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Resources And Discussion


Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


 I'd like to share in this forum and would like others to share, short stories that might apply to education / teaching and that will inspire. I believe stories and a narrative are powerful, whether in our classroom or for our own professional development and reflection.

Find my whole collection of inspirational stories in video HERE.  You might also be interested in my Zen and the Art of Teaching series.

Here is my other series for professional development - Learning Through Stories.

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Finally another story! This story teaches us teachers how to live lightly, to forget and not sweat the small stuff...... Keep going forward!

There were two monks who journeyed to a far away temple. They came to a ragging river where a woman was standing, wanting to get across. One of the monks immediately picked her up and carried her across in his arms.

Later, on the other side as they continued on their journey, the monk who had followed accused the other monk of breaking sacred vows. "Why did you carry that woman? Don't you know we cannot touch any woman, anytime!" he loudly stated.

The other monk just looked at him, very puzzled. He said, "I left that woman by the side of the river. You I see, are still carrying her."
BE A Hummingbird! - Do what you can!

This Japanese tale as told by Wangari Maathai - says it all. Meaning, that as teachers our job is not to go big or go home. Our jobs aren't about miracles or greatness. Our jobs are about doing the best we can, given what we got. Further, through this "art of doing" - instilling this into our students. There is nothing greater than a person who does "the best they can".

Enjoy this lovely story!

This story is a very famous Russian folktale. I love Russian as well as Yiddish folktales and I'll share some more in the coming weeks. There is a lot we can learn from them.

This story illustrates to students and teachers alike, the need to build community in our classrooms. That "learning" is is a shared effort -- even more so in the EFL classroom and with language. Language is something that binds people and is about "people". To make learning happen in your classroom you need to create a great classroom atmosphere of sharing and safety. This story, THE TURNIP - tells it well. It is also a lovely kid's book!

The Turnip
Russian folk tale

An old man planted a turnip. The turnip grew to be enormous. The old man started to pull the turnip out of the ground. He pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So he called the old woman over.

The old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the old woman called the granddaughter over.

The granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the granddaughter called the dog over.

The dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the dog called the cat over.

The cat took hold of the dog, the dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the cat called the mouse over.

The mouse took hold of the cat, the cat took hold of the dog, the dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled--and finally pulled out the turnip!
Today's story is told in the form of a poem. It is one of my favorites and speaks about how children have the ability to see the truth and cut through the fog of enculturation and see with clean eyes. We must all continually try to see with the eyes of children.

I'm loving these stories, Mr. D!
I've been a student of the Baal Shem Tov and the Hasidic story tellers for many years.

They speak a truth in their stories that goes to the heart of what is life/knowing/being....stories told with a practical wisdom and point. Not a lot of fluff and hot air.

The following story suggests to me that we must judge a teacher NOT by them having answers but by how much they help us find our own answers and deal with our own questions.

How Do We Know?

Some students of the Baal Shem Tov came to him one day with a question. "Every year we travel here to learn from you. Nothing could make us stop doing that. But we have learned of a man in our own town who claims to be a tzaddik, a righteous one. If he is genuine, we would love to profit from his wisdom. But how will we know if he is a fake?"

The Baal Shem Tov looked at his earnest hasidim. "You must test him by asking him a question." He paused. "You have had difficulty with stray thoughts during prayer?"

"Yes!" The hasidim answered eagerly. "We try to think only of our holy intentions as we pray, but other thoughts come into our minds. We have tried many methods not to be troubled by them."

"Good," said the Baal Shem Tov. "Ask him the way to stop such thoughts from entering your minds." The Baal Shem Tov smiled. "If he has an answer, he is a fake."
For you, David :D

Speak Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales

Tunjur, Tunjur

TELLER: Testify that God is One!
AUDIENCE: There is no god but God.

There was once a woman who could not get pregnant and have children. Once upon a day she had an urge; she wanted babies. "O Lord!" she cried out, "Why of all women am I like this? Would that I could get pregnant and have a baby, and may Allah grant me a girl even if she is only a cooking pot!" One day she became pregnant· A day came and a day went, and behold! she was ready to deliver. She went into labor and delivered, giving birth to a cooking pot. What was the poor woman to do? She washed it, cleaning it well, put the lid on it, and placed it on the shelf.

One day the pot started to talk. "Mother," she said, "take me down from this shelf!"

"Alas, daughter!" replied the mother, "Where am I going to put you?"

"What do you care?" said the daughter. "Just bring me down, and I will make you rich for generations to come."

The mother brought her down. "Now put my lid on," said the pot, "and leave me outside the door." Putting the lid on, the mother took her outside the door.

The pot started to roll, singing as she went, "Tunjut, tunjur, clink, clink, O my mama!" She rolled until she came to a place where people usually gather. In a while people were passing by. A man came and found the pot all settled in its place. "Eh!" he exclaimed, "who has put this pot in the middle of the path? I'll be damned! What a beautiful pot! It's probably made of silver." He looked it over well. "Hey, people!" he called, "Whose pot is this? Who put it here?" No one claimed it. "By Allah," he said, "I'm going to take it home with me."

On his way home he went by the honey vendor. He had the pot filled with honey and brought it home to his wife. "Look, wife," he said, "how beautiful is this pot!" The whole family was greatly pleased with it.

In two or three days they had guests, and they wanted to offer them some honey. The woman of the house brought the pot down from the shelf. Push and pull on the lid, but the pot would not open! She called her husband over. Pull and push, but open it he could not. His guests pitched in. Lifting the pot and dropping it, the man tried to break it open with hammer and chisel. He tried everything, but it was no use. They sent for the blacksmith, and he tried and tried, to no avail. What was the man to do? "Damn your owners!" he cursed the pot, "Did you think you were going to make us wealthy?" And, taking it up, he threw it out the window.

When they turned their back and could no longer see it, she started to roll, saying as she went:

"Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the honey.
Clink, clink, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the honey."

"Bring me up the stairs!" she said to her mother when she reached home.

"Yee!" exclaimed the mother, "I thought you had disappeared, that someone had taken you."

"Pick me up!" said the daughter.

Picking her up, my little darlings, the mother took the lid off and found the pot full of honey. Oh! How pleased she was!

"Empty me!" said the pot.

The mother emptied the honey into a jar, and put the pot back on the shelf.

"Mother," said the daughter the next day, "take me down!"

The mother brought her down from the shelf.

"Mother, put me outside the door!"

The mother placed her outside the door, and she started rolling—tunjur, tunjur, clink, clink—until she reached a place where people were gathered, and then she stopped. A man passing by found her.

"Eh!" he thought, "What kind of a pot is this?" He looked it over. How beautiful he found it! "To whom does this belong?" he asked. "Hey, people! Who are the owners of this pot?" He waited, but no one said, "It's mine." Then he said, "By Allah, I'm going to take it."

He took it, and on his way home stopped by the butcher and had it filled with meat. Bringing it home to his wife, he said, "Look, wife, how beatiful is this pot I've found! By Allah, I found it so pleasing I bought meat and filled it and brought it home."

"Yee!" they all cheered, "How lucky we are! What a beautiful pot!" They put it away.

Toward evening they wanted to cook the meat. Push and pull on the pot, it would not open! What was the woman to do? She called her husband over and her children. Lift, drop, strike—no use. They took it to the blacksmith, but with no result. The husband became angry. "God damn your owners!" he cursed it. "What in the world are you?" And he threw it as far as his arm would reach.

As soon as he turned his back, she started rolling, and singing:

"Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the meat.
Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the meat."

She kept repeating that till she reached home.

"Lift me up!" she said to her mother. The mother lifted her up, took the meat, washed the pot, and put it away on the shelf.

"Bring me out of the house!" said the daughter the next day. The mother brought her out, and she said, "Tunjur, tunjur, clink, clink" as she was rolling until she reached a spot dose by the king's house, where she came to a stop. In the morning, it is said, the son of the king was on his way out, and behold! there was. the pot settled in its place.

"Eh! What's this? Whose pot is it?" No one answered. "By Allah," he said, "I'm going to take it." He took it inside and called his wife over. "Wife," he said, "take this pot! I brought it home for you. It's the most beautiful pot!"

The wife took the pot. "Yee! How beautiful it is! By Allah, I'm going to put my jewelry in it." Taking the pot with her, she gathered all her jewelry, even that which she was wearing, and put it in the pot. She also brought all their gold and money and stuffed them in the pot till it was full to the brim, then she covered it and put it away in the wardrobe.

Two or three days went by, and it was time for the wedding of her brother. She put on her velvet dress and brought the pot out so that she could wear her jewelry. Push and pull, but the pot would not open. She called to her husband, and he could not open it either. All the people who were there tried to open it, lifting and dropping. They took it to the blacksmith, and he tried but could not open it. The husband felt defeated. "God damn your owners!" he cursed it, "What use are you to us?" Taking it up, he threw it out the window. Of course he was not all that anxious to let it go, so he went to catch it from the side of the house. No sooner did he turn around than she started to run:

"Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the treasure,
Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the treasure."

"Lift me up!" she said to her mother when she reached home. Lifting her up, the mother removed the lid.

"Yee! May your reputation be blackened!" she cried out. "Wherever did you get this? What in the world is it?" The mother was now rich. She became very, very happy.

"It's enough now," she said to her daughter, taking away the treasure. "You shouldn't go out any more. People will recognize you."

"No, no!" begged the daughter, "Let me go out just one last time."

The next day, my darlings, she went out, saying "Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama." The man who found her the first time saw her again.

"Eh! What in the world is this thing?" he exclaimed. "It must have some magic in it, since it's always tricking people. God damn its owners! By Allah the Great, I'm going to sit and shit in it." He went ahead, my darlings, and shat right in it. Closing the lid on him, she rolled along:

"Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama
In my mouth I brought the caca.
Tunjur, tunjur, O my mama,
In my mouth I brought the caca."

"Lift me up!" she said to her mother when she reached home. The mother lifted her up.

"You naughty thing, you!" said the mother. "I told you not to go out again, that people would recognize you. Don't you think it's enough now?"

The mother then washed the pot with soap, put perfume on it, and placed it on the shelf.

This is my story, I've told it, and in your hands I leave it.
I was thinking of Nasreddin Hodja, who've I've highlighted a number of times in this list/discussion of stories.

Here is a real brillant one that gets right to the chase about "communication" and thought. What you teach your students most likely won't be the same as what they learn!!!!!! This story from the Turkish trickster is hilarious.

A Scientific Meeting

A foreign scholar and his entourage were passing through Aksehir. The scholar asked to speak with the town's most knowledgeable person. Of course the townsfolk immediately called Nasreddin Hodja. The foreign savant didn't speak Turkish and our Hodja didn't speak any foreign languages, so the two wise men had to communicate with signs, while the others looked on with fascination.

The foreigner, using a stick, drew a large circle on the sand. Nasreddin Hodja took the stick and divided the circle into two. This time the foreigner drew a line perpendicular to the one Hodja drew and the circle was now split into four. He motioned to indicate first the three quarters of the circle, then the remaining quarter. To this, the Hodja made a swirling motion with the stick on the four quarters. Then the foreigner made a bowl shape with two hands side by side, palms up, and wiggled his fingers. Nasreddin Hodja responded by cupping his hands palms down and wiggling his fingers.

When the meeting was over, the members of the foreign scientist's entourage asked him what they have talked about.

`Nasreddin Hodja is really a learned man.' he said. `I told him that the earth was round and he told me that there was equator in the middle of it. I told him that the three quarters of the earth was water and one quarter of it was land. He said that there were undercurrents and winds. I told him that the waters warm up, vaporize and move towards the sky, to that he said that they cool off and come down as rain.'

The people of Aksehir were also curious about how the encounter went. They gathered around the Hodja.

`This stranger has good taste,' the Hodja started to explain. `He said that he wished there was a large tray of baklava. I said that he could only have half of it. He said that the syrup should be made with three parts sugar and one part honey. I agreed, and said that they all had to mix well. Next he suggested that we should cook it on blazing fire. And I added that we should pour crushed nuts on top of it.'
I feel like telling some stories again, so reviving this thread. Here's a story full of wisdom and which will help us as teachers. Imagine the old woman as a teacher - the cracked pot as one of our students...

The cracked pot
This story is about the idea that in teaching - EVERYTHING counts. We are all part of a team in our schools and must help each other or face the consequences..... Don't ignore things which seemingly don't matter to you -- it might come back to haunt you. All the students in a school are your students. Not just those in your class!

NOT MY PROBLEM (full screen)


Too often in our classrooms - our students achieve only as much as we "see" them achieve. We read their papers, we mark their tests and we see what we want to see. Often, that is far from the truth. We are like the man in this story, a man who sees a stolen axe. Let's not prejudge as teachers!


A man who lost his axe suspected his neighbour's son of stealing it. To him, as he observed the boy, the way the lad walked, the expression on his face, the manner of his speech - in fact everything about his appearance and behaviour betrayed that he had stolen the axe.

Not long afterwards the man found his axe while digging in his cellar. When he saw his neighbour's son again, nothing about the boy's behaviour nor appearance seemed to suggest that he had stolen the axe.
Sometimes as a teacher we just have to learn to "leave the classroom behind". It isn't easy but if you keep bringing home "your class", you'll eventually turn into a wreck. A good teacher knows how to "put the glass down" as this story illustrates. Get more inspiring stories like this one on our new Inspiration page. Share them with colleagues and comment/discuss. I put a lot of time making and editing these but it is well worth it!

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