We all know how much students like sending instant messages and using Facebook and Whatsapp to interact with friends. So, why not use free social networking websites to practise language items? The idea sounds great but protecting our students' privacy is a priority at school. And that's absolutely right! Our aim was to have our 7th graders at Colégio A. Liessin Botafogo practise the use of linking words and the Present Perfect tense + vocabulary, such as physical appearance and expressions used when shopping for clothes, in a lively and fun...

Humans (like all intelligent hunters) seem innately disposed to notice things which move rather than things which stand still. Cook, 2000 Don't move a muscle. by Chris Isherwood CC-BY-2.0 It is often argued that the English language class should try to emulate the ‘real world’ as much as possible. Tasks and activities should reflect what people do in real life, in order to give learners the tools that they’ll need to use English outside the classroom. While this is no doubt good advice, I believe there is also a valid and useful...

When I was an English student, some teachers had the magical ability to deliver lessons that were fun and engaging, which allowed me to express myself and to feel I had an active role in my own learning. As I tried to learn how to teach, the ready-made activities that I came across (and the one-size-fits-all solutions they usually propose), frequently failed to replicate, in my students, that feeling I’d had as a learner. So did the ‘fireworks’ - songs and films I naively used as if they were...

The 9th grade students at Colégio A. Liessin recently had a lesson to revise parts of the body. Students were familiar with most of the words as they start learning them in kindergarten through the famous song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. Our challenge was to find a way to make students practise vocabulary already known with new words presented in the lesson (calf, shin, heel and some others). As the Olympic Games are coming, we had the idea to ask students to create a sport using two or...

I´m a mother of teens. As a mother, it is almost unavoidable to ask too many questions, and to my despair getting monosyllabic answers. The story goes more or less like this, "So how was school today?" "OK". And sometimes the most I can get is, "boring as always". Well, being a teacher, this questioning mindset simply doubles! By observing classes for the past few years, I came to realize that we teachers have this question system ingrained in us. Many times we consider that a pre-listening activity and post-listening...

This month I´d like to share with you a project we developed during the first semester with our 6th graders at Colégio A. Liessin Botafogo. For each grade we select two readers to read with students in class and we chose the reader Theseus and the Minotaur for the first term of the 6th grade. Students are acquainted with the story through the History lessons they have at school, so dealing with the plot was not difficult for them. We then decided to give students a challenge after reading the book. They...

Hello again! Many years ago I took a class in educational psychology and came across this quote from the cognitive psychologist, David Ausubel: "If I had to reduce all of cognitive psychology to one principle it would be this:  the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.  Ascertain this and teach him accordingly."  (1978:  flyleaf). I was very struck by this and was therefore even more interested to find out what cognitive psychology had to say about ‘meaningful learning’, something that we talk about vaguely in...

Some teachers see warmers, ice-breakers and fillers as basically different ways to say the same thing. In fact, they are quite different. While ice-breakers are usually meant to help students get to know each other better, the objective of warmers is to get them ready for a certain topic or task.  Fillers, on the other hand, are activities that don´t require much time or preparation, and are designed to finish a topic or a class on a lighter note, or to review vocabulary before the next part of...

Try this little experiment. You can do it with any search term, by the way.  Open up your Google browser and type in Brazil, hit search and see what you get. I just did it right now (July 15) and guess what the first ten images I saw were? Oh yes, you're so right! But I guess that by the time you're reading this it'll be different, and of course, thanks to our personalized algorithms it'll be slightly (or maybe even completely) different for everyone of us.   Now...

Hello there! Today we have the second part of the activities I used in a talk about teaching with music a couple of years ago: You Will Survive! Check out the first part by clicking here. 3. Translation. Level: A1+ Option 01 If you want to use more complicated songs with beginning students you can resort to translation. Here are some options: - Choose some words / expressions that you want to review and remove them from the song. - Write the translation of the words below the paragraph, like this: And so you're … (1)...