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Advent Calendar 2018

Last year I prepared an Advent Calendar full of ELT activities for the classroom and the home. The truth is I cannot resist the daily surprises Advent Calendars hide behind their small doors so I made a new one for 2018.

In the calendar that follows there is a new activity behind each door, from crossword puzzles and short stories to filling in Christmas songs lyrics and making easy Christmas crafts. Some are the same as last year's but there are some new activities as well:

Day 1: Make easy candy cane sleighs to give as Christmas presents
Day 2: Make some easy Christmas Angels to hang on your tree
Day 3: This is Britain Christmas video and worksheets
Day 4: Print and solve a Christmas crossword puzzle
Day 5: Christmas shopping in London! (British Council video and activities)
Day 6: Read and listen to the story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (abridged)
Day 7: Play a Christmas quiz with your friends
Day 8: Write an email to Santa
Day 9: Make a pop-up Christmas card

EU Code Week and ELT

EU Code Week (6th - 21st October) is a grassroots initiative which aims to bring coding and digital literacy to everybody in a fun and engaging way.


Learning to code helps us to make sense of the rapidly changing world around us, expand our understanding of how technology works, and develop skills and capabilities in order to explore new ideas and innovate.



Coding and 21st century learning

Coders or programmers are people who write the programmes behind everything we see and do on a computer. Most of our students spend several hours playing online games, but few know how to create a game. Learning to code encourages students to become creators, not just consumers of the technology they use, in other words it teaches them to use their personal devices productively rather than distractingly.

When children or adults learn to code, it helps them to develop essential skills such as problem solving, logic and critical thinking. Through coding, we realize that there’s often more than one way…

26th September: European Day of Languages Games & Activities

With 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe, and 47 member states, it's no wonder that the Council strongly believes in linguistic diversity as a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent.


The general objectives of the European Day of Languages are to:
alert the public to the importance of language learning and diversify the range of languages learned in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school. In keeping with these rules, people, young and old, are encouraged to take up a language, or take special pride in their existing language skills. Also, those responsible for providing access to language learning are encouraged to make it easier for people to learn a range of languages, and to support policy initiatives to promote languages. There is a…

First Day of School Activities

Welcome back!

I really hope you had a great summer break, lots of fun and happy moments and now you are ready for a new school year full of new ideas and activities! Keep Calm and Teach English will try to keep you company throughout the year!

Coming back to school can be challenging for some students and teachers so this is a good opportunity to make our first days enjoyable. To this end I've collected some back to school activities that I have already used with success and some (like the self-portrait project) I would like to try this year.


1. GET-TO-KNOW-YOU ICEBREAKERS
Icebreakers are essential for building relationships and creating a positive classroom culture. A simple Google or Pinterest search of icebreakers will yield tons of fun results. Larry Ferlazzo offers 7 easy icebreakers you can do with post-it notes, all in one neat inforgraphic. 


2. PRINTABLE FACEBOOK PROFILES

Students use social media extensively while schools on the other hand are not always tech friendly. Why…

Panhellenic Exams Past Papers

Panhellenic Exams (the Greek university entrance exams) are just around the corner. Here you can find past papers and keys for the revised exams in English, starting June 2010, in order to make your final preparations.

This year English is examined on Friday, 22nd June at 10:00am.


September 2017

June 2017

June 2017 Key

September 2016

June 2016

June 2016 Key 1Key 2Key 3

September 2015

June 2015 Paper & Key

September 2014

June 2014

June 2014 Key

September 2013

June 2013 Paper & Key
September 2012
June 2012 Paper & Key
September 2011
June 2011 Key
June 2011

September 2010 Key
September 2010
June 2010 Key

June 2010

For information about how foreign languages are examined and the University Departments where English is needed, as well as other relevant material please visit my page on Panhellenic Exams.

Good luck to everyone involved!

Eurovision Song Contest: An EFL Lesson

Are you or your students fans of Eurovision? It's true that it's not everyone's cup of tea; you either love it or hate it.


It's a competition that is supposed to be an expression of European solidarity. Over the years however, it has been accused of being an extravaganza of kitsch pop acts or of promoting political and cultural bias in the way countries form voting blocs.
The following lesson you will find a shot text on the history of the contest, with some practice on the Present and Past Passive, followed by an online trivia quiz for the real fans!

Theme Week: Votes for Women

Have you done Theme Week in your school this year? Have you prepared your material or are you still wondering what to do? Why not talk about women's rights and more specifically the suffrage movement.

In the following page I have gathered some material, worksheets and videos, about the British women's suffrage. Have a look and feel free to use it in your classes.


If you have any material of your own that you would like to share, leave a comment.

Fun Ways to Celebrate 'World Poetry Day'

21st March is World Poetry Day. It is a celebration of poetry for everyone, everywhere. It's a day to promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry and to connect it with the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting. It is a chance to use poetry to say things that can’t be said in prose.

How can we use poetry in the EFL classroom and have fun with our students on this day? Here are some ideas:
An easy way to start is by reading and writing haikus. They are short, easy to write and memorise and can be used with students of any age and level. They are made of three lines with five, seven, five syllables respectively and their themes are usually inspired by nature. For ideas on how to write haikus on paper or online you can visit an older post here.I am poems: students can talk about themselves and express the way they feel, what they hope, think, dream, enjoy and so on. The lines in each poem begin the same way: I am, I wonder, I feel, I hear and so forth. Some se…

Europass: Writing a CV the European way

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 volunteer work or later on for their further education and career.

As a growing number of Europeans move across the continent for work, volunteering and study every year, a CV framework that seems relevant for classroom use isEuropass.Europass is a collection of five documents, two of which are freely accessible: the Curriculum Vitae and the Language Passport. The documents can work both online and as printed templates. Since its official launch in 2005, Europass has helped European citizens make their skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe. Recently there has been a proposal on a revision of Europasstomake the tool more accessible to all Europeans, including those with disabilities.

Until the update, I've revised an older lesson based on the existing Europass CV page, …

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is perhaps the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral decadence caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde's only novel. Although sensored in its first edition, it has enjoyed wide popularity, and has inspired many cinematic, literary, and artistic adaptations.

The video that follows presents an abridged version of the story for B1+ students. Text and audio is taken from Opportunities Pre-Intermediate, Longman.


The worksheets include Think-Tac-Toe activities for homework. Think-Tac-Toe activities allow students to choose tasks that better align with their learning styles and interests. (For more information on Think-Tac-Toe activities you can visit one of my older posts on differentiated instruction).



If you decide to use them in your classroom, leave me a comment and tell me how it went.

EU Key Competences for Lifelong Learning 2018

In 2006, the European Parliament adopted a Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning  defining the competences each European citizen needs for personal fulfilment and development, employment, social inclusion and active citizenship. It invited Member States to ensure that their education and training systems are able to equip people with these competences.


Since then, European societies and economies have experienced significant changes. To meet these changes there is a new proposal on Key Competences. So what is new?

Well, as a start there is a change of terminology as well as of the competences themselves: the term ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is updated and replaced by DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIESasit is considered a most appropriate term "to refer to the full range of devices, software or infrastructure. With the increased, varied and embedded use of mobile devices and applications, references to 'computers' and 'the Internet' are remo…

Valentine's Day Videos and Activities

Celebrating Valentine's Day on February the 14th? 
Here you can find a Valentine's Day cloze with the story of Valentine suitable for young teens at B1 level and a love song to work on its rhyming pattern and sing.


Photocopiable handouts can be downloaded from the last page of the presentation or from here.



Older students will appreciate this video from History.com, which explains why we celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th and where the holiday customs come from.



or this one


If you decide to use the worksheets leave me a comment and tell me how it went.

Better Internet for Kids

On Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018 (Tuesday, 6 February), an EU-wide series of initiatives entitled #SaferInternet4EU was launched at an event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Throughout 2018, a range of #SaferInternet4EU initiatives will reach children, young people, parents, teachers, and other EU citizens to become empowered and responsible digital users. It will cover a wide range of topics, such as critical thinking, media literacy and digital skills necessary to identify and combat fake news and the risks brought by emerging online technologies and connected devices; and provide tips on cyber hygiene.

A number of initiatives will be launching as part of the campaign, including:
a European contest to reward high quality resources and inspiring initiatives pursuing Better Internet for Kids objectives. The competition will cover three categories: professionals, teachers and youth.a massive open online course (MOOC) on child online safety with resources and activities for onl…

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Revisited

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…


The following video presents an abridged version of the story for B1 students. Text and audio is taken from Opportunities Pre-Intermediate, Longman.

I designed the worksheets in 2015 but some minor changes were needed in order for the tasks to work better. I also added a key to the tasks to make it more teacher friendly.

The worksheets include Think-Tac-Toe homework activities which allow students to choose how they will show what they are learning, by giving them a variety of activities to select from. (For more information on Think-Tac-Toe activities you can visit one of my older posts on differentiated instruction.)



The Life Cycle of Plastic Bottles

We've all been told that we should recycle plastic bottles and containers. But what actually happens to the plastic if we just throw it away? The following TEDed lesson traces the life cycles of three different plastic bottles, shedding light on the dangers these disposables present to our world.



The video is accompanied by animation making its message crystal clear: when it comes to plastic there is really no other way than recycling. 
Below you can find the worksheets I've prepared for the video. They are suitable for B1 level.


If you decide to use them,  please let me know how the lesson went. :-)