suggested reading for teenagers and young adults

This is a list of books for children, teenagers and young adults, by no means comprehensive, which could be used as reading material in the English classroom, or as recommendations for independent reading:

Further suggestions (year 4 secondary and upwards):

Roald Dahl’s short stories:



Starting secondary school: icebreaker ideas

Starting secondary school can be a nerve-racking experience for students. These are some suggested activities you can use on the first day of your English/literacy classes with year 1 secondary students.

  • Shonny’s first day at secondary school: the day before (Newsround). This British girl describes her feelings when making the jump from primary to secondary school, something most of your students can relate to. You can download the worksheet with some questions based on the video, as well as the transcription.

As a follow-up, you can also use Shonny’s video describing her actual first day at school.

  • What to expect when you start high school (Newsround). Some year 7 students (11-12 year-olds) who have been in a secondary school in the UK for some weeks now are asked about how they feel now. Based on the questions the kids on the video are asked, you can ask these questions to your own students:

    • How do you feel on the first day of high school? (elicit adjectives from your students, and suggest synonyms using a thesaurus).
    • What is the hardest thing about starting school?

Further ideas: Secondary school struggles: captioned video and article

Screenshot 2019-09-04 at 16.18.16

  • Time-capsule: one of my favourite activities to start school. Ask students to answer these questions individually. Nobody else will read their answers unless they want to share anything with their classmates by reading them aloud. Then, a ‘digital time-capsule’ can be created, which can, in turn, become the first element in a digital portfolio. Their worksheets can be scanned and then uploaded, for example, to Seesaw. That way, they could also record their voice explaining some of their answers.

What I did back then was to scan all the answer sheets as pdf files that I have kept on my drive. The students I did this activity with are in their year 4 secondary this year: it would be a nice end-of-year giveaway to show them what their thoughts and hopes were on their first days at secondary school.

  • Finally, another possible nice activity is for students to write a letter to their future selves. The website allows you to write text, and schedule it to be sent to your email inbox at a given point in the future. The letter can be scheduled, for example, for the last class of the year, and it can describe, for example, students’ expectations, hopes, fears, and/or resolutions. Then, by the end of the school year, they can check what they wrote in the letter against what actually happened.

Red Nose Day in the classroom

Comic relief is a British charity created in 1985 by British comedians. Their aim is to raise money for people in need, both in the UK and abroad, through entertainment and comedy.

Every two years, they hold a big event which takes place nationwide: Red Nose Day (RND). Apart from a big telethon on BBC, and a series of shows, the whole country is invited to take part, by doing something funny for money, either at home, school, or at work. These may include wearing a red nose (hence the name), or simply coming up with something silly / funny that you wouldn’t normally do, and then get sponsored for doing so.


Click on the image to watch Mr. Bean’s Red Nose Day. It’s one of the earliest sketches to have been written for the event. It gives you an idea of what RND is all about.

Over the years, such comedians as Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie (House M.D.), or Ricky Gervais (The Office), among many others, have contributed to the shows. In 2019 Red Nose Day will be on Friday, March 15th.

A very special feature has been prepared for RND 2019: to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral, the cast have reunited to show what the characters’ lives are like 25 years later.

Would you like some ideas to celebrate Red Nose Day in your school? Here are some fundraising (fun) ideas:

Wear something:

  1. Get sponsored to wear a fancy dress for 24 hours.
  2. Get sponsored to wear your PJs (pyjamas) all day at work or in school.
  3. Hold a fashion show and sell tickets for the big event.

Eat something:

  1. Get sponsored to eat nothing but red food for a whole 24 hours.
  2. Get sponsored to give up chocolate, biscuits or crisps.
  3. Hold a bake-off and ask for donations to taste your cakes or biscuits.

Stage something:

  1. Get all your friends together for a quiz night where everyone pays to play.
  2. Hold a talent show and sell tickets to watch all the acts.
  3. Have a karaoke night and get friends to chip in a donation to be allowed to sing.

Hair-do something:

  1. Get colleagues or classmates to sponsor you to wear a red wig for 24 hours.
  2. Give your friends a hairstyle makeover and charge a donation for your stylistic services.
  3. Get sponsored to have a hairstyle like Marge Simpson’s.

Dare something

  1. Get sponsored to be handcuffed to a friend or work colleague for 24 hours.
  2. Do a sponsored silence – a quiet classic.
  3. Can’t live without your laptop or smartphone? Get sponsored to ditch little luxuries for a week.
  4. Get active – get sponsored to walk to work for a week or give the lift the heave-ho and take the stairs.

Ideas from the Comic Relief website:

Pinterest board with ideas

Many of the materials (packs) they produce can be used in the classroom, either in isolation, as a part of a unit about RND, or to raise awareness about social issues and poverty…

If you’d like to see how it works:

(to download the video and English subtitles, you may use, for example. Copy the youtube link, and then download both the video file and the .srt file. Then, if you give the same name to both the video and the subtitle file, and you play the video with VLC player, the subtitles will play automatically, and you won’t depend on -sometimes unreliable-internet connections).

Sometimes, artists record covers of oldies especially for the occasion, as One Direction did some years ago:

One Direction: One Way or Another (Comic Relief 2013)

(if you use Musixmatch you will get the subtitles for the song)

If you’d like to see how some schools in the UK have participated, you may have a look at, for example, Buxton School in Leytonstone, London.

Pupils of Buxton School in Leytonstone dress in red for Red Nose Day


More examples of RND in schools across the UK:

Alternatively, you may also have a look at the official RND / Comic Relief twitter accounts

More on RND- possible reading comprehension exercises:

How could you use Red Nose Day in your classroom / in your school? Would you wear your red nose for school? 

(Updated 8th March 2019)

Publicaciones Embajada EE.UU.

El Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos tiene publicada en su web varias de sus publicaciones dirigidas a centros educativos en formato digital (H/T to Noelia M.). Son publicaciones destinadas a difundir la historia y cultura de los Estados Unidos, y pueden resultar útiles para distintas áreas (literacy, ESL, Science, Social Science) o para trabajar proyectos interdisciplinares. Los podéis descargar en este enlace.


Spelling Bee para centros bilingües inglés (ESO)

Profesores de centros bilingües de inglés en secundaria: os invitamos a participar en la organización de un Spelling Bee intercentros, para que participen vuestros alumnos. Como sabéis, el Spelling Bee es un concurso de ortografía, muy extendido en los países de habla inglesa, en el que los chicos demuestran que saben deletrear correctamente palabras complicadas, o de campos semánticos específicos (en nuestro caso, por ejemplo, de las áreas no lingüísticas en lengua inglesa, o del mundo académico).

Aquí tenéis las normas básicas del concurso:

y aquí un ejemplo del 2015:

Es una actividad que planteamos como un grupo de trabajo y coordinamos desde el CIFE, pero que los profesores participantes podrán diseñar como deseen. La primera reunión se realizará el 5 de Abril, a las 17.00, en el CIFE Juan de Lanuza. El resto de fechas se decidirán en esa sesión, según convenga a los participantes.

La inscripción se realiza en DOCEO, en este enlace. Podéis descargar la información en pdf aquí. Pueden participar tantos los profesores especialistas en lengua inglesa, como los profesores que imparten áreas no lingüísticas en inglés.

Pensamos que es una actividad que, además de cumplir el objetivo de mejorar la ortografía y vocabulario de los alumnos, puede venir bien como estímulo; para que se conozcan entre ellos; y también para intercambiar formas de trabajo entre los profesores de distintos centros.




Digital tools in the CLIL classroom

This is the presentation I’ve used during the second session of the course entitled “Propuestas de trabajo en el aula bilingüe en inglés en secundaria”. You may download it by clicking on the picture.


You may also download Olga Perna’s presentation about the Future Classroom Lab below (Thanks, Olga!):

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 20.02.59

These are some of the apps and software I used during the session:

  • Silent Light (iOs)- traffic light to control classroom noise. ($$)
  • Too Noisy (web-based, Android, iOs) Smiley to show how noisy a classroom is. (Lite version, free)
  • Reflector: to display mobile devices on a laptop / PC ($$)

consejos preparación B1-B2- IES Valdespartera

This is the presentation I’ve used for my session with Year4 students at IES Valdespartera. You can download it by clicking on the picture:

B2- tips

Thanks to the teachers and the students, you’ve made me feel at home. I wish you the very best of luck with your tests!