I got a ‘friendship book’ from Sandy Millin on Saturday. I’m returning it today.

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When I was in school, we had special friendship books to be filled in by our friends. The questions posed there varied (a typical set would include about 10-15 personal questions). Some books would also include challenges, e.g. ‘draw a flower’ or ‘spit a piece of gum and measure the distance’ (boys’ books always had more elaborate challenges). Every book would also have a secret question the answer to which would be folded and hidden from the public eye and could be read only by the book’s owner (needless to say, it was always the question the answers to which you’d read first). These books meant a lot to us. The very fact that you were asked to fill in someone’s book would mean that you were friends, while the number of the ‘respondents’ would show your popularity among classmates. I still keep a whole book filled up in that way.

Friendship books ceased to exist long ago, yet it might be worthwhile to revive them for learning purposes.

1. In-class activity: Hand out a sheet of paper to each student. Ask them to write down one question they’d like to ask their groupmates. Get them to rotate the questions until everyone gets their questions back. Additionally, ask students to vote for the answers they like (+1) before they give their own answer. Have students present a summary of the answers given with the ‘most popular’ answer.

2. Out-of-class activity:  Ask your learners to make a friendship book (at the beginning of the year) , write a set of ‘get-to-know you’ questions and get their friends (classmates) to answer them.

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And here goes my ‘friendship book’ or 11 things challenge.

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger

Super-Adventurous-Nice-Dedicated-Your energy never ceases to amaze us Sandy Millin.

2. Share 11 random facts about yourself. 

  • I do my best under pressure (which probably explains why I’m writing this blog post with deadlines for reports looming).
  • Blue is beautiful.
  • My peers used to call me a walking encyclopedia. Google changed that.
  • I’m happy, and I know it.
  • I talk too fast when I get super excited (or stressed).
  • I like the feeling of being up early in the morning.
  • I have never smoked a cigarette.
  • Whenever I have writer’s block, I read random stuff – like reading Five Challenges Scientists Working on Mars Will Face now.
  • I was born to be a teacher; I’m an entertainer at heart.
  • I’m bad at counting.

3. Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you

1. What’s your favourite thing you’ve written (ELT or otherwise)?

My most favourite thing is yet to be written. My second favourite thing is the course book A Good Start (business English).

2. Do you have a favourite recipe you want to share?

No. I’m physically incapable of following a recipe without tweaking. This refers to anything else, including my own course books and materials.

3. What’s the last photo you took?

Nikola Tesla

Stumbled upon this awesome mural while walking around Podgorica. Nikola Tesla.

4. What’s the last piece of music you listened to?

5. What was the last film or TV show you watched? Would you recommend it?

Hmm, Scamalot (, not exactly a TV show though. Would definitely recommend. 

6. Do you ever listen to podcasts? Any favourites? If you don’t, can I persuade you?:)

Yes, but not often. Favourites? TEFL Commute.

7. What tip would you offer to a new blogger?

Lower your expectations and enjoy the ride.

8. What’s your memory of the best lesson you’ve taught?

I ran a series of workshops for teachers this year. There was one on how learners learn languages with a bit of Stephen Krashen-ing (Natural Approach). In 5 minutes my teachers were engaged in a conversation in the language they’d never heard before. A great lesson is the one that gets people to experience the wonder of learning.

9. Have you ever made a mistake or been in a bad situation which felt huge at the time, but now you’re really glad it happened?

Many times. I try to follow the approach that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. It helps. When the situation still feels huge, I repeat the hey-it’s-just-10-percent mantra till I feel somewhat better.

10. Where are you based and would you recommend it to others?

I’m based in Montenegro, a small country often referred to as the pearl of the Mediterranean. The world is my oyster:) I love the place, and I’d surely recommend it.

11. What question do you wish I’d asked you, and what’s the answer?

What’s your favourite question?

– Why?


4. List 11 bloggers

I’ll nominate:

Tekhnologic –

Pete – (already done)

Zhenya –

Natalia –

Joanna – (already done?)

Hana –

Cristina –

Russie –

Lisa –

Anna –

Zorka –

5. Post 11 questions for bloggers.

1. What’s your favourite thing you’ve written (ELT or otherwise)?

2. Do you have a favourite recipe you want to share?

3. What’s the last photo you took?

4.What tip would you offer to a new blogger?

5. What’s your memory of the best lesson you’ve taught?

6. What sound do you love?

7. If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?

8. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

9. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

10. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

11. What question do you wish I’d asked you, and what’s the answer?


Image: sunshinecity,, Creative commons.


  1. Thank you for the post, for nominating me in your Friendship Book, and for the great questions. Thinking/drafting my post (instead of doing the work I am supposed to be doing!) 🙂

  2. Hi Svetlana,
    I really enjoy this kind of post because you learn about new things, like a song I’d never heard before, and see the worlds others live in, like that amazing mural. Thanks for joining in, for sharing the activities, and for the lovely comment at the top 🙂 Good luck with the reports!

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