domingo, 4 de setembro de 2011

January, February, ..., April, May...

A good activity to use with your students when teaching "months" is the following: Write down all the months in slips of paper and ask students to, individually or in small groups, put them in order on the wall or on the door. Set a time limit so that it can become a great competition! After that ask students to leave the room for a minute and say that one of the months is going to "disappear" and their goal is to find out which one "has gone". Take one of the months out and call students back to the room. The winner is the first student/group that finds out which month is missing! Wish you a great Sunday, colleague!

terça-feira, 30 de agosto de 2011

Are you hungry?

This activity couldn't be any easier and it's great if you have to teach your students feelings such as hungry, thirsty, sad, angry, etc. All you need is a pen and paper. Write on stripes of paper what you need your students to learn and then ask them to choose one of those stripes of paper without looking at them. The other student(s) should choose another one in the same way. So your student(s) have to guess what the other one(s) is(are) "feeling" by simply asking questions, such as: "Are you sad?", or "Are you thirsty?" until they guess what is written. Notice that the structure of short answers is also practiced here with the students answering "Yes,I am" or "No, I'm not". The student who guesses with the fewer number of questions wins the game! So easy! Simply great!

sábado, 27 de agosto de 2011

Yesterday I went to the market and I bought...

A sudden idea! After presenting food and fruit vocabulary a good alternative is to play that old game I'm sure we all have played at least once with our friends. In this game someone had to start by saying "Yesterday I went to the market and I bought an apple". The following had to continue: "Yesterday I went to the market and I bought an apple and two oranges...", then the next person would have to repeat those two things and add one of his/her own. Let's give our students the chance to memorize the presented vocabulary with great fun! Have a wonderful week, colleague!

quarta-feira, 24 de agosto de 2011

A student taught me this one!

We also learn from our students! A couple of weeks ago, one of them, who studied in England a few months ago, taught me a game that a teacher used to play in class. I didn't know it and I got really interested in using this activity with my students, as well. He told me that the instructor used to ask for a volunteer who should come to the front of the room and should NOT look at the board. Instead, he should be facing the group, with his/her back to the board. After that, the teacher would write any word on the board and the volunteer had to guess what was written there only by asking the class some questions. I really think that might work! See you soon, colleague!

sexta-feira, 19 de agosto de 2011

She's 13!

Do you know you can prepare your own "flashcards"? Yes, we can! I prepared these ones last week because I had to teach my teen students how to ask someone's age and also how to answer the question. In order to practice and reinforce the content, I printed some Google images of other teens and also their ages so that my students could ask each other "How old is he/she?" and answer the question, as well. When working with teens or children it's always a good idea to use pictures of people in the same age they are so that they can get to identify themselves with those who are shown in the pictures. This way, be sure they're gonna get really interested and your class will flow easily! Have a great weekend,colleague!!

quarta-feira, 10 de agosto de 2011

Another visit to a R$1,99 store!

See what I've found at a R$1,99 store!

1) A bowling game - it can be used just as it is but with one difference: the student who loses has to answer a question from the teacher or from his opponent;

2) Two cheering hands - they can be used when teaching kids. Explain the students you're going to start a competition in which the one who raises his or her "cheering hand" first gets the right to answer the question the teacher is going to ask. Remember kids and teens love having something new in class, even if it's just a detail.

3) A simple and (veeery cheap) game - this one can be also used as the bowling game. We play it according to the instructions but the one who loses has to answer questions which can be previously prepared by the teacher or asked by his or her opponent during the activity.

There's no excuse for not participating! When a general review or a comprehension check is done through a game every student participates! They have lots of fun and don't even feel they're actually practicing the language. Great!

terça-feira, 9 de agosto de 2011


I don't know a better way of teaching family vocabulary than working on family trees. Tomorrow I have to teach two of my teen students and for that I've just prepared an "imaginary" family tree. I explain. I simply got some pictures out of magazines and made up some names for each person. So right before class, I'm going to put all the pictures on the board, because I really think this way it's not only an easier way to present the new vocabulary, but also to practice the structures which are necessary for their complete understanding of the content. Questions with "who" can be asked right after the vocabulary explanation so that the teacher can check on their comprehension once again. As a wrap up a great idea is to ask them to create their family tree using only names and drawings if they feel like to. Don't forget to use their work as another way of practicing the content by asking each other questions about their families. Simply great! Have a nice day, colleague!

sábado, 6 de agosto de 2011

Ups and Downs!

I start every class with a general review because I think it's really important for the students to remind the old content and also get ready for the new one. With kids and teens I usually make use of a game for that purpose and this time I wanted to find something different! So I remembered an old board game we used to have at home with some ladders which was really nice and guaranteed us great moments of fun! So why not use it in class? Once the board has some numbers on it (mine has got 47, for example), all I needed to do was to prepare the same number of questions so that the student had to answer them according to the number they stopped on. Simple as that! Imagine "student A" stopped on number 23, then the teacher should ask that student question 23. The rest is the same. If a student stops on the top of a ladder he has to go down and if he stops under the ladder he's allowed to climb it. Really nice! Have a great weekend, colleague!

segunda-feira, 1 de agosto de 2011

An old book, a new idea!

As we're staring a new semester today I thought about using something old...for something new! I explain. A few years ago I bought the book "English Upgrade" (Macmillan) in order to try using it in class but I must confess I didn't like it very much...just didn't feel it works well on all abilities. On the other hand, it brings some great board games at the end of every unit so I thought about using them in my lessons. If you have old books or some material you're not using, a good idea is to take a different look at them and use the nice things they contain! Have a great day, colleague! Have a wonderful start!

sexta-feira, 3 de junho de 2011


Yes!!!! Wigs!!! One of these days I went to those kind of stores in which we find special items for parties and I bought three wigs: a black, a green and a pink one. I thought about using them to improve some simple activities especially with my students who are kids. Last week I had the chance to work with them in class and it was awesome!!! So I prepared some forms with simple information such as name, age, favorite food, sport, etc and asked them to create a character with a different name, age, and so on. So they were supposed to wear those wigs and also some very funny sunglasses I got at the store, too. I also participated and students were really motivated! We started then the "interviews" and it ended up being a great and very different activity! Have a great weekend, colleagues!

sábado, 14 de maio de 2011

My mini blackboards!

One of the things I bought for my mini school a few months ago was a "mini blackboard". You can easily find one of those in any R$1,99 store. Actually I got two of them in order to use in class when I have two private students studying at the same time. Last Wednesday I made use of those boards and it was a nice activity. I was teaching "feelings", such as: hungry, sad, tired, thirsty, etc. So I told them I'd mime one of those and they were supposed to find out what I was feeling. All they had to do was to write in their "mini blackboards" (dont forget you need chalks,too!) the word related to what I was miming.But they couldn't look at each other's answers and they couldn't change them either, you know, just like certain game shows on tv! Remember that any extra material you bring to class can improve your lesson and get your students even more motivated about what they're learning. Have a beautiful Sunday, colleague!

terça-feira, 10 de maio de 2011


It happens to everybody. Sometimes we just can't think about a game to play with our students in order to have fun and consolidate the content, as well. Don't worry. For those moments all you gotta have is a dice and it's okay. Many variations are possible and you can create your own! Two days ago I created mine and I could review the content through this simple game I made up. As I had two students with me at that moment I got three dice because I played the game, too. The rules are simple. The one who gets the highest number doesn't do anything, the one who gets the lowest, answer a question and the one who gets the second higher number, asks a question. Ready. So if student "A" gets 5, for example, student "B" gets 2 and student "C" gets 3, student "C" has to ask a question to student "B" and student "A" is "free". Notice that if you work with large groups you can have them in small groups playing the game at the same time! Can't wait to play it again! See you, colleague!

sábado, 30 de abril de 2011


I bought this game a few months ago and last week I used it in class with some of my students. This activity can be useful when we're presenting colors to kids. Of course all the commands should be given in English, that's why it's a good idea to write on the board "left hand", "right hand", "left foot" and "right foot" before the game starts, so that they can play the whole game speaking English. So I'd say: "Left hand, blue!" and so on. Great as a wrap up exercise after teaching them the colors. Have a beautiful Sunday, colleague!

quinta-feira, 28 de abril de 2011


Last night I was preparing one of my student's class when I thought about doing something different in order to have a brief review of the previous content. When teaching kids we always have to think about something new so that we can keep their attention and motivation, as well. My student is 9 and I thought it would be a good idea if we could make an "original telephone" to ask each other's personal information, such as: What's your full name?, How do you spell your last name?, etc. I really wanted to know if he had learned those questions which were presented in our last class. So that's what we did. He helped me make the "telephone" and afterwards we were ready to have some fun reviewing all those structures. Simply great! Activity approved!

segunda-feira, 25 de abril de 2011

It really works!

Today I got the chance to teach Reflexive Pronouns to one of my students and I remembered that mirror I'd bought at a R$ 1,99 store once. Simply great! First I looked at it and said: "I'm looking at myself", then I gave him the mirror and said: "Now, you're looking at yourself", and so on. Great visual alternative to present the new content! Bye, bye, colleagues!

quarta-feira, 20 de abril de 2011

What happens next?

My DVD is broken. I really need to do something about it 'cause using films and music DVDs in class is just a wonderful way to get students learning and having fun at the same time. Now I remember an activity which can be quite interesting. Teacher chooses a part of a movie or a sitcom. It has to be a scene that offers you a way to get your students really involved and make it possible for you to ask them to predict what's gonna happen next. Notice that this simple exercise can turn into a very productive conversation class! You can have your students divided in pairs and set them some time in order to discuss and get to a common conclusion about the rest of the scene. Afterwards, a good idea is to have all of them exchanging their ideas and even questioning each other's point of view. For a private teacher I'm pretty sure it could be interesting, as well. I want a new DVD! Have a sweet holiday, colleague!
PS: This exercise can also be done with a simple picture. The only disadvantage (or not) in this case is that nobody knows what's really going to happen so it's all about students' imagination and creativity!

sábado, 9 de abril de 2011

Let's go shopping!

Is there a better way of practicing shopping vocabulary and structures than I guess not. Some teachers like taking their students out to a certain store or supermermarket in order to practice the content and I really think it's an awesome idea, even though not too practical. With kids it's possible to play you're at a store IN CLASS! All you need is the material you're working on, for example, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. If you have some "fake money" (I explain: the one you get at any $ 1,99 store and kids love using to play at home) the game turns out to be even more interesting. Well, I made use of this activity last week and the result was pretty good. After presenting the dialogue I needed them to use during the task, I wrote a simple part of it on the board so that my student was able to follow it during the exercise. We organized some objects on the desk, I gave her some "money" and told her she could come into my store and buy stuff! Then, it was my turn to be the customer. I've been working a lot with kids lately and I'm getting to the conclusion that the best way for them to learn is simply by playing. With some creativity, we, teachers, can transmit what we have to in a very light (and funny!) way for them and for us, why not? Have a great weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 31 de março de 2011

The chairs disappeared!!??

Last week I had to present new vocabulary to two of my students - one of them is 7 and the other one is 9. The vocabulary consisted in simple words, such as: chairs, doors, beds, lamps, tables and windows. I had printed some images from Google previously so that I could work with some "handmade flashcards". I placed all the pictures on the desk and taught the words one by one. After doing it I asked them to close their eyes because I'd take one of those pictures out so they'd have to guess which picture was not on the desk anymore by saying the corresponding word. So, for example, I'd take the picture of the tables out and they would have to say "tables!" and so on. As kids love participating actively in games and most of the times they love being the "game leader", after showing how the activity was it was my turn to close my eyes and they were the ones who were going to take pictures out. Getting students really involved in a class activity and even in its preparation, like simply helping the teacher organize some flashcards, makes them feel part of the whole environment where they simply learn without even noticing it. Simple and great activity! See you, colleague!

quarta-feira, 16 de março de 2011

Teaching "What's this/that?" in a very different way!

These days I found a great idea in one of the books I use for teaching kids at my mini school. I'd never thought of that before but I got to the conclusion it could be a wonderful way to get my students involved with the content I had to teach. The subject was "What's this/that?" and its corresponding questions and answers such as "Is it a book?", "Yes, it is" or "No, it isn't". Guess what! All we need to use is play dough! Yes! Play dough in the classroom! So I bought it and this afternoon I had the chance to try the activity shown by the book. It was great! Kids love playing with different kinds of material in class so I asked them to create something using play dough about the vocabulary we've just learned. For example: school material, just like: pen, pencil, pencil case, etc. So students had to keep asking each other in order to guess what they were creating. Student A asked Student B: "Is it a crayon?" and the other one would say: "Yes, it is" or "No, it isn't" and so on. Notice that we can work on not only on the structure of questions and answers but also vocabulary. Reeeeally nice! See you, colleague!

quinta-feira, 10 de março de 2011

Where's my chinelo?

That's what my friend's son, who lives in the US, said during his vacation here in Brazil.This fact reminded me of a polemic subject we all have heard at least once: Should we, English teachers, use Portuguese in class? If so, what are the occasions we can do it? I found on the Net a nice article about it: "Using Portuguese in the teaching of English" from Ana Frankenberg ( writer says that some time ago English should never be used in class and after a while the usage of a first language became acceptable in classrooms. Nowadays, the idea is that we should not use our first language in class but in proper situations it's okay to do so. According to Ana "it is acceptable to use the first language to translate abstract words which are difficult to mime or draw, to check whether students have understood something which has been previously explained in English, and to give instructions and explain things to beginners who otherwise wouldn't understand." I agree with her. I really think that using English in class is much more effective and advisable. Students get even more motivated when they feel they can understand the language they're studying, and it's obvious that their listening improve a lot because they start getting used to English in first place. But we cannot deny that there are certain situations in which we just can't use English at all, and the article above mentions them brightly. So, in my opinion, using English in class is always the best idea, but we got to keep in mind that using our native language is sometimes necessary in order to transmit the content we're supposed to and help our students reach their main goal - learning English. I wish you a great class, colleague!

segunda-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2011

Set a time limit!

This afternoon I got to the conclusion that a simple way to turn an easy activity more challenging is setting a time limit! Students tend to like the challenge of having to accomplish a certain "mission" in very little time. Today one of my beginner students was reviewing numbers from 0-10 and of course he already knew the content, but once we had time and he's a teenager I decided to use an extra activity I've prepared which is a simple match up on numbers. My student would have to match them with their corresponding writing. It seemed obvious to me that the exercise could be really boring if I used it with no adaptations at all. Instead, I decided to get my "hourglass", placed it on the desk and asked him if he could match all those numbers in a certain little time. Ready! A boring activity at first became an exciting game!

quinta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2011

A spelling dictation?

Yes! Why not, colleague? This afternoon I was thinking about it as a great (and different) way to have our students practicing the alphabet. So, students would have to write words in a piece of paper, but teacher should not dictate the words but only their letters, for example: Instead of simply saying: "notebook", the teacher should say: "N", "O", "T", and so on. As most activities this one can also become a challenging competition! A reward for the one who makes fewer mistakes! Have great classes tomorrow, colleague!

quarta-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2011

Let's label!

I've just had an idea for one of my classes tomorrow! My new student is just starting the book. In the first lesson I'm supposed to teach him "What's this?" "What's that?" and so on. As he is only 10, I thought about using as many real objects I could, just like many teachers already do (including me!), but I also thought about improving the presentantion of the content with some "labels". So I've just typed the words I need to teach him, such as: pen, door, window, desk, etc. Then, after introducing the structures "What's this/that?", I'm going to ask him to label the objects using a tape. I guess it may work! Have a nice class, colleague!

domingo, 20 de fevereiro de 2011

Questions, questions, questions!

This week I'm gonna make use of another activity from a book which I mentioned here long ago "Inglês é Teen!". Basically the teacher has to show the students a picture and, in pairs, they're supposed to make as many interrogative sentences they can about that image. Soon afterwards, they may ask and asnwer those questions among the group. In my case, as a private teacher, I'm gonna work as my student's partner and we might answer each other's questions. Sounds like a wonderful way to practice Wh- questions and also the structure of interrogative sentences using different verb tenses. A brand new idea from a great book! Have a wonderful SUNday, colleague!

terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2011

For the ones who don't know...

Yes, I like it!

A simple activity that can be used in class, even as a way to present the Simple Present, is the following: Write on the board "I LIKE ________ BECAUSE_______" and ask your students to write 5 sentences like the one you wrote on the board, filling out with true information about them. Set a time limit and soon afterwards ask them to report their sentences for the whole group. As a private teacher, I'd ask my student to tell me what was written. The teacher can also improve the exercise by asking the group to walk around and find things in common what can be reported in class, as well. Have great classes, colleague!

domingo, 13 de fevereiro de 2011

Happy Valentine's!

Yes, collegue! Time just flies! It's almost February 14 again and here I am thinking about a romantic song to give my students and some printable activities as well. Concerning the song, I'm thinking about using my Simply Red's DVD and this week I intend to show my older students the song "You make me feel brand new". The lyrics are pretty easy, the performance of the singer is wonderful and students are able to easily understand what he sings. For my teen students (I'm pretty sure they wouldn't like that song) I printed some great activities from abcteach ( The site brings some cool printables,such as reading comprehension exercises (a text and its corresponding questions) and also an activity in which students are supposed to make words from "VALENTINE'S DAY" - this one always works pretty well and we're able to practice and test their vocabulary skill, too. Be my Valentine!

quarta-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2011

An imaginary party!

This is a great and funny idea to have your students talking and practicing the language even more! I made use of this activity today with an intermediate teen student who has some difficulties and the result was pretty good. I told him we would pretend we were at a party and we had to start a conversation. We could use different names, nationalities, etc. It was pretty funny and I could check on my student's development in Speaking. I imagine that this idea can work even better with big groups so that there are a larger number of "people at the party" and the teacher can also implement the task making use of music and some other stuff. Have a great party, dear collegue!

quarta-feira, 26 de janeiro de 2011

Let's talk about money!

Next week I'm going to start a new unit with one of my students and the topic of the lesson is "money". I thought about presenting the subject through a video or something but then a part of that famous song came to my mind: "...let's talk about money, honey...". I remembered I had bought one of Simply Red's DVDs and there I could find that song, which for my surprise is called "Money's too tight to mention". The lyrics are really interesting because they bring the theme of the lesson and can also be used as a conversation activity right before the beginning of the unit. Nice!

terça-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2011

I can't "live" without my CD player!

In the past, for a few months, I took a private French course. The course was okay, the teacher was a native speaker, but there was no audio during our lessons due to the price of the CD - I remember it was reeeeeallly expensive at that time. Anyway, something was missing. And, in my opinion, something really important was missing. Even though the teacher was a native speaker,as I already said, I felt the necessity of repeating conversations, listening to certain exercises, and so on. We simply didn't have that and I'm pretty sure that my development would have been better (actually, I still can't speak French at all) if I had had the chance to listen and listen and listen...As private teacher I have always used a CD player in class - repetitions, listening exercises, music, etc. Audio is something we cannot forget to work with in class. It doesn't only improve our students' abilities but it also makes the class more dynamic and lively. See you tomorrow, my dear colleague!

segunda-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2011

Something new for my mini school!

When I see this kind of game I get crazy! Those card games are cheap (R$ 9,99) and can be used in class as a great extra activity. This one, for example, may be used in order to practice our students' vocabulary. There are always some changes that are necessary to be made so that we may play the game during the lesson. "Slam" is a card game in which we have to form a word and the others have to change it according to the cards they've got in hands. So, for example, the first word is "BALL", it can be changed to "CALL", or "TALL", and so on. Have fun!

domingo, 23 de janeiro de 2011

Enthusiasm is contagious!

After a short "vacation" I started teaching again two weekes ago and let me tell you...I came back feeling I was someone new! When we're teaching it's amazing to realize how our enthusiasm can change a class completely! Even the most difficult or boring subject may become the funniest moment. As a teacher, just like you, I've already tried hard not to show my student how tired I was feeling that day, or how sad I was because of a personal problem, but those things can affect (even a little) our performance during a lesson. Enthusiasm is everything! Showing our students that we're there, having a great time is a wonderful way to get them really motivated and happy as well. I've been away, colleague, but I'm back. Hope to see you soon!