Category Archives: lesson ideas

crowd-sourcing: technology in your classroom

  This week I’m tutoring on an online teacher development course discussing the use of technology in the ELT classroom. To kick off we’re exchanging some information about our current or recent teaching contexts.  All the participants are teaching, or … Continue reading

Posted in crowd sourcing, lesson ideas, reflecting on teaching | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Sharing …

I teach speaking classes with groups of teenagers at a local High School once a week.  There’s a team of us all doing the same thing and to cut down on our workload, and to offer continuity across the classes, … Continue reading

Posted in lesson ideas, using images | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Looking back at Bilbao (1) teen angles from Chris Roland

Here’s the first in a series of posts inspired by the TESOL Spain conference in Bilbao. Which in turn was inspired by the ever photogenic Guggenheim building right opposite on the other side of the river. After the conference one … Continue reading

Posted in conferences, lesson ideas, reflecting on teaching, thoughts on teaching | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments


It’s the Thursday before carnival weekend.  Preparations are being made throughout the town. The lights are up, the burger and hot dog stalls are in place, there are fluorescent wigs and plastic hats fluttering in the wind in the cathedral … Continue reading

Posted in lesson ideas | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

The Gift of the Magi

A simple lesson plan for Christmas, based on the classic short story by O. Henry.  You can find the original story here (and on many other sites too) and an audio version with accompanying worksheets here at onestopenglish.  The original text works … Continue reading

Posted in lesson ideas, live listening, using literature in the ELT classroom | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

First impressions – a guest post by Sandy Millin

I am delighted to be able to welcome back Sandy Millin as a guest blogger to Close Up.  I met Sandy through Twitter and we’ve worked on a couple of things together already, including a joint post on using cuisenaire … Continue reading

Posted in guest post, lesson ideas, using images | Tagged , | 5 Comments


Here is another collaborative story writing idea (see also Urban Tale and Early Mornings).  I first used it with a class of teenagers.  They responded well to the topic and the structure and the shyer students enjoyed the “mask” that … Continue reading

Posted in creative writing, lesson ideas, using images | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

An urban tale

… or the glass elevator This has been one of my favourite story-writing activities for a long, long time.  My dad first introduced me to it – or the underlying technique – when I was running a creative writing option … Continue reading

Posted in creative writing, lesson ideas | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Reader response codes

This topic has come up in conversation a couple of times in the last few days, and then again during yesterday’s #eltchat on adapting coursebooks. Shortly afterwards, I was rummaging through some old papers, looking for something completely different, when … Continue reading

Posted in lesson ideas | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Broken umbrellas

I’ve been rifling through some old files and folders from a couple of years back and I came across this.  It was originally written as a follow-up to an ACEIA conference in Seville.   As I’d been talking about images and … Continue reading

Posted in lesson ideas, using images | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments