18 Dec 2011

It's Christmas time!

Christmas is just around the corner! No matter what religion or place in the world you live, Christmas is a celebration all children and teenagers love and cannot be ignored.

This is a lesson plan I have produced.

LEVEL: pre-intermediate / intermediate
  • VOCABULARY: revise Christmas vocabulary.
    •  practice past simple and past continuous in context.
    • express opinions about the best and worst Christmas presents using expressions such as I think, in my opinion, from my point of view, among others.
  • CULTURE: learn about Christmas traditions in other countries around the world.
  • WRITING: for students to develop their creativity and plan the writing of a poem.
  • READING: for students to develop strategies to understand general and specific information about different Christmas traditions around the world in order to carry out specific tasks.
  • VIEWING: extract specific and global information from a  Christmas commercial to perform required tasks.
  • Chat about Christmas and traditions. Ask your students what kinds of activities they usually do, what special dishes they eat, what is their opinion about the over-commercialisation of Christmas and so on.
  • Display the wordle with Christmas vocabulary on the overhead projector and ask students to place them into the correct category FEELINGS/ACTIONS, THINGS, FOOD. Discuss how they relate to Christmas.

  • Ask your students to write their own acrostic poems using a Christmas word. 
If you have many students in your classes, it would be a great idea to ask them to create a class poems book using GoogleDocs and publish the document in the class blog. Students vote on which is the most original poem.

TASK 3: READING COMPREHENSION: Where in the world?
Pre-reading: ask students to predict a series of facts related to the celebration of Christmas in different countries.
Post-reading: once they have read the text, they confirm their predictions.

If there are students from different countries in your class, ask students to write five questions to know about how their partners celebrate Christmas in their countries.

TASK 4: VIDEO ACTIVITY: John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011 - This is a wonderful advert I discovered in Pilar's blog some weeks ago. I think it is great, not for listening but for developing their viewing and oral skills. There is not speech in the advert, just scenes which are part of the child's story. 
Pre-viewing: create a series of screen shots using Vidinotes and ask students to predict what the story is about.
While-viewing: check that they have understood the ad with a series of questions about the video. The activity is corrected orally.
  • Why was the boy so nervous?
  • What was he really waiting for?
  • What activities did he do to kill time?
  • How did his parents feel?
  • What is the slogan for the advert?
Post-viewing: ask students what was the worst gift they ever received. Then in small groups (3-4 students) they read the description of some unusual Christmas presents and put them in order from the best to the worst explaining the reasons for the order they have chosen.

To all, my best Season's Greetings! Enjoy, dream and be happy!

20 Oct 2011

Halloween Teaching Ideas and Resources

 The spooky, scary Halloween festival is just round the corner! These are some activities and ideas which came to my mind after reading The English Raven Halloween lesson materials design challenge. Are you ready to invite your students to plan your school Halloween party?

                         Open publication - Free publishing - More halloween

Activity D2

What activities would you like to organize and participate in at the school Halloween party?
Halloween Recipe Contest
The 50 Word Fright Contest
Traditional Halloween Games
Costume Contest
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Halloween
Spooky Halloween Storytelling Night
Jack O'Lantern Workshop

pollcode.com free polls 

More ideas and activities:

29 Jul 2011

Verbling - Let's practice English with native speakers in real time

The Internet has revolutionised not only the way people communicate but also the way we learn foreign languages such as English.

Gone are those days when learning how to speak this language in a non-speaking country was quite challenging. The only contact we had with English was through music, books or our teachers. There were like twenty-five, thirty students in my class so we did not have the chance to practice.

Nowadays everything is much easier and there are a lot of online alternatives to language classrooms to improve our oral skills. A long time ago Karen Schweitzer and I wrote about some online language learning communities we can join in to practice English with native speakers:
However, this year a new site, Verbling, has been launched. Verbling is a free live video service for chatting only available in English and Spanish at the moment, since it is in its beta test phase. Nevertheless, they will expand the possibilities soon.

Two of the great features of this new online language learning site, compared to other alternatives, is that it includes video and you can instantly connect to a partner. You do not need to spend time looking for a partner to practice since once you join the site, the system match you up to a parner taking into account your skill level and interests. Then you start chatting in one language around a topic for five minutes and halfway through the session a timer tells you to switch off to the other language. In this way both people get practice. All you need is a microphone, a webcam and an email address.

What is not so good about the site is that it does not include the option to disconnect the webcam just in case you do not want other people watch you. However, on the other hand, I think the webcam is a great option because it allows us to see the other person's reaction to our words, grasp new vocabulary easily and so on. And, finally, it would be great as well to have the possibility to choose your partner's gender and age.

The site is not meant for under 13.

More information about Verbling:
Más información sobre Verbling en español:

30 Jun 2011


Games are a great way to learn and motivate our students. I knew about this one just some weeks ago when I was looking for a cinema game on the internet to finish my didactic unit on Films and Passive Voice. I could not find the game but David Deubelbeiss from ESL Classroom 2.0 gave me the clue to create my own one.

Furthermore, you can use the template and adapt it to any vocabulary, conversation topic or grammar point you can imagine. If you like the idea, you can download the templates or other teachers' BAAM games from the following website. The idea is very simple and I think it really motivates students to take part in.
BAAM! Cinema Trivia Game

View more presentations from Inma Alcázar.
All the pictures on this powerpoint are not my property. They have been taken from different sources. Therefore, if any picture is under your copyrights please, send me an email and I will remove it within 48 hours.

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