December 16, 2011

Using web tools in an English Class

This is a presentation that I had for my collegues at the ELT Regional Meeting. I think it can be very useful especially for a newbie. I want to thank my PLN for many useful informations and for encouragment.  Using web tools in an English class
View more presentations from msmolcec

November 19, 2011

Edublog awards for 2011 - tough choice


It's very hard to choose your favourite blog, wiki, twitterer, video site and so on, as for me, there are so many great things and it's so difficult to decide. But, being a part of a wonderful online community for let's say almost a year I decided to nominate those who shared the things that had been of the most interest to me at least this year. Here are my nominees:

Best educational wiki:Welcome back Egypt, - really nice and beautiful blog created by Azhar and her wonderful students.
Best teacher blog: by Shelly Terrell as I have really learned  a lot by visiting her blog and her wonderfull Free Friday TESOL Webinars. Go,go Shelly!
Best individual tweeter, there are so many but the one who shared some great resources  relevent to me is @missnoor28 

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast: Teacher Training videos by Russell Standard - doing a great job Russell

Best new blog: A journey in language by Brad Patterson - funny, imaginative and creative
Best individual blog, hard choice again, but I picked Dave Dodgson's blog as I read it reagulary and Dave really has some great and simple ideas on teaching and things in general.
Best ed tech / resource sharing blog: Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne
Best twitter hashtag: #ELTchat
Best open PD / unconference / webinar series: The Reform Symposium - overwhelming and powerful
Lifetime achievement: Ken Wilson  can't wait to listen to him at HUPE hopefully next year
Best class blog:
Best free webtool:Photopeach
Best librarian blog:
Most influental individual post: How did she get here in the first place?  by a wonderful teacher Vicky Loras.

I love these educational "Oscars" :), it's a pity we can't suggest more than one for a certain nomination

November 13, 2011

My top tools for learning in 2011

Wordle: tools

I hope I am not too late to submit my top 10 tools for this year. I became an avid user of Internet and web tools almost a year ago.  I read a post at aCliltoClimb written by a great PLN and a friend on how"Jane Hart, is taking votes for their annual Top 100 Tools for Learning", so I became encouraged to write my own 10 tools.
I have chosen those I have been using almost every day for the past year, and I must say some are same or similar to the ones Cheiw Pang mentioned.
My top 10+ - no particular order
 1. Google - have it as my homepage, use it every day, I remeber I was still at University when it was presented as a new search engine. Wow, long time ago! Am getting old!
2. Google Translator - use it now and then, have some good laughs sometimes, but in general when I can't think of the right word in my head, it helps a lot.
3. Blogger - Oh, yes I have used it for the past year, maybe not often as I should have. I still don't have time to write more. I hope to be more encouraged as I write in English which is not my mother tongue.
4.Facebook- well this is a social network I have been a member since 2008. There have recently been so many changes . Some don't prefer it any more, some are still too addicted to it. I know that I haven't been to aware of its posibilities until I found out about some great FB teacher groups, and great webpages. I don't use it any more just for fun and family, but also for education.I also have a FB secret group with some of my students.
5. Twitter - WOW! I became a real fan of it during RSCON3. It's like a big "global staff room" as my friend Arjana Blazic would say.
6. Youtube - I love it so much. My sons have become aware of it's possibilities so when they search for some game tutorials they first visit Youtube. I found a lot of great video materials there, that I can use in class, or sometimes I just watch movie trailers as being a big movielover.
7. Skype - use it everyday, in class too, had my first class project by using Skype. Will continue using it for the same reason. I love when my students have a posibility of interviewing other English teachers  world wide.
8.  Almost forgot Gmail - but mentioned so many Google tools. This is so far my favourite email,even though I must say I am getting use to Yahoo mail as well.
9. Photopeach - love this slideshow tool. I was introduced to it at BAW11, and it's so easy to use, I have already created 3 videos. A lot for me.
10. Linoit - my PLN use it a lot on Twitter, so I gave it a try and I loved it. Easy and simple, I have introduced it to my students, and one has created a Halloween lino we used later in class.
10+ Wordle(Tagxedo) love them both, as I like to create word clouds. I use it a lot in class for motivation, grammar practice,everything...

This was written in a hurry, so don't mind any grammar or spelling mistakes.

There are still so many new tools I am getting used to, hope I can share them next year.


October 31, 2011

Spooky Halloween Lesson

My husband and sons' creations, right from our own garden

I wanted to share with you the lesson I did with my high school students.
Few days before the Halloween one of them created a Linoit, that you can check on my previous post here.

I've asked them to add photos, comments or music videos related to Halloween. It was also a great way of introducing Lino to them. We even had some let's say guest posts by fellow teachers such as Shelly Terrell and Sandra Rogers. Thank you for that.

This online discussion was before our lesson that actually took place on Friday 28 October, just few days before Halloween. I usually teach Halloween as a Culture Corner, and I always like to stress out that it's more an American holiday than ours.

The first thing I asked them to do was to show me some scary faces.

I said, i.e."If you are in a haunted house how would you react when you hear screams..."
"You see a dreadfull scene but you mustn't yell as they will hear you, show me some scared faces"

They were so funny and so into this Drama part!!!

Then we looked at the lino and checked what they and mentioned teachers posted.
(They loved Shelly's dog Rosco)
Then came the Brainstorming part. I  wrote Halloween on the blackboard and asked them to share their ideas. The first thing they can think of!

This is what they have come up with. I've created a Wordle of their ideas.

Some Halloween vocabulary without Justin Bieber even though he was mentioned?

We had fun and I explained some unknown vocabulary for those who didn't understand.

Later we had a listening activity. The plan was to listen some spooky sounds and to try and recognize them. They were so into it that they asked me to darken the room with the curtains to make it even more scary. Have to mention here that most of them love watching horror films with few exceptions so some girls have got rather scared with the sounds I've played.
I found some interesting videos on Youtube, but I didn't prepare any worksheet for them just told them to write  down the sounds they hear.

The first video

                                                                The second video
     (You don't have to do both videos, or just choose certain sound effects from both)

Instructions: "Write down all the creepy sound you can here, and try to recognize who or what is making them."

When they gave me their answers such as: "I have heard a wolf, door, wind, witch laughing....."
I introduce them to more vocabulary. Asking them and writing on board.
Example: "What does a wolf do?
                 "Describe a witch's laugh!"
                  "What about the door!"
They didn't know all the answers, even though they are intermediate level so we had them written down:           wolf howls
                     a witch laughs (cackle, snigger and so on)
                     a door creaks.....
                     a wind blows
                     thunder stroke...

To finish my lesson I had some writing activity as well. I found this lesson in my email. It was sent to me by  Croatian ELT Pearson Longman as newsletter. And it was actually a part of another lesson.

I had them write scary but aslo funny stories.

The Activity is called "Scary Consequences", but I rather prefered, "Funny and scary in a parody style".

Scary Consequences google docs link

You can check the original pdf lesson on the google docs link above.

This is what I have writen on board:

1. A ______________(male scary person, zombie, werewolf....)
2. met a_____________(female creature, witch...)
3. at _________________ ( a place)
4. They were eating _____________________(sts own ideas)
5. He said to her "_________________________(sentence spoken ny male)
6. She said to him:"________________________( female sentence)
7. The consequence was______________________________(sth that happened as a result).

Here are some of the stories written by my students. They gave me the permisson to publish it here, and I will add the rest later in my google docs.

Beware: the stories are rather creepy, a true Halloween spirit.


A zombie met a black cat on the graveyard. They were eating human bones.
He said to her:" One bone got stuck in my stomach" 
She said to him: "ha-ha-ha, you will throw up your blood and organs, ha-ha-ha"
The consequence was that the zombie threw up all day and finally died by falling on 
the black cat.


A vampire met Cinderella in the wood under the tree.
He was drinking blood out of human body.
He said to her: "Yummy, want some too?"
She said to him: "No, I want salade, you know I am on a diet"
That was wrong answer for Cinderella as Vampire ate her.

 Am I crazy for creating this parody like writing, would you allow it in your class?
 Please bare in mind that my students love horrors, love to read ghost stories, and are 17.

October 30, 2011

October 24, 2011


I have attended Shelly's Free TESOL Webinars last Friday. The topic was very interesting and refreshing for me. It was about Halloween. This made me create a VOKI for my students Facebook group. I hope I don't scare them. More about Shelly's webinars you can find on FREE TESOL WEBINARS

 My VOKI witch - a good one

My student created a linoit for our discussion on Halloween. Check it out.
I am looking forward to our Friday lesson. Maybe I dress up as a bad witch!

October 5, 2011

What makes a good/great teacher?

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn", 
  ( Benjamin Franklin)
Wordle: Teacher

What makes a great teacher? How does a great or at least good teacher have to behave, what does he, she need to know? What do students expect of him/her....these are the questions I ask myself almost everyday, but today it became even more special as today we celebrate Teacher's Day all around the world. While I was checking my mail and Facebook I came across an interesting Wall post by my friend Maria Bossa. Even though she said it weren't her own words I found it very interesting and I am very happy she's shared that with me.
So, what can letters in a word TEACHER stand for:

I have asked my students in our facebook group what they think makes a great teacher, one of them wrote, quoting: "to explain good unknown stuff". Is that E-Education or E-Efficient, or maybe both. What do you think!? I hope there will be some more comments, as I always try to improve my teaching skills, which is normal,isn't it. We teachers are a true Lifelong Learners.If we care about our profession or our students we will try to give 100% . Do we get tired sometimes, yes we do, but the will, the strenght, the love towards teaching, towards our students smallest success keeps us going. Are we appreciated today as that was a case 20, 30- 50 years ago, I really don't know. 

I will try to be more effective, try to create even better attitude, work more on my character, but I will for sure try to keep the Fun, Exploring, Sharing, Creativity (both of students and teachers) in my classes. :)

I think it's not just Chemistry or English, Geography or History, Art or Music we teach our students, I hope we also try to teach them how to be better people. Do you agree?
I wish you all Happy Teacher's Day! As we are no longer JUST Teachers, we are:

Image credit:, created by Stacy Bonino - love it!

October 4, 2011

My students Wordle clouds

Wordle: email project
Croatian-Uruguayan epal project
Wordle: You tube
    Ana and Ines' Youtube wordle

Katja and Morena's wordle

Wordle: Guardian sports
Luka's sports wordle

Wordle: Hajduk
Mario's football wordle
Wordle: CROATIA Wordle: Ogulin Wordle: Animals

August 31, 2011

Warmers and Fillers - #Goal 2 - "Contribute to a Blog carnival"

I was intrigued with the idea of writing a blog about warmers and fillers to participate on
Eva Büyüksimkeşyan  24th Blog Carnival, which is actually my first one, and on the other hand, I will acomplish my first goal, Number 2  of  The 30 Goals Challange introduced by Shelly Terrell.

I wasn't thinking so much about warmers and fillers, but since spending a lot of time with my two sons while on holiday, I got some ideas that I will introduce to my students when we return from holidays.

 1. Who am I? What am I?
Image credit:

So, as I mentioned, this is not originally my idea, but I got it while playing with my sons.
We like to play this board game "Pogodi što si/tko si" or known also as "Hedbanz",maybe, you have heard of it.  I find it very interesting as it is not just all fun, but very educational and practices logic, but it can also be used in the English class for practising of asking questions in Present Tenses and for learning vocabulary. 
My sons and I have been playing it in Croatian of course, but this can easily be brought into the language class.

What is it about?

- You need to have a set of cards with the names of the items students will have to guess!
- You put Ss into groups 3-4, depends on a class and a time you planned for this. 
- All of the students choose a card and without looking at it put a card on his/her forehead (in the original game each of the players wears a headbend where the card is placed so that everybody can see their card beside them). The items on a card in the original game are usually vegetables (cabbage,potatoe, brocoli..), fruit (apple, banana, orange...),vehicles (boat, car, bike...) animals (dog, cat, lion...), furniture(desk, chair, bed...), food (sandwich, spagetthi, pizza...), but you can put whatever vocabulary you want them to practice. 

Since there is a hedbenz for adults and if you are doing this with adults or teenagers you can put the names of famous people, movie characters, cartoon characters, singers... 

- Each of the players/students have about 60 seconds to ask as many questions as he/she can to discover what item or a picture he/she represents. (You can give more time if you want)
- The questions must start from general to specific. "Am I an object?" ,"What colour am I?
- The other Ss in a  group just answer „yes“ or „no“ at first and wait for their turn. Later they can answer with few words depending on a question. (see example questions)

Some more examples of general questions:Am I an animal/thing/food/vegetable/....?“ if, for example students gets an answer „yes“ for an animal, other possible questions can be:
                                                    „Do I have 4 legs/ do I have feathers or fur?
                                                      Am I a vegetarian, do I sleep in a barn?
                                                      Am I a wild animal....? Am I a dog?...
                                                    "Am I a cartoon character? Am I an animal cartoon?
                                                    Am I a hero? Do I save the world? Am I a boy or a girl?
                                                    Where do I live?, What do I like to eat.......?"

- After 60 seconds another student asks as many questions to try and guess his/her item.
The students who is the first to guess 3 items is a winner.

To make it more easier for the students you choose certain general vocabulary you want them to revise or practice. You can say: „you will have to guess which vegetable, food, fruit, furniture, cartoon character you are...?“

Then give them cards with either names of an item or even a picture if you find the time. 

Suggested age of the students who can play this game is from 6 to adults just be careful of the level of their knowledge of English. I would suggest this from pre-intremediate to intermediate.

2. Typical guessing game


The guessing game - Guess who/Guess what is very popular also and I use it a lot in the class. In this game one of the students remembers a thing, object, movie character or something similar that you agree on at the beginning of the class and the others ask him/her questions what he/she is!

Check the youtube example from the comedy serie I like to watch "The Big Bang Theory"

The below  link is even better, but I couldn't select it from Youtube,

Guess who-from "the Big Bang Theory"

3. A broken phone
Image credit:

"A broken phone" or in Croatian "pokvareni telefon" is a game we used to play as kids.

- One of the students whispers a word or a short sentence to another student and he/she has to whisper it to another until the word or a sentences comes to  the last student who has to say it aloud.

This is fun and competing, especially when you divide students into groups, they have to be as quick as possible, they can whisper the word only once, so sometimes the original word is not the one that was given in the beginning.

- Students have to switch places so, that the one who had to say the word aloud is the one who starts with the whispering of another word or a short sentence.
  - You as a teacher can pick words - it can be familar vocabulary, something you have done so far or totally unknown, in that way you present a new vocabulary that will be introduced in a particular lesson.
I really love this idea for a Vocabulary game.

So, if you plan to talk about moods you just give them mood adjectives  which you can explain later.

angry, crazy, naughty, anxious, exctited, lonely, scared, frightened, confused, cheerful.......

- The group who is the fastest and has more correct words is the winner.  You run the score on the board, and of course write down the words that  you can later use in a lesson.

I hope I have given you some ideas and they can be easily understand.

Let me know if you are familar of any of these games.

If you use any of the above warmers or fillers, please write in a comment later how it worked in your class.

I have several new ideas, but I will leave that for another post.