sexta-feira, 30 de abril de 2010 is nice!

If you’re looking for some new activities to use in class you can find them here:!! Attention to “Ring a Word” and “When you turn off the light” for teaching directions. Have fun!

quinta-feira, 29 de abril de 2010

Have you ever played "It's, no and because"?

I’m sure you have!! I made use of this activity last week in a simple conversation class and it was great! Tell your student he/she is not allowed to say “it’s, no and because” during the conversation you’re about to have. Choose a topic and start asking questions related to it. For example: “sports”. Teacher may ask: Do you like sports? What kind of sports do you like? How often do you practice it? Etc. You can set a time limit so that the student can be the winner if he/she doesn’t mention any one of those words! Great conversation game! Have fun!

quarta-feira, 28 de abril de 2010

Simply the best! Practicing Comparative and Superlative with Tina Turner!

It’s impossible not to think about old Tina Turner’s song “The best” when we have to teach comparative and superlative to our students. I’ve got this song in one of my DVD’s (Divas) and I’m definitely gonna use it next time! A good idea would be to ask students to identify and underline the structure before listening to the song. Yes! I wish you the best class ever, colleague!

terça-feira, 27 de abril de 2010

Teaching Ordinal Numbers (working with groups)

If you have to teach ordinal numbers to your group here is a fun way to do it! Before class, prepare in pieces of paper the numbers you’re about to teach according to the quantity of students you have. Give each one a paper which should not be in order. Then, ask them to stand up and stay in line according to the ordinal number they have in hands. So the one who has the paper with “first” written on it should be the first one in line and so on. See you tomorrow, colleague!

segunda-feira, 26 de abril de 2010

Introducing the topic of a new unit.

When I’m starting a new unit I really don’t like going straight to the first task without preparing my student for the subject we’re about to discuss. So yesterday I was preparing my classes for this week and I had to think about something in order to introcuce the theme “neighbours”. I thought about asking him some personal questions about it like: “Do you know your neighbours?”, etc. But the first activity would be just like this one and I didn’t want to be repetitive. Then I remembered... Google images!! I searched for a good picture and I found this one which illustrates really well what the new lesson is about! I’m going to show my student this picture and elicit its description!!This way he'll be able to know a little about what is about to come and also start talking about it! Great pre-listening exercise, too! Perfect!Colleague, notice that you can use images from Google for everything you need!! Summing up: A brief and effective way to introduce the topic of the next lesson. Have a great day!

domingo, 25 de abril de 2010

sábado, 24 de abril de 2010

For those three minutes left!

This is a great activity for intermediate or advanced students that I got from that book "Inglês é Teen", remember? Tested and approved! I’ve already used it and the rusult was great! Before class, teacher should type the following incomplete sentences:

When I think about the future I see myself...
I’m happier when...
What I don’t like in group work is...
For my birthday I...
When I was younger/a child, I thought the world was...
I love...
I hate...
I’m afraid of...
I get angry when...
I can produce much better when...
I’ll consider someone my friend...
The last time I cried was...
I lose my temper when...
When I look at the mirror...
I’m a little ashamed of...
Those who really know me...
My favorite place is...

This kind of task makes your students practice writing, listening and speaking all at once! You ask them to complete the statements,and then elicit some of their answers. I typed the sentences and got some photocopies for me, so everytime I feel that I’m gonna have a few minutes left I make use of it!! Simple as that! Have a wonderful weekend, colleague!

sexta-feira, 23 de abril de 2010

How can we make our students LOVE English?

In my opinion, the best thing is when a student likes coming to class. He/she simply enjoys it. Especially when they’re teenagers since most of them are only studying the language because their parents want them to. These days I read some posts about the topic and even though I respect all teacher’s opinions I can’t say I share the same idea. I don’t think that trying to show a teenager the advantages of speaking English works. Teens live today. They cannot see a clear future ahead. So, in my opinion, a teacher must use certain strategies in order to make them like. Less talk, more action. Three ideas for you!
a) Try to use a material that interests your teen student. For example: an attractive book (I mean, with pictures or a colorful one), a song that he/she likes . Once I give private lessons I’m always asking my students what kind of music they like or the name of their favorite band. If you work with large groups a good idea is to have an election of a nice song to work with! You can also use a DVD with a part of a sitcom they enjoy watching!
b) Speak their language (but don’t forget you’re the teacher). Try not to be so formal with teenagers but at the same time they gotta know that you’re their instructor, not their best friend;
c) Vary your activities. If you started today’s class with a fast game, next class start with a different dictation or even a part of a song! Teens get bored when the lessons are always the same;

Never forget it’s impossible to please everybody. We try to do our best but be aware that not everybody may like the same things and that’s what makes life even better!Ufff!! I also wish you courage, my colleague! Have a great class!

quinta-feira, 22 de abril de 2010

My first composition

When is it time for our students to write their first composition? I guess it doesn’t have to take toooooo long once students, after some time studying the language, are already able to make some sentences and talk about...a person, for example. So I asked one of my beginners to write his first composition in class. I just placed some pictures of ordinary people on the desk and then he chose one among all of them. After that I put some topics on the board, like: full name, age, phone number, e-mail address, nationality, likes, dislikes, abilities, etc. (you may choose the topics depending on the content your student has already learned). So a story would come up like this: Her name is Christina. She’s 24 years old. Her phone number is....and so on. With this simple activity my student got the chance to review not only the possessive pronouns (his, her) but everything we’ve studied!! Wonderful, isn’t it? And the coolest thing is that he could realize that he’s already able to write a composition in English! Yes!

quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010

The blue X the red

I confess I just started investing on new teaching material a few months ago. In the past I didn't use to buy many books, English grammar or dictionaries but now I'm crazy about them!So I've got this blue grammar (Understanding and Using English Grammar - Betty Schrampfer) which I got at the English course I attended at that time. My impressions about it are very good. It's complete, brings lots of exercises (but some of them are kind of hard for the students), and the best thing is that it brings some oral exercises which can be used in class as an extra practice!!What is not so good about it is that it doesn't come with an answer key or even with a CD-ROM. Now, eleven years later (wow!),I bought this new grammar book (Essential Grammar in Use - Raymond Murphy). I had already seen an older edition of this book and I knew it was considered a good one,but only now I got the chance to confirm it all. The explanations are simple, it's also complete, it has the answer key for the exercises AND it includes a CD-ROM! Simply great!

terça-feira, 20 de abril de 2010

Earth Day: And the certificate goes to...

Remember when I posted that cute certificate from the Net? Here it is. I wanted to give it to my most "ecological" student, and so I did. Then I had an idea for you, colleague!! Why not having a conversation activity on Earth day (April 22) with your group to find out which one from your students is more concerned about the planet's problems? You could prepare in advance some questions like..."How much time do you spend taking a shower?", or "When you go to the supermarket, do you use a plastic bag?", "Do you know what recycle is?", and so on. Happy Earth day on the 22nd, colleague! Congratulations, my dear student Luciana!

segunda-feira, 19 de abril de 2010

Have your students speaking!!

So I got this hourglass a few days ago and then I thought about preparing this activity in order to make my students speak!!! The idea is the folowing: I’m gonna put some topics like: marriage, politics, violence, pollution, etc. into a bag, and then ask my students to pick one. It means he/she is gonna have to speak about that topic for some time!! I’ve already seen something like this in certain books (as you’ve already probably seen, too) but I think it must be really challenging to have one of those hourglasses during this activity, don’t you think? Have a nice class!

domingo, 18 de abril de 2010

Fast Tip 9: An element of surprise!

Before going to class it’s a good idea to ask yourself: What is my element of surprise today?” We all know it’s good when students are aware of what they’re supposed to do during the lesson. They know that when they get to a point in their books where is written “Conversation”, they have to listen, then listen and repeat, then practice the conversation in pairs, etc. But we gotta have in mind that sometimes predictable things can easily become boring and demotivating (what is even worse!) so it’s a good idea to make use of an “element of surprise” once in a while. Don’t worry! This can be a simple thing, a tiny detail.

a) Instead of starting your class as you’re used to, for example, checking homework, why not doing something different (related to the content you’ve been teaching, of course!) like a fast game or a small text to be read. You can check homework afterwards and surprise your students with an unusual activity;
b) Prepare some simple, but interesting activities to work on the abilities you want. I explain. If your students are used to listen to the conversation with their books closed, prepare a fill in the blanks exercise and put them in pairs in order to complete the dialogue while listening to it;
c) Make use of a material you don’t usually work with in class. It can be magazines, newspapers or certain objects. This will definitely surprise your students!
d) Do an exercise in a different way! In pairs, in small groups or even sitting on the floor!
e) If you have the chance to leave the classroom for a while it’s a GREAT idea. Get your students speaking English with others in the course area! You can give them some questions which they’re supposed to ask outside and bring the answers back to you.

I wish you a Sunday lots of great surprises, colleagues!

sábado, 17 de abril de 2010

Two match-ups for you to see (and make) yourself!!

An idea for you to prepare a different brief review of your previous class. Imagine you taught “nationalities” in the last class and in the following class you’d like to have a short review of the content with your students. A match- up about that topic is a great chance to start your class in a different way and at the same time practice the vocabulary they learned!! The other example I adapted from an “occupations” Bingo. There was this store which was closing and that’s why they were selling everything really cheap. I bought the game for R$10,00 and adapted some of its pictures to prepare my “occupations match-up”! Great, isn’t it?

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010

Unfinished Stories (an interesting way to practice writing!)

Nice writing activities for groups!! But as one of our “rules” should be adapting, adapting, adapting. We can try to adapt it to our private lesson as well - the teacher can play the student’s partner and they can keep exchanging stories. In large groups it may work even better. In advance, prepare some sentences like: “It was nine o’clock in the morning”, “Diane was a famous journalist”, “It had been raining a lot...etc”. Have your students sitting in a circle and give each one a paper with a different sentence written on the top. They are supposed to continue the story writing one more sentence and then passing it to the classmate sitting on their right at the same time. Teacher says when its time to do so, and it doesn’t matter if they didn’t have enough time to finish the sentence they were writing. They have to pass the paper ahead just as it is. After everybody wrote in everybody’s paper, the activity can be concluded and the unfinished stories read to the whole class!! This extra activity will certainly guarantee you and your group lots of fun! Have a wonderful class, colleague!

quinta-feira, 15 de abril de 2010

A one (or two) minute paper???

Yes. I had never heard of that, either. But that’s it. I found it on the Net these days and decided to read about it ‘cause this could be a new idea to use in class. I explain. A “one (or two) minute paper” is nothing but a paper that we give students at the end of class asking a specific question about the lesson. This question could be written on the board and students gotta give papers back to you after answering the question. gives some examples of questions we could aks. Here they are:
a) What was the most important thing you learned in today’s class?
b) What questions do you have about the material covered?
c) Write two quiz questions about the material covered today.
d) What examples did I use in today’s class?
The advantages of the activity according to the website are: takes only a few minutes of class time, provides immediate feedback to instructor, can be used in large or small classes (why not with our private students?? I think it’s possible, too!), encourages active participation and also demonstrates your interest in student’s comprehension and reactions.
Hmmm. Something to think about!

quarta-feira, 14 de abril de 2010

Practice 've got/'s got with Lily Allen!

Guys, yesterday I had the nicest class!! I was supposed to teach a new student ‘VE GOT/’S GOT and as a "wrap up" I wanted to give her a song (it’s always a great idea for first day of classes!). So I had prepared this Lily Allen’s song “22” with simple questions about it which we were supposed to discuss after listening to it and...a special homework: my student would have to write a happy end for the story!! One of the coolest thing is that the song tells a story so we can work with it in different ways. As I was listening to the song more carefully (I have to admit I hadn’t paid toooo much attention to it at first) I realized that the singer uses the structure HAS GOT a few times so my student had the chance to enjoy the song, practice her speaking (discussing the questions I’ve prepared), exercise her writing (with the homework I assigned her to do) AND see the content we had just studied applied in a song!!! Wonderful, isn’t it?? It really made my day!

terça-feira, 13 de abril de 2010

Reading doesn't have to be boring!! Some practical ideas here!! is veeery nice! They’ve got some ideas to work on reading with large groups and some others we can easily adapt to our private students!! If you don’t have time to check it out, no problem!!! I’m posting the ones that really caught my attention. Here they are:
a) ABC BRAINSTORM: Divide your class in small groups. Before class prepare a list with the alphabet and give each group. After reading students are supposed to fill out each letter of the alphabet with a word or a phrase related to the topic. (I’ll definitely use this one with my students!!)
b) COOPERATIVE READING: In teams, students read the text and then create questions about it to ask the whole class.
c) FACT/NONFACT: After reading, each team creates four statements about the text but two should be false. Then, they challenge the other teams.
d) PAIR SHARE: In pairs. One student reads a paragraph and the other explains what he/she understood from it and vice- versa.
e) POPCORN: Students read the text. Then, the teacher should call one of them to share a fact from the story. This one is supposed to call “Popcorn to Joe (another classmate's name)!” in order to pick the next student to share a fact from the story.
f) SEQUENCING: After students read the text in groups, the teacher gives them an envelope with the events of the story on slips of paper. Have students close their books and put the events in order. (This one I’ll use, too!!)
g) TRIVIA: Read the story and have a trivia contest!!
h) WORD OF THE DAY: The teacher chooses a certain word from the text and write it on the board. That word is gonna be the “word of the day” and students are supposed to repeat it a few times. After that, teacher should erase the word and whenever students see that word while reading aloud, they either shout “word of the day” or raise their hands.

I hope you liked, colleague! Have a nice class!

segunda-feira, 12 de abril de 2010

Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today!

This suggestion I got from a book I’ve already mentioned here (“Inglês com Criatividade”) and as this week I have a reading exercise with one of my students about PROVERBS, I decided to type and print some which I got from “Como dizer tudo em Inglês (Ron Martinez). My idea is to use it as a “pre-reading” task. I intend to place all of them on the desk and ask my student to choose five, for example, then she’s supposed to read one by one and try to explain me in her words what she understands from each of them. I’ll post some for you so, if you want, you can use with your students, too!
Money talks.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Scratch my back, I’ll sctrach yours.
Practice makes perfect. (I love this one!)
Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
You’re only as old as you feel.
No use crying over spilt milk.
Never say never.
He who laughs last laughs best.
Tomorrow’s a new day, colleague! See you then!

domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

Fast Tip 8: Pay attention to your voice.

The tone of our voice represents an important factor when we’re talking about teaching. Not too loud. Not too low. If it’s too loud so that the students feel annoyed by it,’s no good. And if it’s too low...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Everybody falls asleep. It is difficult to find a balance, but we gotta try!! Our voice, just like our position (body language), shows a lot about what we’re feeling during class. Through our voice we can transmit our enthusiasm or not...have you ever noticed that you can also catch a certain student’s attention by only changing the tone of your voice a little bit? Not mentioning those times when we feel that the lesson is kind of demotivating (long readings, for example) and we also change the tone of our voice so that the students have the chance to “wake up” and pay lively attention to what is being taught. We may not realize how important some details are. But they simply are. Our voice can help us a lot in class!! It’s time to make good use of it! Have a beautiful Sunday, colleague! See you tomorrow.

sábado, 10 de abril de 2010

A different idea on the wall!

When I rented the place where I teach I wanted to put something really nice on the wall but...what?? I didn’t have a poster or anything related to English as I wanted. But then I had this nice idea!! I thought about printing from Google lots of images that reminded me the time I spent in the USA and of course something that could give my students some “hidden” information about that country as well. So if you are a private teacher and you need something to decorate the place you work, this can be a wonderful idea and it really works!! A cardboard, scissors and a glue...that’s all you need to have an exclusive “American picture” on the wall!

sexta-feira, 9 de abril de 2010

Yes, hangman! Practice Spelling/Vocabulary with your students!

Who doesn’t know this game? So why not using this fun activity as a nice way to get your students practicing the alphabet (spelling) as well as the vocabulary they’ve been learning? Just like me, I suppose you already knew this game and probably you’ve already used it in class...but maybe, just like me, you’ve forgotten how well this kind of exercise works in class. Today I made use of a “hangman” game as a warm up with two of my students and they simply loved it! A nice and simple game for all ages! Have a great class, colleague!

quinta-feira, 8 de abril de 2010

Teaching "Parts of the Body"

Look what I found in one of those stores that sells products for birthday parties!! This cute blond boy (R$ 8,00) that is gonna help me teach my students the parts of the body. So to implement the material I typed the corresponding words such as neck, nose, eyes, mouth, etc and I intend to use them in class,too. Another good idea to present this content, IF YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN, is to use that huge paper that in Portuguese we call “pardo” (it's really cheap, too!) and divide your class in groups of three. Students should be sitting on the floor and then the teacher may give each group one of those papers. One of the students is supposed to lay down on the paper and the others have to draw his/her contorn but make sure students develop a safe activity. After that, ask them to label the parts of the body they've just drawn and they can even decorate it if they want to!!. Well,visual learning is one of the favorite learning styles among ESL students and we have to’s simply awesome!

quarta-feira, 7 de abril de 2010

In parentheses: Sorry Polly!!

Only last night I got to see the post you left me on April 17 asking me something for your class due to that week. I'm sorryyyyyy!!! I couldn't help you! Anyway, today I'll check the information you asked me about and post it here for you!! I'm sorry once again Polly! So colleagues, in order to make it possible for me to help everybody, I'd like to ask you to always post a comment in the last or in the last three or four posts even if it refers to an old one, ok? This way, there's not a chance I'll leave your comment without an answer. Thank you all!!!

Practice a "heavy" (difficult) vocabulary with a "light" activity!

One of these days I had a difficult vocabulary to work with my student. Vocabulary can be boring (even for us sometimes!) so I thought about typing the words and placing them on the desk. The book I was using had all the meanings for those words, so I turned the exercise into a “game”. I was reading one of the definitions and my student was supposed to choose among all those words in front of him the corresponding one. Remember that we, teachers, are 50% responsible for the success of a different activity, so of course I had to transmit enthusiasm and challenge that student to find as many correct words as he could! Activity approved!

terça-feira, 6 de abril de 2010

What a shame!

Hi, colleagues! You can’t imagine how embarrassed I feel to post this message today, but I couldn’t do any differently because I don’t want another person to spend money (even if it’s about R$ 38,00) on a dictionary thinking it would be something wonderful to work with and get to the conclusion that it’s just completely different from what you thought! I got reeeeeally disappointed. LOTS of bad words (for you to have an idea my stepson who is 12 loved it and this is his new “nightstand” book), dirty language, arghhhhh, I definitely didn’t like it! Summing up: Terrible Slang dictionary. I’m sorry, Michaelis, but that’s true.

segunda-feira, 5 de abril de 2010

Tongue Twisters!

I’ve never done this activity in my classes but this week I’m gonna try to make use of it as a warm up with some of my teen students. I guess it might be pretty fun! Yesterday I found some “tongue twisters” ( on the Net and I chose some special ones for you and your students! Take a look!

Lucy and Lacy love lemon lollipops.
Funny Frank fell fifty feet.
Dazzling dinosaurs dance, dance, dance.
A cheap sheep is cheaper than a cheap ship.
The big fat cat sat on the rat.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.
Baby boy blows blue bubbles.

Have fun!

domingo, 4 de abril de 2010

Fast Tip 7: Prepare your classes!

OK. This may seem a little obvious but... tell me the teacher who never found himself/herself with no time at all to prepare a certain lesson?? I admit that I’ve already taught without having planned my class and let me tell you...I didn’t like it. When a teacher really prepares a class, he/she feels much more confident about the content and also about some unusual words that may appear (I hate not being sure about a difficult word). We also have the chance to use an extra material because we DO know what the unit is about. Not mentioning that a student knows when a lesson has been planned...or not. So next time you sit to prepare your class, I suggest doing that as if you were getting ready for your first class (remember how you got prepared for your very FIRST English class??), paying attention to every detail, taking good care of little things, and thinking about ways to make it the best class ever! Enjoy your Sunday, my dear colleague!

sábado, 3 de abril de 2010

My mural this month and...a lovely site with everything we need!!

Yesterday I wrote about the next holiday I’m gonna work with my students (Earth Day), so today I’m posting the picture of my mural this month and also some veeeeery nice activities I got from I was amazed by the activities they have on this site. Check it out: a cute award, some lovely bookmarks, coloring pages for children, a maze (put the apple core in the trash can), a simple reading comprehension activity (I’m definitely going to use this one!), a word search, a writing paper and even an “Earth Day Rap” with a nice exercise about it! Notice that they’re all printables, so it’s not necessary to download anything!I guess we can already start planning our class!! See you tomorrow, my dear colleague!

sexta-feira, 2 de abril de 2010

Earth Day Everyday!

Once Easter would be in the very beginning of April, I thought about finding another American holiday to decorate my mural for this month. I found out that on April 22 people celebrate “Earth Day”! That’s a good chance to practice new vocabulary and also inform our students about this day which is the third date more celebrated in some Elementary schools in the USA (I didn’t know, either!). You can find some interesting facts about it here:!

quinta-feira, 1 de abril de 2010

She might be irritated because...

On Sunday I simply love getting “O Globo” newspaper mostly because of that magazine which comes with it . I like not only the articles but especially the pictures it brings. To tell you the truth, nowadays, when I look at a magazine I’m always thinking about new material to use in my lessons, and today I’m posting something very nice I’ve found there. As soon as I saw those people’s faces I thought about keeping them in order to use when I have to teach my students certain words such as “happy” “irritated”, “embarrassed”, “nervous”, “scared” and so on. Isn’t it a great way to illustrate the content? So next time you have a magazine in your hands try to look at it with teacher’s eyes and you’ll find great stuff to work with!