Sunday, 12 November 2017

THE WINNERS OF THE 2ND SPOOKY SHORT STORY COMPETITION (C2 LEVEL)!

I've been a bit short on time this week and last (so many Halloween parties and so little time!πŸ’€Too many murders in classrooms!) so keep checking in for the updates. Here are the winners of C2 level (in no particular order). REMEMBER: I have not made any corrections to these stories at all. This is all the writers' own work.
πŸ‘» Hope you enjoy the spooky Halloween reads Part 1! πŸ‘»

C2


Strange Encounter
by Panagiotis Psarris

A night of horror and spook! The Halloween Night! Me and my friends, Frank, George Dylan and TJ (I am Dylan). Our target was to go around the neighbourhood  and knock on people's doors, then we would hide in the bushes. You're going to ask how we would hide as bushes, the answer is we were working on handmade ghilie suits* and trust me it actually worked! So we went to all the houses even ours! Knocking doors and hiding, what else could we ask for? Our Halloween themed buckets were flooded with candy and chocolate goodies! We had the best costumes in the block, taking pictures and shooting videos, we had the time of our lives. In my house we went to unload our buckets and go to the next block to do the same jokes again. Every block had scarier and scarier costumes. From zombies and bloody men to invisible costumes! Can you believe it? We were tired, it was time to go back  and relax by playing video games. In the home stretch just two steps from my home all the lights went out my friends ran away and I just stayed there wondering why. I looked to my right and to my left and behind me. Lastly, I looked above me and noticed the only street lamp that was lit was the one above. I looked at my friends and they were shouting "At the alleyway!" I looked at the alleyway and saw a figure, no hands, not a regular body, was walking in the alleyway. Suddenly it looked at me and started running towards my way. As it exited the the alleyway it walked towards me, I crawled up into a ball just to camoflage with the grass. I was able to look at him.. It looked like a person with a straight jacket and a Hannibal mask. I thought "Is this the end? Is that my end?" then I saw Frank flashing his flashlight at his face but as soon as the man looked at Frank, Frank took off. So it was me and him, I was sweating bullets and crying. The figure stopped just in front of me. I thought "This is it." when I suddenly heard"Dylan?" I thought "How does he know my name?" But then his voice sounded familiar. I said "Brian?" He answered "Yes Dylan?" Then relieved I got on my feet again and shouted "I'm safe!" My friends came and said "Who is he?" I said "It's Brian." I t turned out he had been making his won costume all this time so in the end we all played video games while eating hot buttered popcorn.

Suspicious Person
by Apostolos Psarris

It was the 31st October, about 11 o'clock at night my friends and I were talking via our phones talking about when we were going to go trick or treating. I said I couldn't come because I was ill so they were goin' to go by themselves. The clock strikes 11 my mom says she'll take the kids out for trick or treating, so I was home all alone. I was used to being home alone so I made myself a bucket of popcorn and sat on the couch watching a  family guy marathon. It was about 12 o'clock now and I kinda started getting worried 'bout my mom. I called to tell her if she is okay, I got no response at all. So I went to sleep. That's when it happened.

I heard knock on the door, I was thinking "It must be Trick or Treaters!" So I turned aside to sleep. Suddenly the knocks became bangs like someone was kickin' it, so I got up and went to the door to check but no one was there, just a note saying "Night night." I gulped and closed the door I went to sleep again and outside my window I heard giggles. I said it must be Bennie messin' around. One hour later, I heard screeches down the window, it was 1am so I was creeped out. I went to check and all I could see was a black figure wearing a straight jacket just staring at me intently with its head twitching. I could hear pure silence but [in my head] whispers saying "It's a frame." I screamed "Sir are you okay?" not an answer came back, "Do you need help?" I then got a phone call from an unknown person. I answered with a cold "Hello?" they hung up. Then I thought to myself "How could a straight jacketed maniac call or write?" When I looked again, nothing was there! So I slept with my pepper spray aside.

I woke up at 8am of course, I was late.  And of school, on my way home but a strange figure scratches my eye sitting in the middle of the square. The same person from yesterday  was following me all day long so at night I said"OK it's time I called the police." I didn't want to grab my eyes off him so I was talking on the phone and looking at him. The police eventually came, six police interceptors and a helicopter. They told me he he was a slaughterer that was stalking his victims for three days and then killing them on the fourth day. I was on the news  - I was relieved to see myself on the TV. After living this I heard a lot of strange noises in the night, strange isn't it?


*WARNING * VIOLENT STORY*
The Creature
by Fotis Georgakis
It was a rainy Halloween night. A group of friends are in their car heading home after Halloween party. After some time, the car entered a thick grey fog. Then a tall black shadow got formed in the fog.. The creature forming the shadow was making spasmodic moves around the car car, inspecting it, ensuring the group it was nothing human-like. Eric, despite the rest of the group saying not to, got out of the car to investigate. The shadow stopped moving right in front of him and suddenly, a white skinny hand came out of the fog quickly, grabbing him by wrist and pulling him into the fog. Then a loud scream was heard followed by the brutal sound of bones breaking. Rachel, Eric's girlfriend started crying and Matt grabbed the steering wheel and quickly drove away. The moment they arrived at home, Matt called 911 and reported the event.
The following day, the police investigated the whole area and the same night one of the reporters in the news said that the police confirmed that they found a weird old cabin in the periferals of the city. When When he heard it, Matt stood up:
"We have to go there guys!" he shouted.
"But we can't" said Rachel interrupting him
"Come on! It's about your best friend!" Mart said " At least we can avenge if he is...d, dead..." Matt stopped talking and sighed.
"Admit it Rachel, He's right" said Helen. "We have to find Eric."
They looked at Rachel and said do you agree?"
"Yeah, let's go" Rachel said. The same night, the group headed to the location police said they had found the cabin. After about an hour they where in front of the cabin. It was surprisingly big with rotten shutters and an old rotten wooden door. The cabin was filled with old fashioned furnitures and three doors with carved messages such as: "Not scary at all", "Scary" and "Really scary". At first they thought that Eric would be behind one of the doors. They first opened the "Not scary at all" be hind that door was lying a pile of bodies and a weird creature was feasting on them. Then the creature looked at the friends revealing its glowing yellow eyes. Then it started running towards them but Matt quickly locked the door and said; "That's not real there's no way..." Then a squeaky voice crumbling voice said "So... it's not real enough for you Matt! You want this nightmare of yours and your friend to last longer?" The the last door opened and the friends saw the creature that got Eric. It was tall with big crossed yellow eyes and had a huge disturbing smile across its white face filled with fangs all the place. It looked at the friends and started walking towards them. It started attacking the group but Rachel by instinct grabbed a large spike of the floor with all her hatred for the creature, she stuck it through the face! The creature roared in pain. Rachel's win was too good to last for long. The creature somehow healed itself, grabbed Rachel buy  her neck and and brutally choked her. The big claw grew out of its hands and blood started running of its eyes. It grabbed Matt by his neck and whispered in his ear " You cant hide from me human" I'll forever feasting of your fears As it impaled him with the spear that Rachel attacked it with. Helen was lucky enough to run out of the house and reached the car. The last thing she heard before turning the engine on was: "Don't get fooled little girl Its not over!"

Monday, 2 October 2017

Let the 2nd Spooky Short Story Competition begin!




It's October, that means Halloween and that means spooky stories! Last year's stories were great. This year I've extended the competition to a few more schools in the area where I live, not just the ones I teach in, so be looking out for a bumper read towards the end of the month!

If you are looking for help on how to write a story, you can check out this blog post here.
And if you are wondering why I'm so into scary stories, you can check out my writing here.

Here are the rules:

  • Only students who attend the participating schools may take part.
  • No story should exceed (be longer than) 300 words.
  • All stories must be on A4 paper with students name, class level and school at the top.
  • All stories must be hand written and not corrected by another person.
  • All stories must be original and the student's own work.
  • No more than one story per student, so choose your best one!
  • Do not include violence and blood for the sake of it. I want to be scared not made to feel sick!
  • The judge's decision is final.
  • All winning stories will be published on this blog towards the end of the month.
  • Closing date 20th October 2017. (Hand in your stories to your teacher who will pass them on to me.)
  • Artwork welcome!
Have fun!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Welcome back!

It's been an long hot summer in Greece and I'm feeling rested and recuperated. So much had been happening!

First of all, I have to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all my students who passed their exams at B1, B2, C1 and C2 levels. You deserved it, you worked like troopers this year!


After school was out, I took a  long deserved trip back to the UK for my niece's wedding and a huge family reunion. (It was about time after thirteen years, don't you think?) I also read endless books and spent quality time with my family. What about you? Feel free to let me know what you be been up to by commenting below.

Now I'm back and raring to go!

If you are an old friend, you'll notice some changes happening here at my blog and I hope you'll hop on board and support me by hitting the subscribe button up there on the right. If you are new here, no problem, by subscribing, you can enjoy all the benefits too. So what will you get from this? Subscriber exclusives of course! There will be a whole new series of How-to guides for teachers and students to help you with all the things you need to make your English teaching/learning experience so much more enjoyable, as well as all the old favourites. And of course they are all entirely FREE! If things really take off, I have so much more planned! So click on that subscribe button and let's kick off the 2017- 2018 school year together!

The coming months:
I'll be attending a seminar on Dyslexia and EFL.
The 2nd Spooky Short-Story Contest will be running from October 1st -20th. Look out for details in school or here. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU ARE HAVING FUN!

Where did the year go? It's been two months since I posted and I hardly noticed!
Well now it's the end of year I thought I set you up with all you need to: 

Create you very own yearbook!

A yearbook is a way for each student to remember classmates, what they looked like and what interested them in that year of school. Traditionally yearbooks are presented to graduating students but in EFL classes, you can create them for the students who have just taken or are going to take exams and are going on to the next level or going to leave.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:
  • All comments made must be positive.
  • All comments must be in English.
  • Use your best handwriting.
  • Use a mobile phone/school camera to take photos and print them up (or get students to bring their own).

WHAT TO WRITE:
  • Write your name.
  • Write a short auto biography.
  • Write three adjectives that describe you.
  • Write what you hope to achieve next.
  • Ask your teacher to write something.
  • Ask your classmate(s) to write something.
COLLATING THE YEARBOOK:

When you have gathered all the completed pages copy them back-to-back and staple them together with a cover of your own design or using the template I have below.


Make enough copies so all the students can have one each and one for you and the school owner. If finances are an issue, you can reduce the copy size so that each page is A5, or make monochrome copies. Alternatively, scan them all into a computer and email them or make a PDF available through your school site or only to those who have the link.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The meaning of March and other phrases...

March is the month of spring and has always been one of fond memories for me. My best friend from preschool years and my favourite auntie have their birthdays on the official first day of spring - the 21st of March which is usually the spring or vernal equinox. Happy birthday to you!

Mars 
The month of course is named after the Roman god of war, Mars which brings the imagery of a chariot blazing across the sky dragging spring behind it. It would be nice to think that the verb to march would fit in here, (one imagines legions of Roman soldiers in strict formation) but sadly it doesn't.

So what other phrases and idioms are connected with March? 

Mad as a March hare, meaning completely crazy, stems from the dancing/jumping/boxing motions of hares at this time of year - it is their mating season. Just have a look at this!


Why am I posting today you might ask? Well today is the ides of March. You may have heard of this before from Shakespeare "Beware of the Ides of March". Again ides is a Roman term used for the first full moon of the Roman new year, which fell on the 13th or 15th of March, and so the Ides of March is now accepted as the 15th of the month. (Although strangely this year the full moon was the 13th!) 




Finally, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, refers to the changeable weather and the change of the season. Early March weather tends to be fierce and cold whereas in late March one can really feel the mildness of spring just around the corner. Lions are fierce, lambs are mild, it's not so hard to see! There is a lovely children's book of the same name written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully that brings this idea to life provides plenty of weather vocabulary too.



Friday, 24 February 2017

Quick! There's been a Murder in the Classroom!

Sometimes it's super for busy teachers to allow another person or company do the planning and that's just what I did today with 'Murder in the Classroom' from One Stop English, the Macmillan website.


Macmillan website OneStopEnglish has a super Murder Mystery that takes up a one hour period and was the perfect way to lead into the holiday weekend. I had, of course, spent a half hour or so preparing the scene just to get the atmosphere right. (Thanks to hubby for the tape and to V.K. for interrupting her busy schedule to print up my 'Police Line: DO NOT CROSS' sign and L.L. for the photos.)


Miss McGowan, R.I.P.
I delighted in monitoring my students as they questioned each other, narrowing down the likely suspects and finally detecting the murderer.


If you would like to try this you need to have at least seven students in your class and there are roles for another four provided on the Macmillan website. My class was twelve so I had to write one more, but that wasn't so hard to do. Click here for a link to the material provided by Macmillan and see if your students can discover Whodunit?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

ARMISTICE DAY

Armistice Day is a day of remembrance, a day to honour those who died in World War I and World War II and other, subsequent wars. Which day is it? In Britain, Belgium, France, Serbia and New Zealand people wear poppies on this day. Do you know the reason why? There are parades and wreathes are laid a memorial cenotaphs in villages, towns and cities. A minute's silence is also observed to allow for reflection, but upon what? Watch the short centenary video below to find out more.


ACTIVITIES: Watch the video again and answer the questions. For a printable copy click here.

1.Answer these comprehension questions.

When was the First World War?
What happened in 2014?
Which day did the first world war end and what do we call this day now?
When is Remembrance Sunday in Britain?
Where did the poppies grow?
Who was Lieutenant Colonial John McCrae and what was he inspired to do?

2. Which of the following areas was World War I fought in?
  1. The South Atlantic
  2. The Middle East
  3. Australia
  4. China
  5. Turkey
  6. East Africa
  7. The United States
  8. The Alps
  9. The Carpathians
  10. Western Europe
  11. Great Britain
3. How Many? Match the numbers on the left to the facts on the right.

13                  soldiers fought in the war
71,497,467    died in Britain alone
888,246         major wars are in progress*
70,000+         smaller conflicts in progress*
Dozens          people have died as a result of these wars*

*Figures correct for 2014, when the video was produced.

4. Complete the following paragraph:

global, lives, November, observe, poppy, remember, silence, victims, War

The First World _____________  was the first truly ___________  war. At 11am on _____________ 11th 1918 the fighting stopped. This day is now an important day of remembrance where people from across the globe ___________ a minute's ____________ to reflect upon the ___________ of all wars. The __________ is a way to ___________ the people who gave their ___________ for the world we live in today.

5. Read the poem. How does it make you feel? What images do you get when you read it? Who narrates the poem?

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
By Dr John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch
; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

6. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Do you or would you wear a poppy? Why/Why not?
Who are we remembering: soldiers or civilians?
Is there a similar celebration to Armistice Day in your country?
What happens on this day?
Do you think that war is better forgotten?
How do you feel when you see images of war in the media?
Which wars are being fought at the moment?
Many soldiers are referred to as Peace Keeping Forces, what do you think this means?
Do you watch war films? Why/Why not?

7. Click on the links below for a crossword and word search based on the red words from the worksheet, and a gap fill exercise based on the song 'I Vow to Thee, My Country'. This exercise is based on the acoustic version of the song by the singer from London, Elenya.




VOCABULARY
Armistice                  truce; when fighting stops because of an agreement
World War                a war which involves most of the continents
Poppies                     red wild flowers
Parade                       large number of people/vehicle walking in the same direction
Wreathes                   ring of flowers or plants
Memorial                  something created /done to honour people who have died
Cenotaph                  structure/building to remind us of the dead
Centenary                 hundred year anniversary
Silence                      quiet
row                           straight line
larks                          small birds that fly very high
quarrel                      argue 
foe                            enemy
throw the torch to     give responsibility to someone  

Many thanks to: Mr. Allsop for letting me use his video on my blog. He has loads more informative videos on his You Tube Channel 'Mr. Allsop History'. Subscribe and learn! And to Elenya, for her lovely version of 'I Vow To Thee, My Country'. She also has other great songs on her channel 'Elenya'. Subscribe and listen!