Cecilia Nobre ELT Blog

10 ideas on how to plan your lessons more quickly

Lesson planning can be a time-consuming process, but you can actually maximise your time if you follow these tips:

  1. Plan your lesson backwards, starting by the expected learning outcome. What would you like your students to achieve by the end of the lesson? By looking at the outcome first, you will be able to better plan the lesson stages and materials because your lesson will have a clear focus. If you want to read further, check out this link.
  2. On the same note, plan a series of 2 or 3 lessons in a sequence, on the same topic but addressing different skills and learning outcomes.
  3. Make room for emergent language from your students, make sure you note down their questions regarding new language or new phrases they learn. This can help you plan your following lessons – you can revise emergent language in the beginning of the lesson, for instance.
  4. Curate materials and important links by using a bookmarking website ( such as Pocket and Diigo). Besides that, keep your past lesson plans in a safe folder ( Google Drive is perfect for that). Once in a while re-use that lesson plan.
  5. Start your lesson with a quick grammar and/or vocabulary review from your previous lesson. Ensure that you know the topics you’ve taught and common questions from learners. You can use Quizlet or Socrative for quick quizzes.
  6. Choose the lesson materials (articles, videos, worksheets, etc) after planning the objective and expected learning outcomes ( tip 1). Your learning outcome should inform your materials and lesson procedures, not the materials. The materials are your tools only.
  7. Use the tech tools and websites that you already master. Don’t try to use tons of websites, it can be overwhelming for both you and your student. Keep it simple.
  8. Plan a brief reflection task for your student at the end of the lesson. Simple questions such as did you find the lesson interesting or boring? Why? What did you find easy? What did you find difficult? What have you learnt? This can be done orally – make sure you note down the answers or record the lesson to watch back. Their answers will help you plan your upcoming lessons more meaningfully.
  9. Join online communities of practice for lesson ideas, as teachers usually share their lesson plans and blog posts. I love Twitter and Facebook groups and Fanpages ( for example, this group and this page).
  10. Keep your lesson plan simple and realistic. You don’t probably need a Celta-like lesson framework – even though it is a good example, it’s too time-consuming. Design a lesson plan that works for you and your learners.

Thanks for reading.

Backwards design approach with authentic materials

Hi, everyone.

Long time no see!

Let’s get down to business. I’ve created a backwards designed lesson plan based on two You Tube videos ( “How to make Mc Donald’s chips…sounds ambitious, right?) to teach my fifteen-year-old private student.

The backwards design approach lies in the assessment framework. So, we plan the assessment first, then plan only lessons that will contribute to student success on that assessment. For me, that makes total sense.

The steps are:

Step 1: Identify what students should know and be able to do by the end of the learning cycle.

Step 2: Create an assessment to measure that learning.

Step 3: Plan a sequence of lessons that will prepare students to successfully complete the assessment.

Source: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/backward-design-basics/

My student seemed engaged and interested in the lesson – I asked for some feedback so he wrote:

WhatsApp Image 2020-08-11 at 00.26.37

You can access the lesson here: How to make Mc Donald’s chips LP (2)


How to design an online reading lesson

Hello, everyone.

I’ve just presented a webinar in the Facebook group Private English Teachers reloaded about how I design a typical online reading lesson. You can watch the recording here (you need to be a member of the group first, feel free to join if you aren’t).

I presented a B1 lesson based on the movement Black Lives Matter. You can freely access the slides and the materials in this post. Have you used the BLM movement as a topic of your lessons? Would you use it?

Let me know if you like the materials and use them in your classes. I appreciate any feedback!

Slides and explanation: Click here

Materials: Click here



P.S. Since you’re here if you want to delve into teaching the 4 skills online, you can’t miss my online crash course Teaching the 4 skills online. It’ll start on June 28th, you can find more information here


Webinars and CPD

Since Turkey adhered to the lockdown over a month ago, I have decided to get more involved in CPD opportunities and share my experience in online teaching with other fellow teachers. By the same token, I have lost count of how many webinars I have attended over the past month. How about you?

If you still want to watch webinars on teaching online ( yes, 2 more!), I delivered two through the BRAZ-TESOL:

5 Tools that will boost your classes and How to teach live English lessons

 I have also started to go on lives on Instagram ( @cicanobre)with other friends ( all ELT related) to chat about a certain topic. Last week I chatted with the amazing Vinnie Nobre( @vinnie_nobre) about the challenges of being a freelance teacher. You can watch our IG live here

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Additionally, I have chatted with Tamires Gama ( @simplifica.ingles), who is a popular, super competent and tech-savvy online teacher via another IG live.

Lastly, I participated in my very first EAP (mini) Conference through the University of Dundee as a presenter at the EAP in the North Conference on May 1st( I hadn’t known them before and I was surprisingly impressed with this association, you can find more about them here). I had to rush my presentation because I miscalculated my time 😦 ( we had 20 minutes to present + 10 mins to answer questions). It was, nonetheless, a great experience! You can watch the recording of the talks here and access my slides here.

Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 15.48.36

That’s enough of my face for this month!

Thanks for reading.