Category Archives: Uncategorized

RSA videos – Excellent Viewing

A man worth listening to;  David Crystal is a genius of the English language and in this video he talks about the myths and realities of texts and tweets.



Here is another.  I love this site!

“In this RSAnimate Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings.”


esl4word wikispace

Update –

It has been a while since the last lesson installment, however I hope the resources I have provided have benefited your teaching needs and were received well by your students.

My departure from Japan brought this blog to a halt, but not because I was fed up with life as an ESL teacher.  Actually, I felt the need to advance my skills, to delve deep into the world of EFL education, so that’s where I am today.  I have moved from the role of teacher to student and currently trying my hardest to complete an MSc in TESOL, which is demanding, but I’m enjoying every minute.   It’s early days yet, but I hope this course can help me on my way to become a better teacher.  From this experience, what is fascinating is; the more you learn the more you don’t know…  If anything, this course is teaching me to keep on top of what is out there, talk to people, share thoughts and ideas, and learn from others.  Which brings me to my new direction with this blog.  Until I can expand on what is here already, I need to learn more about the exciting possibilities of what I suppose is post-modern teaching, so I have created a wiki space, which opens up a platform for us teachers to learn from one another because I know everyone has great thoughts and ideas.  Let’s share them!

If you are intrigued, please request access by clicking on the link and offer a little info about yourself, where you are in the world and the types of contexts you are or have been teaching in.

I’m looking forward to your input – that’s the only rule 🙂 .


Hope to hear from you soon 🙂


Pacman Ping Pong

This esl activity is one of my favourite ways to make drilling new vocabulary with young learners more fun.

In my first blog post I introduced this game, but without the use of Pacman.

I have noticed that turning the black board into a computer game really sparks interest in the more troublesome of classes.

My kids really get into this game.  It can become a little rowdy, but since the students are enjoying the activity the noise level doesn’t bother me so much.

So, for the game:



  1. Cut out the ghosts, fruit, Mr and Mrs Pacman.  Laminate them then stick magnets to the back of each piece.
  2. Draw a big circle on the board
  3. Insert the ghosts and fruit into the big circle
  4. on either side of the circle, place the characters.
  5. Under each character draw 2 small circles (these are the fruit bowls to collect the winnings)
  6. Make some monochrome fruits around 10, just like the coloured ones, but draw question marks on the front.  On the back, write points ranging from – 6 ~ + 23. Put those fruits in the big circle among the others
  7. (Rules)
  8. Split the class into 2 teams then line them up in front of the board.
  9. You should stand facing the students
  10. When you show a flash card, the quickest student to say “Ping Pong” gets to answer first.
  11. If the ss answers correctly, he or she gets to take a piece of fruit from the big circle and place it in their teams fruit bowl.
  12. If the student chooses a grey fruit, the points must stay secret until the end of the game (he/she can’t look at the points).
  13. Each normal fruit and ghost is worth only 1 point.
  14. When the game is over, 1 student from each team counts their teams points.

This game works best when you keep it fast pace.  Have fun!!

Cute Fruit Cards

Here are some cute fruits for use in elementary classes.


For flash cards I enlarge each image.

Here is my favourite use for these cards;


  • Print out around 100 cards (one set colour the rest black and white)
  • Hand out one card to every student including the teachers (they play the role of the student)
  • ss make pairs and play rock, paper scissors

  • The RPS winner has to guess what is on the losers card
  • If the RPS winner guesses correctly he/she takes the losers card
  • If the winner guesses incorrectly the RPS looser tries to guess the fruit on the RPS winners card (only one guess)
  • The ss keep switching roles until one student guesses correctly and takes the card.
  • The student without a card has to collect a new card from the teacher (YOU)
  • The students with a lot of cards only play one of their cards each time.
  • When the allocated time is up students count how many cards they have.
  • The student who has the most cards has to stand and read out the fruits he/she has.
  • reward that student in your own way (I use stickers)
  • For an extra surprise bonus, any students who have coloured cards are also rewarded a sticker.

    REWARDS For Young Learners

    Rewards are always a great way to promote positive reinforcement in the classroom.

    Here in Japan the students are really motivated to collect stickers, which is why I have added this post sharing with you the sticker sheets I hand out to the students from grades 1 to 7

    Please feel free to use them in your classes, or simply use them as an idea to customize your own, using characters you know your students love.

    This year I have used a continued theme of  ‘Mario Kart’ in the classroom.

    I have also printed and laminated all of the ‘Mario Kart’ characters in colour for use in team games for the students/teachers to easily mark points on the board.

    They can also be used as players in chalk/white board soccer/baseball.

    Another use is for playing ‘Shark attack’.  A game similar to ‘Hang Man’, but using a set of 3 stairs and a shark in the water at the bottom of the stairs and 1 Mario character at the top of the stairs (I will explain this game in more detail later, if you are unsure of the rules)

    Anyway, below are links to my reward sheets.  I hope you find them useful.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    If you are interested in keeping up to date with my posts, please click on the subscribe link to the right of this page.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

    Suzie 😀

    ESL Limited Resource Activities

    So, you find you have little time to prepare a quick warmer, short activity or English club game?

    I have found myself in this situation more times than I’d care to recall.

    5 minutes before class, you find your schedule has been re-shuffled and you have to attend a lesson at 5 minutes notice.  Or, you are simply on the search for something short and high pace to get your students in the mood for English.

    I have collected a few ideas which have helped me out of certain situations, which I’d like to share with you.

    Here are a few to get started.  I will add to them regularly, so please keep checking back if you need something new.

    First on the list is a fun TPR team work game;

    Team Spelling

    You can spend from ten to fifteen minutes on this game.


    1. A pile of  scrap paper, which you can easily find in the recycling box in any print room.
    2. 5 black markers or thick felt pens for each group (the students always have some).

    Now let’s play!


    1. Divide the class into teams of 5~6 studetns
    2. Give each team a pile of scrap paper and some pens
    3. Call out 1 word from the vocabulary list they are learning
    4. In their teams they have to spell that word writing 1 letter on 1 piece of paper.
    5. when they think they have the word written correctly, they must run to a space at the front of the class, stand in the correct order facing the other students, spelling out the word you gave them.
    6. The first team to shout “STOP” and who has the correct spelling wins points for their team.

    After the first couple of rounds, the students really get into this game.

    I have only played it with my English club students, who often ask to play this game if we haven’t played it for a while.

    I find it’s a great team building activity,  giving the students the responsibility to order themselves, making each round faster and more efficient.

    Next up is another spelling team game.


    • students
    • a black/white board
    • chalk
    • A list of words you can use


    1. split your class into 2 teams
    2. Have them stand in two lines towards the back of the class.
    3. divide your board into 2 sections, for team one and for team two.
    4. give each team one piece of chalk/board pen.
    5. Call out a word from the vocabulary list they are learning from.
    6. One student at a time has to write one letter of the word in the correct order.
    7. When that student has finished his/her letter, he/she must run back to his/her team, hit the next student in lines hand then go to the back of the line, for the game to continue.
    8. Continue this process with various words quickly, giving points to the fastest team who spells the word correctly.

    Below is another fast pace spelling game:

    Letter by Letter


    • A list of vocabulary your students are studying
    • A classroom board
    • 10~26 students works best


    1. split the students into 2~4 teams
    2. divide the board into 2~4 sections
    3. line the students in their teams
    4. Call out a word then shout, “GO!”
    5. One by one the students race to write letter by letter on the board
    6. issue points to the quickest team, who finish the word correctly
    7. Any team who spells the word incorrectly, must change the mistake.
    8. Keep the words on the board then move to the next word
    9. When the board is full, reverse the process.
    10. Call out a word on the board, then shout, “GO!”
    11. Students, one by one race to ERASE letter by letter OFF the board.
    12. Again giving points to the winning team.
    13. If you have a large class, use your JTE to take care of one side of the board and their points and you do the same on the opposite side.

    Cards with Activites

    Making sentence pairs SNAP

    This is a sentence building activity where students in a team of 2,3 or 4 race to make as many sentence pairs as they can.  When there are no more combinations they check how many pairs of cards they found.  1 point for every correct pair.

    1. Give 1 set of cards to each team
    2. Teams spread the cards out, face up on their table
    3. When the teacher shouts START or READY? GO! the students race to collect as many pairs of cards as they can find make a correct sentence.
    4. When there are no more combinations, students count how many pairs they managed to collect. 1 point for 1 correct sentence.

    Another use for these cards is to play the very well-known SNAP game.

    1. After shuffling the cards, divide them equally between the students, face down.
    2. Starting from the left of the dealer, put the top card face up on the desk. Continue in the same way around the group of students, clockwise.
    3. When the cards make a pair, all students must race to slap all the cards saying “SNAP!” (this means pair)
    4. Only when the student says “SNAP”, he or she can take the cards, if the student doesn’t say “SNAP” when slapping the cards, the other students can steal the cards by slapping that students hand (which is on the cards) saying “SNAP”.
    5. If the sentence is wrong, then all cards go to the student on the right of the s who slapped on an incorrect pair.

    My third use for these cards; (this is a variation on the ‘Whispers’ game)

    1. divide the students into teams of up to 8 students
    2. give a set of cards to each team
    3. spread them face down a desk at the front of the class (one desk per team)
    4. tell the students at the back of each team a sentence (from the cards)
    5. ss whisper their sentence down the line as quickly and clearly as they can.
    6. When the whisper comes to the ss at the front of the line that student must run to the front of the class and try to find the correct sentence combinations.
    7. Take note of the teams who finish in places 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc…
    8. When all teams have found 2 cards tell them the correct sentence pair, then give points to the first 3 teams who finish correctly.

    Card game. My name is ~ and I’m ~

    These set of cards were inspiration from the students interest in the very popular, well-known Mario Kart computer game.

    I have used them in all grades in elementary school, simply changing the level of English in each grade.

    Cards are perfect as you can use them for the entire lesson, but just changing the game.

    For these cards, here is my first use;

    1. split the class into teams of 8 students each.
    2. Have them make a circle
    3. give one card to one student in each team
    4. Using the key phrases “My name is ~.  I’m ~” ss pass the card around the circle, with every s saying the same thing.
    5. When the card has reached the end the students in that team quickly sit down.
    6. The fastest team gains points.
    7. Play 2 or 3 times changing the card each time.

    Game 2:

    1. In the same teams students stand in a line
    2. spread all cards out on a table set at the front of the class
    3. give the 1st student in each  team a balloon, which they have to hold between their knees.
    4. You then say the key sentences “my name is ~. I’m ~”
    5. Then the students with balloons have to race to get that card from the table at the front.  When a s has found the card, he/she has to race to the back of the line, still holding the balloon.
    6. If the balloon falls, that s has to return to where he/she started.
    7. If the s makes it to the finishing place, all team members sit down as quick as possible to gain a point.

    3rd use:

    Interview activity:

    1. Students walk around the class
    2. ss make pairs
    3. ss play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who starts talking
    4. the winner says what is on the card
    5. the loser then says what’s on his/her card
    6. ss play RPS again.
    7. The loser gives the winner his/her card, then comes to collect a new card from the teacher.