Monday, 2 October 2017

Let the 2nd Spooky Short Story Competition begin!

It's October, that means Halloween and that means spooky stories! Last year's stories were great. This year I've extended the competition to a few more schools in the area where I live, not just the ones I teach in, so be looking out for a bumper read towards the end of the month!

If you are looking for help on how to write a story, you can check out this blog post here.
And if you are wondering why I'm so into scary stories, you can check out my writing here.

Here are the rules:

  • Only students who attend the participating schools may take part.
  • No story should exceed (be longer than) 300 words.
  • All stories must be on A4 paper with students name, class level and school at the top.
  • All stories must be hand written and not corrected by another person.
  • All stories must be original and the student's own work.
  • No more than one story per student, so choose your best one!
  • Do not include violence and blood for the sake of it. I want to be scared not made to feel sick!
  • The judge's decision is final.
  • All winning stories will be published on this blog towards the end of the month.
  • Closing date 20th October 2017. (Hand in your stories to your teacher who will pass them on to me.)
  • Artwork welcome!
Have fun!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Welcome back!

It's been an long hot summer in Greece and I'm feeling rested and recuperated. So much had been happening!

First of all, I have to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all my students who passed their exams at B1, B2, C1 and C2 levels. You deserved it, you worked like troopers this year!

After school was out, I took a  long deserved trip back to the UK for my niece's wedding and a huge family reunion. (It was about time after thirteen years, don't you think?) I also read endless books and spent quality time with my family. What about you? Feel free to let me know what you be been up to by commenting below.

Now I'm back and raring to go!

If you are an old friend, you'll notice some changes happening here at my blog and I hope you'll hop on board and support me by hitting the subscribe button up there on the right. If you are new here, no problem, by subscribing, you can enjoy all the benefits too. So what will you get from this? Subscriber exclusives of course! There will be a whole new series of How-to guides for teachers and students to help you with all the things you need to make your English teaching/learning experience so much more enjoyable, as well as all the old favourites. And of course they are all entirely FREE! If things really take off, I have so much more planned! So click on that subscribe button and let's kick off the 2017- 2018 school year together!

The coming months:
I'll be attending a seminar on Dyslexia and EFL.
The 2nd Spooky Short-Story Contest will be running from October 1st -20th. Look out for details in school or here. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Where did the year go? It's been two months since I posted and I hardly noticed!
Well now it's the end of year I thought I set you up with all you need to: 

Create you very own yearbook!

A yearbook is a way for each student to remember classmates, what they looked like and what interested them in that year of school. Traditionally yearbooks are presented to graduating students but in EFL classes, you can create them for the students who have just taken or are going to take exams and are going on to the next level or going to leave.

  • All comments made must be positive.
  • All comments must be in English.
  • Use your best handwriting.
  • Use a mobile phone/school camera to take photos and print them up (or get students to bring their own).

  • Write your name.
  • Write a short auto biography.
  • Write three adjectives that describe you.
  • Write what you hope to achieve next.
  • Ask your teacher to write something.
  • Ask your classmate(s) to write something.

When you have gathered all the completed pages copy them back-to-back and staple them together with a cover of your own design or using the template I have below.

Make enough copies so all the students can have one each and one for you and the school owner. If finances are an issue, you can reduce the copy size so that each page is A5, or make monochrome copies. Alternatively, scan them all into a computer and email them or make a PDF available through your school site or only to those who have the link.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The meaning of March and other phrases...

March is the month of spring and has always been one of fond memories for me. My best friend from preschool years and my favourite auntie have their birthdays on the official first day of spring - the 21st of March which is usually the spring or vernal equinox. Happy birthday to you!

The month of course is named after the Roman god of war, Mars which brings the imagery of a chariot blazing across the sky dragging spring behind it. It would be nice to think that the verb to march would fit in here, (one imagines legions of Roman soldiers in strict formation) but sadly it doesn't.

So what other phrases and idioms are connected with March? 

Mad as a March hare, meaning completely crazy, stems from the dancing/jumping/boxing motions of hares at this time of year - it is their mating season. Just have a look at this!

Why am I posting today you might ask? Well today is the ides of March. You may have heard of this before from Shakespeare "Beware of the Ides of March". Again ides is a Roman term used for the first full moon of the Roman new year, which fell on the 13th or 15th of March, and so the Ides of March is now accepted as the 15th of the month. (Although strangely this year the full moon was the 13th!) 

Finally, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, refers to the changeable weather and the change of the season. Early March weather tends to be fierce and cold whereas in late March one can really feel the mildness of spring just around the corner. Lions are fierce, lambs are mild, it's not so hard to see! There is a lovely children's book of the same name written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully that brings this idea to life provides plenty of weather vocabulary too.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Quick! There's been a Murder in the Classroom!

Sometimes it's super for busy teachers to allow another person or company do the planning and that's just what I did today with 'Murder in the Classroom' from One Stop English, the Macmillan website.

Macmillan website OneStopEnglish has a super Murder Mystery that takes up a one hour period and was the perfect way to lead into the holiday weekend. I had, of course, spent a half hour or so preparing the scene just to get the atmosphere right. (Thanks to hubby for the tape and to V.K. for interrupting her busy schedule to print up my 'Police Line: DO NOT CROSS' sign and L.L. for the photos.)

Miss McGowan, R.I.P.
I delighted in monitoring my students as they questioned each other, narrowing down the likely suspects and finally detecting the murderer.

If you would like to try this you need to have at least seven students in your class and there are roles for another four provided on the Macmillan website. My class was twelve so I had to write one more, but that wasn't so hard to do. Click here for a link to the material provided by Macmillan and see if your students can discover Whodunit?