Sunday, 22 March 2015

World Water Day 2015 on March 22nd

World Water Day is March 22nd — a day when the world turns its attention towards the 750 million people who lack access to safe water.  From these lines, I would like to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of this issue among our students.  
The following video can be a nice starting point:

The British Council website offers a very complete range of activities that you can carry out after watching the video. You can access them here. You will find both on-line ("check for understanding: multiple choice and gap fil") and off-line activities ("worksheets and downloads").

Really moving stories that describe the drama millions of people are going through can be found on Since co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White in  in 1990, has helped hundreds of communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean gain access to safe water and sanitation.
You can also make students listen to the following interview with Matt Damon about the water crisis in 2010:

A wide variety of resources is offered by the United Nations website.  Logos and posters in many different languages can be downloaded from here.

Finally, a very practical ready-to-print lesson plan is offered, as usual, by ESL Holiday Lessons. You can work on this plan and students are bound to learn lots of language while they also get a glimpse of the crisis affecting one of the most precious resources we possess. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

International Women's Day 2015

20 years have passed since 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists streamed into Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995.They were remarkably diverse, coming from around the globe, but they had a single purpose in mind: gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere. By the time the conference closed, it had produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights. As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern. Even 20 years later, it remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration.

The following video can be an excellent introduction to a series of sessions to celebrate International Women's Day 2015:

After viewing this video, you can proceed with a text on International Women's Day and some activities on it. Choose the ones that best fit your school context  from the lesson plan you can get here.

If you have the chance to spend some sessions on the topic, this is a nice webquest on "Important women in the world". It is aimed at making students aware of the important work different women belonging to different work areas have carried out. You can adapt it and include other women if you think other choices may be more successful with your students. 

For those of you who share my passion for music as a means to create the proper atmosphere and convey powerful messages,  I have two proposals: the first one is Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive". Even though it was released in 1978, it has remained a true pop music anthem that highlights women's strength. You can download the lyrics here  and this is a worksheet you can use with your students.

My  second proposal is "A woman's worth". This was Alicia Key's second single. In this song, she wrote about self-esteem, and being worthy of the kindness of others. Keys feels it can relate to a man or a woman  so I reckon it is  very suitable for our students  because they can  listen to a song that describes what good relations should be like.

The video was shot in Brooklyn, near where she grew up:

The lyrics of the song offer a great opportunity to convey the powerful message of relations based on respect and equality. Precisely because the message is so powerful, I decided to forget about grammar objectives such as the first conditional or modal verbs and to offer students some activities which would enable them to fully understand the meaning of words and sentences in the song. That's why I developed  this worksheet

I hope that the proposals above will contribute to step up our efforts to foster gender equality in our classes