Category: English games

Games to help students learn English.

Irregular verbs straightforward #3
Irregular verbs straightforward #3

Irregular verbs pictureThis has been the third post on irregular verbs. There are 24 more irregular verbs presented in two videos. Then you can practise each group of verbs on a worksheet or in interactive games and quizzes. When I counted I found out that each verb is practised at least 7 times. I have tried the activities with my students and finally they are able to learn them.

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[showmyads] If you do not like this straightforward approach you can try other methods I have tried here. There are irregular verbs associative method, irregular verbs listening drill, irregular verbs in context and many others.

Irregular verbs #3 – videos

First, watch the videos and repeat the words. This time I have tried to present them slightly differently and I hope this way will be more effective.

The other 12 verbs are presented in the following video:


Irregular verbs – worksheets

The first worksheet contains all 24 verbs taught in the videos above. They are in a table and each verb is illustrated.

Irregular verbs 3_all verbs

Then there are two worksheets containing crosswords and word puzzles to practice the irregular verbs. The activities for the verbs from the first video are here. Be careful, you have to add a free square after each verb in the spiral puzzle:

Irregular verbs 05_vocabulary_ws
Irregular verbs 05_vocabulary_ws_key

The puzzles and crosswords for the second video are over here. Again you have to add a free square after each verb in the spiral puzzle:
Irregular verbs 06_vocabulary_ws
Irregular verbs 06_vocabulary_ws_key

Irregular verbs #3 – interactive quizzes

The first two quizzes test the knowledge of the first twelve irregular verbs presented in the first video. The test is in HTML5 so you can play it on any mobile device. At the end of the quiz you can play a game.

Irregular verbs #5 – simple quiz
Then you can try the interactive crossword and wordsearch down here. Both of them are in HTML 5 so they will play on any device. You have to write both the past tense and past participle:
Irregular verbs #5 – crossword
Irregular verbs – Wordsearch

The following quizzes deal with the irregular verbs presented in the second video:

Irregular verbs #6
Then there are a crossword and a wordsearch. Remember to write both the past tense and the past participle:
Irregular verbs – Crossword #6
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I hope that by now you will have learnt all the 24 irregular verbs taught here.

Questions in present and past simple tense
Questions in present and past simple tense

Asking questions is one of the most important functions of a language. Making questions in English is quite easy, but students still need to understand the basics. I have tried to put all the basic rules into a mind map. Then I have come up with a story about question formation and several games to practice the grammar. I hope that now the students will be able to form the questions correctly.

Questions – Mind map

Display or print out the following mind map for all the students and explain that each question can start with a WH word followed by DO, DOES or DID. It might be a good idea to ask the students to name or describe the columns in their own words.
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Explaining grammar using the words like auxiliary, verb and subject might be a precise description of the grammar but it is very hard for students to understand. Moreover, people remember stories better than any explanation. And that is why I have created the following story to help my students use the auxiliaries correctly:
Once upon a time there was a land called Trainglish (train and English). And there were only SVOMPT trains with affirmative sentences. And in these trains V cars were the most important and most beautiful ones.
But one day the Great Constructor created an auxiliary train “DO”. But the “DO” car did not want to be just an ordinary train. He was very proud and selfish and he wanted to be the most important train in the world. So he started QUESTION trains. And as he was so big-headed he had to ride at the beginning of these trains. And as the other cars did not protest, he wanted more.
First he brought his family DOES and DID. Then he brought WH cars and they all drove at the beginning of each Question train. But it was not enough for him. He still wanted more. And thus he decided that no car can be more handsome than he.
“All the other cars have to be simple,” he announced. And that is why the V car lost all its endings and forms and it has be only in a simple form in Question Trains.
“And all the verbs agreed?”
“No, there was one that refused. It was the BE car. And ever since WAS, IS, ARE and WERE cars ride at the beginning of their Question trains. They allow only WH cars to join them.”

Questions – Quizzes and games

There are three quizzes and games to help the students remember the grammar. In the first HTML5 quiz you should put the words into the correct order to create questions. At the end of the quiz there is the game called Angry Finches.

Questions – Present simple and past simple
The second quiz is again in HTML5. However this time, your task is to write the question to ask about the missing information. At the end of the quiz there is the game called Tower Defence.

Questions – Tower Defence
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The last game is in Flash and therefore it will play only on your desktop. You have to choose the correct option and then you should hit your opponent. Good luck.

Questions – En Garde

 

Common mistakes – present perfect
Common mistakes – present perfect

Students make a lot of mistakes in present perfect tense. I have tried to collect the most typical ones and I have put them into a mind map and tried to explain the rules there. Moreover, I have added two games to give the students a chance to practice the grammar one more time.
To be able to form the present perfect tense correctly, it is necessary to know the past participles. Students can learn the past participles in the following posts:

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Common mistakes – Mind map

I have collected the following mistakes my students make:

Common mistakes present perfect tense

In the first bubble there is the wrong sentence, then there is the correct sentence and at the end of each branch there is the explanation.
For teaching purposes it might be a good idea to leave the end of the branch empty and ask the students to come up with their own explanation. You can find the mind map here:
Common mistakes present perfect tense - em

Common mistakes – Games

All the mistakes can be divided into three categories:

  1. bad knowledge of the past participles
  2. Not using has
  3. wrong subject in the answers.

If you feel that you have problems with the past participles I recommend the following video:

If you need more practise of past participles and irregular verbs go to Irregular verbs straightforward and Irregular verbs straightforward#2.
To deal with problems 2 and 3 I have prepared two games. The first one is an HTML5 quiz and your task is to answer the tasks correctly. At the end there is a game as a reward for your effort.

Common mistakes – present perfect quiz
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Common mistakes – present perfect On Target

By now you should know the grammar well.

Common mistakes – Share

If you would like to use the games in a classroom with no internet connection you can download the following files. You can share these games on your website too.

Common Mistakes_present perfect (Web)

Common Mistakes_present perfect_ontarget

Irregular verbs straightforward #2
Irregular verbs straightforward #2

As students reacted very positively to the first post on irregular verbs I am going to continue with teaching the irregular verbs in this way. Once again I am going to teach 24 irregular verbs with their past tense and past participle. The verbs are divided into two groups of 12 and there are separate worksheets and videos for teaching them.
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[showmyads] If you are a teacher you do not have to use all of the activities and worksheets below. However, if you are a student I recommend that you complete all the worksheets and activities.

Irregular verbs #2 – video

First, watch the video and repeat the words. At the end you can stop the video or play the game and guess the verb that is being drawn. If you guess the verb you have to say the past tense and the past participle, too.

The other 12 verbs are presented in the following video:

Irregular verbs – worksheets

The first worksheet contains all the verbs taught in this post. They are in a table and each verb is illustrated.

Irregular verbs02_all

Then there are two worksheets containing crosswords and word puzzles to practice the irregular verbs from the two videos. The activities for the first video are here:

Irregular verbs 03_vocabulary_ws
Irregular verbs 03_vocabulary_ws_key

The puzzles and crosswords for the second video are over here:
Irregular verbs 04_vocabulary_ws
Irregular verbs 04_vocabulary_ws_key

Irregular verbs #2 – quizzes

The first two quizzes test the knowledge of the first twelve irregular verbs presented in the first video. The test is in HTML5 so you can play it on your mobile device. If you pass the quiz you can play a game.

Irregular verbs – simple quiz
Then you can try the interactive crossword and wordsearch. Once again both of them are in HTML 5 so they will play anywhere. Write both the past tense and past participle:
Irregular verbs – crossword
Irregular verbs – Wordsearch

The following quzzes deal with the irregular verbs presented in the second video. Once again there are three different activities to help you or your students remember all the irregular verbs. The first one is a simple HTML5 quiz:

Irregular verbs – Quiz no. 2
Then there are a crossword and a wordsearch. Remember to write both the past tense and the past participle:
Irregular verbs – Crossword 2
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I hope that by now you will have learnt all the 24 irregular verbs taught here.

Dates – adaptive learning
Dates – adaptive learning

Adaptive learning has been the new buzz word in Language teaching community for some time. It sounds so promising. Students will learn only those things they do not know and they will practise what is needed for them to remember. And of course everything will be computer based and the students will be able to learn at the moments they feel like it.
Sounds great, however there are many pitfalls. I recommend the text on Adaptive learning and teaching at http://the-round.com/resource/a-short-guide-to-adaptive-learning-in-english-language-teaching/. To show you how such an adaptive learning activity could look, I have created a simple adaptive learning activity on Dates.
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It is really simple, because it will repeat the thing the student does not master only once. Ideally the programme should offer a different explanation (based on your mistakes) each time you fail to learn something. Here I mostly offer the same explanation, but I have tried this in one case.

Dates – activities

The aim of the adaptive learning activity is to teach ordinal numbers from 1 to 12 and the months.
Thus at the end the students will be able to form Dates in English using the ordinal numbers from first to twelfth (plus twenty-first, twenty-second and twenty-first). If you want to teach the all the dates go to the following post on DATES .

Here is the adaptive learning activity. As it is in HTML 5 it should work on any device. Just follow the instructions and if you learn all the dates you will be give a chance to play a game. Enjoy.

If you would like to see the adaptive learning activity on the full screen click the button:

Dates – adaptive learning

Dates – Share

At some schools there is a problem with the internet connection. That is why you can download the following file and use the activity offline with your students. Moreover, you can upload the activity to your site and share it there. No strings attached 🙂

DATES_html5 (Web)

Irregular verbs straightforward
Irregular verbs straightforward
Irregular verbs picture

I have already tried teaching irregular verbs in many ways. I have tried irregular verbs associative method, irregular verbs listening drill, irregular verbs in context and many others. However, the results were not very good. Only about half of the students know the verbs.

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That is why in my next four posts I would like to present 100 irregular verbs straightforward. I will provide the pronunciation of all the verbs and several simple activities for students to practice the verbs. No miracle cure, only hard work.

Irregular verbs – video


First, watch the video and repeat the words. At the end you can stop the video or play the game and guess the verb the man is drawing. If you guess the verb you have to supply the past tense and the past participle of the verb.

The second half of the verbs is presented in the following video:

Irregular verbs – worksheets


The first worksheet contains all the verbs in a table.

Irregular verbs 01_all

Then there are two worksheets containing activities to practice the irregular verbs from the two videos. The activities for the first video are here:

Irregular verbs_worksheet
Irregular verbs_worksheet_key

The activities for the second video are over here:
Irregular verbs 2 _worksheet
Irregular verbs 2_worksheet_key

Irregular verbs – quizzes

The first two quizzes test the knowledge of the first thirteen verbs presented in the first video. The first test is in HTML5 so you can play it on your mobile device. If you pass the quiz you can play a game at the end.

Irregular verbs – simple quiz

Then you can try the following crossword and wordsearch. Once again both of them are in HTML 5 so they will play anywhere. Again write both the past tense and past participle:

Irregular verbs – crossword Irregular verbs – Wordsearch

You can practise irregular verbs in the following app. Choose the set or sets of irregular verbs, you want to practise and then choose how you want to practise them:

Irregular verbs – Revision

The next games concentrate on the irregular verbs presented in the second video. Once again there are four different activities to help you remember all the irregular verbs. The first one is a simple HTML5 quiz:

Irregular verbs – Quiz no. 2

Then there are a crossword and a wordsearch. Remember to write both the past tense and the past participle:

Irregular verbs – Crossword 2
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Irregular verbs – Wordsearch 2
There is / There are
There is / There are

The basic explanation of the usage of the phrase THERE IS / THERE ARE is easy to understand and practice. My students caught on very quickly and then used the phrase without any mistakes. However, you might need to teach the plural first to allow the students use these without any mistakes.

In this post there is a clear mind map which even 9 years old managed to understand, a worksheet and two games to practice the grammar.

There is / There are – mind map


Ask the students to have a look at the following mind map and explain the following points:

  1. It is used to describe a scenery or picture.
  2. THERE IS A + one thing
  3. THERE ARE + more than one thing.

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There is there are a mind map

There is / There are – games and activities


The first activity is a simple spot the difference activity. Print out the following worksheets (black and white copy will be just fine as the colours do not play any role there) and give the worksheet A to one student and the worksheet B to the other one. Students work in pairs and they must keep their worksheets secret and not show them to each other. Each student describes his rooms and they try to find all the differences.

There is there are worksheet

The next two activities are interactive quizzes and games. Both of them are in HTML 5 and both of them will work on any mobile device.
In the first quiz you should read the description and click on the correct picture. If you pass the test you can play the game Angry Finches.

There is / There are – Angry Finches

In the second game you should write the missing words into the sentences to describe the picture on the left. If you pass this test you will be given a chance to play the game called Make them Fall.
Enjoy.

There is / There are – Write

Go and do something phrases
Go and do something phrases

In the last half a year I have taught this, in my opinion easy, piece of language and I have failed miserably in both cases. And on the basis of this failure I built this post. It contains a clear explanation in the form of a mind map, a worksheet and two games to practise the phrase.

Go and do something – mind map


The phrase I’ll go and do something is used when we want to express that our willingness or intention to do something. The students have to memorize the following phrase and try to use it creatively.
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Go and do something mind map

Go and do something – games


Once the students master the phrase, it is time to test their knowledge. Here there are two games to practise the phrase.
The first game is in HTML5 and it will play on all mobile devices. Your task is to place the words into the correct gaps. If you pass the test, you can play the game called Make them Fall. Good luck 🙂

Go and do something – Make them fall game

The second game is in Flash and it will play just on your desktop. Your task is to click on the correct answer and then try to stop the circle in the middle of the basket.

Go and do something – Hoopshoot

Go and do something – Share

If you like the games you can use them on your website or offline in your classroom. You can download the files here:

Go and get_quiz (Web)

And the flash game is here:

go_and_do_flash

If you share the files on your website, please, could you provide a link to this site? Thank you 🙂

Irregular verbs in context 1
Irregular verbs in context 1

Teaching irregular verbs is really difficult. I have tried many different methods and I still feel that I have not succeeded. You can see several of my previous attempts at this site. For example there is a post on irregular verbs using associative method or a post with a rap with irregular verbs or a post with remembering tables.

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In this post I will try to teach the irregular verbs in context. I do not want my students to spend more time doing what we have already done. I want them to do something new with the irregular verbs which we have already dealt with.
In this post there are several quizzes, a mind map, four mnemonics a worksheet and a comic. I hope the results will justify the time spend on these.

Irregular verbs – introduction


Start with a pre-test. Ask your students to write the past tense and past participles of the following verbs:

go, buy, meet, feel, speak, say, come, find, lose, put, steal, know, make, think, give

The aim of such an activity is to show the gap and suggest that by the end of the lesson they will know all the past tenses.

You can try the quiz on your mobile phones here:
Irregular verbs – pre-test

Irregular verbs – Worksheet


You can download all the activities for the lesson here. It is a worksheet with all the activities to teach the irregular verbs:

Stolen wallet_original story_past simple

You can find the explanation of the Grammar UP activity here:

Irregular verbs – Additional materials


Of course, you could just use the worksheet as is. However, here are several improvements which you might find useful.
The first one is a mind map. It contains all the verbs in the past tense. I think that the best place to introduce the mind map is after the activity 2 (the reading). Moreover, there are the four mnemonics which should help the pupils remember the irregular verbs. Ask the students to memorize the four lines. Thus the students should learn all the irregular verbs.
Irregular verbs mind map
If your students have smartphones and your school is pretty hi-tec, you could use the following quizzes.
The first quiz is the Reading comprehension. Students can read the text online and then answer the multiple choice questions. If they get more than 70% of answers correct, they can play the game Make them fall:
Irregular verbs – Reading

In the second quiz students have to complete the text with the past tense of the verbs in brackets. If they get more than 70% of answers correct, they can play the game Tic Tac Toe.
Irregular verbs – Past tense

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In the third quiz students have to put the words into the correct order. Once again, if they pass the quiz they will get a chance to play the game Tower defence.

Irregular verbs – Tower Defence

Irregular verbs – The end


If you teach the above lesson, you must not miss the last step. The post test. Once again ask your students to write the past tense and past participles of the irregular verbs above or they could try the following interactive quiz.

Irregular verbs – post-test

I hope that the results now are much better than they were at the beginning of the lesson.

Plurals for elementary students
Plurals for elementary students

Plurals are quite easy to understand. In English 1 is a singular and more than 1 is plural. To put it easy you add -s to the end of a singular form to create the plural. However, it is not always that easy, as there are several exceptions.

In this post I would like to present this simple grammar in a mind map, two mnemonics and two games.
I hope you will find this post useful.
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Plurals – mind map


The following mind map shows the way a student should think when they try to form a plural. First they have to decide whether the plural is regular or not.
To remember the irregular plural here is a simple and short story to help.

Three men and women have six children. It is a lot of people.

Then the students should decide whether they need to add -es. -es is added if the singular ends with x, s, z or h (this rule is simplified. The singular must not end with -ath, but there are no words at elementary level with this ending.) To remember the letters here is a simple mnemonic:

haz six (do not worry if your students change it to haz sex. In fact, they will remember this much better).
plurals

Plurals – mind map


There are two simple games to practise the plurals. Both of them will play on any mobile device you can think of, so you or your students can practice anywhere they go.
The first one is called reaction and you should type the singular form of the noun and then click on the frog as soon as it appears.
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Plurals – Reaction

The second game is a quizz. Type the plurals and if you pass the test you will get a chance to play a car race. The aim of the game is to get to the end.

Plurals – Car race

Phrases with the preposition IN
Phrases with the preposition IN

Prepositions are one of the favourite test items. They appear at tests like FCE or CAE and if you know them then you can get a lot of points. Moreover, if you use the prepositions correctly, people find it easier to understand you.

The aim of this post is to teach several high-frequency phrases starting with the preposition IN. There are two quizzes with games a mind map and a mnemonic to help you remember all the phrases.

Preposition IN – mind map


The following mind map shows all the phrases that I would like to teach. On the right side there are the key words organised into simple logical lines which should make them easier to remember.
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Phrases with the preposition IN mind map

Some might find the lines on the right side difficult to understand. It should work as a mnemonic. It is much easier to remember 4 sentences than to remember 20 separate phrases. You should read the lines and imagine the picture. For example:

Common general like touch bed danger

Imagine a normal soldier who likes touching bed in danger.
In the same way try to remember the other three sentences. The sentence after the slash creates the image you should remember.

debt my opinion fact doubt other words / The debt in my opinion is a fact. Doubt other words.
prison time vain any case advance / Time in prison is spend in vain, but it passes in any case.
touch the south the end the sky / Touch the south end of the sky.

Anyway, once you remember these lines, do not forget that there is IN in front of them 🙂

Preposition IN – games and quizzes


I have prepared two HTML5 quizzes to practice the grammar. In the first quiz you should drag the correct word into the correct gap. This game will work on any mobile device too, so you can practice anywhere you go.

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Phrases with the preposition IN – Quiz

The second game is a simple crossword. Complete the crossword with the phrases with the preposition IN. Again the game is in HTML5 and will work on any mobile device or desktop.

Phrases with the preposition IN – crosswords

Questions in the past tense
Questions in the past tense

Past simple questions mind map Question formation in general causes problems. Students get easily confused and they feel that they are not able to form the questions. But in fact, it is very simple. If you follow the steps below you can teach the questions in the past tense in no time. The lesson is based on the principles of Visible Learning as described by Hattie.

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Before you start teaching, ask your students to try the following pre-test. Write the questions in the past tense:

What / you / do / yesterday?
Where / you / go / after school?
When / you / get up / this morning?
Where / you / were / at the weekend?
you / watched TV / last night?

Display the correct sentences and ask the students to write down how many questions they formed correctly:

What did you do yesterday?
Where did you go after school?
When did you get up this morning?
Where were you at the weekend?
Did you watch TV last night?

Ask the students to work in pairs and ask and answer the questions in their pairs.

Questions in the past tense – Video


You might want to play the following video where the grammar is explained before you explain it yourself.

Questions in the past tense – mind map


Display or print out the following mind map and explain the formation of questions to students. At the end of your explanation ask the students to name the sectors. Each student should work on their own and name the categories in a way that suits them.

Past simple questions mind map

Now tell the students the tale about the DID train. It might seem silly but that is on purpose. Students remember stories and they remember silly stories best. You might tell the story in students MT and you may ask the students to lie on their desks while you tell the story. But please do not leave the story. It is crucial to the success of the lesson.

Questions in the past tense – Practice


Practice makes perfect, however, the practice has to be varied and reasonble. Only drilling will not get you anywhere.
First ask your students to ask and answer the questions in the mind map.
Second, students write their own questions and ask them in pairs.
Third, here is a HTML5 quiz and games for your students. In the first part students should put the words into the correct order. If they pass the quiz they can play a game called Indiara. If your students have smartphones and internet connection you can ask them to play it there.
After the game there is another quiz. This time students should write the questions in past tense. Once again if they pass the test they can play a game. It is called Make them fall and it is really short. Again, each student can play the game on his/her mobile device.

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If you want to play the game on the full screen, click the button:
Questions in the past tense

Questions in the past tense – End of lesson


Now, that you are at the end of the lesson, it is time to see what the students have learnt. Ask them to form the following questions in the past tense:

What / your friends / do / yesterday?
Where / your parents / go / on holiday?
When / you / go to bed / last night?
You / were / happy / yesterday?
you / like / this lesson / last night?

Display the following correct answers and ask the students to count their correct answers and compare them to the scores from the beginning of the lesson. By now you and they should see that they have improved a lot. The correct answers:

What did your friends do yesterday?
Where did your parents go on holiday?
When did you go to bed last night?
Were you happy yesterday?
Did you like this lesson?

Questions in the past tense – Lesson summary


Here is the summary of the lesson:

  1. Pre-test
  2. Discussion
  3. Grammar – explanation
  4. Naming the sectors
  5. Did train story
  6. Discussion
  7. Write your own questions
  8. Discuss
  9. Online games
  10. End of lesson test

Questions in the past tense – Offline resource


If you do not have an internet connection in your classroom, you can download the following zip file and use it in your classroom. Moreover, you can share the quiz on your website 🙂 (Sorry, the games do not work offline, only the quizzes)

Questions_past simple_ (Web)

Jack the Giant Killer – part 2
Jack the Giant Killer – part 2

Jack the Giant Killer_img2In the first part of the comic story we met Jack and we learnt about 30 new vocabulary item. Now, it is time to finish the story and learn some more vocabulary. In this post there are several activities to learn or teach the new vocabulary, two games to check your vocabulary knowledge and comprehension and a video with the story. I hope you will find all the activities interesting.

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Extensive reading – video


All the activities in this post are connected with the following video:

If you like the story below there are several activities to exploit it and to learn or teach a bit of English.

Extensive reading – vocabulary


To be able to understand the video well, you need to know a lot of vocabulary. The following file contains 30 words and their definitions.

Vocabulary for Jack the Giant Killer part 2

You can print out the file and use the free spaces either to write your own sentences, or your translations of the words or associations to remember the words better.

If you want to practise the vocabulary, try the following file. It contains 4 crosswords and word puzzles to practise the target vocabulary.

Vocabulary_worksheet

There are many people who prefer learning online. For those there is a HTML5 quiz:

If you like playing it on the whole screen, click on the button below:

Vocabulary quiz

Extensive reading – comprehension


If you are going to play the video in your class the following mind map might come handy. Print it out and students should complete it.
Mind map_Jack the giant Killer_comprehension

Start with the section PART 1 which students should complete before they watch Part 2. (If you did not see part one, you can find it here). Then watch the video of part 2 and complete the rest of the mind map. Check the answers together and then the students can use the worksheet to retell the story.
I have included vocabulary section there, even though I deal with vocabulary above. However, I feel that if students choose vocabulary which they consider useful, they will remember it better.

Once again, if you prefer online activities, here is a game to check your comprehension. It is called on Target and your task is to answer the questions and shoot as many bad ducks as possible. You can get a bonus if you shoot one of the bottles on the sides.

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If you want to play the game on the full screen click the button:
Comprehension game – On target

Five tenses for learners of English
Five tenses for learners of English

We usually present just one tense to students. However, ever since I was a student I have always wanted to see a more complex picture and get more tenses at the same time. And as we have just finished the whole textbook with one of my elementary students an opportunity presented itself to sum up all the five tenses covered in the textbook. As a result, I created a special timeline which in combination with my explanation helped my student clarify the usage of all the tenses. I hope it will work for you too.

Five tenses – timeline


Have a look at the timeline below and read the explanation carefully.
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Five tenses a mind map and timeline

Five tenses – explanation


At the top of the mind map there is the blue Present simple tense. It is high above the timeline as the tense is used for things that are time neutral. We use this tense for facts and actions that get repeated regularly.
The pink shape belongs to past simple tense. There are three arrows pointing to different points in the past as the tense is used when we speak about finished events in the past.
The light blue is reserved for BE going to which is used for plans in the future (for elementary students I do not mind saying that it is the future tense 🙂 ).
The orange colour is for present continuous and the arrow points at NOW as the tense is used for speaking about the events happening at the moment of speaking (again, it is very simplified but for elementary students fine).
The yellow colour shows the usage of present perfect. It is used for past actions which are somehow connected with the present moment. Most frequently we use it to speak about experience (you say what you have experienced up to now).

Five tenses – Form


If you need to practise the form of the tenses there are great posts at our site which show all the details:

You can find a nice explanation of present simple and continuous on BBC pages.

Five tenses – Quizzes


The following quiz is in HTML5. It contains 30 items and you can attempt it anywhere on your mobile phone or desktop. Your task is to put the verbs in the brackets into the correct tense (choose one of the tenses presented here). If you get over 70% of the answers correct, you can play the game Math pop. Enjoy!
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If you want to try the quiz on the full screen click the button below:
Five tenses quiz

You can find more exercises to practise these five tenses at https://engames.eu/five-tenses-exercises/

Numbers from 0 to 99
Numbers from 0 to 99

I have already published a post on numbers. However, there I expected that you know the basics and that you need to learn a bit more about them. This post is different. Here, I would like to start at the very beginning and present the basic numbers from 0 to 99. To achieve this there is a mind map, two quizzes and several worksheets dealing with these.
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I hope that you will find the article interesting and useful.

Numbers – mind map


In the following mind map I try to depict all the way in which we form the numbers from 0 to 99.
Numbers_0_to_99_full mind map
Be careful not to leave out the hyphen. If you write the number without it, then the number is wrong!!!

Numbers – worksheets


In this section I would like to share several worksheets to practise the numbers in a fun way.
The first one is a worksheet with two colourful crosswords. Print out the pdf file and solve the puzzles.
Numbers_crossword

The second worksheet contains four different tasks. There is a crossword, a spiral crossword, a wordsearch and a hidden words task. Once again, the file is in pdf, so you have to print it out to be able to solve it.

Numbers_word_games

You can find more interesting worksheet at Alenka’s site.

The third worksheet is for teachers. It contains a bingo game. Print out as many cards as necessary and then call out the numbers and decide who wins.
I play a slight variation by asking the students to read one of their numbers.
Numbers 0 to 99_bingo_cards
Numbers 0 to 99_bingo_cards_call out list
If you are a teacher you might like to have a dictation file.

Numbers – games


This part contains two quizzes and games to practise the numbers.
In the first quiz you have to write the numbers in words. If you pass the quiz you will have a chance to play a game to practise your vocabulary. Good luck!!!

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The second quiz is a listening quiz. You have to listen and choose or write the numbers you hear. Especially the last part is really difficult. If you pass, you can play the game calle Math pop. Good luck!!!

Past simple tense – negative
Past simple tense – negative

I have already published several posts on past simple tense. There are several posts on irregular verbs, a post on regular verbs in past tense and now I would like to explain how to make negative sentences in past simple. It is quite simple – you just add DIDN´T and the infinitive. To help you and your students absorb this concept there are two games and a graphical explanation.

Past tense negatives – video


In this short video a man ends up in prison because his grammar is bad. The aim of this video is to introduce the basic forms of negatives in past tense.
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Past tense negatives – mind map


In this mind map you can see how the past tense negatives are formed. There is the explanation and below there is a mind map depicting three frequently asked questions and their answers.

Past simple negative
If you are a teacher it might be a good idea to let the students deduce the rules and complete the table. However, beware that this way of teaching is not suitable for weaker students.
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Past simple negative worksheet

Past tense negatives – games


I firmly believe that practice makes perfect. If you practice the things you will understand the things better. That is why I think that students should go through the following games at least twice or three times.
The first game is in HTML5. Your task is to choose the correct form and if you pass the test you will play the game called Tower defence. This game will play on all mobile devices.

If you want to play the game on the full screen, click below:

Past tense negative – Tower defence

The second game will play only on your desktop. It is called a Penalty Shoutout and once you choose the correct option you will get a chance to kick a penalty. Will you score all ten penalties? Good luck.

Past tense negative – Penalty shootout

Irregular verbs – third time lucky?
Irregular verbs – third time lucky?

This has been my third post on irregular verbs in a short time. In the first two posts I have tried the associative method, and MP3 drills. While the associative method was not that successful the MP3 drills certainly work. However, they presuppose that the students will learn at home and will play the recording twice or three times at least. But in reality students mostly work with each material only once. Therefore we need a material which will teach the irregular verbs in one or two activities.
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In this post I have tried to come up with such activities. There is the colour crossword and Remembering tables. The students should learn 16 irregular verbs here. There is a pre-test and a post test which will test the students’ knowledge before and after the activity. I hope the teaching will be successful this time.

Irregular verbs – pre-test


If you are a learner of English please take this pre-test. You will see how many of the 16 irregular verbs you already know. You will be asked to give a name. It does not have to be a real name, but use the same name in the post test, too.
Why do we want your name. We would like to conduct a research and see how effective the method of teaching is. Of course, we will publish the results here.

Irregular verbs – Learning


In this part you will find two methods how to learn the irregular verbs. The first one is called remembering tables.
Print out the worksheet. Have a look at the first table and try to remember all the words there. Once you feel that you know them, cover the table and write all the words into the table on the right. Having finished, check your answers and correct them or complete them.
Do the same with all the other tables.
Irregular verbs_remembering tables.pdf
If you teach a class you can use the same worksheet but set time limits for learning the words. I usually go through the tables and ask the students to repeat the words after me and then give them between 20 and 45 seconds to remember the words.
Having finished the remembering tables, it is time to print out the Colour Crossword and complete it. Notice that the colours are quite important as they help highlight the rules behind the changes. Try to deduce the logic behind the colours and form the rules (eg. red means that the word is completely irregular and it has nothing in common with the original verb.)
Irregular verbs colour crossword

The colours have their own logic behind them.

Irregular verbs – post-test


Have you done all the activities above? So now take the test and see how many irregular verbs you know now. Is it better?

Past tense – regular verbs
Past tense – regular verbs

Teaching of past tense always starts with the verbs was and were, and then the regular verbs are introduced. And in the end, the students learn that there are over 200 irregular verbs which they have to learn. I have posted several articles on irregular verbs and on past tense in general. However, this is the first article that deals with regular verbs only.
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In this post I would like to explain all the grammar about regular verbs in a mind map and then there are three games to practise the past tense of regular verbs. I hope you will find the article interesting and useful.

Regular verbs – Past tense – Mind map


In this graphical explanation I try to depict the thinking process the students should go through. They should start at the top of the mind map and check, whether the verb fulfills any of the conditions (ends with -e, ends with -ry etc.) If the answer is yes then they have to follow the rules after the condition. If all the answers are NO then they just add the ending -ed.
Then the mind map shows the top ten regular verbs in past tense and then there is the explanation of the pronunciation.
Regular verbs past tense
The mind map does not explain only one thing. How do you know that the verb is regular?
There is just one answer to this question. You have to learn all the irregular verbs and then all the verbs that are not irregular are regular. 🙂

Regular verbs – Past tense – Games


In this section there are two HTML5 games which will play on every device and one that will play only on desktops.
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The first HTML5 game is called Tower defence. Your task is to write the past tense of all the verbs and if you pass the quiz you will be given a chance to play the game called Tower defense. Once you lose the game, please do not play again, as you will never win the game again. You have to take the test again and only then you will have a chance to win.

To play the game on the full screen please click below:
Regular verbs – Tower defense

In the second HTML5 game you have to put the verbs in the story into the correct form. I hope you will like the stories 🙂

To play the game on the full screen please click below:
Regular verbs – Angry Farmer

The last game is in FLASH and it will play only on desktops. It is called Hoopshoot and your task is to choose the correct form and then score a basket.

Regular verbs – Hoopshoot

Six Methods to teach vocabulary using Mother Tongue
Six Methods to teach vocabulary using Mother Tongue

As a teacher working with a textbook you often need to pre-teach a lot of new vocabulary, because otherwise the text on the following page will be incomprehensible to your students, or you will face a barrage of questions „What does this word mean?“ However, when you scourge the literature for methods how to do this effectively and in a relatively short time you will see that there is very little help there.
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Even though P. Nation in his book Teaching Vocabulary Strategies and Techniques claims that „Every piece of research comparing deliberate learning with incidental learning has shown that deliberate word learning easily beats incidental vocabulary learning in terms of the time taken to learn and the amount learned,“ (Nation p. 104) there are only very few methods for deliberate teaching of vocabulary. In fact Nation in his book mentions only two: word cards and keyword technique.

Therefore I decided to start from there.

Word card method


This method is quite demanding to prepare. You have to prepare a stack of cards for each student.On one side of the card there is the word in the student’s mother tongue and on the other there is the word in English.
The teacher pronounces the words and the students repeat them. Then you ask the students to turn the cards so that they would see the English words. They work on their own. They read the word in English (silently) and translate it into their MT. Then they turn the card and if the translation corresponds with the word they produced they place the card at the back of the stack. If it didn´t they place the card somewhere near the center of the stack.
In this way the students work for 2 minutes. After the two minutes the students turn the whole stack to see the words in their MT. The students now have to say the words in English (aloud). Then they turn the cards and check their answers again and if their translation is correct the card goes to the end of the stack and if it isn´t it goes to the centre. After 4 minutes the students put the cards down and they work on something else.
After 10 or 15 minutes they return to the cards again and they repeat the procedure but this time the times are shortened to 30 seconds and 1 minute.

Repeated crosswords


Students are given words with their translation in their MT. Students listen and repeat the words with the teacher and then they are given a worksheet with 4 different crosswords. Each crossword contains all the words they should learn and the students´ task is to solve all the crosswords. The students usually needed between 20 and 25 minutes to do this (of course it depends on the number of the words).
The greatest disadvantage of this method is the fact that you need 4 crosswords which take a lot of paper and time to prepare.

Rhymes

Honestly, I love this method. I think it is similar to the key word method and therefore it is quite successful.
The teacher prepares short verses which are in the students´ MT and at the end of each line there is the target word in English. This target word rhymes with an MT word which is somewhere in the middle of the verse. (see the example below)
rhymes_teaching_vocabulary

You can see an example of the rhymes in Czech. The highlighted words rhyme with the bold words and there is a translation of the target word at the end of each line.
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Students first read the verses aloud and the teacher corrects their pronunciation of the target words. Then they have 2 minutes to remember the rhyming word, the target word and the translation. After the two minutes students turn their papers with the rhymes face down. The teacher reads the rhymes randomly and he pauses before the bold words and the students say the missing word. If they cannot produce the bold word, the teacher says the word and the students repeat it and the teacher later reads the problematic line again.
After going through all the words in this way, the teacher randomly reads only the MT translations and the students say the words. If the students fail to produce the word, the teacher returns to it again a few words later.
It is a good idea to prepare a table with the MT words and ask the students to complete it with the English words at the end of the procedure. Thus the students recycle the vocabulary.

Basketball


This method is very easy to prepare and doesn´t take much time. To prepare this it is enough to have a list of English words with their translation for each student. Read the words to your students and let them repeat the words. Then give them 3 minutes to commit the words to memory. In the meantime hand out dice. At the end of the allocated time ask the students to work in pairs and play the following game.
One of the students will take the die and turn the list of words face down. He/She will throw the die and his/her partner will choose a random word in MT from the list. If the student says the word in English correctly he writes down as many points as there are on his/her die. If he doesn´t produce the word correctly, he will get 0 points. The students should write their points on a piece of paper as to keep their scores in order. After 5 throws the students swap their roles. The students can swap their roles as many times as they like but they have only 7 minutes to play. The world record in this game is 103 points 🙂

Swimming pool


This activity is simple to organise and prepare.
In the first phase the teacher hands out the lists of words where the words are in English and MT. The teacher then reads the words aloud and the students repeat them. Then the students have 3 minutes to remember the words.
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Students work in pairs. They use the grid and go along the lines and together say the words in English. If they do not know the word, they can have a look into the original table. The grid is usually a table 3×25 and all the words there are in MT and they are in random order. (see below)

Swimming pool example

After about 3 minutes the activity changes and the students play the game Swimming pool. Students work in pairs or groups of three and each chooses a column. They mustn´t choose the same column as their partner. Once the teacher says start they start saying the words in their column aloud in English. They start with the word at the top of their column and they go down. If they do not know the word they can have a look into the original table. The winner is the student who gets to the last word in their column first.
As all the students speak at the same time it is a bit of a mayhem but it is not that bad.
Once all of them finish their columns, students change columns and play the game again. Students can play the game as many times as you like, but three times is ideal.
In the last step the students have 4 minutes to write all the words into the grid. If they do not know the word they can have a look into the original table. They mustn´t leave any square empty.

Clap your hands


Students usually do not like this method very much. It might be caused by the fact that they feel exposed and uncomfortable, but anyway their feelings do not seem to influence their learning results.

Teacher gives each student a word to remember and tells him/her its meaning in MT. Students and the teacher stand in a circle and they get their hands ready. On count of three they clap twice and the first student says his assigned word in English and Czech. Students clap twice and the second student says his word in Czech and English. Thus they go till they get to the last student.
In the second round the students again clap twice, but this time they say their words only in English. They go like this till all the students said their words.
In the third round students clap twice and the first student says her word in English. Students clap twice and the second student says the first student’s word, students clap twice and he says his word. The third student repeats the first student’s word, clap clap, the second student’s word and her word. Thus it goes till the last student repeats all the words.
Then all the students say all the words together and they clap after each twice. Students sit down and the teacher hands out tables where only the MT meaning is given. Students´ task is to complete the table with the new words. Then one of the students should write the words on the board and the students check their answers.
Below you can see a part of the table the students complete:

clap_your_hands
The greatest disadvantage of this method is the fact that the number of students present is extremely improtant. The ideal situation is when there are as many students as there are words to be taught. It is not advisable to give more than 1 word to each student.
I hope you will find these methods useful.

Present simple or present continuous tense – improved
Present simple or present continuous tense – improved

I have already published a post on Present simple and continuous tense here. However, as my teaching situation changed I realize that I need a slightly different type of materials and a bit more of them. So in this post I add the following materials: a Song, Speaking exercise, graphical explanation of the usage of the tenses, three interactive games and a worksheet. I hope you will find these materials really useful.
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Present simple and continuous tense – visual presentation


I recycle the mind maps which I used in the previous post, because they proved to be really great even at my new school.

Present simple tense mind map
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Present continuous tense mind map
However, here is another graphical presentation of the two tenses. In the presentation I try to demonstrate the difference between usage of present simple and present continous tense.
Present simple vs present continuous explanation

Present simple and continuous tense – Song


Having presented the tenses, it is time to teach the form. To achieve this Tutortunes have offered the following song:

You can find more songs for teaching English at http://tutortunes.com

In my lessons I play the song and I ask my students to raise their hands when they hear present simple tense. Then I play it again and I ask them to raise their hands when they hear present continuous tense.

Present simple and continuous tense – Practice


First, I would like to practise present simple tense with my students. I have prepared the pair cards activity for them. Print out the following worksheet and cut it in the middle (from top down not from side to side). Ask the students to work in pairs. Each student gets 8 completed sentences and 8 sentences with gaps. Students read (they must not write anything) their gapped sentences and complete them with the correct forms of the verb HAVE GOT. Their partner listens and checks or corrects their answers (He/she has the full sentences). Once they finish they can swap their cards and start again. At the end of this activity I ask my students to choose 3 questions they would like to ask me. I answer the questions and then I ask my students to ask and answer the questions in pairs.

present simple_paircards

All the other activities concentrate on the difference between the two tenses. The first one is a worksheet where the students should fill in the verb in present simple or continuous tense.

Present_simple_continuous_pdf

The last three activities are interactive. First, there is a HTML5 version of the worksheet above. If you pass the test, you will be able to play the game called Angry Finches.

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To play the quiz on the full screen click on the button below:
Present simple and continuous – Angry Finches

The second interactivity is once again in HTML5 and it will play on any device. In this one you should fill in the gaps and if you pass the quiz you will be able to play the game Tic-Tac-Toe. This game is a bit of a challenge as there is just one way to win it. Can you find it?

Once again, it is better to play the game on the full screen so you can do this by clicking on the button below:
Present simple and continuous – Tic_tac_toe

The last game is in Flash and it works only on desktops. But it is great for interactive whiteboards. It is called on Target and you have to answer each question correctly and then shoot the bad ducks. Do not forget that you can get a bonus by shooting a bottle on the side 🙂

Present simple and continuous – On target