French resources: "Licencié pour avoir... sauvé une vie!"

These French resources are based on a story about a lifeguard who was fired for saving a drowning man outside his allotted area of the beach.   

The TaskMagic3 file (mtx3) provides access to 18 interactive exercises and requires TaskMagic3.

Spanish "desempleo" resources (based on BBC Mundo article)

These resources are based on a short news story on BBC Mundo about Spain's unemployment statistics: 
The TaskMagic3 file (mtx3) provides access to 18 interactive exercises and requires TaskMagic3.
The image shows the Mix & Gap front page for the file in TaskMagic3, with the little screen thumbnails showing links to the various interactive exercises.

Exploiting texts to maximum effect (UPDATED)

1. Type or paste in a text into the Mix and Gap editor screen

You can type or paste in any text of up to 500 words.

There are various sources of texts:
- The internet; news feeds; short articles etc.
- Your text book: this allows you to create resources based specifically on the book that your students are using in class.
- Past exam papers.
- Letters, songs, poems, etc.
- Your imagination :o)
- Students can type or paste in their own corrected written work, which can then be use to help them to learn their text, or shared with other students for extended text manipulation practice.

¿A qué debe su mala fama el martes y trece?

These Spanish resources are based on a short text from Muy interesante explaining the origins of "martes y trece" - see the link below:

There are 9 pdf files in all, all printed using dopdf -

The pdfs are based on a Mix and Gap file containing the text, which is also included (mtx3). This file provides a wide variety of interactive exercises for use with PCs or with an interactive whiteboard. It requires TaskMagic3. If you haven't got TaskMagic3, you can download a 30-day trial from the TaskMagic website (doesn't require registration or anything - just download and install it).

Spanish resources: New York multi-millionaire leaves $1m to his driver... (Exploiting a news story)

These Spanish resources are based on a news story from BBC Mundo about a New York multi-millionaire who left $1.5million to his driver and doorman:

Ton Christ est juif (French resources based on a short poem)

I was reminded of this poem today when I followed a link from @MarieFrance on Twitter to this post on her blog: (which also has a link to a previous lesson / blog post with great ideas for teaching nationality, possessive adjectives and adjectival agreement, as well as a bit of citizenship...)

Anyway, as well as the poem and the link to the previous resources, there was also a link to a TaskMagic2 Text Match file. This really brought home to me a major improvement in TaskMagic3 compared with previous versions: in earlier versions of TaskMagic, any text that you put into Mix&Gap would be converted into one block of text, so it wasn't really possible to make exercises based on formatted text such as letters, recipes, songs, poems etc. TaskMagic3 makes it possible to create all sorts of interactive and printed resources based on these kinds of texts, as you'll see from the resources posted here.

French resources: "Catastrophes naturelles: Record de pertes économiques en 2011"

These French resources are based on a news story from, about the fact that 2011 hit a record high for economic losses caused by natural disasters:

Getting them settled...

What activities can you use to settle the class as soon as they come in?

How can you give them all something to focus on, so that when everybody is there, and you're ready to begin, you can get on with the lesson?

NB. The context for this blog post is a situation where students turn up to the class in drips and drabs, maybe because they've just had PE, or they're coming from different parts of the school, or they've just had lunch, or whatever. (I don't want to get into a discussion about whether or not we should make students line up outside the class until they are all present and silent, as that is not what this post is about.)

The suggestions below are based on using a projector or interactive whiteboard (IWB), and they are examples of things that you can just put up on the screen and leave there, requiring no interaction with the board or your computer until you are ready to move on.