Inside my classroom: Hello, Goodbye – a Beatles song lesson

This super catchy song is perfect for beginner ESL classes; it’s simple, fun and I warn you now it will get stuck in your head – apologies in advance…

Play the song to the class and go over the key vocabulary on the board;

  • hello, goodbye, high, low, yes, no, stop, go, I don’t know…

Then use this fill in the blanks lyrics worksheet and go through the song again a few times until the students are happy with their work.  You can keep the key words on the board to help them.

Finally go over the answers and have a good old sing song!  Students particularly like the video and often ask for it to be played as a reward at the end of a lesson – a sure sign of success for this activity.

You can also use this song to introduce simple rhymes and opposites, or just as a bit of fun.  Enjoy!

Inside my classroom: Halloween creative writing

inside my classroom halloween lesson ideas

With Halloween just around the corner why not incorporate some spookiness into your lessons?

Here are some short films that are excellent prompts for a goulish creative writing lesson;

Take a trip with a young boy to the museum to look at the dinosaurs where things aren’t quite right.  What happens next..?

Venture inside a spooky cave, what will you find inside?

Journey through an old graveyard, where ghosts and ghouls lay behind the gravestones…

As the videos have no spoken language in them they can act as inspiration for all abilities and incorporating any vocabulary or writing techniques that you have been teaching.  None of them are overly scary, most of the spookiness is up to your imagination, so they are fine to use with younger children.

Students can be shown a film and create a story board, rewrite what they saw, predict what happens next or make an alternative ending.

More Halloween themed lesson ideas:

Halloween video comprehension

Inside my Classroom: Take This Lollipop – creepy internet safety resource

take this lollypop

Take This Lollipop is an online interactive film that has been around since 2010 and I have used it time and time again both back in the UK in a youth work setting, and in my ESL teaching here in Thailand.

Once of the units I needed to cover with one of my classes last year was Internet Safety – an important topic to explore with young people – and I used Take This Lollipop as a way of introducing the concept of privacy and protection on the internet.

The way it works is that someone has to log in using their facebook on the homescreen at – remember, this resource was created to highlight the importance of protecting your information on the internet so they don’t save any of the log in details once the activity is complete.

Once logged in, the film starts.  We see a creepy man sat at a computer surfing the net.  He starts checking out facebook and hey, who’s that?  It’s the profile of whoever logged in at the beginning.  He starts ‘facebook stalking’ the profile and starts behaving quite disturbingly.  Photographs of the facebook user and their friends start to show up – it really freaks out the students to see this horrible man looking at pictures of them.

Depending on how much information the facebook user has on their profile, the creepy man looks up their address and used google maps to see the street.  If the student hasn’t listed an address it will only zoom into their hometown – but if they have written their whole address on their profile it will zoom right in on their street.

The film ends as the creepy guy drives off in his car with the facebook users’ profile picture taped to the dashboard.

This interactive online film is excellent for starting discussion on internet safety, information protection and privacy.  It also helps to highlight how important it is that we think about how much personal information we choose to share on social networking sites.

Have a go at home with your own facebook first and see how much it freaks you out!


Those of you who have liked the facebook page will already be aware that I have put Teacher Tuesday to bed – it was just too limiting only being a Tuesday kinda thing.  Inside my classroom will have exactly the same content of lesson ideas, inspirations and useful links, only now I can share things with you any day of the week.  Tuesdays just weren’t working for me anymore, it’s nothing personal…

Teacher Tuesday: Biography cubes

Biography cubes lesson idea
Completed biography cubes.

An excellent activity for any classes studying within the topic Talking about other people which seems to crop up in any TEFL textbook I have had thrust on me.  I have used this lesson multiple times with various classes and it has always been really successful.

Students choose their favourite celebrity and complete a worksheet with five basic sections;

What is his/her name?  Where was he/she born?

What does he/she look like?

What is his/her personality like?

What are his/her likes and dislikes?

Write three sentences about your chosen celebrity.

The sixth section requires a printed photograph of the celebrity.  Six sections = 1 section for each side of the biography cube you will be making!

If you have internet access this can be completed in class, but I preferred to do an example on the board and set it for homework.

Once the worksheet is completed and the students have a photograph, use the cube template and write the information from the sections on the cube (1 section = 1 side), sticking the photograph on the sixth side.

Et voilas!  Biography cubes!  I like to hang them from the back of the classroom (to show them off and also to stop them getting damaged).

The concept of using a 3D paper cube to display work can easily be adapted to fit within plenty of topics; it’s a nice creative way to explore an otherwise dry subject.  Have a go yourself and let me know all about it in the comments below.

This is part of a weekly feature on the Cornish Kylie blog.  If you have a lesson idea you would like to share, please get in touch!


TEFL FAQs: Getting a working visa for Thailand (Part 1)

What kind of visa do I need to work in Thailand?  How do I get a working visa before I leave my country?  Can I arrive on a tourist visa and change to a working visa?  These are some of the questions that I am asked time and time again.  I am no visa expert but I am able to tell you how I got my visa.  I have had to split this into two parts as I have now had two very different visa experiences.

Part 1 – Gaining a non-immigrant B visa in my home country

Part 2 – Changing from a tourist to a non-immigrant B visa – AKA the visa run

Read on for part one…

TEFL FAQ visa part 1

When I first decided to come to Thailand, I signed up to a TEFL programme that promised to hold my hand every inch of the way, from the interview right through to job placement and beyond.  This meant that the visa process was completely issue free for me, I just had to send the right documents with the correct form and it was all sorted before I had got on the plane at Heathrow.

A letter (in both English and Thai) confirming my upcoming employment was provided by the TEFL agency, and together with my passport, degree certificate and transcripts and police check, this was enough to get my non-immigrant B visa in my home country, trough the Royal Thai Consulate in Hull.  Aside from the wait, and the ever so slight worry that the good old Royal Mail were going to lose my documents, it was a completely stress free process.

That isn’t the end of the process however.  You are usually issued an initial 3 month non-B visa which you then need to get extended to the full length of time required (up to one year).  To do this you need to get a work permit.  Luckily for me I was was with a teaching agency who once again arranged most of this for me.  I had to provide them with a copy of my teaching contract, my TEFL certificate and I had to go and have a 20 baht medical check which consisted of the doctor asking me in broken English if I had any diseases, to which I said no, and was on my way.  Once I had my work permit in hand, I was able to go to immigration in the city I was living in and was granted an extension of stay, extending my initial three month visa to an almost-full year (up until the end of my contract).

OK, so I have my visa, I have my work permit.  I’m done!

Not quite, that still isn’t the end of the process.  In fact, the process doesn’t ever really end…

Once you have your work permit and your non-B visa has been extended to enable you to stay working in country until the end of your contract, you are now required by law to report at immigration every 90 days (note: some people on non-B visas have to leave Thailand and come back every 90 days – check which you have).  This has to be done on a work day and so involves arranging a morning off (some schools will do this all for you if they have a big cohort of foreign teachers and a member of HR staff who understands the visa process – I wasn’t quite so lucky).  You just have to go in to immigration and fill out a form confirming your address, and they staple a piece of paper into your passport confirming that you have reported.  It’s just to keep tabs on your whereabouts and to make sure that you are still in the city you are supposed to be working in.

You may have noticed that throughout this whole process, I didn’t have to leave Thailand.  But what about the infamous visa runs that teachers are always going on?  That is because I had my visa approved in my home country and was lucky enough to have my work permit issued and my visa extended before the initial three months granted were up.  Some are not so lucky.  Some come into the country on tourist visas and then have to leave the country to apply for a non-B once they gain employment (in fact, it is possible to have your visa changed over if you go in person to immigration in Bangkok and you have a contact with the know-how – so this rarely happens).  Some don’t get their work permit sorted in time and have to leave and come back on a tourist visa and start the whole process over again.

Every situation for each person can pan out differently and this is just my experience.  What I would say is common among many is that the process can take a while, so it is most definitely recommended to arrive in Thailand with some sort of visa – whether that is a pre-approved non-B like I had, or a 60 day tourist visa – don’t arrive with nothing and think that you will have everything sorted within the 30 day visa exemption you are granted on arrival – it probably isn’t enough time and with the current clampdown on visa runs you might have a pretty stressful time sorting it out.  Save yourself the worry!

If you have any more questions, here are some useful websites that may be of help;

For UK residents applying for a visa in your home country – The Royal Thai Consulate, Hull

For more information on different types of visa in Thailand – The Thai Embassy English language website

For discussions on visa issues check out Thai Visa – but be warned, some of the forum users are bitter old expats who are angry at everyone and everything – you have been warned.

Check back for Part 2 – Changing from a tourist to a non-immigrant B visa – AKA the visa run.