The zombie lesson – reading and discussion lesson for Halloween

Thanks to the unofficial Stanford Blog for this image

Can’t be bothered to read the blog?  I wouldn’t bother either, here’s the worksheet:

I quite like zombie films and most of my pre-intermediate and intermediate students do as well. Here is a three part Zombie lesson to get them talking and reading about the most popular undead monster in modern culture.

Pre- reading. – You can dictate these questions or cut them up and ask students to read them together

Reading – You could dictate a few comprehension questions about this or blank out a few of the words to make it a gap fill exercise.

Discussion – ask students in pairs to make their own zombie apocalypse plan outlining what they and their partner would do to survive the zombies. I put a few sentences students could finish but they could write anything. Help them out by giving them some ideas. What would they do if there really was a zombie threat? Would they go to the supermarket to get food, the DIY store to get weapons? Where would they go long term? How would they really survive?

****WARNING**** I wouldn’t do this lesson with students who aren’t familiar with the Zombie genre, younger students or students who wouldn’t like this kind of thing.

Here’s the worksheet again

Let me know if this lesson worked or not.

More of the same from:

Optical Illusions for your language class – any level


Can’t be bothered to read the short post? Who could blame you?  Download the lesson here…

Click here for optical illusions from Amazon

Optical illusions are a great warmer, cooler or filler for your class. Here’s a powerpoint show that I made from pictures I found on Google. It takes five to ten minutes depending on how chatty your students are

I ask students to look at each picture and answer three questions.
1. What is the first picture you notice?
2. What is the second picture you notice?
3. Do you like this picture?

English Language Space

Click here for optical illusions from Amazon

Using Board Games with your language students

Playing a board game is fun and requires more than a little bit of language. You have to explain the rules, give advice on how to play, ask for tips, encourage, cheat, discuss and generally chat while you play. All the perfect ingredients for a language activity that might not be good for a full class, but might be great to fill a tutorial hour with a small group or engage an ‘English Conversation Club’. Here are my best board games to play with your students

The king of board games where player make words to score points. This has the added bonus of already ‘looking like’ it will be good for learning English. Get students to play together and allow them to use a dictionary to help them – it’s not cheating!
The world conquest game is legendary. Simple, fierce and easy to learn, it will have your students engaged straight away. Use the goal cards with higher level students to encouarage sneaky tactics.

Complex, iconic and involved. What better way to learn a language than to engage in trade? Encourage students to make deals with each other by buying and selling the properties they have. Also, you must use the ‘Free Parking Rule’ – this puts lots more cash up for grabs.

Card Games
Pontoon (or twenty one) – Quick game to encourage speculation and guessing. Lots of opportunity for fun and laughs, good for lower level students who need to practise numbers.

Games I wouldn’t recommend
Chess – too much thinking and not enough chatting. It’s a bit like boxing in that both players just want to crush each other – not good for a friendly language activity.

Poker – again, too much frowning and not enough chatting.

Purely dice games like snakes and ladders or ludo, there’s no chance to speak here.

Anyone know any other good board games to play? Or can I hear my voice echoing round an empty virtual hall?

Instant and Emergency English Classes – your get out of jail free card

In the game Monopoly, at some point, you’ll be sent to jail, this can be avoided if you have a ‘get out of jail free’ card. All teachers get to a point when they don’t know what to teach or are put in a situation where they have got nothing to teach . There may be many reasons for this, you’ve been asked to cover a lesson at short notice, your new born baby kept you awake all night, you have a new girlfriend/boyfriend, you feel sick, there has been a tribal war and you have had to go into hiding for a week, the reasons are endless. Here are my five instant lessons or links that will get you out of such a fix.

1. Instant Writing Lesson – Writing Circle – Click here for the lesson

Never be fooled into thinking that writing means a lot of marking for the teacher. Like speaking, sometimes it’s just good to have a go… Click here to download the powerpoint which you can either show or print off and cut up. The idea is that students all begin wrting a letter using the prompts. They write the first line and then pass the letter to their left for the next student to continue – while they continue the letter they recievied. Students have a time limit, say two minutes. In this way they all write a letter together and students get valuable practise in continuity, reading and writing. These letters on the PowerPoint start unnaturally, with Dear Supermarket etc.. and are not formatted correctly, this was so I could fit them onto one page as to give students and idea of what they had to write in the first line – make students aware of this.

TIPS FOR MAKING THIS WORK WELL 1) make sure that everyone changes at the same time, wait for slow students and don’t let fast students pass their letter on until all the students are ready. 2) don’t make the letter go on for too long, six or seven passes is enough. 3) When students have finished, read their letters out to them. They will find them very funny.

2. Instant Reading Lesson – One Stop – Click here to go straight to the website

Go directly to and print off one of their news lessons. They are interesting, not too difficult or easy and most importantly, they are free.

3. Instant Speaking Lesson – Discussion – Click here to go straight to the discussion shows

Apart from teenagers, most people have opinions and experience of life. Here’s a link to loads of PowerPoint presentations which will get your students talking to each other.

4. Instant Multi-skills lesson that can last ages – Click here to go straight to the pub quiz lesson.

Here’s the old favourite pub quiz lesson.

5. Instant PowerPoint Lessons – click here to go straight to the instant powerpoint lessons

If you’ve got a projector or an interactive whiteboard with speakers that is connected to the internet, these complete lessons from the English Language Space Station might just save your teaching skin, they have done mine plenty of times.

The Pool ball over the pocket rule.

In the game of pool, sometimes a ball will end up just next to one of the pockets without actually going in. Although this ball is a ridiculously easy pot, journeyman pool players will always leave it and try another shot. The reason for this is they know it’s easy and leave it until they don’t have another shot to play. The same is true with ‘get out of jail free’ lessons – don’t use them till you really need them.