New Year’s Resolution

Hello Everyone,

I hope that this blog post finds you all well and ready to start a brand new year on a positive note! I know that our world is rocky at times, but it’s important that we continue to think that we have a bright future regardless.

This is especially true for our students and children. They are looking at us to see if we’ve lost the light in our eyes or if we’re going to keep that light bright. One of the ways in which we can help them to keep a positive outlook is by talking to them about their New Year’s Resolution plans. What kind of ideas do they have about how to make their lives more positive this year? What goals would they like to achieve? What kind of good are they willing to do to make our planet a more loving place to live on?

Kids are great at these kind of discussions and, more often than not, they are able to bring the conversation into a direction that you might not have anticipated yourself – and that’s a GREAT thing, because we are teachers, not Kings or Saints or what have you… We are human beings with our own strengths and weaknesses and I think that it’s only POSITIVE when we are led by our students. This keeps us up to date on how our youth really feel and that’s an important piece of information to keep fresh.

Today I am sharing a set of worksheets from and The Twinkl site was great because it provided me with a great flap activity that gets our students answering simple questions pertaining to their resolutions. I like the sheets that I picked because you can use them as a book or you can keep them flat and use the blank side to draw in an image. I decided to apply self portraits to our blank side and this is especially great for the classroom as you students will be able to guess who the resolutions belong to by both reading and looking at the portrait.

Another tip would be to make these a little smaller (if you do not have that much wall space) so that you could leave them up for the remainder of the year. That way you could remind your students to check on their resolutions from time to time, to make sure that they are still working towards them.

Along with this blog post please feel free to view our New Year’s Resolution video where I talk to Gobo about how we spent the holidays and what resolutions are. We then continue on to answer the questions on the worksheet together before showing you some of our filming bloopers.

It is my hope that you can use my videos as a guide in your classroom or as a fun video to watch at home with your children. Please feel free to visit us on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube and to leave comments or ask us questions. We would love to hear your suggestions for upcoming videos or group discussion themes. In the end, my mission is to make second language learning less of a scary thing and more of an enjoyable moment. It’s all about communication and bringing people together :)

Just speak!


Positive Acknowledgement with Gobo Stars

Reconnaissance Positive avec des Gobo Stars

Gobo in action as he edits my Gobo Star sheet… @LearnPlayAnglais

Faites défiler vers le bas pour lire ceci en français, merci!

Hello Everyone,

I’m so happy to be back here this week! I’m happy because today I’m going to talk to you about what I do in my classroom to motivate my students to ditch the fear and speak up in their foreign language (which in our case, is English).

So how do you do it Danielle? How do you keep them motivated and interested in learning? Well, there’s not just one solution, there are actually many. However, today I’m going to focus on these little pieces of paper that I like to hand out both during and at the end of each lesson. They are what I like to call “Gobo Stars” because I added stars to a page and then drew Gobo’s face on them. Not complicated right?

Now on to what kind of behaviour a student has to display in order to receive one. Here’s a list that I use, but please keep in mind that children will surprise you everyday, so it’s not uncommon for me to give someone a Gobo Star for doing something that’s not EVEN on my list! Gasp!

A student is definitely worthy of a Gobo Star if:

  • they help a friend with their work (unless it’s a test of course) by talking them through it, giving them advice or generally trying to help them figure out a solution.
  • they speak up in class (even when they don’t know all of the words/answers) and try to participate in class discussions.
  • they speak to their friends in English as best as they can. (Danielle especially likes it when they whisper to each other in English when they are allowed to talk as they work- which is basically ALWAYS).
  • they are kind to their classmates and teachers by lending a pencil, helping to tidy up, helping to tidy up someone else’s mess (WOW!!) and generally being a considerate friend and student.
  • they concentrate on their work by paying attention during lessons, keeping up with our classwork and following instructions.

Now, some of you may have noticed that I said “worthy of”… This means that the teacher and the teacher alone decides who gets a Gobo Star. Some people help their friends all the time (which merits a Gobo Star) but NEVER want to speak up and participate in class discussions. In that case, they might not always get a Gobo Star. Is that mean? NO! Not if you make sure that your students know what their individual goals are.

This doesn’t mean that you have to have a conference with each child to explain where their weaknesses lie. It means that you let them know what you liked about their behaviour and what they could do better next time. Depending on the size of your class, you might not have the time to do that with everyone BUT I guarantee you that you have a lot of students that act in the same way. And if a shy student hears you telling another shy student that she needs to dig deep and muster up the courage to say a few words, then she’ll realise that that should be her goal too.

Also, as a little warning…I like to tell my students that ANYONE that asks for a Gobo Star will DEFINITELY NOT be getting one. That’s because I like to teach them that while it’s great to be acknowledged, it’s also normal not to be and that we must never ask for gifts, because they are meant to be given. And that’s what these Gobo Stars are anyway, little gifts that say, “I see you and I notice how special you are. Keep it up.”

On a positive note, you should never be hesitant to give a Gobo Star to a student that acted negatively at the start of the lesson, but finished off on a positive note. As a teacher you’ll know how to pick out the ones that are just trying to get a Gobo Star from the ones that really want to change their behaviour in a more positive light.

Here’s an example of what I said to a student in one of my classes last week:

“Jean, I am so impressed with how you were able to bounce back from your shaky start to our lesson. Even though you started out by speaking loudly out of turn, talking over your classmates and disrupting me when I spoke…you were still able to settle down, participate at a good level and you were also really focused on your written assignment. I am so impressed with how you were able to turn a sour situation into a positive one and that’s why I’m giving you a Gobo Star today.” (Insert microphone drop here)

My positive acknowledgement system also comes with prizes, depending on how many Gobo Stars my students collect and every student has the chance to get ALL of the prizes. (In one of my classes last week some of my students asked what would happen if everyone got the coveted collection of 10 Gobo Stars… I told them that everyone would get the first prize. They were amazed and said, “Really, everyone?” to which I answered “Yes!! And I prefer it that way!” :)

My prize list according to how many Gobo Stars a child collects:

  • 10 stars collected means that a student receives a miniature card from Gobo (which he signs himself!! YEEESSSSS!!!) with a piece of candy taped to the inside (as a side note, I like to ask my students to wait until home time to ask their parent’s permission to eat the candy).
  • 20 stars collected means that the student receives a Gobo necklace!!! YEEESSSSSS again!! And, another piece of candy.
  • 30 stars collected means that a child gets a certificate that says, “I earned 30 Stars” and (you guessed it) another piece of candy.

Where do the students keep their Gobo Stars?:

I ask my students to glue them to the last page in their notebooks. That way, they are stored nicely and within reach and I can easily count them and then hand out the prize with ease. Before a child gets a prize I will take their notebook, tally up the stars and check off the stars that they already used. That way, it’s easier for me to tally up the next set of stars.

When do you hand out the prizes?:

This depends on the size of your class. When I work with a small class, I will pass out the prizes as my students earn their stars. So that could mean that I hand out a prize for almost each class. Is it a waste of time? No, because it only takes a few minutes and it really encourages the others to work towards their own goals and to be happy for a friend.

When I work with a larger group I like to hand out prizes once or twice a month tops. This might mean that someone has to wait a little for their prize but I like to remind them that they can already start building towards their next prize as they do so.

You can also adjust the number of Gobo Stars that your students have to collect depending on how often you see them. If I see a class 4 times a week, the 10, 20 and 30 collection method works great. However, if I only see them once a week, then I will readjust and perhaps ask them to collect 3, 6 and 9 stars or 5, 10, and 15. The most important thing is to be consistent and to ALWAYS have your prizes ready.

Why do you use candy?:

Well firstly, I’d like to mention that the one piece of candy that they receive with each prize is not the main focus by any means. You should see the way they hold and admire their cards once they look inside and see that Gobo himself has written them a note and signed his name in his crocked handwriting. It’s too sweet for words.

Also, if you think that handing out three or four pieces of candy during the course of one school year is a lot…then we disagree. And that’s totally fine, because no one is forcing you to use candy, I’m just telling you what I like to do. Oh, and I do mean ONE piece of candy, NOT one bar of chocolate!

Where’s my downloadable worksheet?:

Now, initially I had planned on giving you a downloadable version of my Gobo Stars but…for some reason I’m having problems getting my images to come out sharp… So, I have decided to do a follow up video where Gobo and I explain how to use Gobo Stars and to try to provide you with some actual stars at a later point in time.

And now, with Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make your own Gobo Stars so that you can introduce your new Positive Acknowledgement System when you welcome your class back to school in 2021.

Have a lovely evening everyone!




Je suis tellement heureux d’être de retour ici cette semaine! Je suis heureux car aujourd’hui je vais vous parler de ce que je fais dans ma classe pour motiver mes élèves à abandonner la peur et à parler dans leur langue étrangère (qui dans notre cas, est l’anglais).

Alors, comment faites-vous Danielle? Comment les gardez-vous motivés et intéressés par l’apprentissage? Eh bien, il n’y a pas qu’une seule solution, il y en a en fait plusieurs. Cependant, aujourd’hui je vais me concentrer sur ces petits bouts de papier que j’aime distribuer pendant et à la fin de chaque leçon. C’est ce que j’aime appeler “Gobo Stars” parce que j’ai ajouté des étoiles à une page et j’ai dessiné le visage de Gobo dessus. Pas compliqué non?

Passons maintenant au type de comportement qu’un élève doit afficher pour en recevoir un. Voici une liste que j’utilise, mais gardez à l’esprit que les enfants vous surprendront tous les jours, il n’est donc pas rare que je donne à quelqu’un un Gobo Star pour faire quelque chose qui n’est MÊME PAS sur ma liste! Haleter!

Un étudiant est certainement digne d’un Gobo Star si:

  • ils aident un ami dans son travail (à moins que ce ne soit un test bien sûr) en lui parlant, en lui donnant des conseils ou en essayant généralement de les aider à trouver une solution.
  • ils prennent la parole en classe (même s’ils ne connaissent pas tous les mots / réponses) et essaient de participer aux discussions en classe.
  • ils parlent de leur mieux à leurs amis en anglais. (Danielle aime particulièrement quand ils se chuchotent en anglais quand ils sont autorisés à parler pendant qu’ils travaillent – ce qui est fondamentalement TOUJOURS).
  • ils sont gentils avec leurs camarades de classe et leurs enseignants en prêtant un crayon, en aidant à ranger, en aidant à ranger le désordre de quelqu’un d’autre (WOW !!) et en étant généralement un ami et un élève attentionné.
  • ils se concentrent sur leur travail en prêtant attention pendant les cours, en suivant notre travail de classe et en suivant les instructions.

Maintenant, certains d’entre vous ont peut-être remarqué que j’ai dit «digne de» … Cela signifie que l’enseignant et l’enseignant seuls décident qui obtient une étoile de gobo. Certaines personnes aident leurs amis tout le temps (ce qui mérite une étoile de gobo) mais ne veulent JAMAIS prendre la parole et participer aux discussions en classe. Dans ce cas, ils pourraient ne pas toujours obtenir un Gobo Star. C’est méchant? NON! Pas si vous vous assurez que vos élèves connaissent leurs objectifs individuels.

Cela ne veut pas dire que vous devez avoir une conférence avec chaque enfant pour expliquer où se trouvent leurs faiblesses. Cela signifie que vous leur faites savoir ce que vous avez aimé dans leur comportement et ce qu’ils pourraient faire mieux la prochaine fois. Selon la taille de votre classe, vous n’aurez peut-être pas le temps de faire ça avec tout le monde MAIS je vous garantis que vous avez beaucoup d’élèves qui agissent de la même manière. Et si un élève timide vous entend dire à un autre élève timide qu’elle doit creuser profondément et trouver le courage de dire quelques mots, alors elle se rendra compte que cela devrait aussi être son objectif.

Aussi, comme un petit avertissement … j’aime dire à mes élèves que TOUTE PERSONNE qui demande un Gobo Star n’en obtiendra certainement PAS. C’est parce que j’aime leur apprendre que si c’est formidable d’être reconnu, c’est aussi normal de ne pas l’être et que nous ne devons jamais demander de cadeaux, car ils sont destinés à être donnés. Et c’est ce que sont ces Gobo Stars de toute façon, de petits cadeaux qui disent: “Je te vois et je remarque à quel point tu es spécial. Continuez comme ça.”

Sur une note positive, vous ne devriez jamais hésiter à donner une étoile de gobo à un élève qui a agi négativement au début de la leçon, mais qui a terminé sur une note positive. En tant qu’enseignant, vous saurez comment choisir ceux qui essaient juste d’obtenir un Gobo Star parmi ceux qui veulent vraiment changer leur comportement de manière plus positive.

Voici un exemple de ce que j’ai dit à un élève dans l’un de mes cours la semaine dernière:

«Jean, je suis tellement impressionné par la façon dont tu as pu rebondir de ton début tremblant à notre leçon. Même si tu as commencé par parler fort hors de ton tour, parler avec tes camarades de classe et me déranger quand je parlais … tu étais toujours capable de vous installer, de participer à un bon niveau et vous étiez également très concentré sur votre mission écrite. Je suis tellement impressionné par la façon dont vous avez pu transformer une situation aigre en une situation positive et c’est pourquoi je vous donne un Gobo Star aujourd’hui. ” (Insérez le “microphone drop” ici)

Mon système de reconnaissance positive comprend également des prix, en fonction du nombre d’étoiles Gobo que mes étudiants collectent et chaque étudiant a la chance d’obtenir TOUS les prix. (Dans l’un de mes cours la semaine dernière, certains de mes élèves ont demandé ce qui se passerait si tout le monde obtenait la collection convoitée de 10 étoiles Gobo … Je leur ai dit que tout le monde recevrait le premier prix. ? “auquel j’ai répondu” Oui !! Et je préfère ça! “:)

Ma liste de prix en fonction du nombre d’étoiles de Gobo qu’un enfant collecte:

  • 10 étoiles collectées signifie qu’un élève reçoit une carte miniature de Gobo (qu’il signe lui-même !! YEEESSSSS !!!) avec un morceau de bonbon scotché à l’intérieur (comme note latérale, j’aime demander à mes élèves d’attendre jusqu’à la maison le temps de demander la permission à leurs parents de manger les bonbons).
  • 20 étoiles collectées signifient que l’élève reçoit un collier Gobo!!! YEEESSSSSS encore une fois !! Et, un autre morceau de bonbon.
  • 30 étoiles collectées signifie qu’un enfant reçoit un certificat qui dit: “J’ai gagné 30 étoiles” et (vous l’avez deviné) un autre bonbon.

Où les élèves gardent-ils leurs étoiles de Gobo?:

Je demande à mes élèves de les coller à la dernière page de leurs cahiers. De cette façon, ils sont bien rangés et à portée de main et je peux facilement les compter et ensuite distribuer le prix avec facilité. Avant qu’un enfant ne reçoive un prix, je prendrai son cahier, compterai les étoiles et cocherai les étoiles qu’ils ont déjà utilisées. De cette façon, il m’est plus facile de compter la prochaine série d’étoiles.

Quand distribuez-vous les prix?:

Cela dépend de la taille de votre classe. Lorsque je travaille avec une petite classe, je distribue les prix au fur et à mesure que mes élèves gagnent leurs étoiles. Cela pourrait signifier que je distribue un prix pour presque chaque classe. Est-ce une perte de temps? Non, car cela ne prend que quelques minutes et cela encourage vraiment les autres à travailler vers leurs propres objectifs et à être heureux pour un ami.
Lorsque je travaille avec un groupe plus large, j’aime distribuer des prix une ou deux fois par mois. Cela peut signifier que quelqu’un doit attendre un peu pour son prix, mais j’aime lui rappeler qu’il peut déjà commencer à construire son prochain prix en le faisant.

Vous pouvez également ajuster le nombre de Gobo Stars que vos élèves doivent collecter en fonction de la fréquence à laquelle vous les voyez. Si je vois une classe 4 fois par semaine, la méthode de collecte 10, 20 et 30 fonctionne très bien. Cependant, si je ne les vois qu’une fois par semaine, alors je les réajusterai et leur demanderai peut-être de récolter 3, 6 et 9 étoiles ou 5, 10 et 15. Le plus important est d’être cohérent et d’avoir TOUJOURS vos prix prêts .

Pourquoi utilisez-vous des bonbons?:

Eh bien, tout d’abord, j’aimerais mentionner que le bonbon qu’ils reçoivent avec chaque prix n’est en aucun cas l’objectif principal. Vous devriez voir la façon dont ils tiennent et admirent leurs cartes une fois qu’ils ont regardé à l’intérieur et voir que Gobo lui-même leur a écrit une note et signé son nom dans son écriture crockée. C’est trop doux pour les mots.

De plus, si vous pensez que distribuer trois ou quatre bonbons au cours d’une année scolaire, c’est beaucoup … alors nous ne sommes pas d’accord. Et c’est très bien, parce que personne ne vous oblige à utiliser des bonbons, je vous dis juste ce que j’aime faire. Oh, et je veux dire UN morceau de bonbon, PAS une tablette de chocolat!

Où est ma feuille téléchargeable?:

Au départ, j’avais prévu de vous donner une version téléchargeable de mes Gobo Stars mais … pour une raison quelconque, j’ai des problèmes pour que mes images soient nettes … Alors, j’ai décidé de faire une vidéo de suivi où Gobo et moi expliquons comment utiliser Gobo Stars et essayer de vous fournir des étoiles réelles plus tard.

Maintenant, à l’approche de Noël et du Nouvel An, c’est le moment idéal pour créer vos propres Gobo Stars afin que vous puissiez présenter votre nouveau système de reconnaissance positive lorsque vous accueillerez votre classe à l’école en 2021.

Bonne soirée à tous!



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