Fun Christmas writing lesson idea

Photo: Tom Walton

Here's one I got in the newsletter from very useful English Language Teaching Contacts Scheme (or ELTeCS), which has six regional e-mail newslists covering the world and carrying news but also useful links and ideas for lessons.

This particular Christmas lesson idea is on the wonderful site, surely the best site for English teachers on the web.

Apart from the lesson and the "Christmas is cancelled" story by Nancy A. Cavanaugh that it is based on, your learners could also have a lot of fun writing their own short short stories for Christmas.

Setting a word limit of, say, 50 or 100 words works well, and — at higher levels — 100 words all of which must be different is also hard but lots of fun. You could also try a 160-word character limit.

Writing should be fun — and shared, too. If you have a class blog, having your learners publish their stories, share and comment on them there, is a sure-fired way to generate enthusiasm for an activity that, otherwise, can seem like a chore.

Online debates on Debatewise

One that was suggested in the Teaching Tips 156 newsletter…

This Friday (23rd) is Saint George's Day and DT have a debate on that on DebateWise, as well as lesson ideas for it. Debatewise might be fun for your learners to see how many people out in cyberspace they could pull into a debate… Your first classroom debate: what kind of subject is going to interest people?!

It could also work well if you were working with another school (or another class in your own school).

The same edition of Teaching Tips also has links for Earth Day (April 22).

Happy 40th, Internet!

This week's free Weekly Teaching Tip from Developing points out that the Internet is 40 this Thursday (29th).

It also mentions and quotes an article from the Telegraph that lists 50 things that are being killed by the Internet, which might make a topical discussion, Thursday. You might, before reading, get your learners to brainstorm their own list, and then compare…

The Guardian has its own take on the story and (sort of) explains why the Internet is not the Web.

The Weekly Teaching Tip is well worth subscribing to.

Halloween videos and lessons

Halloween lessons and lots more on

Among the YouTube videos and lessons on Jamie Keddie's award-winning blog you've got a Halloween Horror Story that's fun (and topical!).

If you prefer a more student-centred approach to listening, you could alternatively, and as a lead-in, get your learners to brain-storm the vocabulary they think will come up in a "Halloween Horror Story" and then listen and watch to see how many they got "right".

There are in fact two YouTube videos there. I prefer the second because it's so much shorter (one minute, not five).

Jamie also has a book, Images (OUP 2009), with activities that can be used for teaching of productive and receptive language skills, grammar, vocabulary and so on.

Previous Halloween posts:

You've got more Halloween links on the excellent and on the British Council's LearnEnglishKids site.