Category Activities

Take a dialogue and…

Teacher 1: Does a dialogue provided by text books for listening comprehension stop being useful when the listening activity is over? Teacher 2: Of course not! You can take a dialogue and.. As part of an input session I gave at Exeter Academy on Listening and Speaking lessons for lower levels, I put together this list […]

Adapting Academic Reading Circles for a short pre-sessional course

This has been Week 2, or the first full week (minus the bank holiday) of the pre-sessional course. The students have been learning about thesis statements and how to organise their ideas in their essays, what it means to participate in a seminar, how to get the most out of a lecture, and they’ve done a timed essay. […]

Forum Theatre for building confidence and fluency

You’re a 13-year-old school student. You’re away from your home and your family. How do you tell your host family that you don’t like the food? Perhaps your teacher can help you work it out with this Forum Theatre style activity. I had intended to have written about this and more by now, but I threw […]

How to use this blog

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time. A year after starting the blog seems like a good time (!), especially as I’ve just finished the DELTA and have had the opportunity to reflect a bit more on lesson planning and materials selection. So, as you’ll know if you’ve read the ‘About’ page, this […]

It’s Translation, Jim, but not as we know it.*

*if you ever taught or were taught using the Grammar-Translation method. I have recently completed DELTA module 2 (thank you, yes, I am exhausted) and as part of the course, we had to do an experimental practice, i.e. teach a lesson using an approach, method or technique we had never tried before. I chose translation for various […]

Star register – make your register work for you

How do you do the register with your kids’ classes? Do you use the time to revise new language? Do you get the students to take turns to do it? I want to share with you something I did last year with my classes of 5 to 6-year-olds which worked really well.  It took a […]

Surrealist definitions

This is a great “game” which can encourage students to access their creativity. It could be used as a quick warmer or a filler game at the end of class.  Students can use any language they feel comfortable using, so it could be used with various levels. I think the game comes from a book of Surrealist […]

Using pictures to study Sentence Transformations

It doesn’t matter how often I go to Cairo, I´m always struck by the beauty of the Pyramids. No matter how many times I go to Cairo, I´m always struck by the beauty of the Pyramids. Some people say that there’s no place for an exercise like Sentence Transformations in an assessment of English ability, but there […]

This is a…

What is it if it’s not a pipe? Could it be an elvish golf club, a tiny unfinished old-fashioned periscope, a fancy straw for drinking ale, part of a faucet, a teensy weensy watering can? Course it could, if you can forget the boring, sensible, conventional use and think sideways. This little warmer requires students […]

Power Pose (How to pretend to be a confident speaker)

I’ve had a bit of a holiday from writing blog posts, but I’ve still got lots of ideas to share and I’m aiming to post something every week for the rest of the summer. Here’s the first: Before their FCE exams in June, my intelligent but quiet Spanish teenage students (all girls) all expressed that they were […]