Lesson Plan: Can a 6-year-old Girl Be a Judge for One Day?


Last week a video of a judge from Rhode Island went viral when he asked a six-year old to help him. We all know that a judge must uphold the law, but Frank Caprio went above and beyond by being fair and candid.

Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02Y2y2U5ENs

Since my students love talking about what’s going on online, I thought it would be interesting to review conditional sentences and introduce crime vocabulary by using a real court case.

I hope you enjoy the lesson!!

Warm up:  Write on the WB the definition of “Judge”

Have your students guess whose noun that definition belongs to

Lead-in: Gap fill exercise (Vocabulary exercise)

Have your students complete the text using the words given. I personally loved this exercise because it would involve all the vocabulary used in a real courtroom and could be easily seen/ used in this particular scene.


Watch the video

After watching the video elicit from the students:

  • What was the crime?
  • What were the options given by the judge?
  • What would you have done in the little girl’s shoes?
  • Have you ever been fined?


Then move on to a reading activity which is an article about Judge Frank Caprio and a 5-year-old boy “judging” a case.  I’ve prepared two different activities to deal with the vocabulary from the text. For my B2 students I’d use the exercise as a Pre-teach vocabulary exercise. For my A2 students, I’d use as a post reading exercise as it’s a simple matching activity.

You can also take some time to ask your students their opinion on the matter.

  • Why do you think the judge invited the boy to his bench?
  • How would you feel if you were the father?
  • How would you handle the case if you were the judge?

Judge_Dad’s punishment

PTV_Judge_Dad’s punishement

PTV_Judge_Dad’s punishment_Vocabulary EXE2


Both the text and the video show examples of conditional sentences type 1 and 2. Elicit from the students examples, if they can’t remember, play the video again and write the sentences on the board.


Once again elicit from your students which one is real and which is hypothetical. Use their answers to manipulate the sentences.

Oral/ Written Practice (Freer)

In order to practice both constructions, I would encourage my students to write down new options for the girl to choose from.

Once again write their answers on the board and use them to manipulate language. In that stage I would introduce “whether, when, as long as” and other connectors that can replace “IF”



What I learned from my first BT event

FB_IMG_1496685341754I’ve been teaching English and Portuguese to speakers of a foreigner language for almost ten years now. During this period I’ve gathered good and bad stories to tell… It was in 2008 that I moved to Buenos Aires and was offered my first Portuguese class. Since I wasn’t familiar with teaching, my coordinator invited me to a friendly chat to discuss methodologies and show me some materials. After seeing her amazing handouts, I asked her if I could use them; and to my surprise she said: “No. They’re mine. It’s not my job to provide you with materials. Get your own.” I’ve always thought that a language coordinator could be anything but selfish. It’s not a matter of being or not able to prepare the lesson, sometimes the only thing you need is direction. From that day on, I’ve prepared everything that I use in my classes myself.

That experience has accompanied me throughout the years and it’s emphasized by the way I’ve been working since that particular meeting: I don’t have a website, I don’t work for a language institute and I find most of my students via word-a-mouth – which is great, really! – But also makes me a loner. Or I thought, until yesterday.

I went to my first Braz-Tesol last Saturday. I was amazed to see that we’re such a huge community. As a loner, myself, I’ve been quite resistant to attend this sort of event, but I’m glad I finally did. I met motivated and generous people who were there to share: share their experiences, their doubts, their fears and their lessons. Because that’s what teachers do:  SHARE, we are givers.

The second talk I attended was Learning English: a Reflection through practical activities that contribute to memory retention” given by Andreia Fernandes. At first I thought if it wouldn’t be rather unfair only to mention this talk. However, since the reason I’m writing is to cherish those who share valid activities for students, I believe I’m doing the right thing here! Besides, there was something about the way she talked that made me feel welcome. I wonder what kind of atmosphere she creates in her classroom, a homely one (for sure!).

She started off by showing some pictures, that eventually would take us to the earliest of our childhood memories, and explaining how the brain works. Then, she moved onto the memory and how people retain information. Andreia also mentioned that our five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste) play a major role in memory retention; therefore, if we want to make our lessons memorable, they should be present in our classes.


From the activities she presented, without a doubt, my favourite was the “Dice” – which I’m going to test as of Monday with my eight-year-olds. This is how it works:

  • Write a word in a slip of paper
  • Students take turns to roll the dice, and
  • Students finally follow the instructions based on the number on the dice.


It’s perfect to review/recycle vocabulary taught in previous classes and it involves using at least 3 senses: visual – because students read the paper and the instructions. Touch – students touch the slip of paper and roll the dice. Hearing – students need to pay attention to their classmates. What’s more it’s fun!

Andreia’s main point was to provide activities for a memorable class and it was certainly for me. Her kindness and selflessness convinced me that I don’t need to be a loner anymore because there is a community ready and willing to help one another.

Old video, new class!

I first saw this video last august during the Business Course I took in London. It was suggested by my tutor Alan, who enjoys using TED to teach teachers. So, it was originally his idea, but I took it and made it my own.

Source: TED Talks  https://www.ted.com/talks/nilofer_merchant_got_a_meeting_take_a_walk

Materials:  Word cloud and Mark Powell’s book (page 41)

Warm up:

  • How often do you exercise?
  • What kind of excuses do people give in order to avoid exercising?
  • How many hours per day are you sitting?


Explain to your students they are going to read a short text. Have they write down what’s the text is about based on the word cloud.


Have them share their ideas and write some of them on the WB.


Have the students read the audio script and check if they got it right

  • What’s your opinion?
  • Would you consider walking and talking with a client?

Imagine you have to sell this idea to people at your company. How would you pitch this philosophy? Explain that they can read the text.

Record your student’s performance.

Tell them that someone presented this text in a conference and we’re going to watch it.

  • How was her performance?
  • Did she get your attention?
  • What can you tell me about her intonation?
  • Why does she do that?

Listen to the student recordings, compare and ask what they would do differently and why.


Go back to the text and have students underline in which words the stress lies. Are all the words stressed? Why not?

  • Provide examples of unstressed words from the text.
  • Call their attention to “that” x “that”
  • Prepositions/ personal pronouns/ verb to be are not stressed.


Have student complete written task (controlled practice)

Have student complete oral task from Powell’s book – My favourite for Presentations!!

Elicit from your students stress within words: such as /ed/ sounds or the schwa

Have them find at least 5 words that contain a schwa in it.

Provide feedback on the WB

Oral Practice:

Have student read the text and record their voices again to check changes in their intonation patterns.






Business Class: Dealing with Numbers

I’ve been thinking about designing a lesson about Brexit for a long time. But I’ve never come around to doing it. Thanks to my beloved friend Cecilia, who encouraged me to start writing and sharing Business lessons, I’ve finally finished it. I hope you like it!

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39337693

Materials: Handouts for PTV and numbers (BBC Market data chart – great resource)

Aim: Dealing with figures

Level: B1/B2

Warm up:

  • Do you read about Politics around the world?
  • What’s Brexit?

VIDEO: From The Guardian

Post listening:

  • This situation has brought uncertainty to people who live in the UK and outside. How many complex issues did he mention?
  • Can you write down at least 3 questions?


  • Pre teach vocabulary

Have the students decide if the words have been defined correctly

Have students read the article (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39337693)

Post reading:

  • What’s happening on April 29?
  • When is the UK triggering the article 50?
  • Do Leave and Remain voters want the same things?

Dealing with figures

Have students identify the figures in the text

Have students write them in full

Teacher provides feedback on the WB – I always give feedback on the WB to manipulate useful language.

Teacher can also provide more examples:

  • 1994
  • 58% = 0.58 nought/ zero point five-eight percent
  • Is it 1,300, 402 or 1.300.402?
  • $1.5m – One million dollars or one and a half million dollars
  • 1/3 one third or a third
  • 2/3 two thirds

Have students complete gap fill exercise (BBC Market data chart)

Note 1: If you are teaching groups, you can have students in pairs. In this case, you should provide two different charts so that they can ask one another the missing numbers to complete them. This is a great opportunity to monitor students and use question order mistakes for error correction.

Note 2: If you teach one-to-one, dictation is the way to go. Provide your student a short piece of news with some gaps, read it aloud and have your student complete it.

What I personally like about this last exercise is that it leads to a next class on describing trends.



Decide whether the definitions below are true or false and account for your answers:

  • Cabinet: a private room on a ship or boat (  )
  • Pollster: one that conducts a poll or compiles data obtained by a poll (  )
  • Trigger: to separate into parts with suddenness or violence (  )
  • Regret: to be very sorry for (  )
  • Painless: to make suffer or cause distress (  )
  • Restrictions: having no boundaries (  )
  • Draft: a preliminary sketch, outline, or version (  )
  • Ratify: to approve and sanction formally (  )


Let’s talk about Failure…

Admitting to yourself that you weren’t good enough for anything is hard, let alone admitting it to the world. But sorry to break the news: Failure happens to all of us.

There are only two ways to look at it: you can sit down and cry or learn from it.

My first failure was the Michigan exam – I failed beautifully. I’m not embarrassed at all. In fact, I keep the report with my borderline and fail grades in the same place I keep my certificates. Why? Because it’s equally important. It’s a constant reminder that I can always do more.  When I became an English teacher in 2007, I knew I had to study hard and try to take the best courses – I truly believe that a good teacher has to be an excellent student. That is the only way you can improve your teaching skills and your students’ learning process. So I decided to apply for CELTA. And I failed. Twice! Yes, it took me two attempts to be accepted as a CELTA trainee. Since I wasn’t ready to give up, I asked my tutors-to-be what I needed to do in order to be accepted and I spent the following year ticking items from the list they kindly wrote to me.

For those who give up easily, here’s my advice: Don’t! Believe in yourself. You have to trust that you’re good enough. What if I had given up when the CELTA tutors said no? I wouldn’t be here telling you my story. Failure only means that you still have room for improvement, it means that you haven’t achieved your full potential because if you put your mind to it you’re always going to be successful.

My first post!!

My first post!!

I’ve chosen this picture to be the first entry in my blog! Since I’m going to be writing about students, lesson plans and business classes, it’s only fair to share this moment with those girls who encouraged me!


Last Saturday I was invited by my good friend Cecilia Nobre to attend the launching of this fantastic SIG called VOICES.  It’s going to be great for networking – she said. But honestly, it was more than that! It was about meeting great teachers, great women who are there to help one another and more importantly, about women who know their place in the world.

Thank you!