Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

photo credit: danielmoyle via photopin cc
2013 was a great year with memorable moments, both professionally and personally! Let's hope for more of those in the almost new born 2014! May we have the resilience to overcome all the obstacles, and never forget that 'every dark cloud has a silver lining'! I now finish this post with 'Happy', a song by Pharrell Williams that says a lot about the importance of pursuing happiness: 'Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof', 'Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth', 'Clap along if you know what happiness is to you', 'Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do (...)'.  HAPPY 2014!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review

As 2013 approaches its end, here follows two videos that portray some of this year's most remarkable events: the traditional Google Zeitgeist and Jib Jab:

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Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Person and International Word of the Year

2013 is nearly over and I wouldn't like to finish this year's posts without mentioning two events that usually strike my attention: the election of the 'Person of the Year' by Time Magazine, and 'The International Word of the Year' by the Oxford Dictionaries.

'Pope Francis has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2013. Pope Francis, who gained world praise in 2013, became the first Jesuit pope in March 2013 following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Time's managing editor Nancy Gibbs explained the magazine's choice, calling the Pope 'a new voice of conscience. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time, about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power,' she said. 'When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.' Read the full article HERE. As usual, cartoonists portray these venues in a very hilarious catchy way.
A cartoon by Randy Bish
'On November 19th, 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries announced SELFIE as the international Word of the Year 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year.' You might like to continue reading HERE. TIME Magazine also presented an article on this matter, entitled: Word of the Year 2013 - Twerk was robbed!'

As for me, 'selfie' is the well deserved winner of this title, due to its popularity in the social web. James Franco discloses 'The meanings of Selfie' in a fantastic opinion article for The New York Times: «We all have different reasons for posting them, but, in the end, selfies are avatars, mini-Me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, 'Hello, this is me.'» Read the full article HERE. Selfies have become so popular that every celebrity takes and posts lots of them either on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. But what were this year's most viral selfies? The first ever 'Papal selfie' and the 'Obama selfie incident' at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, respectively.

Pope Francis has his picture taken inside St. Peter's Basilica with youths from the
Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio. Photo: AP
Michelle Obama looks away as (L-R) British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and US President Barack Obama take a selfie
 Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP
The phenomenon has become so intense that even Nativity scenes haven't escaped the 'selfie' craze.
A cartoon by Blower for Daily Telegraph
As a 'selfie' practitioner, I love this topic! I think these self portrays are a very funny amusing way of taking pictures, either of yourself, your family and friends, and even your pets! I take loads of them, and I can assure you those 'selfies' taken with the ones I love are moments/memories that I dearly treasure! Having said this, I hope you have had a Merry Little Christmas, and that you were on Santa's good list!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Joy to the world

Time for a short break to enjoy the holidays season! Merry Chrismas to you all!... I shall be back before the end of the year for a couple of posts about 2013!...

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Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Xmas Dinner @PineTree

To all my PineTree mates, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Robbie Williams tries to sing White Christmas

On this TV show, Robbie Williams, the once known as 'l'enfant terrible' of the former boys band, Take That, tries to sing 'Dreaming of a White Christmas' with Ant & Dec! It was a very amusing moment! I believe they all had a great time!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Three Wise Women

Due to the Christmas season, school ends tomorrow for a three week break! Students are happy but teachers still have a lot of paperwork until friday! So, to light things up, I will be publishing funny stuff about Christmas, so that I can keep up with this week's tough agenda!
Picture via Pro.T - Professional Development
Conferencefor English Teachers
(FB page)
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday 13th...

photo credit: Nebojsa Mladjenovic
via photopin cc
The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. It seems their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there will be two such occurrences in 2013, exactly 13 weeks apart) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date. Exactly how old this superstition is, it is difficult to say, because determining the origins of superstitions is an inexact science, at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork. Read full article HERE
Source: Urban Legends (abridged and adapted)

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Resources via Thinglink

This year, I've decided to gather some of last year's posts about Christmas resources, as well as 2011's, and some new ones on this THINGLINK. I hope you like it! Feel free to use it if you consider it's of worth value for your calsses!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saint Peter & Nelson Mandela

To finish this series of posts about Nelson Mandela, I now share with you a cartoon I came across at the English Blog. As usual, the cartoon is followed by some useful information, in case you want to use it in class.

Image credits: Chappatte
When a soul arrives at the gates of heaven, Saint Peter, the gatekeeper, will look through the Book of Life. If your name is in the Book of Life, you may enter.
This cartoon by Chappatte from Le Temps, Geneva shows Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Attached to the railings behind is a picture of him with a smiling Nelson Mandela, who has signed the picture.
Nelson Mandela has died and gone to heaven. We are meant to assume that since Mandela was such a special person, Saint Peter wanted to have a souvenir photograph taken with him, just like members of the public do with celebrities.
In art (and cartoons), St Peter is usually depicted as a white-haired, bearded man in a blue robe, often holding a key or keys, which refer to Matthew 16:19. Following on from this, many paintings and literary accounts of Heaven show him stationed at the gate. There are traditionally two keys, one gold and one silver, representing the two conditions necessary for salvation: the silver key represents repentance, which comes from the person concerned; and the gold key represents forgiveness, which comes from God. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Forgiveness - a lesson tip

When I first saw this cartoon, I immediately thought I could use it in class. Bearing in mind my students' knowledge on Nelson Mandela's life, I would ask them what other words they would write under his footsteps. I know I would be delighted with their answers. The lesson would continue from that point, according to their thoughts and ideas. We could then write their suggestions on the board, and later on padlet, thus creating a memorial, a tribute to Madiba's life.

A cartoon by Rick McKee for The Cagle Post Cartoons
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Monday, December 09, 2013

Lessons from Nelson Mandela

Helena Aguilar presents for Edutopia 'Lessons from Nelson Mandela's Life and Legacy'. In THIS article, she highlights his compassion, courage and commitment, and suggests bucking her lesson plans for next week and teach a mini-unit on Mandela. She hopes she'd make the decision to teach what feels like an invaluable lesson on a rare and phenomenal human being, and, I quote, "(...) to honor his life, and memory, to teach our children about courage and commitment and the kind of leadership that transforms. This is far more than a 'teachable moment' for our children: it's also one for us, as educators; it's a moment when we can reflect on our core values and the struggles for justice and equality within our own field of work."

Image credits: venspired.com
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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting

Since 1947 the people of Norway have provided London with a tree out of gratitude for the support Britain gave the country in World War II. This year the annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in Trafalgar Square on 5 December at 9 pm. Decorated in traditional Norwegian style with hundreds of white lights, the lighting of the tree helps mark the start of the festive season in the capital. The tree provides a focal point for the Christmas Carol singing programme which runs from nine to 21 December and will remain in Trafalgar Square until early January 2014.
In visitlondon.com (adapted)

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree from last year (Westminster Council)
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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013

Alex Fitzpatrick wrote for TIME Magazine: 
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree All Lit Up for the Holidays. 
The world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit during a ceremony in New York City this Wednesday night. This year’s tree, a 75-year-old Norway spruce, is illuminated by 45,000 rainbow LEDs and features a 550 lbs., 9.5-foot-wide Swarovski crystal star on top. That’s just a bit more impressive than Rockefeller Center’s first Christmas tree, a 40-footer with a measly 700 lights.
The tree-lighting ceremony, which draws thousands of spectators to the Rockefeller Center each year, featured live performances from Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and other artists.

Image credits: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Another view from social media manager and photographer Anthony Quintano is also reported on the article.

Image Credits: Anthony Quintano  
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2013

John Lewis this year's TV advert tells the delightful animated story of Bear and his faithful friend Hare. Set in a beautiful forest, poor Bear is the only animal that never gets to celebrate Christmas because he has to hibernate every year. However, this year is different. This year Hare has a brilliant idea. The commercial uses a unique animation style that combines traditional 2D hand-drawn animation, stop frame, and 3D model made sets.The story is set to a cover of Keane's 'Somewhere Only We Know' performed by Lily Allen. Source: Youtube (adapted)
If you want to know more about John Lewis and this video, click HERE.

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Monday, December 02, 2013

About Generosity and Giving back

Following-up the spirit of Thanksgiving, here follows a selection of ten videos entitled 'Random Acts of Kindness and Generosity. Amy Erin Borovoy, a contributor for Edutopia, wrote: 'Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for reflecting on the things you're grateful for, and it's a known fact that practicing gratitude is a valuable tool for building character. Some say the other key to the pursuit of happiness is gratitude's counterpart, generosity. So I thought I'd kick off the season of giving by shining a little spotlight on simple acts of kindness that can have a huge impact: I've gathered ten videos about people giving back, paying it forward, and helping others -- to inspire us all to do the same this holiday season and all year long.' (In Edutopia, November 22, 2013)
You can either watch the video playlist HERE, or view it on YouTube. The following is a random example of the selected videos.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday and the Presidential Thanksgiving Pardon

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving Day in the USA and falls on the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November. It is a busy shopping day and is a holiday in some states. Many people have a day off work or choose to take a day from their quota of annual leave on Black Friday. Some people use this to make trips to see family members or friends who live in other areas or to go on vacation. Others use it to start shopping for the Christmas season. Many stores have special offers and lower their prices on some goods, such as toys.
Image credits: Harshal Desai, via Flickr
Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days in the USA. There are two popular theories as to why the day after Thanksgiving Day is called Black Friday. One theory is that the wheels of vehicles in heavy traffic on the day after Thanksgiving Day left many black markings on the road surface, leading to the term Black Friday. The other theory is that the term Black Friday comes from an old way of recording business accounts. Losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, started making profits prior to Christmas. Many hoped to start showing a profit, marked in black ink, on the day after Thanksgiving Day.
In TimeAndDate (adapted and abridged)

The Presidency, Barack Obama said at the White House Wednesday, has 'many awesome and solemn responsibilities.' 'This is not one of them,' he added. The tradition of the President pardoning a turkey around Thanksgiving is probably America’s silliest tradition, and has only grown more cartoonish over time. The National Turkey Federation has donated two turkeys to the White House every year since 1947, according to the Washington Post, and Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower ate their birds. Now the pardoned turkeys are given names - 'Caramel' and 'Popcorn' this year - with their height, weight, walk ('steady and deliberate' and 'proud strut') and favorite song dutifully documented on the White House website. Caramel bobs to 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga; Popcorn prefers 'Halo' by Beyoncé. Read more HERE.
In TIME Magazine (abridged)
Image credits: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

What are you thankful for?

I am thankful that I haven't lost my sense of humour and my ability to believe things can be better, nonetheless the heavy cloud that has been darkening the Portuguese Education System (whatever that might be) for the past few long years... I'm thankful that I can still smile, not only because I have teeth, but mainly because it's the most powerful weapon to knock down those roller coaster-like days! Yep! I've just had a bad day!... However, today is Thanksgiving Day! Therefore, I'm grateful that I have had the chance to overcome a dreadful day like yesterday and feel the spirit of gratitude today! And I am grateful for my life! I definitely am! How about you?

Picture via Google Images
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Essential Thanksgiving

What about cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for your family the American way? Julia Moskin and Melissa Clark suggest you a guide for the American most important meal, with their best recipes, techniques and tricks. In the article posted at The New York Times, they also present videos so that you have no doubts on how to prepare the feast on your own. From the turkey, to gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, something orange, green and snappy vegetables and the scrumptious pies. In case you want to share some of these videos with your students, it's a great opportunity to teach vocabulary in context. You can read about these fantastic tips HERE.

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's been two years...

... since I started this blogging experiment! I still have a lot to learn and a lot to write before I could call myself 'a blogger'! My first post, the title of which was 'I teach! What's your super power?'  was written precisely two years ago. To mark the date, one year later, I wrote 'T@PT is one year old', and offered my readers a (virtual) piece of cake. This time, I present you a poster by an educator whose blog I follow: Krissy Venosdale and her inspiring Venspired.com. I hope I continue to deserve some of your attention! T@PT project is only of worth value if you are still there! Thank you! (By the way, here follows a SLIDESHOW that explains 7 ways to say Thank You!)

Poster created by Krissy Venosdale
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Lesson tips for Thanksgiving

The blogger Richard Byrne suggests you to create a wall of thanks on padlet. Richard says: 'Padlet is a great little tool for quickly gathering comments from students in response to prompts that you give to them. As I thought about (American) Thanksgiving this evening I developed a few ideas for incorporating Padlet into a Thanksgiving activity for elementary school students.' He explains his ideas in three steps and at the end presents a video in which he demonstrates how to create a padlet to use in classroom. Read more at Free Technology for Teachers.
Another suggestion 'A time for thanks' comes from animoto. Express your gratitude with a video that shows more than you could say with words, as shown in THIS sample.

photo credit: Sugar Daze via photopin cc
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Don't destroy my dream!

'If reality can destroy a dream, why can't a dream destroy reality?'
You can dream all the time, you can create your own world to live there because your reality it´s scary.
When you are young you live in a dream, but one day that dream end, you will wake up in the morning and understand that you lose everything that you have. Wake up and someone screaming and crying that the people you love is dead, someone you love just walk away from your life and will never coming back. You just watch, you cannot do nothing about that.
You put all your heart and soul in there and when you wake up that life dream is over, your reality is dead…
You lost your sky, your stars and your moon … you feel blind, tired, sick and then you create a world when everything is possible.
A world when you’re happy, a world when you can live with the people you love where you’re the king and second chances exist.
Sometimes you feel alone in a room full of people, feel like your place isn’t there so you travel for that world in your mind just to be happy again.

So keep your reality away from me, I don’t want you to destroy my dream….

photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc
You might like to read other texts by this student at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Schoolyard bullying in the workplace

HuffPost presents an impressive video entitled: 'This May Be The Most Powerful Anti-Bullying Video We've Ever Seen'. Another perspective of the suffering and cruelty of bullying! Read the article HERE.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Will you teach me?

Following yesterday's article about the Anti-Bullying Week, here goes an emotional video you might like to consider using in your classes!...

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Anti-Bullying Week

'Bullying can be verbal harassment, physical assault, 
or other more subtle methods of coercion, such as manipulation.' 

Anti-Bullying Week is about promoting positive anti-bullying messages. Anti-Bullying Week is the 18-22 November 2013. Remember that bullying prevention and awareness should be taught throughout the year. Many great organisations out there are delivering creative anti-bullying programmes throughout Anti Bullying Week and beyond. Get involved, make a difference. If you want to know more about this topic, go to Anti Bullying Week.

Image credits: Ben Torode via FlickrCC
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Giving them a purpose

When I first saw this image, I thought of all the students that claim they don't like school, and are often labelled as demotivated. Vicki Zakrzewski wrote an insteresting article about student engagement, entitled 'Put the Awe Back in "Awesome" - Helping Students Develop Purpose'. I believe you might like to spend some time reading it HERE.

Image via Edutopia, FB page
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The story coaster

Following up yesterday's post, I now present you another creation of Grant Snider, via EdudemicKatie Lepi in the very same article says: 'We think the story coaster below is an excellent visualization of the different parts of a plot and storytelling. Personally, I think it is a huge upgrade from the typical flat line - spike - flat line visual that I knew from my high school days. It touches on all of the elements of plot in a fun way that will be easy for your students to understand. Don’t forget to share this awesome graphic with your colleagues!' (Full view HERE)

Image credits: Grant Snider
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Monday, November 11, 2013

20 facts about Hallowe'en

Even though Hallowe'en is over, and we're heading fast towards the next as well famous American tradition -Thanksgiving- I came across this infographic about '20 things you probably didn't know about Hallowe'en' and thought it might be an interesting resource to share. Who knows? You might find it useful for your next year's lesson planning about this horrific celebration, which is spreading all over our country, especially among youngsters. The article was written by Katie Lepi and published at Edudemic. The infographic that follows was created by jayjaypowpow, via Daily Infographic.

Click HERE to view the whole infographic and full size
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Understanding music in English

Needless to say how vast the repertoire of music you can use in class is, and what you can do with it!... Language learning is definitely one of the things you can do through music! Philochko suggests these titles of three popular songs amongst students to explain the meaning of some American English expressions!

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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Are you a phubber?

This is an amazing video about how a new word - PHUBBER - was created. Another engaging resource to use in 10th form classes whislt lecturing the unit LANGUAGES. It's curious that if you try to look up this word in dictionaries, such as Dictionary.com or the Urban Dictionary , you won't find it there yet! Thank you once more, Manuela Pereira, for sharing this new word with me! I sadly must admit that I am a phubber! Even though occasionally!

Ad by the way, did you know Dr. Seuss invented the word NERD? Discover nine novel English neologisms and their authors by watching THIS slideshow. I was flabbergasted!

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Bonfire Night - ESL resources

November 5th 2005 marks the 400th anniversary of the famous Gunpowder Plot when Guy Fawkes and his conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. Bonfire Night is celebrated throughout Britain on the evening of the 5th of November with firework displays. (Source: British Council - BBC). You can find both tips and classroom materials in this page.
ESOL Courses also offers you a vast list of vocabulary, exercises and worksheets for you to bring this topic to life in class. And don't forget, better, do remember: 

Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Are two languages better than one?

Larry Ferlazzo presents THIS infographic in his blog about either being monolingual or bilingual. I think this is an interesting tool to use in 10th form classes in the topic LANGUAGES. View full size HERE.

Infographic created at Visual.ly
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Friday, November 01, 2013

The history of Hallowe'en

This week, we have exceptionally two entries at The Students' Corner. This time, and for the first time, Catarina Rocha, Patrícia Moura and Patríca Ferreira, both 11thA students, wrote a text about Hallowe'en. I hope all of you have enjoyed this Anglo-saxon tradition last night! Hallowe'en is becoming very popular in Portugal, especially among students. I think English language Teachers are to blame for that! Guilty!

Halloween is traditional and cultural event, usually celebrated by English speaking countries on 31st October. This epoch had its origin in old peoples of Britain and Ireland wh0o believed that on the eve of All Saints Day, the spirits were returning home. As between the sunset of October 31 and the first day of November took place the so called "holy night" (hallow evening), it is thought that it was this factor that led to the current name of the celebration - Halloween. Little by little, the celebration became public, and on the night of October 31st, many rituals and games began to be practised: people wearing costumes allusive to Halloween and leave their homes at night to ask for candy from house to house, saying 'trick or treat'. If they receive candies, people go away and don't play tricks on the home owners. Otherwise, the trick will have to be made, according to the tradition. The habitual treat is tossing toilet paper, eggs and flour. Children and adolescents are the ones that normally participate the most in this 'adventure'. 
Halloween has a traditional sweet which is caramelized apple. In Ireland and Scotland there is a tradition to sculpt a turnip lantern, while in North America people use pumpkins, as they are larger and easier to carve. For the same reason, Portugal also follows this tradition of carving pumpkins. The famous lit pumpkins with candles, are called "jack-o-lantern" and are not seen in the house by chance. They are there with a purpose - to scare off evil spirits. Other elements present in Halloween are witches, owls, crows, spiders, demons, ghosts, black cats, cemeteries, haunted houses, werewolves, bats, death, vampires, the living dead. 
Halloween is one of the perfect times to decorate the houses, as it is a festive "scary"season! When decorating the houses, people are usually inspired by the autumn colors, such as yellow, brown, orange and, of course, black is also one of the typical colors of this festive season! We simply can not miss it!

photo credit: jah~ via photopin cc
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Hallowe'en!!!

Wishing you a frightfully happy Hallowe'en!!! 
What better way to do thay other than THIS e-card
Just click on its images along the way and be spooked!!!
I also suggest you one of my favourite e-cards service: www.hellocrazy.com

Halloween bento box
  Image credits: Maki via Flickr CC

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More Hallowe'en resources

Teaching English - British Council suggests these activities for Hallowe'en. I think the second one has inspired me to go to the kitchen and cook those snacks myself for a family party: All you need to know about Halloween and Halloween party snacks, each of them followed by worksheets and downloads.

Halloween Cupcakes
Image credits: Catherine via Flickr CC

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hallowe'en resources

Free ESL Topics Printables
It's a couple of days until Halloween. If you are looking for some topical activities for your students, you might like to check out these comprehensive collection of Halloween lessons (suitable for all levels) at ESOL COURSES. I particularly like the section Hallowe'en songs for adults and kids. I'm pretty sure I'll use This is Hallowe'en, by Marylin Manson - Prepositions gap fill in one of my classes, as well as The History of Hallowe'en - Questions Worksheet (listening activity).

ESLTopics.com helps you making teaching fun with its free and easy-to-use printable handouts. Scroll down the 'Lesson Plans' folder and download a 2 to 3 hour lesson (8 activity pages + Answer Key). It's a free, printable-quality PDF file.

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