{November 27, 2013}   A menu for learning

This week I’m starting lessons with a new group and I thought of introducing the course in a different way. I thought of language as a complete meal, and so I designed my language learning menu based on a similar menu I was presented with during a conference on Spanish as a Foreign Language.

On the board, before my students arrived, I wrote my menu:


When my students arrived, I asked them what they thought about the menu I was presenting and told them to add any other “course” they considered worth including to personalize their menu/learning experience.

It was a nice, different way to start a first lesson with adults, with whom I like to set objectives for the course during the first lesson.

Do you use something like this in your first lessons? How do your menues look like? Are they easy to follow? What do they suggest for learning?


{June 17, 2011}   Stories in a Bag!

Some weeks ago I attended a seminar at the Teacher’s Training College I attend, and I must say it was TERRIFIC Fabiana Parano showed teachers how to TELL stories in the classroom without resorting to a book, and using gestures and body language to help students understand the story.

Thinking on the effects stories have on children and adults, if you have the chance to attend any of her courses I highly recommend them!

More info

{May 9, 2011}   Teaching Intonation

If you are interested in teaching intonation patterns to your students, it is a nice idea to look at this fantastic presentation!

Did you ever want to work with something different in your Business English lessons?

This year, I felt the need to use something unusual just to break with the routine. Working every single lesson on specific vocabulary made me feel my students were not learning enough. So, I carried out a little investigation -I googled, in other words 😉 – just in search of different ideas that could work with my students.

I got inspired for an intermediate-level class, which was starting on March 3rd. We were very close to a new holiday here in Argentina, and I thought it would be very nice to work with “why” we have that holiday. During my “investigation”, I came across lots of materials about Mardi Gras. My students LOVED the idea and the material, since they didn’t know about this celebration.

And tomorrow, March 17th, two more groups are starting and I’m preparing a lesson on St. Patrick’s Day.

If you like this idea, you can go to this site, where I found LOTS of interesting activities to carry out with students of different age groups. If you work with young people, you may find this audio story really useful. Or you can just ask me for the material I used 🙂


PS: I feel really tired today, but I wanted to share this with you since it’s been ages since my last post!

{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!

{August 18, 2010}   Games in the ESL Classroom

Have you ever tried to play a game in the classroom, for the sake of playing?

I’ve collected a series of games that can be adapted to the teaching context and used to have fun and learn at the same time.

Game 1:
Guess Who?

Level: Intermediate
Age: teens
Short Description: Each player chooses a person from the board. The other players ask questions which can be answered just by yes or no. After 20 questions and no right guess, another person is chosen.

Game 2:

Level: Intermediate
Age: teens, adults
Short Description: Have  you ever heard about this game? Here you can find the template to create your own board!

Game 3:
Balloon Game

Level: Advanced
Age: Adults
Short Description: Tell your students that they are flying in a hot-air balloon which is sinking and that someone must be thrown out if everyone is not to die. Each speaker has to make the case why they should not be thrown out of the balloon to save the others. Typically each participant speaks on behalf of a famous person, profession, fictional character, etc. Other perilous situations may take the place of the sinking balloon, for example, a shipwrecked raft, or a nuclear bunker.

I promise I’ll add more games during the following weeks, but now is your turn to try them out!

As a student, I remember reading lots of materials on the use of videos for educational purposes. There are lots of worth reading materials, but I guess experience is the best reference when working with media products. Working with Videos in the classroom has been mistakenly confused with unplanned classes and with lazy teachers. Teaching a second language that is not spoken in the country  WHAT ELSE???

First of all, if you are planning to work with films, I think a little knowledge on film related vocabulary and the meaning of the different camera positions for instance, is a must if you want to include activities that really engage students as critical viewers.

Then, you should be acquainted with the likes of your students, and see what kind of films are appropriate to their age and level of English.

It would be excellent to have video guides prepared in advance, so as to avoid preparing some not encouraging activities just to fill class time and requirements. As regards this, we have to consider the purpose of the watching activity: are we watching a video just for fun or to expand our knowledge on certain topic?

This is important so we can choose after watching activities that are appropriate to work with, keeping in mind that video watching is an activity in itself.

When preparing a video guide, it’s frequently recommended to divide it in three parts:

Pre- Watching Activities, where you may introduce the topic of the film, elicit background knowledge from the students or predict what the film will be about.

While – Watching Activities, which I think should be just short vocabulary note taking so as to let students concentrate in the watching, and

– Post – Watching Activities, which can be individual or group activities, written or oral, depending on your likes and the students’. Usual post – watching activities include gap filling, comprehension questions and summary writing. Then students can go on towards freer activities, such as poster creation, comic drawing or dramatization.

We, as teachers, should put all our efforts in creating appealing video guides and activities to motivate students. And I’m not saying that we have to print colour copies or something like that. I think that at least one or two images and a nice font can be used to improve the aesthetics of a worksheet, but if the content is not good enough, there’s no use in embelishing it.

How do YOU work with videos?

{February 23, 2010}   Links for Everyone!

I’ve just finished my first class of the day and I thought I have bookmarked many different sites during this summer. They range from video and song sites for kids to multiple intelligences information.If they are useful for you, or if you know about any other site that may be helpful and want to share it, please comment below 🙂

Kinder Sites

e-learning for kids
Have Fun Teaching
woodlands junior
super simple songs
abc song
Making Learning Fun
Little Giraffes
The Virtual Vine
ABC School House
Teaching Heart
Teach Preschool
Deborah J Stewart
Pre – kpages

Multiple Intelligences


Learning Styles/ VAK

Wikipedia (Check the external links provided there!!)
Learning Styles Test

A little bit of everything

Creative tools
Free Worksheets and Awards
9 Ways to Live Better, Longer, Happier
Main Reasons for Lesson Plans

This last link is a bonus, because sometimes, people think and ask that teachers have no reason to like their job. And they are wrong. There are 100 reasons to be a teacher.

{October 26, 2009}   It’s Pumpkin time!

This is my favourite part of the year: Halloween celebrations at school begin and so begin the complaints of all those people I can’t understand.

I always tell my students the true story of Halloween. And no matter how old they are, they love it, as they love what I call the “modern version of Halloween”: parties, trick or treating… Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that different peoples have different traditions? I’m talking about this since, last year by this same time, my cousin forbid my nephew to go to his school’s Halloween party, since, according to her, Halloween parties meant  “worshipping devils”.

And I know there are many people that think that way, but for those – like me – who like enjoying Halloween parties, here are tons of materials you can use both with your students and for your personal Halloween parties!

Colouring Pages, Crafts and Lesson Plans




Halloween for Kids

Classroom Resources


Theme Unit

More Games

Party Ideas


6 Terrifying Halloween Tales





{September 27, 2009}   Email & Chat Abbreviations

Chat and instant messaging has spawned a short-hand language to help communicate via the keyboard. So, I’ve decided to teach my tweens and teens some of the abbreviations they may find useful. Here’s the list!

Abbreviation Meaning
ADN Any day now
AFAIK As far as I know
AFK Away from keyboard
ARE Acronym-rich environment
A/S/L? Age/sex/location?
B4N Bye for now
BAK Back at the keyboard
BBIAB Be back in a bit
BBL Be back later
BEG Big evil grin
BFD Big f***ing deal
BFN Bye for now
BG Big grin
BIOYIOP Blow it out your I/O port
BL Belly laughing
BOTEC Back-of-the- envelope calculation
BRB Be right back
BTA But then again…
BTW By the way
BWL Burst With Laughter
BWTHDIK But what the heck do I know…?
CU See you
CUL See you later
CUL8ER See you later
CYA Cover your ass
CYO See you online
DBA Doing business as
DFLA Disenhanced four-letter acronym (that is, a TLA)
DL Dead link
DIKU Do I know you?
DITYID Did I tell you I’m distressed?
DQMOT Don’t quote me on this
EG Evil grin
EMFBI Excuse me for butting in
EOM End of message
EOT End of thread (meaning: end of discussion)
ETLA Extended three-letter acronym (that is, an FLA)
F2F Face to face
FAQ Frequently-ask question(s)
FISH First in, still here
FLA Four-letter acronym
FMTYEWTK Far more than you ever wanted to know
FOMCL Falling off my chair laughing
FUBAR F***ed up beyond all repair or recognition
FUD Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
FWIW For what it’s worth
FYI For your information
G Grin
G2G Got to go
GA Go ahead
GAL Get a life
GD&R Grinning, ducking, and running
GIWIST Gee, I wish I’d said that
GMTA Great minds think alike
GOL Giggling out loud
GTRM Going to read mail
HTH Hope this helps
IAC In any case
IANAL I am not a lawyer (but)
IC I see
IDK I don’t know
IHA I hate acronyms
IIRC If I recall/remember/ recollect correctly
ILU or ILY I love you
IM Immediate/Instant message
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMing Chatting with someone online usually while doing other things such as playing trivia or other interactive game
IMNSHO In my not so humble opinion
IMO In my opinion
IOW In other words
IPN I’m posting naked
IRL In real life
IYSWIM If you see what I mean
JBOD Just a bunch of disks (like redundant array of independent disks, etc.)
JIC Just in case
JK Just kidding
KOTC Kiss on the cheek
KWIM? Know what I mean?
L8R Later
LD Later, dude
LDR Long-distance relationship
LLTA Lots and lots of thunderous applause
LMAO Laugh(ing) My Ass Off
LMLYG Let Me Let You Go
LOL Laugh(ing) Out Loud
LRF Little Rubber Feet (the little pads on the bottom of displays and other equipment)
LTM Laugh to myself
LTR Long-term relationship
LULAB Love you like a brother
LULAS Love you like a sister
MorF Male or female
MOSS Member of the same sex
MOTOS Member of the opposite sex
MUSM Miss you so much
NM Not much
NFG No f*****g good
NFW No feasible way or no f*****g way
NIFOC Naked in front of computer
NP or N/P No problem
NRN No response necessary
OIC Oh, I see
OLL Online love
OTF Off the floor
OTOH On the other hand
OTTOMH Off the top of my head
PANS Pretty awesome new stuff (as opposed to “POTS”)
PCMCIA People can’t master computer industry acronyms
PDA Public display of affection
PEBCAK Problem exists between chair and keyboard
PIBKAC Problem is between keyboard and chair
PITA Pain in the ass
PMFJIB Pardon me for jumping in but…
::POOF:: Goodbye (leaving the room)
POS Parent over shoulder (change the topic)
POTS Plain old telephone service
PU That stinks!
RL Real life (that is, when not chatting)
ROR Raffing out roud (Engrish for “laughing out loud”)
ROTFL Rolling on the floor laughing
ROTFLMAO Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off
ROTFLMAOWPIMP Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off while peeing in my pants
ROTFLMBO Rolling on the floor laughing my butt off
RPG Role-playing games
RSN Real soon now
RTFM Read the f***ing manual
RYO Roll your own (write your own program; derived from cigarettes rolled yourself with tobacco and paper)
S4L Spam for life (what you may get when you become someone’s customer or client)
SHCOON Shoot hot coffee out of nose
SEG S***-eating grin
SF Surfer-friendly (low-graphics Web site)
SNAFU Situation normal, all f***ed up
SO Significant other
SOHF Sense of humor failure
SOL Smilling out loud or sh*t out of luck
SOMY Sick of me yet?
STFW Search the f*****g Web
STW Search the Web
SWAG Stupid wild-a** guess
TAFN That’s all for now
TANSTAAFL There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch
TFH Thread from hell (a discussion that just won’t die and is often irrelevant to the purpose of the forum or group)
TGIF Thank God it’s Friday
THX Thanks
TIA Thanks in advance (used if you post a question and are expecting a helpful reply)
TLA Three-letter acronym
TLK2UL8R Talk to you later
TMI Too much information
TOPCA Til our paths cross again (early Celtic chat term)
TPTB The powers that be
TTFN Ta-Ta for now
TTT Thought that, too (when someone types in what you were about to type)
TTYL Talk to you later
TU Thank you
UAPITA You’re a pain in the ass
UW You’re welcome
VBG Very big grin
VBSEG Very big s***-eating grin
WDALYIC Who died and left you in charge?
WFM Works for me
WIBNI Wouldn’t it be nice if
WRT With respect to
WT? What/who the ?
WTFO What the F***! Over!
WTG Way to go!
WTGP? Want to go private?
WU? What’s up?
WUF? Where are you from?
WYSIWYG What you see is what you get
YGBSM You gotta be s***tin’ me!
YMMV Your mileage may vary.


Net for beginners

et cetera