Teachers in Turkey, No. 4 - “One Thing I Did in Class” by Adam Simpson

Guest number 4 in the Teachers in Turkey series is Adam Simpson, also known as @yearinthelifeof on Twitter. Adam is known as a guy who likes to do things differently so his contribution breaks away from the written format used so far and comes in the form of a video post, which is a format always welcome on this blog!

Please watch and listen as Adam talks us through one of those moments when a spur of the moment idea turns into an engaging and effective lesson:

Adam Simpson
 Adam is the blogger behind the eclectic mess of ideas that is Year in the Life of an English Teacher . Now increasingly oxymoronically in its third year, his blog aims to share aspects of his day to day life with the unsuspecting and largely undeserving ELT community. He has lived and worked in Istanbul since the turn of the century.
Follow him on Twitter: @yearinthelifeof


  1. Woah! adam, there was, dare I say it, a 'real' elephant(s) in your classroom. Cheers for that, and ı look fwd to maybe doing the same type of blog in future editions. mind you, I doubt whether viewers will be as pleased with the visuality of yours truly's fizog come the day

  2. Cheers, David. Had to click on your name to find out it was you. As that bloke form the A-Team didn't use to say, 'I love it when a spur of the moment activity comes together!'

  3. Thanks for your video contribution Adam. I think video as a format has a much more spur of the moment feel and can often take you places you hadn't planned on visiting as you talk. :)

    One thing I love about these kind of moments is even though this was very much something specific to that class at that moment, it's still an idea that can be adapted to many contexts. I've often used drawing as a way in with my young learners ahead of reading a text or writing something. We did a project last year about homes and I started by asking them to draw a house. From their pictures we reviewed the vocab they already knew and added extra words that they had drawn but didn't know the English for (like chimney, doorbell etc) - much better than a 'label the picture' or 'name this room' kind of activity.

    Thanks for sharing - looking forward to more video blogs!

  4. Thank you for sharing your lesson. I love the idea of doing something different during classes as it refreshes and motivates the students. You could also turn this idea into a fun and motivating activity. It is called Horse Race and it works really well especially in Reading classes.

    Put class into small groups. Give each group a piece of paper and tell them to draw a horse (in your case an elephant) facing to the right and they must also give the horse a name.

    One one side of the board write a list of 12 questions. On the other side of the board draw a race course with a START, a series of jumps and a FINISH.
    Then line up the horses at the start. Groups throw their dice and the group with the highest number goes first. If they throw a four and a five for example, they must answer question 9. If their answer is correct they clear a jump and the question is struck off the board. If a group throws a number that has already been thrown and answered they miss a turn. The first group to cross the finishing line wins.
    We did this activity a lot of times and my students (young adults) enjoyed it every time!


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