If you do not know a sound, your brain filters it out when you hear someone using it. That is why it is crucial to teach sounds that do not exist in students’ mother tongue. Moreover, Adrian Tennant at www.onestopenglish.com claims that you should learn to hear and say the new sounds at the same time as the fact that you can produce the given sound makes it simpler for you to hear it. Ideal for this is the book Ship or Sheep. But the book is rather expensive and so you can try out similar exercises here which are free.
[showmyads] The aim of this post is to teach the pronunciation of the sound /θ/ which is the voiceless realisation of th. You can find here a video, a mind map and two difficult exercises to practise the voiceless th sound /θ/. Are you ready? So, let’s start.
Voiceless th sound – video
Voiceless th sound – mind map
If you find the picture of the mouth showing the production of the TH sound too small here is the same picture again in a bigger size:
Voiceless th sound – games
The first game is a bit easier. First listen to the demonstration of the different sounds and then listen and complete the sentences with the correct words. If you pass the test you can play the game called Math Pop. But you have to pass the test first :-).
The second game is slightly more difficult. You will hear five sentences each time and you have to decide which sequence you have heard. If you pass this test you can reward yourself with the game called Angry finches. Good luck.
Kate Chopin was an American author from the end of the 19th century and she wrote very interesting stories. I have taken one of the shorter ones and simplified it for pre-intermediate students.
The Kiss is a story about love and money. It is about a girl who has to choose between real love and a lot of money. What will she choose?
The Kiss – mind map
Even though the story has been simplified there are still some words that may cause problems. The words are listed in the following mind map which can (and should) serve as a worksheet. Print out the pdf worksheet file or the picture and translate the vocabulary into your MT.
The Kiss – story
The Kiss – games
Now you can play several comprehension games. First, you could try the Hoopshoot game. (This game is in Flash and might not play on your mobile device).
The second game is called Penalty Shoot out. Answer the questions and score! (This game is in Flash and might not play on your mobile device).
The third game is the most difficult one. It is called Fling the teacher and you have to answer all 15 questions correctly to win the game. (This game is in Flash and might not play on your mobile device).
The last activity is called Storyboard and your task is to reconstruct the original text. This one is really difficult!!! Are you up to the challenge???
There are several short articles and activities at www.englishlearningmagazine.com:
There are two more stories with vocabulary at our sister site:
Some posts take quite a long time to produce, but this one was an extreme case. Four people participated on it and I think we have produced a great material to teach vocabulary connected with sports.
[showmyads] In my opinion there is everything. There is a video to help students with the pronunciation of the words. There are two mind maps to help you organise the new vocabulary in a way that will be easy to remember. And at the end of the post there are several activities to help the students learn all the words.
Sports vocabulary – VIDEO
Sports vocabulary – MIND MAP
The second mind map can serve as a worksheet. Your task is to complete it with the right words.
Sports vocabulary – Games and quizzes
The first quiz is a way to learn the words. Listen and repeat the words. Then complete the quiz and go on. There will appear another set of words and a quiz. And so on.
The second game is called Kim’s game. You will see a set of pictures and then three of them will vanish. Your task is to write the words for the given missing words. However, you have just one minute to remember. And then three more pictures will vanish. Are you able to recall all the words?
The third quiz is a dictation. In the first phase you will listen to several sentences and you have to click on the words you hear in the sentences. In the second phase you have to listen to the sentences and write them. Good luck.
My students are online all the time. Through the internet they are flooded with information, but whenever I ask them about any current affairs they know nothing. They have no idea who or what I am talking about.
[showmyads] In my opinion, this “dementia” is caused by two factors. First, all the news on the internet has to be new and it must not get repeated. Thus the students see all the facts just once and therefore they do not remember them. Second, students choose only the news they are interested in and ignore the rest. The basic information never reaches them.
That is why I have decided to give my students a chance to meet all the news in my lessons. I have created a mind map and several games for the video First News TV. In this video all the most important news from the previous week gets summed up. Moreover, the news is read slowly and clearly and students can learn a lot.
First News – video
First News – Mind map
First News – games
The other game concentrates on the vocabulary. Your task is to complete the quiz and if you pass you will get a chance to play the game Indiara. As both of the games are in HTML5 you should be able to play it on your mobile phone too. Enjoy.
There are many ways to speak about future in English. We have already dealt with two ways here. In the first blog we tried to distinguish between Will and MAY and Might on the basis of certainty that an event will happen.
[showmyads] In this post I would like to demonstrate the difference between WILL and BE GOING TO. BE GOING TO is used when we speak about our plans while WILL is used for decisions made at the moment of speaking.
To give you a better chance to understand the difference between the two tenses there is an interactive video (based on BBC Grammar challenge), a mind map and two games.
Future tenses – interactive video
Watch the video and answer the questions. If you answer correctly the video will continue. If you answer wrongly you will hear the part again. Give it a try.
Future tenses – mind map
Future tenses – games
In the second game you have to write the correct future form (WILL or GOING TO). If you get more than 60% of all the forms correct, you can play the game Hot Race. Enjoy.
Future tenses in English – share
Here we go at last! This is the last chapter of the story Two Dates. Are you curious what will happen to Alan, Martha and Bruce. I hope that the ending of the story will surprise you at least a bit and that you will like it.
So, what are you waiting for? Start with the mind map and revive what happened in the previous parts of the story Two Dates. Then translate the vocabulary on the vocabulary branch. This time some of the words are pretty challenging. And once you know the new words start the story video.
In the end answer the comprehension questions in the mind map and discuss your opinions with a partner. Good luck and enjoy the story.
Two Dates – story mind map
Two Dates – the story
Two Dates – games
If you are using a mobile phone or an iPad you might be interested in another HTML5 game, you can go to Two Dates Chapter 3 where there is the memory game in HTML5.
The last game is in Flash and it is called Half a minute. Your task is to unjumble the words in 30 seconds. Good luck 🙂
If you prefer reading the story, here is the text of the fourth chapter:
Two Dates – chapter 4 story
Alan decided to hide out in the library where it was quiet, and he knew most people would not be able to find him. He knew he was not a bad kid. True, he might not have the best qualities, or he might not be the best student, but he knew he was a pretty nice guy. He loved animals, and he loved helping people out. He did not deserve such a cruel treatment, so why were they so mean to him?
The sound of footsteps coming up towards him made Alan look up. Susan stood in front of him, with her arms across her chest.
Alan frowned. “What do you want from me?” he said rudely. “Haven’t you guys had enough?”
The look on Susan’s face softened. “I did not laugh at you Alan. That was mean of Martha.” She smiled gently at him and asked him if she could sit next to him. Alan grudgingly agreed. He was wary. Susan could pretend to be nice and then humiliate him again in front of the whole class just like Martha had.
“Why did she do that?” Alan asked Susan. “What did I do wrong?”
Susan shrugged. “Kids do stupid things. Kids can be mean. Martha is just being immature. Forget about her.”
Alan groaned and hid his face into his hands. “I’ll just switch schools. I can never go back to class again.”
Susan hit Alan lightly on the hand. “You can’t give up just like that!”
Alan sighed. “You don’t understand! Everyone laughs at me. I’ll never be able to go to the dance. I’ll be at home alone again, this year.”
Susan smiled, a little shyly. “Guess what,” she said. Alan looked at her. Susan was beautiful too, in a different way. She had a kind face, and a very sweet smile. “I could be your date for the dance.”
Alan stared at her in shock. After a while, he started laughing. “I won’t fall for that again. You’ll humiliate me too, like Martha did.”
Susan rolled her eyes. “Sure Alan. I skipped class, argued with Bruce in front of the whole class, let Martha yell at me too, defended you and looked for you all over the school, just so that I could humiliate you.”
Susan smiled at him. “C’mon, you can’t let bullies ruin your day. Chin up! The day isn’t over. So will you come to the dance with me?”
Alan hesitated for just a moment, enough for Susan to say, “What? Do you think Martha is prettier than me? Is that why you don’t want to come with me?”
“No!” Alan protested, and before he could even think, he grabbed Susan’s hand tightly. “I will come with you,” Susan smiled and kissed him lightly on his lips.
“See you in the class,” she said and walked away.
It was going to be a very different year indeed.
The first chapter of the story Two Dates proved to be quite popular. The story will have 4 chapters in all. Here is the second one.
Two Dates – Mind map
Two Dates – games
The second game is called Half a minute and your task is to put the words into the correct order in half a minute. By playing these games you should learn the vocabulary from the story Two Dates. Enjoy:
Two Dates – video
Two Dates – story
“Y…yes of course!” He smiled shyly at Martha.
“Great!” Martha flashed another one of her perfect smiles and turned around, returning back to her seat beside Susan. Susan looked back at Alan and smiled, waving at him.
He waved back. He could not believe his luck!
Bruce saw the whole exchange and left Alan alone.
Alan waited nervously for Martha after school, by the gates. He kept a look out for her, and scanned the crowd for a pretty girl in a yellow floral dress. To his surprise, Martha met him in a completely different outfit. She must have changed before meeting him. Yet again, she showed off her perfect figure in skin-tight jeans and a white t-shirt.
“Ready?” Martha held out her hand, waiting for Alan to take it.
He took it without a moment’s hesitation.
They spent the afternoon at the ice cream shop in town. Martha wanted Alan to buy her ice cream, which he did. He did not have much money on him that day, only enough for a single ice cream cone, so he let Martha have it. He watched her polishing off the chocolate-flavored ice cream.
“Alan, how can you not have money with you?” Martha asked surprised and shocked. She rolled her eyes as she took another lick off her ice cream.
Alan blushed. He was not expecting to go out at all, so of course he did not have much money on him.
“That’s okay, I’m not hungry,” he told Martha, watching her eat.
“Okay,” said Martha.
After their ice cream date, Alan walked her home. She did not bother saying goodbye as she walked into the driveway of her house, but Alan waved anyway. He was in love.
He could not stop thinking about her even at home. Alan decided to write Martha a poem. Running eagerly to his computer, he started the word processor and typed.
I never knew about happiness;
I didn’t think dreams
I couldn’t believe in love,
Until I finally met you.
Alan decided to send it to Martha’s email.
He fell asleep with a bright smile on his face, feeling certain that his fortune had changed at last…
Alan woke up the next morning, happy and cheery that that morning would be the first day to a whole new different Alan. He wondered if Martha had seen his email yet.
When he turned on his computer, he had the biggest shock of his life.
I don’t know whether anyone will be interested in this mini series called Two Dates. However, as all the research shows that extensive reading helps students improve their English I put it here. There is a short story cut into four parts and a mind map which can serve as a comprehension worksheet.
Moreover, you can learn the vocabulary from the worksheet and there are two games to practise the new vocabulary.
Two Dates – video story – part 1
Two Dates – mind map
Two Dates – games
In the second game you should complete each sentence with the correct word.
Two Dates – story
Two Dates – Chapter 1
It had not happened.
Alan did not know why he had such a hard time talking to people, especially girls. He had no problem talking to his mother or sisters at home, but when a girl asked him a simple question in school, he would get nervous, and his whole face would become as red as a tomato as he tried to get the words out.
There were two beautiful girls in his class, Susan and Martha. Not only were they beautiful, they were smart and popular too. Susan excelled in English, whereas Martha was better at numbers and was usually the one with her hands up in the air for every question asked during Maths class.
Alan was not popular, neither was he particularly handsome. He was neither the tallest boy in class nor the most athletic one. He did not excel in any subject, and his grades were average at best. This did not help his confidence, and it got weaker year by year.
But that year, Alan wanted to make a difference. He wanted to be noticed, and he wanted to make friends for once. Their school was organizing a dance, and boys usually asked girls out to be their dates.
In the past, Alan usually chose to stay home, watch some television with his parents or play video games. He did not have the courage to ask any girl out, and he certainly did not want to go to the dances alone. He always felt left out when he returned to school the day after, listening to all the fun and good times that his classmates had at the dance. He no longer wanted to be that guy that stayed at home, miserable and alone, without a date.
Alan wanted to be different that year.
He tried by making small talk with the boys. He offered to help Bruce with his homework. Bruce, was a bully, but was also the best looking boy in class. He sneered at him and stood above him. Alan tried to look smaller in his seat. “You? Help me with my homework? Do you think I am stupid and I need some help?”
“No, I just wanted to help,” Alan’s voice sounded strange.
The whole class laughed at him. Alan sank deeper into his seat and pretended not to care. His ears were burning with shame.
He looked down on his homework and tried to ignore the students around him.
From the edge of his vision, Alan saw a pair of pretty shoes. He looked up in surprise at Martha’s face.
Beautiful, popular Martha.
“Hi Alan,” she smiled.
“H…Hi,” he said shyly.
She looked very pretty indeed, showing off her beautiful figure in a lovely yellow floral dress. Her long blond hair was in perfect curls around her sweet face.
“Maybe you could help me. Do you want to go out after school?” Martha asked Alan.
Alan nearly choked. He could not believe what he was hearing. Martha? Beautiful popular Martha was asking him out on a date! What should he say?
This material is a demonstration of the approach called CLIL. In CLIL You learn the content and thus you learn the language. However, experimenting a bit with the approach I like to do this a bit differently. First, I introduce the vocabulary through the mind map, then I present the text (this time in a video) and then we assess the understanding and play the games to practise the vocabulary.
Battle of Hastings – video
Watch the video and try to understand it.
Battle of Hastings – mind map
Battle of Hastings – games
Once you have watched the video you should try the comprehension questions in the game. Your task is to shoot only the evil figures.
Vocabulary games: In the first game you should read the definition and guess the word. Then click the arrow and you will see the correct words
Now that you know the words it is time to see whether you know the words:
Battle of Hastings – For teachers
As many of the readers of this blog are teachers here is a brief section for them. When I teach this section I display the second slide of the Powerpoint presentation and I teach the vocabulary there. Then I play the video and play the comprehension game On Target with the students (divide the students into two teams to make the game more enjoyable.) Then I display the last slide and the students have to retell the story of Harold, Harald and William. Moreover, there is a pdf file with the mind map and a presentation which is easy to display on the IWB as it is in Powerpoint.
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BBC site offers a lot of interesting and really useful materials for learners and teachers of English. However, they just present something and they do not give you much chance to learn what they teach. That is why I prepared this short post.
Take a rain check – video
Some time ago a researcher proved that students can learn a lot if they just read and listen to a text. Therefore I turned the BBC recording into the following video which follows this principle.
Take a rain check – mind map
Take a rain check – games
And to remember all the key words and concepts from the recording it is best to practise them in games. Here are two games:
Christmas is nearly over, but when the holiday ends I would like my students to tell me about their Christmas. To be able to do this properly they will need a lot of Christmas vocabulary. Here is a mind map introducing all the key words and concepts connected with Christmas in Great Britain and the USA. Go through all the words and content and then play the game to practise the Christmas vocabulary.
Christmas Vocabulary game
Once you know the vocabulary it is time to practise it. Here is a simple quiz where you should fill in the names of the things you see in the pictures. If you get more than 80% of all the answers correct you can play a game called Indiara. Good luck.
Christmas Traditions – listening
I come from the Czech Republic and I have prepared a short text describing the unusual traditions connected with Christmas here. You can listen to the recording and then play a comprehension game. To make the listening easier for you, you can listen and read the text at the same time. This kind of listening is very good for your pronunciation too, as you can read along.
If you feel that you need more listening practice, try the following dictation exercises. Listen to the recording and then fill in the missing words. You can stop the recording whenever you like and play different parts again. In this way your listening comprehension will improve.
I hope you will find all these resources useful.
More Games to learn English
If you like these exercises there are many more games to learn English at this site. We recommend the following ones:
Past tense of the irregular verbs – this post contains a mind map and several highly addictive games to learn the English irregular verbs in the past tense.
And what about present perfect tense? Is it still a mystery for you? Try the following post on Present perfect tense.