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Showing posts from 2015

Season's Greetings

eTwinning Project: Most Wanted, a Detective Tour over Europe

This year my students and I are taking part in two eTwinning projects. One of them is with A2 class of the 5th Junior High School, aiming at making up a detective story concerning various important artifacts stolen from our partner's countries. For example the Embleme du Roi Soleil from Versailles France, the Castle of Count Dracula in Romania, the Armada Frigate from Portugal and the Golden Larnax from Vergina. What is really exciting is that our toy detectives are going to actually travel around these countries, trying to find clues to solve the cases. And we have just learned that our detective, Mr Owl Holmes, has arived in Portugal and is going to spend Christmas with our friends there!

How to Have a British Christmas

An entertaining video explaining the most important British Christmas traditions. From Christmas crackers to Boxing Day, British Christmas traditions are different from what we are used to seeing in American films, because they are er... British!

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

There can be no Christmas without Charles Dicken's iconic short story about the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who finds the true meaning of Christmas through a journey in his past, present and future. The story has been repeatedly adapted into films and has never ceased to bring out the good in people. 

The following video is an abridged version of the story for A2 to B1 students. Text and audio: Opportunities Pre-Intermediate, Longman.

-A Christmas Carol- By Charles Dickens

Dramas from BBC Learning English

BBC Learning English offers a range of classic literature stories dramatised for Intermediate EFL learners. Among them you can find Gulliver's Travels, based on an original story by Jonathan Swift. There's a new episode on this page every Friday.
You can also listen to dramatised versions of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. And there will be more titles added in the future. You can download both the audio and the transcript together with a glossary and comprehension questions.

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley can be described as the first great horror story. Published in 1818 it has remained popular untill this day and has formed the basis for a number of films. The film adaptations tend to present the monster as an evil character, but the book itself tells us a different story…

Abridged version for B1 students.

Text and audio taken from Opportunities Pre-Intermediate, Longman.

Frankenstein by Eurydice Gkori on Scribd

Simple Past with Adele

5th November: Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

On November 5th people in the UK go out and celebrate Bonfire Night in commemoration of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
In 1605, a group of some English Catholics made a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament because they were angry with the King of England, James I. The plan is known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ and the leader of the group was called Guy Fawkes. The gunpowder was discovered before it exploded and the men involved in the plot were caught, tortured and killed. To celebrate his survival, King James ordered the people of England to have a bonfire on the night of November 5th.

All over Britain there are firework displays and bonfires with models of Guy Fawkes, which are burned on the fire. 

This video from The British Council's LearnEnglish site explores the origins of the festival and looks at how it's celebrated now. …

My Learning Diary for the "Introducing Technology-Enhanced Teaching" Course

Did you know that two-thirds of teachers in the European Union learn about ICT in their own time, and almost all are positive about its impact on students, according to the Survey in schools: ICT and education (2013)? Despite this readiness however, many teachers in Europe still have a lack of competence in using ICT in their teaching and use it only to a small extent in their classrooms.

In order to meet this challenge, the European project MENTEP (Mentoring Technology-Enhanced Teaching, managed by European Schoolnet Academy and funded by the European Commission) developed an online self-assessment tool to empower teachers to progress in their Technology-Enhanced Teaching (TET) competence at their own pace.

This course was the first in the MENTEP MOOC series on improving Technology-Enhanced Teaching. The MENTEP MOOC series will support the project’s goals to: - Boost teachers’ competence and confidence to use ICT in the classroom - Increase the number of teachers able to innovate usin…

My Learning Diary for the "Developing Digital Skills in your Classroom" Course

In September 2015, the European Schoolnet Academy offered a MOOC on developing digital skills in our classroom.

Digital skills are already an essential requirement for young people to succeed in an increasingly digitized society. Not only are these skills demanded for an increasing number of jobs, they also are a requirement and a right of citizens, if they are to be functional in today’s society.

Schools and teachers therefore need support to work with their students to develop a wide range of digital skills that ensure young people leaving school have the skills required by the labour market and by an increasingly digitized society.

The course guided teachers in how to develop a range of digital skills and to introduce them to the tools and resources that are available to them.

Created with Padlet

Halloween History

Older students will probably appreciate the more challenging history of Halloween from National Geographic...


Halloween is celebrated on the 31st October in the USA and in Britain. It is a tradition that is very appealling to children and teenagers because of its "scary" side, the costumes, the decorations and the famous "trick or treat" custom. The lesson that follows is designed for young teens at B1 level. Enjoy!

Code Week 2015

Today we live in a world that has been affected by rapid advances in technology. The way we work, communicate, shop and think has changed dramatically. In order to cope with these rapid changes and to make sense of the world around us, we need to not only develop our understanding of how technology works, but also develop skills and capabilities, that will help us to adapt to living in this new era.

Learning to code helps us to make sense of how things work, explore ideas and make things, for both work and play. What’s more it helps us to unleash our creativity and work collaboratively with wonderful people both near us and all over the world.

eTwinning Quality Label

Congratulations to the students of the 3rd High School of Veria who worked for last year's eTwinning project. It was fun and educational at the same time. We worked with 12 other countries from Europe: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, France, Fyrom, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. We learned a lot about our partners' history, geography and traditions through each country's national symbols (official and unofficial) and made new friends. The Quality Label is an affirmation of our efforts! 

Differentiated Instruction: Think - Tac - Toe Activities

Differentiated instruction is a framework of teaching and assessment that involves providing different students with different avenues to learning within the same classroom, so that they can all learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. This is particularly important in mixed ability classes. Think-Tac-Toe activities are an easy way to cater for a larger number of students.

Think-Tac-Toe plays off the familiar childhood game (tic-tac-toe or naughts and crosses). It is a simple strategy that allows students to choose how they will show what they are learning, by giving them a variety of activities to select from. Students are given a 3 x 3 grid, just like a tic-tac-toe game with the exception that each cell is filled with an activity. 

Creating a Think-Tac-Toe is quite simple and the format can be easily adjusted to practise different content areas.

Think-tac-toes can address multiple learning styles and intelligences. As students are given the choice to pick the activit…

Fingerprint Profiles

Only two days left for the school year to officially start. I'm in my new school, a Junior High School after 4 years in a High School. Students are younger (12-15 years old), their level is lower (A2 -B1), books are different, new material is needed...

Searching the Internet for material related to the Think Teen series I came across a very helpful blog by a colleague in Serres. Adapting the YOU file found in here is a "getting to know you" activity where students present themselves through fingerprint profiles. They make nice art for the classroom walls too!
Fingerprint Profile

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

The Pearl is a famous novella by John Steinbeck. Published in 1947, it is the story of a poor pearl diver, Kino, who finds a valuable pearl and is convinced that his life will change. The story explores man's nature as well as greed and evil. 

Steinbeck's inspiration was a Mexican folk tale. Here is an abridged version of the story for B1 students. (Extract taken from Opportunities Pre-Intermediate, Longman)

Engaging students with KWL charts

Every teacher knows the struggle of how to capture the students' interest at the beginning of a lesson. Engaging them into their own learning can prove to be even more difficult. One way is to use a KWL chart. In my lesson about Sherlock Holmes I used such a chart as a pre-reading activity. A KWL chart is a graphical organizer designed to help in learning. The letters KWL are an acronym, for what students already Know, what they Want to know, and what they ultimately Learn in the course of the lesson.

A KWL chart consists of three columns and it is very simple to design and use. However it is a very powerful tool as it motivates and engages students from the very start. First, a KWL chart activates students' prior knowledge of the topic to be studied. Next, it sets a purpose for the lesson: students are able to add their own input to the topic by contemplating what they actually want to know. Using a KWL chart allows students to expand their ideas beyond the text used in the cl…

Happy Holidays

High School Projects on Wikispaces

Last year my students and I used Wikispaces as a way of having a virtual place to gather our information, discuss our ideas, make notes and prepare our presentations. Our experience was on the whole positive, although I must admit that we were not able to use the tool to its full potential as it was our first contact with wikis in general. Below you can find a link to our pages:

Η 7η Τέχνη: από το Βωβό Κινηματογράφο στις Τρισδιάστατες Ταινίες

Εθισμοί και εξαρτήσεις

Writing a Haiku

Writing haikus is a popular activity in education as they are simple to write, read and memorise. Their short, fixed form make them easily accessible to students of any age and level.

Below is a simple lesson idea where students analyse the form of haikus and later are invited to write their own. If computers are available, students can use the Haiku Poem Interactive found in

Concrete or Visual Poetry

A fun way to introduce or re-introduce Poetry in the EFL classroom is through concrete or visual poetry where the poem is arranged in a way that illustrates its theme. Concrete poetry can be playful and creative enough without having to be complicated or comforming to rules.

Writing a CV

Writing a CV is a real-life skill our students should practice at least once before leaving High School as it is something they may have to use immediately either for a part-time job or later on for their further education and career. CV formats are similar in both English and Greek so learning to write a good resume can be tranferable in any situation. The lesson that follows is based on the Europass CV page which is a European Commision project aiming to help people looking for a job within the European Union.

History of Valentine's Day

It's that time of year again and I just came across a short video in that can perfectly accompany one of my last year's lesson ideas on the origins of St Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

Sherlock Holmes: The World’s Most Famous Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective, has always been a favourite among teachers and students of English. Word on the Street, the Language teaching programme co-produced by the BBC and the British Council, has an excellent lesson on murder, mystery and the man himself. Before viewing the video, you can use the following short text to help students brush up and extend their knowledge of the popular sleuth. Hopefully the whole lesson could get them to read some of Conan Doyle's original stories!