Author Archive

Day 313 – Clouds again

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I really do think i’ve become fixated by clouds, maybe its just having an office that let’s me stare out at them, or a hobby in cycling that allows me to watch them them moving as a cycle, maybe it’s cos they’re different from czech clouds? Who knows? Anyway here’s a cloud pic.

Categories: Uncategorized

Dat 287 – Road Sign

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

This is the sign on the main road, ok i haven’t lived back in the UK for long and I don’t drive which doesn’t help but I really was clueless as to what it means.  Has an ancient civilisation been brought back from the dead, is there an abandoned steel factory nearby.  Took me a couple of day to work it out!

Categories: Uncategorized

Relocation time – now

October 27, 2009 1 comment

Hi All,

A friend has given me some hosting space so have moved my blog to

See you there,



Categories: Uncategorized

This weeks link – good if you’re doing a TD course

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment

A slightly belated and a tad egotistic link this week. Late, as it should have been last week and egoistical as the link is to a site I helped put together though please be kind as it is still a work in progress.

For the last year or so, a friend (twitter @NikkiFortova) and I have been collating together things that might help people doing a more advanced teaching methodology course such as the Cambridge Modular Delta.  We will add a glossary for pre-service candidates in the near future.

We started it for the candidates on the course I work on at International House Prague as a place to exchange links, discuss terminology and so on.  Anyway at the end of the course in June , we realised that there was quite a bit on information on there so have spent the last few months tidying it up and putting it all on a moodle.  As I said, it is not quite finished yet but since a lot of extensive  Delta courses start around now, we thought we’d launch it to the world. Both Nikki and I are moodle obsessives so we also use the site to try out stuff that we can use on courses.

It has got to the point were it is tidy enough for people to use so we invite anyone interested to make use of it and equally as important add to it.  Amongst the resources on there are two wikis, which we have been building – one of EFL terminology and one a collection of blogs and links that we have collected from various tweets and other sources. Neither is complete so if your site is not there, please add it.

To get to the site, please click here and then enter Delta Potpourri as a guest (though if you want to make an account feel free).

We hope you find the site useful and if have any suggestions for what to add to it please let us know.

Oh and my blog is about to move, a colleague has given me some hosting space so hopefully, I’ll be able to give you the new url next week.

Until then, have a good teaching week,

Shaun  (and Nikki)

Categories: links, online

A sick lesson that really smacked it

October 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Finally got round to teaching the sick vocabulary that I mentioned in my posting a couple of weeks ago.   So here’s what I did with it.  You can download the materials for from the right column of my blog. As always I wanted to teach the lesson utilising what’s available on the Internet so that the students can easily got back and revisit the sites and extend their English by visiting some of the links if they are interested in pursuing the topic further. It also fits nicely into my last posing about the plethora of free stuff out their for teachers to find and use.  As always, the main purpose of the lesson is lexically orientated with authentic listening thrown in. The added links provide further reading practice and could provide the basis for further work, especially collaborative learning and projects.

The lesson begins by reviewing the ‘sick’ sentences from the previous post.  Almost all the students are all mothers and or grandmothers we extended the task by asking them if the knew any ‘czech’ teen vocabulary and a general discussion of the pros and cons of ‘teens’ (and for that matter adults) having their own codes.  This stage allows for some personalisation. Next I got them to do the quiz that appeared in the guardian (sadly they got more then the 5 I originally got but then they were collectively doing it 🙂 ). This was followed by a further discussion prompted by the realisation that some of the words were use in Czech as well (i.e. flossing – and if you haven’t yet done the quiz, note this is nothing to with your teeth).

I then showed them some of the words that appear in then accompanying article to the quiz and asked them to try and guess a meaning, providing with the text  to see if they were right (another way of dealing with the text could be to design a kinaesthetic exercise, I didn’t do this as they will be ‘matching’ for homework on quizlet.)

A search of teens peak on youtube, threw up a couple of useful clips. One a news program and the other advice for parents . The news clip is interesting (well it prompted an interested discussion in class) as it starts off just talking about teen speak, quickly equates this with ‘danger’ and then takes it into the realms of predators. The reactions of some of the parents are comical.  We used it as a listening exercise to both listen for what so-called ‘teen’ acronyms are and the new listened to gauge attitudes of speakers.  (questions are on the powerpoint slides).  The second clip is on the same theme but this also links to a website so sts can find a transcript of what was said.  To use this slightly differently, I took the letter mentioned in the clip and asked the students to work out what the writer wanted to say and then they listened to confirm their predictions.

To round off the lesson and make use of the really nicely made game templates for powerpoint that someone twittered. I made a version of ‘who want to be a millionaire’ (I put it in the drop box) which we played in class.

I have also made put the words from the handbook on quizlet so the students can go back and do further work if they so wish.

Actually there are a number of post-lesson things that could be done, I have as always included links given to my students so they can develop the area themselves. On top of that it seems to me that such an area is perfect for project work  – students can go to links find words, make class wikis of the words (i.e. their own dictionary), make mind maps and so on.

Anyway until next time, enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Links for the lesson.

As you can see from the post, there are links throughout for the main lesson materials and the powerpoint and millionaire you can take from There are lots of hits, if you google teenspeak.

A teen chat decoder (yes really) – you type in the word in teen speak, it translate it for you.

The same website also has a teen speak dictionary and here is a BBC lexicon.

A blog posting on teen speak from radical parenting website

Week four words

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Hi Class,

Quizlet flashcards made  – nine of the ‘boarded’ words from last week all there for you to review. Click here to go to the words

See you bright ‘n’ early


Categories: lesson, words

This week’s link…well links really

September 25, 2009 3 comments

This week’s link is to an online video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

At first glance you might think, well this isn’t the usual ‘something to do with a class’ kind of link, well that’s true but you could use the page with students (it’s a site that allows you to create and add subtitles to a videos – which has potential for language class exercises, doesn’t it?).

Anyway back to the video, by now you have hopefully been and had a look, I found it very funny, if you didn’t my apologies for taking 4 minute 21 secs of your busy lives.  May be it’s like most things in that you need the context.  If, like me you are an avid (some say) obsessive twitterer then you probably got the context. There are often little, generally good-humoured spats between Scott and various EFL twitterers usually over the things such as the use of technology in classes, and the position of technology within the dogme approach.  Added to that on Lindsay Clandfield’s blog (the creator of the video) – Scott was recently voted the most influential person in EFL. See now you have more context it helps understand the ‘tribute’

However the point of this post is not context or tribute videos.  It’s more about how we educators can learn so much, so easily now through the ease of communicating via the Internet.  The video hits upon the ‘hot topics’ for educators at the moment, no not how popular Scott is (though that is discussed :-)), but how technology is being used in the classroom, should it be used in the classroom or is it just another piece of clutter that gets in the way of learning.  On top of that if you follow the dogme approach then how can technology be implemented with it.  It also segues rather nicely in a much-discussed topic this week, – Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) for short. The ‘context’ I referred to earlier was all established via the internet – and it highlights how easy it is for the interested teacher (and shouldn’t we all be interested?) to develop for free.  Following EFL bloggers opens up a world of ideas, resources and discussions. Since joining twitter, I have ‘met’ so many incredible educators and been able to join in the daily debates, ideas sharing and good-natured banter.

As a freelancer, my own ‘online’ PLN (though I never really thought of it this way until the discussions this week) has allowed me to have contact in a way I haven’t had since I stopped working at a school fulltime. But then now, even if I did still have that contact, I know I can also learn from my time online.

Not convinced, well take a look at a few of the things that have appeared on line this week. For a start there was a free workshop online run by Scott – finished now but joining it, you can still see what was happening. Want to know more about dogme? Then join their discussion group or go read a personal experience such as on Karenne’s blog (which you should read anyway for its wealth of varied postings). Find out about how PLNs can help you on Marisa Constantinides excellent blog. Want to know more about technology then start at that’Slife or get ideas from Nik Peachey.  The list really is endless and there are far too many excellent blogs to name in one ‘small’ posting. Apologies to those not named, you can find them easily from all the aforementioned posts. Finally (and yes you have heard it before but it’s true), join twitter and follow EFL people you’ll be amazed at how many useful things you’ll discover.  And after all, doing all or only some of it will cost you, is a bit of time, which in what is generally thought of as a poorly paid profession can’t be bad.

Happy blog reading and have a good weekend


Categories: blogs, links, Teaching, technology