{September 29, 2010}   Halloween Recommendation

I’ve already started thinking what to do this Halloween with my students, and I suddenly remembered this awesome ghost story:

Smee is a story within a story, which tells about the death of a young girl while playing a game. This was my favourite story when I was a teen, so I’m planning to prepare some activities to work with my students.

Read the story!

Listen to Smee!

More information

The author


Have you ever thought that using a nice image could help your students to improve their oral skills?
After coming across this site I thought why not looking for nice images to foster impromptu speaking. Impromptu speech is one of the most difficult areas of speaking, mainly because of the short time you have to prepare your words. In the classroom, this is a very useful tool to see how well students have developed their communication skills, and how good their command of the oral language is. And, instead of giving students a topic to talk about, I thought of providing them some images for them to relate to anything they like.

Sites with excellent royalty free images:

Impromptu Speech Ideas:

I’m sure you came across this question at some point of your teaching career:

How do I decorate my teens’ (or adults’) classroom?

My 15-year-olds loved the classroom when they first saw it: its walls were decorated thinking on their likes and on their needs as students. Of course, some extras were to be found 😉

I created some motivational posters and hung them on the wall next to the blackboard. Then, I added some colourful cardboard empty posters which were meant for students to write anything they liked.  And… instead of adding too many revision or grammar posters, I kept a small space for those, and I changed them very often, when my students would not need them anymore. The rest of the classroom walls are decorated by some other teachers.

What do you do in your classroom?

{September 27, 2010}   Giving Presentations

When you are giving a presentation, you usually talk in front of a group of people in a clear, structured way (about a certain topic). Presentations are a very useful tool for teachers to make students develop different skills and study strategies.

How to succeed in giving presentations?

Must-remember tips:

  • Before the presentation, be sure you have all your materials ready.
  • Introduce yourself and the topic of your presentation. The audience needs to know who is talking and what is he/she talking about.
  • Be ready not to read all the time, people will get bored!
  • Keep the presentation simple, giving new and significant content. Remember that your audience can read the full paper later, and look for information on the net.
  • Show your knowledge of the topic: be ready to answer any question that may arise!
  • Always remember that the end of the presentation is as important as the beginning!

Tips, useful language and tons of ideas:

{September 19, 2010}   Reading Recommendation

Some years ago I came across a copy of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.It includes a “new, twisted version” of some the the classic fairy tales we were told when we were kids.

What is best about it: it’s an EXCELLENT book to work with preteens and teens! I’ve chosen these two stories to work with my 15 year olds at school, and they loved them!

{September 19, 2010}   The importance of pronunciation

I’ve been remembering a situation for a while, and I thought some of you would have also participated in a similar one, thus, the purpose of this post.

Once I was told by a partner that she used to teach final -ed pronunciation in a very particular way. She said her students did not need the “specifics” and that a very general rule would be enough.

And I disagreed.

I couldn’t believe her explanation (and the fact that she wanted me to work in that way!) and started looking for material on the topic for my students to work at home.

I came across a free English lesson on the pronunciation of -ed endings; A very nice theoretical explanation and some nice exercises together with simple explanations

More theory over here:
Teaching ESL to Adults

And some exercises right here:



How couldn’t I include it, people? There’s plenty of material out there in youtube!

{September 2, 2010}   Nice stuff

I’ve been doing my homework and I came across several interesting articles on the net.

Technology that we all cannot live without, by Johnny Hart

How regional dialects are spreading around the UK thanks to Facebook and Twitter, by Daily Mail Reporter

Phrases we will hear a lot…,  by Ron Dzwonkowski

I’m planning to use some excerpts to show my students some “real” pieces of news. Hope you like them too!

This past days someone started a debate regarding English teachers. As one of them, I listened carefully to all the comments, and then talked.

People were saying that to be a teacher you don’t need to study.

They said that to teach English you just need to know English. Extra knowledge (i.e. grammar, phonetics, didactics…) does not count.

They also said that if they could get a job without the knowledge, it was because they didn’t need it.

And there I started.

To teach English, you don’t have to know just English. You have to know its roots and the cultures where it is spoken. You need to know the basics of grammar and phonetics (if not, how will you teach it?). But, for God’s sake, you must know didactics to teach.

It’s not the same to teach kids at preschool than high school students. Adult learners are a very different thing, too.

It’s not the same an activity created to be used following the Audio-Lingual method than an activity that allows multiple intelligences to be on stage.

Then, I added something about salaries. I don’t expect to earn the same than a non trained person. But well, those are just expectations. In real life, I’ve met an actress that was head of the English department, lots of FCE students working as teachers… so, what should I expect?

Is Argentina the only place where non-trained people work as teachers of different languages?What about other places? Are qualifications losing their value?

et cetera