Candy sushi for her birthday

LearnPlayAnglais: A birthday celebration that included candy sushi!

À tous nos amis français, faites défiler vers le bas pour lire cet article en français. Merci!

Hello Everyone,

I hope that this blog post finds you well and in good spirits. Today I have a little activity that could be used in your homes or in the classroom (although I can understand if some of you do not allow sugar in your classrooms…) as a fun craft to liven up a birthday party or class discussion on food, food groups and what one should eat in moderation :)

Sushi just happens to be my daughter’s favorite food and so, since we cannot go to sushi restaurants at the moment here in France, we decided to bring the sushi to her. The idea comes from a book that we picked up at our local library, entitled “DIY comme au Japon” by Hélène Jourdain. The steps are relatively simple and although we couldn’t find candy in the shape of fish, we were able to cut up fish shapes out of the flat strips of candy that we got instead.

The great part about this activity is how creative the kids get. They were wrapping and poking in many different way and having a great time while doing so. The downside is that they’ll want to eat it… but, I was able to make sure that they understood that 1 piece of candy sushi was more than enough as it includes an average of about 4 pieces of regular candy. That’s the rule in my house and it seems to go over easily :)

Wishing you all a sweet day!

Just speak,


LearnPlayAnglais: A candy making activity for a birthday party – candy sushi.
LearnPlayAnglais: A candy making activity for a birthday party – candy sushi.
LearnPlayAnglais: A candy making activity for a birthday party – candy sushi.

Bonjour à tous,

J’espère que ce “post” de blog vous trouve bien et de bonne humeur. Aujourd’hui, j’ai une petite activité qui pourrait être utilisée chez vous ou en classe (même si je peux comprendre si certains d’entre vous n’autorisent pas le sucre dans vos salles de classe …) comme une activité amusant pour animer une fête d’anniversaire ou une discussion en classe sur la nourriture, les groupes alimentaires et ce qu’il faut manger avec modération :)

Le sushi se trouve être la nourriture préférée de ma fille et donc, comme nous ne pouvons pas aller dans les restaurants de sushi pour le moment ici en France, nous avons décidé de lui apporter les sushis. L’idée vient d’un livre que nous avons récupéré à notre bibliothèque locale, intitulé “DIY comme au Japon” par Hélène Jourdain. Les étapes sont relativement simples et bien que nous n’ayons pas pu trouver de bonbons en forme de poisson, nous avons pu découper des formes de poisson dans les bandes plates de bonbons que nous avons obtenues à la place.

La grande partie de cette activité est la créativité des enfants. Ils enveloppaient et poussaient de différentes manières et passaient un bon moment en le faisant. L’inconvénient est qu’ils voudront le manger … mais j’ai pu m’assurer qu’ils comprenaient qu’un morceau de bonbon sushi était plus que suffisant car il comprend en moyenne environ 4 morceaux de bonbon ordinaire. C’est la règle dans ma maison et ça semble aller facilement :)

Je vous souhaite à tous une douce journée!

Just speak,


Little Red Riding Hood/ Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

LearnPlayAnglais presents their “Little Red Riding Hood” read aloud with Gobo!

Hello Everyone,

We are happy to announce that we have uploaded another read aloud to our YouTube channel. In the video you’ll find Gobo and Danielle in deep conversation as Gobo tries to use Danielle’s clues to figure out which book she’ll be reading.

Teachers can expand on this conversation by having their students learn the names of basic fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, you could also talk about the items that you would pack in your picnic basket if you were planning to have tea under a tree!

Below you will find some extra tips to help you if you feel that you (or your students) are having a hard time understanding the story:

Listen to the story anyway! Yes! Listen to the story, once, twice, three times or more, until you start to hear the sounds that I make separate into individual words.
• Listen to the story and then put on the subtitles and read along in your head. Do this several times.

Alternatively, the following tips are for our more advanced students:

• Listen to the story and then do the same with your EYES CLOSED! This is a wonderful way to really check your comprehension – try it!
• Put the video on mute and read the subtitles out loud once or twice. Next, repeat this process with as much expression as you can.

After listening to the story why not complete the worksheets that we have provided for you? Below you will find two examples. You can download them on this page or on my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

We wish all of our teachers and homeschooling parents a wonderful week ahead. Your job is incredibly important and remember, learning a second (or third, or fourth…) language is a journey – and a beautiful (if not slightly messy) one at that!

Just Speak!


A LearnPlayAnglais worksheet, created especially for our Little Red Riding Hood read aloud.
A LearnPlayAnglais worksheet, created especially for our Little Red Riding Hood read aloud.

Masks for puppets and kids

Gobo wears a hand sewn mask, made by my daughter and me.
Gobo shows off his new mask.

Hello Everyone,

We hope that this blog post finds all of you well. Lately, our little worlds have been hit by large upsets that have changed our everyday lives – sometimes completely. I do not know the situation that you currently find yourselves in but I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are doing well and figuring out ways to stay safe during these uncertain times.

As you may know, we are under a current lockdown situation here in France. It is not as strict as our first lockdown because adults are allowed to return to work (although restaurants and shops deemed as “unessential” are closed) and children are allowed (at least for the meantime) to return to school. I did hear though, that they would perhaps reduce the amount of days that high schoolers attend school…

In any case, one thing’s for sure – we need to wear masks more frequently than ever and that is why my daughter came up with the idea to make Gobo a mask. I mean, why not? He deserves to stay safe too right?

Below you will find the link to the YouTube video that we used as a GUIDE to create Gobo’s mask (thank you Sarah Yoang!). We didn’t, for example, create a filter pocket for him… (sorry Gobo but we just didn’t deem it as necessary…) but everything else is the same. Oh! Except that our sewing machine is broken so we had to hand sew the WHOLE thing! So, as you can imagine, we are very pleased with ourselves :)

Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

And remember what we always say, “Just Speak!” –


Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Hello there! We hope that you are in a comfortable position because it’s time to get cosy and listen to a new read aloud from your favorite furry friend, Gobo and his sidekick Danielle.

Today we’re going to take you on an adventure that involves a very interesting friendship between three animals in a cosy cabin in the woods. We are certain that you will love it as much as we do! And as a follow up, in the next coming days we will add to this project by sharing a Halloween craft that you could do at home with your children or in your classroom with your students.

In the meantime, enjoy the video and we’ll see you soon!

Just Speak!,


“I am Special” – An ESL writing activity

Today I am going to share a little project with you that I like to do from time to time at the start of the school year. It’s called the “I am Special” project and I use it to expand my students’ ability to talk about themselves and to add in some positive vibes right at the start of the term.

The photos that I am including in this post come from last year’s project and what’s great is that I got a lot of help from Twinkl. If you have not heard of Twinkl (you can thank me later!) it’s an online platform that provides worksheets for teachers, students and homeschoolers at a yearly price. You can get it for free, but in my experience as a teacher, it’s not enough and I had to move up to a yearly subscription.

What I found really useful about Twinkl is that most of their worksheets are differentiated! And if you are a teacher, I am SURE that you’ve had that word drilled into your head for the last few years. ALL schools are looking for teachers that are willing to differentiate in the classroom and yet no one can seem to tell you how to do that without working nonstop night and day...Right! Well, that’s where Twinkl comes in – You pick a subject (and I mean ANY subject) and hone in on a specific area. Once you find what you’re looking for you’ll more than likely have at least 3 options (easy, intermediate and difficult) to choose from. Simple! AND, your students will all be working on a worksheet that looks similar – so no more – “Oh, yours is so easy!” or “Hey, why is mine so much harder than so and so’s?”

Here’s a simple rundown of how I run this class:

Introduction: Gobo (my puppet) comes out and starts talking about the fact that he is not sure if he is special or not. I reassure him that he is and talk about how everyone is special, even when we are not so nice or when we do things that we’re not supposed to, etc….

I will then get into a conversation with my students about what makes them different from one another. What do they look like? Does everyone look the same? This is where we’ll talk about our facial features, hair color, etc. and the things that make us special visually.

Next, I’ll introduce the “I am Special” poem from Twinkl. We will help Gobo fill one out his poetry worksheet whole group (that means that the whole class helps in this) and then I’ll have the class break into partners to fill in their own worksheets and I’ll also ask them to make a self portrait (a rough draft) on the back of their worksheets when they are done. I like the partners to consist of at least one person that can manage the activity on their own. Or, two students that will at least give it their best shot. Remember, since the activity is differentiated, some students will have a word bank to work from, which helps a lot. Also, I will have left our Whole Group poem (Gobo’s poem) on the interactive white board.

As the students are working I will walk around the room helping the partners who need assistance. As soon as I see students working on their portraits I’ll know that I can check their work too.

During out next lesson I will ask the students what it means to be special, who is special and how they themselves are special. All of this will have already been discussed in our first lesson and so it will be a good starting point for our second class.

This is also a time where I’ll pass out their work and ask if anyone would be willing to share their poems so far. I usually have a lot of volunteers, so this can take a few minutes.

Next, I will show the students an example of a finished poem (which will be handwritten on another piece of paper) and a completed self portrait. At this point I will have several piles of construction paper that is of different size and color that will be used for the writing and drawing part of this project. My students (if they’re ready) will receive their materials and get right to work either reviewing and editing their poems or starting their first or final drafts of their self portraits.

What I like to do is give a check mark to the poetry rough drafts. Once a student receives that, they’ll know that they can take a specific piece of construction paper and get to work writing out their final drafts. I use the same method for the art work too. If a child has a check mark on the rough draft of their self portrait, they’ll know that they can take a specific piece of construction paper to begin the final draft of their portraits.

I like working this way because it help the students to know that work is all about PROGRESS and that a rough draft is meant to be worked on before finally moving on to the finished project.

In addition to the activities that I already mentioned, I usually always add a picture book to read from that connects to our project and we, of course, always start and end our lessons by singing songs. At the very end of our project Gobo is usually invited back to see our work.

They just love impressing him :)

Please let us know if you try this project out or what you think of Twinkl.

Wishing you a nice day,


ESL writing activity

Summer Reading Comprehension Skills

Hello there!

I wanted to share a series of reading comprehension workbooks with you that I picked up while visiting family in the United States this past March. Below you’ll find out how I decide on the workbook level and how I teach my own children reading comprehension skills at home. I hope that this information can be of help if your children are still distance learning.

How I choose their grade level:

My children are bilingual and because they have mainly stay focused on their French writing skills, I decided to pick out workbooks in English that were below their current grade level. This gives us two benefits:

1) It allows me to go through the steps of reading and answering questions about these types of texts while using language and vocabulary that is easier for them to understand.

2) It also allows them to reach a level of understanding with more ease, thereby increasing their level of confidence.

Teacher tips on how to approach a reading comprehension exercise:

1. Read the title and study the images that accompany the text

2. Give your child the opportunity to talk about any previous knowledge that they may have (or have observed/heard about) on the subject

3. Read the questions and make sure that the child understands what they are asking

4. Circle any key words in the questions that they should probably look out for in the next

5. Read the text paragraph by paragraph.

6. Remind your child that the main idea of the paragraph is usually in the first sentence of that paragraph. Have them underline or circle the main idea.

7. Underline any important pieces of information and circle any key words.

8. Periodically look back at the questions. If you think that you’ve found an answer in the text, label it with star.

9. Once you are done reading you can begin answering the questions. Remind your child that they must be able to “prove” their answers by finding them in the text. Once they find an answer they can label it with the same number as the question it answers.

10. Explain that some questions might ask them for their opinion. This is a good time to discuss the difference between a fact and an opinion. To keep it simple, facts are things that you can prove (with evidence) while opinions are your personal feelings or point of view about things.

While this process takes time and patience to initially install, once they’ve become accustomed you should be able to see a huge difference in how they evaluate texts. After a short while they should become autonomous enough to complete most of the steps on their own.

Have a lovely day everyone!