Monthly Archives: October 2022

Would Rather: Introducing, Revising and Reinforcing

This is not the first time I’ve shared a lesson on using Would Rather to express a preference, but this lesson is also an excuse to share some of the tricks (also called activities 😊) I keep up my sleeve to engage my students and make them enjoy learning; because they/ we deserve to have fancy, engaging, dynamic lessons even if what needs to be explained is as dull as ditch water.

I strongly support the use of visuals in the class to create stimulating lessons. I know creating your own content takes time. But it pays off. Trust me on this one!


I have introduced Would Rather presenting students with some slides and some visual prompts and asking them to provide the questions based on the images.

Some help might be needed, at least, for the first two slides. Encourage students to describe their preferences in pairs, even if it’s a guided assignment.

Target grammar:

  • Question: Would you rather read a book or watch TV?
  • Answer: I’d rather read a book than watch TV because…

Would Rather Introduction de cristina.cabal


The two activities that follow are meant to be done the following day in order to revise and reinforce this content.


(NOTE FOR TECH ENTHUSIASTS)  This beautiful activity has been created with  First I created the video, published it on YouTube, and then embedded it on Then, I used the Template to create the Flipcards.

  • Revise with the video (1st slide)
  • Revise with the matching grammar (2nd slides)
  • Flip Cards Game (following slides). To be used in the game that follows.
FLIPCARDS GAME. Rewriting with Would Rather.  Using Dry-Erase Boards

1. Pair learners and give each pair a dry-erase board and a whiteboard marker.
2. Show the first sentence and ask students to rewrite it using Would Rather
3. Depending on the length or difficulty of the sentence, set a different time limit.
4. Once the pair have their sentence, ask them to write it on the board, big enough for you to see from a distance.
5. When the time is up, ask the pairs to hold it up and quickly go through all the sentences, awarding 1 point to the pair who has the correct grammar.
6. The winner is the pair that get the most points.

Note: Be strict with spelling mistakes or any other tiny mistakes. Students love it when you are strict and don’t give away points easily.

Follow-up: Revise all the sentences again, but this time orally.


This board game has all the ingredients of a good game:

  • Reinforces grammar
  • Boosts communicative skills
  • Improves writing skills
  • Builds rapport
  • + Combines technology with traditional props: in this case, a huge die  (there is a built-in die on the board, so don’t worry if you don’t have this beautiful red die; it is just that I love mixing both worlds.

And here’s the board. As you can see,

  • There are 3 draggable counters.
  • To see the prompts, you need to click on the number.
  • As you can read in the Instructions, if they land on a square with the question GIF, students will need to write a “would you rather” question for the teacher. Yes, you need to answer, it is only fair!!!


Hope you have enjoyed this lesson plan. My students have! 🙂

Aspirated /P,K,T/ and Some Fun Activities to Practise

“The fortis plosives /p,t,k/, when initial in an accented syllable, are usually accompanied by aspiration” A.C Gimson.

Before you continue reading, you should know I am not a native speaker, so I don’t tend to write many posts on pronunciation. However, some sounds require special attention, and it is my job as a teacher to show my students how to correctly pronounce these sounds. Besides, students love pronunciation activities.

The three sounds we are going to tackle today are easy to pronounce for Romance and Slav speakers and because the sounds seem similar to the sounds in their own native language, these speakers might tend to pronounce these sounds without aspiration.Without aspiration,” there is the danger that the English listener may understand,  for example, “bin” instead of “pin” since he interprets lack of aspiration as the lenis /b/”-A.G Gimson

EXERCISE 1: HAVE FUN ( Spanish speakers)
  • Write these three Spanish words on the board (tetera, papá, cacao) and ask students to read them in Spanish.
  • Now, ask them to imagine how these 3 Spanish words would be pronounced by an English native speaker. Most probably, and with some laughs, it will sound something such as this.

  • Give them 1 minute to practise, in pairs.
  • Ask: what’s the difference? Explain that aspiration happens when these three sounds are in initial accented position. Emphasize the importance, for communicative purposes, of this aspiration.

Illustrative video, created by Tools for Clear Speech, which I highly recommend.

  • To pronounce /t/: place the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth. To produce aspiration, push air out of your mouth.
  • To pronounce /p/: close your lips and release them, pushing air out of your mouth.
  • To pronounce /k/: raise the back of your tongue towards your soft palate. Lung air is compressed behind this closure and then released with force.
. I

/p/ as in “paper” de cristina.cabal

EXERCISE 3:  MORE FUN (  and why not )
  • Ask students to give you words beginning with /p,t,k/ in initial accented position. Write them on the board

  • Take a Kleenex (paper tissue) or a piece of toilet paper. Choose one of the words on the board, for example, “paper”. Hold the piece of paper in front of your mouth and demonstrate the difference between pronouncing non-aspirated  /p/ in “paper” and aspirated /p/ “paper”. You might need to rest after exemplifying 🙂
  • Allow them some time to practise using the words on the board. Emphasize that the piece of paper must move.

What could be more English than a classic tongue twister?

On the board, write these three below and let them practise in pairs.  I was going to say “more fun” but I am going to refrain; I need to become a more serious teacher.

  • With /p/, the super popular “Peter Piper”

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

If you don’t feel up to it, here you can listen to a perfect pronunciation of the tongue twister.

  • With /t/, the long… “Betty Botter”

Betty Botter bought some butter. But she said the butter’s bitter, “If I put it in my batter. It will make my batter bitter, But a bit of better butter.- that would make my batter better.

  • With /k/ the super difficult …

A cupcake cook in a cupcake cook’s cap cooks cupcakes

And again, If you don’t feel up to it, here you can listen to a perfect pronunciation of the tongue twister.


This is going to be fun.

  • Put students in pairs and assign them a sound /p/, /t/ or /k/.
  • Ask them to imake up a tongue twister with their assigned sound. The tongue twister should have no less than 6 words, and there should be at least 4 words containing the aspirated sound.
  • They should write their tongue twisters on a slip of paper. Well, on two slips of paper as every student should have their own slip of paper with his/her own tongue twister in it. Encourage clear handwriting and let them practise before the next step.
  • Ask students to stand up and pair up with another student in the class. Exchange slips of paper. Read your classmate’s tongue twister. Before moving to find another partner, exchange slips of paper again so that you take your own tongue twister with you.
  • Hope you have enjoyed these activities. I have!!!

You Don’t Have a Chroma Key. So what? How to Easily Change the Background of your Videos

Have you heard of Canva? I am sure you have.  Canva is free but, did you know that as a teacher, you have access to all premium features?  If you haven’t applied yet, you can do it here.   We will need the premium account for what I am about to explain here.

The problem

You and your students love role-plays. It allows them to practise specific vocabulary, work collaboratively, improve their pronunciation and their social skills.  There are so many possibilities: job interviews, presenting the news, ordering food at a restaurant, buying a house, …etc.

They are working so hard and doing so well that you’d like to record their performances. But… the background for their videos is always the same… the walls of the classroom. And… you don’t have the money or the expertise to set up a green screen, the famous chroma key.

The solution

What if I told you that there is an easy way to change the background in their videos without placing a green screen behind the students, i.e., without having to set up a chroma key?

Here’s how to do it

  1. Let’s assume you have already recorded your students’ performances.
  2. Go to and click Create a Design. Choose Video.
  3. Choose a background or upload one.
  4. Upload your students’ video
  5. Remove the video background
  6. Done

Not clear enough? I have also recorded this step-by-step video (2:37)

  • 0:00-1:30: static background
  • 1:32: animated background


Thanks to Natalia from   for her inspiration to create the First Dates background.