My day in four skills: #4skills1day

I posted this on my 2nd blog (cause one blog is not enough) and I had so much fun. So, here is my day in the four skills (cleva eh? toot toot. Tooting my own horn). This should become a #hashtag.  #4skills1day (There I even made it!!!Dunno if anyone will write something similar but you know me. I ❤ chains).

Listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Welcome to my day guys, or should I say my class?!? Yeap! Yeap! Me being random once again!!!!


So this tune played over and over today. Seriously, if you play it once, you will play it over and over again!!!! It reminds me of the good old pop songs. 80s? nice. Nice and nicer.


I read this article with my learners. It is sad. Disturbing and really makes you wonder about how much we are polluting the atmosphere and crazy ‘selling’ ideas. Full article can be found here.


I had a speaking lesson and my learner said that s/he enjoyed the session cause we were speaking and it didn’t feel like I was a teacher. Hmmmmmmm dunno how I feel about that.


Well, I am writing this blog post. I have already written another one and I wanna write one more for my edu blog. So writing x3

So there you have it. All four skills in one post. Can you describe your day in the same way? Let me know if you do (hashtag remember?)

Till next time……..


L1 vs. L2: where L1 wins

Many say that the learner’s L1 should not be used unless necessary, others say it should never be used, while there are those who use the L1 without really thinking that much about it. I would say that I am in the last category. I use English and Greek. The higher level the learner is, the less I use Greek, but with lower level learners I use Greek to give instructions, feedback, to explain grammar or concepts. I sometimes translate to show the difference between L1/l2. My students do end up speaking English well. They do become proficient and all is good in Joanna’s land. BUT what happens when you do not speak the learner’s L1 and the lesson is online?

You see, giving instructions during face to face lessons where you can point to things and show your learner, even take the learner by the hand and explain something, is easy. You can do it. If the lesson is online though, yes, you can use your camera, paraphrase, use the pointer (mouse), you can even draw, but you cannot do much if the learner still doesn’t get your instructions. Today I was trying to explain a writing tool in my virtual classroom, but my learner did not understand the word “type” and could not understand the term “press the button with the letter ‘T'”, so I got frustrated, my learner got frustrated. If I was in the classroom, I would have just pointed in the book or given an example and typed using these features.

I cannot do that when I teach online. The other thing I cannot do is speak French. I paraphrased, drew, paraphrased more, used the ‘T’ button myself, but nothing.

What did I end up doing? I asked someone to call the learner and explain some of the features and maybe even use French. So, everything is going to be OK, but I wish I could speak French cause in this case I wouldn’t have wasted valuable time explaining something that ended up not being explainable!

So, have any of you had sistuations where you wished you could speak the student’s L1? Let me know in the comments section below.

coffee break

I need coffee

Till next time……


Video Based session- The hot coffee case

Today, I am sharing with you a lesson I made for my B2 adult learners. They wanted a few video- based sessions that would get them to practise their listening and speaking. I designed a lesson that focused mainly on those two skills, but I also added an optional email writing task that can be done in class or as homework (in my classes email writing had been covered so I was able to link it with previous sessions).The video is approximately 12 minutes long.

My Context/ How I carry out these sessions

I call these lessons conversational/chit chat sessions as the main reason I do them is to get the learners to talk as much as possible. While they talk, I make notes of any errors they make and then we do a bit of error correction towards the end of the session. If the errors are impeding communication or re-occurring, then I correct on the spot. I also ask them to do a bit of intensive listening and answer listening comprehension questions. After the listening tasks, the students talk again and answer some more general follow up questions which allow them to share their views. If I have time I ask them to write something based on what they watched/talked about.

Screen shot from the New York Times video. Link found here

Screen shot from the New York Times video. Link found here

Below you will find a brief lesson plan, the video, and a PPT.

Brief lesson plan ( for a 45-60 minute session)

  • Aims of the lesson (2-3 mins).
  • Lead in. General discussion about McDonald’s and ‘predictions’ on what can happen there (5 mins).
  • Students create a story based on the words and the pictures they see on the PPT slide (slide 4).
  • Students read the listening comprehension questions (2-3 mins).
  • Students watch the video (approx. 12 mins).
  • Students discuss with their partner/teacher what actually happened in the story and discuss if their predictions were correct (5-8 mins).
  • Students check listening answers ( slide 6 2-3 mins).
  • Follow up questions (5-8 mins)
  • Email writing. This depends on your time. You can assign it as hoemwork or do it in class.


Video Based session-Stella Liebeck (2)

The Video

Final thoughts

I use this lesson when I teach one to one online. If you have bigger classes, you may need to spend more time. You can do the activities in pairs. You can also do a jigsaw listening task where half the students watch up to minute 6 and the others the rest. You then ask them to share the information, answer the questions and make the story again. There are also loads of articles written about this story, so you may want to look for those as well.

You can adapt and change the ideas here as much as you like. Make the lesson yours. I can assure you that they story is very interesting and whenever I use it, my students really enjoy it! You may need to warn the students that there are pictures of Stella’s burns in the video.

You can use this with adults and university students studying journalism or law as well.

Let me know how it goes. Feel free to leave a comment below and add your own twist to the session. remember no lesson is written in stone 🙂

Till next time.

The girlie side of ELT: Free planner printables

If you read my blog, you know I have gone planner cray-cray. I have actually shared a couple of decorative planning related posts here. The posts with free printables have been quite popular so whenever I have one, I share it here as well. I interviewed GabisPlannerPrints and she talks about herself, her store and is so kind to share a printable and a coupon code just for us!! (yay). So, let’s see what Jennifer (the store’s owner tells us). BTW you might get an idea for a Business English lesson plan here 🙂

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for agreeing to chat. So, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m Jennifer and I live in the beautiful state of Oregon with my husband of 5 years, 2 kiddos and my third is due to join us in January.  I love all things crafty and working with my hands.  I made my first quilt when I was 9 years old!!  I also enjoy cooking, baking, sewing, and I can do one heck of a chain stitch when I crochet 😉   My Erin Condren Planner is an extension of my brain and my pregnancy brain would be lost without it.  Playing with my planner is my #1 hobby right now because it gives me a chance to brain-dump and some much needed me-time after the kiddos go to sleep.  I find that I sleep much better and fall asleep quicker when I can get my to-do list and thoughts down on paper.

How and why did you start making stickers?

I was a scrap booker for many years and I’m pretty sure that is where my love for stickers started.  I have been using planners for years and stumbled onto Erin Condren while watching a vlogger that I follow.  In the process of using a planner more, scrapbooking less, having children, and realizing that I have too many things to tuck into my memory bank to remember; my planner started to become a memory keeper as well.  I started to use my scrapbooking stickers but they didn’t match the color themes of my Erin Condren Planner and I wanted to change the headers to fit my needs.  I do not buy anything that I can make myself.  This is why I have not dabbled in cake decorating yet… I would eat all the cake all the time!  So, I went to my encyclopedia of learning known as Youtube and realized that I can make my own stickers!  I have really enjoyed designing the stickers, and using my own creation is rewarding.  My 4-year-old daughter thinks that having a mama who makes stickers is the greatest thing ever!

What about ideas? Can you tell us what inspires you?

Life, my kiddos, and the Erin Condren color themes.  I named the store after my kids:  Gabriel + Abigail = Gabi’s.  You all will have to wait until January to know what the “s” is for.  My designs are always evolving to match the needs of what I am currently planning and the monthly color schemes play a big role in that as well.  I love florals and jewel tones!  I’m finding that I write SO MUCH in my planner that I have decided to get a second planner and just recently a 3rd planner!!  I love the EC for my 3 main uses: To Do, Work/Homeschooling, Little Things (this is my memory section and kind of like a scrapbook)  I’m running out of room to write and I don’t want to tote all that information along with me when I leave the house.  My Erin Condren will be my planner for all things work/Etsy related.  I want a Plum Planner to be my household/home binder of all things important and daily tasks.  And the 3rd planner for all the wonderful memories of my family and life.  This will be especially helpful for tracking milestones for baby #3.  I have not decided what type of planner yet.  Any suggestions would be lovely!  Now that I am expanding my style of planners; I will also be offering stickers to fit ALL of them.

Jennifer's planner spread.

What can someone find at your Etsy store?

So far, I have been designing stickers based on what I would want in my own planner.  Actually, almost all of the stickers that are in my shops are there because I made them for myself and decided to share them with others.  Planning can be a very expensive hobby.  I wanted to offer printable’s and stickers that are affordable, low shipping costs, good quality, and thin so that they don’t add too much bulk to our planners.  Printable’s are great for those who enjoy DIY projects, saving money, and getting more bang for your buck.  I am adding more designs weekly as I create the stickers for my own weekly spreads.

I have been having a lot of fun making paper clips to match my themes.  I will be adding decorating kits to my shop very soon.  The kits will have washi and paper clips that coordinate with the stickers.  I too am on a budget and have limited storage space.  And that inspired me to create kits.  Just enough washi to create a spread without owning a whole roll!

If you could turn back time to the day you opened your store, what advice would you give yourself? Any top tips?

Keep printable’s separate from physical stickers so that customers are not confused about what type of product they are receiving.  Originally my shop, Gabi’s Planner Prints, was printable’s and then I added physical stickers.  I have recently separated them and the physical sticker shop is Gabi’s Paper Co.  I am now in the process of redesigning the physical stickers with the correct shop name and retaking photos.  Must have good lighting!!  This is another reason why I am re-doing my photos.  It is all a learning process.
Now let’s move on to planning. 6. How do you plan? Planning usually takes place on a quiet evening after everyone has fallen asleep.  I gather my: stickers, black Pilot G-2 .05 pen, washi tape, lemon ginger tea with honey, and I sit at my desk and enjoy the process.  It’s the end of the day and I finally sit down to relax; therefore, cue the baby and the kicking!  I reposition my stickers often due to my arm touching my belly and it getting kicked.  I look forward to planning because it is just me, the baby, and my thoughts.  I treasure uninterrupted thoughts 😉  I decorate my week and plan for Monday and a little bit for Tuesday.  Add over the last month I have tried different styles of decorating to showcase my product and share it on Instagram and Facebook.  I have learned that I am NOT a no-white planner.  I have way too much to write and I find that all the color makes focusing on the words a bit difficult for me.  I really enjoy looking back at my weeks and reading my “Little Things” sections.  Plus the pages are decorated and it is like looking at a scrapbook.

Connecting with you :). Where can people find you?

Instagram:  @gabispaperco

Periscope: Gabi’s Paper Co – Jen Homutoff


Jennifer has kindly given us two printables and a coupon code.

Coupon Code for both shops: MyPinkRambles25 25% OFF any order from BOTH shops.


November Sparkle Sticker Set-

2nd Printable

Talk soon!!!Ti

Horiz November Sparkle Sticker Set-page0001

Till next time!!!

Freebies in ELT

The other day someone on Facebook asked me if I would be wiling to help her improve her English because that’s what an ideal teacher does. An ideal teacher teaches for free(um, I guess I ain’t ideal then. Man the bubble just burst!).Is teaching a calling? I seriously don’t know where I stand on this one. Should I teach people for free? I don’t. There have been instances where I ran out of time or where I wanted to help someone who was struggling, and then I did offer a free lesson/lessons but never to a stranger, online.

A wise phrase: My learner, who is a publisher, told me once that when you start giving people things for free, when you decide to charge them, then they are not willing to pay cause they can get it for free.

This event  also made me start wondering whether it is a good idea to offer free getting to know you lessons, but then I thought, why should it be free? Will I not put all my energy in a class? Won’t I plan it? Will the word ‘free’ take away from the perceived quality of my session? How many of us make the assumption that if something is for free, then it is not that grand?

Anyhow,  this is not a blog post where I ramble about this and that. This is me asking you guys a question. How much tolerance to freebies?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this one 🙂 piece of art

#MonthlyFavourites: October 2015

Hi everyone!! It’s time for #monthlyfavourites for October 2015. I missed September cause I was busy with my new blog, but I am back, so here are a few of the things I loved in October.

Blogger shout out:

English with Kirsty: cause she’s cool and writes blog posts that are primarily aimed at her students. But lots of her posts have material that can be used with your learners (especially if they are German). Check out her blog here.

Blog Posts/Websites:

Freelance Teacher Self Development: Marc talks about coursebooks and needs analysis and how they need to be combined effectively. Find the post here.

Looking for a lesson plan?Check out the Lesson Plan Digger Website. She posts very frequently and you can find lots of ideas/lesson plans. Check out her blog here.

Top Ten TED talks for managers. If you teach Business English, you may want to check out this website. I have already used some of the Ted talks he suggests, but there are more I will give a try. Find the post here.

If you teach all day and sit a lot, you may want to check this post out. It’s about how to stay fit while sitting a lot and how bad it is to sit all day XEN website.

Articles for medical English students. If you want to have a more light conversational session and add a video, you need to visit the NPR website. It is also great for other adult learners as well.

What about something for Christmas? Christmas sticker countdown PDF. Why not countdown Christmas with your students? Check this website out for the pdf and other printable freebies.

Spoiler alert concerning my next blog post.

My next blog post is going to be about my take on observations, but please check out these 3 blog posts cause they have inspired me. Elteachertrainer (tips for observations), How I see it now (observations about observations) and Wednesday Seminars (observations: formality and dreaming). Now, just a small teaser from me cause I wrote something that touched upon observations and you can check it out here.

Other Stuff

Since I now have my lifestyle, beauty and girlie blog, you are free from all the makeup and girlie stuff (unless you want a taste of those, then you must click here), so no more of those here (emmm, probably).

I am now sharing a few social media and promo tools.

First of all, thanks a million to Vedrana for pointing out that when you link something to your blog post on WordPress, you need to tick the little box that says open in a new window, and then no one leaves your blog!! I am also using Buffer to retweet my blog posts and Stumbleupon to share them. Stumbleupon gives your blog loads of views if you add your page, so you may want to check that out as well. I also added Amazon affiliate links, but haven’t made anything from it :p (haha).

Finally, from the 13th till the 15th of November I will be in Barcelona for the IATEFL BESIG conference. My talk is on Sunday. I will be talking about online teaching, challenges and how to deal with them etc.etc. If you happen to be there, do come by cause it will be great (the conference, not my talk. My talk will be ok-ish :p).

Anyhooooo, that’s all for October. Now pour your self some coffee and check out the stuff I shared with you.

Coffee time

Till next time….

Feeling lost and Being ‘proper’

It is Saturday morning and I had a one to one lesson already. I have a small pile of essays to mark and I want to make a PPT for my online business English class, I have agreed to a collab blog post but instead, I am  watching videos about makeup, listening to the best blind auditions on the Voice US. I am also looking at my planner and thinking how I will plan my next week,and by plan I mean decorate… with stickers.

I feel guilty. I have so many things to do and I am not doing them. I am also wondering about how ‘proper’ I am. I mean… I am a teacher. I have an MA, a Delta, I have spent time becoming a better qualified teacher and instead I am looking at stickers? I mean…. seriously?

I actually  often feel that I am not being ‘proper’, but then again, what is proper? What is ‘proper’ for a teacher? Should I be reading articles about how to improve my teaching? Should I be making new lessons, using my time more creatively and effectively? Should I be spending more time reading other teacher’s blog posts and try to find inspiration? I guess I should.

I then wonder about my interactions with my learners. Don’t get me wrong. I teach whatever is on the syllabus, but I do spend time talking about makeup or other random stuff with my learners and we actually have fun. But… I don’t think that’s professional or… have I created in my mind a sense of what I should be doing as a teacher? Am I trying to follow the invisible ‘bible’ to ‘teacher properness’? Are the things I am doing, taking away from my actual teaching, making me a bad teacher? Why do I feel guilty?

I was a workaholic and now I feel tired. Not ‘proper’.


Dunno guys. I feel lost.

The girlie side of ELT: featuring Lilly Top

So it’s Sunday again and time to plan. Here is another planner- related post. Today, I am featuring Julia who is another Etsy store LillyTop. She also has a lovely surprise for you guys so make sure you read the interview till the end. So, let’s see what Julia told me.


Hi Julia!! Thanks so much for this interview!! I am really interested in hearing a bit more about your self and your store. So, let’s chat.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi Joanna! Well, I am a married and am a stay at home working mom of two boys. Seven years ago, my American husband and I moved to the USA from Germany. I love everything cute and girly. My creative outlets are diverse. I sew, knit, bake, and make paper goods, which include stickers, cards, party decorations, and more.

How and why did you start making stickers?

I have a very bad memory and I used to use sticky notes and note pads to write down important dates. However, they can easily get lost and I would end up with a purse full of paper.  I always forgot something. I am not a fan of mobile phone planners, so the solution was a paper planner. Since my penmanship is not the best, I like to use a lot of stickers.  The stickers I found did not always meet my needs or taste. They were often not bright and colorful enough for me. So, I started making my own.

What can someone find at your Etsy store?

In my Etsy store people can find almost every sticker I use in my own planner. In addition, I made some of the stickers according to customers’ wishes. The focus is functionality, while being cute and colorful. The seasonal stickers are more to decorate the pages.

julia planner spread

julia’s Planner Spread

What are the advantages and what the disadvantages of having an Etsy store?

The advantage of having an Etsy store is definitely the traffic that the platform brings to your shop. This is the best advertisement. When people look on Etsy they know most of the shops are owned by real people and what to expect.  We make our products the best they can be. Our goal is to try to offer the best customer service and we like to make people happy with our products. I like the idea to give my money to mothers who need it or small businesses and not to corporations. This is why I like to shop on Etsy, too. I get a handmade item (not in all the shops though, that seems to change) and I support someone in a similar situation.

The disadvantages are the high fees and the possibility that Etsy can decide to close your shop at any time they wish. I heard that this has already happened to so many people, who relied on the income from their shops.  This is also the reason why I have my own web shop ( in addition to my Etsy shop. My own shop also allows me to pass on my cost savings by offering better prices on some of my items or promotional discounts. We need to be real here. It is awesome to share the art you create and the items you made with your own hands to make other people happy, but we also rely on the income. If I can make people happy with what I like to do and earn a living with it, it is a dream-come-true situation, especially nowadays.  I am very grateful for this opportunity! This is where I really would like to say “Thank You” to every single customer, blogger, Youtuber and everybody who supports me on this path. I appreciate all the help, input and support.  I want to especially thank my husband, who helps me with everything that comes up and needs to be addressed.

Wow! There is a lot of interesting information there. Now let’s move on to planning. How do you plan?

I plan on the go. My planners are always open and when I need to remember something I have to write it down immediately. This way I do not need to sit down at a certain time to plan. I wish I would have the time to do that.

So, tell me Julia, where can someone find you? How can we connect?

You can find me at:

Thanks so much Julia 🙂

Over to me


Julia very kindly shared a Pdf file with us and you can download it here and make your own planner/scrap-book LillyTop Free Printable You can also use these with your students. They are really pretty and the only thing you need is adhesive a4 sticker paper. If you want to see more of LillyTop’s products, do check out her store.

If you are interested in more free printables check out FruVesasPrintables here.

So, happy planning and talk soon


This post originally appeared in my 2nd blog and if you want to follow me there, head over to it by clicking here.

How has ‘girlie’ blogging informed my edu blogging?

Hi guys, this post is going to be short (yeah right!) and sweet!. I have been beauty (?) and let’s say girlie blogging for about ten days now and I have learnt a few things I did not know, so I am going to share them with you.

Sharing your stuff

Beauty/ lifestyle bloggers share their posts a lot. If you follow me on Twitter (@joannacre) you know that I , too, tweet a zillion timeswhen I write a blog post! They suggested I use a website called Buffer, and now I do and it has changed my  social media life (hm, let’s not go there….). Anyhow, buffer allows you to schedule your tweets (that’s what I am interested in), and then you don’t have to go on to Twitter to share your stuff manually. I am now scheduling my zillions of Tweets and saving time.


If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that my pictures are boring, not that grand. Because my vision is not that fantastic either, I have difficulty taking nice pics. Again, the beauty bloggers suggested I use Picmonkey, and I am, and I really like it. It is so easy to use (if I can use it, anyone can use it).

But, I was having difficulty with the colours and I tweeted them saying I don’t know what colours I am using (cause I am colourblind), they tweeted me back and sent me a video tutorial (very quickly). They also suggested I look into hex codes. Hex codes?

Hex codes are codes that have been made for colours, so you type in the code, and then you get the colour. Even WordPress uses hex codes when you are designing the header. In order to be able to understand hex codes though, I needed a website that named the colours, and offered the hex codes. I found this great blog which will be linked below and now I know my colours!!

Facebook groups

Their Facebook groups are different to the ELT ones I am a member of. They have promo days during which you are encouraged to read and leave comments on other people’s blog posts. There is a lot of engagement.

Social media

I have pinterest now and bloglovin and I am getting traffic from those websites as well.

Affiliate links

I became a member of Amazon associates, so if I talk about a product and someone wants to buy it from amazon, I get a bit of money (cents). If they don’t, then that’s fine. I clearly mark a product if there is an affiliate link!

piece of art

So, these are a few things I have learnt during the ‘launching’ of my 2nd blog. Why a second blog? I talk about planning, beauty, and stuff I am interested in and cannot share here. If you want to check it out, it will be linked below.

So, have a great weekend everyone!! If you have any cool software tips, please let me know.


Name my colour (hex codes)



My new blog: my pink rambles

Till next time…….

Girlie side of ELT post 9: Teacher stickers for your lesson plans/planners :)

As I have said before, I like planning. One of the fads I am really enjoying at the moment is decorative planning   ❤ . I do not go to extremes, but I do use stickers on my planner from time to time cause it is fun, crafty and relaxing (huh? Yeap!). So, today I am going to share with you Anna’s story. Anna is from Sweden. She has an Etsy store called FruVesasPrintables. Etsy stores are where lots of people go to buy planner printables or stickers. We had an online chat about her jounery and how she got involved in planner stickers and printables. So let’s see what she says!

My chat with Anna

Hi Anna! Thanks for agreeing to this interview and let me start by saying I love you stickers and I am really excited to share some with my readers.

So, Anna tell me how did you get involved in making stickers?

I got started in this community about 1,5 years ago when I started my economic university program online. I realised I needed to plan hard to make sure I was accountable and got the work done. I searched high and low here in Sweden for a cute planner since everyone knows a cute one helps :). That’s when I found Kikki K and Erin Condren and the whole decorated planner community. I fell in love, but I quickly realised that international shipping would kill my student wallet, so I started buying printables on Etsy.

After a while, I started to realise that some of the things I wanted, I couldn’t find, so I started to make my own printables.  I shared some of them in the Facebook groups I was involved in and got some great feedback. I then realised that it was tons of fun to make sticker printables, so I looked into starting my own Etsy shop to expand my income, because study loans aren’t much to live on when you have children.

When did you open your own shop?

I took the plunge late June this year and I love it! I have since taken a break from my studies to get a job and study on the side. Since the shops going rather good, I am in the making of starting my own company to be able to keep the shop running long-time. The tax laws here in Sweden demands it and it’s a nervous but a happy time.

Anything for teachers at your store?

At the moment, I don’t have anything teacher specific, but I have an idea list I am constantly making longer… 🙂 (a surprise is coming your way at the end of this post lovely readers  🙂 )

How do you plan your weeks/life?

Right now I use a printable week on 2 pages printable from an Etsy seller in my Kikki K for my overall planning. I also have a horizontal Erin Condren I was going to use, but I now use it as a journal which I decorate with patterns and fun stuff. In my regular planner, I mostly use functional stickers because I am more of a functional girl than I am a decorative one 🙂

Anna's planner

Anna’s planner

Where can we find you?

I have an Instagram associated with the shop @fruvesasprintables and the Etsy shop’s address is (click the link to check out her store).



Freebie 🙂

Anna kindly suggested to make a freebie printable for you. All you need to  do is get adhesive paper (A4 sticker paper), adjust your printer to photo or good quality printing, print your stickers, and join me on this decorative planning journey!!  The stickers have butterflies, books, pencils and paper clips and are very student/teacher friendly. You can stick them in your planners/ on your lesson plans or give them to students and ask them to write their to do lists (I will). They are really, really pretty. Thanks Anna so much    <3.

Teacher stickers

Press the link below to get the planner stickers :). So pretty :).

Download the printable here (press the link below)


Let me know if you like this post. It originally appeared on my second blog If you like the stickers, share them!

Talk soon and happy decorative planning!