Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sandwiched between the overwhelming popularity of Halloween and all-American Thanksgiving, on November, 5th there is a festival that, in recent years, has gained its lost popularity. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night is one of those celebrations that are not rooted in everyday activities or seasonal changes, but in the historical events that took place in the 17th century and whose main character, Guy Fawkes, has become the icon for many who fight the political power (see “V for Vendetta” or the masks of the members of Anonymous).

For those who, like us, enjoy introducing their students to the culture of the target language, here go a couple of links with materials for the classroom. If you are teaching beginners or basic levels, Activity Village (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/guy-fawkes) has a good range of basic exercises to practice vocabulary.

In case you need something more elaborate for intermediate students, the kibishiaul.com blog (http://kibishipaul.com/blog1/2006/11/05/lesson-16-bonfire-night-video/) has a video lesson with an on-line quiz. Also, for this level, we have the material from Remember Remember (http://www.remember-remember.com/schools/teaching.php#literacy) especially the punctuation activities.

Finally, there is a more humorous BBC video documentary hosted by Nick Knowles that could be a good entertaining and inspiring resource for more advanced students. In this case we have not found any activities, although we suggest students could write a short article on the events described.

If you know of any more materials that could complete this post, please write a comment. We appreciate your collaboration.

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‘Fakebook’! Create a Fake Facebook Profile Wall using this generator

Create with ‘Fakebook’ fake Facebook profile wall for educational purposes.

Use “Fakebook” to chart the plot of a book, the development of a character, a series of historical events, the debates and relationships between people, and so on!

Get started by entering a name at the top of the page. Then proceed to add friends, posts, comments and profile information.

Lots of possibilities for language teaching!

See on Scoop.it – Cosas que encuentro para clase

See on www.classtools.net

The Artistifier

Cristina Monti has shared this useful tool with us in our facebook group:

The recent success of the film ‘The Artist‘ seems to have created a lot of interest in silent black and white movies again. These kinds of movies are great for using with students: now you can create your own B&W silent movies using The Artistifier and any clip that you can find on YouTube.

I’ve tried it myself and the results are spectacular. Here you can see a little example of what you can do.

In class I think you can use The Artistifier in many different ways. I’m thinking of showing the site to my students and tell them how it works and ask them to create their own video.

Our mate Iván Conte suggests we can work on body language with it, and thinks this tool can be useful with elementary students.

If you have any other suggestion, please leave your ideas in the comments section, we are eager to see what else we can do.

Serialized stories by Macmillan and onestopenglish

Photo courtesy of Flikr by Ian Hayhurst

The Macmillan readers team in collaboration with the onestopenglish team have launched a series of audio serializations at different levels. The series has seven titles so far and growing, and for each title we can download the audio for every episode, together with a lesson plan, transcript and sometimes follow-up activities. There’s only one catch, not all of them are available for non-registered users, although some of them are.

My first impulse was to give my students the link so they could do this on their own but on second thoughts I’ve decided I’m going to do it in class. I am tempted by the idea of having an ongoing story shared by the whole class, I think it can be motivating, that most people love to be told stories, and there’s also something highly addictive about being left on a cliffhanger, forced to wait until the next episode to know what will happen next, we hate it and love it at the same time!
The story I’ve chosen to start with is Owl Hall by Robert Campbell and Lindsay Clandfield, which seems suitable for my group of young pre-intermediate students. We will do an episode every week.
The activity will provide intensive listening practice, also speaking practice as before each new episode I will ask them to retell the story so far, and writing practice because after each episode I’ll ask them to write in our class blog what they think will happen next.

Hopefully if they do get interested in the story it will give them something to be looking forward to.
I’ll tell you how it went with my class, and if you have more ideas on how to use these stories please post a comment!

Solving mysteries

This is my first contribution here and I have to admit that I´m a bit anxious! Thank you for the invitation! 😉

The reason why I have been invited is this: I just happened to come across something I thought could be nice and motivating for advanced students of English so I was suggested to share it in this blog. This time I haven’t thought of a lesson plan as most of the teachers who add posts do, but next time I´ll do it.

Now, have a go and enjoy it!

ELT BITES, THE CHALLENGE

This is the challenged presented by the blog ELT BITES.

Describe an activity in no more than 200 words that requires no advance preparation of materials and relies on nothing more than the students, teacher and usual classroom resources of board, pens, paper etc.

And this is my answer:

SMS swap

This is useful when you want to practise the language of SMS and any kind of instant messaging.

  1. Students write their names on a piece of paper and we swap them.
  2. They write an SMS (no more than 160 characters) on the same paper and sign with a nickname.
  3. I give messages to their recipients and they write an appropriate answer without knowing who they are writing to.
  4. Finally we swap messages again and read the results aloud, trying to guess who is behind each nickname.

You can also give it a twist asking students to write their SMS about a specific topic: a complaint, an invitation, asking for information, etc.

Storybird: making writing fun, easy and beautiful

 Writing is probably the most hated skill for foreign language learners. It takes a lot of time, they find it extenuating because they do not see the use of it and, in general, they take our assignments as a useless burden they have to go through in order to get a mark.

The key word here is motivation. And probably Storybird could help motivating students to create stories and become a bit more fond of writing. Storybird is a means to connect people through stories. It is inspirational,collaborative, creative, global, viral, and instantaneous.

It is also useful for teachers, creating short stories to teach grammar points in a communicative way. Not sure about it? Take a look at this story written to explain routines and habits in the past. Its a bit childish, I know, but very effective.

If you give it a try yourself or with your students, leave a comment with your experience, your story or your troubles. I’m sure our colleagues would appreciate to learn from you, read your creations and even those of your stories. Remember: sharing is fun and rewarding!