Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diamond Jubilee is two days ahead

If you were in London a few weeks ago, to be more accurate on May, 16th, and passed by the Harrods, you've probably seen London's famous department store launching their Jubilee decorations with a flurry of red, white and blue! On April, 20th Buckingham Palace lit up with these stunning projections of The Queen, made up of 1000s of self-portraits of children from around the UK. 

Found pic @ London Blog
Found pic @Harrods 

London is the perfect scenery for a having a cup of tea. With the upcoming celebration this weekend, what better way to get into the Jubilee spirit than with traditional British afternoon tea? Here’s a round-up of some of London’s best Jubilee teas: Top 10 Diamond Jubilee Afternoon Teas in London

Found pic @London Blog
If you want to know everything about these and other events, just follow the Diamond Jubilee official site. London is definitely ready for the Diamond Jubilee!... Take a look:

Last, but not least, the famous Madame Tussauds London Museum has also presented the Queen's new figure for this fantastic celebration! Found both pictures at the site mentioned above.

Don't miss these events, in case you're London!... It is a lifetime experience, undoubtedily!...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The life of Queen Elizabeth II in photos

There will be a special bank holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in the United Kingdom (UK) on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. This event honors the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Moreover, the late May bank holiday will be moved to Monday, June 4, 2012, giving people across the UK a four-day long weekend.
Read more at 

As we're only a few days ahead of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this might be the right moment to take a look at these amazing photos about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, on a special edition by TIME Magazine. You've probably never seen the Queen this young!... Follow this link and dazzle in the photo gallery!...

Queen Elizabeth II, as a baby girl - Photo Credits: TIME

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Themeefying T@PT

In order to mark six months blogging, here go two editions in a row of the T@PT's blogzine: the first compiles a selection of posts written both in January and February 2012; the second, posts written throughout March and April 2012!... Themeefy allows you to curate your blog contents in blogzines, which you can customize and edit the way that best fits your purposes!...

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Semana da Cor @PineTree

Let's get colourful, this week!...

Found picture at EBS/Pinheiro Website

This year's edition articulates with the meaning of the Olympic Games' colour rings. According to, "despite popular misconceptions there is no link between the ring colours and a specific continent. The colours simply came from those colours that appeared on all the national flags of the world at that time (1913). Therefore the five-ringed symbol represents the union of the five continents - Africa, the Americas (North and South America are combined), Asia, Europe and Oceania - and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin conceived both the symbol and the flag. Not coincidentally, Coubertin was the founder of the modern Olympic Movement." 

So, besides colourful, let's get Olympic this week: on monday, be blue; on tuesday, yellow; on wednesday, black; on thursday, green; and on friday, red! And, above all, let's be 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', which is Latin for 'Faster, Higher, Stronger', not only during this week but also throughout the whole year!

   photo credit: kk+ via photo pin cc
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Arte nos Pés @PineTree

Friday, May 25, 2012

Six months blogging...

137 posts
20 761 total page views

T@PT is a journal, a daily record of occurrences, experiences and observations... 
Here, I write about Teachers, Students, Schoolmates, and my School... I also write about the English language, ELT tips, and web 2.0 tools, the world wide web, and social networks... British & American traditions, world events, celebrations, and curiosities; humanitarian causes, as well as environmental issues; books and reading, motivational quotes, and inspirational people; last but not least, HUMOUR! In order to keep you on track, I have inserted an INDEX BAR at the top of the page so that you can easily find the topics that fit your purpose the best, besides the BLOG ARCHIVE on the righ side bar, and the SEARCH THIS BLOG button.

When I began writing I didn't quite know which direction I was heading to... Six months later I realise it's hard not to write on a daily basis (except for the weekend) as it has been very therapeutical to me!... This has been my inner motivation, along with some fantastic students and schoolmates that make my school day a better day, nonetheless some greyish clouds!... It's been a while since I've felt this motivated!...

I'm very proud that students are part of my followers list. I not only write for or about Teachers, but also for and about Students! Actually, they feel they are part of this project, which explains why they follow, read and comment some of my posts!... In addition to, the right side bar has some links that lead them to useful learning tools, such as monolingual dictionaries and a grammar online

The RIGHT SIDE BAR is constantly updated with quotes, cartoons, visual statements and events of the month. It also has two creations of mine: a word cloud powered by TAGUL, which summarizes what T@PT is all about, and a 'Keep Calm and...' poster, powered by Keep Calm-o-matic, that invites everyone to join this site!...

T@PT is in constant change. You should expect novelties at any time!... Make sure you don't miss them!... The latest one is that you can see what I'm following on TWITTER, and eventually join the conversation! Overall, I hope you continue to follow T@PT and consider your time reading this blog enjoyable!... Your comments are more than welcome and very precious to me, as they make me think over whether this blog is a project with a future, or not!... THANK YOU!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

What teachers make...

Another kinetic typography poem by Taylor Mali...

screenshot of the video below

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Thank a Teacher Today

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

If I weren't a Teacher...

... I wouldn't be given APPLES!

I have already written about teachers being given apples when, once, a student asked me in class the reason why students used to offer their teachers that fruit. Two weeks ago, I was given an apple for the first in about eighteen years of teaching... Is this student an 'apple-polisher'? I am not a cynical, so, NO, definitely not!... Experience helps us to distinguish when a student is simply being nice to us, due to the relationship established in our classes, or when he is faking kindness... Anyway, as a result of this gesture, I decided to look up for more information on this matter, and I found some very interesting theories:

According to, "kids who really want good grades should consider giving their teachers Apple computers or iPods. If that's not possible, however, fruit remains a tasty option. Apples have a long history of greasing the wheels of education. Giving an apple to a teacher is also the origin for the term 'apple-polisher', which was first recorded in the late 1920s. Apple-polishers, also referred to as bootlickers or toadies (among other, even worse nicknames), aren't always favorably looked upon by other students. We suggest hanging onto the fruit, and using it to keep certain health professionals at bay." says that "people used to have apple trees in their yards right near the kids' walking past on their way to school. They got ripe about the time school starts. Once, in 5th grade, one girl brought a big, shiny red apple. Others followed suit, and it became a little joke. We polished them up good so they would be nice and shiny. We got the biggest ones we could find. First red ones and then someone brought a yellow one, or a green. We had them lined up on the edge of her desk. The teacher thanked us and said she was going to start making pies with them. Kids liked to get on their teacher's good side and at the beginning of the year, kind of a little bribe."

I must admit that the answer I found the most interesting was the one that follows:

"Why are apples associated with teachers? People commonly see the fruit as a symbol of variety, change and growth. It symbolizes change and variety because it comes in different colors such as green, yellow and red. Additionally, the fruit has various tastes like sweet, sour as well as tangy. Moreover, apple symbolizes growth since the strongest branch and grove of the plant sprout from the seeds of the fruit. However, people should know that without love or support, the fruit could become undesirable and bitterEducators serve as inspirations to students who want to enhance their understanding on different fields of studies. Teachers play important roles to the emotional, mental as well as physical growth of students. If educators do not receive support from other people like the parents of students and school administrators, there is a big chance that they will be unable to offer guidance to young people and children. Some people associate apples with teachers because of the special story in the Bible, which says that Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Even if apple is not stated or mentioned in the first book of the Old Testament, there are people who still believe that apple is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Since teachers offer knowledge to students, individuals associate apple with them."
In, (abridged and adapted)

photo credit: MrPhilDog via photo pin cc

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Apple a Day...

                                                                 ... does NOT keep the doctor away???

photo credit: Taboada Testa. via photo pin cc

'An Apple a Day Is Not Enough' is a powerful poem written and performed by Taylor Mali (a well-known spoken word artist and teacher) about the importance of health education. It's done in the style of kinetic typography. We must get the word out about the importance of health education and its ability to get USA's health back on track - but teachers can't do it alone. 
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Monday, May 21, 2012

London is getting ready...

Found picture at London Blog
... for the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen and the Olympic Games!

Marking 60 years of The Queen's reign, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will centre around an extended weekend in 2012 on 2, 3, 4 and 5 June. The Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1952 and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. London will host a series of national events as part of the celebrations, which means the city will be very busy over the extended weekend.

It's not probably the best time to walk your dogs on Oxford Street, even though that dress deserves a worldwide audicence!... For God sake, where can I buy me such an outfit?

As for the Olympic Games, London is more than ready. The Olympic Flame has just arrived in the UK. May 19th marked the moment the very proud David Beckham lit the first London 2012 Olympic Torch!... To know more about this moment, go to Olympic Torch Relay and take a look at some overwhelming photos about the event!...

Found picture at

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Friday, May 18, 2012

And the winner is...

Jaime Teixeira, 10thA - 19 LIKES

*2nd place -14 LIKES
Rafael Reis, 10thA 
Ana Beatriz Ferreira, 10thA
*3rd place -13 LIKES
Rafael Reis, 10thA

*4th place -12 LIKES
Daniel Martinho, Ana Rocha & Marcos Rocha, 10thB
Nuno Gomes, 10thB
*5th place -11 LIKES
Ângela Leite, 10thA

*6th place - 9 LIKES
André Sousa, 10thA
Nuno Gomes & Emanuel Leitão, 10thB
*7th place - 8 LIKES
Inês Moreira, 10thA

*8th place - 7 LIKES
Beatriz Leite, 10thA
João Vieira, 10thA
Inês Moreira, 10thA

*9th place - 6 LIKES
Carla, Bruno, Fábio & Luís, 10thB
*10th place - 4 LIKES
Rafael Reis, 10thA
Daniel Martinho, 10thB

*11th place - 3 LIKES
Emanuel Leitão, 10thB
*12th place - 2 LIKES
Carlos & Pedro, 10thB

Thank you all for participating!...
I hope you have enjoyed the experience!... Hopefully, you will be challenged more times, next year!...

*Names should be associated to the pictures from the left to the right

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Arte nos Pés @PineTree

Uma iniciativa do Grupo de EVT, num trabalho em conjunto com os alunos do 2º ciclo... Como será a nossa Escola, no próximo ano lectivo, sem a Arte destes DOCENTES??? 

 Bem no centro da Exposição, o merecido destaque
ao trabalho da recentemente perecida 
aluna do 5ºano, Ana Sofia...

Não ao AO90

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week was celebrated between 7th to 11th May, in the US!... According to Edudemic, «it shouldn't be a single week of the year. It should be every week. We're going to lobby the federal government to try and make this dream a reality (...)» However, instead of doing so, Edudemic decided to do, as they call it, «the next best thing!»... They created a fun printable graphic that has some of their favourite teacher-related quotes. Even though the list is quite long, it is filled with inspirational and insightful quips and quotes. If you want to download it, Edudemic allows you to grab the PDF version right here!... They just ask us to share it with our fellow teachers and administrators to remind everyone why WE do what we DO. Here are some screenshots of the banner:


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ad of the Day

The British Blog suggests using this ad as follows:
«The new TV ad for the Volkswagen Polo shows the evolving relationship of a protective father and his daughter, from the moment he first brings her home from the hospital to the day she finally leaves home, when he hands her the keys to a shiny new Polo, ensuring she "stays in safe hands". THE MESSAGE: You can trust the small but tough Volkswagen Polo to protect your loved ones and keep you safe. COMMENT: I defy any dads with teenage daughters to watch this ad without welling up (I know I did!). LESSON IDEA: Show ad to class. Stop it at 1:09 and ask them to guess the 'product'. Then ask them what they think the 'message' of the ad is. Finally, discuss the ways in which the ad manipulates the viewer's emotions.»
For those who enjoy the feeling of parenthood, you might agree with me how fantastic it is to watch them grow... as well as painful having to let them go!... The perfect resource to use on the International Day of Families, which, by the way, is celebrated today - May 15th!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

'Keep Calm and Carry On' Contest

©2012 CéuLeça powered
The students were challenged to write their own slogans, using the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' template. They were shown how to create their poster, by accessing THE KEEP-CALM-O-MATIC page. This page was made by Reincubate, a British technology and venturing company, and it allows anyone to create their own posters, by following three simple intuitive steps. If you're not satisfied with the outcome, you can edit the poster, until you get the result that pleases you the most. After having their posters done, students should send me the link, so that I can gather all the posters in an album on Facebook. Students can then vote on the one(s) they prefer. Who wins? The student(s) whose poster has the largest number of 'likes'. They are free to choose the topic of their slogan. They can also use any other graphics editing program , like 'photoshop' or 'paint', depending on their techie skills. They are more than allowed to use their imagination and creativity! Last, but not least, they are expected to mind the language! Having said this, may the competition begin!... 

You might like to read a previous post on this topic:
Keep Calm and Carry On

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Paul David Hewson's anniversary

found pic via Google Images Search
Paul David Hewson (born 10 May 1960), most commonly known by his stage name Bono, is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian. Main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2, Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where he met his future wife, Alison Stewart, and the future members of U2. Bono writes almost all U2 lyrics, often using political, social, and religious themes. During their early years, Bono's lyrics contributed to U2's rebellious and spiritual tone. As the band matured, his lyrics became inspired more by personal experiences shared with members of U2.
Outside the band, he has collaborated and recorded with numerous artists, sits on the board of Elevation Partners, and has refurbished and owns The Clarence Hotel in Dublin with The Edge. Bono is also widely known for his activism concerning Africa, for which he co-founded DATAEDUN, the ONE Campaign and Product Red. He has organised and played in several benefit concerts and has met with influential politicians. Bono has been praised and criticised for his activism and involvement with U2. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, and was named as a Person of the Year 2005, together with Bill Gates and his wife, by Time, among other awards and nominations. With wealth accumulated from his musical career and outside investments, Bono ranks as the world's richest entertainer.
In, Wikipedia (abridged and adapted)
For more information, go to @U2

As a huge fan of this band and an admirer of Bono's engagement against the world's poverty, I sometimes use both U2's lyrics and videos about Bono's campaigns, in class. The video below shows Bono's commitment in other areas beyond the world's poverty. 'Miss Sarajevo' is a song about the underground resistance movement, back in the war of Sarajevo (1992-1995). The American journalist Bill Carter suggested Bono the idea of filming a documentary about that movement. Not only did Bono produce the film, he also provided the funds needed to support the project. I used this video in a 10th form class about 15 years ago!!! This year, I have used the F-Word video in a 10th form class, as well. Bono and the U2 are part of my Teaching Timeline!... 

'Miss Sarajevo'from the 1995 album Original Soundtracks

ONE's new film 'The F Word': Famine is the Real Obscenity 
Person of theYear 2005, together with Bill and Melinda Gates
Found pic @ TIME Specials

Bono holds his honorary knighthood at the British ambassador's
official residence - March 2007   Photo: Reuters
Congratulations, Bono, for your 52th anniversary!... Amazingly, my eldest daughter was born 40 years later, on this same day: May 10th!... What a fantastic coincidence!...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Homework Assignments that Work

According Busy Teacher...
«Most teachers agree that homework assignments are an absolute must in an ESL course. But ESL students, on the other hand, may disagree. Adult learners will argue that they have busy schedules and a life outside the classroom, which translates into “no time for homework”. Young learners and teens may come to terms with the fact that they have to do homework, but do we want them to do it because they are compelled to do it... or do we want them to do it because they are excited to do it? Which would you prefer? The only way to get young students excited about doing homework, and get adults to set aside some time for it, is through highly creative and thoroughly engaging homework assignments. And here are 5 examples: (1) A Word Book (2) Do My Research (3) In the News (4) Email Writing (5) Watch It

寫功課 by 4-6, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  4-6 

Another great way to get students actively engaged in their homework assignments is to ask them to come up with some ideas for creative assignments on their own and share them with the class.»
 (abridged and adapted)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I didn't do it

Found pic @ A Good Excuse Blog
'Why didn't you bring your textbook?', I asked.
'My dog ate it!', the student replied, giving me back that typical naughty smile, like if she was saying: 'Teacher, no hint of offence is intended; I know you have a lot of sense of humour, so I'm just trying to be funny'...

And she was right. Not about the dog having eaten her textbook, of course, but about me finding her excuse funny... She is one of my best students in that class, highly participative, as well as quite fluent in the American English accent... As some of my 9GAG fan students would say: 'True Story!'...

But now, it's time to plea for every poor dog's innocence, as we all know these lovely creatures didn't do it: either eating the textbooks, or more commonly, the HW!!! The text that follows was written by the A GOOD EXCUSE BLOG's author. I find it so funny and it matches this topic so perfectly that I couldn't help but sharing it with you. So, here it goes:

«Stop me if you've heard this one before; A teacher is sitting at his desk, talking to a student who failed to turn in their homework. The teacher says: “On Monday you said your homework blew away. On Tuesday you said your father accidentally took it to work with him. On Wednesday you said your little sister tore it up. On Thursday you said someone stole it. Today I asked you to bring your mom and dad to school with you so we can discuss this problem. Now where are your parents?” The student thinks a bit and then replies ”My dog ate them”.
I know what it’s like to not have your homework. I can think of plenty of times when I showed up to class completely unprepared. I always managed to come up with a good excuse for why I didn't have my homework. Amazingly enough, each one of the aforementioned “joke” excuses can be fine tuned to be a totally useful “real” excuse that you can use to tell your teacher next time they ask you where your homework is. Here are some great excuses for not turning in your homework: Homework Sucks: I was reviewing my homework answers this morning on the ride to school. The window rolled down on the freeway and it sucked my homework and some other papers out of the car/bus. None of His Business: I got a text message from my dad who said he accidentally took my homework with him to work this morning. Re-Purposed: My little brother used my homework on a paper mache’s recycling project for his 3rd grade class. I would bring it in to show you, but he had to bring it to his own class today. Back-Track-Pack: I accidentally left my backpack on the bus this morning. My mom called the bus company, who said they found it and I’ll be able to get it back today after school. Pet Peeve: My dog ate my homework, but he must not have liked it because he threw it up later. I would bring it in but it smelled terrible and I didn’t want to put it in my backpack.»

Why not challenge our students to be as well creative, and ask them to write the most original excuse(s) for not having returned their homework? I'm sure that when they find the topic appealing, they give their best!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Did you do the HW?


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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Mother's Day in UK

photo credits: windy_sydney via flickr
 UK holds the prestige of being the first country in the world to dedicate a special day for mothers, as early as 17th century. During that period, Roman and British Empire converted to Christianity and celebration of this day became a part of their Iiturgical calendar. Since then in UK, mother's day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in the month of Lent to honour Virgin Mary, unlike USwhere it is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Since the days of Lent are not fixed, the date for mother's day keeps on changing as well. However, the emotions remain the same. The feelings associated with the day are much alike those in the rest of the world: to express gratitude towards our mother. It is an opportunity for the children to let their mother know that she is special and loved and cared for. In the UK, the day is celebrated with lot of excitement and enthusiasm. Roses, carnations and chrysanthemums qualify as the most popular flowers on Mothers Day in Great Britain. The people of UK also follow the tradition of making a rich almond cake for their mother, on mother's day, which is often called 'Mothering Cake' or 'Simnel Cake'. UK people pay tribute to their mothers and honour their contribution in their life. They let their mother know that she is very special and holds a very important place in their lives, which no one can replace. On Mothers Day, people go out for lunch or dinner and pamper their mothers by doing all the household tasks themselves. They even go for a picnic or resort for relaxation. Mother's Day / Mothering Sunday was celebrated on March 18th this year and it will be celebrated on March 10th, next year. In Portugal, Mother's Day is always celebrated on the first Sunday of May.

In, (abridged an slightly adapted)

And now, a special treat to all MOMS...

"A mother's heart is a patchwork of love."
Read more

Friday, May 04, 2012

Dad joined FB...

Found it at English Language Learners - FB page

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Facebook your students - part II

Students are also allowed to publish on my wall... as long as they respect the rules that I have established. They are also asked to preferably write or post anything labelled in English!... That's what that page is about: reading, writing, commenting, hitting 'like', and even laughing, in English... As some kind of a reminder, it can be read in my page that 'Céu is now using Facebook in English (US)'.
The following screenshots ilustrate posts published by students of two different 10th form classes, which show that some of the things we do or talk about in class end up in my wall. Take a look:

                           found pic @ ELL (FB page)

Last, but not the least, I enjoyed reading the conversation between four students when I published this picture. These were some of the answers: 'Step 5 in math; but in the end I did it correctly, so step 8.' Another added: 'Step 3 - I'm studying Physics and Chemistry.' A third student joins the conversation and says: 'Step 7; I will do it someday!' Later on, a fourth student says with a smile: 'Step 8, everyday!' 

I simply find this conversation DELICIOUS!!!...
Tomorrow, last entry on FACEBOOK (the theme chosen for this week's posts): a cartoon!

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Facebook your students!...

I read, some time ago, in an article about Technology and Teaching, that teachers shouldn't ignore resources such as the social networks in their everyday classes, as they might be a magnificent tool to grab their students' attention! That paragraph made rethink a rule that I had established for my personal FB profile: do not accept students on my list of 'friends'. 'Why?', students often asked me, whenever I rejected their 'friendship' requests... 'Don't take it personal', I always told them!... 'It's just a rule that I have for my personal FB profile!...' 
As I didn't want to break that rule, but I had found the idea of using Facebook to allure students to the English language outside the classroom quite appealing, I decided to create another profile on the FB, exclusively for students!... Both present and former students!... Having set the rules for this new profile, and I quote: «This profile is meant for both my present and former students! Please do not spam this place with game applications' requests, as they won't be considered! Nor write any comments I feel are inappropriate, as they will be deleted!... Thank You!... Having said this, let's have some fun in ENGLISH!...», I therefore started accepting my students' requests, and I can assure you it's been worthwhile!... Not only because they have respected the rules, so far, but also because I have come across with 'long time no see' former students. In addition to that, most of the students use the English language to communicate with me, outside the classroom!... Those who don't feel so confident with their language skills, hit a 'like' in many of the posts, which is okay, nonetheless, as it means they have read it and enjoyed it... in English!...
I post cartoons, funny pictures, videos, commercials, visual inspirational statements, and redirect T@PT's posts to my wall, as a way of suggesting them a visit to my blog and thus have contact with lots of stuff in English which might be interesting for them!
I was once thrilled when a student of mine used the word 'resemble' in one of her comments on a cartoon about Titanic!... I had used that same word in class that morning, and they told me it was a new word for them... So, the fact that she used that new word properly, in a different context, made me realize that my major purpose was being accomplished: students are consolidating and improving their language skills in a very 'natural' and spontaneous way!... The screenshot below illustrates this situation. The other screenshot portrays a moment of fun between two girls of a 10th form class, discussing how much they are enjoying practising the British accent... 
These are just two examples of how Facebook can help you create a communicative environment outside and inside the classroom, as the next day we have our lesson, they want to talk about their comments and how funny they think a certain cartoon is and... 'You know, Teacher, that cartoon... ' Sometimes it takes a little time to start the lesson, or I might be interrupted because a certain idea we're discussing brigngs back something else published either on the FB page or on the blog... Well, I once read: 'Keep calm and pretend it's on the lesson plan!...' Our aim is to make them talk and think; not what to talk nor what to think!...

I told the students about my intention of writing a post about this topic and asked their consent for publishing these dialogues, which they gladly accepted!...