Wednesday, 13 March 2013

English Workshop: Developing and Activating Skills in English

For the new visitors of this blog, you have to know that it has been the collaborative virtual site of two training courses at CEP Córdoba aimed at teachers of English and at those who teach their subjects through English:

Participants on both activities have been collaborating in the blog sharing their ideas, lesson plans, didactic strategies and resources they use/have elaborated in their teaching practice to develop the contents of both of them  (click on the links above to see them).

Thanks everybody for their participation and contributions to the blog, and thanks to Neda Mirova, the speaker, whose materials, links and presentations are also uploaded to the blog

You can access the activities by clicking on the labels:

We will keep on using the blog for future activities to share strategies, materials, lesson plans, etc...
Nevertheless, feel free to add any comment on the posts or suggesting activities related to teaching English as a second language whenever you feel like.
Hope to see you again!

Some photographs of the sessions:



Celebrate Pi Day tomorrow (14th March)

Did you know that 14th March is International Pi Day? Have a look here...

Monday, 11 March 2013

Picture tale

Hello everyone!!! First of all, thanks for this nice time we shared and thanks Neda for this useful course.

I´m a teacher in 4th course Primary. They are lovely kinds and at lovely age..My favourite listening and writing game is “Picture tale”. First I give a paper to my pupils. Then, they have to draw in different colours.  I choose a traditional story or tale and I read a short part of it. They have to draw or write all they understand about it and make the pictures for the tale. It´s easy for them because they know the story, but depending on the unit, grammar and vocabulary,  I try to put an emphasis on the nouns, pronouns, adjectives, prominent figures … and they learn and identify each one easily.

It´s a funny activity and they are happy because they understand and they tell the tale with their pictures.

Finally, they show the pictures and  share with the class. Some pupils like telling the story to the others and, so they practice the pronunciation and the different tenses or grammar structures.

Thanks and see you soon.

By Victoria Navarrete Sánchez

LISTENING webpages

I think our students need a lot of listening practice, as we have seen in this course. I give you some interesting links you can use with your students (they are just a bunch of links, there are thousands of interesting listening webpages).

BBC podcasts
Listen to English
Listen a minute
News in English

I hope you like these webpages.

It's always a pleasure to listen to Neda. Thanks a lot for everything!

Gabriela Mª Alonso

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pre-primary experience

Hi everyone!Zdrasti!!Azsam Marta... 

First of all I would like to thank Neda for this nice English Workshop and the other participants for their contributions in the blog as well as in every session. As an English teacher and from my own experience, I teach the youngest students in my school, from three years old, I need to pay more attention to listening skill. It does not mean the other skills cannot be worked. My little students are starting to speak in their mother tongue and it is a great time to introduce a second language. In that way, music is already an important part in their lives. Youngest pupils are able to feel a strong motivation when they listen to the songs. 
Now, they are "their own songs". You know the vocabulary and structures we work with in these lower levels are so simple but with this resource children learn them in a funny and natural way. 
We also develop the teaching-learning process by using authentic materials, of course other games and any kind of visual support. Teachers have to create a natural and contextualised environment and of course, the necessity of communication. Giving simple commands and instructions or using Total Physical Response games is a suituable way to start to motivate them. This kind of work can be so exhausting but we also have an amazing reward... 
C U soon! Marta Reig


Hi everyone,

Here is a brief list of some articles and resources you may want to have a look in relation to the Speaking session.

Speaking: Links and Resources

Hope to see you all soon!


Hi again,

I've been having problems uploading the presentation, but it look like I've found a way at here it is!

Slideshows, Podcasts etc...

A couple of links:
 Here you can do a few things, for example:
- upload a Powerpoint presentation and add voice to it
- create a posdcast

Here is my example, which you saw last Wednesday in our brief Bulgarian session!

Secondly, you can create quite fun presentations (flicks) with your photos at:
There are many special effects, wallpapers, backgrounds to use...
Here is mine:


Hello everyone!
First of all, I would like to say that this course has been very benefitial for me as I have taken plenty of great ideas to try with my students. When we spend a long time with no contact or without sharing ideas with other English teachers, we tend to become monotonous in our lessons and do always the same boring activities. With this kind of courses we activate our creative side again and motivate ourselves to become better teachers and enjoy teaching, which in short is what we all love doing.
I tried one of the activites in class and students really enjoyed it. It was the one using music and writing what each song inspired you.This was with my first ESO stduents, and in order to help them and review the vocabulary they have been learning so far, I gave them different categories, like colour, action, animal, feeling adjective, etc. I played a few minutes of 5 songs and they wrote a word for each category. They really like activities involving music and it's quite relaxing for them.
The songs I used were: Jungle song, life of the ocean by Enya, welcome to Panem (from Hunger games soundtrack), one song from twilight soundtrack and Jason Mraz's Freedom song.
Last but not least, thanks Neda for her time and sharing her knowledge and everyone for your contributions.

Estrella Cánovas Rueda

Saturday, 9 March 2013


Hi everyone,

Firstly, I apologise that I haven´t uploaded the materials from the last session yet. They´ll go up throughout today and tomorrow.

Secondly, thanks so much for your lovely comments about the course. The truth is that it´s been hard work preparing, but you made the sessions very easy going and dynamic by participating and having such a positive attitude. I myself have learnt a great deal from the course and from your experience, so all in all it has been a very enriching experience.

I am happy to read that you are putting some of the ideas into actions in your classes. Tackling the 5 skills in 5 weeks has felt somewhat like a race; getting the balance right between giving a theoretical background and presenting practical activities has been at times challenging, but  I think that overall we have managed to cover a great deal of material and generate some interesting ideas for you to take into the classroom.

Please, let me know your comments, either through the pot or through my email, so I can take them into account for any future activities.

See you soon!

Two activities

Hello everybody!
First of all I would like to congratulate Neda for the course. I'm going to write about two activities which I like because they have been very useful in my class and my students have liked enjoyed them.
Picture dictation
I describe a photograph and my students have to draw what I'm describing. It can be done in a low level class just to practice easy vocabulary and prepositions of place or in a higher level class using more complicated vocabulary and expressions like "in the background", "in the foreground", "at the top", "at the bottom", "on the left side", .... At the end I show the picture to the students and they compare it with their drawing. Then one or two (or more) students describe other pictures, so they can practice listening and speaking.

Dictation (true/false)
The teacher dictates twelve sentences. Six sentences are true and the other six are false. Students have to write the sentences and try to guess if they are true or false. When they have finished, they correct the sentences on the blackboard and the teacher says if they are true or false. You can to do it to practice different grammatical points, for example I usually do it with present perfect, but you can use present simple, past simple .... . Students always like to know about their teacher's life, so they really like this activity.
Example of sentences:
I have never been fined for speeding.
I have written a novel.
I have been to China. 

When we finish the activity we do a pair activity: They have to dictate four sentences to their partners about themselves, two of them are true and the other two are false. They have to write them and guess if they are true or false. Students practise listening, writing and speaking

Mª José Ramos

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Fun games for active listening

Hi, everybody!
I really enjoyed this course!!!!! I have adquired a wide variety of funtional ideas to put into practise with my pupils. Moreover, I agree enterely with the idea  about “acquisiton of a language versus learning”.

On the other hand, my contribution has been though for Primary Education in order to promote pupil´s listening skills and the same time they have fun by using fun games for active listening.
As you know, encouraging children to play mimic games is a fun way to teach them to identify facial expressions and body language, which is a key part of active listening. Such games will promote the ability to grasp and interpret non-verbal communication by means of which  a person acts out the meaning   of a word for others to identify (jobs, transport, weather, clothes...)
Another game that tests the listening ability and encourages children to listen actively is a 'listen and act' game. The rules of the game are quite simple. One person reads a series of instructions to complete a task. As the directions are read out, the participants follow them and try to act according to them. For example, children can be given  instructions step by step in order to draw a monster, perform magic tricks or to draw a room...
I hope you take the most of them!!!

Integrating skills through songs

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to congratulate Neda for the great course she has given us and all the brilliant ideas she has shared with us.
I also wanted to let you know that I have already put into practise some of her activities, in particular the one involving the song "Something". I really liked that activity because it worked all skills, students had to collaborate to reach a goal, it is quite enjoyable and it promotes creativity. For all these reasons, I adapted it for my 3rd ESO students. I used the song "Love is all around" and we dealt with the topic of St Valentine's Day, love, relationships, etc... and it worked quite well! Students were more willing to listen and to write, and also very interested in reading what their classmates had written. I will definitely use it again.

I really enjoyed this course. Hope there is another one next year!

Elena Luque

Talking twin babies

When Neda was telling us in yesterday´s session about acquisiton of a language versus learning and made reference to the quotation Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought", I remembered having watched a video in youtube that you have probably watched too
I have just found it and it is really interesting to see how these two twin brothers "talk". It is only a word what they are using all the time but it is surprising how they give it entonation as it was a real conversation.
Watch it:

There has been someone who has translated their conversation:
Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Didactic unit

Hi, everybody!
First, thanks for sharing your experiences and ideas, and, thanks Neda for encouraging us to activate skills in English. As we are starting our bilingual project in my school, my contribution is the didactic unit designed for ESO, regarding to The Universe. It has been thought for 1st of ESO but you can adapt it easily to the rest and take the most of it.

Sorry but I have some problems with the ppt. Tomorrow I hope I can solve it during the morning. Thanks to a colleague, I got it!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Webquests: Women in history

Hi everybody,
I know this course is nearly finished but I have prepared this kind of webquest about important women in history, to work it with my students from 6 grade in EPO next Friday. 
Maybe it can be useful for you.
I know there are some mistakes but I haven't had enough time to work on it. You can always adapt it and correct it.
Click on this link to have a look 
See you,

Saint Valentine's Day

My students love singing, that is why I teach them songs as much as I can. This year we have worked on Someone like you, by Adele to celebrate St. Valentine's.  I already knew they would love it as some of them told me so last year. I gave them the lyrics to do a fill in the gaps activity. At first sight, they found it very difficult but as soon as the song started to play they were quite efficient completing the blanks. We are studying the past simple tense so I found this song very suitable to keep on practising it. When we finished the first activity we translated the song writing down the 'special' expressions such as 'never mind', 'settle down' and such. Finally we sang it several times. That was the best for them as it is rewarding being able to sing a whole pop song in English. During this last week and a half they asked to sing it over and over again, they already know it by heart!  I will use this resource for the oral exam as well.
This activity is nothing new but I think that if something works with a group the innovation is not a big deal. What do you think?


Hi partners!! I am Sara Cledera I work in Villa Del Río with students who are studying 3º and 4º ESO. I would like to explain you my experience with them when I try to work with tasks which are not related to "grammar" or "irregular verb list". 

As we have discussed in the last sessions in the course, our students sometimes do not feel motivated when they do "writing" or "reading" skills. 

Throughout my experience with teenagers that are not always really into English, I have realised that if you propose them theatre, they usually change their views from the language.

From my point of view, students do not feel stressed and they have fun learning role plays. Futhermore, when they are learning the script they are working on the four skills "listening", "reading" "writing" and "speaking" . Finally, I can say from my experience, when a student participates in an English theatre, He/she changes his/her mind  in the second language positively.


I've used voxopop for speaking activities such as interviews, telling holidays, etc but a funny thing is guessing something. The teacher gives clues about an object and they ask questions about it (where it is, if it's big, if you can eat it...etc).
They can also write or find a tongue twister and record it.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Friday, 1 March 2013

Hello everybody!!
Last Tuesday I did a writing activity with my pupils from 4th level of Primary following the ideas that Neda gave us in the writing session. We made a "running dictation", but of course, instead of those long and dull pieces of texts (sorry, Neda, you know it's true) I used the songs that we have in our course book (Bugs World- MacMillan) at the beginning ot each unit. In this way we also made a whole review of the vocabulary and structures. It was quite fun but very noisy too!! My children loved this activity and I had to promise we are going to do it again quite soon!