Beyond Textbooks: Free TV Channels Access from all over the World

Learning a language isn’t just about grammar rules and vocabulary lists; it’s about immersing yourself in the culture and language. And what better way to do that than by tuning into TV channels from all over the world? The icing on the cake? It is free, and you don’t even need to register.

I know. I know you don’t have much time, but let me suggest a couple of situations when you might want to take advantage of this free website.

  1. While ironing: ’cause you iron, don’t you? (my son says only oldish people iron ūüĎŅ ) So, how about watching an English talk show while ironing away? Your clothes will thank you, and so will your language skills.
  2. While doing exercise: (you know, New Year’s Resolutions and so on and so forth) . Imagine watching the BBC while walking on the treadmill or striding on the elliptical. Exercising your body and your brain? That’s what I call a double win!
  3. While cooking : Forget about convenience food, so convenient btw, and pick up some yummy phrases while preparing a delicious Asturian “arroz con leche”.

I am sure you can think of more situations where this website Free Inter TV.com will effortlessly help you boost your English.

How to watch TV for free?

  • Go to Free Inter TV.com
  • Choose the country
  • Choose the category
  • choose the TV channel
  • Enjoy!!

Tic Tac TALK with a Fun Twist

Today, I am sharing ¬†with you an activity that’s as fun, as it is effective. Drumroll, please… introducing Tic Tac Talk with a Fun Twist!

Picture this: the traditional Tic Tac Toe grid is on the board and each square contains a conversation question related to the lesson or topic at hand; in my case, it was questions related to personal identity. If you pay attention to the picture  of my board, you will see another difference; instead of the traditional 9-square grid, I designed a 12-square grid. More questions. More talk. More fun.

Another difference? They play in teams. Two teams: Xs and Os. And everybody talks here.

 

How to go about it. Let’s pretend Os start.
  • Pair up students; let‚Äôs say Student A chooses O and Student B,¬† X. From now on, they will be called Os and Xs
  • Display the grid with the overhead projector. Less paper, more trees.
  • Ask a representative of Os to choose a square and read the question aloud.
  • Tell Os they have 90 seconds to talk to their buddy X answering the question. Encourage students to use target vocabulary. What do Xs do? They listen. Not for long. Soon, it will be their turn to speak.
  • Monitor the time and signal when the time‚Äôs up.
How  Os win the Square

  • The teacher chooses a random O as representative of their team. (a different one each time, of course)
  • To win the square containing the question they have just answered, this representative will have to speak for 45 seconds, trying to deliver a continuous articulate monologue without repeating himself. If they manage to do so, their team, ie, Os, will have their icon written on the square but if they make pauses, repeat information or talk nonsense then the teacher, will a lot of drama and an apologetic face, will not grant them the desired square.
Now, it is Xs’ turn.
Who wins?

The rules for the traditional Tic Tac Toe apply here, too. ¬†Players take turns placing their “X” or “O”. The goal is to be the first to make a row of three of your marks, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. If all the boxes are filled up and no one has three in a row, it’s a tie. Needless to say, players can strategize to prevent the other players from getting three in a row, which adds to the fun.

How did I mark the Xs and the Os?

Remember that the grid is displayed on the board. I played the game with two different classes. In one of them, I had a digital board, so it was fun to draw the Os and Xs in different colours. In the other one, I used different coloured sticky notes. It was a colourful display and brightened up the whole board.

Here’s the grid with the questions I displayed in class

Tic Tac Talk by cristina.cabal

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The Great Silence Breaker Silly Challenge: Can my Students Talk about a Simple Object for 2 Minutes?

Fun, quick and an opportunity to challenge your students.

As a teacher, and especially at the beginning of the course, I often find myself in situations where I’d love to hear my students talk for just two short minutes on a given topic. But, I ask a thought-provoking question and some students seem to be unable to come up with more than two sentences.¬† Now, I’m not asking for a Shakespearean soliloquy or a TED Talk-worthy speech, I am just asking to answer a juicy question with more than a simple couple of sentences.

And so, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. It’s time to launch the “Great Silence Breaker Challenge.” This challenge is straightforward yet entertaining. My students have been issued the following decree: talk non-stop for about two minutes on a simple, everyday object. Sounds easy, right?

The beauty of this exercise is that it pushes my students to be creative, think on their feet, resourceful, and yes, a little bit absurd. The idea behind this silly speaking task is that after asking them to talk about a simple spoon, pencil box …etc for about 120 seconds, they will realize how easier it is to answer a question such as” Do you think cars should be banned in the city centre?” which is “slightly” more thought-provoking.

So, here’s the activity.

Procedure.
  • ¬†Put the students into pairs (student A and student B).
  • Ask a representative of Student As to choose a box.
  • Display a timer and ask all Student As to talk about whatever the box contains for 2 minutes. If they manage to talk non-stop without awkward silences, they will get a point.
  • Repeat procedure with Student Bs.

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Exploring Cities: 3 Classroom Activities to Supercharge Speaking Skills

I am not saying these three activities are great, but I am saying they are

  • visual
  • engaging
  • effective
  • dynamic
  • collaborative
  • thought-provoking
  • challenging
  • Interactive
  • … shall I continue?

So, they are the perfect answer to introduce and end a lesson about our cities and future cities.

1. INTRODUCING

Ask students to discuss the following question in pairs or small groups:

When you think about the concept of a futuristic city, what kind of city comes to mind?

USEFUL VOCABULARY

  • Sustainable development
  • Megacity
  • Vertical farming
  • Urban sprawl
  • Green architecture
  • High-speed rail
  • Smart city
  • Zero-emission autonomous vehicles
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Eco-City
  • Drone Deliver

Display the pictures and allow students time to comment in pairs and then,  have a whole class discussion. These images are unique and, as I am sure you have guessed, created with AI.

HOUSING by cristina.cabal

2. DISCUSSING: GIVING A STUDENTS A CHOICE

This activity is designed to engage students in debates and discussions based on their chosen statements.

Before the class

  • In each corner of the classroom, hang a clothesline by using a rope and some adhesive hooks. You will need to assign a corner to each group of 4-5 students
  • Depending on the number of students you have, you will need to print as many sets of cards (one set for each corner) as groups in your class.
  • If you make groups of 5 students, you will need to come up with 5 controversial statements. You can read mine below. You will also need clothes pins to hang the cards on the clothesline. Assign a clothesline to each group.

During the class

  • Give the students a photocopy with some functional language to express opinion, agree and disagree with someone else’s opinion. Ask them to choose 3 or 4 expressions from each list and encourage them to use these expressions in this activity.
  • Divide the class into 4 groups and assign each group to one of the four corners of the classroom.
  • Tell the students to stand up, go to their assigned corner, and choose the statement (phrase) they like the most or believe they can argue for or against effectively from the cards hanging on their group’s clothesline.
  • Have the students sit down and give them 5 minutes to prepare their arguments.
  • Start the debate within each group. Student A should begin by showing their card, stating whether they are in favour of or against the statement, and presenting their reasons.
  • Encourage other group members to listen carefully, take notes, and contribute their opinions to the discussion.
  • After Student A has finished, it’s Student B’s turn to present their card and arguments.

These are the controversial statements I have used for this activity

AGREE OR DISAGREE by cristina.cabal

3. THE HOUSING CRISIS. ORAL MEDIATION: retelling in groups

Lead-in activity

Give each student a piece of paper and ask them to write down one idea for addressing the housing crisis. It could be an affordable housing initiative, a zoning policy, or a rent control measure. Collect the papers and randomly distribute them to different students. Put the students in groups of three and ask them to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the idea on their piece of paper with their group.

The activity

I have used AI to turn text into speech to enhance students’ pronunciation. You will find the QR Code with the audio on page 2¬† (below).

  • The handout below, Housing Crisis in Cities, is divided into three parts: causes, consequences and solutions
  • Divide the class in groups of 3 students and assign each student in the group a part ( causes. …). Ask them to individually read their part once, underlining any new vocabulary. Divide the whiteboard into three columns( causes, consequences and solutions)¬† and ask students to contribute with the vocabulary they have underlined. Explain meanings.

  • Once all vocabulary issues have been solved, give students about 5-10 minutes to read their part several times. If they want to improve pronunciation, instruct them to listen to their part¬† (audio provided by the QRCode). PDF here.¬†
  • Ask the students that have been assigned Causes of the Housing Crisis to retell the information they have read in as much detail as possible, and then ask the students in their group to contribute with their own ideas by asking :¬† Can you list more reasons behind/ consequences of /solutions for the housing crisis?
  • Repeat procedure for Consequences and Solutions, with students contributing with their own ideas.
  • Finally, engage students in a whole-class discussion.

Housing crisis by cristina.cabal

Follow-up: Give your students this quote: “Housing is a basic human right, and it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and stable housing.” Ask them to express their opinion about it.

More activities revolving around Cities

Fixing Common Mistakes: 3 Activities with End Up or Finish?

I don’t know about other languages, but these two verbs, Finish and End Up, can be easily confused in Spanish. Is it also true in your language?

Do you often see this mistake? I do.  We missed the bus and finished taking a taxi. I do. Even when teaching C1 levels. Well, this is about to change.

EXPLANATION

So what is the difference between these two verbs? How can we use them?

END UP
  • ¬†if you end up somewhere, you eventually arrive there, even though you did not originally intend to go there.

           Many of his friends ended up in prison for different crimes

  • ¬†if you end up doing something or end up in a particular state, you do it or get to that state even though you did not originally intend to.

         We missed the bus and ended up taking a taxi

                         If the crisis continues, we will end up with millions and millions of unemployed

In Spanish, it can easily translate as “terminar por”

FINISH
  • If you finish, or finish something you are doing, producing or dealing with, you reach the end of it, so there is no more for you to do, produce or deal with.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I’ve just finished doing the ironing

When we finished eating, we left

  • When a course, film, sale, etc finishes, especially at a planned time, it ends

            The course starts in September and finishes in May

In Spanish, it can easily translate as “terminar de”

NOTE: The good news is that both verbs are followed by gerund so, you see, here you can not make a mistake.

PRACTICE

  1. A QUIZ . We start with a beautiful exercise I have created on Wordwall.  I am teaching C1  students about Cities and City Life so, all the sentences revolve around this topic.I have tried to use in the sentences some of the vocabulary taught in this lesson.

2. TRANSLATION.  I love, and I know for certain that they like, doing small translation exercises. They claim it helps them fix the structures better. So, here it goes, a small translation activity, using flip cards.  Much easier sentences than in the previous exercise.

How to go about it

  • Divide the class into pairs or groups of three students. Pair A, Pair B… etc
  • Display the first sentence to be translated and give them some time to complete the task. (you decide how much time they have, but the key is to give them neither too much time nor too little.
  • Ring a little bell to indicate time’s up and ask pairs to raise hands if they know how to translate the sentence. You will listen to the translated sentence of the pair who raised their hand first. If it is OK, they score 1 point. If incorrect, with a lot of drama, shout NOOOO!!! Pairs need to be ready to raise their hand quickly if they think they have managed to write the correct translation. If, say Pair D, raises their hand and the sentence is OK, they score 1 point; if incorrect repeat procedure shouting NOOOO!!! until a pair gets the correct translation. Flip the card and comment on any errors other pairs might have made.
  • Continue in this fashion with the rest of the sentences.

3. SPEAKING. Have a look at these quotes and pay attention to how these two verbs are being used. Which quote do you like best ? Why?