flags all around!! Remember that this holiday is celebrated in the last Monday of May. This year specifically on May 31 ,so we all have enough time to think about a nice way to trasmit it to our students! Take a look at the results! See you tomorrow, colleague!