Friday, November 19, 2010

Summing up

Congratulation, people, for teaching for this long. I just wanted to post one more thing before we finish. I was thinking about how, despite the fact that I worked really hard to provide interesting lessons, the kids don't seem to have learnt much. If I had another year with these kids next year, or taught for another year, I would do the following.
Every class, learn maybe three words and a phrase. Also, almost every class, do some karaoke, and maybe a worksheet. Each 4 or five weeks, I would have them do some sort of presentation, hopefully using the vocab, like, making a recipe and then the dish.
inventing a conversation and then filming it.
The point of having a standard lesson would be so that after a fun lesson (playing hide and seek, twister, etc.), you could get them back to doing more boring things more easily.
Other things I would do is to film their introductions, if they let me, at the beginning of the year, and try and get them to make a better one at the end.
Anyway, just a few ideas. Maybe the volunteers next year can use them.
Take care, lovelies!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Snakes and ladders

So I created a snakes and ladders board (I made three, and it was enough for our classes of up to 20), with squares of four different colours, and bought some dice. Then, I made a bunch of cards, of these four different colours, with questions on them. The students play snakes and ladders, and, after they have moved, take a card, and answer a question. If they get it right, they can move forward to spaces more. I got the kids to make up some of the questions, which was fun, and the cards got more and more ridiculous, which instructions like, "dance", "sing Katie Perry´s "Hot and cold"", "pushups" and "stand on Chair".
Photo, here

Fun Activities for the summer

An outdoor game: Los paises. A game the students knew. Everyone chooses a country (this game can be easily adapted for other categories of words. We played it with fruits and colours). Everyone stands outside in a group, with one person holding the ball. He/she throw it straight up in the air, and shouts a country of another person. that person has to catch it, and everyone else runs as far away as possible. If they catch it on the full, they can throw it back up, calling out a new country. If it bounces first, they shout "stop" when they have it. Everyone has to stop running when "stop" is called. The person with the ball takes three steps and throws it at someone. The game can then restart.
This would be better, perhaps, if played with penalties, like the person who gets hit has to sing in English. We tried that for a while but it was a bit difficult.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SImple activities

Everyone knows each other by now, of course, but you can still use these games in class to get them speaking and using English.
Happy deciocho!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tongue Twisters

Hey guys,
Found a decent resource for various Tongue Twisters. I have used them as closing activities (like warm ups but at the end) and have got really good responses from my students. Hope it proves useful for you all:)


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


OK, modeled on the drinking game. Sit in a circle, count up to 21. The 21st gets to make up a rule, like saying Buzz on the primes, swap seats every fifth number, reverse counting, etc. Mistakes are penalised. First I penalised with points (the person with the least points wins), but then used a forfeit. Anybody who made a mistake had to either dance for ten seconds, sing for ten seconds, or talk English for ten. Fun times were had, and a compromising video of the teacher dancing was recorded, so I'm going to call that lesson a success.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guess Who

"Adivinar quien" is also a game known to the students, so it's easy to put it into practice in class. You can use the faces here. Cut up one sheet so that you have 24 face cards. Give each team the sheet with the faces, and then let them pick one of the face cards, face down. (I wouldn't recommend more than 5 teams). The game works by each team asking two questions at a time (is he a man, does he have red hair), and then trying to guess the face-card of another team. Can be chaotic, can be great.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Couple of Lessons I liked

- I showed this video, twice, to a tercero class. The first time with english subtitles, after which we just reconstructed the story, and the second time with spanish, after which we discussed it. It's good for class, because it's only 25 minutes long, but interesting (it won an oscar). The humour's quite deadpan, so for people who don't get it it's very depressing. Ask me where I downloaded it if you want, and also where I downloaded the subtitles. One class liked the film a lot, the other found it a bit boring.

- I played La Escondida (Hide and Seek) outside with the students, and then, afterwards asked them where they were hiding. This is not a lesson infused with learning, granted, but it's fun, and they learn words like 'behind', 'near' and 'in'.

- Divide class into groups of two or three. Give each group a sheet of paper and ask them to entitle it 'a story'. The then write two sentences, and fold the paper so only one sentence is visible, and hand it to the next group. This is then repeated and till you want to stop. At the end of the lesson, unfold the page and read the whole story. This works if you want to do storytelling but students baulk at writing a whole story by themselves.

Target Sounds

Hey guys,
this is an activity i got of there it is called soundswatter (but I unsed paper made 2 colored balls rather than fly swatters):

Split the calss into 2 groups and have them sit in huddled groups int he back of the class. Have them send up one volunteer to be the "thrower."

The two "throwers" stand at an equal distance from the white board with small colored ball in hand.

I write two words on the baord and put a circle around the word (the targets). These two words rhyme and or start with difficlut sounds to pronounce i.e. "lice" and "rice".

with the "throwers" facing the white board and targets, i write one of the two target words on a piece of paper and show the teams (big enough so they can see it). the teams job is to shout the word as clearly as possible so their "thrower" can hit the target word first.

this activity works really well for high energy classes and pronunciation.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Winter Camp Ideas

Hi peoples,

Ideas from the winter camp:

- Pictionary, in which students have to draw an action that the others have to guess. I did this in class with differing levels of difficulty. First, simple words like 'dancing' or 'crying' and then more complex, like 'studying in my room', 'waiting for the bus'. I also added a round which was describe a movie in English, which the class has to guess. This has a lot of potential, but people cheated a lot in my class (mostly by using gestures). Remember to put the actions and movies on cards beforehand, to make it better.

- Twister. Marginally to do with English, but fun. We used cardboard to make the board, and cur up erasers for the dice (spinning wheel) but I'm going to go out and by some plastic for my class here, as cardboard gets dirty quickly.

- Putting emotion into sentences. Write three-four neutral sentences on the board, and explain what they mean. Write different emotions onto cards (e.g. happy, sad, excited, afraid). Students have to convey the emotions while their team guesses. This is quite embarrassing at the start, so do a few yourself, and help them get into it.

- Who am I? - Tape signs to the back of each participant, that state a famous identity. Students have to ask questions like 'am I an actor', 'Am I old' to work out who they are. It may work better with groups of ten than whole class sizes.

Karaoke - massive hit. Here are the karoake files to download:

Jeapardy - not as much of a hit, but it looks cool, and the questions can be easilt modified. Check it out. - Download here: Download Art Jeopardy 1.ppt for free on

Music Challenge - they have to guess the song, and for more points, sing the song. Your music - savvy students will run away with this one, but it's pretty fun, and easily adaptible. Download here:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup Lesson

This week all my classes are doing lessons on the countries that reached the final 16. They're discussing the countries, as found on these BBC profiles, in different levels of depth. They'll do a presentation next week on their country.


Things I am doing with these profiles:
primero: using the facts to ask of each other: what is the (population, area, laguage etc. ) of your country? and ´What is one historical fact?´

Secundo: I did this this thing where the class had to order the countries by population, GNI and life expectancy (which is very interesting, I think). The first class fell into a farce, as this was too complicated, so I got the second class to create a table using these measures (It turns into a lesson on reading out numbers). Wasn´t too bad, and finished with ´What coutry would you like to live in? Why?

tercero: asked each other about te facts, and then prepared for the presentation (2 sentececs about history, one about politics, one about culture of the country)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Lesson - Put Into Practice

I actually printed up one of the world cup themed lesson plans and ran it in my tercero and quarto classes this past week with a great deal of success.

The one I used can be found HERE.

With the terceros I first had them run through football vocab and then list as many of the countries involved as they could using their English names. Once all thirty-two are accounted for, I pass out the worksheets that have the English names of the countries on them, as well as some great vocab.
I then go on to explain the idea of "winner"and "runner-up" and how the winner of Group A will play the runner-up of Group B, and so forth. This leads into using If/Then statements to describe the Knock-out round.
My classes are only forty minutes now, so that is usually a full set right there. With the quartos, I added in the ideas of using possibility vs. probability that are suggested in the lesson plan.

Since all the kids want to talk about is the games, it really does make a lot of sense to give them these sorts of exercises so that they can express themselves in English on a subject they care about.

Buena Suerte, and viva Chile!

Monday, June 21, 2010

World Cup Lesson 3: Chile-Honduras

The highlights of the Chile-Honduras game, with English commentary, and the transcript here. It was quite difficult for the students (Quarto), and I feel this could be done better. video

World Cup Lesson 2: Wavin' Flag

Video of waving flag - and the video mixed with David Bisbal (which is half Spanish, half English) here.
Exercises here, which are similar to the Waka waka, but include a comprehension on K'naan, who has quite an interesting story.

World Cup Lesson 1: Waka Waka

The video for the English version is here:

The lesson is here. It includes lyrics, a google translation of the lyrics, a vocabulary matching exercise, and a more open expressive exercise (only useful for tercero, I found). The other thing I did was get the students to Write "because this is Africa" in the middle of a sheet of paper, and then words to do with Africa around it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup lessons

For the next month or so it is going to be very difficult to teach anything. This guy has compiled a list of websites you can use as part of teaching English with the World Cup. It includes lesson plans, if you scroll down a bit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Debating Worksheet

This is a great worksheet on debating.

Monday, May 31, 2010


I set up 11 accounts with MSN messenger. and linked them all too each other (, for example). This is easy to do, but messenger won't let you set up more than 3 a day, so watch out for that. I just came back from a class in which the students had conversations with each other using these accounts. It worked well, I had to keep them from surfing the net too much, and writing in Spanish, but they can be monitored easily. The computer room at my school only has 11 functioning computers, otherwise I wold have set up more. The benefit of having a class like this is that all the students can chat at the same time and be monitored while doing it (and also, some enjoyed it quite a lot, and kept asking me how to say different things.

The argument sketch

Transcript and video
I did this with a good secundo class and it was pretty good. Each pair took a section and then we acted out end to end. It has a very limited vocabulary and a good rhythm to it, so is enjoyable to say.

Monday, May 24, 2010

8th Basico - Past Simple

We were going over Past Simple in my 8th grade class. This was the last period of a long school day that ends at 5:40pm, and this class is generally too cool for school anyways. At least with this activity they were listening to English, even if most of them were less than interested in participating.

I found a song by the French singer Yodelice called Sunday With A Flu. It has a lot of examples of Past Simple, so I would play the song ( and have the students fill in the missing Past Simple verb. We would go over new vocab. words and I would try and point out the irregular verbs. It's a nice, simple, repetitive song that a few kids started singing along with. I played the song all the way through the first time, then we went verse by verse filling in the verbs, then we listened to the whole song again.

Yodelice - Sunday With A Flu

___________ my door, __________ my key
__________ my bus in the pouring rain
It's been the usual Sunday with a flu
And I just can't get over you

________ my toast and __________ your number
_________ my finger, __________ my beer
It's been the usual Sunday with a flu
And I just can't get over you

I ________ your stockings in my purple boots
What if I don't get over you ?

________ a chat and _______ my hat
________ my dog and __________ my cat
It's been the usual Sunday with a flu
And I just can't get over you

I ________ your stockings in my purple boots
What if I don't get over you ?

I ________ your stockings in my purple boots
What if I don't get over you ?

__________ a cabbage, _________ the garbage
____________ for help and ________ some kelp
It's been the usual Sunday with a flu
And I just can't get over you

I ________ your stockings in my purple boots
What if I don't get over you ?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Debating lesson

I wasn't sure how to teach debating, as my kids don't have a high level of English at all. I've started to have the lessons in the computer room, where they can use google translate. What I've done is create a document in googledocs, which I've then shared with everyone, meaning that anyone can access and edit it. You can see below that we spent the class picking a topic, and then thinking of arguments for and against it. They could come up with the arguments in Spanish and then use google translate to find the right words in English, which they would yell out and I'd write on the board. When we had enough, they'd come to the front of the class and read out, for example, "There should be less school because..." The arguments were then written into the shared document by one of the students. The point of the shared document is to became the arguments intoa project we're all working on together. For directions on how to do the technological stuff, just ask.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Past Continuous and Past Simple? 4 medio

Hello everyone. My first share. I dont know if anyone else is teaching 4 Medio but I made this reading (i know, we are supposed to be doing speaking and listening.. but my guide teacher sometimes has other plans and is persuasive AHH!) and of it I thought I would share.

Warm Up with this youtube video: (its of the performance the article is about)

okay and the text

Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Sting, Deborah Harry Sing Journey Song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’

It appears strange, but the people who went to the Rainforest Fund concert in Carnegie Hall said that it really happened.
On Thursday May 13th, 2010 Bruce Springsteen, Lady GaGa, Elton John, Sting, Deborah Harry, and Shirley Bassey, sang "Don't Stop Believin'." They were singing the song to finish the Rainforest Fund benefit . Afterwards, the audience was clapping for a very long time.
Reporters from the New York Times and the New York Daily News went to the concert. The New York Times reporter Jon Pareles reported that Bruce Springsteen chose the song “Don’t Stop Believing.” Strangely, Sting was learning the song for the first time. “Everyone in the country knows this song except for Sting.” Lady Gaga said. The New York Daily News reporter Jim Farber enjoyed the show very much. “Elton John was entertaining because when the dancers entered and he was dancing with them.”
Trudie Styler and Sting started the Rainforest Fund. It is an organization that teaches people about rainforest conservation. The benefit collected money to help this organization.

BENEFIT noun: show that gathers money

ADAPTED from Orentzi, TJ. The Huffington Post. “Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Sting, Deborah Harry Sing Journey Song ‘Don’t Stop Believing.” May 15th, 2010. Accessed May 19th,2010. (

the verbs mostly come from the first page of their regular and irregular verb lists (long sheets of paper they are supposed to but often times dont study). As a follow up i am planning on gap fill excersizes on the white board (they like using the pens), and next week students will used past continuous and pased simple to "report" aka say 3 sentences about their own concert (ideally).

Sunday, May 16, 2010



software for creating crosswords, cloze exercises, quizzes and matching exersises:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Likes/Dislikes game

Printed these out, stuck them to cardboard and cut them out. A Student would pick a card, then have to find the student who matches the description, ask them what they liked, and then write it down.
This went a lot slower than I thought, as we had to do it one by one, with people getting to the front of the class, and asking everyone. Some of the cards didn't work (noone's birthday in January, for example), and the cards asking about the holder's likes/dislikes were boring, and I'd scrap them. This would be better if students were comfortable and responsible to roam around the class, asking questions. As it was, it was a bit slow. Maybe later in the year it will be better.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Numbers game for Basico students

I teach 5th - 8th grade Basico students, and many of my students, especially the 5th graders, have trouble with the numbers past 1-10, so I played this numbers game with one section of my 5th grade students last week and will be playing the game with more sections next week because they enjoyed the game and it helped with their pronunciation and learning numbers 1-100.

Write down numbers on the board:

1 10 11 6 17 80
2 20 12 7 18 90
3 30 13 8 19 100
4 40 14 9 60 25
5 50 15 16 70 33

Go through the pronunciation of the numbers with the class. Emphasize numbers that might sound confusing, like 16 and 60. Then make two teams and explain that the teacher will say a number out loud and they will have to race to the board and find the number and cross it off using a marker. (Here I had the student with the marker from each team raise their hand first from their seat after I called out the number, because if they ran to the board there was chaos and sometimes fighting). The student who gets it right scores a point for his/her team. Take turns until all students or most get a chance. The winning team might could get a small reward, but I just played the game for fun.

I brought up the ordinal numbers 1st-5th before playing the game because there is a similar game with ordinal numbers that I will be playing with my students after they master they cardinal numbers 1-100.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Presentation on debating

Hi. This is the slideshow for a talk to introduce debating. It may be useful.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

debating video

Video, chilean kids debating here

transcript here

Monday, May 3, 2010

Advice lesson - tercero

I printed out these 'problems' and 'answers' - , stuck them to cardboard, and cut them out. (there's a few syntax errors, sorry). Groups had to match the problems with the answers. They liked this a lot, even though it was the last period of the day, and were asking lots of questions. It's quite tricky, I think, but doable, especially in groups and with help.

Instructions Lesson - for cuatro

I printed out these instructions, stuck them to card, and cut them into squares. Groups would choose one of the instructions (a cake, kicking a ball, doing the moonwalk, plaiting a braid, making a paper areoplane) and had to put them in order. They enjoyed it, but it was difficult, and I probably would let them get away with a few wrong ones. Next lesson I will get them to demonstrate their instructions, with actions.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

10 questions

Played a game today which went down very well with 1B. It's simply a version of 'animal, vegetable, mineral', in which one person thinks of an object, and the other people ask 'yes/no' questions to try and work out what it is . I started it by having two sections to the board - 'objects', and 'characteristics'. I started the sections, and then students called out words to fill them out. I began the game by thinking of the first 'object' and each group of students (my class is divided into 4 groups) asked a question (is it orange? is is australian? is it an animal?, etc.). If the answer to their question is 'yes', the group gets another go. If it takes more than 10 questions, the person thinking of the object wins. After that, I got a student to guess the 'object', and the other students had to find out what it was. I ran it with only animals and plants as 'objects', and was about to add 'things' to make it harder, when the bell rang. I think it helps with vocabulary and asking questions.