Angela's English classes

Exercises, resources, tips, ideas and a dose of fun

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Is it free? Is it legal to use?

As you might have noticed I have been making changes in the images and/or adding information in my posts. After a bit of more than a year with this blog I think I have understood which pictures I can legally use here. I will explain what I have found out in a simple way. Now I make an effort to use public domain images.

Public domain pictures are images you can copy, modify, distribute and use even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission and without paying attribution. However, depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights. Therefore, you should avoid using images where identifiable people, logos and trademarks appear to avoid complaints or legal actions against you.

Read further:


Pay attention to the stock photos, the ones that have a watermark. They appear in all the webpages that state they offer free images. These are photos that you can use after making a payment. They are labeled as Royalty Free stock photos but Royalty Free (RF) doesn’t mean you can  download them for free. You can use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or quantity sold, or period of use. In other words, pay just once to the licensor.

The following are some sites where you can download public domain images:




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Amazing blog with teacher resources!

I found a great blog with lots of teacher resources.  It’s name is Tecknologic and its author is an English teacher in Japan. It was chosen as Featured Blog of the Month in April this year by British Council. It has  downloadable templates for activities and games, videos and tips and tricks. Everything is explained in detail.

Definitely worth checking out!

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Warning! Yellow light!

During the last two months I worked with a new group of young learners. Quirky as they are, when put together in one classroom their personalities collide and there can be either an outburst or an upbeat class.Experience and knowledge are indeed ingredients that open the way to successful teaching. Moreover, a positive mindset towards our students can let us harmonize the class. Thus having some visual resources at hand let young learners understand and react quickly to classroom needs.

What do you do to calm  your students down? Actually, it was a student that I had some months ago who gave me a simple and brilliant idea: using traffic lights.  He just explained his school teachers used them to let students know when they had to regain their composure. I didn’t try them at that time beacuse the students were able to listen and calm off but I have to admit I  was a little reluctant to use someonelse’s idea.

Two months ago while setting first day rules I just drew traffic lights on one of the top corners of the board and explained  that if they didn’t turn on all the lights they would be able to choose an activity for the last five minutes. Crossing out a light meant turning it on. Luckily I bought red, orange and green markers to draw the lines.


They usually chose a music video on youtube to listen and watch. Sometimes they would even sing out loud. I expected them to choose games but they did so once in a while. If they made an effort to compensate for their noisiness I would erase the lines and let them engage in an extra activity. This works for a class, but not necessarily to have individuals behave better. Be careful not to encourage negativity towards a single student.

I have been using together with charts on the board for this purpose. I have their names on the wall and get points of different color according to their behavior. Green is positive, orange shows they are getting restless and red if they are discourteous. While my charts are very simple. you’ll find Teacher’s pet Wall chart conspicuous.

I have found  other ways to use traffic lights in the classroom. There are many creative and industrious teachers out there!

Classroom Noise Level Indicator – Traffic Light

Traffic lights assessment poster

Traffic lights by Wishing Flowers

Featured image: traffic lights


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Activity to practice ‘going to’

Practicing grammar to talk about the future didn’t seem very challenging for my Junior classes, especially because it was something that had already seen before in another cycle. They practiced the use of going to make predictions  based on evidence and to talk about plans.

Finding a wallet with cash in it on the street presents a moral dilemma.  I took out a wallet and claimed I found it on the street in the morning. My students discussed what I was going to do with it. First, I gave them an idea and they had to think of more.

I am going to take a picture of the wallet and put Lost wallet signs on the streets.

After dealing with the grammar introduction on the book and some activities I had them perform a group task:

1. Individually think  of an action you are going to do.Don’t say or write the action.

2. Think about the following questions:

  • What do I need to do it?
  • Where am I going to do it?
  • When am I going to do it?
  • How long is the task going to take?

3.Complete the diagram but keep your action secret


4. Partners have to ask information questions first. Example answers:

  • I am going to need my running shoes.
  • I am going to do it in the park.
  • I am going to do it next weekend in the morning.
  • It’s going to take 30 minutes.

5. After collecting the information they have to make Yes/No questions:

Are you going to :

  • go for a walk ┌( ̄ー ̄)┘  ?
  • run ┌(;・_・)┘  ?
  • take your dog for a walk  U・ェ・U ?
  • play soccer    ┌(;・_・)┘ ))●?
  • They tried to guess with my example but they could’t. The answer was do Tai-Chi! They complained that that is only for elderly people. They don’t have to mention all the elements they need so it’s more difficult to guess.

I showed them parts of this video to clarify Tai chi isn’t only to exercise: Tai chi techniques application

*Other activities I included:

1)Flashcards of actions on the walls. SS walk around and discuss what is going to happen next.

2)Videos: Stop the video before an action takes places. SS predict what is going to happen Look for videos with unexpected outcomes.

3)Prediction: Show a crystal ball.

Discuss topics for predictions.

Give out strips of paper. SS write a prediction for someone in the class. Show examples of predictions.Mix strips and have ss take one. Make sure they don’t get theirs again. SS read them and tell their partner whether they liked their prediction or not and if they think it’s likely to happen.

Once I used paper fortune cookies.

Paper fortune cookies tutorial





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VOA Learning English

USA VOA sticker

Tweeting around I came across VOA. They started following me or viceversa. Then, after some of their tweets I realized it’s a helpful resource for learners and teachers. VOA has more than one site and they have resource in different languages. The site provides lessons divided into two levels, 1 and 2. They  have news and their scripts with highlighted words that are explained on the bottom of the script. People can also make comments on the news and await for feedback.  It’s awesome to have the chance to practice and be assessed for free! I’ve read some responses that have been written  one or two days after being posted. In addition, they have videos.

Perhaps you are thinking that news are boring. VOA has divided their news into topics: World,America,Health,Entertainment,Business & Economics,Science & Technology. There will be something that suits your interests. Another interesting feature I found was ‘Words and Their Stories’ which explains American English expressions (audio and script,too.)

VOA’s website

VOA pronunciation guide

Talk2us Skype call-in show

Talk2us schedule

Confessions of an English learner A place for you to practice your writing. They post a weekly prompt, to give  a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing. I haven’t read any comments, though. I’ll try writing something myself to see what people respond.

They also offer a free Wordbook with some explanations about parts of speech and  informative images.It’s a simple and comprehensible dictionary with 1500 Words used by Voice of America’s Special English Announcers. It has a Special Words & Information section including  basic business and computer terms, thus it contains maps and some diagrams.

Another  resourceful site to add to the list  is American English,  a website for ESL teachers and learners  managed by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. If you browse VOA websites you can find nice surprises.

You can’t get enough from VOA. Try  VOA Interactive Learning: Wordbooks. So many learning opportunities!

Other sites they have :

VOA youtube channel captioned videos! daily news reports with subtitles. English in minute: idioms explained in a minute

The use of the images and logos on this post is intended for noncommercial and educational purposes. The images were taken from

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Which words should I use? – Collocations

Student: Teacher, how do I know which are the correct word combinations? I always use prepositions at random or according to what I think sounds better.

Teacher: It’s a matter of practice. You have to read more and you will remember little by little.

Do you feel identified? Learners often use the language without knowing the rules or the right collocations (group of two or more words that usually go together). More than grammar, using them pertinently is key to express yourself more naturally.




(My first Wordle wordcloud!)

Why should we learn collocations? If you do so, your language will be richer. In other words, you will avoid constant repetition of words, your ideas will flow easily and you will get the listeners  more interested in your ideas. Moreover, you will be easily understood. In addition, learning the language in chunks or blocks of language is easier, faster and more entertaining.

Oxford Online Collocation Dictionary is an advantageous resource you can use when unsure about some expressions and especially when writing. The search results show an explanation of the term and the collocations of the word with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions as well as common phrases. The layout is not the most eye-catching but it is simple and straightforward.

Try a collocations quiz if to test your knowledge


Do or Make



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Flashcards – Health Matters – Intermediate 1

Learning vocabulary shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.


Dentistry image from pixabay

To be like pulling teeth: something is extremely difficult.

Health Matters flashcards

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Class badges! – rewarding your young learners

At school students are awarded with diplomas or certificates they can show their parents.  Children and teens respond well and they become aware of the importance of their achievements. I remember I attended a school where we obtained points every time we fulfilled certain tasks. After a couple of weeks we could choose a reward which cost a number of points from a box.

Young learners like to be praised and they appreciate significant rewards. I try to reward each and every student for different accomplishments but only words aren’t always sufficient . We try games, songs and other activities they might like when all the class has behaved appropiately. Even so I aim to get the uneasy or disruptive students to be aware of any improvement they make so they get motivated and arrive to class with a different attitude.

I also give them stickers and draw stars or write positive comments on their notebooks but a badge includes an image and a message. You easily make a clear statement about what you are recognizing. I had written about using Thinglink to use virtual badges but I felt it wasn’t that motivating. I started looking online for better options and I found Classbadges. Through  this site you can award unique badges to each student and it’s free! Another advantage is that students won’t lose their badges somewhere and they can see and show many they accumulate. Besides, teachers can use the information to assess their progress.






I’ll explain how to use it the simplest way.

1. Create a teacher account.

2. Manage classes: create a class and add students. I created each student account with their first and last name. Their password is their mother’s family name. Adding an e-mail is optional.

3. Create badges: There are many images ready to use. However, if you don’t find a suitable one for you students’ needs you can upload your own. 

I’ll show you my badges. The description of each one is in Spanish beacuse most parents don’t know English.


4. Award badges and let students know! Encourage them to show them to their parents.

I told all my students about it and I try to award them for their use of English, completing their homework, sharing,  improving their behavior, etc.

Show your students you care and they will react positively. Don’t forget to make them feel you are excited about everything that happens in the classroom!

For more ways to use badges watch:

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Classroom management E-poster


In my quest for betterment I looked for online classroom posters . I was delighted to find there are many teachers creating their own posters by hand and also by computer. I have saved some pictures onto my computer. I’ve already chosen one to use as classroom poster and two to use as E-posters. I’ll show you the first one I have adapted on Thinglink. Feel free to use it whenever you need it.

If your young learners are getting noisy a good strategy to direct their attention to you is by using the suprise factor. In my poster  there are play buttons for sounds, such as someone playing a horn, to get their attention. The idea is to use different sounds as the poster will be used more than once. Then, there’s a button to play someone hushing. Finally, the buttons on the bottom play claps and cheers to compliment the kids.

The first step after drawing their attention to the front is to model the activity. After, have students follow, praise them and continue with your planned tasks.





Thanks for reading! Have a fabulous weekend!

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Videos for teachers and students

I was checking my blog entries and I noticed some posts were missing. I guess some got lost when I moved from Blogger to WordPress. I had a post about a youtube channel with videos for students and teachers as well. I found it, copied and pasted it here.

Today I presented a cool video about Thanksgiving that I found on youtube.

Sin título

The videos contain subtitles in English. Videos for more advanced classes also display vocabulary on one side of the screen. A situation is presented and reviewed. In some basic level videos there are pronunciation activities. Subscribe to their channel if you are interested.