EFL 2.0 Teacher Talk

"When one teaches, two learn"

Archives for resources

EFL 2.0 Gems – Our Podcast Library

I’m a major “junk” collector and when I first started using Huffduffer, just couldn’t resist collecting all the best education/teaching related podcasts on the web. And I think I’ve achieved that, bar none.

You’ll enjoy searching with handy tags and you’ll be sure to find some “gems”. My favorite podcast has to be this one Aldous Huxley – On Language – but I’m sure you’ll have your own.

Follow the whole “gems” series HERE. If you like podcasts, you might also enjoy our Linguistics series on EFL Classroom 2.0.

Funny Door Mats

I’m a big fan of drawing in the EFL Classroom 2.0.  Last night, my parents related a story about a neighbors door mat (pictured). I immediately thought “LESSON!”, so here it is.

It would be great for students to make / draw their own door mats for the whole class. Maybe even have a contest. Watch the presentation / examples below – discuss as needed. Make one together as a whole class and then give out the A4 paper and let me do it!  Check their language and sketch and they can then turn it over and do it as a final draft. Finally, present them for the class and display on the classroom walls.

Simple, strong lesson!

Full Screen

Gems of EFL 2.0: Our Classrooms

On EFL Classroom 2.0, we call our groups – Classrooms“. We have over 100 of them and recently, they’ve gained unbelievable functionality and really are almost full social networks in their own right.

All members can start a group. Make unlimited webpages for your group members. Make the group private (a school/teacher/class might want to do this) or public. You can email all group members with one click of a button (perfect for teachers!). Further, you get discussion forums, commenting area, unlimited file uploads (photos/videos), rss feeds and even more! Personalize the group too.

What’s even better is that you can make one generic id/pw for all your students. After setting up a group, they can visit with the same id/pw (we support multiple logins with the same id). So ontop of your group, students get access to all the amazing content on EnglishCentral.

Here are a few of my fav. groups.

1. Young Learners – so many helpful resources!
2. Karaoke in the Classroom. Many files not on the regular site.
3. Project Peace. Learn how to make a Project Peace video using the Peace Packs.
4. World Groups – join a group for your country in the world. If there isn’t already one, make one! We need members to help make these groups grow!
5. EnglishCentral Star Educators. – learn / share about using this powerful video learning platform.
6. Lessons in a Can. Hundreds of complete lessons with downloads, media, printables. Available to EFL Classroom 2.0 supporters.
7. Teacher Trainers. Lots of helpful advice/resources.
8. Global Issues. Ideas for teaching your students to think about their place in the world.
9. English For Fun and Friendship. This group has it all. A place of immense TLC.

Make your own group, it’s easy!
More in the EFL Classroom 2.0 gems series HERE.

Gems of EFL 2.0: Top Content

There is so much on EFL Classroom 2.0, the biggest challenge is finding it! I’m trying my best to help teachers and learners in this discovery process and work hard at making the main page search, tag search, tag clouds work. Posts like this “gem” series help too.

However, they is even a better way to find out what’s great on the community – Top Content. It’s a page full of what members think is “hot”. I recommend using it and finding lots of great content. Also, click the red sidebar tab. There, you can find a whole list of pages that members are on at the moment. People like to be where other people are! (you can even see all the data for the site there; visits, page views etc…. no secrets here).

The best way YOU can help others find great stuff? Just tweet, facebook, like it! Others will have a better chance of visiting it and knowing about it. You can now even comment right to facebook on all our pages.

EFL 2.0 gems: Karaoke dialogues

I am very proud of this very underused resource- our karaoke dialogue page. You get a full ebook of all the blank dialogues + Karaoke or video files of the full dialogue or with parts missing where the student can reply with their own voice. It’s a stellar activity and try it below or go directly to the Karaoke Dialogue page. This post , “The Blank Dialogue Refreshed” explains how I developed this approach.

The “gems” series will continue all month. Here are the previous posts.

Gems of EFL 2.0: ebooks!

There has been some talk in  ELT circles about “The Round”, a new endeavor in the ELT self publishing field.  I wish them all the best.

I’m all for this and have written extensively how others may make/design/market/sell their own book. Still, it seems like a lot of talk and I’m waiting for the beef.

I’m all for getting things real (espousing the 37 Signals philosophy) and my ebooks are representative of this. Lots of them, hard cover too. And what’s even better about this is that they are available for free!

So here’s my list of what I’ve produced to help teachers. By no means complete, I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Click on the links and you’ll get additional links for ordering a hard copy or for additional resources.

True gems and most are in pdf with photos/links you can click to go right to the source.  More gems here.

Happy reading!

EFL Classroom 2.0 ebooks – the perfect X-mas gift.

The #1 in ELT - all the best ideas/things for teaching English

The Unbearable Lightness of Being A Teacher: Selected Writings about education, teaching and language.

Teach | Learn: A Student Created Content Coursebook. Printables, worksheets, Full lessons, mulitmedia materials. Even ppts, a community and files you can edit. Way ahead of its time and free.

Zen And The Art Of Teaching:  a reflective journal for practicing and pre service teachers

Youtube In The Classroom.  All the best videos and commercials on youtube for teaching English.

Basic Dialogue Karaoke Coursebook:  Dialogues, videos, karaoke files for learning basic conversational English.

Flashcards 4 Teaching English:  A complete directory and library of both printable and online flashcards.

Co-teaching General Guidelines: a workshop booklet with resources and approaches for setting up success in the cotaught classroom.

All The EnglishCentral techbooks + get 1 month Premium access free!


For EFL Classroom Lifetime Supporters: (download after a lifetime supporters donation)

EnglishCentral Commercials: the workbook to help teach with videos students can speak.

EnglishCentral  Basic Workbook: for beginning students

EnglishCentral Famous Speeches: 20 famous speeches for listening and speaking with vocab. development.

Listening: A 4 Skills coursebook. 

Funny Stories for Teaching:  A collection of the best stories for retelling and listening activities. With audio and text.

The Power of Public Speaking:  A 20 hour, 4 module, multimedia  course on the skill of public speaking

Lessons In A Can: hundreds of lessons, downloadables, printables and ideas, fully described. Use online or with the ebook.


Electric Chair for the Sun: Selected Poetry 1990 – 2010 (also see my poetry blog if interested)

The Idiot’s Dictionary – a book that tests your knowledge (and challenges it) of words and their etiology.


If you liked this post, you might like ” The Future of The Textbook

Christmas Gift Giving

Get this widget for your class page and students can leave gifts for each other! Very much like my Christmas idea of giving gifts in class – find it here. Try it – Leave me a gift or leave one for fellow bloggers/EFL Classroom 2.0 members!

What The Wordle

Teaching vocabulary can sometimes be trying. Mostly because it involves a lot of “new” stuff for students and a lot of slogging through, a lot of hard work on the part of the learner.

What The Wordle helps! They are a series of presentations, games really, that I made to “liven up” vocabulary learning. Click on a presentation, preview and then play with your students. Can they get the answer? You can also get the ppts for most HERE. Try this example, One of these things is not like the other.

Try it, I’m sure you’ll like it! Lots more “gems” from EFL Classroom 2.0 being highlighted here all this month!

Text Messaging Game (Big Screen)

I’m really proud of some of the creative games I’ve made. One that I really think is stellar is “Transl8it”.

I’ve recently updated it and get it through a now available “Big Screen” version. It is simple as pie to play and students love it. Maybe even get them to make their own games by visiting http://www.transl8it.com and putting in their own text which students can then decode.

[I’ll be highlighting EFL Classroom “hidden gems” for the next month. Keep coming back for more!]

Thank You lesson

It’s Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S. which in Canada is also US). So I thought I’d share a lesson I really love. It is great for the end of the year, session and really is a great way to show that all students contribute to the class – that they all indeed, count.

1. On the board prior to class write on one side of the board.

Thank you for …………ing ………..

On the other side, possible replies.

You’re welcome. | No problem | Just being myself | Oh, don’t mention it | My pleasure etc….

2. Simply start by thanking some students in the class. “Thank you “student’s name” for ……….ing ……………”

Possible reasons: coming on time / always smiling / being so helpful / helping others / finishing your work / never complaining etc…

Students reply using the prompts on the board.

3. Give out the handout . thank you handout. Or this handout – ThankYouGame
This comes from my now public “techbook” Teach | Learn.
Tell students to fill out the first part, for each student in the class (or most).

4. Students get up and go around the class thanking all their classmates and responding to the “thank you”.

5. End by sharing as a whole class, some of the “thank you ” messages the students wrote. You might even make a Wallwisher where students can post public thank you messages to everyone!

Here’s a nice video I subtitled ages ago. A nice compliment to this lesson. Also click the other links provided on the handout. Some nice additions too!

Dido Thank You – Foldem’ listening lyric sheet

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

It’s Not A Box – Synectics

My university recently hosted the ICE (Imagination / Creativity / Education) Conference. Instead of giving a presentation and being all concerned with that – decided to join many of my student teachers and enjoy a day of attending the workshops and gathering ideas. So glad I did!

The highlight for me was an Art workshop: Exploring Your Creative Process Through Reflection, Dialogue and Art Making. Basically, we explored the concept of Synectics. We used the book, “Not A Box” (see video below) as “a trigger” to get us risk taking and creating. Something language teachers can do too. I k!now Ken Robinson has made creativity a bigger issue in education (video) but are we doing enough? This lesson really engenders and promotes creativity!

Basically, after reading the book together, we were put into groups and each group given a box. Each group had a box that was of differing sizes, some huge, some tiny. Then, we were asked to say, “This is not a box but this is a …….”. Then, redesign our creation and talk about what principles of Synectics we used while creating.

Synectics is a way of promoting creativity in any kind of class, not just art. Take a look at this wordle and think about how you could use these principles of Synectic design, to “redesign” your own lesson, activity, curriculum into something more creative and “thoughful”.

My group's creation

Not a box. It's a fridge!

Not like the others is a game I made that does the same. Also, this activity is much the same. Basically, we ask our students to think “outside the box”. Try it – you’ll really have a fun, engaging lesson!

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

The #1 … ( authentic book for teaching ESL/EFL)

Number One** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

Hana’s Suitcase

Forget fiction/non-fiction, if I had just one book to insist teachers of all levels share with their students – Hana’s Suitcase would be it.


A personal aside: I’ve always had an obsession and a personal connection with the holocaust, read one of my poems below (more specifically on the holocaust HERE). It is an event that has such an important meaning to me. So I’m biased but rightfully so. There is no greater calling than to make students aware of how they too can be “nazis”, they too can be the civilized and the cultured, committing barbaric acts without ache or acknowledgement.


Hana’s Suitcase I’ve used in both my time teaching Grade 4s and Grade 8s. The story just works. It has a detective element and students get right into it – trying to discover who this Hana was, who George her brother was and what about this Japanese woman who tried to find out about Hana? It is the perfect book about a real life and family – destroyed and torn by the horrible events of WWII. I’ll leave it at that – let you discover it with your students. This will be the best money you or your school will ever spend on your students’ education.


I asked her
in bed
covered in honesty
just fed
by nature’s always
I asked her
love lent,
what the number
6,000,000 meant?
Looking up
like a little girl might
counting stars or sheep
she said,
“A large city
maybe a bank account?”
Then, closing her eyes
leaning over,
she said again,
“Come here! Give me
6,000,000 kisses!”
Yes, we are learning
how to count again.

KWL – a great “frame”

A KWL organizer is a perfect way to “frame” a lesson. It is almost a lesson plan in itself and fosters a lot of student activity and promotes thinking skills. I’ve modified this one to be a little more friendly for student input.

It’s quite a simple process to use one.

1. Write the topic you will be looking at on the board. KWL is best with a very concrete topic, a thing, a place, an activity. Ask students a few questions about the topic, prompting their background knowledge and making the topic – personal. ex. “Have you ever ….?” “Do you have …?” etc..

2. Provide students with the organizer. Ask them to write down all that they know about the topic. This may also include the vocabulary and grammar/phrases associated with the topic. The first time you do this with a class, do this whole class and together – to model the activity. After that, they’ll have the hang of it.

3. Take up this “K”, What I Know part. Have students add to the chart on the board and their own chart.

4. Ask students what they want to know – “W”. Do this part together and prompt students as necessary. Discuss together.

5. Core Activity: Watch a video, read a passage/story/article, listen to a podcast/show/interview, watch a presentation etc…. Repeat as necessary for student understanding.

For example, I recently did this in a workshop and used this video from EnglishCentral (with the additional benefit that students could practice it at home, after school.)

6. Finally, students write down all the things they learned about the topic/content – “L”. This will in some cases, compliment the “K” part of the chart.