The Flipped Classroom – or Tilting it by Shawn Severson

Have you ever questioned whether explaining grammar is effective use of class time? Of course you have, this is one of the big points addressed in the communicative approach!

For younger levels, an inductive way of exposing students to grammar is so effective and really compliments grammar knowledge they might see in a table or which has been drilled into them at school. When it comes down to the more complicated and stylistic points of grammar, say, inversion for example, sure you can show students a few examples in a text (any more and that would be extremely artificial!), but then what? And then you have the issue that not only does explanation take a long time, but also setting these into a communicative setting is quite difficult. So, the last recourse is explain and drill.

But what if your explanation, very declarative, straightforward and traditional, were done at home? This is what the flipped classroom aims to do. Give declarative information, material that would normally be lectured at home. Homework, drills, etc. can then be done in class. Flipping learning has been a huge success in science and mathematics because it also allows for students to have access to additional resources because declarative knowledge being explained is linked to online resources. And students can stop, pause and rewind at random.

For language, perhaps this is not so clear and so what I am doing in 2014-15 is trying to at least “tilt” my classroom. Through Moodle, I am proving links to grammar tutorials, then students do the standard course book exercises. The next class we correct those exercises and then do freer types of practice, ironing out points they might not have understood so well. More importantly, we try to integrate this grammar into realistic contexts into the classroom, moving past analyzing language and into using it. For example lessons (these are my first attempts, done simply, in just a few minutes after preparing the materials).



For more information on this type of teaching, which won’t replace us as teachers, but merely underline our importance and free up opportunities for communicating and interesting classroom work:


This is Halloween! – by Sandra Luna



As most of my friends know, I absolutely love Halloween. I like carving pumpkins, welcoming the (very few) kids who come trick-or-treating, making cards and painting monsters with my boys. I think it’s better than Carnival, actually, I think it can’t be compared to Carnival. However, Halloween isn’t that popular in Portugal, really. It’s still seen as a “foreign”, “modern” activity so there’s not a lot of attention paid to it. Just that teachers, English teachers, that is, love it. Time to have fun and let the mean, (not that) nasty vampire come out, come out, wherever it is….

So, what do I have to share? Probably nothing new. If you go online there will be thousands of resources available. However, if you need a quick guide and don’t have time to scroll down Dr. Google’s list, here are a few resources and ready-made worksheets that can help save the day.


The History of Halloween (a short documentary by the History channel, quite good for an activity with adults) –

Halloween Songs for Kids! (half an hour of wonderful Halloween songs for VYL by Super Simple Songs) –

Short Story – Halloween is Grinch’s night (looking for a short film? This could be it. Dr. Seuss story for children about the Grinch) –

Halloween Cartoons (a playlist with 65 videos related to the theme. Great for VYL if you’re looking for a different way in which to finish/start your lesson) –

Crosswords, Puzzles & Word Searches

Word search (good for YL and teenagers) –

Halloween Scramble (a simple worksheet related to safety on Halloween, good for YL) –

Crossword (a sort of a Halloween trivia that is sure to keep your students busy for a while) –

Word search builder (make your own word search with this on line program, you will only have to print it) –


Halloween worksheets (@ you’ll find lots of printable worksheets you’ll be able to use with your students) –

Halloween worksheets and activities (you have everything here, from Reading comprehension, to vocabulary practice. @ you’ll find resources from several sorts)

The teachers’ corner (you’ll find recipes, puzzles, wordsearch, etc.) –

Super Simple Learning (this website will provide you with lesson plans, recipes, party ideas and so on) –


Dream English Halloween (focuses on songs that can be used, mainly, with children) –

Halloween songs (over 8 pages of different songs that can be used with other levels) –

And of course, if all else fails…

• The (you know why, don’t you 😉 –

• Printables, crafts, poems (not many people still remember this site, but it’s one of the oldest around) –


Warm up by Auctioning, Miming and Finding the Mistake! – by Isabel Fechas

Being a Young Learner’s teacher is not an easy task. Even after years of doing this, I still need to be constantly researching for new strategies to teach English to my students and, at the same time, make them enjoy what they are doing. To do so, I’ve used some strategies that most of you already use in your classes: warmers, games and rewards.

As you may know, warmers are a good way to set the mood to learn English. They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes in the beginning of the lesson and don’t necessary need to be related to what you’re teaching that day, but they are excellent techniques to review subjects taught in previous lessons. Here are some of the warmers I’ve used with my students.

Auction a Sentence is an activity that can be used to review grammar and you can do this with almost any level. Mix the correct and incorrect sentences on pieces of paper and give them to your students. Explain that you are going to have an auction and that they’ll be given a certain amount of money to spend (using money adds a sense of reality to this, so it might be advantageous to do so). Tell them they must read the sentences and bid if they think the sentence is correct. They can only spend the amount of money they have. The ones who lose must give their money to the winners, adding a fun, competitive spirit.

If you have younger learners who aren’t familiar with auctioning, you can just do a Find the Mistakes activity. The process is more or less the same. They must find the mistake and correct the sentence. Instead of money, they can win points that you can later exchange for a reward. A nice way to make this activity more appealing to them is to use a mini-whiteboard for them to write the correction on. Students love to use different materials, and these work really well.

Miming the Word is a good way of reviewing and recycling vocabulary taught, and it doesn’t take long to prepare. On separate pieces of paper, write words that students have been learning and give one or two to each student in class. Instruct your students not to show the paper(s) to their classmates. Explain that they have to read the word and mime it out to the rest of the class. The student that guesses the word then gets a point. If your students are shy and don’t like to be up front, try doing it yourself first to get them started. Seeing the teacher doing the same activity they’re supposed to do is encouraging for them and might give them the boost they need.

These are just some of the possibilities of warmers you can use with your students. They will help to lighten the mood at the beginning of each lesson and will definitely result in more engaged students when it comes to learning and speaking English in your class. Hope these warmers help!


Homework Correcting Tips – by Sandra Luna

Sometimes I walk past a class during its first few minutes of and hear something like “Number 3?” This is an immediately giveaway of what is being done. After all, I used to do that, too. Then one day someone asked me “why?” It was then that I realised there were things I could do differently to turn homework into a classroom activity rather than the boring start it had become.

Here are a few ideas I’d like to share:

• Students expect homework to be the first thing they do in class. Surprise them. Do it as a “calming down” activity after a game or as a transition activity. You could also leave it till the end of class. I don’t usually use it as a warmer. In my opinion these two shouldn’t mix, having different aims.

• Even if you are in a hurry and want to get it out of the way, you can still make sure students are alert by varying the order in which you correct exercises.

• Photocopy answers and give each pair or group a copy. Students correct and explain wrong answers to each other.

• Always give students a chance to compare their answers, insecure students will feel more confident if they have to speak.

• Make it fun. Take names out of a hat at random, but give students the option to PASS if their name is called.

• Finally, you can set homework on Moodle with the Quiz module. Students get corrections right away, which is quite effective and dynamic.