Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Back to School : Part 1 (Week 1: getting to know your students )

So this is it! Back to school.. :) I am pretty excited about it, let's be honest, educators have such a big break :D and I do miss teaching. So these are my top ideas/activities on getting back to school, mainly related to new groups, adults and teens.

1. Find someone who (A2 and above/Adults): love this, just because I get them to stand up, mingle, move around and get to know each other.
  • Hand out the sheets (attached below) and demonstrate the first example by asking  the question to a student. Ask students to fill up the information at the same time.
Teacher - Have you got a pet?
Student -Yes
Teacher -Is it a cat or a dog?
Student - Dog
Teacher - What's his/her name?
Student - Klio.

  • Ask students to think for a minute on how to formulate the questions and then elicit. 
  • Then, get them to stand up, mingle around the classroom to write as many names as possible. Also remind them to ask more question to fill up the 'more information' section.
  •  Elicit feedback with students telling you about their findings. Example: Yiannis speaks more than three languages. Persian, Greek, English and Spanish and his favorite language is Persian.
  • Adapt this game by making your own questions depending on the level and age group.

2. True or False.
  • Write five statements about you on the whiteboard and tell students that 4 statements are True while one is False. 
  • Students make their guesses in an open class discussion. 
  • Get students to do the same by writing 4 true statements about themselves and one False. Then, get them to work in two's or three's and play the game.
3. About me (A2 above/works well with teenagers)
  • Write a set of questions on a handout or the whiteboard related to hobbies, interests, music, sports, holidays e.t.c.
  • Give out some empty pieces of papers and ask students to answer each question on a different paper and then folder it. 
  • Collect the paper, add it in a box or a jar and get students to pick and guess who's paper might be. If right then he/she gets a point.
  • Encourage students to ask a question to find more information and get an extra point. 

In Part 2 I am going to share some more fun activities after you get to know your group. This one (below) I love it !!! :)
4. Jinx Challenge. (For all levels and ages.)
This can be played after getting to know your students to add a bit of fun. I've attached the YouTube video here that I get the inspiration from. Enjoy it!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Say or Tell: FCE Common mistakes

Complete the sentences using say or tell.

  1. She said to me that she'd just been made redundant. 
  2. Why don't they ........ something, instead of sitting there in silence? 
  3. Carl is always .......... me how hard he works, but I don't believe him.
  4. Don't take his word for it, he never ....... the truth!
  5. I overheard Emily ............ her mother was ill.
  6. If you'd wanted to go out, you should have ...........  me. 
  7. She ........... she doesn't gossip but she ............. her friends everything. 
  8. What's the point of giving your son a watch if he can't ............... the time yet?

Views answers here

Taken by Common mistakes at First Certificate. . .  and how to avoid them, Cambridge University Press, 2004 


Working with Phrasal verbs 2: Teenagers

When it comes to teenagers I have to admit that my ideas are more creative than my first posts 'Working with Phrasal verbs 1'.

  • I get them to use the phrasal verbs in shapes and graphics. Like this they have all gather in a handout with a definition and an example. They find that useful and memorable. It also works really well with visual learners.

This is an example a student of mine did last week. 

  • I  ask them to use the phrasal verbs in comics. You will be amazed how much they enjoy that and how fast they learn to make comics online by themselves. For the first time I suggest doing one comic together so they can see how to go about it.

You can make your own comics online in these websites:

Make beliefs comix


Play Games: Mystery Reward Game!!!!
  • Teenagers are incredibly competitive. Games and competitions work really well with phrasal verbs and students love it!
One game that we usually play to revise vocabulary is the 'Choose a symbol'. Each symbol means something else. Students however, don't know what each symbol means and I think it what makes it fun and engaging.

Step 1: Divide students into two teams and give each team a copy.
Step 2: Ask the first team to choose a symbol. Then you could ask them to give you an 'example sentence' or a 'definition' of the phrasal verb. (Alternatively you could prepare some sentences and ask them to guess the missing word in the gap)
Step 3: Once they have answer tell them the prize of the symbol.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3.

Some ideas are:

  10+ points
-10 points

  Double points

Swap points

     No points

5+ points

Play again (no points)

3+ points

Swap points.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment and share more ideas about teaching phrasal verbs to teens :)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fluency: Working with Phrasal verbs

This year I set a challenge to make my students aware of the fact that English is packed with Phrasal verbs and it is what keeps them away from sounding more natural or fluent. Most of them have seen Phrasal Verbs before but have not really paid that much attention or went through the 'noticing stage'.

How I teach phrasal verbs?

  1. Present them ALWAYS in context, short dialogues or sentences with clear meaning.
  2. Get them to think of the meaning individually and then share their thoughts in pairs. 
  3. Get them to look up for more examples or prepare some yourself beforehand. 
  4. Analyze the examples and the phrasal verbs. Is it possible to insert a word between a verb and a particle?
  5. Ask your students to create a small dialogue or a situation using the phrasal verb.
  6. Students take turns to act it out.  
  7. Next lesson: Students read out their dialogue again without saying the phrasal verb. The rest of the class listens to the dialogue and guesses the phrasal verb. OR get them to act it out using body language and words.