The English-speaking world

Choose an English-speaking country to study in depth.
Write a Wiki answering the three questions below. Your wiki should include headings, pictures, animation/film and sound.
1. Explain why the country you have chosen is an English speaking country.
2. Give a brief description of the country (History: past and present & Geography: major cities, rivers mountains and other famous landmarks using Google Earth).
3. Point to similarities & differences between the country you have chosen and your country (Government? Education? Traditions? Culture?)
To compare one country with another:
An interesting site here: The English Department

This list of English speaking countries includes those countries where English is an official language or is widely spoken:
Antigua and Barbuda Australia Bahamas Barbados Belize Botswana Brunei Cameroon Canada Dominica Ethiopia Fiji Gambia Ghana Grenada Guyana India Ireland Israel
Jamaica Kenya Kiribati Lesotho Liberia Malawi Malta Marshall Islands Mauritius Micronesia Namibia Nauru New Zealand Nigeria Pakistan Palau Papua New Guinea
Philippines Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Solomon Islands South Africa
Swaziland Tanzania Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu Uganda United Kingdom United States Vanuatu Zambia Zimbabwe


From the News:

Task: Choose an article from one of the news websites and present the main points to the rest of the class. Your presentation should be approximately 2-3 mins. Remember to post the link with the article on your page at least a week before your minitalk.
Active Listener:
Task: Register as a listener on a presenter's page (2 per presenter). Pay attention to your presenter. Take notes and give feedback on presentation regarding pronunciation, fluency, content, level of difficulty etc.
Quiz Masters:
Task: Register as quizmaster on a presenter's page (1 quizmaster per presenter). Read the same article as your presenter. Prepare a few questions for the presenter about the article.

Voice record your essay

After writing an essay, record it using Audacity or Voki and put it on the wiki


Make a mindmap of a film you saw or book you read

Google Earth

Version 5 now has SKY function, we can see the constellations, the Moon, Mars...

  • Go to the Moon, find and watch video by KAGUYA "Full Earth Rise" (about 84°S 167°E)
  • Write down the script of the recording (1m15s)

  • Switch to Mars view and visit the planet's polar caps.
  • What kind of ice is there?
  • Find information about the planned manned mission to Mars (when, how far, who..) and write a report

  • Switch to Earth view and visit the Gallery, street View, 360° in a place of interest (New York...)
  • Take a trip through a story-plot of the places visited by Chris McCandless in the film "Into the Wild" and add notes and photos

Acting out scenes from a film

Two groups, one group watches scene A / other group watches scene B
The groups write the script of the scene
They have to DIRECT the other group to act out the scene using their storyboards

Wordle or Tagxedo

1. Personal Narratives: Write, or copy and paste, a personal narrative into Wordle and see which words or ideas stand out the most.
2. Famous Speeches: Enter the text of a famous historical speech into Wordle. Analyze the results by looking at the most commonly used words, or even the words that are not used. What does this tell us about the orator and their intentions? Go here or here for a list of historical speeches you may want to get started with.
3. Classroom Polls: Instead of your traditional bar graph or pictograph, try using Wordle to organize your data.
4. Compare and Contrast: Use Wordle as a compare and contrast tool. Compare and contrast the word clouds of two or more students' writing, famous speeches, song lyrics, news reports, book reviews or whatever else you may need to compare in your classroom studies.
5. Student Profiles: I have done this with PowerPoint before, but recently saw someone do the same with Wordle lessons. Have all students in your class write a few positive adjectives and not so positive about each of their classmates anonymously. Compile all the papers, input the adjectives for each student into Wordle, and generate a student profile word cloud to give back to the student.
6. Current Affairs Analysis: Copy and paste a news story into Wordle. What could the story have been about? Can you guess what the headline would have been? Where could it have taken place?
7. Students can brainstorm synonyms, antonyms, or definitions for their list of vocabulary words.
8. Create word clouds at the end of a unit to summarize the key learning points or vocabulary from a given topic.
9 Combine student 'Who Are You?' introductions to develop a class composite.
10. Convert a list of one's weekly diet or of a group's menu preferences.
11. Distill song lyrics (students can make one, bring it to class, we have to find the song).
12. The holidays- what where when with whom etc. class individual+composite).
13. In small groups students pick out keywords in a document, then use ETHERPAD to collaborate and put in keywords on shared pad. Students then copy their shared list of keywords into Wordle and produce their own Wordle cloud

Writing a "Change the World" essay

Lesson plan here
The objective is idea development, which asks students to let a theme or thesis drive their writing. To do this, they must begin to ask themselves what it means to change the world and if they truly believe that individuals such as themselves can have that kind of impact. Do you have to end up on a list like the one we classified, or can you successfully change the world on a smaller scale?
Warming-up document

Brainstorm as many changes the world needs as they can and then write a few sentences that explain how, if possible, they can impact change in any of those areas. What tools do they possess that could be used? Here are instructions for this step:

"Now that you have shared your categories and lists with others, and analyzed the tools each of these people used to change the world, begin to look inward. Do a quick write in which you answer some or all of these questions in your journal…What in the world needs to be changed? Big and small. Can you change the world? Why or why not? Do you have to someday be on a list like the one on the board to have changed the world? Be as honest and realistic as you can. What tools do you possess? Honesty? Sense of humor? A certain skill or personality trait? How might you use what tools you have to impact the world? If you honestly feel you can’t or won’t change the world, why not? Is it because of things you control or is it out of your hands?"
Next, tell them you will be showing them some songs and video clips that represent a variety of stances on the topic of changing the world. Put the lyrics to the Ben Harper song, “With My Own Two Hands,” on the board or the overhead and play the song. Have students look for and list evidence that shows the singer really believes he can change the world with his hands, and what specific things he feels he can change. When the song is over, ask for feedback on whether students feel he is realistic or just a hopeful dreamer?Song-Ben Harper's With My Own Two Hands Lyrics

Show the lyrics to the song, Waiting On The World To Change by John Mayer and play the song. Have students look for and list evidence that shows why he feels he is more helpless and must “wait” for the world to change rather than changing it himself. Is he realistic or just a pessimistic naysayer? Why?

Ask students how this video is an example of John Mayer’s stance that it is very difficult to change the world and often have to wait for it to change.
Remind your students that they will be using the inspiration of the two songs and two videos to write an essay or a poem about their own stance on changing the world.
Additional graphic organiser
Thinking and pre-writing: Now that students have seen many different perspectives on whether the world can be changed and how to go about doing it, they are ready to develop their own perspective. They will express their feelings in the form of a poem that they will take through the process. Here's a graphic organiser for students to use while pre-writing.

Have students take a minute or two to process what they’ve seen and heard today, and to think about how they honestly feel. Once again, remind them that the focus trait of this essay is idea development. Have them reflect on their earlier quick write, focusing on the most important changes needed in the world as well as the best tools they can draw from to affect change. Encourage them to add any new ideas that have come to mind since they wrote their original list. Point them to the buttons on the student instructions page, if they are having trouble thinking of changes to make or tools to change them with.

Editing for conventions: Find an editor. Have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers. With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors.

Publishing for the portfolio: Students end up with a piece of writing they like. They can also illustrate it with images and wordle it.

Make a tourist brochure

about your town using openoffice/word

The Simpson Family

Do a character analysis of the Simpsons (Homer - Marge - Bart - Lisa - Maggie - Grandpa - Patti - Selma). Add images and one video clip. Give your sources.

Political Test

Where do you stand politically? Take the test here! Copy the chart to your student's page.
After doing the test look at the analysis here.

The Death Penalty-web search

Go here and read the information on the Death Penalty in the USA. Would You Be Chosen to Serve on a Jury? Answer the questions here.
Some death penalty vocabulary:

Answer these questions.
1. Do all US states have the death penalty? Which ones do not?
2. Which states have the most/least inmates on Death Row? Which have the most/least executions?
3. What are the different methods of execution used? Give a brief description. Which states use which method? What method is the most common?
4. Are there more men or women on death row? Give numbers.
5. How is it distributed by ethnicity?
6. Do most states protect juveniles from the death penalty? Give numbers.
7. What are the main arguments FOR and AGAINST the death penalty? Take notes summarizing the arguments.
8. Here are some sample cases. Each group of juries (4 students) have to decide on a verdict: Case 1 Gary Graham Case 2 Juan Garza Other cases

Map of US system

ESSAY: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, do you agree?. What are the arguments for and against the Death Penalty? What do you think about it? (200 words)

Go here and start a collaborative writing project: sync:in

Guns in the U.S.A.

Lesson plan here Listen to story here
Vocabulary list here Recreate the text online here


youtube video lesson plan cyberbullying site


Interviews with star football players

Lesson plan here
The interviews

5-card Flickr story

To encourage creative writing. go here:

The application chooses five random images from Flickr, and students then have to construct a story based around the images.
Stories can be submitted to the site, and there is an archive to search.

Tag Galaxy

Use Tag Galaxy for inspiration Tag Galaxy is a photo application that connects to Flickr. You can search photos from all over the world and they load up in an instant according to your search. Allow students to use it and get inspired.

Ads+Make and present your own advert

You are going to:
  1. Watch some TV commercials and answer some questions
  2. Discuss advertising and
  3. Make an ad of your own
  4. Write about advertising

Other funny ads

Meet the fans

(Oral Comprehension+Production) Nationalities (easy)

Quotes Project

The Passive Quiz

Running dictation

  • Break students up into groups of 3-4, or pairs for small classes
  • Put one sentence on a piece of paper for each team
  • One leader from each team goes to the board and tries to remember their sentence
  • The leader returns to their group and dictates the sentence while team members write it down
  • First team to finish correctly gets a point
  • Change words/sentences and switch leaders
  • Use pictures for children who can't spell and have them draw the picture instead of writing the words
  • Use multiple sentences for more advanced students
  • Place sentences around the room and have each group member do one each.
  • Groups have to put the sentences into the right order before turning in the paper
Make each team's paper different so students don't simply listen to other teams. Leaders are not allowed to take their paper, write down anything, or yell across the room. They are allowed to return to board to look at their paper as many times as they like. Use words from class to reinforce learned vocabulary and grammar structures.
some short stories here can be used

Words video activity



Who's your hero and why? BBC express English


from David Mainwood's EFL Smartblog
You are going to
  • Talk about famous people
  • Read and listen for information about two celebrities
  • Compare and contrast them
  • Write a biography of someone famous
Shakira & Beyonce

Think Different

from David Mainwood's EFL Smartblog
A) Watch this clip and discuss the questions below

How many of these people do you know?

Why are they famous?

Did they change the world?

How did they think differently?

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

What do these words from the text mean? Can you guess?
misfits - round pegs in square holes - fond of - status quo - quote - glorify - vilify - ignore - genius

B) Write about someone famous.

Think of a famous person. Take a few minutes to find any information on the internet about him / her. Only look for important information.
Use this plan to help you. Write your biography with 4 paragraphs. If you are writing about someone who is dead. Talk about why you think they are important today in paragraph 3.
More practice
1) Find out more about Shakira and do some exercises here by Sean Banville
Find out more about Beyonce and do some exercises here by Sean Banville

2) Find some more worksheets about famous people here
Famous People

Talking about the Past

Lesson plan

Lesson Skeletons: Asking questions

from languagemoments blog

1. Bring in an object or find one in the classroom that can be used as stimulus. Place it by the board and ask students to make questions about the object. Make it clear that this is an open activity and it could involve anything. With a stronger class you can give them the choice of opinions or questions, with a weaker class you could give them a question box.

2. After 5 minutes ask students to come and write their questions on the board. Elicit any corrections and make a mental note of the topics.

Learners focus on topic/language area

3. Ask students in groups to answer the questions. Allow for discussion to develop and allow the lesson to go in a different direction from here. In this stage I normally find the ‘meat’ of the lesson emerges. You can also input vocabulary at this stage.

4. Get feedback from students on their answers to the questions

Change skills focus/use language to extend

5. Now there are a variety of choices:

a) Ask students to write a magazine article answering one of the questions in more detail.

b) Include a relevant part of the course book as an extension.

c) Hold a classroom debate on a topic that interested learners.

d) Do a roleplay on the topic.

c) Ask students to write a conversation between two people with opposing opinions regarding a question.

How do you like to learn?

Lesson plan here

Do a questionnaire and find out what your learning style is.
It may help you to know what kind of learning style is best for you. These questionnaires will help you discover what kind of learner you are.

Find out more about learning styles here/

Job Interviews and Presentations

Lesson plan here


King Arthur
Martin Luther King
Nuclear: Pros and Cons

Fairy Tales

5 minutes to live

Phrasal verbs

One-stop english site

Speaking/writing -my family

a word cloud highlighting some key topic vocabulary

The Icing on the Cake

Go here
  • watch a video about memories and do a listening exercise
  • use remember + gerund for talking about memories
  • practise would and used to for talking about past habits
  • describe and write about memories and past habits

Money and Greed

Lesson Plan


Watch the film and write the narrative

Plastic bottles

I haven't prepared a lesson on this yet but just gathering resources
Plastic bottle houses
How plastic bottles can lighten up the darkness
Window farming

Homonyms and Homophones

Creativity is great

Teaching English site

Do you Tattoo?



Making connections

making connections.jpg

The Rolling Stones

You are going to
  • read about the Rolling Stones
  • look at a video and do a comprehension activity
  • read a text and do matching activities
  • practise asking questions
  • listen to a song and do a gap-fill exercise
  • practise the past
  • make a presentation about your favourite band / singer

Olympic Games London 2012

4 readers to provide extended reading and listening practice on Olympic and Paralympic themes. 4levels: elementary to upper intermediate
Blade runner Oscar Pistorius

Sport is Great

A lesson is about sport and its place in society. It develops speaking and writing skills and the use of context-specific vocabulary and idiomatic language. The students’ own experiences and opinions form the basis of all discussions and written work.

Level: B2+ Timing: 90 minutes +

Mystery Skype

Google Doc here
Find the country and then city of your partner asking only YES/NO questions. A “YES” answer allows to ask another question. A “NO” answer gives the opposing group the chance to ask a question. 20 questions maximum. After each 5 questions a CLUE can be given.

Flight Safety Video

Film English-A Thousand Words


This lesson offers a variety of activities based on the topic of music.

New Year's Resolutions

by David Mainwood
You are going to
  • discuss new year's resolutions
  • listen to some popular new year's resolutions and do a gap-fill
  • listen to a radio clip about the history of new year's resolutions and do a comprehension quiz

One word story

Creative writing

Monsieur Mangetout

mangetout1.jpg mangetout2.jpg mangetout3.jpg mangetout4.jpg mangetout5.jpg

Shark Attack

shark1.jpg shark2.jpg shark3.jpg shark4.jpg shark5.jpg shark6.jpg shark7.jpg

Famous Person

famous1.jpg famous2.jpg famous3.jpg famous4.jpg famous5.jpg famous6.jpg famous7.jpg

Inspiring People

You are going to
  • watch a video and talk about people who inspire others
  • practise past simple
  • practise some vocabulary connected with occupations and people who try to change the world
  • talk about what / who inspires you

Creative Writing exercise


What do you know about him?
Know-Would like to know-Learned chart

More News
The assassination
Lincoln-Kennedy Coincidences?

kennedy1.jpg kennedy2.jpg kennedy3.jpg kennedy4.jpg kennedy5.jpg

Nelson Mandela


Rosa Parks

A short story
Yuna's birthday Lesson Plan (writing a short story)

Learning new vocabulary

Start by asking your students to take a piece of paper and divide it into 3 sections:
  • I know
  • I’m not sure
  • I don’t know
Then explain that you’re going to read some words out. If they know what the word means they can write it in the first section, if they’re unsure, in the second and if they have no idea, in the last one. Tell them that you’re not going to look at their paper so they can feel OK about writing them all in “I don’t know” if they want to. Tell them also that they should not worry about getting the spelling perfectly right, but to try their best and you’ll go through the spellings later.
Then read out the words slowly, repeating each one until everyone has written it down in one of the boxes. We had about 11 words in our set.
Now you can ask the students to work together in twos or threes to share their knowledge. Everyone will have put different words in different places. Show them that if they have a word in “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” and their partner can help explain it to them, they can cross it out and write it in “I know”.

Dictionary Skills

In this fun and enaging lesson plan for teenage students, you will find a quiz to help your learners develop their reading and dictionary skills, as well as a series of enjoyable and challenging tasks designed to promote group work and learner autonomy.
Topic: Using dictionaries
To develop students’ dictionary skills
To raise students’ awareness of the information they can find in a dictionary
To develop students’ skills of prediction when they come across new vocabulary
To encourage group collaboration in project work
To promote creativity.

Age group: Secondary / teenagers Time: 60 minutes +
Class dictionaries or online dictionary. Cambridge and Macmillan both have online dictionaries: and

Lesson plan
Dictionary quiz
Dictionary Quiz-Appendix A: Story
Answer key
Dictionary quiz template


Do worksheets and answer the questions

Photo suffragettes
Photo USA
Timeline USA
World map
Women's suffrage-a timeline

Film Reviews

In this lesson learners will revise some film review vocabulary through pair-work discussions. They they will write their own film review after analysing a model. Then they will read each other’s reviews and have a class vote about which film looks most interesting.

Level: A2 - B2 Time: 60 minutes +

Another simple film review plan

Newspaper activities


Talking about music-why do we listen?