Chain Story Tweets


My 9th graders are difficult to teach, they are not motivated but whenever I want them to play a game, they become very eager. They are very competitive and even the weakest of them, try to do their bests to win a point for their teams so we play lots of games.Sometimes I adapt drill-like activities to games or interesting activities.

We were revising If Clauses and I decided to do it as tweets. I explained them how we write chain stories. Then put them in groups, gave them poster size paper and three sentences that they could start their story. They really enjoyed working in the groups and the 8th lesson of a very long day needed happily.


Another Twitter inspired activity 

More Conditional Activities



My Workshop at Bilgi University

In the session, I talked about why we should use songs in EFL classes.

Music is everywhere in our lives. We listen to songs when we are happy, angry, sad or when we need inspiration or when we want to relax. We go out of our homes with our songs, we travel with them, we wait with them, we shop with them.

So we can teach with them. May be I didn’t say anything new. These are the things we all know. However, I think it is always good to remember them.

Music can be used to teach  

grammar : at the presentation stage of a grammar point or while reviewing

listening : gap fill exercises, matching to teach listening for gist or detail

vocabulary: to teach or increase vocab by asking your students to replace the words with a synonym, antonym or a near synonym.

reading: songs are authentic texts and they can be used for comprehension, discussion and teaching culture 

writing: you can use songs for teaching writing. Ask your students to write a letter to the character, write a story which took place before the sond, add one more verse to the original, write their song for the same topic.

While doing all these we can always use web 2.0 to motivate our students so they can add their own content to the material.

 In the final part of my talk I gave examples how I used songs with my students.

I started the session with an activity from Music and Song by Tim Murphey (2009,   OUP)

Musical Reactions

Play an instrumental piece.

Ask students to fill out the questionnaire while listening to the music. 

1. If you turned on the radio and heard this piece of music would you:

  • turn off immediately?
  • listen attentively?
  • buy the record?
  • download it to your mp3 player?
  • Leave it on as background music?
  • —-?
  1. Imagine someone who loves this music. Describe the person in a few words.
  2. Imagine someone who doesn’t love this music. Describe the person in a few words.
  3. What emotions does it evoke in you?
  4. What do you see if you close your eyes as you listen?
  5. If this were the background music for an advertisement, what do you think the advertised product would be?
  6. If this were a soundtrack for a film, what kind of a film would that be?
  7. In what kind of place would you be most likely to hear this music?

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When I’m sixty-four - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more  

In pairs brainstorm ideas:

1. When is the retirement age?

2. What do people do when they are retired? You can talk about what  people do in our country and other countries.

3.  Why do you think some people want to go on working even after they get retired?

4.  When do you want to retire? Why?

 What do the following phrases mean?

 1. send me a Valentine

2. be handy

3. it’s not too dear

4. scrimp and save

5. State point of view

a) you manage to live on very little money in order to pay for something.

b) Send a card to someone you love or would like to have a romantic relationship with

c) Say or write your opinion clearly and carefully

d) Be able to use something skillfully

e) Not expensive

Match the halves of the sentences

1. If you say the word,.

2. When I get older losing my hair

3. Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

4. If I’d been out till quarter to three

5. Every summer we can rent a cottage In the Isle of Wight,

a) I could stay with you

b) When I’m sixty-four.

c) Would you lock the door

d) Will you still sending me a Valentine

e) if it’s not too dear

Listen to the song and see if your matches are correct.

Class Project:

Listen to the song and in groups choose a different scene and draw it. Make a video clip using movie maker.

Think about your life, your goals and prepare a list and publish it on your blog

Here is my example:

Ten Things I want to Do before I become 64

1. See my kids grow up I want to see them grow up and find the right job and the person for them:-)

2. Learn Italian I have always wanted to learn Italian but I can’t find the time, so before I become 64 I want to learn Italian, at least, to be able to sing the great songs I love to listen.

3. Start or participate a Comenius project my students want to be part of these collaborations. I’m sure meeting other students all around the world will boost their confidence.

4. Live at learst 3 months in Paris or Florence I love these two cities and will never get bored being there.

5. Attend an IATEFL conference I’m sure that will be a great experience. This year I’ll try to follow the livestream but I hope I can manage to be there next year.

6. Write a book when I was a teenager I used to write short stories and novels, imagining to be like the teenage writer I watched in the TV series or Jo of ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott.

7. Write a cookbook Cooking is always a great hobby for me. I’d like to write a cookbook, compiling my mum’s delicious recipes.

8. Start painting I really want to be able to paint pictures. If I weren’t a teacher, I’d be an artist or an interior designer so before I become 64 I must definitely create something.

9. Open a cafe where mothers of little kids will be able to come and take some breath and the kids will play and socialize. The cafe will have a bookcorner so that everybody will enjoy the freedom of reading.

10. Study comparative literature I love being a student and I’d like to study literature. Maybe I can give myself an other chance to be a student again and take the university exam once more.

When I’m 64 – The Beatles

When I get older losing my hair,

Many years from now.

Will you still sending me a Valentine

Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I’d been out till quarter to three Would you lock the door,

Will you still need me,

will you still feed me,

When I’m sixty-four.

You will be older too,

And if you say the word,

I could stay with you.

I could be handy,

 mending a fuse.

When your lights have gone.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside

Sunday morning go for a ride,

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,

Who could ask for more.

Will you still need me,

will you still feed me,

When I’m sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,

In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear

We shall scrimp and save

Grandchildren on your knee

Vera Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,

Stating point of view

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Yours sincerely, wasting away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form

Mine for evermore

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I’m sixty-four. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Variation 1: You can even ask them to write an other list:

10 things I want to do after I retire

Variation 2: using animoto create a song review or a summary.

I must thank , Tara Benwell and Lindsey Vincent for some of the ideas and inspiration for this lesson.


I’d be glad if you can add some more ideas to this lesson.


Here I’m adding the clip my students created with movie maker

When I’m 64 from Eva Simkesyan on Vimeo.

You can find more lesson ideas here and here and here  and here.