5 great activities for using movies in the EFL class

5 great activities for using movies in the EFL classPersuading students of the usefulness of watching English-language movies at home isn’t hard, but there are many things you can do to bring films into the classroom as well.

Here are 5 great activities for using movies in the EFL class.

  1. Half in half out

Choose a scene from a movie that you’d like to work on, preferably one with lots of movement and lots of dialogue. Divide the class into two groups, A and B. Send group A out while you show group B the scene with the volume muted. Then, bring group A back and send group B out. Play the scene again, but this time only let group A listen to the dialogue – don’t let them see the screen (if you have an IWB you can simply turn the screen off, if not just have the students face away). So you now have one group that have heard the scene and one that have seen it. Bring group B back, put students into A/B pairs and have them reconstruct as well as they can what they think was going on. Then show the full scene so they can see how close they were. Continue reading

Fun Halloween activities and materials for English classes

HalloweenDear teachers, we hope you are having a fantastic school year and that you and your pupils are enjoying working with Islands and Our discovery Island. One main celebration during this term is Halloween next week and many of you will be preparing special activities in your English classes now and over the next days for this.

We have prepared lots of fun Hallowe’en activities related to the characters in Islands and Our Discovery Island and materials that we are sure you’ll be interested in: Continue reading

5 poems for the English language classroom

all the world's a stageFrom puking babies to philosophical pigs, today we take a look at 5 poems for the English language classroom. Poems can be a great resource for both the teacher and the learner. Not only are they an ideal way to practise the stress and intonation patterns of the language, they also lend themselves to a whole range of accompanying activities, from predicting the content to discussing how they make the reader feel, or even, with younger learners, illustrating different scenes.

5 poems for the English language classroom:

With higher levels, you might want to introduce your learners to some lines by the most celebrated poet of all, William Shakespeare. Although his 400 year-old English can often be intimidating, especially as it was never written to be read on the page but rather heard in the theatre, there are still many accessible passages, even for English learners. Continue reading

7 recommendations for teaching English to children

teaching English to children (2)Hands up at the back, fellow TEFL teachers, if you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign classroom with a gaggle of overexcited little children getting gradually out of control. You’re at the board trying to get them to pay attention, they’re climbing all over one another and doing everything but speaking English. Teaching kids, while very often a great deal of fun and incredibly rewarding, is one of the most challenging types of EFL class to execute successfully. Nevertheless, it’s a part of the job that’s increasingly called for by many schools and academies. Today we offer 7 recommendations for teaching English to children to help ensure that your lessons work smoothly both for you and for them.

Recommendations for teaching English to children:

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ELT Ideas for Primary Teachers

ideas for Primary TeachersWhat a month! We’ve been travelling all over the country sharing ELT ideas for Primary teachers. Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Sevilla, Málaga…and we’ve met amazing teachers everywhere. Teachers that never lose their passion, their commitment, teachers that after working hard the whole day decided to spend some time with us to share their experiences and expertise.

As promised, we are sharing  our presentations with all of you. We really hope that you find them useful! Continue reading

Making the most of lyrics in class

Lyrics in classLike many ELT teachers, you may already use songs in class, perhaps as a fun way to end the lesson. But how often do you really exploit the lyrics in class in the way you would exploit any other piece of text? The obvious choice of activity with a song is the good old-fashioned gap fill, with students filling in the missing words as they listen along. But this is not the only possibility, and certainly not the most resourceful or productive. Here are some other ideas you can try.

1. Prediction by rhyme

Most English lyrics rhyme, which is a great way to get your learners thinking before they listen. Gap out the second word in each pair of rhymes, have the learners predict the missing word based on rhyme and meaning, then have them listen to check. They’ll listen much more attentively if they’re trying to check their own ideas, and they’ll also have a chance to focus on the text before hearing it. Here’s a silly made-up example (the answer is below):

Hip hop artists, when they sing /  Often wear a tonne of ___________ Continue reading

Achieving universal primary education

IMG_3822 (1)In the year 2000, the United Nations Millennium Summit established eight goals for improving the lives of the millions around the world suffering poverty, hunger, disease and the effects of environmental degradation. Thousands of NGOs and civil society organisations took part in the process that drew up these Millennium Development Goals, and every single UN member nation (189 at the time) committed to achieving them by 2015.

Goal 2 was to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

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To La Rioja with love :)

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of collaborating with La Rioja region.

The Department of Educational Innovation has included a blended course of CLIL methodology addressed to all the teachers interested in implementing bilingualism in their classes (or already implementing it!). Continue reading

Tweeting, yapping, frothing… and teaching (English onomatopoeia)

kapowFor the last ten years or so, delicate birds in English-speaking countries the world over have been complaining about social networking – or to be more precise, about one site in particular. It’s not Facebook that has upset them, or LinkedIn, nor is it Instagram or Tumblr. It’s Twitter that has ruffled their feathers. The reason is simple; they can no longer do one of the things that delicate birds in English-speaking countries most like to do, at least not without everyone expecting them to keep it short and simple and add a couple of hashtags to the message. They can no longer twitter or tweet.

‘Why they had to go with our particular sound is beyond me,’ tweeted Warner Bros. veteran Tweety Bird, in an exclusive interview for Pearson ELT Learning Journeys. ‘Why couldn’t they have called it Oinker or Mooster? The pigs and the cows wouldn’t have minded. They could’ve done with the publicity.’ Meanwhile, groups of birds from other countries have expressed their relief that the site chose to go with English onomatopoeia rather than sound-words from their own languages. ‘Chu-u chu-u!’ chirped a Japanese spokes-bird, visibly relieved, while a Spanish owl in Madrid hooted in to say, ‘It’s bad enough that the pedestrian lights here go pío pío. Frankly, I’m relieved you’re not all pío-ing.’ Continue reading