Month: March 2016

But… where do you find this stuff?


At the end of my workshops, I always have tired teachers.  Happy, but also a bit frustrated, because they really like the stuff I teach them, but they also want to know where to find this stuff on their own once I’ve gone home.

I’ve decided to put a number of sites I’ve found into one space, so anyone who wants to can find them just as easily.  I’ve created a Symbaloo page (, free of charge and a great way to collect your favorite sites) and I’m sharing it here.

Of course, this selection is only a miniscule share of everything that is available on the internet these days.  The real question is, of course, how does one find these things on one’s own?  That is where the correct search terms come in handy.  I’ll list some important ones here:

ESL or EFL (English as a Second Language or English as a Foreign Language)

+ age group (kindergarteners, young learners, elementary school, young adult, adult)

+ topic (food, weather, transportation, etcetera)

+ activity (flashcards, worksheets, online games, song, video, speaking activities, lesson plan, etcetera)

This gets me pretty far in finding the material I need for my lessons.

Another useful item is an online picture dictionary.  I looked around, using the following search terms:

“online picture dictionary”

+ topic (math, science, history, gym)

+ kids

I found it was really necessary to add “kids” to the search terms, as there are dictionaries with all sorts of words most children wouldn’t need.

Recently, I got stumped when a Dutch teacher remarked that she didn’t know the English word for “turnkast”.  Really, I had no idea what such a thing was called.  I hadn’t ever worked with such a thing before in an American school, so my only experience with this object was while working in a Dutch school.  There, I got away with calling it “this thing here”.  Not terribly professional, I admit, but it got the job done with my pre-school classes.  It was time for an answer, so I rolled up my sleeves and started to work.


a “turnkast”

I searched for online dictionaries explaining gym material and was getting discouraged by the lack of school-related online dictionaries for gyms.  Instead, I found all sorts of other neat things: dumbbells, chest expanders, and sponge wedges.  I tried google translate, google image search, reverse search, until finally, I struck gold: an online catalogue for gym- and sports-related material.  A few clicks later, and I finally found the answer: the “turnkast” is called a “vaulting box”.

Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box.  wink