5 minutes not enough?

Do you have that 5 minutes of spare time between your online classes?

Do you not think its enough time?

This post is going to talk about managing that 5 minutes.  I find 5 minutes is not a long time.  I can’t do most things in 5 minutes, because I take a long time to do things and it simply flies by so fast!  However despite it not being enough time I have managed to figure out what to do in 5 minutes!

Before I even start class I have all my class materials lined up and ready for me to go.  Sometimes I teach many different classes in a 4 hour period.  I keep all the different lesson materials in a coloured folder.  I put them in order of what classes I am teaching and they are to my right easy to grab or put away.  This way I am not running around trying to find lesson materials in the 5 minutes between class.  After class I put the materials back into a special box either for animals, fruit, vegetables, food, clothing, and miscellaneous.  Organization is the key for me to survive that 5 minutes.

After being able to switch my materials over, or reorganize the materials for the next class, I take that remaining time before my next class to write the students memos from that previous lesson.  This gives me about 4 minutes.  During the class I have made notes about the students performance (positive and negative) making it possible to write their reports so quickly.    Then its time for the camera to turn back on.

I am not a robot and sometimes a bathroom break is necessary.  In that case I switch my materials or reorganize them, and run off to the bathroom and come back.  Then I would make a note to go back after my teaching block is done to do those students memos. Time management is important so you must remember that.  It does not benefit the student or you to be late to class.  To ensure the most of your five minutes before class make sure you:

  1. Eat a meal(your class block is long make sure you eat something significant so your belly isn’t rumbling)
  2. Go to the bathroom
  3. Organize your material (both online and physical material)
  4. Grab your glass of water for your desk (this prevents you having to run to the kitchen on your break for a drink)

You can do a lot in 5 minutes if you stay on top of things and stay organized!

xoxo Kate



My favourite teaching tools!

Hi my TESOL/TEFL friends!!

I would love to share some insight with you about my favourite teaching tools for the online classroom.  In the online classroom I really think its incredibly important to make sure your class is engaging, exciting, and fun.  This is where I like to use lots of different exciting features alongside the use of TPR.  We need to make our classrooms as exciting as we can.  These students have just spent all day at school and are now studying more.  Most of the time our lesson is not the only other educational or extra curricular activity they have done that evening.

Photo on 2017-08-24 at 3.19 PM.jpgTo start my class I love to great my students with an excited wave and greet them with their names.  I like to use my emotion clown to see how my students are feeling.  We go over happy, sad, angry and surprised.  It’s a good insight on how my students are feeling.  My students love my clown and if I don’t bring him out they will often as for him.  It is a good gateway into asking my students how their day was as well with “What made you happy? Did you play outside today?” questions along those lines.  Most students are always happy although you get the occasional angry which is always accompanied with a funny story (usually mad at mom because they had to stop playing or watching TV).

Photo on 2017-08-24 at 3.22 PM.jpgMy whiteboard is an amazing tool that I love to use.  I make sure I always have 3 working coloured markers.  The whiteboard is great for games, demonstrations, and rewards.   I like to use my whiteboard mostly for games.  A whiteboard allows many different types of games to play like X’s and O’s but instead of blank squares I have lesson words written or have a picture.  This makes the students read or remember what the word from class was.  Another great game I play is hangman with lesson words. I also like to play Guess what I am drawing? (I draw a picture of what we just learned and they guess.)

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My starburst cue words are fantastic in reminding children the full sentence or key phrases they should be using.  I have a variety of different sentence starters written on the burst such as:  I like… I don’t like… It is… This is a… I want… She likes…


Foam letter and numbers are something I bought as a set for $4 at the dollar store.  These Photo on 2017-08-24 at 3.28 PMare amazing for teaching letters and numbers.  I will use them for all ages depending on what I am teaching.  I often use them with the younger or more beginner lessons for teaching how to draw the letter and make the sound. I will also use them to focus on the letter in a word children are having trouble pronouncing.

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I also love using my globe with my students.  I often find children want to know where I come from.  When I say Canada they may have heard of the country but they don’t know where it is.  They love seeing where they live on the globe versus where I live on the globe.  It opens up a good dialogue with the older students (especially adults) as well.


I always use lots more materials while teaching but I believe these are my must haves.  All these materials help make my classroom happy and fun,  Hope to hear from you about all the things you find necessary for teaching!

xoxo Kate

On a budget?

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to go over budgeting yourself for your ESL job.  Lets be plain and simple teaching material can sometimes cost a pretty penny.  It would simply be outrageous to buy every little material.  The end of the day you are also paying out of pocket for your teaching material,  it is nice to not spend a large chunks of your paychecks on things for work.

I teach using the TPR method. With the TPR method I love using props, pictures, figurines, stuffed animals and you get the idea.  Well if you were going out and buying all these materials all the time to make flashcards and buying figurines it does add up.  Teaching with props are absolutely essential in my opinion.  It benefits the child and makes the class more interesting.

The dollar store

Lets face it if you need to buy anything for work this is where the magic is.  I live in Canada and the best Dollar store I recommend going to would be Dollarama.  I have bought excellent teaching materials here ranging from: alphabet letters, numbers, starbursts, figurines, whiteboard, markers, stuffed animals, puppets and reward items (trophies are a great one you can find at the dollar store).  If you don’t live in a country that has a dollar store per say look at the markets and vendors/if living in Thailand go to the 20 baht store.

If you are a teacher and you don’t have your hands on a pair of these foam letters and numbers INVEST your $1-4 in them.  You will use them all the time.  They are great while  teaching letters, spelling and phonics.  I even am able to play great games with them.  They pop out of the square and each square is about the size of your hand.








Garage sales/buy and sell teaching groups


Can I even begin to tell you how awesome these online buy and sell groups are? The gems you can find at garage sales?  If you go on Facebook and look up buy and sell groups you can find great stuff.  I have found some great felt animals, fruit and vegetables, as well as an emotions clown.  Stuffed animals and puppets from garage sales and online sites are another great item you can look into.  I am very fortunate I have my own puppets and stuffed animals from childhood so I use those.

Simply make it!


Another great idea is to just draw things or print things.  I am fortunate that I  by some miracle I have the ability to drawish.  I often draw things such as food, animals, teeth, and other little nick nack things.  The things I can draw or just don’t want to draw I will print.  Beside are some examples of different things I have drawn for class.  Some I stick to popsicle sticks to make it easier to hold up while teaching.  I try to draw all my images on card stock so that the image doesn’t curl at the edges.

These are all great sources to get your props and tools from.  I understand that it is costly for different materials so this are some great ways to keep costs low.  In terms of working online it is important to have a great quality computer with a webcam and a quality headset.  I use one with a VERY long USB cord it cost me around $70 Canadian from Best Buy(a technology store),  I personally do not believe buying a cheap computer or headset is ideal, at the end of the day its your job and with the tech stuff it is just better to have quality equipment.

Hope this helped give you some ideas of where to buy your stuff from.

xoxo Kate

What is TPR?

Hi there everyone!

What is TPR? That is a great question and  something that as a teacher of TESOL, TEFL, CETL you should know about!  TPR stands for TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE.  This can be simply explained as coordinating language with a physical movement.  You essentially are eliciting a response from a student with an entire body response in regards to the language you are teaching them.  This method was developed by a psychologist by the name of James Asher.

With TPR the idea is to engage both sides of the  brain, not just the left side but also the right side.  The verbal language is working the left side but the right side needs to get active as well.  By using a physical gesture and movement the student will be more likely to remember the word better than if he/she just keeps repeating it.

Every age group can benefit from TPR.  As someone that has learned 2 languages as an adult I can attest to this.  The easiest way to remember something is to tie it to an action or an image…. even better both!  This means you should be using TPR with almost every second language learner especially when introducing new words, phrases, or emotions.

I like to pair my physical movements with a picture or an object.  This helps create an image, an action, and a word.