Countries :: Bulgaria

 Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 11
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 11

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 11

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Activities Ideas; Eating in History; Share your World experiences; European Committee report


S. Teneva - Five Activities 

D. Tassotti - Using and improving materials - what do you eat in History lessons 

M. Koeva - Dear Friends/Colleagues (M. Koeva shares experience of working on "Share Your World") 

P. Kernen - Minutes of The European Committee 

Bulgaria - Back to Preps
Bulgaria - Back to Preps

Back to School...

It was with great pleasure that I stepped back into the Prep class at the English/German School Plovdiv this year.

I've been sitting in my office busy writing stuff all this last year and was getting a bit of cabin fever from the isolation, so something had to be done.  With not a little concern about how much the students might have changed in the 5 years I've been absent, I went to ask the director if they would like me back on a part time basis.  Thankfully they said yes, and I've been going back for a day's teaching once every two weeks.

I have to say that it's the best thing I could have done.  I'm usually exhausted after the 6 classes (my colleagues do this everyday!), but am always thoroughly satisfied afterwards.  The students are great, and they are as enthusiastic and clever as ever they were.

It's not always easy to arrange time which suits the teachers, which fits in with the time I have to spare, but one day every two weeks has been manageable. 

Here's what we've been doing...

The colleagues in the 6 prep classes asked me to concentrate on the list of topics the students will be preparing for their end of year exams.  With this lengthy list, I chose topics which I was interested in and which I knew I could find materials for, and also which had an element of content and language integration.
D class
E class
J class
Z class
I class
K class

How much ice cream do you eat?
Ice cream data

(From the Science Across the World topic 'What did you eat?')
We started with eating and drinking habits and discussed the relationships between health and diet.
Of course, we started with ice cream, how much they eat and which countries they thought were the greatest consumers in Europe.
Why does Sweden eat so much ice cream?  One colleague from Sweden confided in me that it must be because ice cream is a leisure food and makes us think of our holidays.
We also did a class on Ireland.  We looked at famous Irish people, read a text about the life of Bono, and we sang a couple of Irish songs.  Here's one of them.

Molly Malone (In Dublin’s fair city)
In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molloy Malone
She wheeled a wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive O
Alive, alive O, Alive, alive O
Crying, cockles and Mussels, Alive, alive O
She was a fishmonger, and sure ‘twas no wonder
For so were her Father and Mother before
And they all wheeled their barrows,
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, Alive, alive O
She died of a fever, and no one to grieve her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying: Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive O
(From Science Across the World topic 'What did you eat?')
We looked at disease.  The students read a linear text and transferred the information from it into a diagram.
The diagram is a tree diagram on its side, which leads on to a series of flow diagrams.

There's a short clip of this task in action. They read, they talk, they decide, they sort.

Road Safety

This is another topic from Science Across the World which is sadly no longer available from the website, but I still think it's very relevant today in Europe especially in Bulgaria.  The reason for this is that statistics show that while generally speaking over the last 8 years there has been a fall in the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents, in Bulgaria and a few other countries there has been a rise.
Georgi Asparuhov was killed when he crashed his car at high speed and there are many other famous Bulgarians who have been involved in similar accidents some accidents alcohol-related.  We read about these tragic deaths and crashes and discussed how safe it actually is on the road in Bulgaria.  There was an overwhelming consensus in the 6 groups that it is not safe.
My students all did a 'speed reaction test' which comes from the Road Safety topic of Science Across the World.  This is no longer available on the programme website as an exchange topic, but you can download the old text for the topic from here - Road Safety.

The students had to catch a weighted card with markings for fractions of a second and a descriptor for each marking.  Some were 'safe on the road', others needed to 'be careful on the road'.

This is a clip of the task in action.
The EU has a scoreboard for safety on the roads
The document road death scoreboard.pdf is linked below.
There is also a lot of World Bank information for Bulgaria used in the PPT Road Safety linked below.

Road Safety Problem in Bulgaria

There is plenty of data here which shows that the situation in Bulgaria is getting worse.  There are many factors which explain why this might be so, the point for me in my lesson was that the students are potentially in danger and they should be aware of the danger.  Until drivers take more care, until the laws are observed, until people stop driving while under the influence of alcohol, the children have to take care of themselves.

Part of the text for this lesson can be found here below in the document - Road Safety Bulgaria.

Bulgaria - BETA Conference 2010 Veliko Turnovo
Bulgaria - BETA Conference 2010 Veliko Turnovo

Note - Dobri and I are offering to bring the rocket workshop to schools in Bulgaria. All you have to do is get in touch and agree a date with us and we'll bring all that is needed.

If you think your students would enjoy it, get in touch!

The Bulgarian English Teachers Association Conference
Veliko Tarnovo, April 2010
Rocket workshop

A dear colleague, Dobri Vetsov, and I gave a fun workshop at the BETA Conference recently in Bulgaria. Rocket building and launching!
Gracious hosts, American College Arcus
Veliko Tarnovo is a lovely place, perfect for a conference. Make sure you know where you're going. Even with a map marked with X we went the wrong way!
Dobri has done rocket launching at his school in Sofia during the school's annual science fair and we both think it's a great context for language learning. So we put in a proposal and off we went, enjoying the sites en route!
View from Hotel Panorama
I was with the perfect guide since Dobri had spent 5 years in VT as a student.
We gave Dan from Macmillan a hand with his baggage and immediately checked out potential launch sites.
Waiting for introductory speeches...
School coat of arms. Arcus is one of two schools offering IB courses in Bulgaria.
I was given a surprise by Zarina from the organizing committee. Could I translate for the Mayor of Veliko Tarnovo?

I did my best, but there was a moment I got lost... luckily Zarina jumped in to help! (Hats off to translators everywhere!)
David Hill stepped in for plenary speaker Tessa Woodward, volcano victim, and spoke on creativity in language teaching. David gave a huge plug for CLIL!
In the break Dobri took me round to visit his former host family in VT. Many thanks to Marin and Maria for the coffee and chocolates!
Dobri set the context of our workshop by describing the School Science Fair and how we wanted to share this wonderful activity with the world.
We prepared one single handout as this was intended to be a very practical session with little talk from us and all hands on from the participants. You can download the handout here with instructions and ideas for language focus.
The idea actually comes from Middlesex University who produced the rocket factory and notes on a range of different rocket making activities in class.
I think we should have asked for tables! Teams have 20 minutes to design and build the best rocket from paper, glue, coloured pens, rubber nose cones provided by us, and anything they think will make their rocket a winner.
They have to name their rocket and we called the Bulgarian air force to warn of low flying objects above Tarnovo. There were prizes for the best rockets measured according to a) design and b) flight time.
Then we launched in the school yard. Thankfully the rain held off.
If I'm lucky there are willing volunteers to provide rocket fuel!
Hard hats are a must.
Don't press that button yet!
What happens if I press the red button!?
Macmillan provided training DVDs, a copy of my Geography book, and two free subscriptions to onestop as well as free folders and pens for everyone who took part. Big thanks to Macmillan!.
Incidentally, there are loads of activities like this one on the website in the experiments section.
Talking with the local media afterwards about the importance of space exploration in Veliko Tarnovo...

We had two free subscriptions to onestopenglish.com to give to the best rockets and presentations.

Just to repeat, Dobri and I are offering to bring the rocket workshop to schools in Bulgaria. All you have to do is get in touch and agree a date with us and we'll bring all that is needed.
If you think your students would enjoy it, get in touch!

Bulgaria - BETA Conference 2012 Rousse
Bulgaria - BETA Conference 2012 Rousse

The Bulgarian English Teachers Association Conference

Rousse, March 30th - April 1st, 2012

The BETA Conference Programmes are made available here below. 

The Pre-Conference CLIL event programme is available here below.

There is a great programme on offer. We may be small, but the quality is guaranteed. We have John Clegg, Phil Ball, and 8 workshops to offer. Our product will be a book of CLIL tips and techniques for English teachers.

Hope to see you there!

Bulgaria - Beyond the Classroom Workshop
Bulgaria - Beyond the Classroom Workshop

Bulgaria - Beyond the Classroom Workshop

This is a series of workshops being given around Bulgaria organized by Macmillan publishers in Bulgaria. It's part of an ongoing series of teacher professional development which we're all very thankful to Yordan Stoyanov for his impeccable organization. Thanks Dan!


Getting beyond the textbook and the classroom.

We looked at the quesiton - What is a 21st Century Education?

This clip answers the question

The Beyond coursebook has a lot of stuff that it says goes 'beyond' the classroom. 
These include 'Learner-centred content', multiple learning methods enhanced by digital media and communication, developing 21st century skills through English, self-directed learning opportunities, allowing for active, high demand learning.

We gave some examples of each of these objectives in the coursebook.
And we considered arguments for going 'beyond' the coursebook.

I also brought some of my own ideas on this discussion.
I'm particularly interested in diverse methods for working with content.
By this I mean the teacher including input methods which cater for different learning styles in the classroom.

Within this discussion we looked at:

Activity types for different learning styles

Organizing vocabulary
Exploiting illustrations (and other visual media)
Using realia
Giving opportunity for ‘private talk’ and ‘public talk’
Creating and doing
Using sound and song
Giving opinions, feelings
Working with text

... and we considered examples for each.


Visually representing content with learners helps them learn the content in question.

We discussed the old maxim 'you can't test what you haven't taught' with an example from a maths exam.

You can see from the example above that the first part of the question carries a very low linguistic demand on the learner, whereas the second part demands a great deal in terms of language from the learner.
Teachers being aware of the demands they make on learners, precisely what they are asking learners to do is a key to successful learning outcomes. Sounds simple, but, it's true.

We looked at other visual inputs in the classroom and this took us to graffiti, street art, Banksy and the teachers creating their own graffiti using a task from the textbook.


The teachers were very creative!

example from teachers


graffiti art from teachers

We looked at life skills too. A major part of Beyond is teaching skills for the 21st Century.
Specifically, we looked at presentation skills but there is a whole lot more.

This eventually took us to TrashedWorld and students working with partners around the world to investigate their lifestyles and rubbish.

You can find out all about this on this site.

You can also download the whole slideshow if you're interested in Beyond and skills for life
It's quite a big file, so it's available in an external folder in box.net.

More soon!


Bulgaria - Bits and Pieces Seminar
Bulgaria - Bits and Pieces Seminar

This seminar has a bit of everything in it

Dec 12th, 2008, Sofia

The last Macmillan workshop for 2008 took place at the host school Saint Patriarh Evtimii on Friday Dec 12th 2008.
The workshop PPT can be downloaded from here at the bottom of the page.

As it was the last for the year, and we’d already run through most of the materials and ideas I had to offer in the previous 12 workshops, I decided to make this workshop a collection of good ideas and materials – a mixed bag of goodies for the holiday season to come.
Dan open the seminar with a few choice words.

Encouraging colleagues to participate in Macmillan's lesson share and win great prizes (www.onestopclil.com).

1 Lesson planning
Dan and I both thought it would be a good topic to cover in a workshop to have something on lesson planning.  This never came about, possibly because there was so much else to do.  In any case, we talked about good lesson planning, and I prepared a sample, as well as a template with guiding questions.  This is based on plans from colleague John Clegg.  The plans are simple and easy to follow and the whole focus of the plan is based around the language in the lesson, what the teacher says, what the student/s say/s.  It was also pointed out that Macmillan are offering good prizes for the best lessons which come in to their lesson share section of both onestopCLIL and onestopenglish.

2 Why learn another language?

Here, we had a short discussion around what motivates students to learn foreign languages.  What exactly do they say about this, what do students think about this question?

Among the many suggestions from colleagues were:
Parental pressure
University study
Travel abroad, to live, to work, to study
For communication with others outside the mother tongue
And many more...
Here’s one reason to learn another language if you’re a goldfish


There's also a parrot and a war veteran and you can download the text here at the foot of the page.


3 Accents

Lanky Joke

A favourite topic of mine in class is accent and dialect.  I always try my best to keep away from the Queen’s English, after all the students I work with will NEVER meet the Queen.  But they are very likely to meet Indian speakers of English, Chinese, Greek, Turkish.
... and you can listen to the recording here.

Coming from Lancashire it seemed apt to offer an example of lanky dialect, and I gave a mixed up joke (a pretty bad joke at that) about a man, the FA Cup and a parrot, colleagues had to follow the recording, then sequence the joke to reconstruct the text.


4 Stories
Bulgarian folk stories - Kose Bose
Mishmash animals
A few years ago I was involved in a project bringing content into the primary classroom and using children’s stories as a foundation for the content and language.  A product of the project was a story book in English, based on the traditional Bulgarian folk story about a blackbird and a fox.

I thought it was time to bring the story out of storage and share it with colleagues.  This story (teachers’ notes here below) covers a variety of content and language areas including names for different animals and one activity colleagues were asked to do was identify names for these ‘mishmash animals’.
I’m trying to use this story with my daughter at the moment, and she is interested for a short while, but frankly would rather we put the Winnie the Pooh DVD on.

5 The kids themselves
5.1 The Gift
I was introduced to this activity by Phil Dexter who was project manager in Bulgaria for a while.  It is a simple activity which is relevant at this time of year.  Ss are given a piece of paper, they draw a box in the bottom half.

The teacher gives out small slips of paper to the Ss to write their names on.  T collects them in, and hands them out to others in the class making sure that noone gets their own slip back.  With their sheet of paper, they should now draw a sketch of a gift for the person whose name they have and then write a short note briefly explaining why they think this person would like this gift.  Next is for Ss to get up and go and deliver their gift to the person whose name they got and sit down to wait for their own.  Once Ss have had chance to enjoy their gifts, they then write another note, a thank you note to the person who gave them their gift, deliver it, wait for their own to arrive.

5.2 New Year's Resolution
Another topic for this time of year deals with New Year’s Resolutions.  I have a cartoon from Calvin and Hobbes on this topic and after looking at that, participants were asked to make resolution hats.  This involves them writing down 5 promises to themselves for the New Year on separate strips of paper, then they stick the strips onto a hat they also have to make.  Then they wear the hats, stroll around read colleagues’ promises.  The hats make a wall display and then each week students are allowed to remove promises as they keep them, and throw them in the bin.


6 Survey work (mp3 recordings)
A firm believer that the best learning comes from the learners themselves, I try and make use of their language as input for learning for other learners and one way to do this is by recording them while carrying out surveys based on lives and behaviour of students in the class. If you have a simple mp3 player, it’s likely to have a microphone on it and you can easily record students in class, for use in the same class, or with other classes.

Extract from notes on survey work (full version is here below)

7 Moving about a bit

Chunks Charades – this comes from Tomalin and Stempelski and is just like the regular game but the difference is that you use full phrases and idioms instead of films, or famous people’s names.


8 Riddles and puzzles

I can’t remember where these came from, I think they were from Elaine Ratheram, a former colleague in Bulgaria and project manager.
Just a bit of fun and thought gymnastics, some funny, some terrible! All the riddles and answers are attached at a link below.

9 Reading the paper

It's good to have some chance to read extensively.  I used to subscribe to the Guardian weekly and make use of the old copies with my students in a number of ways.  Here, colleagues were asked to think about and discuss what they could do with a pile of British newspapers.  


My year 10 class from English German School, Plovdiv reading the Guardian

10 Kinaesthetic intelligence

Teaching is all about juggling.  Finally, I wanted to share this with colleagues because my own teaching career started by a student teaching me how to juggle, (20 years later…) and we had a discussion about how important it is to have opportunities for movement in the classroom, especially the intensive prep year classrooms in Bulgaria where students get 18 hours of English per week!
So, we juggled.  They were excellent students!

The world record is impressive and you can see that and many other clips if you do a search for ‘juggling records’ at YouTube, also look for ‘blind juggling’.

Many thanks to Macmillan for providing 4 prizes to give away in our draw at the end of the workshop.  Many thanks to these colleagues for making it a memorable afternoon.  All the best for the holiday period and see you all next year!

Bulgaria - Chemistry as a Cultural Enterprise Gorna Malina
Bulgaria - Chemistry as a Cultural Enterprise Gorna Malina

The International Year of Chemistry 2011
Global Stamp Competition: Chemistry as a Cultural Enterprise

Prize giving and celebration of winner of 12-14 age group: Vasilena Vasileva, Gorna Malina, Bulgaria
Nov 8th, 2011

It happens once in a while that you get to participate in a truly splendid educational moment. This is one for me. The whole of this event was about celebrating achievement in young people, applauding their efforts, and, well, having a bit of a party at the same time.

IYC Website

Hristo Botev School, Gorna Malina

Hristo Botev School Celebration 
Gorna Malina, Nov 8th, 2011
Lida is welcomed and treated with traditional banitsa and chubritsa.
BTV were there and interviewed Lida about the event, the prize and how Vasi's design was chosen. In fact, there were around 250 entries to the competition from 18 different countries, and the jury consisted of IUPAC members from around the world who had a difficult job to choose the winners.
We were welcomed with singing and dancing...
Greeted by the headmaster of the school, Kirilka (Vasi's English teacher), the inspector of chemistry as well as a representative from the Ministry of Education.
A familiar and wonderful sight in IUPAC activities, namely a busy productive classroom. The aim of the cosmetics workshop is to get students producing a range of three cosmetics products in their small groups. They have to produce shampoo, hair gel and face cream by following simple instructions. They also have to brand their products and think of a marketing campaign to 'sell' them. In the end the best design, the best chemistry, and the best sales pitch wins the prizes.
There have been a good many YAC events around the world. Lida and I took the programme to Argentina, to Russia, to South Africa, to Taiwan, to Korea and to Malaysia. Beyond our original project, the workshop went to many other locations around the world, always with the same aim: to get young people communicating about chemistry and explaining what they were doing to the passing public, explaining their enthusiasm for science to whoever is listening.
It was with this same spirit of enjoyment of science that we met in Gorna Malina, and I must say, it is worth all the effort which goes into the preparation, the time, and the getting there ! just to see the fun in the faces of the young people involved.

Jury choosing the winners
Vasi's original art work which was to become the basis for the stamp design.
Cosmetics winners!!!!
It turned out that Kirilka is a busy teacher, getting her students involved in no less than 5 international competitions throughout the year!
The mayor of Gorna Malina giving his address.
School headteacher receiving his Dutch present from Lida, 'I'll use it for tea', he says.
Vasi receives her official award and cash prize, well done Vasi!
School band plays us into celebrations
School dancers
Celebrations continue inside

There was so much more than just the events you can see in the photos above. It's enough to say that 'we celebrated science' in the best way possible, and that was by getting young people enthusiastic about it, by getting them 'doing' it and talking about it, and by raising their curiosity about what application there may be to the chemistry they are learning in their lessons every day.
Let me make an invitation to anyone reading this who thinks that their students might like to be involved in a similar event. 

What are you waiting for? 

Get in touch! 

Let's do it!


Bulgaria - Chemistry as a Cultural Enterprise Plovdiv
Bulgaria - Chemistry as a Cultural Enterprise Plovdiv

School Partnerships Project Meeting
Ezikova Gimnazia Plovdiv
May 26th, 2010
The Ezikova Gimnazia Plovdiv is part of a project proposal under the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme.    

The theme is:
Chemistry as a cultural enterprise

We organised a first meeting in our school of students and teachers for Wednesday May 26th, 2010.     
Will post updates on the project here.     

Bulgaria - CLIL for Professional and Vocational Schools
Bulgaria - CLIL for Professional and Vocational Schools

CLIL for Business, Economics, Marketing and Finance
I've carried out a number of events recently for teachers in small groups, in some cases with teachers just from a single host school. The content has been predominantly focused on the subject areas of Business Studies, Economics, Marketing, Finance and a number of others, but this has made me investigate these subject areas in detail and prepare a programme based on activities and resources from these subject areas. The schools are indication of recent growth in provision of curriculum teaching through English and the focus here is largely on professional and economic curriculum subjects, which, when you think about it is very sensible. Young people leaving school, or more commonly in these cases, go to work in an apprenticeship and return to school 2 or 3 days per week, more and more need English for the workplace.

I've brought together the schools I visited here firstly because they are all related, and secondly for ease of reference. Lower down the page, you will find two other things. You'll find the content I offered during the workshops and you'll also find the references to CLIL materials and activities for professional and vocational school subjects (business studies and economics, but many others).
- Grammar School for Economics and Tourism, Velingrad, Bulgaria


The tourism industry is definitely a strength in Bulgaria and the school offering subjects through English feeds this factor.
Colleagues from Professional Grammar School for Economics and Tourism in Velingrad.

- The Reuterschule, Kassel, Germany

The school has students returning from apprenticeships for upper school English-medium education in business studies, chemistry, physics and likely other subjects in the future if the 'bili' project takes hold and the school is able to find teachers.

- Lycee Jean Piaget, Neuchatel, Switzerland


The school offers learning through English and German foreign / second languages and the focus is a broad range of subjects including Biology, Maths, History, Sport, Arts, Geography, Philosophy, Economics.

- Berufsbildungszentrum Olten, Switzerland

A fascinating group with a direct professional skills focus as many students in the 'CLIL' classes are studying for social and health care professions amongst others and so study Chemistry, Maths, Technology, Philosophy, Psychology and they also study design, finance and insurance among many other subjects. This is a new initiative for these teachers and students and will be interesting to watch!
In short, the above is a clear sign of education systems incorporating an English-medium dimension, at least in these contexts but I would suggest in Europe more widely and this all certainly mirrors developments in Austria in recent years in the HTL (Technical High Schools) in providing an upper school education through English.

3D CLIL - Exploring the three dimensions of CLIL (concepts, procedures and language), considering the balancing of these dimensions in any given lesson.
01 Subject-Specific Vocabulary - Identifying, organizing, activating subject-specific vocabulary; looking at similarities and differences of SSV with other aspects of language in the CLIL classroom.
Themes and activities:
Accounting wordsearch
Population Pyramid cloze text
Job Specifications crossword
02 General-Academic Language - Making visible this invisible aspect of the language of learning; embedding GAL in CLIL activities
Themes and activities:
The Language of Business Meetings (sorting phrases according to purpose)
Company Graphs (movement language in graphs)
PEST Analysis (key language)
BCG Growth-Share Matrix (language for characteristics of growth)
Linear Equations in Accountancy (describing linear and non-linear equations)
03 Guiding Input - Working with Media: Looking at the wide range of media input used in the CLIL classroom (PPT, video, animation, images, live talk, realia, posters); identifying content structure in media content; exploiting content structure to create instruments for guiding input; embedding language within content structures with a view to supporting output
Themes and activities:
Purchasing Process - using a flow chart to guide students through a description of a process
Product Life Cycle - describing product life cycle graphs
Marketing Mix - characteristics of the 4Ps (using an introductory video to identify 4Ps)
Project Contexts - using a mindmap to sort key principles related to projects
Simple Interest - creating board games for calculating simple interest
Secondary Economic Activity - Matching descriptions to steps in the process of secondary economic activity
04 Guiding Input - Working with Text: Looking at a range of text activities through word-level, sentence-level; text-level; supra-text level activities; shared reading and discussion; writing activities based on content structure found in text to promote discussion through shared reading in pairs/threes
Themes and activities:
Company Graphs - matching text descriptors to branch graphs
Stakeholder Management - Matching cells with text in three columns to create accurate descriptions
Criminal Law - Jigsaw reading for gathering key information on roles and duties of participants in criminal trial
Insurance - Dominoes game for matching terms with definitions
Job Specifications - Sorting texts into categories for job candidate
Project Management - Defining 'project' versus 'business as usual' by sorting descriptors
Supporting Output - Writing in CLIL: considering the provision of a variety of writing support (substitution tables, sentence starters, word lists, gapped texts, writing frames); creating substitution tables for specific content writing; group writing
Themes and activities:
Company Progress - Describing causes and effects on progress with substitution tables
Advertising and Public Relations - Writing sentences about marketing and PR from 3 table columns then checking what is written by reading text
Marketing - Comparing marketing practices past and present with a writing frame
Project Management - producing text paragraph by completing jumbled sentences into a logical whole
Supporting Output - Speaking in CLIL: examining speaking activities in terms of fluency and / or accuracy; paired/group speaking activities; developing information-gap speaking into content materials; getting everyone talking in class
Themes and activities:
Company Progress - Paired information gap speaking using gapped text (same text but different gaps)
Financial Accounting - Basic information to do with financial accounting arranged into 3 things you know and 3 things you want to know for an 'information search'
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Growth-Share-Matrix - Describe and draw (one student describes a graph, the other reproduces it by listening and drawing)
Company Organization - Brainstorm in groups the structure with mindmap, present to class
Insurance - Use 'spot the difference' images of car crash to create info gap speaking
Marketing - create a question loop of basic facts and ideas to do with marketing, students ask and answer questions to find all the missing information
Product Life Cycle - do a describe and draw to produce a product life cycle graph (one student describes, the other draws)
Sales Contracts - pairs rearrange parts into a dialogue and then act it out
Networking and follow-up - colleagues working in teams; finding and creating matierals and storing them; connecting with groups in other countries; developing a 'department' identity for CLIL in school; creating a biblio of books in school
Themes and activities:
Purchasing Process - using a flow chart to guide students through a description of a process
Product Life Cycle - describing product life cycle graphs (movement language in graphs)
Marketing Mix - characteristics of the 4Ps (using an introductory video to identify 4Ps)
Project Contexts - using a mindmap to sort key principles related to projects
Simple Interest - creating board games for calculating simple interest
Secondary Economic Activity - Matching descriptions to steps in the process of secondary economic activity

Bulgaria - Communicating Science
Bulgaria - Communicating Science

Communicating Science in Bulgaria, 25 – 29.3.2005
As part of initiatives to promote Science Communication in Bulgaria the British Council organised a Play Science Festival at the Sofialand pleasure park in Bulgaria’s capital, 25.3.2005. 

Sofialand, Bulgaria

School teachers and students from all over Bulgaria came together for a day’s science activities including Science theatre, Science rap, a Science fashion show, posters on Science projects from participating schools, practical Science experiments and also representatives from British Science communication projects from the University of the South West of England.
My contribution, when Lufthansa finally brought my luggage, was rocket building and launching with children of all ages and sizes in the grounds of the Sofialand complex. 

The Science activity day is an example of the wonderful work that the British Council in Bulgaria is carrying out in the popularisation and communication of Science.

Lyubov Kostova, lyubov.kostova@britishcouncil.bg, Science Manager at the British Council, also has a background in PR and it shows in the events I have seen organised with her participation.

The Sofialand venue was perfect for such a Science popularisation event with children demonstrating their projects all around the complex on a ‘drop-in’ basis to the public. At the same time, Ian Stewart, BC Director, and representatives from the Ministry of Education said a few words of welcome to the gathered crowds.

Communicating Science Education, Bankya, Bulgaria, 28-29.3.2005
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science, the British Council organised a workshop for 30 regional inspectors and experts of Physics and Chemistry Education from around Bulgaria. The focus of the workshop followed the theme of the Play Science Festival and looked at developing communication in Science, particularly Physics and Chemistry in Bulgaria. Colleagues were presented with examples of initiatives of Science popularisation activities from around the world and were given an introduction to Science Across the World, www.scienceacross.org.
Lida Schoen (amschoen@xs4all.nl) Chemistry teacher trainer from the Netherlands, ran a workshop on cosmetics where colleagues had to produce a line of hair gel, shampoo and bath salts and then present their products to the group during dinner on the first evening. The winners won a chunk of Dutch cheese. 
Despite the heady smell of perfumes wafting around the seminar room, we didn’t pass out and lines of cosmetic products were concocted secretly around the room, colleagues hiding their ideas and techniques for marketing their products. 
This event is a significant meeting for this network of colleagues who play a role in advising practising teachers of Chemistry and Physics around Bulgaria. It is significant because the workshop took place in Bulgarian with Stefka Kitanova providing running translation where necessary and this brings the Science Across the World programme with communication at its heart to a wider educational community in Bulgaria. 
Poster advertisement for cosmetics line

Elka Zlatkova, Expert for Physics for the region of Sofia, has suggested organising a workshop based on the Physics-related Science Across the World packs for teachers in the Autumn. Colleagues from other Bulgarian towns and cities also discussed incorporating the programme into their Science festival activities in the Autumn. 
On day 2 colleagues were awoken with another practical activity involving rocket design and construction and, since they were all Physics experts, they were given the task of identifying a means of calculating the altitude of the flight of their rockets during the launching of the rockets. The answer is found in simple trigonometry, of course!!!!, where colleagues stand 30m from the launch site and using a protractor prepared with a string and weight they measure the angle created and calculate the height (T = O/A). The best rocket flew for 7 seconds and was designed with a Bulgarian and EU motif indicating a positive future which everybody liked a lot!! 

Session 2 involved colleagues carrying out a cluster discussion looking at the Science Across the World programme and the benefits it could offer teachers in Bulgaria, as well as the challenges teachers would face should they be interested in joining up. Comments were rich and varied and in the afternoon the same activity fed into a discussion on how these advisors could support the process of developing communication in Science in Bulgarian schools using the Science Across the World programme. 
Ian Stewart and the British Council in Sofia hosted the afternoon’s activities in their multimedia room and colleagues were shown resource websites for Science as well as the Science Across website and possibilities for teacher development under the Comenius and Grundtvig programmes.

In preparing their action plans, the advisors offered very clear and concrete suggestions for following up on this short but intensive and fruitful two days.

Some of these included:
•integrating Science Across the World into the ‘Man and Nature’ project which is being implemented in Bulgarian schools to students aged 10 to 13.
•Offering Science Across the World and similar Science Communication activity at the ‘Science on Stage’ festival in Pleven, Bulgaria on September 22-23 later this year.
•Beginning a train the trainers programme based on the Science Across the World programme and everything it offers for Communicating Science. In this way, the advisors could cascade their knowledge to the Science teaching profession in Bulgaria.
•There was considerable interest in translating more of the Science Across packs into the Bulgarian language to make the programme as accessible as possible to teachers.
•There was a clear desire to see that this meeting is just the beginning of workshops focusing on Communicating Science.

The group of Science advisors was a delight to work with. The colleagues were very receptive and participated wholeheartedly in the activity. They also raised some very useful issues for discussion which placed the development of Communicating Science in the reality of the Science classroom in Schools in Bulgaria.

Both Lida and I are looking forward to future opportunities for working with them again.

(The report of the event can be downloaded below)

Bulgaria - Culture Seminar
Bulgaria - Culture Seminar

This seminar was delivered in Pleven

Who made this pile of rubbish?

Don't be surprised by the title above and on our homepage. This was a quality workshop. We just used a lot of rubbish to talk about culture. It's actually an activity from Science Across the World and fantastic fun where you get your students to exam bags of rubbish and write / draw a profile for the person who made the rubbish.

It was one of the last hot days of Autumn in Bulgaria. At around 28 degrees, we won't see temperatures like this until next July, June if we're lucky.

It was with such energy that a group of teachers got together at the Ivan Vazov Secondary School in Pleven for a workshop sponsored and organized by Macmillan in Bulgaria through the very reliable person of Yordan Stoyanov.
Map of the workshop contents (pdf linked below)

It was actually the last of 18 workshops which Macmillan asked me to deliver over the course of the last year and a half. We were going to do this one in June, but it just wasn't physically possible. As it turned out, one of the teachers said that this is a much better time of the year for such a meeting anyway.
I won't repeat all of the content of the workshop here as it's pretty much the same as the workshop held in Plovdiv and Sofia this year. If you're interested you can take a look at those pages on this site.
If you'd like more information about the tasks and materials, just write to me and I'll be glad to send you them.

I got the chance to catch up with colleagues I'd worked with before, and there was some discussion about how we might create more opportunities for teachers in Bulgaria to get together at these kind of meetings to share ideas, catch up and talk about issues related to their work.
One suggestion was that we do it ourselves. Well, I'm game. The colleagues from Gabrovo expressed an interest in hosting a meeting for teachers from their region. I think I'd have to drag Krastina and Dara along with me for a weekend. It's a lovely part of the country.
There is certainly a need for ongoing opportunities for teacher development in Bulgaria. The numbers of teachers who turned out over the course of the last year and half vouch for that.

Many many thanks to Macmillan, and in particular to Dan for his hard work in organizing all these events. If anybody ever needs an organizer, call Dan, he's your man!
Dan and I have already been talking ideas for future initiatives.


Bulgaria - Culture Seminar
Bulgaria - Culture Seminar

Teaching Culture with a small 'c'
Plovdiv, Feb 6th, 2009

26 teachers came together to a workshop on the theme of "teaching culture with a small c' today in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Many thanks to the seminar hosts at the Humanities Grammar School 'Saints Kiril i Metodii' (http://www.ghp-plovdiv.org/)
I always enjoy venues like this one - Humanities Grammar School 'Saints Kiril i Metodii'. 

The security guard on the door enthusiastically informed me as we waited for the materials to arrive that the school has a number of famous graduates and former students as well as other big names in Bulgarian history come through its doors, including Vasil Levski himself.
It was a perfect fresh and sunny winter's day for the workshop and the photo of the school building!
Dan, Macmillan rep, gets us started

The group was very interactive and enthusiastic and included mainly English teachers, but also one psychology teacher and a head teacher of a new centre in the town of Velingrad for education in tourism who was looking for ideas and input in an English-medium training initiative for her own staff.

The programme was the same as that offered at an earlier seminar on the same theme in Sofia and included all aspects of culture NOT including literature, art, architecture and the classics.  This workshop is about people, behaviour, attitudes and symbols and icons of everyday life.
Examining culture in a bag of rubbish

I made a point of stressing to participants that if they want to find a resource bank of materials and ideas for examining culture in their classrooms, they need look no further than Science Across the World. 
Quick it's still free to join! (www.scienceacross.org)
Presenting a profile of the person who created the rubbish

I made new contacts at the workshop, will be visiting some new schools in Plovdiv in the near future.

Thanks again to the school and Macmillan for the opportunity and the free copy of the Science VPS book and CD they provided for the lottery at the close of the seminar for one of the teachers to take home.

It was a warm and welcoming group in Plovdiv, perhaps that's why it's my home town.


Bulgaria - Culture Seminar
Bulgaria - Culture Seminar

Teaching Culture with a small 'c'
Macmillan seminars in Bulgaria,  Sofia, Friday October 3rd, 2008

This seminar looked at the area of culture with a small ‘c’.  Participants looked at culture which has nothing to do with Shakespeare, nothing to do with Milton, nothing to do with great architecture and nothing to do at all with the Royal Opera.
This seminar looked at the culture of everyday life and the curriculum, how we can exploit the curriculum to investigate the lives of the children we teach.  Participants looked at a little theory and then encouraged to do a lot of practice into bringing the real world of the everyday lives of our children into the classroom.
We're grateful to our host school, Sv Patriarh Evtimii, Sofia
These are the areas we covered (pdf available below)

We looked at cultural symbols important used in an advert:
Hovis  - 'as good today as it's always been'.
Some of the significant 'symbols' we identified were:

Set in the past
Regional accent for delivery boy turned man retelling story
‘Get it inside you boy’
Town houses
Cobbled street
Bicycle delivery
Freewheeling downhill
Thatched roofs
Tea pot
Standard BBC accent
Fresh loaf, freshly cut
As good today as it’s always been
Old Hovis ad - you can find the original on YouTube - (click the pic)
Ultimately these are the things that hook the customer and sell the product.  Colleagues were asked to watch the clips and note any cultural symbols using the frame in this link.
We looked at another advert for the same product, but a modern version

Some of the symbols identified were:

Set in the past
There you go lad
Young boy sent shopping for bread
Horse drawn cart
Suffragettes protest – 1915?
Marching soldiers
Bombed house
Homeless family
Churchill’s speech – June 4th 1940
Old radio
Street party (and all the stuff that entails) – 1952?
Miniskirt – 1965?
England football fans in car – 1966
Strikers v polics – 1984?
Ay, lad, innit past your bed time? (regional accent)
Fireworks, – millennium?
Is that you home love? (regional accent)
Fresh loaf, freshly cut
As good today as it’s always been
New Hovis ad - you can find the original on YouTube (click the pic) 

We looked at cultural products such as memories and personal souvenirs.  I wrote a lesson in my first year in Bulgaria called 85 Reasons to Love Bulgaria which is linked here below (Bulgaria had just come 4th in the World Cup).  There was and still is a lot of negative feeling about Bulgaria among Bulgarians and sometimes people forget what the good things are and it's a good opportunity to get students talking about likes and dislikes.
If you use this, and you get students to write their own lists about their home countries, send us a copy and I'll upload them here.

We looked at culture in everyday life through the topic of Domestic Waste, which is one of my favourite Science Across the World topics at the moment.

Here students are asked to examine a bag of rubbish and make a profile of the person who made the rubbish.  It takes some organization to get together 7 bags of rubbish, but well worth the effort as the task is great.

Colleagues present their waste person profile
Macmillan rep, Dan, lends a hand

From here, we moved on to cultural behaviour.  The example I took was Xmas in England and I used a task from the cultural studies project in Bulgaria from a number of years ago. 
The task I gave was based on the photograph here and a listening I did where I talked about my own memories of Xmas as a boy in England and how similar or different it was compared to the picture.  So, students look at the picture and listening to the audio recording (YouTube clip of the recording) and note Yes or No based on what they hear about the characteristics of xmas given in the picture.

How typical is your Xmas?  (the pdf of the image is available at a link below)

A follow up task can be to get students to survey their own class, and compare with other groups in their school.  You can see results from a survey I got my students to do which included 5 groups of 26 or 27 students.  It's in a word document linked below. The results are very interesting for me personally, but it also gives students the opportunity to look at and talk about information to do with real people, which is what makes it interesting (... we're all curious about other people...).

Science Across the World is a great project for investigating culture.  This is quite surprising as the project coordinators weren't aware that they have created a programme for investigating culture.  They thought they were setting up an initiative for Science education exchanges, which it does. 
The project goes further in offering teachers and students instruments for investigating their own culture, investigating the culture of others, seeing how others see their own culture and seeing how other cultures see themselves.  All of these are essential ingredients for intercultural communicative competence.

Take a look (www.scienceacross.org) while you still can!

Fantastic group of teachers to work with, turned up after school hours, of own volition, lots of input, and they keep coming back!

We ran out of time at this point, though there were other areas to cover such as the culture of gestures, and investigating stereotypes.
I did find time to talk a little about the course we'll be running in Plovdiv in July 2009 which is going to cover much of the above and also prepare teachers for setting up schools links and partnerships and apply for funding through Comenius / Grundtvig.  

I enjoyed the workshop myself very much.  It is an area I haven't worked in for a long time and it was good to refresh my ropey knowledge.  The colleagues were very much into the material as well.
Thanks to Macmillan for setting it up, and for offering the Vocabulary Practice Series book and CD as a prize in our draw at the end.

I look forward to the next workshop.

Bulgaria - DNA Art Exhibition
Bulgaria - DNA Art Exhibition

DNA Models Exhibition, Natural History Museum, Sofia, March 2004

In March 2004, dear colleague Stefka Kitanova sent this message to the factworld yahoogroup:

Dear All,
1. the exhibition of DNA models is now at the National Natural History Museum
and the official ceremony will be on 18 March at 2.30 pm - please feel
invited - those who can - those who cannot - will se photos and read info
2. Anna Tecau form Romania - please mail ME the full list of your Student
who took part - in order not to make mistakes in the certificates
3. Yesterday was the Spanish step 1 in SAW in BG - more - tomorrow - today
is a day for rest!
best Sunday rest day wishes
I've been meaning to create an online exhibition of this wonderful work ever since.
As teachers we try hard to create audience for the work of our students.  The sheer logistics of organising a competition for creating models of DNA from all manner of materials and to have entries from all over the world coming by post makes me wince!
But there you go, Stefka is that kind of teacher.  It's taken me a while to get these uploaded but here are the pieces of DNA artwork which came from all over the world and Stefka had exhibited at the Natural History Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria.
My favourite has to be Pizza DNA.  Long may there be teachers like Stefka to make events like this happen!


[/userfiles/files/DNA_Ana_Sarlea__Silvana_Ilas__Nicusor_Bona__11.jpg] [/userfiles/files/Ligia_Maria_Jinar_12.jpg] [/userfiles/files/Olivia_Ferenczi__12.jpg] [/userfiles/files/Dani_Hinceanu__12.jpg]'


I've created a flickr album with the complete collection of art. If you're interested in organizing a similar activity for your students. Get in touch - keithpkelly@yahoo.co.uk, we'd be glad to help!

Bulgaria - EDS Alumni Talks - Max on Languages and Communication
Bulgaria - EDS Alumni Talks - Max on Languages and Communication

Returning Alumni Talks
Talk 1 - Maksim Baldzhiev

Communications and Languages
English-German Grammar School
Feb 10th, 2010

It was a great pleasure to have Max back in school.
Obviously a communicator, Max used a few slides as visual context to his informative and amusing talk.
Quite a traveller, Max had plenty of stories to tell
and tried very hard to interact with the 100 or so students listening to him
and me too
the results were very impressive
and there was great interest
particularly to hear about succes, work, fun
and how Max manages to integrate his busy work and life schedule with family and love

You can see Max talking on languages at this YouTube link.

Max talked using the following headings and structure. Prep students had a handout to help them make notes and were given a follow-up task to retell back in class what they had heard:
1) Education
2) Languages 
3) Work
4) Communications
5) Success 
6) Free time / fun 
7) Your questions 

Bulgaria - EDS Just a minute
Bulgaria - EDS Just a minute

Preparatory Class, EDS Plovdiv, 2008-2009

A lesson preparing for the oral exam - preparing an 1-2 minute

introduction about yourself.

June 10th, 2009

A minute on your self
I was asked to take lessons with the Prep class in my school recently with a focus to help them prepare for their oral exam.
I've been working with them all year on potential topics for the exam, but this class was to actually practice a section of the exam. My colleagues informed me that the students would be expected to give a short introduction about themselves, between one and two minutes. The aim of this is to get them 'into the flow' before the dialogue they would be expected to carry out with a partner in the exam.

1 Just a minute
Play clip - what kind of a show is it?
I played a clip from the BBC show called 'Just a minute'. If you don't know the show, go take a listen, hilarious is the best word to describe it. I asked the students to listen and try to guess from what they could hear what kind of show it was. There are many clips from the show on YouTube, like this one.
They eventually get round to comedy quiz and I explain the rules of the show which are basically to talk on a topic for a minute with 'no hesitation, no repetition, no deviation'.

2 Talk for two minutes about yourself without stalling
Example: Myself giving an introduction about myself
But there were actually a couple of topics I don't get round to talking about and students had to listen and say which topics weren't mentioned.

Topics I noted down to help me thing were:
friends and family

You can listen to the recording here.

3 Make a short list of key ideas for preparing to talk about yourself.
4 Pair up and give your two minute talk while your partner keeps an eye on the watch and an ear for you stalling, make a note if you hear any significant hesitation.
5 Volunteers to be recorded.

I asked students to make a list of topics they would feel confident to talk about regarding themselves. I then walked around and asked two or three students to have a go while I stood there with my stopwatch timing them for a minute. There are recordings of a number of the attempts at this link.
I gave feedback about timing and topic.

6 Try it as a game with two teams (hand out paper slips for team members to write their names on so that you can chose people according to their names in each team one after the other)
I collected in the name slips and piled them on my desk so that I could pick people at random and we played just a minute.

Bulgaria - European Parliament
Bulgaria - European Parliament

Zlatarski International School at the European Parliament
The Euroscola on 27th March 2009, Strasbourg
A teacher’s diary
By Lyubov Dombeva

Day 1 - Wednesday 25th March 2009

Early morning before dawn, cold wind carry drifting snow when the bus takes off from Sofia to Strasbourg. Before we know it, it’s time for border control at Kalotina. Quick check and we’re allowed to Serbia. Short stop for refreshments and the sun smiled at us for the first time. Sleepiness was gone and we’re happy to listen to our guide telling us the story of the lands we cross from ancient times to the most recent history.
We crossed over 700km that day, but in jokes, talks and songs with friends it didn’t feel much.
First night stop in Zagreb. Lovely city and we pity we had no time enough to visit more of its beautiful sights. This is just one more reason to come back again to this beautiful country and its cheerful people. But we have to rest well now as more roads await us tomorrow.

Day 2 - Thursday 26th March 2009

Another early morning start, but the sky was bright and the feeling was optimistic as we began the ride. Soon we crossed the border with Slovenia and once again we traveled through the EU. No more border control for us until we attempt to leave Hungary on the way back home.
The smooth road and the short night rest had their say when the bus rocked everyone to sleep. The team had never been so quiet before but it only lasted for couple of hours.
We woke up from the cries of awe at the sight of the magnificent Alps covered in snow and wide awake we started an enthusiastic photo session.
We crossed from Slovenia to Austria through a 7km tunnel under the mountain. More snowy mountains and fog awaited us in Germany.
Along the way, crossing now the plains of Germany we encountered a technological miracle - a self-cleaning WC that starts spinning to a brush when you wave a hand to the motion sensor.
Several hours later we were stuck in a traffic jam upon entering Stuttgart. Felt like ages.
Late in the evening we finally arrived at Strasbourg, France. Left the luggage in the rooms and wandered the empty streets around the hotel to find a restaurant for dinner. In the first one we saw inside a cheerful group of people who waved us through the windows to enter and join them for some salsa dancing. Hmm, a tempting offer but no, thanks, we were hungry. Few blocks away at a cozy Lebanese restaurant we found what we were looking for.


Day 3 - Friday 27th March 2009 - the Euroscola day

At 8 am twenty five sharp dressed young ladies and gentlemen went downstairs for breakfast, 8.30 we were already in front of the European Parliament. A bit surprised that the other delegations were not dressed so formal we all agreed that none the less we were the most impressive team!
After the detailed check at the entrance, we were led inside the Parliament’s building. Then the students had to choose which of the six working groups to join and here students and teachers were separated. What happened to them after this moment is a story they should tell.
As for us, we had a working breakfast with teachers from 19 other countries and a guided tour around the European Parliament’s building. Its architecture is impressive with the way it uses space, light and art. And although very official it doesn’t look sterile as glass and metal are combined with light-coloured wood that gives the inner space a warm and comfortable feeling.
After the tour we’re taken to the plenary hall, the famous semi-circle chamber of the European Parliament where the student delegations were already seated in their working groups. About five hundred students aged 17-18, from 20 EU member states were gathered together. Mr. Philip Otman, the Administrator of Directory General Communication and Information together with four other officials greeted the Euroscola assembly. The delegates were introduced to the voting system of the European Parliament and were invited to ask their questions about the Parliament to the officials who answered them. The questions ranged from what can the European Parliament do about the riots in Greece, and should there be a European President, to what are the advantages of the Lisbon treaty, and how to fight stereotypes and skepticism.
I was proud to see my students in this new light - more mature and conscious, behaving as honorable representatives of Bulgaria.




At lunch time, separated from the students once again we all played the Euroscola game, where in teams of four people from four different nationalities we had to answer 18 questions about the EU, asked in several of the official languages. Not an easy task unless you can read Greek, Hungarian and Finish altogether! In the afternoon Mr. Otman facilitated an official discussion among the teachers about who should come to the Euroscola day, who decides it and how, what should be done to make the young Europeans more active and more informed about the EU and the European Parliament.

After that we were showed the press centre and some more of the working space in the Parliament.
Meanwhile the students discussed in their working groups hot topics like how to encourage the sustainable development of the EU and the active participation of the European citizens in the coming elections for the Parliament on 10th June, what should be done to overcome the effects of the economic crisis, the negative political and social sides of the globalization, the future of Europe and more.
Then the assembly was gathered once again and the working groups of students presented their work and final decisions. After a short debate on each topic the delegates used their votes to support or fight a resolution, and in the end all six resolution passed successfully.
It’s late afternoon when we all say goodbye to the European Parliament, to our new friends from 19 countries and some of us feel they have to come back some day, maybe as representatives of their state to the European Parliament.


We went to the hotel to change into more casual wear and make a tour around the city. The rain had stopped, but as it had lasted for days the river was too high and the boat trip around Strasbourg was canceled, unfortunately. Anyway, we were happy to walk around and we had our dinner in a traditional French restaurant in the Petite France quarter.


Later in the hotel some of us played domino before bedtime.


Day 4 - Saturday 28th March 2009
The breakfast was set for 8.30am and as my colleague Peschu and I considered it late we took the chance to make an early walk before that. We slowly walked the sleepy streets and took some photos. The newspaper shops were opening now and a cheerful stranger with a copy of Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA!) greeted us and wished us ‘Bon weekend’. Now talk about stereotypes!
When we were back for breakfast some people from the group had not yet woken up!  Then the whole group went to see the Notre Dame cathedral and shop for souvenirs. After that the bus took us and away we went on our way to Germany. Next stop - Munich. We got off near the Rathous, the Court’s building, and on Marienplatz our group split. Some went to see the cathedral - Frauenkirche, some went directly shopping. As for Peschu and me, we walked till we found a big toy shop. So carried away we were that by the time we found the guitar shop Peschu was hoping to see so much, it was already closing time. An indifferent man just locked the door from the inside and walked away unable to see the drama unraveling in Peschu’s heart!


Then back on the bus with our shopping trophies we went to the hotel in the outskirts of Munich. There we enjoyed some traditional Bavarian dishes and the cozy beds for the night.


Day 5 - Sunday 29th March 2009
This morning even more people from the group were late for breakfast - the tiredness is taking its toll. We all slept for hours on the bus; the landscapes of Germany here offered nothing to the eye but planes. Occasionally, wind turbines caught the attention of those of us who fancy renewables. More sleep, then talks about Extended Essays. Some of the 11th graders are trying to clarify their ideas and worries about their research questions, the secondary sources etc. Then, the sight of the Danube. We were already in Austria, feasting on its delicious chocolate. A quick look of Vienna’s suburbs as we were headed to another capitol city along the Danube river - Budapest.
There were two problems with our late arrival there - the rain and the forint. And as there’s nothing one can do about the weather, we all agreed our life would have been much easier if Hungary had joined the Euro zone already. We visited the Fishermen’s towers and later walked the wide boulevards under the rain. We found a cozy restaurant to savour on the local cuisine - thick soups served in crispy bread and big plateaus with all kinds of meat.
Back in the hotel, another late domino game for those who could fight the fatigue.

Day 6 - Monday 30th March 2009
It was the day of the long way back home. Most of us spent the time sleeping for hours or thinking of something on their own. I felt kind of sad the trip was over, but at the same time couldn’t wait to be back home.


Bulgaria - FACT Journals
Bulgaria - FACT Journals

Journals of the Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching 

Colleagues may remember the CLIL journal produced over three years by colleagues in Bulgaria.  The journals were produced voluntarily and were printed with the support of the British Council in Bulgaria.  The covers were designed by our students and the news and materials written by our colleagues.  The journal really documented the development of the network in Bulgaria and then beyond as contacts grew.  
All of the pieces we have available in electronic version are uploaded here to download.

FACT Issue 35

FACT Issue 34

FACT Issue 33

FACT Issue 32

FACT Issue 31

FACT Issue 30

FACT Issue 29

FACT Issue 28

FACT Issue 27

FACT Issue 26

FACT Issue 25

FACT Issue 24

FACT Issue 23

FACT Issue 22

FACT Issue 21

FACT Issue 20

FACT Issue 19
FACT Issue 18
FACT Issue 17
FACT Issue 16
FACT Issue 15
 FACT Issue 14 
FACT Issue 13  
FACT Issue 12
FACT Issue 11
FACT Issue 10
FACT Issue 09
FACT Issue 08
FACT Issue 07
FACT Issue 06
FACT Issue 05
FACT Issue 04
FACT Issue 03
FACT Issue 02
FACT Issue 01


Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 01
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 01

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 01

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Year 9 Geography; year 9 Biology; Geog and upper-int general English; year 9 History; letters to the network; CETEFL; Lingua Funding; Science Across the World in Bulgaria; Discussion - needs and standards; Internet sites and links; Lettera Pomagalo Questionnaire

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 02
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 02

~Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 02

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Free 'Total Cloze' software, a story from the American College in Sofia, Science and Language teaching, Concept maps, Jigsaw reading in Science, Cellular metabolism, Parodies, History of Bulgaria, Organisms and the Environment, Oxidation and Reduction, Grade 9 test materials


PDF of FACT Journal Issue 02 is linked at the foot of this page.


Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 03
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 03

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 03

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Varn Summer School report; IATEFL BG 9th National Conference; Bi-Ed biology innovations; graphics teaching History in FL; test in National Economy; chemistry dominoes game; questions biology test; To Chicago and Back; Dropen Bricks; intro organic chemistry.


PDF of FACT Journal Issue 03 is linked at the foot of this page.

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 04
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 04

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 04 

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

anti-Conference report; verse work; UK book project; History - Puritan Revolution (GB, BG); DR(open) Bricks; Dickens nerves; The Reformation; ideas for texts

PDF of FACT Journal Issue 04 is linked at the foot of this page.

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 06
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 06

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 06

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Language Support Provision; Computer Science in English; Biology Bilingual Education; Being a German Teacher in Bulgaria


John Clegg - Providing Language Support 

Galina Yovcheva - An Introduction to Teaching Computer Science in English 

K. Shtereva - Conception of Bilingual Education in Biology 

J. Grullich - Als deutcher Lehrer in Bulgarien 

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 07
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 07

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 07

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Quality English; Atomic Structure; Carbon, Oxygen Cycles; Water Cycle; Experiment; Language for Thinking; Le Projet SCALA; PORTFOLIO


L. Kaneva - Quality Action in English

S. Markova - Structure of the Atom (bg & en)

S .Ivanova - Carbon Cycle and Oxygen Cycle

T. Stefanova - Water Cycle

M. Veselinska, B. Avramova - Experimental Project

J. Clegg - Language for Thinking

D. Veselinov - Le Projet SCALA

J. Beseguet - Le PORTFOLIO a l'usage des l'ecoles

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 08
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 08

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 08

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Science Across Europe update; CELTA; EFL Teacher Training Methodology; Portfolio Pédagogie; Varna Summer School; Evolution; Biology Creative Writing; Travel Story; Travel Notes; Correspondence; History Museum Biology Lesson; Essays on Europe; 20 C Islas Formadas; Task; Funny Things Students Say 


Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 09
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 09

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 09

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

History Foreign Language; Conferences; Gastfreundschaft; Young Physicists Tournament; Teaching Subjects in Foreign Lanugages; Oldenburg; Косе Босе Booklaunch; Correspondence; Tallinn Report; Bulgarische Lehrerinnen; Единството в Европа; Varna Summer School Report; Bratislava Bilingual Forum



Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 10
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 10

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 10 Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

EAC Project Update; Varna Summer School; Correspondence; Slovenian ESP; Science Biological Weapon; Aquarium Without Fish/Acuario Sin Peces; Cloning Tech; Science Conversation; Kindergarten Collaboration; Health Matters Awards; Proces-verbal Comite Europeen; EAC SIG; Crystal Clean Water  




Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 12
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 12

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 12

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:
Bulgarian Art History (Анна Йосифова); Animal Idioms; Ortenburg European Education Strategy (БГ); Eine Zehnjahrige Partnershaft; Finland Workshops; Weather English; EU and BG Teachers; History Documents; Romanian School-based Curriculum Project; Students' Work - Psychology of Bulgarians (БГ); Europe Needs My People (БГ); Weihnacht / Neujahr


Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 13
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 13

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 13

((Note - this will be scanned soon and uploaded here))


Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 14
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 14

Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching Journal Issue 11

Key terms from the articles and lessons in this journal are:

Education in Bulgaria; European History and Communication; European Association of Teachers Committee; Teaching Science through English; Topic-based Language Teaching; CLIL Trainer Training


M. Koeva - Dear FACT Readers 

D. Zareva - Education in Bulgaria Needs to Focus On... 

K. Paev - Languages and Historical Communication in the European Past 

P. Kernen - AEDE - European Commitee (4 - 5 October, Brussels) 

S. Kitanova - Teaching Science  Through English 

F. Costa - A Topic-based Approach in Language Teaching 

E. Sentevska - Training Trainers for Content and Language Integrated Learning 

Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 18
Bulgaria - FACT Journals Issue 18

This is issue 18 of the FACTWorld Journal, Autumn 2018.

Many thanks to ELICIT-PLUS for part sponsoring this 18th issue of the FACTWorld journal!
Many thanks to Hristiyana Blagoeva for the art used for the cover, and thanks to the children of Anglia School for their lovely artwork!
You can download the entire pdf version of Journal 18 at the foot of this page.

The contents of this journal include:

Big Picture CLIL – Keith Kelly 3
Games in Education – FACT GROUP meeting 7
Ancient Greek Olympics and ancient Greek philosophy - Thomas Ziegelwagner 13
A few reflective comments on the CLIL-lesson about the ancient Greek Olympics and ancient
Greek philosophy - Thomas Ziegelwagner 18
Spanish schools impact stories 20
Удвояване на резултатите с един урок: „Аз съм човекът“ - Вероника Петкова, Искра
Неделчева 24
Digital magazine: a crosscurricular project to increase autonomous learning and creativity –
Arantzazu Martinez Etxarri 28
Българската шевица- геометрия и колорит – Таня Манолова 29
Hands on CLIL – Special course for primary and secondary teachers 34
Etapas de la vida en la biología y la literatura - Stefka Kitánova, Vasil Chakarov 35
ELICIT – European Literacy and Citizenship Education 38


Bulgaria - FACT Meeting - CLIL
Bulgaria - FACT Meeting - CLIL

FACT Meetings return!

The European Association of Teachers (AEDE) and Anglia School are collaborating to provide ongoing professional development meetings for teachers.

The first meeting will focus on good examples of CLIL (content and language integrated learning), showing a range of resources, activities and projects which will be of interest to both language teachers and content subject teachers alike.
The first meeting will take place in Plovdiv on Nov 11th at Anglia School's Kapitan Raicho Street premises.

Tell your teacher friends and colleagues, this important meeting will work towards building a community of teachers sharing and developing ideas together.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Bulgaria - FACTWorld 10 years old!
Bulgaria - FACTWorld 10 years old!

The FACT group is ten years old this year!

05th Oct, 2009

We kept it a little bit quiet, mainly because although we would have loved to celebrate and have a big party where everyone of the three thousand plus colleagues in the network all come to Bulgaria to help put this event down in history, though we'd love to do have done that, we just didn't have the resources!

So, what we did is have a small event with a lot of heart and energy. In collaboration with Macmillan in Bulgaria we ran a celebratory workshop to mark the event of the 10th Anniversary of the FACT Group.

As you can see it took place at the Veren Bookshop from 2 to 5 on Oct 2nd. There were a number of presentations from colleagues, Lyubov Dombeva, Stefka Kitanova and myself, and there was a birthday cake too!

Colleagues came from a wide range of educational contexts to celebrate and do a bit of work. The group represented both the state and private sectors, primary, secondary and university courses and from a number of locations around Bulgaria! The agenda for the meeting was to take stock of what we've achieved, discuss the future, and to take a look at the IB programme in Bulgaria and projects between Bulgaria and abroad.
Teachers' house, Plovdiv, home to several FACT events
Anglo-American College, Sofia

The FACT Group started with a group of 30 teachers in 1999 during a teacher training course in Sofia. There were many events along the way, with many milestones.

There were 5 Summer Schools held in Varna with a varied international participation from Romania to China!
Special thanks to Macmillan for their support for this event. We probably couldn't have done it without them. Thanks also for the numerous gifts we were able to offer teachers in a lottery during the event including the Science VPS, the Geography VPS, Uncovering CLIL, the Macmillan Schools' Dictionary and others. Thanks very much!
Dan the man from Macmillan setting up

The work we did was based around what we've already achieved. I presented on the history of the group with the view to identifying what worked and why. We took this list as a focus for discussing what we could do in the future.
Browsing resources during coffee and cake.

There is a lot to say about the factworld group, it's past, present and future. You can download the PPT here if interested and would like to take a look. It's 18mb.
My presentation on FACTWorld

The feedback from discussion on the future of the group was interesting, and actually means that we'll be organizing more meetings as we used to do during the initial phase of the project. More about the outcomes of the meeting below.
Colleagues took things home with them apart from a tummy full of birthday cake!

Even I got a present. When I saw it I thought it would be something which explodes, but thankfully it was a lovely aromatic candle. Thanks colleagues, the candle has brought a new freshness to my office!
Gifts all round.
Colleagues discussing future initiatives
Stefka on projects in Bulgaria and beyond
William Shakespeare Language School, Sofia

The FACT Group met every six weeks or so over the course of 4 years in the beginning. This led to a number of successful initiatives, not least bringing Science Across the World to Bulgaria.

The Science Across the Balkans event in Plovdiv was to forge links with 13 countries around South Eastern Europe (and including the Baltics!).
SAB Group, Plovdiv
Varna summer school, 2

The summer schools led to the writing and publication of two books based on the Science Across the World programme. Both  are available here on the FACTWorld site in the publications section:

Ethical English

Share Your World

The FACT Group was in part successful due to its strong links with educational establishments in Bulgaria and beyond.
Plovdiv schools inspectors' meeting
Entrance to the courtyard venue for the workshop

You would probably miss the entrance to the courtyard where the Veren Bookshop is located in Sofia if you didn't know where it was. It's a great place for a workshop, they just need internet access! They tell us that it's coming.

One of the many products of the work of the FACT group was the publication of the Kose Bose (The Blackbird and the Fox) children's storybook. You can download the pdf here.
Using Bulgarian folk stories for teaching English
Dr Graeme Jones and DNA model building

We had a number of public Science activities during the initial project which led to the creation of the FACT group. DNA model building was one of them.
Lyubov Dombeva presented about the growth of the IB programme at the Ivan Zlatarski School in Sofia over the last five years. Lyubov teaches on the Biology course in the school's IB programme.
IB at Zlatarski School, Sofia
The old FACTWorld site - www.factbg.hit.bg is no longer valid, but with us in spirit!

We set up a website for Bulgaria to record FACT activities and spread the word.
The link to the FACTWorld Journal page no longer works. 

The move to an international domain at this site factworld.info couldn't have happened without the collaboration of Roy Cross of the British Council who set the wheels in motion for the domain to be bought and the site to be made live.

It's the enthusiasm of the teachers in the network that is the reason for the success and growth of the FACTWorld community. I'm privileged to say that I possibly know personally all of the 3000 plus teachers in our group.
Group work during summer school in Varna
Elka Stavreva sadly couldn't be with us the workshop to blow out the candles, so three of us did it on her behalf. Happy birthday!
White chocolate cake - yes, it was nice!

What did we achieve?
We had a great time. The cake was a cracker!
Actually, the outcomes are equally great. We will start regular meetings of the FACT group once again. The next one will be in November, location to be decided and published here.

We will produce further copies of the popular FACT Journal.
We will investigate sources of funding to support the work of FACT teachers.
We'll start a series of school competitions based around curriculum activities, school links, Science Across the World, and publish the results in FACTWorld.
We will have another party at another key landmark age!

Bulgaria - FACTWorld 20th Anniversary
Bulgaria - FACTWorld 20th Anniversary

The BETA Conference in Plovdiv began on May 3rd with a pre-conference event organized by FACTWorld with a focus on 'Waste in the Curriculum' and we had a rich and fruitful afternoon together. 
We managed to bring together two plenary talks and 4 consecutive workshops focusing on waste and sustainability and considering that this was within a conference for English language teachers, I consider it a great result.
We'll be compiling all the talks and presentations into our next 20th Anniversary FACTWorld Journal.
For now, here are some of the wonderful moments from the event.

Friends waiting for the show to start!
Lovely Lady Lida Schoen helped me with the opening plenary on developing 'Young Voices for Change' through projects.
Stefka Kitanova talked about change and ecology of the last 40 years!
Ventzi and Stan presented Adopt Adata a wonderful project on River Maritsa.
The amazing Patrick Jackson launched Picker Pals here in Plovdiv. It starts here people! 
Waiting for the FACTWorld birthday cake to arrive!
Shopping for cosmetics with microbeads.
Lida looking lovely as ever! x
Opening plenary seflie - Keith and Lida
Speakers' arrival dinner. Cheers!
Egbert Weisheit brought microbeads chemistry to our English language conference.
Exploring mirobeads in cosmetic products.
Smartphone microscope photograph of microbeads in a body scrub.
The Adopt Adata Team (Stanimir Navushtanov and Ventzislav Vassilev)
Lora does a workshop on using natural materials in the language classroom.
Birthday Cheers!
More birthday cheers!
Birthday cheers from Lyubov Kostova, director British Council Bulgaria - cheers Lyubov! x
20 years of supporting content and language integrated learning across the world, now that deserves a slice of cake and a glass of pop! 

Watch this space for materials, presentations and journal from the conference event on 'Waste in the curriculum'.

Bulgaria - Interculturalising Education
Bulgaria - Interculturalising Education

New course for teachers on creating school links through the curriculum

Plovdiv, July 9th to 17th, 2009

It's great to announce that it is possible from now on to apply for the course:
- Interculturalising Education: Content, Language and Culture for Schools Links and Partnerships.

You’ll find a link to the programme outline below as well as a short version of the ‘highlights'  
This course is supported by the Comenius 2.2/Grundtvig 3 in-service training grant of the European Union. If you wish to participate in this course with the support of these grant schemes please consult the Lifelong Learning National Agency of your country for more information know about the procedures and deadlines.The list of National Agencies across Europe can be found at:  http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/llp/national_en.html. If you get stuck with the procedure, just drop us a line and we'll be glad to help if we can.


It's a great course with very ambitious yet important objectives.

Participants will:
- learn about creating schools links and partnerships
- work with colleagues from other countries to set up school links
- begin to prepare proposals for educational funding for school partnerships through the curriculum
- gain experience with a variety of communications technology for supporting their school partnerships
- learn about intercultural communication theory and practice for use in their teaching context
- create learning instruments for their subject area for facilitating curriculum exchange with partner schools in other countries (based on the hugely successful model offered by the popular Science Across the World programme)
- join other colleagues in an exciting public event during the course involving students from local schools aimed at raising public awareness of culture and science
- gain an understanding of the role of language in the curriculum, specifically learn techniques for integrating content and language (CLIL)

For more detailed information go to the Comenius / Grundtvig catalogue description of the course.
The direct link to the catalogue page is:


In addition colleagues will enjoy an international dinner with food and drink items from all the participating countries (this is planned to take place at my house in the Rhodope mountains).

The course location:
In the heart of the historic city of Plovdiv in the Thracian plain beneath the Rhodope mountains in the old building of Plovdiv University Paiisi Hilendarski. 


The university is 5 minutes walk from the main pedestrianised street of Plovdiv with easy access to all the sites, amenities and delights that the ancient city has to offer.

Plovdiv central street

The ancient theatre is one of the many hidden treasures in the city.

... as well as the beautiful old town, where we're likely to arrange another of our course dinners.

There will also be an organised guided trip to one of the many wonderful local sites within easy reach of Plovdiv.  Starosel, Perpericon, Chudnite mostove, Bachkovo or others...

Bachkovo monastery

The people:
Keith Kelly, Education Consultant and Course Tutor
Dr Leah Davcheva, Intercultural Trainer and Course Tutor
Dr Lida Schoen, International Trainer and Guest Tutor
Dr Irina Chongarova, Associate Professor Plovdiv University and host
Yana Docheva, Course Administrator, office@ahamoments.eu, +359 898 604 641

The idea:

“It’s about creating real communication in schools.  It’s about using the curriculum, something which our students have to study, to enable them to communicate with students in other countries and share their lives, experiences, their ‘cultures’ and their ideas.”



In short, it's a course for finding partners, investigating schools exchange projects, discussing materials for research between two schools, producing instruments for exchange, a platform for exchange like you’ll find in the Science Across the World programme, and preparation for school linking via EU funding opportunities. This means that you find colleagues to work with you, prepare the project, learn how to apply, and get started in school linking on the course itself.

Come and join us, we look forward to working with you in Plovdiv, July 2009.

Bulgaria - IT Seminar
Bulgaria - IT Seminar

ICT in the classroom

Friday, Nov 21st, 2008

We're grateful once again to our host school, Sv Patriarh Evtimii, Sofia 

There was a lot of interest among colleagues at previous workshops for something dealing with ICT in the classroom, especially in the light of the generous gift from the Ministry of Ed to teachers of a free laptop!
I put together the workshop thinking that teachers need quick practical skills and techniques for using the computer to aid their teaching, both in and out of the classroom.

You can download the handout of notes here from the bottom of this page.

You can take a look at the Macmillan catalogue on their site.

With this in mind, we looked first at a number of resources from Macmillan which I'd been given to review. These included:

Busy Board - Interactive whiteboard software (nice and simple story animation, audio, text)
Macmillan English - Primary course integrating content and language (I like the approach to language development through content topics in this course)
CD Dictionaries - The Macmillan Advanced Learners Dictionary (Information on word frequency is useful)
The Business - Sample of this ESP course (Great quality video and exploitation)
Macmillan VPS - Science and Geography (First time we'd presented this stuff in workshop, I always show the total cloze with dictionary, still like that bit very much)
onestopCLIL website - Resources for download, forum, magazine (now in it's fourth month, and growing all the time)

Working with your computer:
In terms of practical tips, we looked at quick ways of making handouts and worksheets. 

You can do simple things like this in 'Paint'


There is a lot of technology around today for grabbing audio and video, and we looked at how this works, as well as how to place supertext or subtitles over film for use in class.  I gave an example with this clip from Burger King available on YouTube.
The task the colleagues had to do was to watch the clip, keeping an eye on the sequence in which things happen.  You can see the edited clip on this site by following this video link.

You can download the text strips here below.

Then, they were given the sequence of events in strips of text which they had to try and rearrange in the order they remember them and using their knowledge of connectors and, of course, the coherence of the events.
I use a piece of software called Sony Vegas, but you can add text to film from within Windows Moviemaker as well, and there is a clip explaining how to do this here. 
You can see the clip by clicking the image above.

One of the great things about being able to make material like this is that you can create it exactly at the level of your learners, more text, more visuals, more happening, more talking.
Thanks again to Macmillan for donating a free book to give away, I know from reactions from colleagues that it is very welcome.  That's all the more true in Bulgaria where resources are not easy to get hold of.    

Oh and I almost forgot!  We did this too!
How to type: Put your fingers on the middle row of letter keys with your forefingers either side of the G and H keys (on F and J) and your thumbs resting on the space bar.  Only move those fingers which are closest to the keys you want to type.  If you do a google about typing speed, you'll find that an average speed for a two-finger typing non-professional is below 20 and anyone with a bit of practice can get up to between 20 to 40 words per minute.  Secretaries can work at around 65 to 75 wpm, and advanced skilled typists can perform at 120 or more wpm.  The point, though, is not to make too many mistakes!


Bulgaria - Keith's Corner - Diary of a School
Bulgaria - Keith's Corner - Diary of a School

Keith's Corner
A diary of a school - 


Keith's Corner is a diary written monthly over the course of two years and published on Macmillan's onestopenglish.com.
As well as an interesting insight into setting up and running a school in Bulgaria following a CLIL approach, the diary offers a rich collection of tips and strategies for designing a curriculum for learning English by 'doing something else'.


I created Anglia School with a wish to provide exciting English learning experiences for my daughter, Dara and her best friend Natalia. Creating learning for Dara and Natalia developed into a small group and the school grew from there. At the time of writing, we now have 18 teachers and over 200 children in our classes. And, we plan to grow further. This diary is the story of how we got to where we are today!


Entry 1: Our very own school gives an introduction to Anglia School detailing the processes involved in setting up a new school. Entry 2: Working with tiny tots discusses the importance of communicating with young learners and the need to think on your feet when things don’t go to plan! Entry 3: Keeping it cool shares some favourite tips for calming children down when energy levels are running high. Entry 4: Senses looks at ways of teaching young learners some sensory vocabulary. Entry 5: Autumn seeds uses autumn seeds, nuts and fruits to teach maths and science. Entry 6: Space and stars goes to infinity and beyond with his young learners as they tackle the topic of space. Entry 7: An arctic winter warms up through the winter with an artic-centred theme.


Entry 8: Sports and celebrations bring winter to a close with an action-packed month learning about winter sports and Chinese culture. Entry 9: Pirates and explorers looks at pirates and explorers, where the children even find their very own buried treasure! Entry 10: Snack time discusses Anglia School’s snack-time routine and some useful phrases for when kids want some more … Entry 11: Toddlers and maths offers up some fun ideas as he explains how to teach maths to the youngest learners. Get your triangles at the ready! Entry 12: Dogs at Anglia School explores the theme of dogs. And, they round off the week with a visit from someone special! Entry 13: Maths and pre-school explores the theme of maths by looking at clocks, nature and apples! Entry 14: Design week explains how even the most unlikely of objects can inspire a vast array of language-rich activities when during Design Week at Anglia School they put something old to good use!


Entry 15: Houses at Anglia School is Houses week at Anglia School! Amongst other things, they talk about the different places people live in around the globe, as well as the materials used for construction. Entry 16: Music - it’s music week at Anglia School! The kids learn about classical instruments, work on their rhythm and counting, and make and play instruments of their own. Entry 17: Christmas has lots of fun with Christmas-themed activities – not forgetting those all-important Christmas treats! Entry 18: Dinosaurs - All children love dinosaurs and the children at Anglia School are no different. This month delves into a prehistoric world. Entry 19: Winter - The children at Anglia School have been enjoying a wintery theme in recent weeks. It may be cold outside but, with a host of wintery arts, crafts, songs and stories, the children are as merry as can be! Entry 20: Forest animals invites us to explore the forest and the animals that make it their home. Entry 21: Love - the children at Keith’s school wear their hearts firmly on their sleeves, exploring the related themes of love, affection, respect and politeness.


Entry 22: My body - Action is always an important part of any curriculum for young children. This diary entry shares activities that get children moving and, of course, there’s plenty of language learning to be had along the way. Entry 23: Science - It is great to get kids enthusiastic about science from a young age and there is no better way than through fun experiments. This diary entry shows how to incorporate science into children’s learning so that they can learn through doing, a crucial concept at Anglia School! Entry 24: The learning wheel - The word pedagogy comes from the Ancient Greek word paidagogos, meaning to lead the child. This final instalment explains how the teachers at Anglia School lead their pupils towards learning in English, with the Learning Wheel as their guide.

I'd like to develop classes for children to learn their maths, science, geography and others through the medium of English as they go through school. We're only 3 years old, but as our older children go 'up' the curriculum, Anglia School will have to develop and change to offer more English-medium curriculum opportunities. 

For more information on Anglia School - www.anglia-school.info

Bulgaria - Life Skills Workshop
Bulgaria - Life Skills Workshop

A workshop on integrating the teaching of life skills and the English language.

I was asked by Macmillan publishers in Bulgaria to prepare a workshop based on a coursebook, Open Mind, which has at its heart the aim to teach so-called 'soft skills' alongside the English language.
I liked the idea of a curriculum which starts with skills as opposed to lexis/grammar and agreed.
At the time of writing, we've taken the workshop to half a dozen locations around Bulgaria for school teachers and it's gaining in popularity with invitations to run it for University groups as well.

This page describes some of the content and there is a 'walkthrough' video of the workshop slides you can watch on YouTube:


(I hope you'll forgive my coughing, I had a cold.)

The agenda for the workshop was basically to give teachers the chance to explore their understanding of soft skills, or life skills. I also brought some of my own personal life skill stories to tell and along with activities from the Open Mind coursebook, I brought a number of my own activities which I felt develop these skills.

The context for the workshop, and indeed the coursebook, is a Europe with very little professional opportunity for many young people. Youth unemployment is pushing 60% in Spain, for example. At the same time, it's around 10% in Austria. 

What is it then that makes young people more 'mobile' and more 'employable'?
Well, the business community is quite clear about the skills young people need to better their chances of getting a job.

You'll notice that this top ten doesn't include any technical skills at all. In fact, other surveys show that some employers value soft skills higher than specific technical skills, which many employers feel can be taught 'on the job'.

You can add to this list many other interpersonal skills, emotional intelligences, plenty of communication skills (listening!!!!), presentation skills, critical thinking (e.g., evaluating, prioritising), not just working in a team, but being able to work independently, and many, many more.

I presented a model for intercultural communication that I'd learned as an MEd student at Manchester University:


Watch the video to get a clear understanding of what this model involves, but in short, in order to be an effective communicator between cultures, you need to be able to see things from 4 perspectives (how your culture views itself A/A, how the other culture views your culture B/A, how your culture see the other culture, B/B and how the other culture sees its own culture B/B).

Where on earth can you find educational materials which put all of that into practice?

Science Across the World (www.scienceacross.org)


This programme may be familiar to some of you if you visit this site from time to time. There are plenty of reports on FACTWorld about Science Across activities. It's a programme of free learning materials to get learners in different classrooms around the world investigating their own lives (A/A), sharing that with another classroom in a different country which has done the same investigation (B/B) and make comparisons (A/B, B/A).

I won't go into more details here. There are plenty of slides in my PPT that you can download and browse at your leisure. I also plan to do another clip which summarises the Science Across the World programme, projects and materials.

Add to this the FACTWorld email group @ yahoogroups.com and you have all the ingredients you need for putting into practice a whole range of soft skills development work in your classroom.


Bulgaria - Oral Exam Prep
Bulgaria - Oral Exam Prep

Preparatory Class, EDS Plovdiv, 2008-2009

A lesson preparing for the oral exam - preparing a talk on the topic of travel.

Jan 6th, 2009

The students in the preparatory class have a intensive programme of study for the first year in the English language.  My role working with them is to help prepare them for the oral exam.  I base all my classes on topics provided by colleagues which come from the textbooks used by students and which are generally themes which can be expected to appear in the spoken exam.
language for countries 20 questions

The way the lesson usually goes (when we're not juggling!) is that we discuss the topic in question, compile notes on the board which gives us an idea of the main areas and also a possible structure to the topic for a talk.  We also discuss useful language which students can prepare.
Listening frame for guessing country names

1) Talk about topic, ideas, structure, language
2) Teacher pins up a world map and recounts one or two stories of travel (memorable, food, language) to exemplify the ideas given in 1.
3) Students talk in pairs for two minutes about travel they have made, good-bad, recent-in the past, at home-abroad, with a neighbour and then feed back to the whole class.
4) Students listen to a recording of two people talking about 10 different countries, their outlines, trying to guess which countries they are.
5) Whole class 20 questions activity first of all trying to guess the country the teacher is thinking of, while the teacher can only say 'yes' or 'no'.

Afterwards choose a student to volunteer, while the rest of the class ask the questions.  There is a good language support instrument for this type of activity which I think originally comes from Watcyn-Jones.
6) Homework: go to factworld.info and download the Travel Talk Template to prepare own talk for exam.

Template for talk on the topic of Travel (click below to download)

There are two short clips from my preps talking about their travel experiences here. 

I'll try to get more extended examples on another occasion. I think there is a lot to be said for mp3 recording students in class for use in class and we'll talk about that another time.

PS - we tried a little juggling too

Bulgaria - PhotoEnglish
Bulgaria - PhotoEnglish

Learning Photography in English

Along with my friend and colleague, Keith Halstead, we’ve put together a course of photography in English starting in September 2015.
Anglia School works mainly with very young children, aged 2 to 10 and we do it well. The young learners groups are largely full and we’ve been oversubscribed for our summer programme too. So, what’s the magic ingredient?

Lora was 4 years old when I popped in to her group, and she’d been with us for several months already. It was an afternoon group and my jaw dropped as I heard Lora say to me ‘Keith, give me that felt tip pen please’, quite spontaneously. It’s quite unlikely that anyone had taught Lora this sentence, what she had done was to pick up this language from the rich language and activity environment that she’d been learning in.

This ‘learning English while doing something else’ is the magic ingredient we have at Anglia School that makes language learning for the children that come to us so easy. With PhotoEnglish what we wanted to do was take this magic ingredient and offer it to adults.
You can download the slides for a closer look at the content by clicking at the link in the image above.

PhotoEnglish is a 12-week course of 2.5 hours per week. Classes are mostly evenings from 5.30 to 8pm but there are 3 weekend meetings during the course which take participants out of the classroom to make use of the natural light of day for making photos. The course costs 300lv.
The focus in the classroom is shared learning. While we do specific a minimum level of English at intermediate level in order that all participants are able to follow the classroom language and language of the teacher, we don’t specific any photography knowledge level or requirement. This means that the participants will learn from each other both in terms of language and content.

We use a communicative methodology incorporating the four language skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking) equally, and with a strong focus on vocabulary development.

In terms of listening, we’ve put together a collection of video tutorials for participants to watch and listen to and develop their own listening skills. There will also be plenty of ‘live’ listening with other participants and with the teachers.

Reading texts are authentic and are integrated with practical activities, so that there is always a ‘read to do’ dimension to the reading.

Speaking activities are largely interactive speaking tasks in pairs, small groups or as a whole class. Participants will be given a lot of opportunity to engage with other participants in English, searching for information they need, for example, in order to be able to carry out a task. Speaking also develops through the many presentation activities participants are asked to carry out. Participants will be asked to give presentations of their work in each class.

Writing activities develop alongside the presentation work and builds on the many descriptive texts the participants meet during the course.
The course will include field trips where participants go out into Plovdiv city to make photographs in the beautiful settings the city has to offer and also to make the most of natural daylight for the purpose of doing great photography.

The course will close with an open exhibition and sale of participants’ photography with the objective of raising funds for a local charity Parallel World.

We had an open event for information on the course at our venue at 35 Dobri Voinikov Street.

Keith explains the practical aspect of the course and how this aids language learning.

I'm including the registration form here below for download. It should be forwarded to info@anglia-school.info. We'll get right back in touch when we receive it.

Bulgaria - Project Work Seminar
Bulgaria - Project Work Seminar

The Macmillan seminar in Bulgaria took place at the Rila Hotel in the heart of the city of Sofia.

June 12th, 2008

One of the colleagues commented that the hotel was a favourite with the party elite once upon a time and that we may have been working in a room that once hosted the likes of Todor Zhivkov.  We had our own balcony over central Sofia.


There were 22 participants, which was a great turnout considering that we had to change the venue at the last minute.  This happened because of a ‘routine maintenance’ to the electricity supply in the area of town where the first venue had been planned.  It was also a stormy, cloudy, rainy day, but come they did.


Dan gets us started

The topic of the workshop was ‘Projects’.  This has been a regular request from colleagues on the feedback forms of other workshops and as it’s also an area I’m particularly interested in, we put together a 3-hour programme for colleagues on this topic.
It’s a topic which is very diverse, but we focused on four main areas.  We looked at what to do, meaning what topics are there which make good areas for project work.  We looked at what programmes there are to support teachers carrying out project work.  We discussed creating school links as part of project work.  We also looked at how colleagues could create audience for their students’ work, by making use of the various tools and instruments available via the internet.

the Projects PPT handout is available here below

Science Across the World is probably the most well known programme of projects for teachers around the world with its bank of ready-made resources of 16 topics and database of contact teachers and schools now numbering over 6500.
I gave a brief introduction to the programme.
It’s important to point out to colleagues that the registration for the programme at the moment is free.  Normally 20GBP, the fee is wavered while a new corporate sponsor is found.
From experience I know that the best way to get teachers familiar with the Science Across the World programme is to get them to try out some of the tasks and activities in the topics.
The newest topic is ‘All under one sky’ which among other things covers areas related to the solar system and has students create paper  rockets.

The rocket factory

Launching rockets at the Science museum, Berlin

We looked at Keeping Healthy.
In Keeping Healthy one area covered is data concerning fatalities from accidents in young people in Europe and the proportion of this which is caused by road accidents.
As I’d just taught this particular area and mixed it with materials and activities on road safety in my own school, the EDS Plovdiv, I got the participants to discuss road accidents in Bulgaria and carry out the speed reaction test.

I like a lot of the topics and materials in Science Across, but one of my particular favourites is ‘Biodiversity Around Us’.  Next year will see the world celebrate the year of Darwin and the bicentenary of his birthday on Feb 12th.
One of the tasks in Biodiversity is mapping an area of biodiversity for exchange.  The participants looked at a number of samples of maps from schools around the world and then had the task to create their own BioMap of Bulgaria.  There were some wonderful creations.
This topic is particularly significant for many reasons, but Bulgaria has suffered a tragic decrease in the numbers of the Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon (www.rspb.org.uk).
creating biodiversity maps on Bulgaria

In a workshop that looks at Science Across we had to include Talking about Genetics and the topic of heredity and variation which is a great topic for language work in the classroom.
The colleagues surveyed the variation in the group for hair and eye colour, height, tongue rolling, mid finger hair, ear lobes, and skin colour.
Amazingly, 50% of the group could roll their tongue.  In other groups it’s always been around 85%!

We also looked at What Did You Eat?  This is a topic I first did with own students and I used this particular topic to discuss ways of presenting classroom research data.
It makes sense to pay some thought to presentation because partners involved in school curriculum exchange work won’t be very excited at pages and pages of text and numbers.  My class chose to present their work in the form of a news letter on Eating Habits. You can download the project report from here below.

After all this hands-on work, we asked for a guinea pig in the group to sign up to the programme so that everyone could see how the process works live on the science across site.

Finding partners

Factworld has around 2400 members in its egroup.  The flags page on the website is becoming more populated every year (www.factworld.info).  We talked about where teachers could go to find partners to work with on their potential projects.  FACTWORLD is a great place to look. We also discussed ‘school links’. There are a good many places to look for potential partners. You can start with FACTWorld!

Finally, we discussed how to publish student work on the internet.
Here are a number of ideas.
You can download the complete document at a link below.

It was a great group to close the school year with and they were all warmly invited back in the autumn.  Dan and I are discussing new topics for future Macmillan workshops.  ICT in the classroom has been on the request sheet a number of times, we’ll see what we can do.

Bulgaria - Pronunciation Seminar
Bulgaria - Pronunciation Seminar

Practical Ideas for Teaching Pronunciation in the Classroom


Friday, May 29th, 2009

I think this workshop could easily have been renamed ‘YouTube Pronunciation’ as that’s where most the focus examples came from.
Host: Patriarh Evtimii Junior School, Sofia

You can download the PPT here below.

Accent Snobbism

We started with a whole group discussion on how people feel about pronunciation, what sort of ideas come into their minds when they hear certain accents, if certain accents can create prejudice, good and bad, and why this is so.

This was contextualised with the Proclaimers’ song 'Throw the R away‘
“I've been so sad Since you said my accent was bad”

I related a personal story from my first year in Bulgaria when I was invited to a party by a colleague from a local school and met his colleagues from the English department. It seemed to be going well, but my colleague told me I’d made an impression on the teachers with my accent. In the kitchen away from my sensitive ear my colleague had been in conversation with an English teacher who had said ‘I hear Keith has a northern English accent, does he have a higher education?’ I’ve got over the feeling of outrage now 20 years later, but it was interesting to hear the colleagues in the workshop relate their own feelings about Bulgarian accents as well as English ones.
Sounding Like a Native Speaker

From here we moved on to talk about how important accent is for learners of English. More specifically we discussed how important it is to sound like a native speaker for learners of English in Bulgaria. There is a broad range of literature available on teaching pronunciation and in it we can find a range of different and differing opinions.

Kenworthy says:

‘Learners must be able to cope with linkage, deletions, the ‘blurrings’ at the edges of words…But they do not need to use all these features in their own speech’.  There is a risk of learners sounding ‘false’ or ‘affected’ if they try to incorporate such simplifications in to their speech (1987:79). 

Cockney rhyming slang
you can listen to the clip here

I used a recording of a dialogue with a regional accent, and then asked colleagues to try to identify ‘patterns’ in the dialogue of aspects of the pronunciation of the regional accent. The regional accent I used was Cockney, or East London.

We talked a little about rhyming slang, explained the few examples ‘apples and pairs’ and ‘boat race’ in the dialogue and moving away from slang we looked at examples of elision and assimilation representative of this regional accent, and of other accents around the UK. We talked about the glottal stop and how this makes the sounds of speech very different from what we might expect, or rather from what our learners might expect if they’ve been taught standard RP English, and taught that the English speak the Queen’s English. I’m afraid that we don’t. I suspect that her Highness doesn’t speak the Queen’s English herself either.

Understanding other speakers of English
The point of this exercise is that we can identify ‘patterns’ of pronunciation which differ from standard English and we can raise learner awareness of what to expect to hear, or what not to hear when speaking with other speakers of English.

Brown says:

‘We must prepare a student to do without a number of segmental clues in some parts of the utterance and we need to be able to show him what clues will go and what clues he can rely on finding’, (1990:60).

This was the slogan for a brand of butter I remember hearing, seeing on the TV when I was a boy. I have a memory of it being spoken by a Cockney, it was actually a West Country accent, nevertheless, it’s a good example to give for glottal stops. 
'You’ll never put a better bit of butter on your knife' in standard English would be - | jul ˈnevə ˈpʊt ə ˈbetə bɪt əv ˈbʌtər ɒn jə naɪf | but not when spoken by a cockney!
I read the slogan ‘like the Queen’ and then with a bad impression of a Cockney. 

The aim here isn’t that learners talk like Cockneys, (though the idea sounds fun) but that they have information about speech that allows them to work out what is being said if and when they hear it.

Favourite words
A lot of my students play with English and Bulgarian words. For example,
Question: What is a 'conspirator'?

Answer: It's a horse stopper.

(... ask a Bulgarian!)

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know this word. It’s not a word you’ll meet in everyday life. It’s just a good word in which to try and place word stress.  

•     How would you read this aloud?
•     How would you read it backwards aloud?

We did just this and then watched the clip from Mary Poppins to check answers.

Getting learners to find odd words, long words words which they just find curious is a good way of raising awareness of patterns of word stress.

You could even make your students read the words with a Cockney accent. No, don’t, that was just a bad joke...
... but there are people who can imitate regional accents without difficulty.    
It’s much more important that learners get their intonation patterns right according to some.

Listener intolerance
Tench says there is a level of ‘listener tolerance’ (1983:19) and the ‘threshold of intelligibility’ which our learners must remain within to be understood.  ‘A native speaker of English is more likely to tolerate mistakes in consonants, vowels and word accent than in intonation’ (1983:96).

How can you bring this into your curriculum?

Get students to look for examples within contextualised content tasks to raise awareness of patterns generally in the language.

Time to Think

It’s important that learners get time to think through what they are saying, what they are trying to pronounce accurately. Dalton and Seidlhofer refer to students ‘getting into gear’ (1994:144) and this car metaphor is a useful one when we think of how we drive as a learner

Mirror – Signal - Manoeuvre

Country Names
I noticed that my prep class students had word stress problems with country names and I suspected that the origin of much of it was mother tongue interference. In order to check this I gave them a simple test where they had to mark the word stress of names of countries. I checked the results of the 6 groups (around 170 students) and the results were interesting in that there was a clear case of relying on Bulgarian stress patterns to guess the word stress of the names of the countries. What can we do about this? The first thing I did was to point out the result of the classroom research to the students so that they were aware of what they were doing. I also tried to introduce activities which had students group words into similar stress patterns, thinking that this would help them make decisions in the future.

Germany - Finland - Hungary - Italy - Iceland - Norway - Portugal - Ireland - Switzerland - Russia - Jordan - Afghanistan - Lebanon - Australia 

The Elements
One area where students are likely to be confronted with many many word stress decisions is in Science subjects. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are notoriously full of latin and Greek origin words, many of which are very long with many syllables.

You can find dozens in the Periodic Table. 

Where would you place the word stress in the following? 


You may know Tom Lehrer’s rendition of the elements, but if you don’t, watch this clip and see if your word stress suggestions above are correct.

Making sounds visual

Kenworthy says (1987:43) ‘One advantage of using drama activities like these is that there is a clear demonstration of the way intonation interacts with gestural and lexical features, which is often lost when only audio-taped material is used.’

I think you can usefully add ‘visual, video, miming activities’ to the above quote. Anything which allows learners to see pronunciation is a good thing.

World of English
you can listen to the clip here

International Words
- Хотел, снек бар, пица, хамбургер, in Bulgarian.
- Hotel, snack bar, pizza, hamburger, in English.
- Yes, read the signs, dozens of English words, 'snack bar, sandwich, grill'.
- But 'hotel' is a French word, 'pizza' is an Italian word, 'hamburger' is a German word.
- Hotel, sandwich, pizza and hamburger are international words.
- International words are easy: 'telephone' is телефон, компютър is 'computer'.
- Yes, but 'magazine' is not магазин, 'magazine' is списание.
- Right, telephone and computer are true friends, but magazine is a false friend.
- False friend, oh no.
- Cheer up Martin! Look for the true friends around us.
- Maya is right. Read the signs, telephone, theatre, restaurant ...
The text above is an extract from an English language textbook. You can listen to the clip here. The text is very clearly spoken and is scripted with the result that the intonation in places is very different from the way it would be if it were met in the real world. Some of the text sounds like a shopping list being read, for example. This is quite normal as the speakers aren’t trained to make their voices sound like the real thing for the recording. They are teachers.

This is an example (granted, an extreme one) of the kind of material which as Kenworthy suggests lacks the many other signals we have access to when we listen to spoken English in the real world. We discussed this text.

The participants were asked to give suggestions as to what you could do with material like this if you have it in your textbook. They gave many useful suggestions: 

Have students make it meaningful, read it with a more realistic pronunciation;
Have students read it with a different emotion (e.g., anger);
Have students write their own dialogue based on the context of international words;
Give a focus to true and false friends and examine the similarities and differences in pronunciation. 
Keep sounds in chunks
Kenworthy says that we should avoid asking learners to produce sounds in isolation because ‘sounds occur in syllables, surrounded by other syllables’ … ‘it’s actually impossible to pronounce some sounds in isolation’ (1987:70).

Working with chunks

Watch this clip showing a teacher trying to teach a student how to pronounce this sentence correctly.
•     I would like to buy a hamburger.
Would you do it differently? How?
Working backwards
The teacher in the clip eventually breaks the sentence down into segments and then works incrementally through the whole thing from beginning to end.
One suggestion is to work backwards:
a hamburger
buy a hamburger
to buy a hamburger
like to buy a hamburger
I'd like to buy a hamburger

From brain to mouth

Sound Foundations from Adrian Underhill (1994) creates links between sounds and the mouth, between the brain and the sounds and the muscles in the mouth. You might like to take a look at this as a nice way of visualising pronunciation.
Adrian has learners associate his gestures with sounds, and then explicitly focuses on what physically is happening in the mouth while the sounds are being made.

Points to remember
- Try to be understood, not like the Queen!
- Try to understand!
- No sound is an island!
- Present sounds together in chunks!
- Make pronunciation visible (see it)!
- Make pronunciation physical (feel it)!
- Give students thinking time!
What can go wrong …
There is a bibliography document linked below for anyone interested in reading further.

Bulgaria - Receptive Skills and Speaking Seminar
Bulgaria - Receptive Skills and Speaking Seminar

These two seminars in Bulgaria took place in Sofia and Stara Zagora

The titles were:
- Receptive Skills - Listening and Reading
- Speaking and Drama - Fluency and Accuracy more here

In Receptive Skills - Listening and Reading we discussed what makes a good listener.  In short the conclusion was that a good listener is someone who is good at decoding what they hear to get meaning.

In order to decode what they hear students need to filter through a vast amount of sound to get to the meaning.  This workshop looks at what the vast amount of sound includes and how this can be brought into the classroom to develop listening skills in our learners.

We did this specifically by listening to short clips of recordings and then describing the sounds we could hear.
colleagues in Stara Zagora get to grips with interactive reading tasks

The clips came from a range of textbooks and materials on the market.    

Listen to the clips and ‘describe’ what you hear:
Cockneys (00.05 – 01.45)
Diane Abbot (02.06 – 03.12)
World of English 1 (03.20 – 04.18)
Castaways (04.22 – 05.17)
World of English 2 (05.18 – 06.34)
Which country is it? (06.39 – 12.31)
Holidays (12.39 – 13.11)

We looked at accent and discussed how this can cause difficulties for listeners decoding meaning.

'Yeah, well talkin’ about it Toni, there’s me cousin, right, dja, you know Jimmy, don’tja? 
An’ he came down the other week. 
He’s a nutter. 
He is.  I’ve never known a Cockney like ‘im.  He’s goin’ round sayin’: ‘goin’ out tunoit’ an’ all this, you know, he goes round like that.'

... and colleagues had a go at Cockney themselves.  The colleagues identified elision, assimilation, interruption, speed, slang and many other characteristics of this speech.

We listened to a real interview between a politician and a journalist from a EFL publication on the market.


Here, colleagues suggested that the speech was a formal radio interview and this explained the slower interaction between interviewer and interviewee.  There was a discussion about the role of sentence stress for highlighting meaning in speech.  Here, the politician frequently blurred parts of her speech while stressing and pronouncing clearly the meaning carrying words.

''International words are easy.  Telephone is telephone, computer is computer. 
Yes, but magazine is not magazine, magazine is spisanie. 
Right, telephone and computer are true friends, but magazine is a false friend.''

With another recording from a Bulgarian publication we talked about the effect multiple speakers have on the difficult for decoding meaning.  This particular recording offered seven speakers and a dog!  There was discussion about the need for clarifying the division between pronunciation (accuracy) and listening (fluency) materials.

We listened to another recording which used actors, or so we thought, was not scripted, and though there was quite a lot of 'real world' sounds in the recording, the feeling was that it still wasn't 'quite right'.  It still sounded a little bit false.

Another recording offered a professional recording, by this we mean that there were what appeared to be trained actors, the speech was unscripted, or perhaps semi-scripted.  This recording had a male trying to identify countries from their outlines and a female guiding the male through his task and then giving the corrections.

We summarised some of the characteristics of 'real world' speech we thought our students need to decode in order to get to the meaning of what they hear.  The challenge to teachers is to bring this into the classroom so that learners can become adept at filtering and getting at the meaning.    
accent, dialect, colloquialisms 
monologue, dialogue, plurilogue 
elision (dropping sounds) 
assimilation (blending sounds) 
background noises 

DIY listening.  There was agreement that textbook materials don't always provide the best input listening experiences for students to develop these skills.  I suggested that perhaps the teacher can do a better job.
I still think this is the case and am waiting to be convinced otherwise.
Teachers can produce better listening experiences by using their own speech in the classroom.  They can do this by using 'semi-scripts', a term which I think comes from Marion Geddes in the late 70s, in order to 'approach authenticity' which is a good as it can get in the classroom.
The great thing about content material is that they are full of diagrams, illustrations and pictures which can be used as the 'semi-script' both for the teacher to deliver the input speech, and for the learners to use as a frame for listening.

There are many tasks students can do in this context.

Types of listening activities:
Listen and do
Make notes
Stage a process
Gap fill
I followed the same idea in talking about organising reading tasks for learners.  There are many types of reading to be found in coursebooks, we looked only at 'information transfer' tasks.
The reason for this is that the 'processing of input reading text' is at the core of integrating content and language methodology.  Students need to get to the most important content and summarise it, rearrange it, learn it in as easy a way as possible.

Setting up info transfer goes some way to providing students with a view of the core of a content topic area as well as a means for organising this content.

Pharmacology lecture notes

I like to use material from my wife's education.  She is a Paediatrician.  The excerpt above is from her pharmacology notes.  There were 20 pages like this.  It's one long linear text.  You can just imagine the professor giving the lecture and my wife writing as much as she, as quickly as she can.  When it came to learning the material, my wife was having problems learning the material.  I offered to help, and once we'd agreed that I don't know the slightest thing about pharmacology, we began to look at the structure of the content.

With some discussion we managed to produce this diagram.  The linear text of 20 pages is in fact a large tree diagram which shows types of medical substances and the effect they have on different nerve groups.  There is also the names of the drugs on the market.  The only thing missing is the dosage.  It took my wife half an hour to memorise the 'picture' we'd created.
I'd go as far as to say that the professor (never met him/her) would have been doing a better job had they actually given the students the diagram in the first place before the lecture began.  The professor, no doubt, would argue that this isn't his/her job.

In a foreign language, content like this must be structured as simply as possible to allow students easy access to it.  As we can see here, even in MT, it's difficult to listen and take notes, and then learn linear 'text'.

On a much simpler level, card sorting in the classroom is one way of getting students to read and discuss and organise text according to decisions they make about content and logical structure.
This example is from Geography.

Students read, discuss and sort the text depending on they decisions they make about coal as a source of electricity.

Diet and disease
Certain diseases, such as coronary heart disease, breast
cancer and bowel cancer are more common in some
countries than in others. It is thought that some of these
diseases may be linked to diet. Below is some information
about them.
People who weigh 20% more than the ideal are overweight.
They have a shorter life expectancy and are more likely to
suffer from diseases that include heart disease, diabetes,
gallstone, high blood pressure, arthritis and varicose veins.
Some people put on weight easily. The reasons are not
understood. They do not necessarily eat more than other
people, but they eat more than they need and lay down the
excess as fat.
(this is just a short part of the whole text which is from the Science Across the World topic 'What did you eat?')    I used this example as a linear text and asked colleagues to identify a generic structure in the text.

The best diagram I've come across to accompany this text, is this tree diagram / flow diagram, where the flow describes cause and effect.


Speaking and Drama
We started the discussion by focusing on the difference between fluency and accuracy in oral production.

This was to set out some descriptors of what we mean by fluency and accuracy in the classroom and what is the role of each in terms of language development.

Some of the suggestions from the teachers to describe tasks which focus on accuracy in speaking were:

•- Pronunciation
•- Reading aloud
•- Reading answers to a task
•- Careful talking
•- Well-thought out
•- Well-structured
Some of the suggestions from the teachers regarding tasks focusing on fluency in speaking were:

•- Looking for information
•- Sharing information
•- Quick exchanges
•- Two, three more people
•- Not worrying about making a mistake
•- Keeping the flow going

This workshop aims at bridging the gap between accuracy and fluency.

Question loops
any situation where you have questions and answers, or terms and definitions, or halves of sentences, or two-clause sentences separated by linking phrases etc, can be exploited to create a question loop.
It's very easy to make a question loop.  All you need to do is type your questions and answers into a table with two columns with the questions and answers on the same row, but in different cells.  Then mark all of the answers and move them down one row.  Then cut the last answer and move it to the top row.  Print them off and hand out one row to each student.  They read their question, someone else answers, reads their question and so on, till you get back to the beginning. (Many thanks to Nigel Heslop for this task.)

Info gap

An information gap can be made with any visual with labels copied twice one for student A and the other for student B.  Each visual has different information missing so that students, who aren’t allowed to show each other their visual, must speak to each other to fill in the missing information from their diagram.

Information Search
This is similar to question loop in that this activity suits information in the question and answer format but where the information is organised in ‘three things you know’ and ‘three things you want to know’.
In an information search, there are 6 or more cards with information around the class and students have to find the information missing from their cards by asking the right questions.  If they are asked for information and they have it on their card, they give the information.
(watch out for this kind of thing at www.onestopenglish.com/clil)

Question help

What is the location of...? / Where is ... situated?
What is the distance of ... from the Sun? / How far is ... from the Sun?
What is the temperature / mass / atmosphere / core of...?
What is the atmosphere / core of ... made up of?
What does the atmosphere / core of ... consist of?
What is the planet ... named after? / Where does the name ... come from?
What else can you tell me about ...?

Answer help

... is located / is found / is situated
The distance between ... and the Sun is ... / The distance of ... from the Sun is ...
... has a temperature of ... / from ... to ... / ... varying between ... and ... / ranging from ... to ...
... has a mass of ... point ... times ... to the (power of) ... kilos
... has a (very thick / thin / poisonous) ... atmosphere (made up of ...)
... has a core made up of ... / which is made of ... / consists of ...
... is named after
It is also ... / It also has ... / It also ...

Word guessing games
Prepare a sheet of vocab and put the class into teams.  Each team has one minute to guess as many words as possible and they get one point for each correct guess. 

Class surveys
Use questionnaires to guide pupils in asking set questions of their classmates.

(From Watcyn-Jones)

Making presentations / talking from a prompt
Instruct pupils to present information from a visual using language support handout.


We also did a bit of drama.  The play we did as an example of what is possible in the space of a 40 minute lesson was 'The Plague at Eyam' from the Science Year CD. This is all archived at the ASE STEM site.

Repetition and rehearsal – opportunity for combination of accuracy and fluency
–- Check the roles
––- Discuss the characters
––- Other ‘parts’ to play, rags, boxes, doors
––- Discuss setting - background
––- Share roles – two students together
––- Give time to rehearse, think about voice
––- Think about sound effects
––- Film scenes / mp3 record scenes

You can download the play from here, browse the ASE STEM site for Science Yr for more.

Bulgaria - Receptive Skills Seminar
Bulgaria - Receptive Skills Seminar

The seminar was delivered in Haskovo

June 5th, 2008

We were hosted by the Asen Zlatarov School in Haskovo and teachers came from all the Science subjects, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and a English language teaching colleague came all the way from Dimitrovgrad for the workshop.

The contents of the workshop were the same as with the first receptive skills workshop.

Yordan provided two copies of the Science VPS publication so that both the Science colleagues from the host school and the visitor from Dimitrovgrad could take one back to their school.


We looked at a variety of techniques for guiding learners through listening input and reading input


I showed some of the materials on the Macmillan Science VPS DVD


Bulgaria - Receptive Skills Seminar
Bulgaria - Receptive Skills Seminar

This seminar was delivered Varna and Burgas, Bulgaria.
29th May, 2008

It's been about 5 years since I was last in Varna and so it was nice to return and to meet up with a large group of teachers, a good number I already knew.
Yordan Stoyanov, Dan, Macmillan rep in Bulgaria, booked us into the Aqua Hotel in Varna.

Handing out materials as people arrived.

We sang a song to get started.  It integrated listening and reading, the topic of the workshop, and breaks the ice.

The interactive reading tasks are the same as those used for the first receptive skills workshop which colleagues can read about on this site.
Sorting info cards into logical structures
The discussion was lively.  Do textbooks offer what students need to become good listeners?  I suggest that teachers can do a better job with their own live monologues.
As usual there was a prize draw for a copy of the Science Vocabulary Practice Series.  It's great that this time it went to a colleague working in a school where students study their Science through English.
Thanks Macmillan, and thanks to the colleagues for their energy.

The 8th Macmillan Workshop in Bulgaria, Burgas

30th May, 2008

It was great to be hosted by a real school.
We held the workshop in the Bratya Miladinovi Junior School and so thanks to the school for having us.  You can find out about the school, newly refurbished at their site:

The topic of the workshop was receptive skills and so rather than repeat all of the content and describe the materials again, interested colleagues can take a look at the report for Workshops 4 and 5.

Short clip explaining the origin of the FACTWorld network.

Bulgaria - School for Tourism and Economics
Bulgaria - School for Tourism and Economics

Lesson on Tertiary Economy, Tourism and Development
Velingrad, 21st May, 2009
I had an invitation recently to give a Geography lesson in the Technical School for Tourism and Economics in the Bulgarian Rhodope mountain Spa town of Velingrad.

The school was interested in offering an open lesson to its teachers and others a focus lesson with innovative communicative ideas based on the content curriculum they teach. I decided to give a lesson on the Pros and Cons of tourism. Given the growth of tourism in the town in recent years, this seemed to be an appropriate topic.
Krastina and Dara came with me as we’d decided to make an excursion of it and stay for the weekend. It was a good decision. Dara loved the water.
I arrived at the school in the early afternoon and as Elena, my school contact, organized the media – we had the local TV station and the local press – as well as a large number of teachers from the school to observe.
As we were a little bit early, I got the students, aged 15-17, to tell me their names which I drew on a map of the classroom to help me refer to them by name during the course of the lesson. I can still remember there were Yanko, Yordanka, Georgi, Seeka (thanks for lending me your watch!), Eva, Alex and others.
Elena had specifically asked me to try to include some interactive multi-media in the lesson and referred to the Geography VPS CD, so I used that ....
I used it to warm up the students' background knowledge and vocabulary of the topic.
The school itself is an interesting place with a special role in the education of local young people. It is special because the Spa town of Velingrad is officially the Spa Capital of Bulgaria. The school teaches a number of specialized areas such as waitering, front desk hotel management, kitchen staffing, among many others.
I wanted to use activities that would make the students talk and talk they did! Bravo to all the students who took part!
We did a vocabulary activity where they had to guess which terms I described in teams, correct guesses getting a point.
The vocabulary sheet is here below for download.
I was given a short tour of some of the classrooms and found that the school had a fully equipped commercial kitchen, a bar-restaurant, and a caffeteria which are used to train the students in a variety of skills.
I got the students to carry out a read and sort task from the VPS  Geography book which related tourism to development in Mallorca.
Reading and writing key information using a note taking frame
We also did a task from the same book on arguments for and against tourism. Instead of doing the task as a simple reading though, I asked the students in groups to sort the text into a table which I prepared. This way they had to discuss the arguments  in their groups before sorting them.
The teachers who organised my visit were particularly interested in investigating the possibility of offering more of the curriculum through English.  At the moment the content teachers don’t have the language ability to offer their subjects through English and so the idea is that the language teachers work alonside the subject teachers in offering an ESP-type provision. There is clearly a lot of scope for this approach in this school.
The students had to discuss pros and cons of tourism for development in the form of a post-its debate.
Arguments for and against
In the end the board had clusters of statements which can then be generalized into arguments both for and against the theme or topic in question - here tourism and development. This is a relevant theme in Bulgaria where development has been a little out of control in the tourist areas around the country.
I also gave the students a handout with 'The language of arguing' (document attached below). We didn't do anything with this in class, but I thought it would be useful in case any of the students actually took me up on my 'homework invitation'. I invited students that if they wanted, they could write a discursive essay on this topic 'Is development through tourism a good or a bad thing?' 450 words and I gave them my email. If they write it and send it in I'll check, mark and send it back.
I’ve also promised to see what I can do to help the school develop links with other schools with a similar profile in other countries. It makes sense for the school to seek out similar schools to share ideas and practice as there is a lot of good practice in education in hospitality services in a number of European countries.
We also talked about resources. It’s a simple problem. The school doesn’t have English-medium materials for hospitality services education. I said I’d try and find out what’s available. It may be that colleagues in other countries.
Thanks and good-byes after the lesson.
The lesson:
1 Warm up - quick test on tertiary economy
We showed students a sample from the Macmillan Geography VPS CD for Topic 14 activity 2. One of the nice aspects of this task is the possibility to be able to draw up a glossary for the topic, hear a pronunciation of the word and see a simple definition.
6 multiple choice questions, students do in pairs, hand their answer to another pair, we mark together
2 Core vocabulary
Team word race
Teacher gives definitions on words seen on screen, team 1 guesses which words, gets one point per correct word, then team 2, until all words have been guessed, points counted
((a clip from this task))
3 For and against tourism
The text for this task comes from the Macmillan Geography VPS topic on Tertiary Economy. Instead of using the text as a linear reading task I decided to prepare it as a group reading and sorting task.  Here the students worked in pairs, threes or fours to rearrange the text into the correct order in a table of arguments for and against tourism. After the students had finished we went through their answers where individuals read their solutions talking both for and against a certain aspect of tourism.
4 Post its debate
Students get one post it, and a pen, they write an argument against tourism, stick it on the board, we continue till all students have posted on argument
Students get one post it, they write an argument for tourism, stick it on the board, we continue till all students have posted on argument
a short clip from this task

5 discuss writing this into a discursive essay, using the language of arguing
The students did a grand job. One of the teachers came up afterwards and said that they hadn’t spoken so much in the whole of the year. I was a little bit worried that they would be overwhelmed by all the adults, the camera and the press in the room, but they got into the lesson and did a great job. There were many other memorable aspects of the trip for me: My daughter shouting ‘pluva’ in the pool of the hotel when she wanted us to help her ‘swim’ in the water; the circus we visited and Dara dancing at the ringside; the school invited us back for banitsa the next day and they make their own fresh cheese pastry everyday so that was special too.
I’m sure we’ll be back and we’ll hear from this school again. I think I'd go back just for the banitsa!

Bulgaria - Science Across the Balkans
Bulgaria - Science Across the Balkans

This event is old news, but I came across a paper photo of the group which is such a lovely reminder that I thought I'd put it here just in case any of the group are visiting and might like a copy.

This was one of our first major activities which brought together colleagues from all over Europe and which led to the creation of the FACTWorld website and some of the initial texts for participant countries are still here behind their country flags.



Bulgaria - Science and Maths Education
Bulgaria - Science and Maths Education

Maths and Science Education in Bulgaria     

With the election of a new government in Bulgaria and the possibility of a concerted effort to bring good management to a country desperate to see exactly that, I put this page together to satisfy my own curiosity.
It sets out how Bulgaria has been performing in Science and Maths since 1995, at least according to the PISA and TIMSS data.
It's an understatement to say that the new government has a lot to do for Science and Maths education in Bulgaria. We expect Mrs Fandakova to be Education Minister, good luck to her. I think she'll need it!
Greaney V & T Kellghan 2008 Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
Results for the 2003 grade 8 mathematics test (TIMSS) 476
Bulgaria 'significanly above international average' 467
Results for 2004 Reading Achievement in Grade 4
Bulgaria came second in the survey showing students reaching PIRLS Benchmarks
Gregory K 2006 A method for monitoring sub-trends in country-level mathematics achievement on TIMSS, International Education Journal, Shannon Research Press
Shows percentage of students below the International Mathematics Mean (500) in TIMSS 1995, 1999, 2003
1995 - 40.55 527
1999 - 43.91 511
2003 - 60.37 476

UNICEF Country Profile on Education in Bulgaria
As of 14th July 2009
Gives performance of Bulgaria on the PISA 2006 in Participating Countries in the CEE/CIS Region.
Shows poor performance in comparison with countries in the region.
Education at a Glance 2008, OECD INDICATORS
Parents’ reports of child’s past science reading and student performance on the PISA science scale (2006)
This chart shows the performance difference on the science scale between students.
Shows a marked difference in achievement when scores are differentiated according to student socio-economic background.
Generally poor results when parents asked about standards and quality of education, Bulgaria ranks worst in the table for parents satisfaction with reporting on student progress and monitoring of progress.

2007 TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center
Shows charts and countries for Mathematics and Science Achievement at the 8th Grade.
BG Maths 464/500
BG Science 470/500
2003 TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center
Shows summary of trends, improving or declining
Bulgaria shows poor results in both Maths and Science 
Highlights From TIMSS 2007: Mathematics and Science Achievement of U.S. Fourthand
Eighth-Grade Students in an International Context, December 2008
Patrick Gonzales
Project Officer
National Center for Education Statistics
Gives comparative analysis of US achievement, Bulgaria can be seen alongside this.
Shows Bulgaria with 63 point drop in Grade 8 Maths achievement between 1995 and 2007, the worst in the chart.

Bulgaria - Supplementing your primary classroom
Bulgaria - Supplementing your primary classroom

Supplementing your primary classroom.

I was asked to prepare a workshop for Macmillan in Bulgaria with a focus on ideas and resources for primary teachers to move learning beyond their classrooms.

There is a flier here and invitation for the upcoming workshops in Varna (Nov 19th and Burgas Nov 20th 2015).
I'll write up some notes on the workshops and the content after the events.

For now, get in touch with Yordan Stoyanov and register at the link below if you'd like to join us. If not, please pass on to your colleagues.


Bulgaria - Varna Summer School 2004
Bulgaria - Varna Summer School 2004

Summer Course - Varna '2004

Networking and Training for Content and Language
Integrated Learning
(05.07 - 09.07.2004)
Organizers: Forum for across the Curriculum Teaching Group and Science across the World
Partners: The Ministry of Education and Science, Shumen University Konstantin Preslavski and 
In-service Teacher Training Department - Varna

Course Content
Albena Nikolova   
•Water in Bulgarian Literature – Creative Writing

Lyubov Dombeva
•Water experiments
•Beliefs about Water – Developing Listening Skills in EL

Maria Koeva
•WaterDoc Comes to Help

Stefka Kitanova   
•FACT – Content Process and Product of the Project
•Water experiments continued

Valentina Angelova – Course Director
•Developing Language Skills while Focusing on Science,

Literature and Culture (Water Variations)
•The Cross-curricular Approach in Teaching English as a FL
‘Testing’ Water

The team
Lyubov – the Lotus
Albena – the Albatross
Merry Maria
Emilia – the Eagle
Detelina – the Dog
Tsveti – the Tulip
Svetlana – the Sun
Iva – the Ice cream
Valya – the Vitamin
Krassimira – the Key
Elvira – the Experience
Julia – the Jacket
Stefka – the Snake

Participants Contacts

Детелина Йорданова Маринова – англ. ез
Гр. Велико Търново 5000, ул. “Камен Зидаров” 14
Detelina@vali.bgЕлвира Дамянова – англ. ез., руски ез.
Гр. Свищов, ул. “Средна Гора” 1
Вх. Г, ап. 15
D_blagoev@thezonebg.comЕмилия Христова Дишева - математика
Гр. Велико Търново, 5000, ул. “Краков” 5
Вх. В, ап. 4, ет. 2
Emilydisheva@abv.bgИва Симеонова Рангелова – англ. ез.
Гр. Севлиево, 5400, ж.к. “Димитър Благоев”
Бл. 3, ап. 2, вх. Г, ет.1
Evgeni_68@abv.bgКрасимира Кирчева Крумова – англ. ез.
Гр. Свищов, 5250, ул. “П. Евтимий” 72
Бл. 2, вх. Б, ап. 12, ет. 4
Krrass@abv.bgСветлана Пламенова Стойчева – български ез, история, англ. ез.
Гр. Тутракан, обл. Силистра, бл. “Росица”2
Ет. 4, ап. 10
Jovkov@mail.orbitel.bgЦвета Александрова Кръстева – изобразително изкуство
и история на изкуството
Гр. Велико Търново 5000, ул. “Оборище” 8
Вх. Г, ап. 21
Тел. 0889 274 783
mail@cveta.netЮлия Петрова Йозова – англ. ез.
Гр. Свищов, 5250, ул. “П. Ангелов” 15
Бл. 1, вх. Г, ет. 5
Тел. 0631 42246, 0888 777 366

 Tutors contacts
Albena Nikolova – albenahris@yahoo.comLyubov Dombeva – dombeva@abv.bgMaria Koeva - maria_koeva@yahoo.comeng. Stanislav Shterev – stan_sterev@abv.bg – 9010 Varna, ITTDStefka Kitanova - skitanova@scienceacross.org , butsa13@hotmail.comValentina Angelova – 9010 Varna, ITTD, valka55@hotmail.com

Group poems

It looks like crystal
It sounds like waterfall
It smells like perfume
It provokes me to dream

It looks like waves
It sounds like roaring sea
It smells like seaweeds
It provokes you to swim
(Iva – the Ice cream)

It looks like the rising tide
It sounds like the splashing mermaids
It smells like the cool breeze
It provokes myths and legends

It looks like a mirror
It sounds like music
It smells like a rose
It provokes my spirit

It looks like transparent air
It sounds like birds singing
It smells like perfume after rain
It provokes swimming

It looks like a blue transparent sky
It sounds like a beating chord in love
It smells like the hair of a baby
It provokes like the smile of a beautiful woman

It looks like silver
It sounds like music
It smells like spring
It provokes you to dream (= to live)

It looks like nylon curtains
It sounds differently –
as a lullaby song and as a thunder storm
It smells like sea J
It provokes you to desire it

It looks like air
It sounds like waves
It smells like sea
It provokes drinking
(Merry Maria)

It looks like winter
It sounds like spring
It smells like autumn
It feels like summer
It provokes changes
(Stefka – the Snake)



Rainbow is colourful
Colours are joy
Joy is peace
(Iva – the Ice cream)

Silver dewdrops, golden rays
Dancing stars in moonlit pit
Distant sound of ringing bells
For the one who wants to hear it

Water is a symbol of life
People are a symbol of life
So, People are a symbol of water
(Elvira, Emily, Merry Maria)

If waterless – I die,
If waterfull – I exist,
I choose – to live!
(Elvira, Emily, Merry Maria)

My water
Your water
Water for you and me

If a drop of water is love
And the river is life
I am an Ocean
(Krassi – the Key)

I saw the rainbow
It was from five colours
The colours of rainbow

Water is life
Ice is death
Vapour is in between
(Stefka – the Snake)

Water dripping off my hair
Makes me remember your smile

Waterfall in front
Water denying stillness
Breaking the silence

Rivers flow like golden paths,
Cascade down the mountainside
Chasing peace.
Deserts, stagnant seas of light,
Never get that kiss of life.
Water is pleasure in hot summer night
It is an enigma, a secret
And a kind of life’s fight.
(Krassi – the Key, Iva – the Ice cream, Emilia – the Eagle,
Lyubov – the Lotos, Stefka – the Snake)


Water is a source of life,
 Water is a state of mind
 It is placid, running fast
 It is beauty longing last
 Pleasure for my senses
 Inspiration for my dances!
(Merry Maria, Elvira – Experienced, Svetlana, Albena, Julia, Detelina)
It looks like a smile of a newborn baby
 With pure and full of goodness minds,
 Clear from the surrounding evil and
 Troubles in life
 It sounds like a bird flying free in the sky,
 Singing under the sun
 Not disturbed by the disastrous activities
 Of the surrounding life
 It smells like flower growing
 In calm and sunny place
 With odour of green and beauty nature
 Reflecting one world of with clear environment.
 It provokes the best sides of the person’s nature
 To come out and show the world
 How good we can be
 If we want.
 (Krassi – the Key)

Download the "Varna Summer Course 2004" in Word format below

Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar
Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar

Vocabulary Seminar, Blagoevgrad
March 21st, 2008
We set off from Sofia in the snow and arrived to the sunshine in southern Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad.
The beautiful former Solunska Gimnazia hosted the workshop 

We looked at vocabulary and it was great to see 18 teachers turn out for the meeting among whom we had Science, IT, English and Business Studies teachers present. 
Yordan presents the Science Vocabulary Series
Colleagues consider the frequency of words in a general science text.  
In addition to the content of Plovdiv and Sofia, colleagues were also asked to recreate linear text from wordmap input.  This took the form of a wordmap on wealth and poverty and the teachers were asked to try and follow the logic of the structure of the map to make sentences to express the ideas in the content. 
Smiling to the end...
 ... and Macmillan sent me this link to a film they made of me introducing the Science Vocabulary Practice Book and CD!  

The photo opens a link to the YouTube clip.

I wish I'd known they were going to do this, I'd have worn something different! 

Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar
Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar

School visit and Macmillan vocabulary workshop, Sofia.
March 14th, 2008

I received a warm invitation to visit the Ivan Zlatarski IB school in Sofia (http://www.zlatarskischool.org). 
This is a very interesting school from a CLIL perspective in that it offers English-medium subject teaching on the road to IB exam qualifications.

One of the two buildings on the campus

Year 10 Biology / English

I co-taught with colleague Dobri for two lessons while at the school with a year 10 group which has their Biology through the medium of English.
We spent the two lessons working on the topic of Acid rain.
Reading and discussing coal as a fuel

Many thanks to the school for hosting me.  I'm sure I'll be back there soon.  This is something to watch out for.  I think more and more schools will set up shop like this as more students and parents request English-medium education.  At the moment though Ivan Zlatarski School is one of a kind in Bulgaria.

We continued the Macmillan tour to The Department of Information and In-service Training of Teachers, Sofia
March 14th, 2008
It was a pleasure to come back to the In-service Training Institute in Kniazhevo in the shadow of Vitosha mountain.

I had started working in CLIL training at this very institute with an in-service training course for teachers many years ago.
Yordan gets the show on the road...    

It was a tremendous turnout with over 50 teachers squashed into the boardroom at the institute.
The colleagues were very interested in the catalogue of resources provided by Macmillan.
I delivered similar content to the workshop in Plovdiv a few weeks ago.
But this time I focused more on the Science Vocabulary Practice Series resource.  One of the instruments on the CD is a total cloze activity.
Which students use to fill in text on a given topic.    
students can use the task on the CD alongside the topic word list and look up words while doing the task.
... or, they can ask for words to be given...    
... or the rest of the text can be made to appear if they get completely stuck.
You may remember this from the 'Hidden Text' software which is still available from the materials section of this site, under 'computers'.
We also looked at the tool for creating word maps on the CD.  This enables students to create their own maps for a specific topic area and save it and export it to an external programme to edit.    

Yordan even had a free copy of the book and CD to give away to a lucky winner in a tombola at the end of the workshop.


Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar
Bulgaria - Vocabulary Seminar

The seminar tour started in The English - German School, Plovdiv, Feb 22, 2008     

Many thanks to Marianna Gencheva, senior English Expert at the Regional Inspectorate of Education in Plovdiv for her assistance in making this even happen and bringing in nearly 30 teachers to the workshop.
The topic of the workshop was 'vocabulary'.

Many thanks to Marianna Gencheva, senior English Expert at the Regional Inspectorate of Education in Plovdiv for her assistance in making this even happen and bringing in nearly 30 teachers to the workshop.
The topic of the workshop was 'vocabulary'.
Marianna and Yordan wish I'd stop taking pictures...

It's great to be able to participate in something like this.  Some of you may know that I worked for 8 years at the English-German School in Plovdiv and this was a great opportunity to meet up with former colleagues and friends.In fact, I spoke with school director, Valentin Karaminev, about coming back and since have arranged to go in to the Prep classes once every two weeks to help with the work of the 6 colleagues who teach their.  I'll report on how that goes.
Very bad technique standing in front of the projector...

=13pxI'd prepared my workshop based on work with subject teachers and the difficult job they have in dealing with the heavy load of new words each class that they have to teach to their learners.

Though I had my materials ready, Yordan Stoyanov - macmillan_bg@abv.bg, sent me a chapter from the Scrivener publication 'Learning Teaching'.  The chapter was on vocabulary.

I followed ideas from Scrivener in my presentation.
You can download the PPT here below if interested.

I particularly liked what Scrivener writes about organising words to facilitate learning and so I rewrote my workshop to incorporate many of his ideas.[/userfiles/files/BG-Mac_Pl-Vocab4.JPG]
One of these was the idea of mapping words.  I decided to prepare a mind map based on the chapter.

You can download the mindmap from here below.

We covered many things, concordancing, total cloze tasks, concept mapping software, discourse analysis, terrible materials students are expected to work with in learning in English and many others.But I don't want to give all my secrets away!  You'll have to get in touch and ask me if you'd like to know more, or better still come along to one of the workshops.  Next stop Sofia at Knazhevo TT institute on 14th March.After that, Blagoevgrad on the 21st March.

Bulgaria - World Sustainability Week
Bulgaria - World Sustainability Week

World Sustainable Development Week!
Zlatarski School, Sofia
19th to 23rd Oct, 2009

Many thanks to colleague Lyubov Dombeva for keeping us up to date with what has been going on in her school. In fact, the whole team of teachers involved in Zlatarski School's initiatives for this important week should be applauded.

You can read about what they did and more from the latest issue of their school newsletter which you can download here below.


CLIL Clinic
CLIL Clinic

CLIL Clinic
The drop in clinic for help and suggestions on CLIL for your lessons and teaching.
During the Covid pandemic I've been asked by several individual colleagues for some help on their lessons, their projects, their PhD papers and others.
I decided it might be a good idea to have a place where colleagues could come to ask for help when they need it.
This space is for that purpose.

The video gives an example of a lesson I worked on for a colleague to give a CLIL version of the original mother tongue Chinese science lesson. It focuses on the three dimesions of CLIL (Concepts, Procedures and Language) as you might imagine.
Take a look, and if you think I could help, get in touch!

The slides for the presentation on 'The Water Cycle' are available here for download.

CLIL Lesson Planning Course - Putting CLIL into Practice
CLIL Lesson Planning Course - Putting CLIL into Practice

Planning HELP for CLIL Lessons
I've been invited to contribute online to CLIL course for teachers recently. A large amount of the focus is on lesson planning.
I've decided to adapt the course below to create an option focusing entirely on lesson preparation. If you need help with your CLIL lesson prep - get in touch! keith@anglia-school.info


CLIL Projects - Putting CLIL into Practice
CLIL Projects - Putting CLIL into Practice

CLIL Projects
I've been approached to prepare some professional development for CLIL on the theme of projects.

The content this time round is geared to Erasmus+ projects and CLIL as this is the feedback of this cohort for the course.
I've worked personally on a wide range of CLIL projects and am delighted to offer this experience, a little of the principles behind Putting CLIL into Practice, and a mass of materials for teachers to consider in exploring CLIL projects for their classrooms, here with the aim of drafting an outline for an Erasmus+ project.

If you would like to follow the online short course in CLIL Projects - get in touch! keith@anglia-school.info 

Putting CLIL into Practice
Putting CLIL into Practice

Putting CLIL into Practice was first held in Plovdiv in 2018 and has gone through a number of developments since.  
The course is available for pre-primary, primary and also for secondary teachers.
The course has travelled to other countries including Estonia, Austria and Switzerland.
It is also now available in an online version.
Putting CLIL into Practice has led to other professional development such as planning for CLIL and projects for CLIL.
Lastly, the CLIL Clinic was recently created to offer colleagues easily accessible help and suggestions for their CLIL lessons.
We recently asked participants what their feelings and experiences were about the course. We are overwhelmed with their responses. 

Course - Putting CLIL into Practice
The CLIL Courses are organized according to school level and age of learners:
Putting Secondary CLIL into Practice (PSCIP)
Putting Primary CLIL into Practice (PPCIP)
Putting Pre-Primary CLIL into Practice (PP-PCIP) 
Intercultural Communicative Competence for Young learners through CLIL
Sustainability through CLIL
All of the courses offer a comprehensive combination of CLIL theory and practice with the aim of equipping teachers with the ideas and skills they need to help their students work through curriculum material in English, and support students when they are asked to speak and write about these subjects in the foreign language.

CLIL Clinic
The drop in clinic for help and suggestions on CLIL for your lessons and teaching.

CLIL Projects for Erasmus+
I've been approached to prepare some professional development for CLIL on the theme of projects...

Planning HELP for CLIL Lessons
I've been invited to contribute online to a CLIL course for teachers recently. A large amount of the focus is on lesson planning.

Putting CLIL into Practice Online 
There is now an online version of this course available.

Course Dates 
While the courses tend to be run during school holidays, the courses can be run at any time during the year convenient to colleagues' availability.

The next scheduled courses are:

Courses offered end 2023 and 2024:
Putting CLIL into Practice
(Principles, Practice and Production)

We plan to offer the following in the new school year:
- Preprimary CLIL Course and Materials Writing
- Primary CLIL Course and Materials Writing
- Middle and Secondary CLIL Course and Materials Writing
- English Language Course for teachers
- Job Shadowing (we also have an agreement with a local school for them to host visits so that teachers can see how things are done in a Bulgarian school).

Course Registration and Fees

If you are interested in attending a “Putting Secondary CLIL into Practice” or 'Putting Primary CLIL into Practice' course at Anglia School, Plovdiv, we would like to ask you to complete a Preliminary registration form. Once we have reviewed it, we will send you a letter of invitation to join the course.
Once your institution has applied and received Erasmus+ grant for funding, you should confirm your desire to attend the course by completing the Course registration form and paying the registration fee by bank transfer.

Early Registration and Cancellation Policy:
For early registration for PCIP and for PPCIP: 500 EUR
For late registration: 600 EUR
Refunds available depending on date of cancellation.
Once registration and payment have been received we will send you additional information about the course programme, social activities, transportation and other useful tips.

Social programme and information on Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the EU Capital Culture 2019 and there is certainly plenty to do and see during your stay in our lovely city.

А view from the centre of Plovdiv, the Roman Stadium and the main shopping street
A view from the main street


Plovdiv Airport – The South Gate of Bulgaria
Plovdiv Airport is a regional airport that serves South-Central Bulgaria and a population of over 2 million people in a driving distance of 1.5 hours by road. The airport is located 12 km southeast from the city of Plovdiv – the second largest city and cultural capital of the country. Situated in the very heart of the Balkan Peninsula, the city is an appropriate starting point for travelling around the region.
Access to Plovdiv from some European countries including: UK (Stansted Airport, London), Italy (Bergamo Airport, Milan), Belgium (Brussels) and Germany (Hahn Airport, Frankfurt), Plovdiv International Airport could be used.
You can also take a taxi from the Plovdiv Airport to the city centre for approx. 7 – 9 EUR. Please visit the following page for telephone numbers:
Sofia Airport is the main airport, which participants from across Europe can arrive at. It is situated 140 km north-west of the town of Plovdiv.
For more information: http://www.sofia-airport.bg/
Route: To get from Sofia Airport to the Central Bus Station in Sofia take the subway or find the office of “O.K. Taxi” outside the airport terminal; telephone number:
00359 2 973 21 21.
Bus line No.84 links the airport with the city centre.
You have to get off at Hotel Pliska bus stop and change to bus line No.213 or 305 for the Central Bus Station and The Central Railway Station.
Also, there is a metro station, near Terminal 2, which can take you directly to Central bus station.
We can also arrange a shuttle (car or bus) to pick you and colleagues up from the airport. Price on request.
Travelling by bus:
There are intercity buses from the Central Bus Station in Sofia to the “Yug” Bus Station in Plovdiv, which leave approximately every hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The price for the bus is 7 Euro.
For more information: http://www.centralnaavtogara.bg/
To see all direct bus lines from other cities visit
http://www.avtogari.info or http://www.hebrosbus.com
Over 80 settlements have direct bus line to Plovdiv.
Travelling by train:
From Central Railway Station Sofia you can take both direct express or fast trains travelling from Sofia to Plovdiv
and trains travelling the lines Sofia – Svilengrad and Sofia – Burgas.
The trip duration is 3 hours.
The price of the ticket is around 5 euro.
And at 22:40 there is a late train that leaves from the Central Railway Station, which is situated next to the bus station.
From other railway stations:
The towns that have direct railroad connection with Plovdiv are Burgas, Svilengrad, Karlovo, Panagyurishte, Peshtera, Hisar and Asenovgrad as well as many towns in Europe and the Middle East.
For more information: http://www.bdz.bg

There is a lot to choose from in terms of hotels in our lovely city, but since we discovered HillHouse Plovdiv, we recommend this wonderful boutique hotel in the heart of Plovdiv's Old Town. You won't be disappointed if you pick this hotel. You step out of the door and you are surrounded by ancient Plovdiv's ruins, remains and cultural, historical and culinary heritage.
Slavi, the hotel manager is a warm and hospitable host for whom nothing is too much. Slavi also offers individual and group discounts to colleagues on our courses.

Social Programme (International dinner)
During your stay in Plovdiv, we will organize an international dinner on Wednesday evening. Please bring with you an item of food, and an item of drink which you feel represent your home culture.
The dinner will take place in a nice location (tbc) where each of the participants will say a few words about the items they have brought and we will all share the food and drink together.
Of course, there will be some local Bulgarian surprises for you too! 
((Visit to the Old Town Plovdiv))
All the participants are invited to join Keith and colleagues for a walking visit around Plovdiv ancient town. Dinner in the old town is also a welcome possibility.

Course admin – info@anglia-school.info / +359896096761 / 88 Rodope St, Plovdiv, 4000, Bulgaria
Course content – CLIL@anglia-school.info
Website link

Facebook page with ongoing discussion

Putting CLIL into Practice Online Course
Putting CLIL into Practice Online Course

Putting CLIL into Practice Online 

There is now an online version of this course available.

This online version of the course Putting CLIL into Practice includes 10 hour-long instructional videos on key CLIL themes each followed by a personalised live session on lesson and materials writing based on the key themes and geared towards meeting participants’ specific needs and local CLIL teaching and learning contexts.
The input films will have the following themes:
01 Three dimensional CLIL
02 Layers of language in CLIL
03 Subject-specific terminology (SST)
04 Guiding input – multi-media
05 Guiding input – text
06 Supporting output – writing
07 Supporting output – speaking
08 Planning CLIL lessons
09 Auditing general academic language
10 CLIL materials, projects and networks

Video Summary


The personalised sessions will have as focus tasks where colleagues explore the theme with respect to their own classroom needs and as part of the discussion I will provide input on the materials and lessons being written.
How can you get involved?
Get in touch and express an interest (keith@anglia-school.info).
We discuss your needs, your background, teaching experience and ambitions for doing the course with me.
We fixed the dates in the calendar. This can be done intensively in one week, or can be spread out over several weeks or months. It may be that you wish to do the whole input and task list during one week in the summer, or you may wish to spend more time in discussion with me working on your materials over a school term. It is intended to be flexible to suit your personal availability and needs.
I am happy to run this course with individual colleagues, with small groups of colleagues from the same school, or with larger groups of colleagues who would like to be part of a community of teachers undergoing the course and sharing their work, and sharing feedback with each other.
Cost – EU250
(Note – the first planned course was held within the two week period from July 20th, 2020)

Putting Pre-Primary CLIL into Practice
Putting Pre-Primary CLIL into Practice

Putting Pre-Primary CLIL into Practice

This course is aimed at teachers who are working with our youngest learners through the medium of English as a foreign language. This means teachers working with children from aged 2 up. The upper age depends on local contexts as the start age of primary 1 varies from country to country. The course content takes its impetus from two main sources. Firstly, the principles behind the practice are from CLIL methodology where we look at language of learning, and we explore 'conceptual routines' and consider classroom dynamics and procedures. Secondly, another influence on the content is the practice at Anglia School where our course is hosted.

The first iteration of this course is presented below over 4 days. It is possible to add a day to this to make a 5-day course. Additionally, colleagues work on resources and materials to take back home for their own teaching context. This collection is collated by Keith Kelly and is edited and proofed for publication. The latest collection is at the moment of writing going through the pre-print process for publication and will be the FACTWorld Journal issue 24. Watch this space!

Anglia School is a recognised centre for teacher development within the Erasmus+ programme and we are delighted to host teachers who are looking for ideas from our practice to take back to their own preprimary schools.

Implementing CLIL in Preprimary Education: Studying examples of good practice - Course Overview
Monday arrivals
Day 1 - Tuesday
Initial introductions also allow the hosts to present ‘how things are done’ at Anglia School, its curriculum and ‘learning by doing’ as well as time for participants to begin to present some background information about their own school contexts. There is an initial focus on the three dimensions of CLIL and in particular on language as well as overarching principles in the pre-primary curriculum. The day continues with an examination of expectations and matching these to the course programme and, more generally, Anglia School methods. The day ends with a walk around town to allow participants to get bearings and hear about the city’s socio-cultural and historical heritage.
Day 2 – Wednesday
The second day is dedicated to an exploration of skills in early learning in English as a foreign language, with examples from functions in the Anglia School curriculum. Participants will be presented with samples lessons, either live visits to lessons and / or with an examination of session plans. Colleagues are then invited to consider pre-primary curriculum skills in their own curriculum contexts and how materials and methods reflect these issues. The afternoon is dedicated to resource creation with access to Anglia School curriculum resources and technology for materials production.
Day 3 – Thursday
Day 3 focuses on story and non-fiction in the curriculum and ways, means and methods for young children to experience concepts presented through these ‘texts’. In addition, participants will consider content presented through other media (multimedia, objects, realia etc). The aim here is to identify conceptual structure in input content and exploit this structure to support learners. Again, there will be lesson examples to experience and sample session plans working on story themes for participants to discuss. Lastly, participants will have time to focus on story in their own contexts including the opportunity to produce resources to take home for use. The afternoon of Day 3 continues the experience of Plovdiv’s history and culture with a visit to artesan workshops in Plovdiv’s Old Town.
Day 4 – Friday
In discussion of how to support learners in their spoken output, content is explored in all its forms in the young learner curriculum for the purpose of encourating spoken English. Colleagues will have the opportunity to observe a lesson live and / or discuss session plans for this theme. Participants will work on materials and tasks developing support for speaking in English through the curriculum content for use back home. One afternoon session offers participants further opportunity to develop and gather CLIL resources for very young learners.
The day closes with presentation of certificates and celebration of the week.
Saturday - departures

Putting Primary CLIL into Practice
Putting Primary CLIL into Practice

Putting Primary CLIL into Practice - Course Overview

Participants on this course receive detailed and rich input during the morning sessions on the themes given below in the programme, and during the afternoon sessions time is dedicated to applying these ideas to materials and activities which participants create which will be most relevant to their own home school contexts. This collection of materials and activities is then collated, edit, and proofed by Keith Kelly and then published to provide course participants with their very own publication of resources. 
FACTWorld Journal 23 is dedicated to such a collection produced by a group of primary CLIL colleagues from Piemonte, Italy.
Day 1 - Monday
Initial introductions also allow the hosts to present ‘how things are done’ at Anglia School, its curriculum and ‘learning by doing’ as well as time for participants to present some background information about their own school contexts. The day continues with an examination of expectations and matching these to the course programme and, more generally, Anglia School methods. The day ends with a short walk around town to allow participants to get bearings.
Day 2 – Tuesday
The second day is dedicated to an exploration of language in learning, with an initial specific focus on speaking and writing and more broadly ‘language in the curriculum’. Participants will be presented with samples lessons, either live visits to lessons and / or with an examination of session plans. Colleagues are then invited to consider language issues in their own curriculum contexts and how materials and methods reflect these issues.
Day 3 – Wednesday
Day 3 focuses on art in the curriculum and ways, means and methods for young children to represent the world around them through art activities. Again, there will be lesson examples to experience and sample session plans working on art themes for participants to discuss. Lastly, participants will have time to focus on art in their own contexts including the opportunity to produce resources to take home for use.
Special Note! – Wednesday evening will have the International Dinner and participants are asked to bring an item of food and an item of drink representing their home culture to share with the group.
Day 4 – Thursday
Music and action is the focus of Day 4 and song, music and movement will be explored in all its forms in the young learner curriculum. Colleagues will have the opportunity to observe a lesson live and / or discuss session plans for this theme. Participants will work on materials and tasks developing music, song and action in their own curriculum for use back home.
Day 5 – Friday

The last day looks at Science and ‘knowing the world around us’. Here, participants will explore ‘investigations’ to develop in their curriculum back home, they will watch a science lesson and / or discuss session plans on this theme. Lastly, colleagues will work on materials for science in the young learner curriculum and present briefly to the group the resources they have created during their week with us.
The day closes with presentation of certificates and celebration of the week.

Putting Secondary CLIL into Practice
Putting Secondary CLIL into Practice

Putting Secondary CLIL into Practice - Overview

PSCIP I will be a special CLIL Masterclass delivered by myself and, I'm very pleased to annouce, Phil Ball. As co-authors (with John Clegg) of OUP's Putting CLIL into Practice, we've managed to put our ideas into a course we will co-teach, so you get both of us for the price of one!

Day 1
After a traditional Bulgarian welcome which I know all will enjoy we'll get into the programme and begin to lay out a foundation for working on CLIL with an exploration of 3D CLIL and CLIL in all its dimensions.

We will explore thoroughly different layers of language in CLIL

Each day will close with a focus on materials development to go a long way to providing colleagues with resources to take back and use in their teaching immediately!

Day 2
The second day examines strategies for guiding students through content input and support them in producing content output, two key pillars of CLIL methdology.

Guiding Input - TextWork

Day 3
Day 3 develops the theme of guiding input with a focus on working with multi-media input in the classroom.
Wednesday evening will be our International Dinner and all participants will bring a tipple and a tasty nibble from their home culture to present and share with the group. Yum!

Day 4
Here, we move on to considering ideas and techniques for supporting student output – in written or spoken form.

Day 5
The final day has participants working on support for spoken output in CLIL. Part of the work of a CLIL teacher is being familiar of ‘all’ of the language in their subject, as we hear on day 1.

Supporting Output - Speaking in CLIL Classes

Their will also be a well-earned certification ceremony and warm farewells to end the formal part of the week together.