Three Chairs, A Drama Activity for Language Classes


I’ll share a quick drama activity I learned from our drama club while performing at an event at school.

  • Put 3 chairs in front of the board.
  • Put labels on the chairs as “sad-1”, “happy-2″,”angry-3”
  • Write some situations on slips of papers and put them in a box. (You are waiting at the bus stop and the bus is late / You are going to take an important exam /You are travelling to …
  • Let students choose a slip of paper
  • Give them a few minutes to prepare a very short story based on the situation they have on their papers.

Begin with the volunteers. Explain the rules.

Tell students that you will shout a number from 1 to 3 and she/he will sit on that chair and start telling the story according to the emotion written on the chair. While the student is telling the story change the numbers randomly.

This activity will be suitable for intermediate and above but I think it can also be tried with beginners as a reading aloud activity. The teacher can give a text to practise reading aloud and then asks the students to read the text sadly, angrily, cheerfully, etc


Summer Sites 4 Your Students



5 Minute English is a site designed to give the learners short and easy explanations and exercises.

The learners can have a quick look at grammar, reading, listening, vocabulary and idioms. They can also find answers to questions that can be confusing for other learners. This is under the Question and Answer section.

If a student spends 5 minutes a day here regularly during the summer, he will benefit a lot.

News in Levels  is another great site that teachers can recommend their enthusiastic students to study English during the long summer holiday.

There are short news articles for different levels. The student can choose her level and read the news and listen to it. She then can try the other levels for the same article. The words in the original news have been changed and adapted to 3 levels. The vocabulary definitions are also given.

I just came across with ETTC a site where the students can try writing poems on their own. The site allows the users 

You can recommend Twenty Great American Short Stories 

They will find 20 short stories written by Kate Chopin, Edgar Allen Poe, O’Henry, Jack London and many more. They can read one or two story a week and keep a reader’s response journal.

If you have really enthusiastic kids, instead of reading only 20 American short stories, they can choose a wider selection from Classic Shorts . I’m sure you will also like this site.

Lyrics Training  is another site they can visit daily. They can listen to the songs and try to fill in the gaps according to their level.




Who is this net generation?

Maybe they will see the bridge or maybe I'll see it 🙂

I’ve been thinking about the change. We are all talking about the digital natives but I think I’ve just met them. The ones I graduated from high school last year, the previous years were just the pioneers and now I have to deal with the real ones.

If we really know them, we can guide them.

But the problem is we are just a handful of digital-immigrant-teachers and parents. The rest thinks these kids are just a bit weird and continue doing the things they are used to doing. They complain about their addiction to games, their early acquaintance to mobile apps. Yet, they are rarely aware that they can’t be taught.

I totally agree with ‘If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students’ future’ ( John Dewey) and this must be a quote that every teacher would stick somewhere to see all the time and take action to update herself. And this very quote will be relevant in the future as well.

Marc Prensky calls these new students as ‘digital natives’ and points out that ‘Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors’(Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants; pg 1) He also reminds us that these kids were born into a digital world and have grown using them.

I think I coped with this very well till last year but now I am face to face with the 2nd or the 3rd generation of these new kids.

I’d like to share how my students have changed. I also hope to understand them better and change my attitude towards them.

  1. They get bored easily.  They think everything is useless. There is no need to learn all the stuff as they are a one-click away to reach.
  2. We think they are multi-taskers but actually the only multi-task they are used to doing is texting while watching TV or travelling on the bus.
  3. They love socializing but they do it virtually. Even the youngest kids have twitter, facebook, foursquare, youtube accounts to broadcast their lives. They don’t usually sit and chat with their parents, siblings at home.
  4. They don’t get instructions. I tried many times in many ways, in many languages but always the majority of the class comes up with something totally different than I instructed. (and actually this post is being written because of this, I received two-assignment mails last night but they produced something I didn’t instruct)

So is this the end of battle?

Although I totally agree with the proverb Eric Roth reminded me the previous day ‘you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink’ As I know deep down they are worried about their future and know that learning English will help them open new doors, I will try to follow the advice my PLN gave.

And here is the strategy:

  1. I will tell, retell and re-retell how to learn things, how to use web to reach the information, how to filter them.
  2. I will explain how important communication is. Social networking is a must in their lives but they should realise that they will enjoy the chats with their parents, sisters, brothers.
  3. I will try colourful progress charts as Naomi suggested
  4. I will continue giving interesting tasks but will also focus on more traditional ones.
  5. I will give them choice. ‘Choose a topic and and let’s work on it’ will be the instruction ( and I will hope that this will be comprehended)
  6. As Richard suggested I will allow them to work with activities which will ‘take their minds off other things’. ( I tried puzzles, word searches, games and they didn’t work with this group but, I’m sure I can find something else)

If these still don’t work, I will just take a deep breath and wait for the next group in September.

 Here you can find the summary of an #ELTchat Janet Bianchini reminded me yesterday

 References :

 Prensky. M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part II,  from On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 6, December 2001)

BTW if you are celebrating Easter tomorrow, Happy Easter to you and to your loved ones.

Easter - bolied eggs ready for egg rolling #ELTpics

I want my students back


I always supported the idea that if a teacher is willing, eager and motivated, sooner or later the most demotivated students will respond but unfortunately this year I realised that a teacher, no matter how idealistic, eager, motivated she is needs some leader students who will help her to make others want to learn. Ironic, isn’t it?

This year I’m the same teacher, yet I have two groups of very unmotivated teenagers and nothing moved them to go a bit further.

I feel exhausted.

I feel I’m losing my creativity.

I feel I’m losing my hopes, my optimism.

Nothing worked well with them. Technology, traditional ways, challenges, games, movies…

Is it the same everywhere? Hope it isn’t.

I just want my students back!

Becoming a Teacher


(image link)

Today I met two of my students who are ready to teach English. I was their English teacher from high school prep class to grade 11 then they studied at university and now they are about to start their career.

We had a really nice chat and of course being a teacher means teaching everybody everywhere and I caught myself teaching them how to become a teacher. Then I decided to write this post.

When you graduate from university, you always think you will change the world.

You think you will be fair and be able to teach every single student in the class.

You think you won’t be like the others and you will be sure not to leave anybody behind.

You think you will have a team of teachers to support you when you need.

You think your students will admire you and think that you are the best teacher in the world.

You think the principal will see your dedication and praise you.

But it won’t be like this.

Sometimes you will feel you are not capable of teaching.

Sometimes you will feel your colleagues are not happy with what you are doing.

Sometimes you will feel the principal does ignore you and never sees the things you manage to do well.

Will these things be enough for you to quit?

Here is a piece of advice for the new comers.

If you want to become a teacher, don’t think about being praised, do it for yourself.

Become a lifelong learner, there are chances of attending online and free PD courses, seminars, webinars. Find them!

Start building your Personal Learning Network using twitter and FB for professional development and get support from those teachers. Share your knowledge, don’t keep everything for yourself. If you share, they will also share.

Try hard to be fair. Be sure you are not neglecting a slow learner. Every child needs some support. Everybody can teach the smart ones but only the good teachers will help the timid ones.

Praise your students. See even the smallest attempt and say ‘wow, you’re doing really well today’

Motivate yourself. Don’t discourage yourself complaining about the others in the staff room who work less than you. Teaching requires self-motivation, dedication, hard work and creativity.

Be sure that teaching is a career, not a part time job, to become a wife and a mother. It will allow you to gain so many strengths that you will never guess.

You will have a chance to improve yourself constantly not let yourself left behind your students.

Get feedback. Ask your students what’s happening in the classroom. Be careful, guide them well to collect data. don’t do it to hear good words from them. Be ready to hear the criticism and learn from your mistakes.

In short teaching is a life-long journey to find yourself by reaching many people and guiding them.

P.S: when I was with my students I tweeted  ’

evab2001 hi all,I’m with my students who will start teaching this year. what will u say 2 them? do u think it is worth?

I received some answers from my PLN and here you can check their advice too.

@anna_bring oh yes it is worth all of that hard work. I don’t ever regret becoming a teacher, and the reward i… (cont)

 @BiancaH80 Hi future teachers!! Teaching is awesome – get on twitter, follow some teacher blogs and don’t teach from worksheets!
focus on learning always – tech is just a tool but use it well. Keep in touch w/ edu research – don’t throw away those books!
@jshe Teaching is the most rewarding career!
@AlexandraKouk To your students: In teaching they may discover the love of their lives – definitely worth it!!!!
@vickyloras Hello to you all! It is definitely worth it – I wish you all the best, you will love teaching : )