Some time ago I was asked on Twitter to share a set of realia or objects I like to bring to teacher training sessions (see Zhenya’s blog here and Hana’s blog here and Lina’s blog here).

So what you’re looking at here is my trainer’s kit from the last teacher training session.


My laptop – a repository of knowledge and all sorts of virtual realia, including sounds, images, PowerPoint games, and whatnot (e.g. SOUNDS LIKE A STORY);

Paper – soon-to-be-made puppets, crafts, game fields, mini-boards, foldable word games and worksheets (see some crafts here CRAFTY TEACHING: LOW-COST IDEAS AND AIDS);

Post-it notes – an indispensable tool for setting the pace and flow of team discussions;

A pack of UNO cards – a real time-saver for any busy teacher that may be used for absolutely anything (see Numbered Heads Together here); and



For most people, spoons are just cutlery. For a resourceful teacher, spoons are a powerful attention getter, an aid to practice rhythm, and a game toolkit.

You can play them.   

It takes about 20 seconds to learn to create a clickity-clack noise with spoons. Reaching the virtuoso level of the Spoon Lady might take much more time and effort, and is not really necessary for our purpose.

Have students clack the spoons as they speak.

Note: plastic spoons are way better for young learners who might want to experiment with the sound and try to play the spoons against their fellows’ foreheads (#tootemptingtoresist).

Aaaand one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, black socks never get dirty, the longer you wear them the blacker they get. Sometimes I think I should wash them, but something inside me keeps saying not yet.

If you have never taught stress timing before, watch this video to get a better idea of how to do this in the classroom.

Or play with them.

If your classroom is so small that you need a microscope to see the space available for moving around, or your adults or teenagers are not yet used to moving around the classroom, spoons might come in quite handy to liven up the class.

The Spoons game might be played the same way as Musical Chairs, with players competing for a spoon. Put one spoon for each player in the middle of the table and take one spoon out. Rules of the game depend on what you’d like your students to practise/learn.

Vocabulary revision

Deal a flashcard to each player (or ask them to get their flashcards/word organisers). You can prepare different flashcards for each round. Play some music. While the music plays, players must pass on flashcards to the left (or right in the next round) so the flashcards continuously go around the table. When the music stops, players should grab a spoon. I usually play the no-elimination version – no player is eliminated in each round but a spoon until only one spoon remains. Go through the vocabulary after each round with tasks for those who failed to grab a spoon,

e.g. give a synonym to the word you have in your hand, or make up a sentence with the word, etc.



spoons might be a good

reminder that we can always do more

with less as long as we are resourceful. Till next 


What’s in YOUR bag?:) #LiveningUpTheProcessChallenge


  1. Hi Svetlana
    Thank you so much for supporting this blogging challenge (I was secretly hoping to read your post on this!) The spoons idea is so inspiring: I was reading and thinking ‘wow, this is almost (!!) obvious, why did not this idea come to me?’ and then feeling grateful for and appreciative of my great PLN and the chance to learn. I love the idea of using spoons to chant (jazz chants by Caroline Graham fit nicely, I think), and as drums to manage loud classes. Interesting that I remember playing wooden spoons in my childhood (have just searched and was amazed at the variety of images and designs!) Finally, the vocab review with ‘grab the spoon’ twist is fun!

    Thank you for writing this post and for sharing the bag full of tricks!

  2. Hi Svetlana,
    Thanks for writing this and introducing the spoon lady. 🙂
    It reminds me of a card game I play with playing cards regularly outside class, normally by putting your hands in the middle – the last person is the loser of the round. However, when I worked in Malaysia we played it with pencils or with spoons, with one fewer than the number of people (as you describe above). Have one pair of cards (or a flashcard and a word) per player. Shuffle them. Deal a pair of cards to each player face-down. Count 3, 2, 1 and everyone looks at their cards at the same time. If they have a pair, they take a spoon. As soon as one person does that, the round stops and the other players try to take a spoon too. If nobody has a pair, everyone takes one card, passes it to the left, and picks up the card handed to them from the right. As soon as anyone gets a pair, they take a spoon, and the round stops. I hope that makes some kind of sense – it’s much easier to demonstrate! 🙂
    Zhenya, I’m thinking and thinking and can’t come up with anything in particular I use at the moment, but will write a post as soon as I have something 😉
    Happy New Year to you both!

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