Monthly Archives: November 2011

PowerPoint Game Templates


Ayearinthelifeofaneng is an ESL teacher’s account on YouTube which sometimes has inspiring ideas… but it’s not anything to get overly excited about.  He does, however, provide two PowerPoint game templates which could liven up a dull Friday.

If you go to the videos, the link to download the templates is written underneath (you may have to click on “show more” to see the whole link).  The videos explain how to use the games and fill in the templates.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire



Creative Writing


Photo by Chrisroll, from

One of the writing exercises I do is Creative Writing: making the kids break conventional writing rules.  It gives the closet poets an occasion to do their thing, and it gives the kids with writing problems a chance to write without worrying about all the ridiculous capitals and punctuation.  The above photo is the inspiration for these:

Level 3:

It’s a monster, isn’t it? Well, his name is Peter. He is from Pandora. It’s a fantastic place. I’d really like to travel there with James Cameron. Peter is very strong. If you think his favorite food is meat, you’re wrong. He is crazy about leaves and vegetables. So he doesn’t lack vitamins. Oh , and there’s one more thing! He’s on the earth! And the question is: How did he come here? By spacecraft? Fly by himself?

Level 3/4:

“It is like you , isn’t it?” “OMG! Are you kidding me ? It is a monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” My friend said that to me. But I think they are little close , a little just a little““““““““““““““““`
like he said —–only joking
BUT , I think I would like to be a vampire ,hey heeeeeeeeeeeeeey!
The boy that l said who like this monster saying: “ what a evil girl you really are~”
“ You are such a clever boy ! You got that , what a devil!!”
but not like me, I WHISPER
Like I said just A LITTLE .
I AM NOT SO evil, just for fun .
I need to find something interesting in my life uh-huh? because I want everyday really FANTASTIC , then I can enjoy my life.
VAMPIRE is a good choice I think .
If I really COULD be“““
Fly under the moonlight , travel in the night sky ,
But with WHO?
It’s the boy I never told I like you or it’s the girl I never will forget.
No doubts only one can be that
Whatever I just back my normal life from my thoughts
I know that I was born to be somebody Ain’t nothing that ever gonna stop me.
Keep the real me
Trust me , I will get someone that understand what I ‘m going through .
Boy, girl ,vampire, the little monster and those dreams.
my life

Level 3/4:

Ah this picture a little bit scary. I have never seen this kind thing. Is this a dinosaur or a dragon? I really have no idea. It was beaten by the ugly stick. I heard a story about this. One day, a donkey walked on the street and he saw a dog. He said: “Wow! Dog is so strong, please give me its body.” And then it had dog’s body.  Then it continued to go, and it saw a crocodile .So it wants to have crocodile’s teeth. Finally he gets most animals’ body parts. But it is more ugly.

Level 4:

Crazy Thing

Crazy animal Crazy body!
Oh look at this! What’s that?
Dinorsour’s face
Monster’s legs
Tiger’s body bow’s tail
And sheep’s ear!
Do you know that?
maybe maybe. But
I like
that sounds wierd! are you sure
yeah~~~~of course!

Orange body
Short teeth
Big feet and thin tail
the parts of the body
they don’t match
some times cute
and some
times S C A R Y !!!
can it bite you
can it hurt you
and can it eat you?
Yes? Maybe? No?
anything can happen
and you still can guess any things !

Strong feet
Cute tail
Dam eyes and sharp teeth.
you can guess anythings about this animal
Any belongs to you. o(∩_∩)o

Level 5:

What subject is it( It’s a beast of prey right! )
maybe a dinosaur maybe a tiny abnormal mouse( cause it’s head looks like )
Actually, it is just an fictitious thing in our mind
I lost plenty of time, so I regard it as a my time eater!
How ferocious it is! ( I am struck.) Why are you so voracious?
The hours wore on.
Time passed through my eyes,
through my fingers,
through my bowl…
It was passing while I was staring blankly
while I was doodling
while I was eating…
And then they were sucked into the eater’s tummy.
When I noticed, my time were already dead and the time eater was licking his mouth.( I felt very sorry for my times. )
I perceive that I should run faster, preventing the eater from catching me.

Toilet Talk


Culture makes teaching ESL difficult: there are a lot of things which need to be communicated, but they’re uncomfortable subjects.  How do you deal with these things in a group setting?

The students in China are taught grammar; they’re taught to introduce themselves politely and to discuss their day.  They’re not taught how to find a toilet.

Younger children are not likely to find themselves without parental assistance in an English-only situation, so there’s no need to go into extreme detail.  Regardless, it’s a good idea to teach them common phrases such as “Could I please be excused” and “Where’s the washroom, please?”  You could also cover common terms like toilet, washroom, restroom, lavatory and loo, and toilet paper.  Younger kids really like the word flush.  ( Here’s a page with wav files, in case you need one.)  If you have a group that’s okay with it, you can introduce words like pee and poop, particularly in the context of pet care.  As long as the terminology is age-appropriate, there won’t be a problem if they use the words around parents or teachers.

Older children – who are much more likely to be caught by themselves in sticky situations while on vacation or something – are more reluctant to discuss anything personal so it’s better to broach the subject while they’re younger.  With older students, you’ll have to find delicate ways of introducing the terminology: at the beginning of winter, we usually discuss “being sick”, and include “upset stomach” along with “have a cold” and “have the flu”.  Boys like to read James Herriot’s short story Cedric (about a dog with digestive gas) so they can learn the word “fart”.

Of course, the problem with (or good thing about, depending on your perspective) student-led learning is that you may find yourself discussing the topic even though you hadn’t planned to do so.  I had one sweet little 8-year-old girl tell me about her new rabbit and the sh** it left all over the floor… so we had to go over “appropriate terminology” for rabbit droppings, and when it was okay to use the word sh**.  I also had private classes with a teenaged girl who was going to the States for a year, and she skittered around the subject for about 5 minutes before I realised she needed to ask about feminine hygiene.

If you’re preparing slides, illustrated clip art goes over better than photos, or you can thieve funny photos from Google (I use this one , which the kids think is hilarious).

Cloze Test Creator


While cloze tests might not be the most useful thing for learning English, the fact is that the students have to do a lot of them.  If you want to help your students practice, you can give them some techniques for choosing possible answers.  There’s a good site from Michigan Proficiency Exams that gives some guidelines.

Here’s a handy tool for creating instant cloze exercises: Cloze Test Creator.