sabato 3 ottobre 2015


Emotion helps us screen, organize and prioritize the information that bombards us. 
It influences what information we find salient, relevant, convincing or memorable” 
Bandes&Salerno (2014)

We usually think that the process of learning comes through our brain but which part of it?
Until not long ago the emotional brain was ignored and the emotion itself was considered as a lower level than as a vital, contributing element in the development of critical thinking. 
However, the emotional brain does exist and “suggests that the constant interaction of the experience of emotion, with its simultaneous impact on the body and other parts of the brain, leads to the individual’s interpretation of feelings. The emotional brain is a partner with the cognitive brain in the learning experience”.  (Understanding Emotions in the Classroom  By Claudia Marshall Shelton, Robin Stern)

From these words it is clear that the more we let our learners use their emotions in the classroom, the more they will learn.


From the heart to the mind: teach through feelings and emotions

Accomplishing this goal:
  1. Find a short movie picture (such as trailers, commercials) (,
  2. Focus on the topic of the video (love, beauty, friendship, bullying, sharing, etc.) and create a set of questions to ask your students in order to make them think critically and/or ignite a conversation.
  3. Other possible tasks are:
- Change the ending of the video.
- Subtitle or dub the video.
- Let your students make their own video about the topic.
- Post the video on the social network you use with your class and let your students comment it.
-From a linguistic point of view you can even teacher grammar structures and new vocabulary.
See an example below.

mercoledì 19 agosto 2015

#30Goals Cycle 6 Goal #9: Share Your EdTech Success Story

When I came across Sylvia's goal for educators I was more than excited because I owe my success in teaching mainly to technology. That's why I decided to share with you 6 tech activities which made the process of teaching&learning more fun and effective.

digital treasure hunt

#1 Digital treasure hunt
What your learners need: A camera 
Target language: Prepositions of place
Procedure: Write on the board sentences which include prepositions of place. Students in pairs or in groups need to take photographs of what they read on the board. The team who get the highest number of correct pictures win.

#2 News Report
What your learners need: A camera, a microphone 
Target language: Different verb tenses, any topic
Procedure:  Tips on how to make a video news report

#3 Show'n Tell "Backtoschool"Icebreaker
What your learners need: A digital camera/mobile phone/smartphone
Target language: Past tenses 
show'n tell
Procedure: Learners show pictures they took during their summer  on their devices to their peers and have a discussion of where/when they took the picture, who they were with, etc.

#4 Facebook  picture quizzes
What your learners need: A Facebook profile (website/smartphone app)
Target language: English language exam grammar/vocabulary
Procedure: Use a presentation software to create multiple-choice questions such as the ones they may see in the exam in the form of a picture or cartoon. Share them on Facebook. Your students can reply to them and, after a while (in the evening or the following day), you can post the correct answer.

#5 Educanon video-listening activity
What your learners need: 
Target language: Improving listening skills
Procedure: Sign up the website, upload a video and type the questions, save the bulb and share it with your students. See an example below.
The Poppy Story

#6 QR Code review test
What your learners need: QR code scanner app
Target language: Grammar/Vocabulary review 
Procedure: Use a QR code generator app to create questions and give an answer sheet to your students. Stick up the QR codes around the classroom/school. Learners need to scan the codes and answer the questions on their paper.
I look forward to reading more posts about this goal!

sabato 23 maggio 2015

Teaching for exams? Have fun - A card game to revise

Luckily (or unluckily) it is that time of the year again! Exams!

This year to help my students to revise for their exams I made up a game with a deck of poker cards.

Age: Pre-teens, Teens, Adults
Level: from A2 to B2
What you need: a deck of poker cards/a whiteboard (smart board)

First of all, pre-teach some vocabulary about cards. Show your students the deck of cards and teach them the words suits, hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades, jack, queen, king.

Number of players:
In small classes (up to 8) players will play individually and you can write the questions on the board depending on their weaknesses and strengths.
I played this game with a class of 20 learners and I paired them up. In this case I used a smart board and the questions appeared on it (the cards where arranged in the same sequence as the questions)

Rules of the game:
Each suit corresponds to a language skill or sub-skill.
Revising for the Cambridge KET for Schools
Learners take turns to turn up a card. 
They will answer a question about a language skill or sub-skill according to the suit they get.
If they answer correctly they will get as many points as the number of suits on the card.
If their answer is wrong, other learners have the chance to get half points on the card if they answer correctly.

If learners pick up KING, they will lose 1 point.
If learners pick up QUEEN, they will double the points of the next question.
If learners pick up JACK, they will miss a turn.

Sample questions for the B1 level

My learners had a whale of a time because they had the chance to revise the topics of the exam without getting bored.
If you try this activity out, please let me know!

sabato 28 marzo 2015

The power of mobile apps - No3 FaceGoo Lite (a lesson plan)

I got the idea for this lesson from a TV game show I used to watch a couple of years ago. It was successful with my students because it made a thorny grammatical issue seem funnier and easier.

Learners: Teenagers - Adults
Level: Intermediate
Time: 90 minutes

1) Show the learners the following picture
Speculate about who he might is by using modal verbs of speculation e.g. it might be, it can't be, it must be, etc.

2) I reckon you and your students cannot guess who he is, that's why you need to listen to this man talking about himself.
[I used a text to speech online software to create the tape, click on the link to download it]

By now you know who he is, don't you? Yes, it's Brad Pitt.

3) Hand in the handout above and ask the learners to answer the following questions

4) Tell the learners to underline the verbs in the speech bubbles meanwhile draw on the board a two-column chart.
Ask them in which tenses they are. The answer is: PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE & PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS.

4) Ask students to report the sentences in the right column and then together try to understand why you use whether present perfect simple or past simple.
In my case, I used a smart board and this was the result:

5) It's time to check if your learners have understood the difference.
According to the number of the students you can decide if they will work individually, in pairs or in groups of 3 or 4. In my case they worked in groups of 3.
Each group has a biography of a famous living person but there are 10 missing verbs. They need to fill in the gaps with the right verbs conjugated in the right tenses. Finally, they need to guess who the celeb is.

6) Monitor the learners while they are working and give them tips (e.g. "Do you know when the action happened?") or help them with the vocabulary.

7) Now it's learners' turn! (In class or as homework)
a) Download 1picture of a famous living person.
b) Write a short biography (80-100 words) about him/her using present perfect simple and past simple  (You can use to get some information.)

c) Edit the picture with the mobile app FaceGoo Lite (Free Android/iOS)

d) Record your voice while while you give hints about the mysterious famous person. Remember to use the 3rd person singular. 
e) Students listen to each other's biographies and try to guess who the mysterious celebs are.

I hope you and your students will enjoy this lesson. If you try it out please let me know in the comments ;-)

Larissa and Inspector Z - A challenge

In the previous posts you could read about the mysterious kidnapping of James, you know who kidnapped him and why, but how is the story going to end?

Write the end of the story
1) Use at least 6 phrasal verbs. If the verb is the same even better. ;-)
2) The piece of writing must be about 100-150 words long.
3) It must contain dialogues.
4) Send it to by 18th April 2015.
5) Teachers and students can take part to the challenge working as a class.

The stories will be posted on my FB page and the one with the highest number of likes will be made into comic strips. 

Good luck!


And the winner is... Lucy Morin and her class of intermediate students from "English & Caux" in Normandy, France.
Well done, guys!

venerdì 6 marzo 2015

Larissa and Inspector Z - Phrasal verbs with fun (part 3) COME

Ready for a new episode?
You will find the previous ones here

2) GET

Ask your students to sum up the story so far in pairs.
Give them a list of the phrasal verbs which appeared in the previous episodes. They check the phrasal verbs off when they use them so they can realize how many they remember.

1) What did James find?
2) What did he do?
3) What were Larissa and Inspector Z going to do?


Ask your students to come up with ideas about rescuing someone in pairs or in small groups.

Next week a new episode

giovedì 26 febbraio 2015

Larissa and Inspector Z - Phrasal verbs with fun (part 2)

Last week I created the first episode of the comics series "Larissa and Inspector Z" My students and my followers enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue writing it.

This week the focus in on some phrasal verbs with GET.

How can you use it in class:

 Give your students a copy of this comic strips and ask your students the following questions:
- Where was James?
- Who kidnapped him? Why?
- What did James feel like?


Ask your students what will happen next.
*They can also write their ideas on a board on  so that next week will be able to check who was the nearest to the exact version.

Students create flashcards with the meaning of the new phrasal verbs learnt using (free mobile app, too).

Next week a new episode!