11 Random facts, Questions, Answers and ELT Bloggers

I haven’t taken any blog challenges so far this year and a dear friend who I first met on twitter and then in real life, Carol Goodey tagged me for a very challenging 🙂 blog challenge. It looks difficult to find 11 of everything but I’ll try to do my best.

Let’s see what the task includes:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 random facts about me

1. I’m a mom to a beautiful lady and a handsome guy. They are twins.

2. I work at the school I graduated from and this was my dream when I was at high school. After working in 4 different schools for 6 years, I found myself at my school and it was 17 years ago.

3. September is a lucky month for me. Too many good things happened in September. My first date with my husband was in September. Four years later we got married in September, quite by chance it was the day of our first date. I learned I’d have my twins in September. I started blogging in September. I love September 🙂

4. Although I seem chatty and friendly in social media, in real life I can be very quiet.

5. I love my home and I can spend days at home without even looking out of the window. Weird, I know 😉

6. I love drawing, painting. I once painted the walls, cupboards at home and now I just spend hours in front of the computer.

7. I love reading books. I love leaving small notes in the books I read. I don’t like bookmarks. The pages should speak to me when I take the book back a few years later..

8. I don’t drive and I’m happy with it. (To my surprise I found out that most of my PLN don’t either)

9. I’ve always wanted to learn Italian but unfortunately never found time for that. I love Italian songs, writers, food …

10. I’m a good cook. I sometimes I even think I should quit teaching and open a bakery.

11. When I was a kid I loved watching TV very much, now I hardly watch anything.

My answers to Carol’s questions:

1. What do you most enjoy about blogging?

I like sharing ideas, speaking my mind, getting feedback and support from my PLN

2. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, would you like to? Which one?

Well, I used to play the piano now I simply can’t. I can only play a tune with my right hand but I wish I could start practising again.

3. How far do you travel to work? How do you travel?

I’m lucky. I live close to my school. I takes 20 minutes. I walk and then take the underground.

4. What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

We start a new class every year. That’s a challenge. New kids, new habits… and I need to update myself regularly.

5. What was the first thing you ate today?

a piece of cheese and a cracker
6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?

I love traveling. I wish I were a tourist everyday. Anywhere in Europe, but I think I’d like to see Dublin very much. Why? Well, books I read.
7. What month next year are you most looking forward to? Why?

May. I’ll go to Sweden with my students. we will attend our first MUN conference as a school.

8. What meal do you prepare most often for friends?

Depends. If I have more time to prepare lots of vegetables cooked in oil olive, salads, mezes, and meat in different sauces. If not, then pasta and salad 🙂
9. What was the last movie you saw? What did you think?

Now You See Me. I liked it.
10. What three things do you like to have with you when working?

My glasses ( well, without them I can’t read a single line. Thanks to my relationship with my computer I have terrible eyesight now), a cup of coffee (at home), my post-it notes ( in the class)
11. What do YOU think about reality TV shows?

Well sometimes I watch but I don’t spend much time in front of the telly. partly because we just have on TV and kids choose when they are around or my husband zaps and I spend my evenings reading blogs or searching the net.

11 bloggers

First of all I should say that I tried not to double tag anybody.  if you happened to be tagged twice while this post is posted, it’s a coincidence.

Karinne Sylvester ( @BELTfree)

Ariana Blazic (@abfromz)

Burcu Akyol (@burcuakyol)

Janet Bianchini (@janetbianchini)

Barbara Sakamoto (@barbsaka)

Baiba Svenka (@baibbb)

Anne Hodgson (annehodg)

Ana Maria Menezes (@anamariacult)

Sophia Mavridi (@sophiamav)

Dimitris Primalis (dprimalis)

Eduardo Santos (@ELTbakery)

My Questions for the 11 bloggers

1. Do you remember the first class you entered as a teacher?

2. What is your favorite social media platform? Why?

3. How do you think blogging helps your teaching?

4. Tea or Coffee?

5. Who is your favorite singer, band, musician?

6. Do you attend conferences? Why? / why not?

7. Who were the most helpful tweeters or bloggers for you when you started blogging or tweeting?

8. What will be the first goal in your New Year’s resolutions list this year?

9. Where would you like to travel in 2014?

10. How long does it take to write a blog post for you and how often do you update your blog?

11. What is your favorite food?

Thanks you Carol for tagging me and including me in the game 🙂

The random facts, questions and answers of the bloggers I tagged

Janet Bianchini

Anne Hodgson

Sophia Mavridi

Baiba Svenka

Arjana Blazic

Burcu Akyol

Dimitris Primalis


Reading Games for Readers, Novels or Short Stories


image from #eltpics via @mkofab

In December, I had the chance to listen to Steven Krashen at YTU ELT symposium. He talked about the importance of reading, how he became a good reader and what narrow reading is. You can read Marisa Constantinides’ fabulous post on Dr Krashen’s talk here.

That was the time I went back to the past and thought how I became a reader. I did the narrow reading. There was a time in my life, I read Enid Blyton novels, then came the French classics and the Russians, I fell in love with Sartre, Camus and their contemporaries, then came the Italian novelists and the South Americans and of course there was a time I only read British novelists. There was a time I read poetry only -Orhan Veli, Melih Cevdet, Zahrad.

I was lucky to have two primary school teachers who led me to the paths of reading so I want to follow their footsteps. I believe teachers can help students become good readers. That’s why I think about fun activities to go with reading lessons.

Here you will find some activities that I use with my classes.

1. Tic-tac-toe

Write questions from the story or novel on slips of papers or post-it-notes and number them from 1-9. (Prepare double or triple questions for each number as students may not answer the questions)

Put in an envelope or a box or stick the papers on a ‘tic-tac-toe’ grid.

Team your students as Xs and Os.

Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the board and tell them to choose a number. Take the numbered post-it from your tic-tac-toe handout. If they answer the question correctly, cross the number with X or O.

Continue until the questions finish.




2 3




5 6




8 9

2. Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Play the game with questions from the novel or the story you read in the class.

3. Who said that?

Choose quotes or sentences from the novel

Divide the class into two teams.

Ask students “Who said that?”

4. Snowball fights

Tell students to write questions or quotes from the novel or the story on a piece of paper.

Tell them to make a paper snowball and allow them to play snowball fights for a while.

Stop them

Tell them to take the closest snowball and answer the questions.

You can guide them to ask their questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy using http://teachers.ash.org.au/researchskills/dalton.htm#top

Now I’d like you to invite my first ever blog challenge 🙂

Would you like to share some of your favorite reading activities on your blog?

If you don’t blog, I’d be very happy to host your post on this blog.



11 from ’11 My Fave Posts

Adam Simpson on his blog challenged us to revist  11 posts that we wrote in 2011 and here I’m listing my favourite posts from 2011.

1. Teachers with Voices : This one is written at teachingenglish.org.uk for the blogathon.

2. Teachers as Storytellers

3.Challenging the Demotivated

4. A Poetry Lesson

5.Songs in EFL Classroom

6. I’ll add this one here because it is full of links and ideas 24th Edition of EFL/ESL/ELL Blog Carnival

7. Can a Comenius Project change a Thing? Part 1

8.Becoming a Teacher

9.Soon They Will Become Writers

10. Another blogathon post My Heroes on the Web

11. PLN, A Staffroom without borders


#photoblog challenge – compare and contrast

I have been quite busy recently and I realise I’ve missed many interesting things going on in the blogosphere. Yesterday I found out this photoblog challenge and really enjoyed reading all the posts and tasks. Brad has a list of bloggers who took the challenge and you can see them here.


Find at least 5 similarities between these pictures.

How are these cats different from each other?

Which of these cats would you take as a pet? Give your reasons.

 BTW these cats are from Haworth 


My Wonderful PLN-2

 Janet Bianchini is one of the first people I started following when I stepped in twitter and blogosphere. From the day I’ve met her virtually, I received infinite support from her. So for Brad’s blog interview challenge I also wanted to interview her. Before I got her answers, I tried to answer them. Here are my answers and then you will read hers.






If I were her student, I’d definitely call her supportive, creative and hard-working. (If you are following her on twitter or reading her blog, you will understand what I mean)

I think she has fresh vegetables, fruit picked from her garden and eggs from her hens in her refrigerator.

If she weren’t a teacher, she would be a great writer.

I think any difficult situation will have a practical solution for her.

And as for the books and films, maybe a movie of George Clooney.

And time to read Janet Bianchini’s answers:

1)    If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?

Strict, fair and dedicated

2)   What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Lots of eggs from our 4 chickens! Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, Italian cheese (Parmeggiano di Reggiano) for adding to pasta dishes, bottle of white wine (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo), lots of milk (for Samantha and her 4 thirsty kittens) and a packet of Gnocchi (made from potaoes).

3)   If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?

I would be a flight attendant travelling all over the world to exotic places.  I was so upset when I was turned down by British Airways when I was younger, just because I was too short!!

4)   What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or What has been your most difficult class as a teacher?

I think keeping up with the fast changing times is quite tricky, but I guess it’s also a challenge. My most difficult class was with a group of teenagers who didn’t really want to be in class.  I remember I did a lot of pop songs with them (via cassettes) and that seemed to motivate them.  This was before the days of YouTube and the internet being readily available!

5)   What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?

The last book I read was “How to Cook Compost” by the National Trust.  I have read this book many times and even wrote a review of it on my blog.  The reason I re- read it recently is because I’m not happy with one of my compost bins this year as there seem to be so many flies and ants in it.  I am trying to work out what I’ve done wrong!! I really enjoy recycling everything and seeing things like toilet rolls and apple peelings become friable compost ready to add to the veggie plot is deeply satisfying!!

I have seen the “Sound of Music” way too many times!  I absolutely love the story line and the wonderful scenery, and fabulous music.  My dream is to go to the theatre one day dressed as Maria (the nun) to  a Sing-along Sound of Music performance!!!  That would be sooo much fun, I’m sure.


As cooking is my fave hobby, can I also ask you to share a recipe with us? an Italian one maybe?

Yes, I’d be delighted to share this recipe for Tiramisu, my favourite dessert. Freshly laid eggs are of course preferable Jif you have chickens.

You will need the following ingredients:

  •  2 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 400g Mascarpone cheese
  • 200g sponge fingers
  • 1 teaspoon coffee
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Prep: 10 mins.    Cooking: 0 mins.









image taken from  here

 This Tiramisu Recipe serves 6 people.


  • Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
  • Fold the Mascarpone cheese and then the egg whites into the egg yolks and sugar mixture.
  • Make a strong cup of coffee and allow to cool.
  • Place a layer sponge fingers in a deep rectangluar serving dish and brush with the coffee.
  • Cover with a layer of the Mascarpone cream.
  • Cover with a layer of finely grated chocolate.
  • Repeat the layering until all the ingredients are used (a couple of layers should suffice), ending with a layer of Mascarpone cream.
  • Dust with cocoa powder and chill in the fridge for about 3 hours before serving.