ACEnglishteacher

All things EFL… A collection of practical ideas, resources for the classroom and thoughts on EFL today

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Save time planning lessons with Google Docs

It’s that time of year again…almost but not quite there! In some respects these are the most difficult days to plan for.  There’s no new content to be taught, exams are over and students are waiting for their reports, daydreaming about the summer holidays…  Unfortunately whilst students are in mode “relax,”  teachers are definitely not! There’s still class and you’re running around like a headless chicken: correcting exams, writing reports, preparing resits and planning lessons!

Over the years, teachers build up a large bank of resources. My problem is that over these years as my memory has suffered the effects of ageing, remembering and retrieving this information has become increasingly difficult.  Around this time last year while juggling everything else and desperately trying to remember “that great activity” I had done at the end of the summer term the year before (yes my memory is that short) I had a bright idea.  Once again my old friend Google had a hand to play (I make no apologies for being a Google enthusiast, I know it knows everything about me, but it makes my life a whole lot easier…)

Anyone already familiar with my blog may know that I am a huge fan of maximising time. I want to do my job well, however, I also want enough free time to re-energise and avoid burn out! I believe by making small changes we can save huge amounts of time (minimising frustration and stress) without compromising the quality of our classes. This is one of the reasons I created the page Bright ideas to share some of these small changes which have made a difference. Continue reading


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Padlet, versatile and simple.

Ways to use PadletI have been using Padlet a lot recently.  What I like about it, is its versatility and simplicity.  For anyone who hasn’t used it before, Padlet is a digital canvas which works like a piece of blank paper where you can post text, links and upload images, video, audio, documents…

You can customise your canvas by changing the wallpaper (background) and the layout (free form, stream or grid.)  There are different privacy settings (useful when working with younger students), and the option to moderate posts before they appear on the canvas.  Padlet Backpack is a paid version which offers more control, privacy and extra security for schools.

I have only used group canvases that I have created in my own Padlet account, although students can create their own if they set up an account.  I then share the link or embed the canvas on the class wiki.  In this way students don’t need to log in and I have more control (a bonus if you aren’t using Padlet Backpack and working with teens!)

Ways I’ve used Padlet:

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5 ways to use “Wheel Decide”

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I first heard about Wheel Decide in a blog post on eltplanning.com.  A free online spinner tool that allows you to create your own digital wheels or use one of the many wheels which have already been created.  I have used it in all my classes since and it has gone down a storm.  There are so many ways you could use this in class but here are some which have worked for me. Continue reading