Thursday, 18 December 2008

How to say 'velcro' in English?

Wikipedia provides a quite complete explanation on hook-and-loop fasteners , an everyday object that we usually refer to by its brand name.

This song presents an instance of use for 'velcro fastener'.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Story Place

StoryPlace website contains some stories that can be personalised to some extent by choosing some characters, naming them... Part of the text has to be read and some other parts, especially the characters' dialogues, are heard.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Integrated approach to language teaching

The Education Department of the Junta de Andalucía has recently published a series of documents on a common approach to the teaching of languages at school. They can be downloaded from the following link: Currículo integrado de las lenguas

Friday, 5 December 2008

ESL Video

ESL Video allows registered users to create multiple choice questionnaires ('Questions') related to any video from Youtube or a similar site. This tool gives also the possibility of attaching the written dialogues, lyrics, etc. in the recording soundtrack (Transcript') or adding notes or further open questions ('Notes').

Some teachers have started creating their own but not all of them are complete. Anyway, it is worth browsing through this site for a while and searching for something that could be useful for a particular lesson.

This is an example:

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Videos for children

Totlol site displays a collection of videos from Youtube addressed to children. They are categorised according to different criteria such as topic, ranking based on aduts' rating, time of publication...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Traditional version:


Alternative version with Shrek:


This video contains the same song with pictures which can help students follow the lyrics.

Visual dictionary

elements of ancient costume [5] - Visual Dictionary Online

Merriam Webster Visual Dictionary Online contains around 6,000 labelled pictures organised in semantic fields such as 'Earth', 'Human Being', Clothing', etc. more thoroughly classified in subcategories within each field. It also provides games for testing word knowledge by labelling the parts of an object and sound to check or learn pronunciation.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


"Fractured fairy tales are traditional fairy tales, rearranged to create new plots with fundamentally different meanings or messages. Fractured fairy tales are closely related to fairy‐tale parodies, but the two serve different purposes: parodies mock individual tales and the genre as a whole; fractured fairy tales, with a reforming intent, seek to impart updated social and moral messages". Read full entry from this link.

Fractured fairy tales are usually funny and could be used in the English classroom for different purposes, especially with older students in Primary. Although the text difficulty level might be too high, the context is familiar and that helps understanding. Further activities could focus on comparison with the traditional tale or the creation of alternative scenes or endings.

This is an example on video:

And this site contains a collection of written versions.

The following presentation (source gives some basic hints for producing new version of fairy tales:

Fractured Fairytale
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: fractured fairytale)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


Now that the end of a year is approaching, activities using calendars can be a good idea for introducing or revising dates, days of the week, events, planning work...

These are some webs which offer different resources that could help organise those classroom tasks:

Big Huge Labs allows to design a month page with the picture you like to add. Once you get the image, click on it to save it into your computer.

Time and Date generates year calendars with mention of the national holidays in different countries.

Advent calendars:

Printable version from The Toy Maker Christmas page: Outside / Inside

Printable templates to create an advent calendar with personalised pictures from Kodak: Front picture / Back template

Other miscellaneous resources on Calendarhome.

Source of the image:

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Two websites with interesting resources for Nursery and Primary

Learn to Read contains visual online animations with stories, karaoke... Especially useful for young students.

Learning Page provides a good collection of classroom materials that can be downloaded and printed. Lesson plans, books, worksheets... Signing up is required.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Visible Body

Visible Body is a human anatomy visualization tool. It features complete interactive, 3D human anatomy models and allows users to get closer or more general views of the body systems, turn them in order to appreciate details, etc.

It works with Internet Explorer and requires to instal some plugins. Otherwise, registration is for free.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Learning about Learning

Learning and Teaching Scotland website offers some resources for teachers on a variety of educational matters. Among them, you can find this section on Learning about Learning , one of the eight basic competences we should take into account when planning our school syllabi.

Baby Triplets' Stories

Anglès365 website includes a link to access a series of video stories featuring the Baby Triplets.
This is an example:

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Action mazes

Action Mazes are exercises where a series of situations is presented; in each situation the person solving the exercise will need to make a decision and each decision will take him or her to the next part of the maze.

This is an example of action maze meant to be used as an activity to practise English: Ghost Town Maze

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A couple of online dictionaries

Howjsay English Pronunciation Dictionary provides instant sound to the word we type in.

Logos Children's Dictionary presents a selection of words in a wide range of languages. A picture accompanies each item and the words in some languages can be listened to.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Videos to practise and learn English: 'Real English'

Real English ESL Flash Video Lessons site offers a set of short videos that focus on language structures, as well as exercises to reinforce them.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

School outings

These are some organizations that offer visits in English for school groups in the Basque Country:

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum has this Programa educativo. Among other activities, they offer a 'contact tour' addressed to students in the 2nd and 3rd stages (levels 3 to 6) of primary education.

Aquarium in Donostia a choice of visits that can be in Basque, Spanish, English, French and German.
Guggenheim Bilbao also organizes visits to theme workshops on the Permanent Collection, temporary exhibitions or the Museum architecture for primary school pupils.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Videos to practise and learn English: 'Yappr'

A wide range of video sketches, songs, etc. can be found at Yappr. They are sorted out according to their level of difficulty (easy, medium, hard) or genre (commercials, music, nature...) The video recordings are accompanied by thier scripts in English and, sometimes, Spanish. They offer the possibility of replay a particular sentence in order to listen to it again or even choose a clearer version of the soundtrack.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Lectures on linguistic communication

The 'Consejería de Educación de Cantabria' has placed on the Internet some videos with the recordings of a series of lectures on the teaching of language, based on competences: Comunicación Lingüística. V Congreso Regional de Educación de Cantabria.

Friday, 27 June 2008

CLIL in the Basque Country

FACTWorld is a forum set up to support content and language integrated learning (CLIL), the teaching of subjects through the medium of a foreign language. The site contains links to country reports, useful sites and contact details of key people in participating countries.
The site includes this section devoted to the implementation of CLIL in some scools in the Basque Country.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Adding speech bubbles to photos

SuperLame website allows to add captions to pictures in your computer and save them for further uses. This is an example:

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Creating comic strips online

Make Beliefs Comix website offers a free online comic generator, quite simple to use and suitable for creating short dialogues.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Information about Bubbleshare, how it can be used and an example of photo slide presentation made by Primary 3 students can be found in this entry on Encouraging Learner Autonomy blog.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A website based on 'Bugs 4'

English 4ºPrimaria web site offers suplementary activities and access to related resources for teachers using Bugs course books.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


BETEA (Basque English Teachers' Association) has organised a small event to introduce in the Basque Country the British Council's BritLit project. The event will take place on May 24th in Donostiako Berritzegunea.
More information

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


PBS Kids website includes a section of activities and resources based on Mama Mirabelle's stories. Among them you can find handouts to make up a small book of easy recipes: My Savanna Cookbook

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Videos watched or commented in our last meeting

Pocoyo: Bedtime

Pocoyo: Don't Touch!



Monday, 21 April 2008

Online stories and nursery rhymes

Fridgefun4kids website includes a list of links to Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes.

Do2Learn: Online games

Do2Learn website includes different activities for young children. These are several examples:
- Word Pairs
- Feelings Game
- What's Different?
- Synonyms and Antonyms

Published materials related to CLIL

MacMillan Education publishers have recently released these titles related to CLIL:
Methodology: 'Uncovering CLIL'
'Subject-specific' vocabulary: 'Science Vocabulary Practice' (with or without CD ROM and key). Further information: Onestopclil

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Several links to miscellaneous resources

These are several links to access different online resources for the classroom:
- An 'egg hunt' story related to Easter.

- A video on Youtube with the song 'Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

- Further resources on the same song.

- Some of stories collected at Anglès 365 site.
- More stories.

- A website about animals, including colouring sheets...

Acknowledgement: I knew about them through the 'Angles 365' distribution list for primary teachers of English.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


This is a slide presentation on the teaching model named SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol)

Friday, 7 March 2008

Online interactive course

You can access online activities around basic topics from this link: Linguasnet. Apart from English lessons, you can find the same activities in Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. Especial focus is placed on oral skills.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Games and puzzles

These are some references of games and puzzles in English:
- Twister.
- Uno.
- Guess Who?
- Junior Scrabble.
- Junior Pictionary.
- Snakes and Ladders and Ludo.
- Pirate Snakes and Ladders and Ludo.
- Goosegame.
- Classic card games for kids.
- Happy Families.
- Top Trumps: Wonders of the World, Space, Egypt, Simpsons...

Downloading videos from Youtube

There are different options to save the Youtube videos that we might find interesting for their use in the classroom. These are two examples:
Using an online converter program, e.g.

1. Search for a video of your interest and copy the URL address.
2. Paste the URL address into the corresponding window on Video Convert X.
3. This website requests an email address. Once the video has been converted into an AVI file, for instance, they send you the address from where the file can be retreived to that email address.
4. Click on it with the right button of your mouse and select 'guardar destino'.

Using Real Player.

1. You can download the program from here and instal it into your computer.
2. Once the program is installed, enter Youtube and search for a video of your choice.
3. You should see a flap on the upper part of the video screen saying 'Download this video'.
4. Follow the instructions and save an .flv file in your computer.
5. Use a file converter online, such as Media-Convert, in case you need a different kind of video, e.g. avi, mpg...

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Many videos useful for the teaching of English to young learners can be found on Youtube site. These are links to some examples:

- Spot's Windy Day.
-Mr Bean Goes to the Swimming Pool.

- Cockroach Race.

- Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
- Whenever I Hear this Music.
- Polly, Put the Kettle On!
- Old McDonald Had a Farm or this other version Old McDonald Had a Farm
- Peter Weatherall videos.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

What is a 'literary text'?

A brief description of different senses of the term literature can be found in this Wikipedia entry (Spanish). A list of literary genres can be also accessed in the English version of Wikipedia.

Games collection

Here you have a link to the description of a series of games collected some years ago in several seminars of primary English teachers: GAMES

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

This website, managed by the Catalan Department of Education, contains several activities and projects aimed at teaching English through contents.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Teacher training

Magisteritza ikasketak...

Cuadernos de Pedagogía aldizkariaren 2007.ko abenduko aleak irakasle lanbideari buruzko hausnarketa hartzen du gai nagusitzat. Beste zenbait aspekturen artean, irakasleen hasiera prestakuntza aztertzen da. Bartzelonako Unibertsitateko irakaslea den Fernando Hernándezek, ‘¿Qué está pasando?’ monografikoan Finlandia eta Estatu Batuetako ereduak komentatzen ditu.
OHARRA: testu osoa ezin da deskargatu weborri horretatik, galdetu zure ikastetxean erabiltzailearen izenaz eta pasahitzaz edo paperezko alean ikusi.

Beste zenbait gauzaren artean honako hau aipatzen du:
“ Hace años participé en un proyecto europeo sobre la formación del profesorado reflexivo y me sorprendió que los colegas de Utrecht no eludieran la responsabilidad de decidir quién era apto para dedicarse a la docencia. Lo mismo sucede en Finlandia. Se parte de que no todo el mundo tiene las cualidades individuales que se requieren para ser docente”(Finlandia) “A la selección nacional (batxilergoan bederatzi baino gehiagoko nota izatea eta giza jardueretan parte hartua izatea) sigue otra en cada universidad en la que se busca que cada candidato dé cuenta de seis aspectos que se consideran esenciales: la empatía, comunicación y actitud social que muestran en una entrevista; dar cuenta de un resumen de una lectura de un libro; explicar un tema ante una clase; demostrar aptitudes artísticas; responder a una prueba de matemáticas y otra de aptitudes ante las TIC)

Wallace and Gromit

Some printables with wallace and Gromit characters can be downloaded from this site.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Mind maps and graphic organizers

After browsing through the WWW in order to find clear definitions of 'mind map, 'cognitive map', 'graphic organizer'... it seems that there is not a unanimous use: while some people seem to consider these terms as synonyms, others tend to differentiate them.

Anyway, I'd say that the expression 'graphic organizer' acts as an 'umbrella term' for various forms of organizing information through charts and diagrams, whereas 'mind map' stands for a particular format of classifying data.

Some definitions:

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making. map

A graphic organizer is a visual representation of information in an organized manner that is intended to enhance understanding (eg, Venn diagram, T-graph, word web, KWL chart)


Definition in Spanish (Wikipedia): Mapa conceptual

Enchantedlearning presents a set of choices for organizing and displaying information. Click here to see them.

These are just a few websites from the many that offer templates for different kinds of graphic organizers on the Internet:

- edHelper
- Freeology.
- Tools for Reading, Writing, & Thinking

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Resources mentioned in yesterday's session

An interview with Robert Schank on active learning:

Access to the online version of MacMillan Magazine

Monday, 28 January 2008

Elizabeth Coelho

This month, from January 14 to 22, Professor Elizabeth Coelho (University of Toronto) gave a series of talks on the issue of teaching immigrant students in Canada.

Here you have several links to resources related to the work of this Canadian expert:

El mundo en nuestras aulas 1 (A pdf document with the text of the slides she used in the first sessions of her two-day talks in Barakaldo, Donostia and Gasteiz.
La enseñanza en los cuadrantes, a chart on activities more or less cognitively demanding.
Jakingarriak: Kulturartekotasuna eskolan. This journal published in May 2006 contains an article by E. Coelho, among other things.
Hik Hasi article.
Among other resources, she mentioned the following websites that collect and display stories in different languages created for or by children:
From this page you can also access a video talk on teaching English to newcomer students.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Classroom language

You can access several documents on classroom language recently included by Anglès 365 in their website.

Poetry Space

The British Council in Bilbao has organised a group for people interested in reading and talking about poetry. For more details, click on this link Poetry Space