Monthly Archives: January 2011

PowerPoints are a fantastic way to capture your student's attention.

I love using PowerPoints in the classroom. Once you get the hang of it, you can knock them out fairly quickly. You can jazz it up with pictures, media and audio too. Also, there are lots of free PowerPoint templates that you can download to keep things interesting. (I’ll post more on that subject later.)

If using PowerPoints in the classroom seems like an overwhelming task then please read this article by Don L. Fisher and put your mind at ease. Also, I found this tutorial that will walk you through the process.

Now back to the topic at hand, there are loads of great free PowerPoints all over the internet. The problem arises when you are looking for a specialized topic, but if you are looking for general ESL PowerPoints then there are plenty to choose from.

Below are a few sites that offer free PowerPoints on general ESL topics:

Check out the links below, especially if you are looking for something specific in the content area:

And finally, click here for some really creative ideas for getting the students involved using PowerPoint presentations in the classroom.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic that you can use to spice up your English class around Christmas time.

Here are a few ideas that you can use to get everyone in a Grinchy mood at Christmas time:

  • Read How The Grinch Stole Christmas aloud to the class, be sure to use before, during and after reading activities.
  • Turn one of those days after the exams into a movie day. Show the movie (for the older students) or show the old Chuck Jones cartoon version (for the primary students) complete with popcorn and refreshments.
  • After viewing the movies, hold a trivia contest using this Grinch quiz (scroll down for the answers.)
  • If you have to put a Christmas production together, you can take a short snippet of the original Chuck Jones cartoon and have the kids read the script while the audience watches the cartoon on screen.
  • Click here for a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas Reader’s Theater script that the students can read after they have read the book, watched the movie, and played the trivia game.

Click here for links to Dr. Seuss videos.

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The Gingerbread Man isn't just for Christmas anymore!

I wrote a Reader’s Theater for my class a few years back because I was fed up with prospect of having to pay for a decent Reader’s Theater script. With that being said,  I’m willing to pass the script on to you at no charge. Just remember, that it is copyrighted by me, so you can’t republish it under your name.  Besides why bother? It’s free to use in your classroom or school production. Just make sure to mention my name somewhere on the script and/or program.

I have two options to choose from, a Powerpoint and a PDF document:

Cast of Characters:

  • GB – Gingerbread Man
  • N1 – Narrator 1
  • N2 – Narrator 2
  • N3 – Narrator 3
  • G1 – Grandmother
  • G2 – Grandfather
  • MM – Milk Maid
  • Goose
  • Dalmatian
  • Fox

I taped a classroom production of it back in 2008 and posted it on Click here if you would like to view it.

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Chinese New Year is a happy time of year. Why not get the kids excited about it with these fun filled of activities?

It’s my first Chinese New Year in China. Yippie!

Back home in The States, I usually celebrated the Lunar New Year with my Chinese friends. There was always a big celebration at the local university with lots of entertainment and yummy food.

Below, I have compiled a list of resources you can use in your classroom to help get the kids excited about Chinese New Year too:

Additional resources:

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The activities are built right into the PowerPoint. Bring some some extra paper along so you can create the menus and make sure the kids bring their notebooks and crayons with them too.

This year our Winter camp will be held in another building far away from the new campus, so we don’t have access to a copier. Fortunately, we will bring the LED projectors with us, so I decided to put everything on PowerPoints, instead of handouts.

Below are the three PowerPoints I used for camp. They don’t have to be exclusively used for Winter camp. Take a look at them and see if they could be useful to you…

Winter Camp 1.1 – This PowerPoint reviews when to use before and after, ordering food, descriptive food words and a few conversational activities that can also be used as writing assignments. I’ve thrown in a creative writing assignment too. The kids have to create their own menus. I’ve provided a sample Mexican menu on one of the slides, but you will have to search for your own Italian menu or use Luigi’s Italian menu instead. After the menus are done, they take turns placing their order. While one pretends to be the waiter, the other one places their order.

Winter Camp 1.2- This PowerPoint has lots of grammar and conversation exercises, as well as, a classroom survey. Everything is built right into the presentation. All the students need is a piece of paper, a pencil and an eraser.

Winter Camp 1.3- This short PowerPoint reviews some simple grammar and requires the student to identify several activities within a paragraph.

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Dr Seuss' birthday is a great way to promote reading English books.

In March, I plan on getting the primary school excited about reading English books by hosting Dr. Seuss’ Birthday party. I believe Dr. Seuss’ real birthday in on March 3rd, but you could throw a birthday party anytime in March. has some fantastic ideas for how to host a Dr. Seuss party, birthday party ideas, and birthday party project activities.

ehow also has suggestions on how to make homemade Dr. Seuss costumes, Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes, and a Cat in the Hat costume. Of course, no proper Dr. Seuss birthday party would be complete with out the famous Cat-in-the Hat hat. is a fantastic resource for all things Dr. Seuss.

More ehow resources to make your party a sucess:

Additional resources to use in the classroom:

Here are some ideas to promote Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the love of reading using Dr. Seuss’ quotes:

  1. Assign quotes to the students and then hold a poster contest. Pick the best illustrated posters to prominently display on the bulletin board and all around campus.
  2. Take the quotes to a sign maker and have them create colorful banners that can be reused.

Quotable Dr. Seuss quotes:

The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

- Dr. Seuss

“A person’s a person, no matter how small. “- Dr. Seuss

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
- Dr Seuss

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.”
- Dr. Seuss

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, me thinks you can think up if only you try.”

- Dr. Seuss

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter don’t mind.”

- Dr Seuss

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
- Dr. Seuss

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
- Dr Seuss

“You are you. Now isn’t that pleasant?”
- Dr Seuss

Click here for links to Dr. Seuss videos.

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Focusing on arctic animals is a delightful way to keep the kids interested when the weather turns cold.

Winter time is the best time to introduce arctic fun!

Below is just a sampling of all the polar bear stuff that I could find online:

You can take it a step farther by including arctic animals in your unit:

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Why not work a Winter theme into your curriculum this January?

Winter time is a fun time, especially when you use these resources to get you and your class through the winter doldrums.

Winter clothes worksheets has several free worksheets that can be printed out or saved. is a fantastic resource with loads and loads as free pdf worksheets. Here is the a short list of their winter worksheets: has a whole page devoted to Winter-time themes.

Laura Candler has a free Winter word sort activity that focuses on dictionary skills.

Winter word search

Winter booklets for emergent readers:

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Find out where fresh maple syrup comes from.

Teacher’s Pay Teachers has a free Winter thematic unit for emergent readers or a Winter syllable sort.  Just click the download button and save to your desktop. has a page devoted to the topic of Winter. Download the Winter clothes worksheet here and the Winter words alphabetical order worksheet.

Here is a short rundown of other Winter themed resources:

PBS has a boatload of Winter resources for those of you that teach middle school and high school:

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Happy New Years Everybody!

Start the kids off right with a New Years resolution activity with this cute Resolutions to Ring in the New Year printable. This is what I did, first I explained what a resolution is. Next, I modeled it for them and showed them my example. Since I live in China now, I used the following example, “I want to improve my Chinese.”  I put the sentence pattern on the board, “I want to improve my _______.” Each student was required to write the sentence (with the blank filled in) on the bell and draw colorful designs on it.

I followed it up with this cute little bear worksheet to reinforce sentence structure. On the drum, the students had to complete the sentence, “This year, I will…” using the two resolutions from the bells. For example, “This year, I will… improve my Chinese and English.

For more fabulous New Years printables, check out Activity Village’s New Years page, abcteach’s page, and apples4teacher’s page.

Mom’s Break has some nice resources, such as a New Year’s trivia printable and more.

Parent’s Magazine has some printable New Years Cards.

The Teacher’s Corner has a loads of New Years thematic paper with lines to choose from.

Throwing a New Years party? Check out these elegant printables over at Living Locurto. Or these classy looking party invitations over at Love The Day.

Suite101 has a whole page of printable New Years links and Kaboose has loads of crafts that you can do on a budget with the kids.

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