Get your essentials ready.

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september teaching essentials

With September just around the corner, it might be a good time to start organising your toolbox. This time we’re focusing on less is more – we’ll help you fill up your teacher bag with very few, but multi-purpose items.

Something you can always use if:

  • You have an unexpected lesson.
  • You need to do a quick revision.
  • Your lesson isn’t going well and you need a quick fix.
  • You haven’t had time to prepare.


You can print photos from stock websites (just make sure they’re under a CC0 licence). Also, most of our materials have a selection of beautiful photos (for example Lesson Starters, Convo Compact). When choosing photos for your toolbox, make sure they are packed with opportunities to talk and revise vocabulary and grammar. So they should have a lot going on: people doing things, a lot of items to name, etc. Also, make sure to choose photos that present the most common topics, e.g. food, work, hobbies, people, holidays, etc.

You can also use picture cards or photo cards.

What can you do with them?

  • Grammar revision – students describe what’s going on in the photo or what’s just happened, etc.
  • Vocabulary revision – students name all the items that are in the photo. Additionally, they can make a list of extra items in that category.
  • Speaking – students talk about what’s going on in the photo. They can speculate, and create extra conversation questions.

Convo Cards

You can use Convo Cards from any of our Convo Compact sets or Twofold Magazines or make your own ones. Cut out a lot of small strips of paper and write a conversation question on each of them. Make sure the questions are varied (on different topics and levels).

What can you do with them?

  • Warmers – short conversation can be a great way to start a lesson if you don’t have an idea for a warmer. Put your students in groups and give each one a couple of convo cards to discuss.
  • Fillers – use them to fill the last few minutes of the class.
new student essentials

Blank cards

Just cut a few sheets of printer paper into small squares (about 12 per sheet). Keep them blank.

What can you do with them?

  • Vocabulary revision – distribute a few blank cards per student and ask them to write a word or phrase from the previous lesson on each one. Mix them all and let students take one and explain the meaning and/or make a sentence with it.
  • Games – write some vocabulary items, sentences to translate or anything you want to practise on the blank cards (one per card). Next, lay out all the cards on the table in the form of a board game. Students take turns rolling the dice and moving on the cards. Every time they land on a card they have to explain the meaning, translate the sentence or do any other action you want them to do.
  • Conversation – students write conversation questions on the cards. Collect all the cards and re-distribute them to the groups of students for discussion.


You can use simple 6-sided dice, or you can go a step further and use RPG dice (you’ll find them in any online game shop). They have a varied number of sides – you can find 3-sided, 8-sided and even 20-sided dice.

What can you do with them?

  • Games – students use them for rolling.
  • Vocabulary revision – students roll the dice and depending on the number they rolled, they have to list that many words in one category or topic.
  • Grammar revision – “assign” a different grammar structure to each number on the dice. Students roll the dice and depending on what number they rolled, they have to make a sentence using that structure.

As you can see, you don’t need much to save you from teaching trouble. If you have these 4 essentials with you, you’re always covered!

September essentials, teaching english