Preparing for the journey & Challenging Students

The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators has embarked on a journey around the world and even though I boarded on a bit later than I wanted to it was so great to work on my introduction!

At first it seemed too much of a challenge; there were so many things I could have put together, so many tools I could use and as always I wasn’t entirely sure whether anyone would be interested in it. But if the 30 goals community has taught me anything, that is the power of sharing and getting feedback.

After working around several digital tools (bless you Shelly Sanchez Terrell!), I decided to go with PowToon. I love its cartoon-like, uplifting vibes and learning my way around it has sparked an alarmingly large number of activities I could do with students.

First of all, I thought of extending the 3-2-1 Intro goal and ask my  students on Edmodo (a group preparing for ECCE, where students are from different parts of town) to create their own presentation using PowToon. I think it’ll be a nice break from the norm and will help them get to know each other in a fun and creative way (I also secretly hope we’ll finally get over the ”My name is {…}, I’m {…} years old and I live in {…}!).
Here’s my plan:

”And you are…?”
1. Send students links of my 3-2-1 Intro and the PowToon website.
2.  Set deadlines: Students will have a week to prepare their intro and share it with the group.
3. Explain the task: ”Introduce yourself to the group. Tell us some interesting things about yourself, using pictures and your favourite music and include something we don’t know about you!”.
4. Guide students through PowToon on our group’s timeline when necessary.

Another activity I have in mind is for two 1-to-1 students preparing for FCE, to help them practise Part 2 of the Speaking Task from a different angle. As they’ll have one minute to talk on their own comparing, describing and giving opinions for this part of the exam, I think creating a video with a time-limit can do wonders.
This plan is for discussing holidays:

” 1 minute to go”
1. Send each student a prompt with two pictures

2. Ask them to create a 1 minute PowToon describing their dream holiday.
3. Ask them to share their video with the other student, along with a short paragraph describing what is seen in their presentation.
4.Get students to comment on each other’s presentation.

I’ll update the post with the results soon!

Image Credits: All-free-download

Guessing #games and the perception of #language

Sharing is key to education and I like to incorporate all kinds of things during teaching. As I think one of the greatest tools we’ve got is ourselves, I usually try to engage my students in activities with a personal touch.
I’ve used guessing games as  a quick fix (to accommodate 5-10 minutes at the end of a lesson), a prologue to open speaking lessons, even full lessons at times.
The results are always so rewarding! These activities help us come closer as a class and give us the opportunity to share and learn at the same time. They’re also a great way to showcase our work and progress, either individually or as a group.


I often use my homelands for reference; it’s a great reminder of how rich the Greek culture, both ancient and modern, is and how many things it provides us with so we can take our learning to the next level. The following activity can be used in many different ways and contexts. I’ve used it to get students to practise phonemes, improve their speaking & writing and work on digital skills. Here’s an example of a half-hour activity for intermediate+ level students which I do before Easter break, aiming at practicing pronunciation, using English and cultural exchange:

1. Bring up the following presentation on the screen: LinguaGuess#1 (a very simple presentation – I’ve now made it public on Google docs)
2. Elicit answers from the students and write the most popular on the board (alternatively, students can take notes and compare with classmates).
3. Discuss answers and ask students to pronounce the given word. Ask them to use the word in a sentence of their own.
4.Time for real answers! Take the students through the whole presentation, explaining vocabulary & context when necessary.

Follow-up activities:
– create a similar presentation of your own, using a word you find interesting or you think not many people would know its meaning.
– create a presentation of how you and your family celebrate Easter.
– find interesting Easter trivia from a place (village, city, country) of your choice and share them with the class.

#My Notes
The presentation above is about the word ”batoudo”.
When I asked students which language it comes from, the most popular answers were Spanish and Hindi.
Most of them thought it was either a type of traditional garment or a spice!
Students using the word came up with examples like:
(The ones who thought it was Spanish)
”Almost ready for the party! I just have to  get my batoudo to the dry-cleaner’s tomorrow.”
”We have to go back, I left my batoudo on the chair.”
(The ones who thought it was Hindi)
”Add some batoudo for a twist in your biryani!”
”The girls looked lovely in their batoudos.”

This is an activity I really enjoy doing with students and thought I’d share it with all – as always, feedback is greatly appreciated, leave a comment if you have any examples of your own or some different ideas!