Monday, 29 December 2014

New Year is coming. Let's have a look at the horoscope!

Who among us has never peeked the horoscope? Whether we believe it or not, at the beginning of a new year we always have a look at the astrological predictions.

In this lesson you will reflect on yourself, you will improve your personality adjectives vocabulary and you will revise English grammar about making predictions.

What's your astrological sign?

Star signs

The Western Zodiac

The Chineese Zodiac

The Chineese Horoscope:

 Zodiac Signs

A list of personality adjectives:

Positive and negative personalty adjectives for each star sign:


What's your personality like? Describe some positive and some negative traits of you character. Is your zodiac sign description right in your opinion?
Which animal are you in the Chineese horoscope? Describe your personality according to this horoscope.

What will  your future be like?

2015 Horoscope:

Making predictions:

Future tenses:

Talking about probability:


What does you horoscope say about the 2015? What do you think will happen next year? Talk about your expectations, predictions and resolutions for the new year.

Some worksheets and printables for teachers:

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A Christmas Carol: a flipped lesson.

Every year at Christmas time I talk about A Christmas Carol in my classes for many different reasons. It is a wonderful Christmas tale and it allows to study some aspects of British literature, as well. We usually watch the last Disney movie and we read some excerpts from the book.
This year I thought of a flipped lesson. Students have to gather information and do some research about the tale before watching the movie or reading the book. Then, they will discuss the topics concerning the novella, the author and the Victorian Era in their classroom. As a teacher, I will just provide the learning material, suggest the websites to surf outside the classroom and guide my students to apply their knowledge during class activities.
As usual, I prepared a lesson with the help of some digital tools. I created a mindmap with Cacoo and I made it interactive with Thinglink.
If you move the cursor over the image below, some icons will appear. Click on them to open the links. You will find some information about Charles Dickens, the main characters of his novella and some fun activities.

The following is a deepening on the Victorian Era for more advanced students. I prepared this mindmap with Popplet. You will find some videos, links and a PowerPoint presentation. 
Click on the following symbol on the image to enlarge:

Inside the classroom the students will discuss what they have learned outside the classroom. They will actively and interactively apply their knowledge.

Some ideas for class discussion:

  • What are the moral lessons in this story?
  • Describe how Scrooge changes during the night of Christmas Eve.
  • Would a visit from the three spirits of the tale impact your life? How?
  • How would you describe the Victorian Era?
  • Can we see any typical aspects of the Victorian Age in the novella? 
  • What is Dickens' position towards the social problems of his era?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Thanksgiving Day... at the movies! Let's watch some videos!


Click on the following link to read my post about Thanksgiving origins, then watch the videos.

American holidays - Thanksgiving Day

The American Thanksgiving story


How many times have we seen Thanksgiving dinners in American movies or telefilms? 

"Dear Lord, we realize that lately, everything's been changing too damn fast. And all sorts of things are always the same, even if we hate it — like shoveling the turkey and stuffing the snow."
from the movie "Home for the holidays", 1996

"Once, there was this day. . . this one day when. . . everyone realized they needed each other."
from the movie "Pisces of April", 2003

"You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. 
We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, and you will play golf. 
My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the pilgrims. And especially do not trust Sarah Miller.
 For all these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground."
from the movie "Addams Family Values", 1993


"You cut the turkey without me!" from "Avalon" 2001

"The turkey" - from "Home for the holidays", 1996

"The prayer" - from "Blind Side", 2009

"The toast" - from "Funny people", 2009

April explains Thanksgiving to a Chineese family - from "Pisces of April", 2003

Addams family Thanksgiving - from "Addams Family Values", 1993

Answer the following questions:

Do you think it's possible to understand some cultural aspects of a foreign country
just watching its movies?
After watching theese scenes, what can you understand about Usa Thanksgiving traditions?
Which movie scene do you like the most? Why?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Street food in the UK: let's try some fish and chips!

Street food is artisan food. You can usually buy it from  stalls in the streets, it is not served from restaurants or cafes.

Learn more about street food in the UK

What is street food?

Top 10 London street food stalls:

Street food

Fish and chips

A common street food in Britain is fish and chips. It consists of battered fish, commonly  cod or haddock, and deep-fried chips. A common side dish is mushy peas.

What is fish and chips:

English Fish 'n Chips

Fish and chips origins
The unlikely origin of fish and chips

The history of fish and chips

The history of fish and chips in Britain
Do you want to prepare it yourself? 
Read the recipes and watch the video!

Fish and chips recipe:

Mushy peas recipe:

Fish and chips recipe

Street food around the world

A simple guide:

Answer the following questions:

What's your country' s typical street food? Do you like it?
You've just read some information about street food around the world: 
what's your favourite street food and why?

Create an interactive mindmap with Thinglink as the one I created for you as an example.
Choose an image of the world, upload it on Thinglink and put links on it (just clicking anywhere on the image) about typical street food of different nations. 
Have fun!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

British eating habits: let's have a tea party!


Typical British eating habits

UK food in Britain


"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to 
the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
Henry James

The history of tea in Britain:

A short history of tea in England

Afternoon tea and high tea:

The history of afternoon tea:

English tea: a list of Dos and Don'ts:


Afternoon tea recipes:

Scones recipe:

Classic cucumber tea sandwiches:


English afternoon tea sandwich recipe

How to make English scones

Proper etiquette for afternoon tea

How to throw a tea party


You want to have a tea party. Make a list of the things you need, describe how you make a proper British tea and tell something about the etiquette you have to follow.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Some songs to talk about world hunger and poverty

October was World Hunger Action Month!

May, 28 2015 will be World Hunger Day

Many artists in the world composed songs about world hunger and poverty to help raise awareness about theese issues.


Band Aid was a charity supergroup  featuring mainly American, British, and Irish musicians and recording artists.  It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year.

Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas?

USA for Africa (United Support of Artists for Africa) was the name under which 44 predominantly U.S. artists, led byMichael Jackson and Lionel Richie, recorded the hit single "We Are the World" in 1985. The song was a U.S. and UK number one for the collective in April of that year. This super group was inspired by Bob Geldof's Band Aid.

Usa for Africa - We are the world

"Heal the World" is a song from Michael Jackson's hit album, Dangerous, released in 1991.

The video shows poor children living in Africa.

Michael Jackson - Heal the world

"Imagine" is a song written and performed by John Lennon in 1971. 

He asks us to imagine a world at peace 
without borders, hunger and wars. 
Is he a dreamer?

John Lennon - Imagine

"Another Day in Paradise" is a song performed by  
Phil Collins, 
released in 1989. It is about  the problem of hunger and homelessness. 
When someone asks for our help in the street, 

do we pretend not to hear?

Phil Collins - Another day in paradise

Village Ghettoland is a song by Stevie Wonder 
about poverty and marginalization, released in 1976. 

Stevie Wonder - Village Ghettoland


Answer the following questions:

Which song do you prefer? Why? 
Which words have affected you the most?
Do you know any modern song about poverty or world hunger?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Immigration to the USA: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

In the late 19th century, people from many parts of the world immigrated to the United States for different reasons: famine, lack of jobs, rising taxes, or because they were politically or religiously persecuted. In fact, U.S.A. was perceived as the land of freedom and economic opportunity. 

At the beginning, the federal government left immigration policy to individual states but then, it decided to regulate the increasing influx of immigrants. In 1890, the president Benjamin Harrison decided that Ellis Island, in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty, would be a federal immigration station. It was operational from 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States through “the golden door”.

In 1954 it was abandoned and it began to decay rapidly. In 1965 President Johnson declared Ellis Island part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument but only in the 1970s the Congress allocated a sum to repair it. In 1976 Ellis Island was reopened to the public.

Today you can take a ferryboat from Liberty Island and go on a one-hour guided tour retracing the steps of the immigrants.

                Surf my interactive Thinglink image and learn more. 


Now surf the following sites to investigate 
some aspects related to immigration.

Immigration to the USA

Immigration to the USA, 1851-1900

U.S. immigration before 1965

USA immigration problems

The White House website about immigration (watch the video!)


You are an immigrant at the beginning of the 20th century. Tell me why you are going to the USA, where you are from, which are your expectations. Describe your journey and what you felt when you first saw the "golden door" and "Lady Liberty".

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Victorian Era

The Victorian Age takes its name from Queen Victoria who ruled from 1837 to 1901. Victorian era was caracterised by stability, progress, social reforms, a rapid extention of colonialism but, at the same time, by great problems such as poverty and social injustice.

Surf the great BBC history site.

British History Timeline:

Then take a look at my interactive Popplet mindmap about some aspects of the Victorian age. Click on the image to open it, then scroll around, zoom, click on the links and watch the videos.


          Reading and Writing

1) Choose an aspect of the Victorian age that has particularly affected you. Surf the sites I suggested in my mindmap and write a report.

2) Imagine you are a Victorian child belonging to a poor family, forced to work in a factory. Describe your working day.

3) Which novel (of the two I talk about in my presentation) do you like the most? Why? 


Watch and listen to the video "Life in Victorian Britain" from the mindmap. Take note of the main points of discussion and create your own mindmap.


Work in pairs or small groups. Read the information about the Victorian etiquette and choose a social situation. Would you know how to conduct yourselves if you were Victorians? You can practice taking the  McCord Museum test. Then prepare a sketch.