Halloween Bingo

Bingo is a simple and fun game to play in ESL classes. It’s versatile enough to enable English teachers to practice and reinforce a wide range of language and skills.

Here is a cute free printable Halloween Bingo set I found on crazylittleprojects.com.


The game board has monsters and witches, black cats and bats, spiders, pumpkins, ghosts and more.

I  had mine printed and laminated at a printing store so that I could get a higher quality print to keep for years to come. I cut up the 8 boards and the squares.


I gave each kid a card and shuffled squares, and had the “bingo caller” just announce which one they drew. Like, “Frankestein” then the other students covered the Frankestein on their card with scraps of paper. First to get a row won.

I had spooky eye-ball chocolate candies in little bags as the winning prizes and then also gave everyone some candies at the end of the game so everyone got something.


My classes loved it! Definitely pinning for the future.


Trinity College London Seminar

Yesterday I attended the National Trinity College London Seminar for English Language teachers on ‘The Pathway to Real Communication’, which was held in Naples.

About Trinity

Trinity College London is an international exam board with a rich heritage of academic rigour and a positive, supportive approach to assessment. It provides recognised and respected qualifications across a unique spectrum of communicative skills — from music, drama and arts activities to English language — at all levels.

The seminar comprised of a plenary session in the morning followed by workshops both in the morning and afternoon. The activities were designed to help teachers to improve candidates’ performance in Trinity exams at different levels.

I’d like to share with you some useful information about Trinity’s special awards and revised exams.

This was the schedule:
8:15 – 10:50 Registration + Opening Announcements + Plenary
10:50 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 13:00 Morning Workshop I – II – III – IV – V
I – This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards
II – My First Steps: Speaking and Listening at level A1
III – This is my World: Speaking and Listening at level A2
IV – Developing my Skills: Reading and Writing at level B1
V – Ready to Go: Reading and Writing at level B2
13:00 – 14:15 Lunch Break
13:00 – 14:00 Poster Sessions: Revised ISE
14:15 – 16:00 Afternoon Workshop VI – VII – VIII – IX
VI – My First Steps: Speaking and Listening at level A1
VII – This is my World: Reading and Writing at level A2
VIII – Developing my Skills: Speaking and Listening at level B1
IX – Ready to Go: Speaking and Listening at level B2

I’ve had years of experience with the Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) so I chose to attend workshops about  the little known Trinity Stars, ‘Morning Workshop I. This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards’, and the revised Integrated Skills in English exams (ISE), which were launched in September, ‘Afternoon Workshop VII. This is my world: Reading and Writing skills at CEFR level A2’.

They were both well attended and proved to be very informative.

I. This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards
This workshop focused on Storytelling.and its effectiveness  as a teaching pedagogy and learning method.

Reading and telling stories have great  benefits for classroom learning, and the magic of Storytime can inspire children to learn English. Storytelling can be used in the preparation of a Trinity Stars Award.

About Trinity Stars:

The Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Award is designed to encourage the teaching and learning of English language through drama, music and performance.  It is a group award, designed for children aged anywhere between 3 and 12 years old who are starting to learn English. 

Preparing children for the award shows how performance-related activity supports learning, motivates children and builds their confidence and communication skills. Trinity Stars has been designed to support both learning in the classroom and teachers’ professional development. 


VII. This is my world: Reading and Writing skills at CEFR level A2
Teacher training workshop on how develop students’ ability to communicate in English in an authentic and meaningful way through the use of integrated reading and writing tasks.

About ISE:

Trinity’s Integrated Skills in English (ISE) is a contemporary four skills qualification intended for young people and adults – typically at school, college or university. It is also suitable for teachers and other adults who require a respected English language qualification.

Throughout this session, we will reflected on how preparing for the Revised ISE Foundation Exam can help students’ build real-life skills that are meaningful and purposeful to them. ISE Foundation is at level A2 on the CEFR and consists of two exam modules: Reading & Writing and Speaking & Listening.

  • Reading & Writing exam lasts 2 hours.
  • Speaking & Listening exam lasts 13 minutes.

The exam modules can be taken together, or at different times.

We learned details of the exam structure, content, timings and what candidates need to be able to do this level.

There is a Guide for Teachers for ISE Foundation online, it contains everything you need to know to prepare students for the exams.


I hope I’ll have a chance to attend Trinity Events to learn more about their Spoken English for Work (SEW) exams.

SEW prepares candidates for real-life working situations by providing valuable practice and assessment in telephone conversations, formal and informal presentations – along with the opportunity to discuss real work issues in an English-speaking context.

SEW provides a measure of linguistic competence from intermediate to advanced levels – from B1 to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language.

Upcoming Trinity Teacher Training Events:

Discover Trinity ISE: Integrated Skills in English

17.11.2015 Palermo (PA)

21.11.2015 Frosinone (FR)

24.11.2015 Bari (BA)

26.11.2015 Napoli (NA)

Benefits of being Bilingual

New research claims that polyglot children will be healthier and grow up to earn more than their peers.

Children of immigrants who are raised to speak, read, and write both in English and their mother tongues can expect to earn more than their English-speaking-only peers, a new study claims.

Jointly published by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and Educational Testing Services, the paper claims that bilingual children in the US are expected to earn as much as $5,000 (€4,400) more than purely Anglophone Americans. These children also have a greater chance of pursuing higher education, being better paid, and of having more diverse social networks.

“We live in a globalising world,” the study’s author Patricia Gándara told Mic. “Our interconnectedness can be our strength as a nation, but we are far behind other developed nations in our ability to communicate across linguistic and cultural lines.”

Gándara, a research professor at UCLA, was surprised at the findings of her research, given a multitude of previous literature claiming bilingualism is detrimental. Throughout much of the 20th century, the predominant thought among leading educationalists was that speaking a second language at home would hamper a child’s ability to develop academically and intellectually.

“Bilingualism among the children of immigrants in the United States represents a previously untapped national resource,” she said.

Scepticism towards the abilities of bilingualists is on the wan, and this news is just the latest in a number of studies espousing the values of learning a second language; in 2012, Canadian researchers concluded that bilingualism slows the development of dementia, and that children who are bilingual are better able to transition between tasks.

Furthermore, a group of sociologists at Rice University in Texas published a study on the physical and mental wellbeing of bilingual immigrants, suggesting they were healthier than their monolingual peers.


Halloween – work in progress

Halloween is around the corner! It’s a great chance to have fun and be creative with ESL young students. Kids love it and many adults want to join in the fun too! The main focus should be to engage the imagination of your students and encourage them to have a blast while practicing their English skills.

Halloween is less than 2 weeks away and there are many activities I’d like to try with my younger students…

Let’s get ready for spooktacular Halloween lessons!


Halloween flashcards


Paper Spider crafts


Cut out mask


Coloring pages with the characters of a Halloween Song

Halloween Games for English Practice

Here are some Halloween themed games I found on busyteacher.org. I haven’t tried any of them yet but I soon will to get my students in the spooky mood!

  1. What am I?

    Your students will have practice using descriptive words as well as learning Halloween vocabulary with this simple game. Simply give one student a card with a Halloween picture on it. (You can get plenty of Halloween pictures online. Try to include the following in your set: jack-o-lantern, black cat, candy, pumpkin, ghost, spider, spider web, monster, trick or treaters, witch, broomstick, haunted house, bats, ghost, Dracula, Frankenstein, and candy corn.) Then give that student one to two minutes to describe their picture to the class. The goal is to get the class to guess the object without telling them what it is. The class member who first guesses the object correctly gets a point. Play until everyone has had a chance to describe an object, and the students with the most points wins.

  2. Monster Guts

    This sensory game will get some spooky items into the hands of your students and is a good review of touch-themed adjectives. To play, save up some old tissue boxes – square boxes with plastic around an opening in the top work well. Your students will be putting their hands in the box to feel the spooky items but should not be able to see what is inside. Label each box with a creepy title and put one of the following items inside: cold pasta (zombie brains), wet grapes (Cyclops eyes), a mixture of cornstarch and water (ghost goo), dried apricots (Frankenstein ears), pipe cleaners (tarantula legs), baby carrots wrapped in gauze (mummy toes), etc. Each student takes a turn coming to the front of the class and feeling what is in one of the boxes. He or she must then describe how it feels to the class using the appropriate adjectives or figurative language. If you like, follow up the activity by having students reach into each box and write a short description of how each item feels.

  3. Costumed Kids

    This simple game is good for reviewing present tenses and vocabulary associated with careers, animals, monsters or other areas which inspire typical Halloween costumes. Gather several pictures of kids in costume (try parenting magazines that often suggest how to make costumes for kids or look online), laminate them if possible, and put the pictures into a pile. One at a time, have students draw a picture and say what the child in the picture is dressed up as. If your student gets it right, ask him how he knows? The student should then give two or three clues that helped him decide. For example, if a student picks a picture of a pirate, his clues might include the following: he has a parrot on his shoulder; he is standing by a boat; he has a hook instead of a hand.

  4. Halloween Bingo

    This Halloween spin on bingo tests your students’ listening skills as well as how successfully your students can remember vocabulary associated with the holiday.Give each students a blank bingo board, and have him draw a picture of a Halloween item in each empty box. (You will probably need to review the vocabulary before you start playing. See activity number one for some Halloween words.) Then play each round as you would normally play bingo, but call out the words that match your students’ pictures rather than numbers. Students will then have to listen for the word you call and then match that word with one of the pictures on their board (if they have it there). If a student has an item on his board, he marks it. The first person with five in a row wins.

  5. Halloween Charades

    Charades is always a good game to get ESL students speaking boldly. You can make this active competition Halloween specific by using charades that Halloween items might perform. Your list might include the following.

    • Walk like Frankenstein
    • Dracula drinking blood
    • A witch flying on a broom
    • Kids going trick or treating
    • Carving a jack-o-lantern
    • Giving out candy
    • Running away from a monster
    • Putting on a costume
    • Bobbing for apples

    Play in teams and see which team can get the most correct guesses from their classmates’ pantomimes.

  6. Halloween Pictionary

    If your students aren’t the type to get up and moving in front of the class, you can use the clues from Halloween charades to play Halloween Pictionary. Simply divide your class into two teams and have one student from each team come to the front of the room. Show them a Halloween word or phrase and watch students race to draw a picture for their team. The first team to call out the right answer gets a point. Once everyone has had a chance to draw, the team with the most points wins.

  7. Monster Role Play

    This group activity will give your students a chance to practice using modal verbswhile thinking of some scary situations. Give groups of about four or five students a Halloween themed situation: Frankenstein is chasing you. Dracula asks you out on a date. A big spider tries to share your lunch. Someone plays a practical joke on you. Then have the groups discuss what they could, should or might do if they were in that situation. After a few minutes of discussion, ask each group to share their best recommendation with the class.

  8. Scary Stories

    Get your students to think creatively with some scary story starters and Halloween transitions fit for a spooky tale. Prepare a deck of index cards with some story starters and transitions that your students can use to start or continue a ghost story. Then turn off the lights and sit your class in a circle. Give a flashlight to one person and have her draw a card from the deck of story starters. For three to five minutes, she should tell the spooky story to the rest of the class, and if she likes, include scary lighting (shining the flashlight under your chin) and spooky noises. When her time is up, she passes the flashlight to the next person in the circle and he draws a transition card. (All of a sudden, bats fly… Out of nowhere… You hear a scream and …)He then continues the same story for three to five minutes. Take turns around the circle until everyone has had a chance to add to the tale.

  9. Remember This

    This game will test your students’ memories as well as their knowledge of Halloween vocabulary. Put together a tray with several (aim for twenty) Halloween themed items. (You might include a rubber bat, spider ring, candy corn, jack-o-lantern, mask, etc.). Show the tray to your class and review any vocabulary as necessary. Then cover the tray and challenge your students to remember as many items as they can. After 3-5 minutes, see how many items each person was able to remember and spell correctly. For subsequent rounds, you can place five or six items on the tray, show your students, have them close their eyes, remove one item and challenge them to remember which item is missing.

  10. Do you see what I see?

    This game will test your students’ general vocabulary knowledge along with theircreativity. Start one round by projecting a scary picture in the front of the room. The more that is in the picture the better. Then students have five minutes to try and identify an item in the picture that starts with each letter from a to z. After five minutes, stop and see who came up with the most words and review any new vocabulary with your class. Play three rounds with three different pictures and add each student’s score for each round. At the end of the game, the student with the most points wins the game.



Homemade playdough recipe

Using playdough with young children is beneficial in many ways. It’s fun and popular and it can provide valuable hands-on learning experiences to support your young student’s growth.

I’m testing this super-simple and quick playdough recipe my friend Fab gave me. It requires no cooking and can be made by kids.

Easy Dough

2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

1 cup of water


Easy for children, Add more water for finger paint o glue.

Store in an airtight container, in a refrigerator.

Good result. It took about 5 minutes to make it. Not sticky and ready for use immediately.

I had never made playdough before and found this recipe quick and simple. I actually added less water than what was recommended.

Now I want to check how long it stays soft stored in the frigge.

Will be adding food coloring and some glitter next time. I found recipes for  scented homemade playdough with peppermint, cinnamon or almond extract; the possibilities are endless!




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Benefits of craft for kids

As a learning activity, arts and crafts have traditionally been passed over in favour of more academic pursuits. But craft – particularly developmentally appropriate craft activities – can aid learning in other areas like language, music, art, social studies, science, maths, health, and nutrition.

Crafts have been around since the beginning of time when people made everything they used with their hands. Crafts were initially created for trading, selling, spiritual or artistic expression, as well as creating personal and household articles.

Today, crafts are a great pastime and educational tool for kids. It can not only keep the kids entertained on a rainy day, but also extend a child’s fine motor skills, develop concepts like colour or numbers and see scientific processes like gluing and paint drying in action.

Craft allows kids to explore ideas or concepts and then express it by making something to keep, entertain others with or simply look at for visual pleasure.

Craft for the under-5s

At this age, craft is more about passing the time when it’s too rainy to go to the park, but it’s a great way to engage your pre-schooler, toddler or baby in ideas that provide foundation for future learning.

Benefits can include:

  • Extending their thinking across multiple patterns of intelligence
  • Develop higher thinking skills
  • Enhance multicultural understandings
  • Build self esteem
  • Gain positive emotional responses to learning
  • Engage through a variety of learning styles

Craft for older kids

Art and craft ideas encourage children to use their imagination to create their own entertainment. Making something on their own endows them with a confidence in their abilities to make individual decisions and choices.

Activities to complement craft as a learning tool

Music – learning to play an instrument can be a great hobby to introduce to kids.

Creative writing – writing stories as a hobby is a great way for children to enhance their literacy skills and use their imagination. They can turn their stories into drawings and make their own books.

Storytelling – the oldest art form in the world is to tell stories orally, and it lies at the heart of the way we think and make sense of our world. Stories could include real and fiction events.

Debating – this will give your child the ability to present an argument persuasively, to understand that there are two sides to most arguments and the confidence to speak in front of a room full of people, to name but a few skills.

Things to avoid when doing craft with your kids

Never force kids to complete a project they simply aren’t interested in – all you will do is alienate them from ever trying craft again. Simply encourage them and reward them when they do finish something. Here are some of the pitfalls of craft:

Don’t get too complex

It’s easy to overestimate your own ability (and your child’s) when you see something you like in a picture, but there’s nothing more discouraging than getting part-way through a project and finding you don’t have to skills to complete it. Determine how much you and your child can actually do.

Start simple

If you’re learning a craft for the first time, start with something extra-simple to get the feel of the tools, materials, and techniques. Practice the techniques on something that doesn’t count first before actually beginning a project. If the project is relatively easy, your child will gain confidence and quickly want to try something more challenging.

Allow enough time and space

You need time to do things right, and that’s true of any activity, no matter how seemingly uncomplicated it is. Give yourself and your child time — to think, to enjoy what you’re doing, to be creative, to experiment, and to enjoy each other.

Children love to do crafts

So if they can be taught something using crafts it is likely they will learn it easily and without complaining. Crafts can be used as a tool to teach subjects like alphabets, numbers and colours to students of any age. Younger children can be taught basic lessons like colours and numbers. Crafts can be used to expand textbook lessons of older students by helping them to figure out how to express ideas and concepts visually.