{October 31, 2008}   Happy Halloween!

Have a really spooky Halloween! While waiting to go trick or treat, you can check my students blog where we have the pictures of our Halloween party!


{October 28, 2008}   Knock-Knock (8)

Are you ready to share a Halloween party with your students?  Or are you going nuts looking for material suitable for your students?

I had to organize three Halloween parties, each in a different place and for different age groups, so the search for material has been rather long. I must tell you: there are many really useful ideas for a really spooky Halloween party.

Here are some sites where you can find information, activities and lots of ideas!

Teaching Heart is a really resourceful site! You’ll find everything you need for Halloween.

The Teacher’s Corner is full of lesson plans, ideas and printables for you to share with your students.

Teacher Planet offers material not only about Halloween but about everysingle topic you want to cover in class. (I don’t know why it redirects here)

Halloween Sites has a really useful Halloween links collection!

Family Management is described as “Resources to enrich the lives of families”… and so I think!

White Board Blog – Interactive Technology in the Classroom

Halloween Online is a Halloween ezine that should be a MUST at this time of the year

Halloween Costume Party is a really interesting source of ideas for a Halloween party

Halloween Tips provides more than one hundred tips, ideas and suggestions to take into account when planning our Halloween celebrations.

Smart Boards teaches you about the disappearing ghost!

Think-Bank offers a nice pair card game to enjoy while planning your classes!

Halloween – We all know how complete is So, I’ll stop talking and let you check this section by yourselves 😉

I was looking for games for my teen and adult groups to play during this year’s Halloween, and I came across several links that may be really useful!

Of course there are lots of other great games to play with different age groups, but I found some really nice on these websites!

{October 24, 2008}   Wow!

If you are in London or just near that wonderful city, you can’t miss The Language Show from 31st October to 2nd November!

More info form the Independent

Official Site of the Event

{October 23, 2008}   OMFG! What time is it?

Sorry for not updating so frequently but I’m overwhelmed by school work.

BTW, the fact that there was a temporary time zone change here makes me sleep double time and days are really not as productive as they used to be!

And talking about time, let’s visit these sites with very nice information for your students:

English Vocabulary: Time (see related ones here too, they are great!)

English at Home – Time Expressions

Vocabulary Exercises – Time Expressions

Expressions with Time

I promise during summer holidays I’ll come back to the old posting way!

{October 14, 2008}   Working on Values Campaign

Longman launched a very nice campaign to work with kids and teens. Next 15th October winners will be published.

It was a very rewarding experience to work again with the materials provided and with the ideas the kids had. Project work, as said before in this blog, is really nice if you know what you want as a final product.

My little students worked really hard for this campaign, so after winners are published, I’m going to post here the pictures I took to my kids’ posters.

(The pictures are not good, I’m telling you :P)

EDIT: At last winners were published, and so, I’m sharing with you the great work my children did!

Great job kids!

{October 14, 2008}   Blogging here, blogging there

Why is everyone so crazy with “copied” material?

I’m part of several sites and everywhere teachers are like “You copied this, remove it” “She copied that, ban her”.

My policy is, as long as you cite sources and authors, you are free to use any material from Internet. Publishing a copyrighted text (mentioning the “owner” of the copyright of course) doesn’t have to become such a mess. It would be different if one cited a complete book that you have to buy to read it. But information in year 2008 is found freely through the Internet.

However, I agree with certain colleagues who want to ban a member of a certain community I’m part of because he just promotes his site without sharing with others, or another one who steals worksheets and says they’re his.

Anyway, the thing here is when people doesn’t get how internet works.

If you want good material, come here, go to the sites on the left side of the page, go to the sites I mention in my blogrolling posts, or just google for it.

And if you write materials for teaching (whether worksheets, essays or whatever), think what they are used for. Do you think that everysingle teacher would say “hey, I took this from [insert site or author’s name here]” to her students after printing your work she or he copied from the Internet?

If you think that way, I believe you are wrong. Generally people take materials from the internet as their own. So, be glad when you are cited the source of something, and think that perhaps people don’t know you or your sites may reach you that way.

If you want to take it to the extremes, think about this:

“Nobody takes xeroxes from books or copies exercises from books.”

if you believe the previous sentence, you are really naive. (And we all know books cannot be xeroxed because it’s punished by the law, but many people do it all the same)

Or better, think about this:

Would you make your students buy every book you want to take an exercise from? No. You may make them buy ONE book, and maybe compliment its contents with exercises from other ones. Is that stealing? Be honest. As a teacher, I’m sure you did this at least once.

Don’t be so worried about things that do not harm you. If someone cites you or your work perhaps is because the other person liked your work. Tha’ts how blogging works (Have you heard about pingbacks?) Take it as a compliment instead of feeling “robbed”.

(If I complained each time one of my students took my word as theirs… oh my god I’d be quitting the teaching business)

My teen students are always asking me about slang phrases and insults in English, so I decided to tell them about this great book, full of insults from the very beginning.

Also, I’ve highy recommended them this other book, which I read back in the year 2000. (Don’t tell anyone my friends and I emailed the author to congratulate him using some of the words in the book)


Are texting and instant messaging destroying our language?

This is the most common question I never answer. People ask me this all the time, and I’m never quite sure what to say. I’m not a linguist. Evolution of language is not my expertise. Yet many think that because I study grammar, surely I must have a front-row seat for its demise.But if you stop and think about what it means to deteriorate, you’ll see why I’ve always found the question a little unsettling. I’ve lived in neighborhoods where the streets were falling apart. Everyone knows that if you don’t change your car’s oil and rotate its tires regularly and do other maintenance, it will fall apart. I’m quite sure that if you put milk instead of water into your coffee maker, you won’t have your coffee maker very long.

But these things all have one thing in common: They’re manufactured. They’re artificial constructs. They start out shiny and new then they begin to fall apart — slowly or quickly depending on how they’re treated.

But language was never shiny and new and perfect — fresh off the assembly line, so to speak. Grammar was not manufactured. It evolved quite naturally, on its own, probably first with club-wielding people grunting stuff even less intelligible than “LOL” and “BFF.” And they’ve never — despite what your nostalgic, sentence-diagramming mom might tell you — achieved a state of perfection.

Yes, technology is accelerating change. It’s introducing an unnatural element into an otherwise natural process. But is it unnatural enough to mess up the whole system?

As I said, I’ve always dodged the question. I point out that, if modern communications are indeed messing up our language standards, then the first finger pointed should not be aimed at some poor kid ROFLing.

It should be aimed squarely at advertisers. They tell us to “drive thru” and offer values “everyday.” Their abuses date back to the days of cigarette ads when they told us a certain brand tastes good “like a cigarette should” (properly, that “like” should have been “as.”)

In other words, my message is: “Put down the mallet and step away from your kid’s Blackberry. Let’s all just remain calm.”

Of course, that was in lieu of any real knowledge on my part. But now, after years of dancing around the question, I found a real answer — a qualified answer from the most pioneering linguist of our age. Though many know him better for his controversial politics, he is first and foremost a language expert and the guy credited with the revolutionary concept of a universal grammar. Noam Chomsky.

I found my answer, ironically, on YouTube, in a recording of an author talk Chomsky gave this spring. Asked whether texting, etc., are messing up our language, he had some interesting stuff to say.

Chomsky is deeply disturbed by technology’s effect on kids’ minds. “They have to be stimulated constantly by noise and by visual imagery,” Chomsky told the audience. “I’m sure that’s having an effect on children growing up, and I don’t think a good effect.”

But what about grammar and syntax? Is technology harming them? In a word: No. “It’s not doing anything to the language. I think that’s a mistake. The language is robust enough so it’s not going to be affected by that.”

Yes, teenagers today are creating their own “speak,” so to speak. But according to Chomsky, they always have. It’s part of language’s evolution, he said. It never damaged the syntax before, and it won’t do so now.

So, if you find this surprising, it’s OK to express that with an emphatic “OMG”!

JUNE CASAGRANDE is a freelance writer and author of “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies” and “Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs — Even If You’re Right.” She may be reached at


P.S.: I’m actually re-reading Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies, because I loved it! 😉

{October 12, 2008}   Do you like grammar?

After two subjects on English Grammar at university, I’ve definitely learned a great lesson: Never in my life would I re do those subjects. However, almost seven years later,  I’ve been reading “Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies” by June Casagrande.

Do you remember those long hours reading essays and papers on grammar? Are you fed up of listening to those grammarians that emphasize the “correct” use of grammar?

Asking “dumb questions,” as she states, the author of this great book went through her university studies, defying grammar snobs – those who, in her opinion, are the “know-it-alls” of grammar.

I simply love this book so much I’m reading it again 😛

Personal Rating: 5/5 stars =)

More about this book

et cetera