Sharing creative tips for online lessons

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Anna Abbey’s just delivered her first lesson for beginner students – who now meet in her virtual classroom.

(Anna’s techniques and tips are at the end)  

Anna, who teaches for English Language Partners’ (ELP) Wellington centre, has quickly come up with easy ways of communicating simply online with beginners.

“ELP is very lucky to have such wonderful, innovative teachers who have adopted online delivery as the new normal!” says Maddy Harper, ESOL Programmes Coordinator for the Wellington centre.

“Anna’s swiftly explored the amazing potential for online lessons and delivered a great interactive session."

“Our first class online went very well,” Anna says. “We looked at naming rooms in a house.”

“I used an image of a house and I had a little stick figure person that I moved around,” she says. “I asked students to tell me what he was doing and which room he was in.”

Anna says her simple technique works well and is easy to learn.

She’s happy to share her teaching tip and ideas to help others who are also frantically upskilling in online delivery. (See under for her handy “How to” steps.)

Anna finished her lesson with follow-up homework based on the topic. “One student has already sent his back, nice and early,” she says. For her next lesson, the students will orally share what they wrote for homework: describing a room in their house.

We really appreciate all the hard work our teachers are doing to keep in touch with learners.

Thanks for sharing your creativity and skills Anna!

Tips and Techniques

View this video to see Anna demonstrating how she delivered her class activity

How to move the stick figure

  1. Open a new Powerpoint doc.
  2. Copy and paste in a house image or any image that suits your topic (stock images available online, you may encounter a download fee)
  3. Drop in your stick figure – Find the stick figure online
  4. Right mouse click on your stick figure and select the ‘Wrap text’ from the dropdown menu
  5. Select ‘Through’ as your text wrapping option
  6. You can then click on your stick figure to move him around during the online lesson
  7. You may want to select ‘Through’ as the text wrapping option for the house/image you choose as well. This makes it easier to resize.
  8. If you use Anna’s topic – Here’s her homework activity

Anna’s notes:

  • Use powerpoint. I find this much easier (than Word), as you can switch between slides. For example, one slide has the names of the rooms. The next slide with the stick figure doesn’t, so students have to remember the names.
  • Text wrapping is also important because it’s much easier to change the size and move it around properly. With text wrapping as ‘through’ any background automatically cuts out so you don’t need to do any further editing.


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