sexta-feira, 25 de junho de 2010

In Parentheses

Hi, colleagues! I came to say that I’m gonna be away for two weeks, so there won’t be any new posts up to July 11. I hope to find lots of new stuff for all of us during my vacation so don’t forget to start passing by after the mentioned date. I’m gonna miss you all!!


I remember I taught at this English course a long time ago and we, teachers, had to ask our Advanced students to make a presentation about any subject they’d like to. The thing is that they had to speak in front of the class (which usually scared them a lot!) and make a huge presentation, using as many tools they could, like: pictures, videos, etc. If you work with big groups it could be a good idea for you to use and I really think this could work with my private students as well, but of course I’d make some changes. There wouldn’t be this “in front of class thing” (maybe only with teens ‘cause it would be something different for them) and I wouldn’t ask for so many extra stuff related to the subject. So a good study of the matter and a nice presentation would be enough! Mmm...something else to think seriously about! See you, colleague!

quinta-feira, 24 de junho de 2010

Independence Day!

Next month we have an important holiday to work with our students: Independence Day. So last night I searched on the Net for some practical (and other cute but not so practical)ideas to use in class! Check them out!

1. There you can find those simple but very nice printable activities such as wordsearches and crosswords puzzles;

a) For advanced students, they've got the famous speech of Patrick Henry "GIve me liberty or give me death". So you can prepare in advance certain exercises to work on the reading with them. The site also brings some printable patriotic poems or even some short stories so students can even act them out in class!

b)Some recipes of red, white and blue desserts! This is the cute but not so practical idea...

c) A good suggestion is to ask students to search on the Net about the American symbols.The mentioned site has got some ideas about it;

d) Game ideas for celebrating! has some great ideas of games which can be adapted and used in class. Attention to the "Baloon Pass" in which students have to be in line and pass the balloons using only their legs and hands. They remind us to use red, white and blue baloons! Another game that is nice is "Chalk it up". I'd adapt this last one in a way that the teacher should choose among the students some "judges", then the class should be divided in small teams. Those teams have to draw someting patriotic and the American flag should be included!

e) Just adding and idea I've just had: How about a guessing game? The instructor finds some interesting facts about the holiday and students (in teams) are supposed to guess the correct answer!

Have a great class, colleague!

quarta-feira, 23 de junho de 2010

A very simple way to practice third person Simple Present!

One of these days I was teaching two of my students who take classes together. I was correcting an exercise from the book in which they were supposed to write what they usually do on weekdays and also on weekends. As I wanted to review the third person –S – Simple Present -I asked them to EXCHANGE THEIR BOOKS during the correction and one of them would have to read out loud the other one’s answers. So instead of saying “I get up late on weekends”, and in this case give their own response. They had to say: “Bruno goES to bed late on weekends”. No preparation needed! Simple as that. Have a wonderful day, colleague!

terça-feira, 22 de junho de 2010

Teaching clock times with...a clock! Sure!

When I have to teach my students clock times I use this clock which I got from a popular store some time ago. The coolest thing is that it doesn’t have a glass on it so I can keep changing the time during the lesson in order to have my students practicing the structures a lot. I remember I didn’t pay more than R$ 10,00 in mine, especially because it’s made of plastic what makes it a cheap(and light) object. By the way, I passed by the mentioned store yesterday and they've got a beautiful blue one!I wish I had seen this blue clock before! See you tomorrow at the same time, colleague!

segunda-feira, 21 de junho de 2010

A challenging way to practice numbers!

I was watching one of my sons’s favorite cartoons one of these days and suddenly I realized that they were showing a great way to work with numbers in class. In the cartoon they were studying Science so they were estimating how many of certain objects there were in a recipient. Immediately I thought about getting some recipients myself and put into them something countable so that my students could try to guess how many of those objects we had. This could be a challenging exercise and they would be practicing numbers at the same time by making sentences like: “I think there are 56 beans” or “I guess there are 30 buttons”. Here are some ideas of material we can work with: coins (they give a brief look), small pictures, colored buttons, beans, etc. Have a bright Monday!

domingo, 20 de junho de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

4 – QUESTION TAGS – is there anything better than having your students crazy about question tags? I really think one of the best ways to have them really good at this subject” is doing lots of exercises! Practice makes perfect, remember? Where?!

sábado, 19 de junho de 2010

Take a look at my World Cup prizes!

Three students guessed the result of the first Brazil's soccer game during the World Cup! Congratulations, everybody!

Bottle - R$2,99
Pencils - R$0,70 each
"Vuvuzela" - R$2,99

sexta-feira, 18 de junho de 2010


The last English course I worked in used to work a lot with projects. But what does it mean? I explain. After a certain unit students were supposed to work on a theme related to what they had studied using cardboards, colored pens, scissors, magazines, etc. As a private English teacher I’ve never done that, either. But I really think it could be nice, especially with children and teenagers. I’m seriously thinking about including something like this for next week. I remember that at the course it took a long time because the groups were large but with two students, for example, I guess this activity wouldn’t take too much time and it could work not only as a consolidating exercise but also as a relaxing wrap up! Have a wonderful weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 17 de junho de 2010

How about some drama in class?

I’ve never worked with plays in class but I definitely think it’s a great idea! If I taught large groups, I think I’d make use of it once to see how it would work. Anyway, I found nice sites which brings some ideas about it and one of them can be even used as warm up in a private class with two students. Check it out!

a)A quick drama idea – Write the following dialogue on the board and have students in pairs. Students role play the dialogue. Then, they are the ones who are supposed to create their own one-word dialogues and act them out. (
A: Happy?
B: Happy!
A: Really?
B: Sure!
A: Angry?
B: No!

b)Object Game: teacher calls out the name of an object and all the group has to make the shape of that object out of their own bodies.(Humm, I really think I could use this idea, too!

Good luck!

quarta-feira, 16 de junho de 2010

For teens! (reading acivity)

If bringing an American magazine to class is a good idea to use as a different reading exercise, a good option would be to read comic books in English with your teens students! There are several ways to work with them. For example, We can ask our teen students to simply read a story or even part of it and then elaborate some questions in order to check their own comprehension (they can prepare questions for the others and it becomes a great competition!), or you can cover some words, have some copies of the comic book and ask them to fill them out. I got these comic books at a second hand store and I remember I paid only a little money on each of them. I haven’t used them yet as a reading tool but I’m willing to it! Have a great class!

terça-feira, 15 de junho de 2010 (simply great!)

I've found another great site for us, teachers! is a kind of a resource center full of interesting things to improve our classes even more! Attention to the following activities:
a) The alphabet chase - different from most alphabet activities, in this one students are supposed to say, in order, a word that starts with a certain letter of the alphabet. For example: the first student in a circle says "apple", the second says "ball", the third says "cat", and so on. (I'm gonna try to do this with my private students, eahc of us says in order a word!!)
b) Back to back dictation - the site brings two paragraphs which should be given to a pair of students. The paragraphs have got a few blanks that students have to fill out by the time they're dictating to their partners!
c) Back to back correction - they give us two paragraphs once again, but one of them is full of mistakes.Student A reads the wrong one and Student B has to correct its mistakes!
d) Jump to the right, jump to the left - students have to jump depending on whether they think a sentence is grammatically correct or not. The site brings some examples of sentences, for example, "they must to go". Then the tacher should read it out loud and the students should then jump to the left bacause the sentence is wrong.


segunda-feira, 14 de junho de 2010

Be the winner! (Having fun with the World Cup)

In order to get my students even more envolved with the World Cup enviroment, I decided to write down the results they think Brazil will get in its matches. For example, tomorrow Brazil is playing against Korea, so I asked each of my students which team they think is gonna to be the winner and also how many goals are gonna be scored during the game. So they would say: Brazil 3 Korea 1, and so on. Then I bought some nice (but cheap) things – all related to the theme - to give as a “prize” for the one who guesses the results! Have a great day!

domingo, 13 de junho de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

5 - DOING THE HOUSEWORK: LIKES AND DISLIKES: Most of the books I’ve taught brought this theme in a certain lesson. You can find nice printable worksheet to work on the content ( in which students are supposed to make sentences using words given. Have a great Sunday, colleague!

sábado, 12 de junho de 2010

Have fun practicing descriptions!

I got this game (R$49,90) at a department store one of these reminded me my childhood because I used to have a similar one. The name of it in English is “Guess who?” and I’m almost sure you’ve already heard about it. Anyway, I thought about using it during a lesson in which I have to teach physical descriptions like: blond hair, blue eyes, he wears a mustache, etc. I guess it would be a great way to have my students practicing the structures and having fun at the same time!

sexta-feira, 11 de junho de 2010

"Is it art?" (Setting the scene)

This is the title of the next unit which I'm gonna teach one of my private students. I'd like to start talking about the topic in a different way so I decided to make use of something I had prepared some time ago. I got from Google some abstract paintings and selected three of them. So, as the main topic of the unit is "art" I thought about showing my student one of those pictures and ask him to tell me what he can see in it. I mean, certain objects, animals, people...or even try to predict what the artist was thinking about by the time he painted that masterpiece or what's the message he'd like to transmit. This student is an advanced one, so I really think the activity may work not only to set the scene but also as a conversation practice. I'm curious if it's really going to work and I'm gonna tell you as a comment here later on,ok? Have a wonderful weekend, colleague! It's always nice to have you here.

quinta-feira, 10 de junho de 2010

Consolidating Imperative listening to Des'ree!

OK. I have to agree that some of the songs I’ve been using in class are kind of old, but the point is I only “invest” on DVDs when they’re on sale and their price is good exactely because they’re old. I mean, they don’t bring new songs. Anyway, some songs from the past are really nice and depending on the student (teens don’t respond very well to those kind of songs) the result can be great! One of these days I bought a DVD which contained one of Des’ree’s hits: “You gotta be”. I really liked this song so I decided to check on the lyrics. Lots of verbs in the Imperative!! So I prepared an activity in which my students were supposed to identify and underline those verbs before listening to the song. Good option to work on that grammar point! Have a great day!

quarta-feira, 9 de junho de 2010

Use American magazines in class and have a nice reading lesson!

As I leave in a small town I don’t have access to good American magazines (only Speak Up or Actual English), so when I go to Rio I don’t miss the chance of buying one of those. Some time ago I bought a Vogue and this time I got People magazine. Everybody tends to read about what we’re INTERESTED IN and sometimes a text from a book doesn’t seem sooooo interesting. That’s why using a popular American magazines can work as a good reading activity. The instructor should separate the best articles from it and take copies. Once you have time during class, you may give a copy to your student(s) and practice reading in a fun way. Questions related to the article or even some grammar exercises may also be prepared beforehand. Remember? Reading doesn’t really have to be boring. See you tomorrow, colleague!

terça-feira, 8 de junho de 2010

Practice anything you want with the "Chair Dance"!

Teens and kids usually respond in a very nice way when this activity is held in class. All we have to do is prepare in advance a few questions related to the topic we’ve been teaching and organize the desks/chairs in a circle but remember to leave a student without one. The game I'm pretty sure you know: play a nice American song and have students walking around the desks/chairs. As soon as the teacher stops the music they should sit down. The one who doesn’t find a place to sit is out of the game but in order to get a participation reward he gotta answer a question! Have a great day, colleague!

segunda-feira, 7 de junho de 2010

An Art Gallery!

After we present DESCRIPTIONS to our students, a good way of consolidating the content is giving them the chance to use the vocabulary learned in a different and fun way! I’ve never done this activity but I’m seriously thinking about it with two of my students who study together. Teacher should bring to class pictures of people based in the vocabulary which was taught. Paper and colored pens are also needed. In pairs, students should sit in a way so that they cannot see the picture their partner has. One of the students is supposed to describe the person he/she has in hands and the other one has to draw it! Just like this: “She has straight black hair, blue eyes, a big mouth, etc..” At the end of the activity they compare their drawning with the real pictures.Besides, it’s a good idea to hang up everybody’s work somewhere for the others to see. An art gallery! Have fun!

quarta-feira, 2 de junho de 2010

In Parentheses

Colleague, just to inform that due to the holiday (June3) I won’t be able to post anything new. But from Monday (June 7) on you can definitely pass by to check the new posts. By the way, you can check on my new mural at!! Have a great holiday, colleague!

China in class!

As the theme of the reading activity I had to use with my student envolved the theme “China” I decided to use one of my DVDs (I always buy them on sale at certain departament stores) “The last Emperor”. So I quickly looked for a scene which could show my student some cultural aspects of that country and that was it! So before watching I introduced the subject and after watching to the scene I asked my student what the cultural aspects she could notice and if they were too different from ours. Ready! My pre-reading activity was done!

terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2010

Talking about Clothes II

Just in order to illustrate my post – Talking about Clothes (March 2010) - when I mentioned that you may make use of simple pictures to teach the related vocabulary. Through them we can present the vocabulary and also practice the colors by asking the students: “What color is the shirt?” or “What color are the boots?”. As I’m a private teacher I’m the one who asks first just to show my student how the activity works and then it’s my student’s turn to ask the questions. I’ve been noticing that Englsh learners tend to show some insecurity when they are the ones who have to make up the questions. Have a colored day, colleague!