I have tried AI in teaching – here is what it looks like!

Leave a comment

I believe in technology and I believe that every new development has its place if we use it properly. AI, more specifically ChatGPT has been one of the hottest topics these days among language teachers. Another one – perhaps only new to me, but certainly less talked about – is Twee.

I wanted to give it a try: can it really help me in lesson planning? Can I use them to create actual learning material? The answer is a very definite “Yes”!

The latest grammar point for a group of students preparing for the B2 level exam was Future Continuous and Future Perfect. We also had a short text on the future of film-making, so here is the way I used artificial intelligence to create some activities, combining grammar and topic:

  1. I asked ChatGPT to create a text on the topic of film-making at level B2 using lots of verbs in the Future Perfect and Future Continuous Tense.
  2. I simply copied the paragraphs of the text to a Jamboard. Task for students: put the paragraphs in the correct order.
  3. I dropped the text to Twee (Reading- Open questions) and asked it to create comprehension questions. Task for students: discuss the questions in pairs. Checking in plenary.
  4. Using the gap-fill function in Twee I picked some words to practice – it created a gap-fill task in no time! Task for students: fill in the gaps with the appropriate words. A little technical step: before I put students into pairs again to do the task I covered the original, full text from the paragraph ordering task so that they cannot look at it. It is a very simple tool in Jamboard in the menu.
  5. Grammar practice: I picked some verbs, some in the Future Perfect, some in the Future Continuous and put them in the “Open the brackets” function in Twee. It created beautiful sentences to me where students have to put the verbs in brackets into the appropriate tense.
  6. Follow up: basically any follow up is appropriate. I picked a speaking activity: students have to design some interview questions to be asked from a film director on the difficulties of film making. They prepare the questions in pairs and then in new pairs they interview each other.
  7. I put the solutions on the last page of the Jamboard for reference. It can also be kept covered during the lesson.

Was AI useful in preparing the lesson? Absolutely! Was it fast to create the tasks? Yes!

Does AI have its place in language teaching? I believe so. And I also think that this was just the beginning for me and more complex tasks will follow.


Teacher-life in emergency – Days 9-12

Leave a comment

Hosted Applications | Cloud Linked UK

The big question this week was which applications and websites to use and how, plus whether on-line lessons, i.e. actual contact lessons are better than task sheets.

Well, let’s see websites and applications that I used during the week.

  1. Google classroom – I simply love all its features! Students can turn in assignments in google doc form and I can correct and return the assignments really simply. I am even considering keeping up the system when this craze is over and we go back normal teaching. Creating assignments and attaching files, links to them is also very simple and I find the “scheduling” function especially useful. The Grades part makes it easy to follow who has already turned in a task and whether I have returned it.
  2. Zoom.us – it works fine, I can share the screen with students and the whiteboard function was useful, too. It is a pity that I discovered (actually a colleague showed it to me) the break out room function only today: it will be very useful for pair work or group work that I missed so much during the week.
  3. Redmenta.com – it is a Hungarian site, but the language can be set to English. Excellent to create worksheets, task sheets, tasks and tests. You can schedule the tasks, you can even determine how much time students are allowed to spend with the task sheet, how many times they are allowed to fill them in. It calculates the results in percentage, and it is easy to follow what students have done and accomplished. Short answers, multiple choice, matching, sequencing, all task types. Simply lovely.
  4. Awwap.com – like a whiteboard but we can use it collaboratively wit the students. I used it for quick brainstorming. Only the teacher has to register and only the link should be shared with the students, and we can immediately use it together. We brainstormed on it.
  5. Socrative – I used to make it part of the lesson and it was high time I returned to it. I used it for grammar practice with the short answer function: I gave the sentence to transform and each student was working alone. Then I shared the solutions and we could analyse it together. Another function that I love is the quiz and more precisely the space race that was like a “warm-up” activity at the beginning of the lesson and I could assign one of the vocabulary lists that I put in the quiz part. Students were competing individually but I could follow the whole competition on my teacher’s view – which I shared with them on Zoom. It was great!
  6. Quizlet – it is a well-known, old friend of mine. Great as always for vocabulary lists.
  7. Padlet – I really find it useful. I can assign different tasks for students. For example I used the canvas function and scattered questions on it that served as prediction questions before a listening activity during the Zoom lesson. The students could click on the “comment” icon under each question and give their ideas. During the lesson we ran through the predictions and could do the listening task immediately. Or before another lesson students had to read a text or watch a video and produce a vocabulary collection on a padlet canvas. I could easily turn that collection to a quizlet set and use it during the lesson by sharing my screen in Zoom.
  8. iSLCollective – I have already used some of the worksheets here, but this was the first time I had used the video lessons with vocabulary practice test. I found it useful and it was a great preparation for the actual lesson. Students could do it before the lesson and not too much preparation created a fantastic and engaging task. Simply lovely.

The other issue during the week was: online, actual contact lessons, or tasks for individual study.

I think you have to find the balance. In my view for language teaching the role of the teacher as a facilitator cannot be ruled out. We have to communicate, we have to inspire and motivate each other and that is impossible through a task sheet. But for differentiation task sheets can be good solutions. I will experiment next week with finding the right ratio. It would be nice to know how other teachers think about it. There was a little discussion with some colleagues this afternoon about online contact lessons but I still don’t have a clear picture.

Teacher life in emergency – day 6-7-8

Leave a comment

Image result for overloaded teacher in front of the computer cartoon

There was the weekend. At least there was the weekend. Just a little time to relax. But then came week 2, day 1. That is today.

I woke up as on a normal school day. (When are we going to have one again?). I did the morning routine, although it is a bit less hurried, I don’t have to travel to school after all. School is on my desk, on the screen of my laptop.

I did not have a first lesson today, what a luxury! So I did the shopping for my father who is 82 years old and is not allowed to leave the flat in this situation. Doing the shopping was also quite depressing, but I just took the food to him, we did not hug, we did not kiss, we did not get close to each other. 😦

Back home I did some preparation, tried to download an application, but then gave it up. I had some difficulty with Zoom today. I put the invitation to the Google Classroom of the group and was waiting for my students to arrive, but there was something wrong so it took us about 20 minutes to find each other in the virtual world. Well, I did some teaching in the end, juggling with screen share, applications, presentations and explanations, but it worked!

The highlight of the day was the class lesson with my sweet 10th graders. I love them so much! All of them logged into Zoom without any problems and we could discuss our first impressions, experiences, feelings and fears. Seeing them, even if it was in a little square and on the screen was such a pleasure!

In between lessons I rushed into the kitchen and cooked lunch. That was kind of frustrating to be ready with everything before my next lesson began. But I managed somehow.

Correcting essays, returning them, preparing for tomorrow’s lessons, communicating with students, colleagues… It is already evening and I haven’t relaxed for one single minute. Still in front of the laptop screen but now with a backache that I have developed over the long hours of working. I had planned some work-out for today, some gymnastics, but not only did I forget about the work-out but also about a webinar that I had planned to participate in. It completely slipped my mind!

I still try to figure out ow to organise my day in a more practical way. Heeeeelp….

Teacher life in emergency – Day 4 and 5

Leave a comment

Image result for scared emoji

My ICT competencies have improved a lot this week!

The Classrooms are all set, students are in. Some tasks have been turned in, others assigned. Met online with students.

Zoom has proved to be just great – I could see my students, we could even have a chat. They even helped me figure out how the shared whiteboard can be used collaboratively among the participants of the on-line conference. What’s even more: one of my students has prepared a lot of tutorials to help his classmates and teachers as well. Nobody asked him to do that, we didn’t even know what he had been preparing: he simply posted the tutorials and even mailed them to us:

There are several tutorials here: Google Classroom, Zoom and many more…

I am planning to post some of my best lesson plans, but it is difficult to find the time to do that. I am overwhelmed with looking at, trying out the lots of things that the colleagues all over the world offer – for free. God bless them for being so generous!

Also: producing a lesson plan for an online lesson is completely different from what I am used to. And it takes way longer than the traditional preparation. Think about everything, find the material, upload, make it ready so that when the lesson is on, with just one click you can screen share the right material and not the messenger chat with your colleagues, or one of the emails of the Management.

I still cannot resist reading or watching the news. That is something I shouldn’t do if I would like to preserve my mental health. It is so depressing that it is very difficult to sit down again in front of the laptop.

What is happening in Italy??? Why is this happening to them? Is this waiting for us, too? I am scared…

But then: I am a teacher, I have to be calm, I have got students to educate.

Teacher life in emergency – Day 2 and 3

Leave a comment


The past two days have been extremely busy. We decided to use Google Classrom and for on-line lessons we tried Hangouts and Zoom, but Zoom seems to be easier to handle and it has some nice features.

But… Everything goes extremely slowly. We, colleagues try all these on-line platforms, applications with each other, on each other. That is kind of OK to make mistakes, to have problems with understanding, but still… Sometimes I feel stupid, slow and impatient with myself. Nevertheless, I have managed to set up classes, students have registered, some of them have even prepared the tasks that I uploaded for them. I still struggle with organizing a lesson, imagining what actually is going to happen when students arrive at a Zoom video. Preparing it takes a lot longer than preparing for a traditional lesson.

I look at people when I go shopping. Many of them wearing masks, some even gloves, they are queuing in front of pharmacies and at the supermarket check-out keeping at least 1 m distance. Empty shelves. All very depressing.

And there are the ones who just don’t care. Take their children for a walk or to the playground. Why???

How is this whole thing going to work? And for how long?

Teacher life in emergency – life at home Day 1

Leave a comment

Image result for rémült

I am trying to stay sane by writing my experiences. Something new has begun and I don’t remember anything similar.

This morning students are not going to school but we, teachers still have to go. I hope this is the last day… I feel endangered if I meet a lot of people.

There are other fears as well. How am I going to solve this? How is it going to work for my classes? How am I going to find my way in the tide of applications and sites that has been pouring on us from helpful teachers? Others, who seem to know. Others, who seem to be confident about using those websites.

I spent the weekend with studying some applications, how some virtual classrooms work, and of course reading the news. I open my computer and I feel frightened by all the news about the new coronavirus while I keep telling myself: Don’t panic… Don’t panic…

I am going to keep track of the days here.

Good luck for all of us!

A lesson on a TED Talk: Procrastination

1 Comment

Image result for tim urban

I have been procrastinating on writing this blog post for a while, but let’s see what goes on “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”!

It is a great and funny talk and fits pefectly to Unit 1 of Pearson’s Longman Exam Accelerator but it can be used independenttly when discussing ways of how we carry out our tasks – whether we are disorganised, distracted, efficient, perfectionists or procrastinators.

In any case students are supposed to know the word procrastination, and could have a discussion of their own personality type. If done together with the Longman book, the lesson works best following hte reading on page 61 (Things to do).

  1. Pre-watching:

Students match words and definitions:

1.  to bump it up a)   (before nouns) related to a government
2.  civil b)  a student’s main subject at college or university
3.  deadline c)   a piece of writing or a talk on an academic subject
4.  government d)  polite
5.  major e)   a long piece of writing that is the final part of an advanced university degree
6.  a paper f)    a way of working
7.  thesis g)   to increase the speed
8.  whole-nighter h)  a specific time or dateby which you have to do something
9.  work flow i)    a whole night that you spend studying while you are at university

2. While watching:

a) Students watch the talk from 0:00 until 2:45 to raise their interest when they summarize what they have just heard using hte words from the first activity.

b) Students watch and listen from 2:45 until 3:38 and fill in gaps in the text:

No, no, it was very, very bad. Anyway, today I’m a (1)……………………………. guy. I write the blog Wait But Why. And a couple of years ago, I decided to write about (2)……………………… My behaviour has always perplexed the non-procrastinators around me, and I wanted to explain to the non-procrastinators of the world what (3)……………………………… in the heads of procrastinators, and why we are the way we are. Now, I had a (4)…………………………………. that the brains of procrastinators were actually different than the brains of other people. And to test this, I found an MRI lab that actually let me (5)…………………….. both my brain and the brain of a proven non-procrastinator, so I could compare them. I actually brought them here to show you today. I want you to take a look carefully to see if you can notice a (6)……………………………. I know that if you’re not a trained brain expert, it’s not that obvious, but just take a look, OK? So here’s the brain of a non-procrastinator.

c) Students are put into three groups. They watch and listen to the video from 3:39 until 10:00. They have to describe how the mind of a procrastinator works but the students in one of the groups listen to and take notes about the instant gratification monkey, the students in the other one about the rational decision maker and the students in the third gourp about the panic monster. They then regroup to have one student from each group and discuss the roles of each participant in the procrastinator’s mind.

d) Finally students watch the rest of hte video and answer the following questions:

  1. What happened when he wrote about it on his blog?
  2. What jobs does he mention?
  3. What was the general answer?
  4. What is the other type of procrastination?
  5. Why is the second type dangerous?
  6. What did he find out about his audience?
  7. Why does he show the Life Calendar?

3. Post-watching:

The follow-up can be a discussion on how they solve similar problems, or writing an essay on the topic or doing a survey on types among their peers.


Matching task: 1g; 2d; 3h; 4a; 5b; 6c; 7e; 8i; 9f

Gap-fill:  (1) writer-blogger; (2) procrastination; (3) goes on; (4) hypothesis; (5) scan; (6) difference

Answer the questions: 1. He got thousands of e-mails from different people; 2. nurse, banker, painter, engineer, PhD students; 3. Everybody has the same problem; 4. When there is no deadline; 5. The panic monster doesn’t wake up; 6. That everybody is a procrastinator; 7. To be aware of what we are procrastinating on



Mental Health Hotline – vocabulary-building and speaking activity

Leave a comment

Képtalálat a következőre: „mental health hotline”

The lesson was a follow up of Unit 1C in New English File Upper-Intermediate where symptoms, illnesses, treatments are discussed. And although the topic is serious the whole idea of the lesson comes from a funny listening text.

Step 1.: I put „Mental Health Hotline” on the board. The students were put into small groups (3 students in a group) and they had to discuss what „Hotline” means.

Who might call such a hotline?

What kind of problems can be discussed over the phone?

Why is it a good idea to talk to a stranger about mental problems? Is it a good idea at all?

After some time in the little groups, the students presented the groups’ opinions in a plenary.

Step 2.: I put the names of the mental illnesses on cards as well as the definitions of those illnesses. At this point the students were given the cards with the names of illnesses only. The task was to define what the illness on the individual cards means. If they didn’t know the meaning, they tried to guess on the basis of the name.

Step 3.: Now the definitions were given to the groups and they tried to match the names to the definitions.

Step 4.: After checking the previous task, we discussed a little bit about „answering machines”. What happens when you phone an office and there is an answering machine with a menu system and the caller has to decide which menu number to choose to get to the right operator? At this point I revealed to the students that the following text is funny and not really serious, but a bit „wicked”. They immediately knew they didn’t have to take it seriously! J

So they were given a gapped text and the names of the mental illnesses had to be written. That was also done with a lot of discussion.

Finally we listened to the original text.

The follow-up activity was a set of „Doctor, doctor” jokes. They are usually just 2 lines: a question and an answer. There were two groups. Each group got either the first line or the second line of the jokes on slips. One group started by reading out the „Doctor, doctor” line of the joke and the other group had to find the corresponding second line, read it out – thus completing the joke.

Joey’s Room-Mate Search

Leave a comment

Képtalálat a következőre: „Joey's room-mate search”

This is a video-based lesson connected to the topic of ‘Home’. The level is B1+ but it can be adapted to lower levels as well.

Before wathcing

The students are in pairs and discuss the characteristics of a perfect room-mate. After a couple of minutes of discussion adjectives can be gathered (written on the board) in a plenary.

Following the above discussion the students agree on the “perfect ad” for a room-mate. They can even write the advertisement in pairs, so that the ads can be compared and the best one voted for.

The students are told that we are going to watch a segment from the series ‘Friends’, and discuss the situation why Joey is looking for a new room-mate. (Chandler is about to move out as he and Monica have decided to live together. Monica’s room-mate, Rachel is also looking for a new place to rent.

While watching

The students watch the segment and answer the following questions:

  • What 3 things does Joey offer to Rachel?
  • What does Chandler find strange in Joey’s ad?
  • Why is he advertising like that?
  • What is the misunderstanding between Joey and the girl in blue T-shirt?
  • Why did Joey take the shower curtain down? Is his explanation true?
  • Why doesn’t Rachel accept Joey’s offer for the second time, either?
  • What test does Joey give to the girl? Why?

After watching:

The students are in pairs again and write questions that they find appropriate when looking for a room-mate.

They act out an “interview” situation.

The story of ‘Hamlet’ – in pictures

Leave a comment

We have been studying Shakespeare with a group of A2-B1 level students for some time and as it is the bard’s 400th anniversary this year there are really loads of materials to study the life and works of Shakespeare – basically at any level.

I wanted to make my students produce something of their own and having finished the discussion of ‘Hamlet’, I came across an excellent website for digital storytelling: StoryboardThat.

So, at the end of the project I put my students into groups of 3 and each group created their own storyboard of ‘Hamlet’. Here are some of the storyboards they created:

Hamlet 1

Hamlet 2

Hamlet 3

Hamlet 4

Hamlet 5


Older Entries