A web site for the developing language teacher

April 2000 - issue 4/00


Spring is almost upon us & the Easter holidays are just about in sight - phew - it's been long term over here in Europe! There are a few ideas below tenuously connected to Easter & Spring.
This month's lesson plan looks at some bizarre but true festivals.

Welcome to all of our new subscribers. Please spread the word & get your colleagues to sign up. It was very nice to meet a lot of you at the TESOL conference in Madrid. There was a lovely atmosphere with lots of very friendly & highly motivated teachers. The feeling to the conference had a lot to do with the excellent organisation - well done.

I got an e-mail from one of our subscribers, Isabel, in Brazil the other day. She's doing a teacher training course & needed information about lesson planning & how other teachers go about it. If you find yourself in need of teacher opinions then let us know & we can ask for opinions through the newsletter.

We've got May Day on the horizon so we thought 'Work & Employment' would be next month's theme. I'll try & get it out a bit early so you can use some of the ideas & plan soon after May Day. As usual, contributions are very welcome. If there are any useful links that you'd like to pass on to help all with their lessons then please send them in.

Happy (well deserved) holidays!


Please e-mail a friend Developing Teachers. Thanks.



6. PS



- Easter traditions around the world - stds explain local traditions & compare with other countries. For a few links go to , - an interview with the Easter Bunny - not sure this would go down too well in Spain but if the country you're in has a similar tradition...,

- This could be the excuse you've been waiting for - Chocolate! - coming from Easter eggs - what a link! There's loads of info on the net about the art of making chocolate, recipes etc.- with material on the history & care of chocolate & a page on the health benefits - did you know that chocolate eaten in moderation helps you live longer (than those who don't!) - we all secretly hoped that anyway! A bit more of the same at
There are some amusing quotes from choco lovers at There are a few sites which talk of chocolate eating being better than sex! Among many reasons given are that it doesn't make you pregnant, it's easy to find, size doesn't matter with chocolate, it satisfies even when it has gone soft & you can have it on your work desk without offending anyone! When looking at the theme of chocolate you could incorporate a chocolate tasting into the lesson - stds taste different ones & vote - it would be better to keep the wrappers secret until the results are announced - lots of fun! If you are abroad do try & get hold of some chocolates from your home country to use in the tasting.

As they say on the site:
"What is an "Easter Egg"? - The term "Easter Egg", as we use it here, means any amusing tidbit that creators hid in their creations. They could be in computer software, movies, music, art, books, or even your watch. There are thousands of them, and they can be quite entertaining, if you know where to look. This site will help you discover Easter Eggs in the things you see and use everyday, and let you share Easter Eggs you discover with the rest of the world.
Browse the Archive Computers (1587) - Thousands of Eggs in Software, Hardware and Electronics. Movies (623) - Secrets about Films, Directors, and Actors Music (352) - Hidden tidbits about Songs, Albums, Videos, and Artists TV (203) - Eggs in TV shows, Commercials, etc. Books (58) - Authors and the inside info they hid in their work. Art (36) - Artists, their Works, and what's hidden in them."
So, give your stds a different kind of Easter Egg.

- - for the scientifically-minded std, this explains the physical reasons behind the change in seasons.

- For the younger learners - a treasure hunt - two teams write instructions for each other 'Look under the door for the next clue' etc until they reach the Easter egg provided as a prize by their generous teacher! - design & send Easter cards - decorate eggs (getting into shapes & animal lexical sets etc.) - make Easter Bunny masks - interview the Easter Bunny - chocolate tasting.

- Spring is the month for fashions - cut up lots of fashion pics from magazines - lots you can do with them - e.g. work out wardrobes for selves/each other/famous personalities - combined with physical description vocab - connected to mood adjectives reflected in clothes, adjective order, blind date describing appearance when meeting etc..

Gardens & Gardening - not a topic that comes up much in the coursebooks & no. 1 hobby in the UK - topical at this time of year:
- get stds to design their ideal gardens/parks - if you've got them, use cuisenaire rods.

For the younger learner; plant something - use the topic of Spring as the basis for a project.

- Figurative language - all things to do with gardening - to flourish/to nip something in the bud/salt of the earth/raking over the ashes/a spurt of new growth/blossoming/blooming/to have green fingers, etc.. To get ideas on how to approach figurative language with advanced learners check out an ELTJ article - 50/1 January 1996 - called 'Using Figurative Language to Expand Students' Vocabulary' by Gillian Lazar. There are some very nice ideas at the end of the article.

- Poetry - William Blake poems such as 'Spring', 'The Sick Rose', 'My Pretty Rose Tree', 'Ah!Sun-Flower', 'The Lilly', 'The Garden of Love', 'The Echoing Green' & 'The Lamb'.

- & for general material on gardening - Virtual where there is a specialised garden search engine called 'dig the net'. Lots of stuff.

(By the way, a great novel on gardening & life in the 17th century is Philipa Gregory's 'Earthly Joys' (Harper Collins) )

Thanks to Helen & Henny for some of the above ideas.

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We had our DELTA results from the December exam in the other day. Congratulations to all concerned - an excellent pass rate as usual!

Part-time: one Friday a week - 3 hours/Friday - Friday 29th April - Fri 30th June
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Mon 24th April - Fri 30th June
Full-time four week courses:
May - June - July - August - September - October - December

Part- time six month courses:
October to Easter each academic year
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April & May, July & August, October & November

You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses on our web site
If you would like to contact us by e-mail, snail mail, phone or fax then please use the details at the end of the newsletter.


If you've been with us since issue one you'll remember the http://www.thehungersite - for the price of a couple of clicks you can provide food for the Third World. Now here's another charity site running along the same lines - breeze along there & click to help save the rainforests. It's free, there's no excuse! It's also worth checking out while you're there.
This is a very nice accompaniment to the site mentioned last month. Mapquest can find a map of just about anywhere. Another one to go with the above sites. You type in a British postal code & it gives you some facts & figures about that area. Great for comparative adjective practice.
If you or your students are in any way interested in Ireland & all things Irish, this is a site from one of our very own trainers - Seamus. It is designed with the student & the teacher in mind - an Irish community on-line!
I came upon this site through a recommendation. An amazing number of things are explained incredibly well by Marshall Brain, his real name! You always wanted to get round to finding out how a car works, how the toilet works & even how flatulence works! Interesting in its own right & could be used for project work with your stds. They could choose something they would like to learn about, you copy the explanation, they read & sort it out & then they present the ideas to each other

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Another excellent e-mail subscription - it does come from us after all!. Sign up at - under construction at the moment, but still worth visiting. You'll get a short very useful teaching tip for the week ahead. These range from dealing with problem students to providing stimulating communicative practice to giving tutorials & lots more! An idea in your mail box each week! An ideal complement to the Newsletter.



Susie Checkley & Andy Whittaker, past DELTA trainees & now ADOS & DOS respectively, at The Oxford Study Centre in Poland are on the lookout for new teachers. They say that although it is not the most exciting place around, it is a comfortable city & the school is a good one in which to develop. The postal address is - ul. 25 Czerwca 60, 26-600 Random, Poland. If you do happen to contact them please tell them about the newsletter & get them to send me an e-mail - thanks.


6. PS
If you're after something different on the net then you must check this out. You do need to let it run for quite a while & start mousing over the hot spots to find different routes that you can take. Not for those of a nervous disposition!
Loads of fonts to add from the ones you got from Mashy mentioned in the February edition.

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Please send me comments, suggestions, or questions about this newsletter. Please don't be bashful about telling me what you like or don't like. Any ideas for 'themes'? links? Send your e-mail to


'Developing Teachers' is written by Alistair Dickinson at the above address.

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