Hooked on Books: Drama in the ELT classroom with Susan Hillyard

August 18, 2016 by Nora Nagy | 0 comments

Susan Hillyard

Susan Hillyard

In this series of interviews we talk to teachers, ELT writers, visual artists and researchers about the importance of using literature in the language classroom. Together they have over a hundred years of experience in teaching and writing so they can definitely give us plenty of advice and insight into the best practices. We talk about the importance and transformation of literary texts in education, we ask for genre and title recommendations as well as personal stories.

This month we talk to Susan Hillyard, the author of the latest resource book in our Resourceful Teacher series: English through Drama  Continue Reading →

August 11, 2016
by Nora Nagy
0 comments

Expedition Sun Project Lesson

Last month we flew to the Moon and explored it through art, language, literature song and film. In August we travel to the Sun, which might be a bit farther away in distance, but much closer in our imagination. If a sunny day can make you feel happier, a sunny lesson will definitely make your students feel more energetic in the classroom. Whether you’re in the northern hemisphere, where August and September are the months of beautiful changing sunlight, or in the southern hemisphere, where you’re probably enjoying or expecting even more sunshine, it’s always inspiring to think, talk and learn about the largest star in the sky.

Let’s explore the Sun through projects for young learners, teens and adults. You can do projects based on literature, the visual arts, films and science so every student will have something to talk about.

VISIT THE SUN WITH YOUNG LEARNERS

Double spread from The Thirsty Tree, written by Adrián N. Bravi and illustrated by Valentina Russello. © Helbling Languages

Double spread from The Thirsty Tree, written by Adrián N. Bravi and illustrated by Valentina Russello. © Helbling Languages

Continue Reading →

August 1, 2016
by Nora Nagy
0 comments

A Literary Trip to Yorkshire

“That was his most perfect idea of heaven’s happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy.”

(Catherine in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)

Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Illustration by Valentina Russello. ©Helbling Languages

Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Illustration by Valentina Russello. In the Helbling Reader Wuthering Heights. © Helbling Languages

How do you imagine Yorkshire? When you think of it, do you see green hills, windy moors and old churches? If we played a free association game, would you think of Yorkshire terriers or perhaps Yorkshire pudding? I first came to learn about Yorkshire through the words of the Brontë sisters, and I have always imagined it to be a wild place with beautiful architecture. August 1st is Yorkshire Day, so let’s travel to this part of England and learn a bit about it. Although Yorkshire does not solely mean Brontë country, we will start our journey in the places they described. Then we will learn more about other literary connections with this region, and move on to other interesting areas to explore about the language, symbols, history, sports and music of Yorkshire, and we will see some contemporary cultural references in TV shows and films. Continue Reading →

July 28, 2016
by Nora Nagy
0 comments

Have Fun with Books on Paperback Book Day

Do you prefer paperback or hardcover books? What are the advantages of having paperback books? Now we can carry around hundreds if not thousands of books on our e-readers, in 1935 the paperback book revolution changed publishing forever, bringing books to the general public and making reading an everyday activity for millions of people.

Paperback Book Day is celebrated on 30th July, to mark the day when Allen Lane, along with his brothers Robert and John, founded Penguin Books and published what are now known as ‘The Original Ten’ – the first ever mass-produced paperbacks for the British market. Legend goes that Lane came up with the idea when he found himself stuck in a train station with nothing to read. There was nothing available at the station worth reading and Lane thought of creating a series of high-quality books that would be cheap enough to be sold from a vending machine. (He did exactly this and the first vending machine was called the Penguincubator!).

Lane however was not the first to come with the idea. A German publisher, Albatross, produced the first modern paperbacks, with a format based on the Golden Ratio. Lane was aware of their work and incorporated many of their insights into his venture, including the idea to colour code books by genre. The new series was an immediate success as people were travelling more and there was a need for good quality yet relatively inexpensive books which were light and small enough to carry around.

Continue Reading →

July 21, 2016
by Nora Nagy
0 comments

Mystery in the English Class

illustration from The Fall of the House of Usher (Tales of Mystery) by Edgar Allan Poe, Level 5 reader

Illustration from The Fall of the House of Usher (Tales of Mystery) by Edgar Allan Poe. Illustrated by Giuseppe Palumbo. © Helbling Languages

Events, people, occurrences which are difficult or impossible to explain are intriguing for most of us. Stories of mystery can distract us from our everyday routines and make us focus at the same time. Good mysteries are real page-turners, which engage the readers from the very first sentence, and this quality makes them excellent resources for language learners, and good stories almost always have a hint of mystery in them. Let’s see some language activities you can build around the theme of mystery, and then some titles that will suit teen and adult readers. Continue Reading →