Logic puzzles

May 19, 2009

Just a quick post about logic puzzles. If you’re teaching the language of deduction (must / may / might / can’t ) or if you’re teaching quantifiers (all / every / none / any / both / either / neither / or / nor) as I will be later today than a logic puzzle is a good way to get students using the language. A very simple and popular one is Mastermind. Here is an online version of the game which you could fire up on the old E-board…



song for second conditionals

May 17, 2009

Working with second conditionals? Check this song out!

the lyrics: http://www.google.com.br/search?hl=pt-BR&num=50&ei=O08QSvCVD6CW8wTQ07yiBg&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=if+i+had+a+million+dollars+lyrics&spell=1

Have fun!

Internet roundup

May 15, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but I’ve found a few useful things which you might like.

1) Wikipedia – the free online encyclopaedia (<spelling?) has launched a Simple English version of its website. They only have 60,000 articles (compared to the many million in the normal version) but for students who feel inspired to read the internet, or for teachers to find a lower level reading this could be the place. Why not create a scavenger hunt on the web. Brilliant!

2) Ted.com – a while ago I mentioned this extraordinary site. Famous and well-known experts talk for about 10 minutes about their ideas. Great listening practice for students! The best thing is – I only noticed this week, most of the videos have an English subtitles option! You can turn it on and off – so see how much students can get for gist first then put the video on again with subtitles. They have 100s of videos so use the search option to find something related to your subject area. Amazing!

3) From time to time I see some fun videos on YouTube that people send me. All of these are to do with sport. The first is an amazing slo-motion video of surfing – it shows what happens to the water when a wave breaks, beautiful.

Another amazing video of a guy riding his bike in the most unusual places in Edinburgh (up trees, along fences etc.)

And finally this one – probably my favourite YouTube video of recent times: Ronaldo (and Lula, Pele and many others!) singing “I will follow him” from Sister Act. It’s a Brazilian video and so helpfully includes subtitles back into Portuguese. Hilarious!

Roleplaying in class

April 17, 2009

Hi everyone, it´s me again (I update this site more then my own :P).

I´ve been seaching for some time a website where we can find roleplaying activities, you know, a PORTAL?  And I DID IT!


RolePlaying can be used in many ways, specially to activate that weird topic you found in your book and you don´t know what to do with that. 🙂 

‘Esl flow’ is favorited here and I challenge you to do the same.


Class on photography

March 10, 2009

lego-menHi people,

I’m sorry I post so much on here. I’ve no idea if any of you read this, but this is too much fun to let pass. If you’re ever doing a photography themed class, you could use this set of pictures available on flickr. They’re lego versions of classic photos (like the one above of workers on a skyscraper having lunch). The guy who does them obviously puts a lot of care into getting them just right, and he also explains a bit about how he did it and he links to the original photo (with an explanation about why that photo is famous) so you can see how closely it matches. I’m sure there must be many ways to use this in a lesson – you could put up the lego ones and ask students if they know which picture he is copying, then show the original to check.

Click here to see his album, then click on the album Classics in Le

What is a Chatbot?

February 19, 2009

A chatbot is a computer programme which answers questions as if it were a person. It has very limited artificial intelligence and tries to learn about you too.

This is a good one from mousebreaker games http://www.mousebreaker.com/games/chatbot – the chatbot is called Mitsuku and she is 18 years old. She does quite a good job of keeping up a conversation. be careful> If you are rude to her, she will be rude back!

This was the task I set for my students using this chatbot. After a lesson on formign questions (Upp1) they had to write questions to Mitsuku to find out this information

Mitsuku’s age _________________
The town where Mitsuku lives _________________
Favourite colour _________________
If she has a boyfriend _________________
Her religion _________________
Her favourite film and why she likes it _________________

2 other facts about her

PROS of this activity – Students get carried away and ask her lots of things, some kept playing after the end of the lesson. Mitsuku sometimes provides extra info, like pictures and links and pop-ups on the page which make it interesting

CONS you need flash installed (which one of the comps at Tirol didnt have). Sometimes it is slow to load or their system if overloaded so Mitsuku won`t work. Depending on your sensibilities – dont let students get carried away writing too many rude things!

Mad Dogs and English

October 13, 2008

A bit of a shameless advertisement for a website I started a few months back aimed at “celebrating the daftness of the English language”. To be fair, it has been picked up by some ELT websites out there on the internet and is gaining some momentum so I thought it may be useful for you guys. Basically, once a week I draw a simple cartoon based on an idiom/phrasal verb/homonym which could create confusion to a non-native speaker… its supposed to be funny but it probably appeals more to my slightly warped sense of humour (its like “The Far Side” if anyone used to read that?). You can see it at maddogsandenglish.wordpress.com. I’ve drawn 35 already and add a new one each Monday. Some of them you might find useful in explaining a language point, especially for higher learners. I used NUMBER 9 in an Advanced 1 class to explain a phrasal verb and they seemed to like it.

ALSO: The 101 IELTS questions I mentioned a few posts back have now all been printed and neatly cut into strips (thanks to Giane) and have been stored for safe keeping in the back of the Advanced Blue folder of resources in the Teachers Room. Help yourselves! (and then return them, please!). I used them in my conversation club with great results… feedback from the students suggested that they liked having a guideline for what they should say. Happy conversing!