Magic in the Classroom

This post is inspired by Zhenya’s post on livening up the classroom’s standard routines.


  1. Post-it notes: The way I use them is not different from the ways described by other teachers. For example, when I want my students to write a possible topic for a discussion, I use these sticky notes. Then we stick them to the desk, and students are able to draw a circle on them voting for the topic they like the most. I also use them as a seta arrangement tool: by writing numbers (1 and 2) and letters (A and B) it’s possible to multiply the number of different seat arrangement combinations.
  2. Dices: I love board games, and I wish I could let my students play it more often… The last lesson of our course is a good opportunity to have some fun, so there’s always a board game at the end, and these colourful wooden dices are irreplaceable!
  3. The Bomb: It’s my ultimate favourite muhaha. I LOVE how students react when they realise it ACTUALLY makes the ticking sound. I remember one student dropped it when it ‘exploded’ in her hands. However, despite this incident, they all laughed and seemed to enjoy (especially boys). For those who don’t recognise where this beauty comes from, check Pass the Bomb board game 🙂 The bomb is an amazing tool to liven up any review activity (e.g., vocabulary, FL, grammar, etc.).
  4. Masking tape: Every lesson, my students fill in self-reflective check-sheets and set a goal for the second discussion. After the second discussion, they check if they achieved their goals or not and then stick the check-sheets into their textbooks. To make this process a bit more exciting (and to reward my students for the work they’ve done) I give them some cute masking tapes like these two. Sometimes I bring thematic stickers like Christmas stickers, etc.
  5. Some strange tiny objects: What are they??! Technically, these are the rubbers but in my classroom, they become chips that my students use when they play board games. I usually let students choose which ‘chip’ they want to use, and these three are the ultimate favourites (the fish-looking one is actually taiyaki, Japanese pastry snack). The others are mochi, onigiri, bamboo, tomato, melon, and aubergine.
  6. Timer: I use it so that I don’t have to depend on watch / clock. First of all, I HATE having anything on my wrists. Second, I don’t like the necessity of constantly checking my phone to end an activity on time. The timer is the easiest solution to these problems 🙂 Just don’t forget to change the battery when the time comes! And the beeping sound it makes when the time is up helps you to catch your students’ attention quickly.
  7. O-hajiki: All Japanese kids used to play this game where they have to hit one glass stone with the other, and whoever gets closest to the ‘main’ stone gets more points (or something like that). Whenever I take the bags with these stones out, students get excited and say ‘nostalgic!’. I use them as chips to cover some phrases in the check-sheets so that students (and I) could keep track on their FL use. The only drawback is that some students (usually boys) try to use o-hajiki the way they used it when they were children so make sure to keep an eye on those students who get too nostalgic and excited.


This is it! I hope to see your lists as well 😉


6 thoughts on “Magic in the Classroom

  1. Hi Lina

    Thank you very much for joining in and sharing what you bring to class! I have just shared your post on Twitter and said that I would love to try #3, 5 and 7 from your list. Re-reading it now I also love #4: have never thought about using the tape this way (and saw a lot of it in DIY stores here). Great idea about the everyday reflective process for your students: do you ask questions about the lesson and/or for feedback to you? I would love to know more about it! (another post, maybe?)

    Re the glass stones: I remember using them in YL classes as a classroom management tool (for sticking to the rules you get a star, and for getting 10 stars you earn a glass stone) It was effective for some time, but then motivation started to shift towards ‘learning for the sake of getting a token’… Thank you for reminder, and I like the idea you described. Thinking it can be covers for a Bingo game, too!

    Finally, I can easily imagine how the little toys = erasers become characters for a story students create, or an ‘imaginary friend’ to practice a language point with… You got me ‘tuned’ into YL classes, for sure!

    Happy winter holidays, and keep writing in 2018!

    1. Hi Zhenya,

      Thank you for leaving a comment and sharing this post on Twitter!

      #7: You’re quite right about using them as covers for Bingo; I do it as well whenever I have a Bingo game.

      #3: I first saw it when I did my TEFL course in St Petersburg. One of my trainee-buddies, Marina, brought it to do a vocabulary review with the students. It was love at first sight (for me at least) 😀

      #5: I can feel the YL-class ‘tune’ indeed! 🙂 Actually, that’s the thing about teaching first-year university students: on one hand, they’re young adults, but on the other hand, they’re still teenagers (or even kids) sometimes so I try to combine both adult and YL approaches. We discuss serious topics so that’s why it’s definitely worth to bring some YL-style fun into the classroom like fake microphones or o-hajiki, or these little tiny figures, or colourful masking tape 🙂

      #4: Yes, I will definitely write a post about the feedback I do with the students. I hope to present it at some conference next year, too. So stay tuned!

      May I wish you a happy New 2018 Year!

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