Posts Tagged ‘education’

‘Try something new for 30 days’- New Year’s Resolutions!

IMG_7309Happy New Year to all readers of this blog! May 2016 be a creative year full of health, love, travel and special moments to cherish!

For most of us, it’s time to get back to school and our busy routines. Admittedly, the first few days after a holiday break aren’t always easy for students or teachers. In order to make this transition smoother, I’ve decided to create a lesson plan based on Matt Cutts’ inspiring TED Talk about setting and achieving goals. This way I plan to familiarize my students with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions whilst helping them adjust before plunging back into our coursebooks.

Please click here to download the Student Activity Worksheet and the Teacher’s notes and answer key

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? I’ve decided to take Matt Cutt’s advice and start posting an image of a happy moment  to my Instagram account for the next 30 days. This way I’ll keep reminding myself that ‘Every day may not be good but there’s something good in every day’.’ 🙂 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog for more that is yet to come!

Best wishes,



The Edtech Experts’ Corner: 10 Qs with Dimitris Primalis









I’m really happy to kick off a new page on my blog called ‘The Edtech Experts’ Corner.’ Outstanding colleagues who have warmly embraced the use of technology in the EFL classroom will be answering 10 short Qs about educational technology. More specifically, they’ll be sharing practical teaching ideas, tried and tested tools as well as tips that can help us teachers stay informed in the fast changing world of learning technologies and teaching methodologies.

Today I’d like to present Dimitris Primalis, a colleague whom I respect and admire for his hard work and the innovative ways he uses new technologies in class. 

So here are Dimitris’ answers to my 10 Questions:

1.Technology has changed my teaching practise… in the sense that it has opened a window on the real world in an artificial classroom.

2. I use technology because…it motivates learners and accommodates different learning styles. It also allows me access to a plethora of material I can use in class.

3. A tool I would definitely recommend is…Microsoft Office Mix. Why? Because it allows screen capture (record what I am doing on my computer screen into a video that I can then share with my students).

4. 2 ways I use it… in a flipped classroom context are: A) I give students personalized feedback on the projects they have handed in or texts they have written. I email them the video and then they can watch it at their own time, as many times as they wish. B) I can easily record short presentations using video, sound and the PowerPoint slides as a blackboard. Students can access it through the school’s Learning Management System again and again.

5. Has technology made your life easier as a teacher?

In the past I had to carry cassettes, video tapes and the necessary equipment (cassette player, VCRs and TV) to the classroom whenever I wanted to give an alternative to students who were fed up with books. Now I can access all my digital access material, teaching resources provided by publishers or authentic material at the click of a mouse. This allows me to be flexible in class and respond to students’ needs on the spot.

6. A great website for learning English is…the British Council website for young learners:  It is full of creative and motivating activities for young learners in a safe environment without ads.

7. My favourite educational ios App is…Puppet Pals.

Why? Because it helps students develop their creativity by creating a virtual puppet show. In the process of making it, they practice script writing skills, communication skills and collaboration as they often work in pairs or in groups. The fact that they use virtual puppets lowers inhibition – just like when wearing a mask- and even shy learners, who would not dare speak in front of the class, practice their speaking skills. Learners often improvise using language in a witty way. The end product is exported into a video and can be easily shared with the rest of the class.

8. How do your students usually react to learning English with technology?

They love it!!! Their generation is being brought up in a high tech environment and they feel confident to use it. If used wisely, technology can act as a gateway to learning because students feel familiar with it and they are far more likely to respond positively to homework that involves using technology – even to a limited extent – rather than to the traditional homework using pen and paper.

9. My tip for beginners with technology is…to take it easy and choose apps or tools that serve the educational needs they have set for their students. It is very easy for a teacher to get carried away and use technology only for the sake of using it.

10. Which website/blog/ FB page e.t.c do you follow for your further professional development?

I find most of the articles posted on Edutopia very interesting, I follow Sylvia Guinan on Facebook. She always writes or shares very practical articles. I also find Sophia Mavridi’s blog insightful. I need to add that very soon the IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG is about to launch a brand new website. Being a member of the website editorial team, I can assure you that some very interesting posts, blogs and articles are coming soon.


Short Bio

Dimitris Primalis is an EFL teacher, author and Cambridge English Language Assessment oral examiner. He has been teaching for more than 20 years and applies his knowledge and experience to introducing innovation and change into the daily teaching practice. He believes that motivation, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication can be the driving forces in TEFL.  His views and work are shared in his columns in the ELT News, the BELTA Bulletin and his blog, A different side of EFL” . He has presented his work in many conferences in Greece and abroad. Dimitris was awarded the 2013 IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG scholarship and was selected as an Expert Innovative Educator by Microsoft (2014-15). He is working at Doukas, a private primary school in Athens, Greece.


Follow Dimitris on Twitter: @dprimalis

Connect with Dimitris on Linkedin here:

It’s Back to School Time!



It’s #BackToSchoolTime! If you want to teach English through the lens of technology and storytelling this school year, try our free educational ‪App called ‘Dylan& Lydia at the Fortune Teller’s’! It’s available for all ios& Android devices and it’s ideal for A2-B1 level!

Before starting, download the digital storybook here:





This double- path digital storybook is a wonderful supplement to any coursebook or materials your students may already be using in the English class!

The Plot of the Storybook in Brief:

On a day trip to London the endearing 9-year-old twins, Dylan and Lydia, meet Madame Sonya, a famous fortune teller who slyly tries to trick them into her evil plans. The twins have the chance to experience magical moments in ‘Fantasy Land’ or spend an adventurous day with notorious pirates on a real pirate ship! Both adventures teach them important life lessons about the value of true friendship and trust.

For a great variety of extra photocopiable ELT activities, drawings, games and DIY crafts, get some sample pages from the handbook I’ve created here:

Dylan& Lydia Sample Pages HANDBOOK

If you plan to use Dylan& Lydia in class and need the whole handbook, please send me an e-mail me at  

We’d love to hear your and your student’s feedback in the comments’ section below! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any relevant queries. Hope our stories will add a touch of magic to your lessons, motivate your students and make language acquisition a fun, hands- on experience!


Best wishes,


‘Let’s celebrate Earth Day, every day!’

IMG_1682Every year Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April worldwide. Our planet is changing rapidly so it’s vital that we help raise students’ awareness of the damaging effects of modern lifestyles on the environment before it’s too late!

In today’s post, I’d like to share the way my students and I celebrated Earth Day this year. They’re low- level students preparing for the IELTS exam so this was a great opportunity for them to expand their vocabulary, think and learn about environmental issues hands- on. Technology made this much more fun and motivating since we decided to make a video using the ever amazing Animoto!

The students’ first task was to take two pictures of nature each, with their mobile phones. Our school ’s beautiful surroundings provided the perfect location for this!

Next, we set off to plan the video’s structure and write the script! I wrote the following words on the board to help them brainstorm relevant ideas and slogans.








We also googled some supplementary images and chose ‘Paradise’ by Coldplay as the soundtrack of our video!

Surprisingly, on that same day a couple of dolphins made their appearance in Thermaikos Gulf, in the city of Thessaloniki. This isn’t a common sight but luckily one of the students managed to catch it on video! Animoto not only allows users to combine text, images and music but also short videos so we have included part of it as well!

Our main aim was to show some of the beauties of mother Earth, to pinpoint the destructive impact of human activity and share some easy things we can do on an individual or group level to make a difference!

This is the final result 🙂

Click here to download the handout I prepared for my class with useful vocabulary and phrases.

At this point, I’d also like to share another worksheet with 10 Idioms about Nature accompanied by activities and answer key. The definitions have been taken from Cambridge Online Dictionary.

National Geographic has published some lovely images that have been submitted by NG readers. Students can describe or write catchy captions for these stunning photos. You may also choose to show them only a small part of the picture first.  Let them use their imagination and guess what it is! Have a look here!

Finally, this a great list of 12 interesting TED talks on climate change that you can watch with your students and reflect on!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Remember that our well- being depends on how we take care of our planet. Awareness is the first step to really making a change! So let’s start by informing our students and celebrating Earth Day, every day 🙂

Best wishes,


Happy New Year with a Fun Blog Challenge among ELT Bloggers!

The first blog post of 2014 has been inspired by a dear colleague and friend, Dimitris Primalis, who asked me to join the online blog challenge called ‘11 Random Facts, Questions, Answers and ELT Bloggers

If you want to meet this challenge too, just follow the next steps:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

 So here are 11 Random Facts about me:

1. I recently became an aunt to an adorable baby girl and I’m utterly excited.

2. I love watching ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ again and again. My favourite ‘friend’ is Ross although I’m more of a teaser like Chandler.

3. I have a sweet tooth! I eat chocolate 7 days per week :-).

4. Summer is my favourite season because life is much better at the beach!

5. I make handmade jewels& leather sandals and have a big collection of earrings. Look at some of my creations 🙂


6.  I like hanging out with people who have a positive energy and make me laugh!

7. I’m a night owl. I get the best ideas and usually write after midnight!

8.  My favourite colours are pink, red and white!

9. My favourite social platform is FB because it helps me keep in touch with dear friends and colleagues who live abroad.

10. I want to swim with a dolphin.

11. This song brings out the nostalgia in me: 

My answers to Dimitri’s 11 Questions:

1.  How long have you been blogging?  1 year& 3 months!

2. What made you start blogging? My teacher trainers in Oxford and Pilgrims encouraged me to start my own blog and I must admit that sharing and connecting with other educators worldwide has been a fantastic experience so far!

3. What advice would you give a new blogger? Update your blog regularly and try to be as innovative as you can.

4. How do you spend your free time? I surf the Net, cook, take long walks, read books, listen to music, watch TV, do family stuff, go out with friends and so much more!

5. If you were not involved in ELT, what would you do? If I weren’t an EFL teacher, I’d be a chef or run a boutique hotel on a Greek island!

6. Do you speak any other foreign languages? Yes! German and French.

7. What is the ideal class for you? There are no ideal classes. Every group poses different challenges to the teacher. However, I prefer teaching more advanced students because it helps me improve my language skills and broaden my general knowledge too!

8. What is the biggest challenge for educators at the moment? To address our students’ real needs and prepare them adequately for the future when educational systems tend to be more obsolete and people fearful of change.

9. What do you imagine yourself doing in ten years time? I usually avoid making long term plans or dreams but I hope to be healthy and surrounded by all the people I love!

10. Who is your favourite author? Nikos Kazantzakis– I admire his free spirit as well as the strength and density of his writing.

11. Is learning technology a fad or a trend that will play a key role in education in the years to come? For me, technology is definitely not a fad. It’s an amazing teaching aid that can help us enrich our lessons and empower our students IF used wisely.

 My 11 Questions:

  1. The peak/the most awkward moment of my teaching career was…
  2. Name a song which helps lift your spirits:
  3. What’s the thing you like most about teaching?
  4. If I weren’t an EFL teacher, I would…
  5. Who is your favourite cartoon character?
  6. Describe yourself in 3 words:
  7. Which two Web tools would you suggest to a teacher who is a technology novice and why?
  8. What is the first goal in your New Year’s resolutions list this year?
  9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
  10. What’s the best piece of advice you have been given as a teacher?
  11. The best book I recently read is …

I’m tagging ELT bloggers/ good friends who hopefully haven’t been tagged before ( it’s OK if you don’t have the time to respond 🙂 )

Edmund Dudley

Antonio Marsa

Isil Boy

Wishing you all the very best for 2014!