Activities for Thanksgiving

There are a lot of reasons to teach about Thanksgiving and do some activities for Thanksgiving in the classroom. First, Thanksgiving is a major American holiday* and students living in the US should know about it. Second, it’s a great excuse to talk about important themes such as gratitude and family. For lower level students, you can always talk about food! Third, even EFL students with little exposure to American culture have probably heard of Thanksgiving. So it’s never a bad idea to share about the holiday. So we’ve collected some activities on Teachers Pay Teachers that are perfect […]

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Stories Without End in the Classroom

I was recently uploading more individual stories without end (from Taylor’s wonderful book) to Teachers Pay Teachers. One of the pieces of information you need to fill out there is how long the material will take to use. Well, the stories are designed to be adaptable so they can be used in one class period, or stretched out over several periods. There are a lot of ways to use Stories Without End in the classroom. Obviously timing depends on the length of the story as well as the level of your learners, and how fast they read. In addition, […]

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Readers Theatre or reader’s theater or Something Else?

One of the challenges of writing about and publishing lots of books about drama in language education is trying to decide what to call the thing where students read plays or dramatized texts out loud. Is it readers theatre, readers theater, reader’s theater, or reader’s theatre? You’d think it would be easy to solve this problem: check a corpus. Well if Google’s Ngram Viewer is worth anything, it’s clearly reader’s theater, with readers theatre a close second! Which is odd because those two options vary on both spelling and the apostrophe. But the plot thickens. What happens when we […]

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Why a Teacher Shared Her Burnout Story

Patrice Palmer had been teaching English for 20 years when she left teaching in 2015. She felt no desire to continue teaching even though she loved ESL. But she didn’t realize that she had burned out, unaware that teacher burnout was a thing. Ironically, not teaching every day may have been what gave her the time to start reading about educator stress and teacher burnout. She read about useful tools such as the Maslach Burnout Inventory. She discovered the research on how frequently teachers were leaving the profession. And googling “teacher well-being”, she discovered the Teacher Self-Care Conference.All well […]

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Storytelling for EFL Students

Storytelling is an important skill for EFL students to learn. In fact, being able to tell a story is a helpful human skill as we are constantly constructing narratives to explain what we are doing, to persuade others, to ask for help, to offer advice. Many EFL students have trouble improvising fluently though. It’s hard to tell a story, remember the right words, get your grammar correct, and speak comprehensibly all in a foreign language. So students need a lot of practice telling a story and doing so fluently, without much hesitation. So we’re giving away one of Cristian’s […]

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A banner image showing our halloween activities for english class on Teachers Pay Teachers

Halloween Activities for English Class

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And it’s a great holiday to share with students. Some say it’s too scary or macabre to do Halloween activities in English class but you can always find an aspect of the holiday that isn’t too gruesome. You can talk about trick-or-treating, costumes, or creepy animals such as spiders, bats, or owls. You can tell or write silly ghost stories, instead of scary ones. Of course, you can also go for the scary (I miss my 6th and 7th graders who were all about the gore!). So here are some of our […]

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Public Speaking in English is Scary. Drama Can Help

Poor Emilio! He seemed like such a confident student, but when he had to give a talk in front of the class, he ran to the bathroom and was sick. Emilio’s case might be extreme, but according to the psychologist, Michelle Lynsky, public speaking is one of the most terrifying experiences of modern life, and that’s for people performing in their first language. To feel confident, speakers need to feel the audience is on their side. For this to happen, they need believe that a) they have something interesting to say, b) that the audience will understand it, and […]

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Ed You Fest 2019 Certificate issued to Walton Burns for delivering the presentation Playing with Language

EdYOUfest Takeaways

EdYOUfest, where I presented on using drama to teach speaking skills, was a lot of fun. The most striking feature of the conference is that it’s small (under 100 people) and that you are all sleeping, eating, and going to workshops in the same space. So there’s a lot of socialization, great discussions, laughter, and fun. There were drinks every night, dances on two of the four nights we were there, and an excursion up Glastonbury Tor. Someone commented on a tweet of mine about EdYOUfest, “Don’t you ever do any work?” So it’s easy to forget that EdYOUfest […]

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Back to School Tips

This is one of my most popular posts, so I like to repost it every August as we get ready for back to school time. Of course, this tips here are applicable to any classroom, not just school. I collected most of these ideas as I was working on my book 50 Activities for the First Day of School. I always love learning from others, so please do feel free to add your own advice, tips, tricks or first day hacks in the comments! Back to School with Style Write your name and your students’ names down. Fast-paced activities […]

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I Don’t Know an Interesting Fact About Myself

A while back, I did a workshop for teachers from the former Soviet Union and as a very quick icebreaker, I just asked everyone to say one interesting fact about themselves. The first teacher said, “My name is Elena and my interesting fact is that I am from Karaganda, Kazakhstan.” After that, the second teacher got up, said her name and told us where she was from. And so it continued. One teacher tried to say something fun about himself. I believe he said he liked going riding. However, the crowd quickly corrected him: “We’re saying where we are […]

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