Mis warm-ups favoritos para empezar las clases de/en inglés

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Feliz Pascua a todos. Hace unas semanas lancé una encuesta a través de mi Twitter @raquelffdez para que me sugirierais el tema del siguiente post. El elegido fue ‘Warm-ups’, y aquí lo tenéis. Saber empezar una clase en inglés es clave, y más todavía si la clase precedente se ha impartido en otro idioma, ya que hay que ayudar a los estudiantes a cambiar el ‘chip’. Estas actividades cortas que se realizan al inicio pueden ser también una buena oportunidad para repasar la clase anterior, motivar y enganchar a los alumnos en actividades significativas. Prohibido empezar la clase con un ‘Open the page… in your books”. Let’s go!


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Making the Most of Classroom Libraries

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Being an English as a Second Language Learner myself, I have experienced the importance of promoting extensive reading in the classroom. This belief was later reinforced with my teaching experiences at all levels, and with my PhD work. Extensive reading should be a ‘must’ in any SL classroom, and it may be developed in many ways (see Day, 2002, to know his suggested top ten principles). In this article, I am dealing with one of my favourite resources: s, and how we can make the most of them in our classrooms. Let’s go!

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Wall of Fame -Nursery Rhymes

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Hi everybody! As part of my teaching challenges this academic year, I’m carrying out a project using blogs with a group of students. They are taking the subject “Exploring Children’s literature” in English as part of their curriculum to become Primary Teachers. This group is taking the bilingual itinerary our institution is offering since 2010, and they are about to finish their studies (next June). As part of this project, and every two weeks, I will be publishing the most interesting post I’ve read here. It is what I’ve called “The Wall of Fame” for my students.

The Wall of Fame is happy to welcome Sonsoles Torres, one of my students, who has written a really interesting post on Nursery Rhymes. We worked on Nursery Rhymes in class, and we discovered that many of them have a hidden message. Legend or truth? Who knows! All we know is that nursery rhymes are great resources to help students practise vocabulary, and pronunciation, and Sonsoles is sharing a nice video she produced in class while presenting “Ring a ring of roses” with her classmates.
Sonsoles’ post is available here


Toolbox on…Creative reading resources

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Creative reading toolbox
Creative reading toolbox

Good morning, afternoon or evening, everybody!

This is the first of a series of posts devoted on sharing resources and materials. I have entitled them “Toolbox”, because that’s what they are thought to be.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am now involved in compiling resources and materials I have been using (or I would like to try out) to make a more creative reading and writing classroom in Primary and Secondary school. It may be the case that these resources are applicable to a university context too. In my case, as I’m training future teachers, I make them aware of the importance of knowing and using as many didactic tools as possible.

The resources I’m about to share were organised for the MA’s subject I’m lecturing at the Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid) on how to make a creative use of short stories. They go around three main topics:

– the use of ICT in the reading classroom. I consider it essential to blend ICT with reading. If well integrated, students work with many more language skills and develop high-order thinking abilities.

literature/literary circles. Extensive reading has proved to be a useful tool to make our students improve their communicative abilities, and this is one way of doing it.

readers’ theatre. I have been using readers’ theatre with secondary students, and I plan to design a project for my University students next course. This gives us the opportunity to work on intonation, pronunciation, and true comprehension.

I have compiled all these resources using a Symbaloo you can access here. My next toolbox will be focused on online stories you can use with children at infant and primary level (EFL and bilingual contexts).

Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to make a suggestion or question. This is an open space for all of us to share experiences and opinions.

Have a nice day!

Note: the toolbox image has been taken from


Making it creative in the Story Sharing Web Conference (Britishy Council Turkey)

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Story Sharing Web Conference logo

If you are interested in how to use stories in the English classroom, you cannot miss this event. The I Story Sharing Web Conference, organised by the British Council Turkey, will be held on 9th and 10th February. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to travel to attend it: session will be held in Adobe Connect.

It is a great pleasure for me to participate in this Conference with a session called “Make it creative! Helping Students Find Their Way to Literature“. In this session I will be dealing with the situation of literature in the English classrooms in Spain, and I will provide with information on some projects and activities involving stories I have carried out during my almost 14 years of teaching practice.

If you are interested in attending the Conference, you can find more information here. If you would like to have a look at the programme, click here.

II Jornadas Internacionales de Lenguas Modernas

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On 21st and 22nd April, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid will be hosting a Seminar on Modern Languages organised together with the “Colegio Profesional de Lenguas Modernas”.

The programme offers the chance to attend sessions about the teaching of different languages such as: English, French, and Italian, and covers a wide range of topics and debate issues.

I’ll be participating on Saturday with a one-hour session on literacy in the bilingual classroom. The session has been organised thanks to University of Dayton Publishing (Grupo SM). My main aim is to raise awareness of the need to make a shift in our conceptualization of literacy in the classroom, and to provide participants with the opportunity to experience some practical activities ready to be used in their Primary Education lessons.

If you’re interested in attending this Seminar, registration is still open. You can find more information here.


Towards a literacy-friendly CLIL classroom

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This is the title of the session I’ll be in charge of at the TESOL-Spain Convention to be celebrated in Bilbao. I’m really thankful to University of Dayton Publishing for sponsoring my talk and support my work in many ways. The materials UDP is introducing to the Spanish market through S.M. are really interesting, well-designed and suitable for CLIL contexts. I’ll be using some of them in my talk, and we’ll explore and discuss how literacy is being developed in early years (infant and first cycle education).

As always, I hope to share my experience with participants, get them involved in thinking and exploring ideas and resources, and learn from them ways to keep on helping them face the challenging CLIL classrooms.