Tag Archives: holidays

Spicing up my Lessons: Talking about Holidays in a more Visual Way.

Spark Adobe is my new addiction. I’m hooked on it, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

It’s soooo easy to use, and the result is amazing. Only last week, I was running a workshop, and I was behind schedule, but I just couldn’t leave without showing the bunch of dedicated teachers attending a Saturday workshop, a glimpse of how Spark Adobe could be used in the classroom. So, in five minutes, I briefly explained how to use it. After thanking the teachers for their attention, a Portuguese teacher came up to me and asked me to have a look at what he had created for his next class. Pity I can’t share it with you, but I can assure you that his students are going to be very pleased this Monday.

Embedded below, you’ll see the speaking/listening activity I have designed for my B2 students on the topic of Travelling, created with the Page feature. And make sure you don’t forget to try the Video option, with lots of potential for language learners.

By the way, have I mentioned that it’s free?

Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to visit the three sections on the blog dedicated to speaking activities

Off the Beaten Track

Giving Students a Well-Deserved Break- 13 Addictive Word Games

Ever thought learning vocabulary or grammar was dull? I’m pretty sure this thought never ever crossed your mind, but just in case you know someone who  might need  a break from the traditional  grammar and vocabulary  exercises, let me share with you a nice alternative.

Whether you have two minutes or two hours, spend your break testing your knowledge with these amazing vocabulary and grammar games, some of them from well-known dictionaries. Have fun and learn some new words along the way. You don’t have to register for any of them, although some of these sites offer this possibility for those students who want to track their progress.

My favourite? Yes, I do have a favourite. I am hooked on Fluent (nº 12) from a website called Road to Grammar. Addictive!!! Trust me!

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1. Learner’s Vocabulary Quiz (intermediate and higher)

A 10-question quiz you can try  as often as you would  like as they have  many different versions.

2. Vocabulary Quiz ( advanced and higher)

Take this quiz from Encyclopedia Britannica to test your knowledge of English words and their definitions. You have 10 seconds to answer each question.The faster you answer, the higher your score.


3. Topic Vocabulary Quiz (upper Intermediate and higher)

Select a topic -from the Animal Kingdom to Religion and Philosophy-, select a level ( 1 or 2), a timer (30 or 60 seconds) and the number of questions (10 or 25).

4. Knoword  (Proficient)

A challenging vocabulary game for the most advanced students. When you start a new game you’ll be given a definition, the first letter of the word it’s referring to and 1 minute to solve the problem. Guess the correct word and you’ll move on to the next puzzle. If you don’t know the answer, simply press the “X”-shaped skip button.

5. Challenge (upper Intermediate and higher)

This vocabulary game presents successively harder words. Read the sentence or phrase at the top and choose the most appropriate answer. You have 20 seconds per word. Play as many times as you want to obtain a more accurate score which will be calculated by the number of correct words and the speed at which you complete the challenge.

6. Wordbuster   (upper Intermediate and higher)

Type a word that begins with the given 3 letters, and press enter. Press space to delete the letters. Find as many words as you can, that begin with the three-letter seed. The longer the word, the higher the score.

7. Wordshake (intermediate and higher)

How many words can you make from the random assortment of 16 letters in a time limit of 3 minutes? Spell the words correctly and remember, the longer the words, the more points you will score.


8. Name that thing  (intermediate and higher)

A visual vocabulary quiz you will get addicted to. You are given an image, four options and 15 seconds.

9Name that Thing  (Proficient)

With the same name as the previous one but sponsored by Encyclopedia Britannica, this visual game will test the most proficient students. You have 10 seconds to answer each question. The faster you answer, the higher your score. When you’re done, try again to beat your best score!


10 .Spell It (intermediate)

A 10-word spelling quiz you can do as often as you’d like as it has different versions. Hear the word, and then spell it.  You’ll have 15 seconds to answer each question. The faster you answer, the higher your score.The harder the question, the higher your score.

11. Spelling Challenge  (Upper-Intermediate and higher)

Select difficulty level : Tricky/Difficult/Fiendish and whether you want  British English or American English spelling. Click to hear the word and have fun.


12. Road To Grammar.  (upper intermediate and higher)
My favourite. I am addicted to this game. It tests many areas of your knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary and it allows two students to play . Be careful if you choose this game. It’s kind of addictive!


13. The Apostrophe Challenge  (intermediate)

Do you have problems with apostrophes in English? Then, this quiz is for you. Choose the level of difficulty and improve quickly.

Word of the day: Go on Holiday or Go on Holidays?

Happy, happy Monday!  Today is my son’s birthday, 15 years  in this world and every minute of it making me feel the proudest mum on earth. Lucas , I love you to the moon and back!!.

I have had lots of English teachers in my life so I wouldn’t know who to blame, if any, for some of the mistakes I ‘ve made  when teaching English. Some of these mistakes I have been correcting over the years and  as about the others, I´ll let you know as soon as I spot them. The truth is that  one is never aware  what  one is saying is wrong  until suddenly the penny drops.

When I first began teaching, like 24 years ago, I believed that as the teacher I always had to be perfect and know everything there is to know about English. At the beginning , when my students asked me to translate into English a word I didn’t know I’d make one  up and if I made a mistake sometimes I would cover it up.My only excuse is that I was 23 and my students were much older than me.  When I realised that I was not a machine but a far from perfect  human being , only then did I begin to enjoy what I was doing and only then did my lessons begin to get better , mainly because I was enjoying myself and finally putting all my heart into it.

♥Going on Holidays was one of my mistakes. It is easy for a Spanish student to make this mistake as we translate as Ir de Vacaciones and we use the plural here. But speakers of British English use (be/go) on holiday or return/get back from holiday

I met my husband while I was on holiday in Cuba

I am going on holiday next month

Speakers of American English use (be/go) on vacation

♥The plural Holidays is used with the/my/your etc

During the summer holiday(s) my son is going to work in a shop.

She doesn’t want anybody to know where she is going for her holiday(s)


♥By the way, do you know what a (BrE) bank holiday/public holiday (AmE) is ??? An official day when banks and most businesses are closed.

In Spain ,12th October is a bank holiday.


Picture Description: Holidays in the City or on the Beach

I wouldn’t like to finish the course without publising another example of picture description. This  time for the Elementary Speaking exam and kindly sent by Noelia Fernández.

Holidays in the city or on the beach

In both photos we can see two very different holiday destinations: a big city and a solitary paradise beach.
The picture on the right was taken at the famous street of New York Times Square. This street is always crowded with tourists, and in this photo I think there are too many. They are carrying photo cameras, video cameras or taking photos with their mobile phones. They are wearing summer clothes because it might be July.
In the other photo, there is a beach with clean sand and clear calm water without waves. In the foreground we see five sunbeds and palms.
In my opinion, the perfect vacation is a mixture of both destinations, a few days in the city to visit museums and emblematic buildings, to see a musical or a theater, to do some sightseeing and to make all the activities that you can, and then, other days at a resort to relax and enjoy the sun, the beach, sleep and enjoy the food.
If you’re looking forward to going to New York ,you need to save money because it is the most expensive city in which I have been, but it seems as if you are in a movie with all the famous places and you think ” I know this and that”.


The video you are about to watch is part of  an activity I will be doing with my students one of these days. The videos of Mali and Dubai and all the exercises from the videos have been provided  by my colleague MªJosé (visit her blog here). My only contribution has been to arrange what she so generously provided into a Lesson Plan which you will find here: Lesson Plan

[flashvideo filename=https://www.cristinacabal.com/videos/Mali.flv /]

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