When students teach

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb

Ever since I became a teacher, I make place on my schedule for students to teach a practical skills of theirs. They are free to pick the activity, but they are asked not to choose anything that is likely to get their classmates injured, which helped me to avoid venturing into skateboarding and gymnastics classes!

 It’s never easy for students to recognize their natural abilities, some claim not be good at anything, others fear being unable to give instructions, but in the end all of them come up with really nice ideas.
The ‘class contract’ requires students:
  • to prepare classes no longer than 10 minutes,
  • not to speak their mother tongue,
  • to provide their classmates with the class materials they may need,
  • to assist them in doing the intended task. No student can fail.
 Students enjoy these classes mostly because they are fun, but my favorite thing in making them teachers is to watch different kinds of intelligence revealed. I’ve ‘attended’ students’ classes in Taekwondo, arts and crafts, cooking, computer programming, dance, math, make up, music, chemistry and Spanish to mention a few. I always get to know them better in personal and cognitive terms, what makes it easier for me to prepare classes I know they’ll enjoy.
When students teach

The professor

“The professor.”


Tolkien Society invited Tolkien fans to raise a toast to the professor on the occasion of his twelfthty-fourth (124th) birthday this year.

After Bilbo left the Shire on his eleventy-first birthday in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo toasted his uncle’s birthday each year on 22 September.

In the final hours of his birthday, I’m drinking pineapple and mint juice to celebrate beloved John.

“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

The professor

Teaching Literacy Through Film

Future Learn, in association with film education experts from the British Film Institute  and film education charity Into Film, is bringing this January another free educational online course this one  designed for educators who would like to improve their student’s reading and writing.

Teaching Literacy Through Film will explore engaging strategies and frameworks that can be used to inspire young people when teaching literacy, discuss the benefits of creating film content in the classroom, and examine how films can be used to aid deep learning.

The four-week course starts on January the 25th and you can join the class by clicking here.

Three genuinely precious books on the use of film in the English are:

O cinema pensa by Julio Cabrera

Reading in the Dark by John Golden

Film in action by Kieran Donaghy 

Also, a wide range of free film-based lesson plans is available online today. You might take joy in stopping by these websites:

Film English – Kieran Donaghy’s thinking space, the site provides lesson plans that promote critical thinking in the language classroom ranging from A1 to C1 levels.

All at C – classroom-tested lesson plans to go for teachers of  C1 and C2 learners aimed at helping learners to improve their listening and speaking skills

Teach With Movies – Despite being not specifically aimed at the EFL community, this website offers hundreds of lessons plans based on feature films and movies that can be easily adaptaded for EFL purposes.

Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals and Movie Segments for Warm-up and Follow-Ups – Both blogs are product of Brazilian teacher Claudio Azevedo’s gifted mind and bring valuable teaching ideas.





Teaching Literacy Through Film

Geeking up the EFL cooking class

Cooking is relaxing, sparks imagination, builds self-esteem, teaches cooperation, and also food has very rich cultural meaning.

Cooking in the EFL classroom is extremely popular among adults and kids alike because it is lots of fun and connects students on a primal level. Are you planning a cooking class? Here is something to take into account:

Factors to consider when choosing a recipe

Students’ dietary restrictions and preferences – if you’re teaching YL it’s a good idea to send home a note asking parents for information on children’s food allergies and predilections, for example.

Prep time – What are your lesson aims? How much of your lesson is going to be spent on reading skills and clarifying new vocabulary? How much time will there be for the hands-on period? How will instructions be delivered? What might go wrong?

Prep challenge level – try and choose a safe recipe that students will be likely to succeed in preparing: in the end, everybody’s cupcake should look equally fluffy and taste fairly yummy.

Cultural norms – let’s try not to make vegan children eat meat, shall we?

Lexical relevance – you’re working on a unit about fast food, it makes little if no sense to have students prepare an ordinary fruit salad.

Going for the cool recipe

I beg you to let go of that secret family cookie recipe you’ve been using for ages! How many times have you printed it out? So many it’s no longer secret! Once in a lifetime, (for god’s sake!) go for the cool recipe.

There is a number of geeky cookbooks with more relevant, relatable, fun recipes to cook than popcorn. My favorite are listed below:

the geeky chef cookbook

The Geeky Chef Cookbook by Cassandra Reeder – The book is organized in chapters that cover beverages, snacks, soups, cakes and desserts inspired by Futurama, The Legend of Zelda, Discworld, The Lord of the Rings, Adventure Time and Harry Potter to mention a few. The author blogs at The Geeky Chef and you can find many recipes there.


a feast of ice and fireA Feast of Ice and Fire by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel & Sariann Lehrer – other than an introduction to the basics of the Game of Thrones kitchen, the recipes are introduced by region: The Wall, The North, The South, King’s Landing, Dorne and Across the Narrow Sea. For a glimpse of the book content, you can check this Game of Thrones Recipes board on Pinterest. A google search will also return several articles on this cookery.

an unexpected cookbookAn Unexpected Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland – the book chapters couldn’t have been titled outside of The Hobbit original list of meals: Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea and Dinner (or Supper, or both). The author blogs at Kitchen Overlord, where you can find a variety of recipes. (Doctor Who lovers might enjoy Ms. Oseland’s book  Dining With The Doctor:  The Unauthorzied Whovian Cookbook)

Literature nerds will definitely find comfort in these three titles

and these two fascinating websites

For YL, you might want to try Disney-themed recipes to which I recommend this article, but I’m confident a quick google search will return many other engaging ideas.

So, that’s plenty of ideas, isn’t it? Next time you’re teaching a cooking class, go geek.


Geeking up the EFL cooking class

My reading list for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge

In 2015 I did some research on geek reading to find out these 10 books appear in lists everywhere:

geek reading listSo I asked a group of nerdy friends of mine for reading suggestions to start a list of my own and these books made it to the final selection:

my geek reading list

You see, I read beautiful books in 2015. But what today is really about is introducing you with my reading list for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge, whose categories are the following:

A book published this year (2016): a book yet to be selected from The Hugo Awards list of winners.

A book you can finish in a day: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

A book you’ve been meaning to read: The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis

A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller: Zero Issue by Umberto Eco

A book you should have read in school: The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector

A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF: The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann, chosen for me by my friend Erick.

A book published before you were born: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller written in 1959

A book that was banned at some point: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

A book you previously abandoned: Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse (so help me gawd)

A book you own but have never read: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

A book that intimidates you: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

A book you’ve already read at least once: Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie

wild rumpus

My reading list for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge

Find the Panda

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1503_1515

The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1503-1515 – Bosch

Pieter Breughel the Elder Netherlandish Proverbs 1559

Netherlandish Proverbs, 1559 – Breughel


The Marriage at Cana, 1563 – Veronese


Dance at Moulin de la Galette, 1876 – Renoir


Where’s Waldo?, 1987 – Martin Handford


Find the panda among the snowmen, 2015 – Gergely Dudás


Find the cat among the owls, 2015 – Gergely Dudás


Find the panda among the heavy metal artists crowd, 2015 – Espen Westum

panda star wars

Find the panda: Star Wars Edition, 2015 – ste1 (via Bored Panda)


Find the panda, 2015 – Tracy Lynn Heightchew

Find the Panda