Thursday, 29 May 2014

Aesop's moral stories - let's talk about fables using digital tools

Aesop was an ancient Greek fabulist. He is presumed to have been born in 620 B.C. Unfortunately not much is certain about his life but some agree that June, 4th was his birthday. It's an opportunity for us to talk about fables. Aesop's fables's characters are animals, often with a humorous twist, and his tales always have a moral and a lesson to teach.

If you want to read, watch or listen to Aesop's fables click on the following links:

Aesop's fables summaries:

Youtube cartoons about Aesop's fables with subtitles:

Aesops's fables audio files with a printable transcript:



Now click on the image below to open my Blendspace lesson  and, after reading all the information, write a report about Aesop, his most famous fables and morals.


The following is a Padlet board I made for you. There are 5 simple steps to create your own fable. Click on the image below to open the board, then click on each step to open a link.

Then, make a presentation with Projeqt (you can pin your presentation's URL on my Padlet board!). Click on the link below to open my short example.

Monday, 26 May 2014

End of the school year - Some activities using digital tools (and revising grammar!)

School is almost over... 

We've been working hard and now we need to relax!
Let's  think about the school year just spent together.

What did I learn?
Did I enjoy my lessons and my teachers?
Did I have fun with my school mates?
Which are the most memorable moments?
What would I like to say to my teachers and friends now?
What am I doing next summer?
How will  next school year be like?

This year we have been learning a lot of grammar.... but we've been trying to use new technology, as well. Let's try to put the things together! You can choose one of the following activities which allow you to prepare your report or tell your story using images, photos and videos!

Students' activities

Let's divide our activities into three parts: past, present and future. 


Make a presentation or en e-book about the topics or the events you liked most. Use one of the following tools:

(for infographics and posters)

(for presentations using images)

(for e-books)

Revise and use the Past Simple and the Present Perfect.


Imagine you are the teacher for one day. Choose one topic and prepare your lesson selecting your web sources on:

or prepare a presentation using:

Revise and use the Present Simple and the Present Continuous.


This school year is over and the summer holidays are about to begin! Where are you going on holidays? What would you like to do? Which places would you like to see? 
Which class or new school are you attending next year? How can you imagine it? Use the following tools to tell us about your future plans or expectations:

(for your presentation)

(to tell about your journey)

Revise and use the Future Forms (Will; Present Continuous; To be going to).

Enjoy your holidays and always...

Friday, 23 May 2014

The first Morse Code message - May, 24 1844

170 years ago the first Morse code message was sent on an experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore.

The following is a Morse Code  message: 
.... . .-.. .-.. --- / . ...- . .-. -.-- -... --- -.. -.--
(Guess what I wrote!)

The history of Telegraphy:

The first Morse code message:

Samuel Morse:

The history of Morse Code

Try to write your own Morse code message with the Morse code translator!

"This mode of instantaneous communication must inevitably become an instrument of immense power"
 Morse,  1838

"Of all the marvelous achievements of modern science the electric telegraph is transcendentally the greatest 
and most serviceable to mankind … 
The whole earth will be belted with the electric current, 
palpitating with human thoughts and emotions … 
How potent a power, then, is the telegraphic destined to become in the civilization of the world! 
This binds together by a vital cord all the nations of the earth. 
It is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for an exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth."
Charles F. Briggs and Augustus Maverick, "The Story of the Telegraph", 1858

How communication has changed in time

Let's see how communication changed through the ages. Have a look at the following infographics.
Click on the images or on the  links below each image to enlarge:

Also technology in school has changed over time!

Watch the following two videos about how technology 
is changing in education.

Students' task

After reading all the information and watching the videos about the communication evolution, write a report about your impressions. 

  • Has the way children study changed for the better?
  • Do you use technology in your school?
  • Do you think studying with computers, iPads or mobiles can be more productive?
  • Do you enjoy using new digital tools? Why?
  • What are the pros and cons about using technology in the classroom?

Of course you can't use paper and pen for your report...
Choose one of these tools and have fun! (to collect your web resources) (if you want to add any links to an image) (for your mindmaps) (to make your own infographic) (to create your e-book)

Friday, 16 May 2014

World Day for Cultural Diversity - May, 21

May, 21 is World Day for Cultural Diversity. 
Let' s see some activities we can do to celebrate this day.

First of all, you can surf the following sites to get more information about this celebration.

UN website:

UNESCO site:

Do one thing for Diversity and Inclusion:

video from Unesco 

1) Let's start talking about multicultural Britain
While studying English language, we study British culture, as well. 
We know that Britain is a multicultural society. Let's see why.

Have a look at this interesting short immigration timeline by BBC:

Multicultural Britain by Loescher

Multicultural London by Jonsie Reid

After watching the above videos, answer the questions:

  1. What's the famous market near the London Bridge station? Why is it one of the most popular London markets? What can you find there?
  2. Where is Brick Lane? What is it locally known as? Why?
  3. Is there a "Chinatown" in London as in New York?
  4. At the end of the first video some Londoners are interviewed. What do they say about living in a multicultural city?
  5. Take a look at the above immigration timeline by BBC. The text ends with these words
"Fifty years after the start of mass immigration to the UK, questions are still being asked about whether or not the UK can become a multi-ethnic society at ease with itself - or whether there is still a long road to be travelled."

         What does it mean? Which are the pros and cons of a multicultural society in your opinion?

2) And now let's talk about a great man who fought for the rights of black people

 M. L. King's speech "I have a dream" 

For the whole speech (with audio, hyperlinks and notes):

Watch the video and read the above speech text, then answer the following questions:
  1. When and where was this famous speech held?
  2. Who is the "great American" who signed the Emancipation Proclamation? What do you know about  him?
  3. What is the Declaration of Independence?
  4. What does M. L. King mean when he says: "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."?
  5. What does M. L. King dream?
M. L. King biography:

Read the above biography and answer the questions:
  1. What is Rosa Parks famous for?
  2. After her death King became a leading figure in organizing an event. What did he do?
  3. What did M. L. King establish in 1957?
  4. How many people attended the Lincoln Memorial during the famous "I have a dream" speech?
  5. Which prize was King awarded in 1964?
3) Let's try to define stereotypes
... with some humour!

Answer these questions, first:
  1. What are stereotypes? 
  2. Do you think you stereotype people?
  3. Have you ever been victim of  prejudice?
  4. Which are some typical stereotypes about your country?
  5. Do these stereotypes annoy you or do you laugh at them?
Now click on this post (from The Travelling Teachers) about some typical British and Italian stereotypes ... and have fun!

4) And now some videos and songs 
for young learners

A song for young learners to encourage friendship and inclusion

What does it mean to be global?

Intercultural Communication Adventure

An interesting website about multicultural music. A lot of songs (music and lyrics) about diversity and differences:

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

International Museum Day - May, 18


May, 18 is the International Museum Day. The theme for 2014 Museum Day proposed by ICOM (International Council of Museums) Advisory Committee is "Museum collections make connection" suggesting that museums help create bonds between visitors and different cultures and generations. 
For more information:

“After all, isn't the purpose of the novel, or of a museum, for that matter, to relate our memories with such sincerity as to transform individual happiness into a happiness all can share?” 

Some students activities

The following activities about museums could be  useful  in our EFL classes for many reasons:
  • to enrich vocabulary
  • to talk about foreign culture (and culture or art in general)
  • to enhance listening skills (through videos), reading skills (through the websites' contents) writing skills (through essays and compositions), speaking skills (through oral reports)
  • to talk about giving or asking for directions (through maps activities)
1) Let's start with a video about some useful museum vocabulary 

2) Then, let's go to London to visit some of its most famous museums!

Click on the link below to have some information about the major London museums:

3)  Now let's have a 3D tour and let's see where the most famous 
London museums are on the map thanks to Googleearthweb.

4) Let's watch the following video to get some more information 
about the top five museums to visit in London by Howcast.

5) Now, click on the Thinglink image I prepared and have some 
virtual or online tour! 
Once you open the image, you have to click on each icon you see on the map. 
The stars bring you to each museum site and the circles allow you to have a virtual tour! 

6) Now, try to answer the following questions:

You have just seen some of the most interesting London museums, could you tell which one you like the most and why?
Have you ever been to London? Did you already visit some of these museums? If you didn't, talk about a museum you visited and about the things you saw.
Do you think art and cuture can connect different people and countries? Why?

"Museums are living institutions that help create bonds 
between visitors, generations and cultures around the world. 
The museum is an institution that preserves and communicates the past, yet it is grounded in the present. 
In its very essence, it is a link between the generations, 
as it allows present and future generations 
to better comprehend their origins and history."

In a museum you can travel through time and space... and you can live fantastic adventures... 


"When I was growing up, my mother would take me 
to plays and museums, 
and we'd talk about life. 
Those times helped shape who I became."

Friday, 9 May 2014

International Day of Family - May, 15th

"Families Matter for the Achievement Goals" 
is the 2014 International Day of Families' motto.
To learn more:

United Nations site:

International Day of Families was founded by the United Nations Programme on the Family. Family is the core of a society so it is essential to have good and healthy relationships with our relatives. But every family is different, there are many different cultures and many ways to conceive a family.

Let's see some definitions:
“The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” (United Nations, 1948).

“Society’s definition of ‘family’ is rapidly expanding and has come to include single parents, biracial couples, blended families, unrelated individuals living cooperatively, and homosexual couples, among others. Unfortunately, family policy has been slow to catch up to changing trends in modern lifestyles” (J.M Crawford).

“A family consists of two or more people, one of whom is the householder, related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing in the same housing unit. A household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship. A household may consist of a person living alone or multiple unrelated individuals or families living together” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005).

“We define family as any group of people related either biologically, emotionally, or legally. That is, the group of people that [a person] defines as significant for his or her well-being” (S.H. McDaniel)


                  (for younger learners)

What is your famiy like?

Is it a traditional or a 

modern family? 


your family' s 

members and

 make a family tree.

Listen to the songs below. 
Which one do you like the most? Why?
Tell what the author wants to say 
in your opinion.
What does "family" mean to you?

"We are family" by Sister Sledge
 invites the whole family to unite and get up and sing.

"My father's eyes" by Eric Clapton
"In it I tried to describe the parallel between looking in the eyes of my son and the eyes of the father I never met, through the chain of our blood", said the author.

When we are teens we often have problems with our parents. Later we realize how precious they are. This is the theme of the next two songs.

"Mama" by Spice Girls

"You're gonna miss this" by Trace Adkins

"In my daughter eyes" by Martina McBride
Yes, parents are there to support their children but sometimes, when audults feel down they find the strenght to go on in their children' s eyes.

Some other songs about family

List of songs about family:

Songs about family with music and lyrics:
Below you can see a very famous family!
What do you know about the Royal Family?
Did you witness some recent events that particularly struck you?
Choose one member of the Royal Family and tell his/her story.

To learn more about the Royal Family: