SUNDAY BEST SPECIAL EDITION: OUR BRAND NEW PROJECT LITTLE GREEN KETTLE

Little Green Kettle - vegan blogHi everyone! I can’t believe I was able to hold my tongue until today regarding a very special announcement. I’ve mentioned here and there that something was in the works but now it’s finally up and running and I’m so excited to share it with you today.

I want you to meet Little Green Kettle, my new blog and something I’m really proud of. The unbelievable response it has had in only a few days continues to overwhelm me. The message and content that will fill its “walls” is so important to me that I’m squealing with excitement over announcing my brand new “baby blog”.Little Green Kettle - Health and wellness blog

Little Green Kettle is a site about healthy and sustainable eating, the power of activism and making a difference in this world, it’s a health and wellness blog covering topics such as yoga, meditation and wellbeing, it’s a delicious cooking blog that will hopefully inspire your time in the kitchen. That being said, we’ll be doing lots and lots of cooking, we’ll be sharing stories about activism and the incredible people making a difference all around us. We will practice lots of yoga and get immersed in a world of change, looking at how the small choices we make, impact the big things around us.

I’m keeping this post short so that you can head on out to the Little Green Kettle and do some reading there. Not sure where to start? I recommend the About page and the Welcome post first, here you can read a bit about what we’ll be up to at Little Green Kettle. Still have some time after that? We’ve already got some great posts on a Trip to the Farmer’s Market, Seane Corn and her amazing work around the world with her foundation Off the Mat into the World, a delicious spinach, kale and citrus salad, yummy vegan temakis and a post about Comfort Foods.

New posts are coming in every week and we’re going to have some incredible collaborators from the fields of psychology, medicine, health, physical fitness, yoga and so much more. You can subscribe to the blog via email on the website, join us on facebook and twitter (all of this can also be done through the buttons on the website). Once you’ve stopped by for a visit, if you like it and feel like spreading the word, please share in whatever way you can! We’re trying to reach as many kind hearted people as possible so that we can all start making changes together.

This is Little Green Kettle. Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll see you in a couple of days with a funny story about creativity, two young boys and mischief.Little Green Kettle - healthy and sustainable eating, whole hearted living

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ONCE UPON A TIME – A LESSON PLAN

esl gamesHi everyone! I´m so sorry I wasn’t able to get together with you for Sunday Best last weekend but I was preparing something really special for you. In fact, it will be the focus of this week’s Sunday Best, if I can hold my tongue until then that is!

Today I want to share an incredible game and lesson plan with you which I created for my young students but that has actually been an incredibly big hit with adults as well.

In this game I call ‘Once Upon a Time’, students become storytellers, not of someone else’s stories but of their own. Students will be presented with three sets of story sticks, the green sticks represent the place where their story will take place, the blue will be their main character(s) and the red (my personal favorite) will be the central problem of the plot or a problem their main character must endure or overcome. Using games in the classroom

You can download my set of story sticks here and print them on card paper, or you can certainly edit the document or make your own. Making them on popsicle sticks by hand is even more fun, but if you’re pressed for time this is a faster option. Here are the steps to set up this activity in class:

1) As a warmer I like to ask students about some famous stories they might know or ask them to recap one we have worked in class. I use the one they choose to elicit who the main character is, where the story takes place and what the main problem or challenge is. That way, they’ve come up with examples themselves to serve as inspiration.

2) Ask each student to select one story stick of each color. In the first two or three rounds I always let them read through all the sticks and choose the one they like the best. In the next rounds I have them choose them at random (the funniest and craziest stories will come up at this point). Of course if you’re teaching a large class it might be best to do this at random from the beginning, students might take a long time choosing at the rest of the students might get restless.

3) Give students a few minutes to think about their story.

4) Students take turns telling their stories.

5) Awards ceremony: After a very creative lesson like this where students have worked really hard I always like to have a little awards ceremony. Click here to download my award envelopes. Inside I write what the prize is. In my case this usually includes earning one or two star stickers (I use a sticker system in my classes), being able to choose the extra activity or game next class, stickers, being able to choose and animated short to watch or the next song we will sing in class. These may vary depending on the type of class you have, so I’ve left the envelopes blank so that you can adapt them. If you find them to be too small, you can always select the figures and make them larger. Storytelling

My categories include:

– Creativity

– Best Character

– Best storytelling (pronunciation and fluency)

– Best grammar

– Best use of vocabulary

– Best behavior (and this includes their behavior while telling the story as well as their behavior while listening to their classmates stories).

I have to tell you, I have a big box of games and activities for my young students, but no other game has provided as much concentration, interest and good behavior as this one. Phrasal verb UNO comes in second in this department. It’s also great for you to check students’ progress and see what areas need a little more review or focus.storytelling game

I hope you enjoy it! Ask me any questions or leave me some comments in the section below. If you try this out and have some incredible stories (it’s amazing what their little minds can come up with), please share them in the comments as well!

PHRASAL VERB UNO

esl games Games are such an important part of the classroom when we teach kids, and they’re sorely unappreciated when we teach adults! I make them a part of all my classes, with some changes of course, but there’s nothing like a game to grab children’s attention and to inject some enthusiasm and laughter into the adult ESL classroom.

Today I want to share with you my Phrasal Verb UNO game. It’s so ridiculously simple to make and you’ll have it in your teacher’s materials forever. All you need is a pack of UNO cards (which we’ll use for many different levels and age groups so read on), some scissors, a glue stick and either a printed version of the language points you wish to play with, or some colored pens to write directly on the cards if you prefer. One pack of UNO cards will be enough for many different classes and grammar points, but soon your students will be hooked and you’ll find yourself making more and more.

So far I’ve made this version with phrasal verbs for an elementary/pre intermediate level. You can download the list I used here: phrasal verbs for uno game. Note that there are some extra ones in case some might be too difficult for your students or in case you accidentally cut one in half (hey! it can happen right?!):

1) Print or choose the vocabulary or grammar you will use. Download my phrasal verbs list for elementary/pre intermediate students here.

2) Cut out each part of the phrasal verbs and paste one part on a card and the other part on another card.

3) Continue with all remaining cards.Verb tense uno

(If you don’t have access to a printer feel free to write directly on the card. But use a pen or marker of the same color for the entire deck, you’ll see why in a moment).

4) Play UNO with your students following the normal rules with one exception: they can match the cards according to color or by making a phrasal verb correctly. Tell students they need to forget about the numbers on the cards. To sum up, only colors or a correct phrasal verb (any that make sense, not necessarily the exact pair from your list).

Here’s the beauty of this new version of UNO, although students can simply match the colors, they will make a huge effort to find the phrasal verbs (this happens naturally and it never ceases to amaze me). I’ve heard comments from 9 and 10 year olds saying “Oh well I have to match the color, what a bummer” They will always, always try to find the phrasal verb and you’ll hear them practicing pronunciation as well while they scan the cards they have in their hands to see if they have a match. Behavior will be wonderful as well. Out of all my games this by far creates the most peaceful students, believe it or not.

Adaptations

You can now create lists of any grammar points (where you have many options, enough for all the cards) and add them in the same deck of cards. Make them in a different color this time (if the phrasal verbs were in black do your next batch of strips of paper in blue or red for example) and place them in a different part of the card. When you play simply tell the students what color they are supposed to be playing with. Adaptations may cover such issues as:

– Different levels of the same grammar points (e.g. phrasal verbs for elementary students, phrasal verbs for intermediate students, etc).

– Different age groups.

– Different grammar points or even vocabulary points.

Here are some ideas for other grammar points and vocabulary that might go well with this game:

– Other phrasal verbs.

– Verb tenses.

– Compound nouns (one card says cup, the other says board = cupboard).

– Countries / Languages / Nationalities.

– Word families (photograph/photography/ photographer).

– Homophones (words with different meaning and spelling but the same pronunciation, e,g, new and knew, to and too)

Even if the list is simple and the spelling might make it obvious, students will still be scanning the options as soon as the card on the floor is revealed.

All of these are suitable with adults as well. Never underestimate the power and joy of a classroom full of adults playing games to learn or review English.

You can monitor and help students, make corrections etc. In private lessons or small groups you might wish to play along with your students and in larger groups you might need more than a deck of cards (check the package to see how many people can play at one time). When things quiet down you can ask the students for examples of what could go with the word that has been revealed on the floor pile. That way they’re practicing the entire time.

As always, don’t forget to…

Games in the classroom

Feel free to share with fellow teachers and leave me any comments or questions you might have! Enjoy!

SUNDAY BEST

City parks in MadridIt’s that time of the week again! Today I’m sharing some great links and also some photos I took yesterday while I was strolling down one of Madrid’s most beautiful parks “Parque el Buen Retiro”. After non stop rain this past week it was a real treat to get some sun and spend some time outside. I hope you have a great start of the week tomorrow, I’m starting it off with the premier of my phrasal verb UNO game for my young students. I’m making a whole DIY post out of it this week so that you can try it out as well if you feel like it.

Ok, back to business…

If your looking for some great DIY ideas for your home, are re-decorating or want to spruce up a bit, there are some adorable (and some slightly over the top) ideas in Fabulous Home Blog. It has everything from tips for getting organised to ideas for framing photos, creating wall textures, and my favorite posts, inspiration for your studio or creative space. I know you’ll find something you love in here.

For foodies, So Good and Tasty has delicious vegetarian recipes, beautiful photos and scrumptious goodies to choose from. I can’t wait to make their root salad with tahini dressing. Can you say YUM?!

One thing I have never confessed to you is that I’m absolutely obsessed with lettering and calligraphy. I love detailing different fonts and testing them out on my student’s worksheets (and by testing I mean printing them out because I’m totally hopeless!). Lately, when I’ve needed a fix I’ve visited this little gem of a blog Sincerely, Serendipity, its banner alone is beyond beautiful and the posts and calligraphy samples keep me wonderfully entertained from time to time. Her cards are just lovely! Today I found out that the creator of this blog is a fellow Netflix documentary junky, so there you go. So many reasons to pop in and say hello!

For those of you who love owning unique little treasures you don’t want to miss Society 6, it’s a truly amazing online store that sells prints on everything from hoodies to t-shirts, to pillows and much more, not to mention the prints themselves. Some of my favorites are the giraffe pillow series and all their animal totes. So original!

As you probably know by now, I’m not affiliated with any of these sites, I’m simply a fan wishing to share the love! That’s all for today! Enjoy some more pics from my visit to the park yesterday and have a great Sunday!

El Retiro Park in Madrid SpainI absolutely loved the contrast between these two trees, the one in the back had leaves in the most beautiful shade of brown.
Parks in Madrid

 

Is it me or can you almost see the Queen of Hearts playing cricket?

 

Peacock at El Retiro

Oh yes, in the middle of the city, in a little open garden in the park, peacocks are busy showing off their feathers and twirling. You heard me… they’re complete flirts with the tourists and locals!

Parque el Retiro

Spring is making its appearance. Does anyone know what flower this is? Look at that color!

El Retiro

Little fields of daisies were everywhere, and of course I saved the best for last, my favorite character in the entire park, this beautiful duck with brown spotted feathers. He wasn’t scared of me at all and got closer and closer by the minute! They always remind me of my grandfather, who always seemed to walk like a duck… or Charlie Chaplin, it was hard to tell.

duck pond at El Retiro

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

first flowersHi everyone, I’m finally back after some days of not being able to post and some technical difficulties so thank you so much for your patience! The student access pages are up and running again and fully updated and now we can also continue sharing stories here. It’s no big secret that I was born in Venezuela and with everything that has been going on these past few weeks I felt compelled to write a little something, if only to work through everything that is coming in and out of my head every time I hear a piece of news or read an article. I am of course not an expert in politics, I am however a lover of books, of stories, of the wise words of so many writers that seemed to be especially crafty at putting down on paper what people were feeling and living through. That being said, today, in light of the tumultuous news and events (is it me or has the world gone kind of cuckoo on our watch?) I want to simply share with you a gem of a story written by the great Hans Christian Andersen. I am of course talking about his wonderfully allegoric short story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. You can read it here, and I urge you to read until the end (it’s not that long and it will be worth it!). In the end it takes just one little boy to shed light on the issue at hand, I hope we can all learn a little bit from this story and be the little voice in the back of the room that says STOP!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, children’s stories were meant to be read again as adults and this is certainly one that should be on the adult required summer reading list!

I leave you with the first signs of Spring, these beautiful little pink blossoms adorned our street as Nala and I walked around this morning. Aren’t they lovely? Please share your comments about the story below! You know how much I love to hear from you!