February 27, 2013

Inspiring blackboard quotes!

"Success is liking yourself, 
liking what you do, 
and  how you do it."
Maya Angelou  

You have just read the quote on the right corner.
How did you like it? Where did it take you?

This post is about these very special sentences that usually appear in the beginning of texts, posts, and movies to either guide us to specific thoughts or make us enter certain moods. Malu Sciamarelli recently wrote a lovely post about stories, which she opened with the beautiful quote below:

I wrote Malu thanking her for the touching post and also sharing that I love using quotes in my classes. I realized then that I should write about the power of quotes to make sense of my practice and also to share this secret trick with the world.

Why do I enjoy blackboard quotes so much? Well, I feel that's because they are a refined way of greeting and reaching students in the different moments and emotional states they live throughout a course.  Quotes can deliver very precise messages at the right time with a surprise and caring touch. But their usefulness does not end there as they come handy for vocabulary, language use, and grammar. Whether you want to welcome, entertain, support, or inspire, quotes can do a great job!

I particularly like writing inspirational quotes on the right corner of the blackboard, as a way of receiving students when they come into the classroom and leaving it to them to do their own thinking.  So far, I have never manipulate quotes or discussed them in any specific activities as I like the magic of just leaving them there. Sometimes  students copy or reading them aloud, many times I even forget I wrote them. I use quotes as nutritional seeds with the hope that they will energize and bring some wisdom to students. Below I share a sequence of favorite quotes and some moments in which they can be used.  

                   We can start by giving meaning to learning a foreign language: 

Quotes can be used to show a process:

We can  students who are suffering and struggling in their learning: 

Expected social behavior can be presented and reinforced:

 We can play with meaning by changing the order of words:

Single words can also be used with the same function. Check this word play! 

What about these quotes for a day students are finishing a project or taking a test?

I believe there are endless ways to use quotes in class. Some that come to my mind now are matching, discussing, classifying, ranking, guessing, completing with their own words, guessing/ matching who said them, and inviting students to bring their favorite ones. Even so, I still prefer leaving their silent magic in the air.

Here I invite you to check out my 500+ quotes Affective Quotes Pinterest board. 

Well, shouldn't we end with a quote? Here it is!

Have you ever used quotes in your classes?
Do you have a special favorite one?
I'd love to hear from you!

Send you a big frog-hug,


Did you like it? Share it! 


  1. Hi Juan
    Thank you for sharin! I do like your idea very much! I've always been fond of quotes but I've never made it a habit with my learners!You have inspired me to start an activity on this basis!
    Thank you for sharing your insights!
    Wishing you all the best

    1. Hi Faten!

      It's a great pleasure sharing.
      Make quotes a habit and let me know how it goes.
      Happy to know I inspired you!

      All the best to you and your students,


  2. Inspiring post Juan. Thank YOu for the wonderful idea. :)

    1. Hey Rose,

      Lovely to read your comment here! Thank you.
      Try them out and let me know what you notice.



    2. I really must add this to my classes as essential tool! There are students in one of my groups afraid of speaking so out of my head I wrote on the corner of the board last week,
      "Success is always possible, but only if you try."
      I noticed that as they entered the class, they looked at the board. some of them read aloud and tried to understand the message, then at a point in the class someone wanted to talk about it and we did.

      Instead of the board though, I want to print out the images that gives visual support for the beginners as well. And change it every week. So, not only my learners but everyone else who enters the room can be blessed with the positive words.

      Today in the menu is,
      "Be patient with yourself."

      What do you think Juan?

  3. Hi Juan,
    great post. Thanks for sharing and here are some ideas with quotes from my blog http://evasimkesyan.edublogs.org/2011/10/25/using-quotations-to-revise-grammar/ and http://evasimkesyan.edublogs.org/2010/07/05/habit-is/
    and http://evasimkesyan.edublogs.org/2010/06/06/food-for-thought/

    1. Hi Eva,

      Thank you for stopping by and writing!
      I have read our quote activities and I liked the wordle puzzle and the wall dictation the most.
      I really appreciate your sharing them with me.
      So many things we can do with quotes, amazing!

      Hugs from chilly Toronto,


  4. I just loved your post, Juan! I love quotes! Nowadays we can find them beautifully written here on the Internet, with lots of colours, shapes, drawings. But what I love the most is a little notebook my dad gave me when I was a teenager, on which I wrote hundreds of quotes...the ones who inspired me to become who I am! Needless to say they also inspired me to create stories - but that's another story too! :-)

    Like you, I share them with my students and with all my friends. And it's great to see how much inspiration we get back - just like this lovely post! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!


    “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
    ― Rabindranath Tagore

    1. Hi Malu,

      Wow, what a treasure this little book of quotes is!
      We never know how big the effect of one or many quotes in the life of a person.
      Thank you for having given me the spark to write this post!



  5. My favourite quote is 'It's never too late to be who you always wanted to be'.


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