Noodle Casserole

Carola's Vegetarian Casserole

I'm sure most of you already do this, especially if you're an ESOL teacher with lots of students from all over the world, but just in case you haven't yet - sharing students' recipes, even with Business English students can be great fun and an interesting way to check if they know the different words for types of food they like in English; phrases for food preparation  and giving instructions.   

I used to do this activity a lot in Ecuador when I lived there, it was part of our "Concentrating on Conversation" Friday course and once a month we'd have sessions in the kitchen together.  

(We also played Casino on other days, but that's another story)


Now that I work online a great deal, I've also tried applying this activity to our community platform too and recently, Carola (who I've never met - she's a tele-student) wrote this incredibly easy and very delicious recipe for me:

For the recipe, you need the following ingredients:

250 g pasta (e.g. Penne)
2 bell peppers (I like the red and yellow ones best)
1 zucchini
1 onion
some olive oil
1 clove of garlic
250 g cream (perhaps you can use soy cream, here - I am sorry, but I have not found any noodle casserole recipe without cream...)
a tablespoonful of tomato puree
herbs (basil, thyme)
250 g cheese (slices or grated) (e.g. Gouda)

Cook the pasta (see instructions on the package for the exact cooking time).

Cut the onion, wash and cut the bell peppers and the zucchini. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onion together with the zucchini and the bell peppers - just for a short time, the vegetables have to be "al dente".

For the sauce:
Mix the cream with a tablespoonful of tomato puree, add some salt, pepper, chili, and herbs (e.g. basil and thyme), and a clove of garlic cut in small pieces (or you can use a garlic press). You can also add an egg to the sauce, if you like.
Now put the pasta in the casserole, mix with the fried vegetables and the sauce and cover it all with some slices of cheese or grated cheese.

Put the casserole in the preheated oven (at a temperature of about 180 °C) for about 20 minutes.

Then enjoy your meal! :-)
I would say that the recipe is for about two to four persons (depending on the appetite..).   As I have already told you, what I like best about this recipe is that, when you have guests, you can prepare the casserole, put it in the oven, clean up the kitchen, and then all you have to do is wait till it's ready, i.e. you don't have to do much more cooking when your guests have arrived.
The other thing is that you can vary the recipe as you like, e.g. use some other vegetables (for example, leek or spinach). 

I hope you like the casserole! Looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

Cooking with students, whether it's in person or on a community/ blogging platform is a lot of fun , a good learning activity and a great sharing experience.

Silke's Cherry&ChocChip Cake
Some things I've noticed since turning this into a digital exercise is that my students get the chance to practice writing out instructions and reviewing their language mistakes and errors more than once (not quite the same as them bringing in the food to cook and telling us how to do it in person - although the benefit there is that a lot of emergent language occurs at the same time); looking up the English words for ingredients online, sharing preferences with each other and of course, adding photos afterward to show how their recipes turned out is a good bit of fun social-media silliness which can help them to remember the experience of the language!

Have you done any cooking with your (online) students?  How did it go?

Useful links related to this posting:
More lesson ideas


Google for teaching adults how to describe statistics

Google is just so useful, isn't it?  But did you know that you can get your adult Business English students looking for their own data, specifically relevant to their own interests, projects and responsibilities?

For fun, drag the yearly scroll bar!

This incredible site, Google Public Data Explorer, offers statistics from the World Bank, Eurostat, OECD and also includes several more country-specific-options as well (Australian Bureau of Statistics, US Bureau of Labour Statistics and much, much more).

Most of the charts are completely customizable and although the fun factor, when messing about on the site trying to decide just how to present the data, is high (you can change years, colours, countries and layouts),  the very real potential for pedagogical application is even higher!

Screenshots can be taken of each data set, printed, turned into jpegs and inserted into PowerPoint/GoogleDoc presentations, however, what I like best is that the charts can be easily embedded directly on to your students' own blogs/pages/ wikis, Nings or any other learning platform you're using to teach with.

For fun, hover over the country names!

What can you encourage your students to do?  
  • Give them the link to the site or show in class if you have internet access.
  • Ask them to review the options and to personally choose a set of statistics that they are interested in knowing more about or that they need to know about for their own work/study.
  • Show them the various options for presenting information: globally vs. the country they're in/ doing business with/ countries they're interested in knowing more about.
  • Encourage them to then work in teams (comparing their preferred data sets).
  • Tell them to create essays, blog posts or presentations researching and exploring the reasons which explain the data they'd found.

What language could you use this website to practice?
  • the langauage of describing statistics
  • expressions for trends and changes
  • numbers and financial English expressions
  • comparatives and superlatives
  • range of past structures and present tenses
  • predictions for the future
  • asking and answering critical questions about the world we live in

Previously on Kalinago English, posts related to this posting:
Why use Google?
More lessons tips for ESP:Financial
More lessons tips for Business English Adults

Useful links
Statistics for a changing world
Search Power
Google Docs presentation on ways to use the Public Data Explorer
Blog about stats (lots of great tips)

Best, Karenne

15 Top Tweets in #TEFL: 2010-Aug-16

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Pedagogy /Methodology/Linguistics 

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Teaching English Tips + Lessons

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Reading: "English Raven: Great news! Free Boost Teacher's Guides from Pearson Longman"( )Sat Aug 14 17:52:24 via TwitThis

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new blog post: using location-based services in the ESL classroom #mlearning #ESLTue May 25 05:48:05 via TweetDeck

Social Media

Reading: "Pages * Home 10 More Twitter Faux Pas To Avoid When Building Your PLN "( )Sat Aug 14 18:14:16 via TwitThis

free ebook on social networking in TESOL. Aug 16 07:07:10 via web

RT @douglasi: Facebook's Zuckerberg Admits "Mistakes," Says He'll Address Privacy Outrage This Week May 24 05:43:26 via Twitter for iPhone


Mainstream Educational Links of Interest

Students learn more, behave better, more engaged if #teachers are not fixated on exams #education via @nickdennisSat Aug 14 04:57:08 via Twitter for Android

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RT @courosa: The Bechdel test for women in movies #feminism #hollywood #mediastudies #equality (that's pretty shocking!)Tue May 25 04:52:50 via TweetDeck

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The last couple of weeks have been ridiculously busy: both professionally and personally and I have hardly had a moment to come up for air.  Lots of life being juggled and lots of balls falling...

Still I have been missing writing my blog dreadfully and in a micro -guilt ridden- slot at the Gym today, between classes, a rant brewed and brewed... so, just quickly, gonna let off some steam about thoughts and thinking about the use of tech in the classroom here...

especially, so that the very next time, I see this sort of nonsense being tweeted or ReTweeted I'll have a handy blog link to send in response...

If you never asked, in fact it never occured to you to question what the pedagogical and economical implications of this is/was

let alone the vast environmental impact,

then what, exactly, do you think is being said/clarified/proved/implied/assumed by saying...

I fear the push towards online is economically and not pedagogically driven. #edchatTue Aug 10 16:45:31 via Seesmic

Now, Bill, I'm really sure you're a super nice guy - in fact your Twitter page reads that you're a geek too.

You and me: well we're in different fields of education so it's probably a bit or perhaps even way unfair of me to rant on my blog incorporating your #edchat tweet... (and I did read through the entire page of your relevant tweets to find context and will openly admit you, indeed, asked some hard-hitting questions) but thing is, in my own field... we're bogged down by these sort of random, un-thought-through statements and by golly, they do so annoy me to the nth of the nth degree...

Educators: think!

What leads a questioner to the place in which he decides to make such a bold statement? What is he hoping to prove?  Does he have an objective, based on his own needs or a personal agenda  - why is there even a question in asking about where the pedagogy in technology lies?

What do tools, what have tools ever, had to do with pedagogy? Is a pen a better tool to process and write an essay? Why?  Why not?  What is going on around us in the world today?  Why is there, currently, a push towards online learning?  

Who uses computers?  Why does anyone use computers at all?   

What qualifies quality of instruction?  Is location really any kind of factor?  Why? How have today's classroom architectures led us to where we are today - what can be taken from that and what can be improved upon?   

What is education?   Is it only the movement of knowledge from one being to another being? How do we learn?  Is learning meant to be just, merely, the rote memorization of statistics soaked up or is it meant to create more questions or solutions? 

Are we meant to assume, when reading statements of this ilk, that online courses are all created by  a bunch of people sitting in a room who couldn't give a toss about things like hitting educational targets, that they're  a bunch of suits whose primary purpose is to make or save money?  And if so, how do we educators move them beyond the bottom line? 

What opportunities do we have to direct the learning approaches for the systems created?

What are the benefits, problems, consequences of training students online?  

What is lost? 
What is gained?
Can we establish a clear balance?

Will online courses ever become better and more pedagogically sound and critical? Will they be  better structured than those provided F2F because they remain not in the hands of one instructor but in collaborative teams involving the learners themselves? Or is the concept of crowd wisdom, a daydream only? 

Will online courses be cheaper or will they wind up being more expensive? 
Why or why not?
Are online courses really more convenient to learners? 
Why or why not?

How much autonomy is required to learn in an online environment - as opposed to in a classroom setting?  
How do educators keep learners motivated enough to stick to their course?  Are motivational factors the same online as live?  Why?
How do we train teachers to work online?  What skills, aside from digital literacy, will they need?

What will be the consequence of having a large body of teachers who are simply not able to teach in an online environment?

Will their employment opportunities reduce?

Will the socio-demographic change:  what are the employment opportunities of students who have been trained online versus those who have not, what skills will either have that the other won't have?

Where are we heading...

Where is our tomorrow?


We are educators, it is our duty to question.

But...  do you mind, can we please do more than fear monger about the scary-monster-tech-beast, really, now because that tactic's best left to politicians, isn't it - let's answer those pressing questions, let's ask many more - can you think of some I've missed?

image credits:
Stuttgart Der Denker by hmobius
Pen and Paper by Road Dog on

Best, Karenne

Happiness is...

 1.  the surprising, unexpected, acts of kindness from strangers.

  You are a very beautiful person, Miss ALiCe_M : I love my picture,
it's going into my happy-memories-box

2.  Hearing or reading things which solidify the way you think

#rscon @alexfrancisco quoting @daviddeubel eflclassroom 2.0 - the future of teaching is learning (wicked quote, must remember 2 fav 4 me 2)Sat Jul 31 20:10:57 via TweetDeck

'The thinking teacher is longer someone who applies theories, but someone who theorizes practice' Edge, quoted by KumarSat Jul 31 14:32:29 via TweetDeck

3.  Having one's work/words appreciated by peers

Participate in Karenne's edublogging poll @kalinagoenglish Thanks for a gr8 session this morning! #rscon10Sat Jul 31 13:10:54 via web

Blogging is "just simply one of the necessary steps in the future of written communication" from @kalinagoenglish #rscon10Sat Jul 31 12:54:54 via TweetDeck

Gr8 participation of @kalinagoenglish! I really got impressed of how she handled the presentation. Wish I can have the slides soon #rscon10Sat Jul 31 13:06:08 via TweetChat

No matter what anyone else says about Social Media, having & being a part of a global Professional Learning Network is mostly about living happiness.



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