RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Writing

Panic in the UK! Easter lesson plan

Posted on
Panic in the UK! Easter lesson plan

It’s been about, I dunno, 300 hundred years since I wrote a blog post? I just haven’t had time. But…I’ve been meaning to for a looooong time, so when yesterday my learners told me they loved the lesson, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to finally post something here.

An Easter lesson plan (and materials). Enjoy!

Easter News Lesson Plan

This lesson was originally planned for high level 8-10 yr olds


  • Warmer – set up

Write on the board: Noun, Verb, Adjective and elicit examples from the learners

Option 1: Board Race (learners are put in teams and take it in turns to write as many words as they can)

Option 2: Like the board race but the teams write on paper at their tables

Option 3: ‘Scattergories/ Stop the bus’. Learners divide a piece of paper into columns with a category at the top of each column. They are then given a letter and a time limit to write as many words as they can in each column starting with that letter

Categories for the above options are; noun, verb, adjective, Easter, wild card (any word in English).


  • Page 1

DO NOT tell learners what is coming next. Given them page 1 and ask them to fill in the words quickly – the first words that come to mind. Monitor and help as necessary e.g. they might ask what a ‘type of home’ means. But do not tell them which words to write. Fast finishers can help their classmates think of words, but otherwise the activity should be done individually

You can find page 1, here Easter News Page 1

Page 1

  • Page 2

Tell the learners to stop what they are doing (making sure they are finished) and come to the front of the class and to gather around as you have some news to tell them. Whisper to them that you have just heard that the Easter Bunny is missing and the police don’t know what has happened to him. Hold up Page 2 and give instructions for them to complete it (they should write their words in the gaps – exactly e.g. if it says the Easter Donkey delivers Easter tables, great 😀 Fast finishers can draw a picture in the box.

You can find page 2, here Easter News page 2

Page 2


To create page 2, I used


  • Share

The learners will no doubt want to share their funny stories. This can be done with their partner, in groups, or one by one with the whole class if the group is small enough and time permits.


  • Follow up

Elicit from the learners what might have happened to the Easter bunny. At this stage you might want to board ideas or start a concept map. Set up a writing activity in your preferred way (concept maps, building blocks etc). Learners either individually or in groups/pairs write either a follow up news report.

Alternatives: a story/narrative of what happened, a note/letter found at the scene written by the Easter bunny or kidnapper/someone with more information, the Easter bunny’s diary leading up to the disappearance, predictions about what will happen Easter weekend if the Easter bunny isn’t found, a police line-up of possible suspects (e.g. Jealous Santa, an anti-sugar Mummy, ETA, a mad scientist), a play or puppet show acting out what happened, an interview (e.g. a news reporter and witnesses, a news reporter and the Easter bunny after being found, a news reporter and police), a comic portraying the events……


Until next time…..



Writing, the forgotten art. Or is it?

A post prompted by this tweet from Jonny Ingham:

@IHWO_YL_Ts Any suggestions for what to do with a painfully shy teenager who on paper is good but never says a word in class?

My first thought was ‘hmmm, how to get him speaking..‘ then suddenly I thought ‘Why? Why does he have to speak?‘ .

We seem to be obsessed with getting students to speak and teachers and students alike seem to believe this is the most important skill for communication blah blah blah but the ‘communicative method’, whilst perfectly fine, wasn’t really designed for today’s world was it?

OK, exaggerating, but my point is, I’m not sure teenagers actually ‘speak’ much to each other any more do they? My 13 yr old niece texts her friends during class while they are sitting next to her! and does she spend hours on the phone to her friends like I did as a teen? Hell no, she’s far too busy ‘facebooking’ and ‘inboxing’ and whatever the verb is for posting things on her tumblr to ‘express herself’.

I’m not suggesting we don’t bother teaching teens how to speak. In fact, I rather think they need this life skill more than anything to stop it becoming extinct! What I am suggesting is that speaking is perhaps not the channel teens are most comfortable and familiar with…so…to motivate them to ‘communicate’ in English, why not go with what they do in real life? I also think that ‘writing’ is something teachers think  students will hate and avoid at all costs, or set it as punishment, but maybe what we need to do is rethink how we perceive ‘writing’ and how we present it?

So, after a rather lengthy preamble, here is my answer to you Jonny…

During the IH DOS conference I had an interesting chat to David and Dianna about writing, teachers attitudes and beliefs about teaching writing, and our own ways in which we bring today’s teen world into the classroom. So here is my idea, followed by David’s even better idea, which is simple and simply fab.

Paper-based Facebook
Laughable at first thought, isn’t it? A paper based facebook, but, kids love it.! I tried this out on summer camp as a way of getting kid’s to ‘mingle’ with others that they didn’t know. I made some ‘campbook’ sheets (that I will add at the bottom of this post if I can work out how) and each student and teacher filled one in. They were then hung around the campsite and each day the kids were given time to comment, respond, write to other students. Teachers also made an effort to write and comment on the pages. We found that even the quietest of students were writing things even if it was just ‘How are you?’ or ‘Your favourite colour is pink? Me too’.

David’s idea

David encourages his students to email/ sms/inbox (whatever lingo) each other during allocated times in class. He acts as the server and all notes go through him. The only rule is that it is English only. I think this idea is great and there are so many ways it could be utilised/ adapted. How about instead of a ‘pair check’ students ‘inbox’ someone else around the room and ask for their opinion on certain answers? How about they ‘inbox’ a friend to make predictions before a reading/ listening task?

So…after all that…this is my suggestion for Johny to try with his ‘quiet’ teen 🙂

All comments welcome. I’d love to hear anyone else’s ideas for Jonny OR ideas for bringing writing back (it sounds more fun if you sing that last line JT style…I’m bringing writing back….I’m bringing writing back….).

P.S. Still planning a Puppyme post…one day soon!


Czech out the chat with Cesca

My last post was a skype conversation with YL newbie Anne. Keeping  with my theme of nosing around in other peoples YL world

Rats, books and school.

Rats, books and school. Three of Cesca's favourtie things.

, this time I spoke via email with experienced YL teacher, IH CYLT Tutor and Rat (and all round animal) lover Cesca K.

How long have you been teaching Young Learners?

This is my eighth school year – I spent a couple of years in Poland and have been in Prague ever since. I worked with young people as a volunteer in M.I.N.D (a mental health charity in the UK) before going into teaching.

What is your favourite age group to teach? Why?

Although I like teaching VYL, I would say my favourite age group is 8-12. They are young enough to still be keen but old enough to be able to produce some amazingly creative and imaginative work.

You were one of the first people to choose YL for DELTA. What were the biggest challenges for you?

Resources. I found that most YL books were aimed at new teachers and thus I found it hard to find quotes to back up my justifications for what I was doing in the classroom. I also found it hard at times to ‘tick’ all the boxes as far as Cambridge were concerned but my tutors were very supportive and I got there in the end!

Do you have a favourite lesson up your sleeve for emergencies?

Not really – I have a lot of books and games to turn to if it’s a real emergency and I don’t have any planning time.

I know you have a particular interest in getting kids writing. Have you got any tips you can share?

I think the biggest problem in teaching YL writing skills is that they tend to see it as a punishment. Once you make the process fun, even the most reluctant students tend to get into it. I found that using resources designed for primary schools works well – so the students really get the chance to plot out the stories and to find new and exciting language to use (there’s some really helpful stuff on Sometimes you’ll need to grade the language on the worksheets to make it more accessible to ESL students. I also find that giving students a reason for writing helps – they don’t want to spend hours on something that gets shoved at the back of their folders – offer to publish them in the school magazine or website.

What websites do you like to use with your classes?

I love – creating cartoons that can be used to revise pretty much any language point and I use as a treat for my classes every couple of months, there are lots of interactive games you can use with the whole class.

Question to all. Do you do writing with your YLs? Do they find it a chore/ punishment? What do you do in class to get them writing? Leave your comments below.

Big thanks to Cesca for letting us see a snippet of her YL world.

Until next time….

%d bloggers like this: