Archive for December, 2010

Bye bye 2010

December 31, 2010

And so it is tradition that I should reflect on my year.  I’m not one to break with tradition but in-depth reflections must be post-poned for future nothing days in 2011.  I will leave a quick post, however.

Good things about this year…

1.  Getting my job teaching in Liverpool.

2. Having a hard time settling into above job.  Yes, truly, this is a great thing.  I learned so much and am still learning as a result of this experience.  I’ve toughened up a hell of a lot and have learned so much about my personality and what can go wrong when I say everything I think without truly thinking through how it comes across.

3.  Getting job in Spain and meeting really nice, generous, happy colleagues.

4.  Moving in with Mr A.

Bad things about 2010.

1.  Losing my uncle John

2.  Feeling down.  Enough said on that subject as I don’t particularly like to dwell on my negative moods when I’m happy.

3.  Having to put up with negative feedback.  As much as I said this was a good thing, this was also a very hurtful experience for me.  I’m only human and I hate being criticised.  Sadly this is a necessary evil sometimes, though not nearly as often as bosses would have you think.  People should be more vocal with their satisfaction and less vocal with their dissatisfaction.  This would restore some balance to the world.  The obvious exception to this is when we are talking about the CONDEM government.  They should take a long, hard look in a very big mirror (big enough to fit their egos’ reflection).

4.  The CONDEM government.

5.  All natural disasters and death.


Any resolutions?

1.  To work hard and play even harder.

2.  To not let work spill into ME-time (by me-time I should clarify and say us time, as I am half of a couple)

3.  To be selfish with my hobbies and become consumed by my passions that aren’t work-centred.  This would make Mr A happy as I would be happy and therefore he’d have a nice, happy crazy cow.

4.  To be extra loving to Mr A and to cook really nice meals for him and not ignore him because I’m planning lessons.

5.  To try to finish a book (in 2010 I have managed to read three whole books and to start lots).

6.  To learn Arabic (useful Arabic.  I’m sick of being able to say the wardrobe is next to the bed.  I’m not a Moroccan estate agent).

Yeah, that’s enough.  I’ve a keep to the one about not getting so tied up with work, I’ll have a nice 2011.  Of course I don’t have any high hopes for an extraordinary year.  There will be some good and some bad in 2011, same as any other year.


Thoroughly Spoilt Rotten!

December 28, 2010

In keeping with Soupy‘s and Paula‘s theme (although I had it in mind to write this post anyway, but thank you girls for starting off!), I thought I’d share some of my presents from Christmas 2010.  I cannot remember from one year to the next the presents I receive, so this time, I’m recording it so I remember.

In that lot, we find bangles, a scarf, CHOCOLATE in bucketloads, an external DVD drive suitable for last year’s Christmas present netbook, speakers for my iPod, a digital photo frame, an external hard disk drive for my netbook, a Liverpool calendar, a watch, a notebook, a Kate Moss perfume, slippers, slipper socks, tights, gloves, colourful pens, post-its, a USB stick, a bracelet and a fantastic Radley purse to make me feel superb.

Hope you enjoyed your presents as much as I’m going to enjoy mine.

Take care.

Santa’s Little Helper: A Liverpudlian’s Account of Last-minute Present Buying

December 28, 2010

Having been more than unimpressed with the fare provided by the shops in Cadiz, I arrived on 23rd December in the afternoon, with the night sky armed with a small suitcase containing no Christmas presents whatsoever.  This only meant one thing: a last-minute run-around on Christmas Eve morning.  Having said that, I don’t think I did a bad job on the present front.  I thought I’d share my new-found consumer expertise with you all, so that if you find yourselves in Liverpool needing to buy a gift for a friend as mad as my family, you may have some guidance.


Utility is a Liverpool-based company with an outlet in Liverpool One and in Bold Street.  I see this shop as a surrealist dream store in the softest of senses.  All the peculiar (and not too Freudian) ideas that your subconscious may have clocked up together with a few bizarre Dragons’ Den entries are to be found here.  How many of you have thought about a head-phone tidy?  Or a remote control container?  These are to be found in Utility as well as other delights.

The Spork.

My sister has some crazy ideas, and of these ideas, I found a post-it note in the kitchen with a drawing of her imagined Spoon/fork combo: namely, the spork.  Well what did I find while lining myself at the check out?  A SPORK!  This one is a bit different, as it comprises a fork, spoon and knife.  It’s called a spork, but my sister has renamed it a spnork.

Other unusual present ideas included the handy bookmarks, the very Liverpudlian Lambanana fridge magnet and some wacky “Get the Hint” fridge magnets.










On Lord Street, this shop is a gem for lovers of costume jewellery.  With it’s wild perspex colours, this range will brighten any wardrobe and start a conversation.  I got some hair bands for my little sis and a brooch for my auntie that is not shown here.


And my absolute favourite purchases where for my mum from Ollie & Nicks in Liverpool One.



Of course, not all gift ideas were fresh.  One success from last year was the Body Shop lip butter, so I got one for each of the ladies to supplement their other gifts.

You can never have too many lip balms in your handbag!

Sorry for the very girly post, but I was very pleased to have found all this in one shopping trip on the busiest day of the shopping year.

Hope you enjoyed giving your gifts as I did mine!

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December 21, 2010

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Christmas Post

December 7, 2010

Signs that Christmas is on its way!

And what better pre-Christmas present can you have than something that truly reminds you of home.  Good old British telly!

Materials Lite?

December 7, 2010

So as for this Dogme thing….

I’ve done some Internet research.  And I like this idea of not needing this lot…..

But this is my class survival kit.

In here I have all the emergency items to keep a class afloat with very little notice.

In my survival kit, I have the sticker rewards, the bingo templates, the colourful paper to quickly implement that urgent consequences game.  On top of this lot, there is the dice and Tony the cuddly football.  So, this Dogme thing….means….getting rid of all my security blankets?  Just wondering.

Fun with Folded Paper

December 7, 2010

So I’m a bad teacher, sometimes.  In that I’m a big kid too.  So, for some class time fun, we played around with I heart ? On the board and then I taught them the LOVES game, where you add up the combination of Ls and Os etc in the name of a boy and a girl and finish with a percentage of compatibility.  They practised their numbers and the word “plus”.  They learnt a new game for school (even the boys liked this!  They could take the mickey out of each other, so it meant lots of fun!).  This related to a text in More 2 where a girl is telling her friend about this cool boy she saw at school.  I asked them to read the text and find out who Olivia loves.  Then, they found the special percentage number of the two characters using their first names.  Later in the class, the material asked them to practise asking and expressing their preferences.  Boring, I thought.  So we made these things that I remember playing with when I was at school.

They listened to my instructions and then we wrote words.  On the outside were numbers.

On the middle layer, we wrote lexical items we have been learning.  As you can see, one of the topics was transport.  On the inside flaps, we wrote preferences.  Then, they went round asking each other to choose a number.  Then they would count the number.  They then asked their partner to choose a word.  They had to spell the word and move the paper in time to the spelling.  Then, they asked their partner to choose a word.  They would then lift the flaps and ask “Do you like Real Madrid?”  The student would then reply (hopefully in this case) “No, I prefer Barca”.  20 minutes of the lesson flew by.  Eight happy students and one even happier teacher.


December 6, 2010

I’ve had to teach quite a few comparisons of late.  So, how to pull this out of the book?

1.  I asked them to line up from tall to short, dark hair to blonde hair, oldest to youngest etc.  Then I asked them questions.  They understood the idea of more something than something else and understood the questions perfectly.  They were able to respond appropriately, although they were unable to produce the comparative forms themselves.

2.  I made some colourful cards with an adjective, -er, and than written on them.  I gave them out to the students.  Then I wrote incomplete sentences on the board like “Day is…….night.”  The student with light, -er, and than would have to come up to the board and put the three cards in the correct order.  Sometimes, there would be more than one option available.

3.  After the clarification and practice exercises, we played things like Human Guess Who and describe a member of the class using only comparisons.  In one lesson, I gave them a raisin and a piece of chocolate each and asked them to give their opinions.

4.  Describing “as…as” and “not as…as” (I told them that not as big as = smaller than.  That seemed to help a couple of the students.) involved me asking them to write a comparative description of who they are without saying their name.  We put the slips of paper in the hat and mixed them up, took one each and guessed who the paper was describing.

5.  One accidental success was the drawing dictation at the end of one class.  I asked them to draw the picture I described with comparisons, such as “There is a girl with blonde hair.  She has a house, but the house is not as big as the girl.  The girl has a dog.  The dog is fatter than the house etc.  This game caused hysterics.  They took turns to dictate a part of the drawing composition.

Phrasal Verbs

December 6, 2010

Following on from the last post with regard to the noughts and crosses game, an idea from a gentleman giving a talk at a Cambidge ESOL conference mentioned that phrasal verbs can be practised using a dice.

1. make

2.  do

3.  give

4.  get

5.  go

6.  catch

1.  up

2.  on

3.  off

4.  in

5.  out

6.  Away

The students roll the dice twice and try to make a phrasal verb.  I say you can also get two bags, make cards with these words on, put them in the bags and get the teams to pick a card from each.  This requires more preparation, but also varies it a bit so you can repeat the activity a few more times and keep it fresh.

I’ve taken to playing noughts and crosses each time they correctly match two words and provide a logical sentence.


December 6, 2010

Prepositions with time and place can be introduced by asking the class to write a party invitation.  They must include the time, the date, the day and the place.  They can also include other details such as what to wear, what to bring, what the theme of the party is, etc.

From this, you can clarify the time/place prepositions.  After the practice exercises, I used my dice to consolidate the time/ place phrases.  I wrote one to six twice.  With the first one to six column, I wrote a preposition next to the number.  In the second, I wrote an incomplete phrase such as “morning”. In two teams, the students rolled the dice twice in order to try to match a preposition and the other word.  Upon correctly matching the two items, they gave me a sentence (with a little help from me) and then got to select a square in a noughts and crosses grid.