Lesson 18: Wales webquest [reading, speaking, cultural awareness]


Dragon Tile
Everybody knows about St Patricks’s Day. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s one of my favourite holidays (watch out for an Irish-themed lesson in a few days!). But how about Wales?

This lesson has been inspired partly by my recent trip to Swansea, and partly by the fact that it’s Saint David’s Day soon. the webquest starts off easy, and then encourages students to find out more about the subject area of their choice. This is a good way of making sure that your students get to know the basic facts about “the land of song” – and find out more when and where they want it!


Lesson 17: How do you say it? [Listening, pronunciation, minimal pairs, stress patterns]


Let your learners listen - and teach them to listen well.

This lesson may appear somewhat more “technical” and mechanical than many of the communicative, task-based resources that can be found here. There are, however, several important arguments in favour of preparing this kind of lesson every now and then. The most important reason is the lesson’s effect on the learners.


Lesson 16: Unplugged Speed Date


speed date bos en lommer 22 febThis is a perfect follow-up for all the Valentine’s Day madness – also because it requires very little preparation and relies on the ideas and language your learners will generate. The concept of “speed dating” is made a little less threatening by including stick figures in the plan – so that the students don’t actually have to find partners for themselves!

With careful staging and plenty of guidance, pre-intermediate students can already enjoy this lesson – although, as with all speaking-heavy activities, higher levels are probably bound to have more fun. The plan can be adjusted by altering the number of questions to be prepared and asked.


Lesson 15: If it were my home…[comparing, speaking, conditionals]


For visual learners, the map module puts things in perspective.

This is a good lesson for visual learners – and a useful contribution to any themes revolving around politics, geography or global affairs. Three things that make this lesson a success are:


Free TEFL resources: Flo-Joe (Cambridge exam preparation)


"The real FCE exam should have their hints, too", said my student.

While not exactly 100% free, Flo-Joe is certainly a useful website for teachers with exam classes. It focuses on 4 Cambridge exams at the moment – from PET to CPE – and it provides a lot of free online exercises preparing your students for their English certificate tests.

It’s best to explore the website for yourself before using it with students: some Flo-Joe pages are available only to paid subscribers, and it’s good to know which parts are freely available.

The exercises on the website use an interface which is suitable for IWBs (although it takes some time to get used to it!). so whenever you feel that your exam groups could use some practice, this and a smartboard should be a good way to focus on the most important exam issues.

Enjoy – and let us know how it went in the comments below!

Lesson 14: Travelling in London (reading, websearch, transport, travelling)


This screenshot from the TFL website shows you where to look for the "Advanced options" link.

There are many reasons for having a lesson like this. I can remember one quite clearly. One of the groups learning English in London at a summer school I worked for could never make it on time for the afternoon classes. The reason? They spent most of their days lost on the Tube with their Group Leaders…

This lesson is based on one of the most usable and informative travel websites I know: the Transport For London website. There’s not a lot of grammar in here, and the structure of the lesson lends itself nicely to a lot of lexis / vocabulary work. Although the suggested level is upper-intermediate, I can think of a few intermediate groups who could accept the challenge quite happily :)

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Free TEFL resources: Freerice.com (vocabulary / grammar / game)

Play Freerice and feed the hungry

There are few better ways to make students feel good about their English.

This website has been one of my favourites for a long, long time. The idea is simple: by solving a multiple choice quiz, with a new question displayed on every page, you help donate rice to places which need it. Your progress is measured by the amounts of grains of rice you donated, and your level is adjusted depending on the number of correct answers.


Lesson 13: Choose a movie (websearch, reading, speaking, film vocabulary)


Rotten Tomatoes: harsh, but brilliant.

Just before the Oscar frenzy gets to everyone, here’s an effective lesson based on the idea of choosing a good movie for a group of people.

The website for this lesson is Rotten Tomatoes – a must for every cinema lover. It turns out that it makes for a good authentic English lesson, too. The synopses and reviews (scroll down when on the website to see those) are informative and brief – and on the whole, the website provides your students with lost of good English film vocabulary.

A word of advice: get ready for a lot of data transfers when using this lesson – especially if you give your students enough time to watch the trailers!



Free TEFL resources: A pronunciation chart for IWB and iPad


An online pronunciation chart. On your interactive whiteboard. With sound. For free. Gotta love it.

Here’s another cool resource you can use for free, anytime: it’s called “Sounds Right” and it’s an online pronunciation chart. The application is available from British Council’s “Learn English” website.

I saw a link to this resource last week (thanks, Angela!) There are several things I instantly liked about this app, here’s just a few:

  • The pronunciation chart is neatly arranged. The traditional arrangement according to the place of articulation is preserved, along with the vowel / consonant division. Everything is more legible than some paper versions of IPA charts I’ve come across. However: The /ʊə/ diphtong seems to be missing.
  • It’s insanely “clickable” – every sound can be clicked to provide a pronunciation recording of it, and it comes with three examples of use in a word – just hold your cursor over the arrow in the top-right-hand corner of the sound for examples (also recorded).
  • It loads fast, and is ready to use almost at once (can’t vouch for the iPad version, though).

You’ll probably think of several pronunciation lesson ideas to go with this online resource. I’ll probably come up with a lesson plan myself, sooner or later :) Below are just a few warmers and games that could be used with this. Works especially well with IWBs and smartboards:


Lesson 12: Unplugged: Resolution Clinic [writing, speaking, advice]


Teaching with empty hands: strange, yet satisfying. Give it a go.

This lesson is about New Year resolutions. Two things that set it apart from the usual “Make-a-resolution-and-talk-about-it” lesson are:

  • There’s a twist to the early stages of the lesson, in which students are asked to imagine why a sad stick figure would decide to make big resolutions.
  • This lesson – working on many levels, with various groups of students – requires no resources apart from a pen and paper. (more…)
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