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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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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[showmyads] 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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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)

Irregular verbs 1
Irregular verbs 1

Irregular verbs
[WpProQuiz 10]

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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 – 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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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 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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[showmyads] 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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[showmyads] 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.
[showmyadsa] 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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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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[showmyadsa] 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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[showmyads] 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
Have got for elementary and weak students
Have got for elementary and weak students

I have changed jobs and now I teach at elementary school. And even though I think that I am an experienced teacher I have never taught students with actual learning problems. Now I do, and I face real challenges. For example, this week I taught the verb HAVE GOT from the Project 1 textbook, and I failed to teach anything at all. When I asked my students to complete the green table with the correct forms, there was no reaction. And when I asked them to transform the affirmative sentences into negative ones, there was just one student who could do this.
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[showmyads] At that moment, I realised that I have to teach them differently. So I created the following materials to help my students learn to use the verb HAVE GOT in affirmative and negative sentences. I hope I will be more successful this time, and that you will find these materials helpful too.

HAVE GOT – visual presentation

First I tried my usual graphic presentation with all the forms in a colourful table. This works great with gifted children. However, it did not work with my weak students:
Have got a mind map

As I write above, table like this was very good for talented students but not for the pupils with learning problems. They need something else. But what?
When we wrote a test on vocabulary 75% of them were able to learn all the words correctly. So why not teach them the verb and its forms as a vocabulary item. No fine deduction just a crude memory work. I believe that is the way. So I have created the following graphical presentations.
Have got memory method

havent gotmemory method
Ask your students to learn the forms by heart. Then ask them to use the phrases and write sentences to the pictures. If this proves too difficult write the five sentences randomly on the board and ask them to match them to the pictures and copy them.
Work in the same way with the negative sentences. In this way the students might comprehend the logic behind the forms or they will just remember the phrases and thus be able to use them.

HAVE GOT – classroom practise and worksheets

I usually give only a game or two here, but this time I see it necessary to offer a few activities the students could do in a classroom without the interactive whiteboard. Moreover, from my experience these children are not very good at the computer games and the quickly lose interest in them.
The first activity is called MT Board. I have create the following worksheet. At the top there is a table with the mother tongue sentences (the sentences are in Czech, so you have to change this one if you are not Czech). Below it there is the same table with the English sentences. Cut the English sentences along the lines and leave the mother tongue board intact. Ask the students to work in pairs and give them the Mother Tongue board and the English pieces. Ask them to place the pieces on the
board. Check their answers.

Board_push_have got
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[showmyads] The second activity is called a pair card. 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.

Have got_paircards

The last classroom activity is a drill. Once you feel that your students got the hang of the grammar, you can play the following recording. The native speaker will say the subject and the students have to supply the correct form of the verb HAVE GOT in the pause. Each pause is followed by the correct form and another subject.

To download the file, right-click the following link and choose the option SAVE AS…
Have got_mp3 drill

HAVE GOT – Games

And finally here are the games for people who like to play them either on the interactive whiteboards, desktops or their mobile devices.
The game is called Basketball. This game is in flash and it will play only on your desktop.
Your task is to choose the correct form and then score a basket.

Have got – basketball
WAS or WERE – the really important grammar
WAS or WERE – the really important grammar

As the word WAS is the ninth and WERE the 34th most frequent word in English it is crucial to use them correctly. You simply cannot avoid using these words, and if you make mistakes in these two words, people will think that you cannot speak English. For teachers it is important to teach this piece of grammar correctly and practise it a lot with their students.

In this post, I would love to teach these two words properly. You can find here a mind map to present this grammar, an MP3 drill recording where your students can practise the forms and two games which will test your or your students’ knowledge of the grammar. I hope it will work.

WAS WERE – mind map


Look at the mind map below and study the usage of the words WAS and WERE. I have tried to present the grammar a bit unusually and put WERE first. Moreover, I list a lot of subjects to give the students a chance to deduce their own rules.

was were mind map

WAS WERE – Drill


Play the following recording. After each subject there is a pause in which you should supply the correct form WAS of WERE. After this pause you will hear the correct form given by the native speaker. This recording is suitable for listening to in your car or on your mobile phone or iPod.

You can download the file by right-clicking on the following link

The verbs WAS and WERE drill – download

Videos

You can practise the grammar using the following Youtube videos. In the first video, read and complete the senteces with WAS or WERE. Try not to make a mistake.

In this video, you should make negative sentences with WAS or WERE.

WAS WERE – Games


In the following quizzes you can test your knowledge of the grammar. The first quiz is in HTML5 and it will play on any mobile device. If you pass the test you will be able to play the game called TIC-TAC-TOE. The game is quite difficult, but believe me there is a way to win it. Can you find it?

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

WAS WERE – TIC TAC TOE full screen

The second game is in Flash and it will play just on your desktop. However, it is suitable for a classroom use, as the questions are short and there comes a short game after each question the students pass. The game is called A car race and it is quite popular with students.

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

WAS WERE – CAR RACE game – full screen
Irregular verbs again 2
Irregular verbs again 2

In my latest post on irregular verbs I tried to teach 33 irregular verbs. In this post, I would like to add other 30 verbs which I hope you will learn through either the associative method or by using the spaced mp3 recording.

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Irregular verbs – associative method


You can learn the irregular verbs by using the so called associative method. I have already explained the method in the previous post on irregular verbs, but I will do it again here.
Look at the picture. There are the verbs with pictures and under each of the forms, there are two cells. Complete the cells with words in your mother tongue (or any other language you know) which are similar to the English words. For example: RODE – Ăłda, rod RIDDEN – rĂ˝t, den. Don´t be afraid to split the words or jumble them. Write each of your associations into the cells and then you will see that it is much easier to remember the words.
irregular verbs associative method

You can download all the worksheets for all the 30 irregular verbs in pdf here:
Irregular verbs_part2

Irregular verbs – Random repeat


Another very effective method of learning is described in a book by Baddeley on Brain. I call it random repeat because you learn a small number of words and then you are asked to repeat them in a random order. You can try it here.
Listen to the recording and in the pauses try to say the past tense and the past participle of the given word.

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If you want to listen to all the verbs again and again you can use the following recording:

If you want to download the files and listen to them for example in your car you can do this here:

Irregular verbs_part2 Random repeat recording
Irregular verbs_part2 listening mp3

Irregular verbs – games


If you think that you know the irregular verbs, you can test your knowledge in the following games. The first one is called Irregular verbs _ Angry farmer. Your task is to drag the irregular verbs into the correct spaces and if you pass the test you will be given a chance to play the game called Angry farmer. The test and the game are in HTML5 so you can test your knowledge anywhere using your mobile phone or tablet.


To have a better experience on a mobile device, we recommend that you play it on a full screen. Click below

Irregular verbs – Angry Farmer full screen

In the second game you should complete the sentences using the correct verb. If you pass this quiz you can play the game called Indiara. Good Luck!!!

Once again if you view this post on a mobile device, use the full screen mode by clicking the button below.

Irregular verbs – Indiara full screen

Irregular verbs again
Irregular verbs again

I have already published several posts on irregular verbs: Past participles – divided according to the pronunciation and Present perfect tense. However, a week ago a student of mine contacted me and asked me if I could create a way for him to learn the irregular verbs. He spends a lot of time driving so he asked me to prepare something to listen to in his car. So I did. In this post there are 33 irregular verbs presented in an associative matrix, in mp3 for listening, in mp3 for learning and two games for practising them.
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Irregular verbs – learning


Here you can find two ways to learn the irregular verbs. I have tried both and both work. The first one is called associative learning and you should write two words in your mother tongue under each verb. The words should be similar to the English words and at the same time they should emphasize the differences between the forms. For example Drive – Dr, Iveta DROVE – Dr., ovce, DRIVEN – DĹ™i, venku. Create your own associations and you will see that you will know the verbs quickly.
Irregular verbs cards for associative learning

Here is the pdf version of all the irregular verbs:

Irregular verbs_part1

Irregular verbs – Listen and learn


In learning there are only a few methods which work for everyone. One of them is called Random repeat. You are presented with something new and then after a short time you are tested. Then another new thing is presented and you are tested again. This is repeated several times and at the end you know a lot. You can try this method here. You will here three irregular verbs and then you will hear just the infinitive and you have 3 seconds (quite a lot of time actually) to supply the past tense and past participle. After the three seconds you will hear the correct answers and another verb. I hope it will work for you:

If you need just the correct pronunciation of each of the verbs presented above, here is the mp3 with all of the verbs:

You can download the files here:

All the irregular verbs
All the verbs learning mp3

Irregular verbs – games

Once you believe that you know the irregular verbs, it is time to practise them. Here there are two games for your mobile phones to practise the irregular verbs:

If you want to enjoy the game on the full screen click on the button:

Irregular verbs – Tower defence

In the second game you should fill in the sentences with the correct words. If you pass the test you can play the game called Math pop and practise your maths at the same time.

If you want to play the game on a full screen, click the button below:
Irregular verbs – Math pop

You can find several online exercises at our new site grammarlane.com to practice irregular verbs.

Greetings in English for elementary students
Greetings in English for elementary students

There are some words you cannot live without in any language, and greetings certainly belong among those words and phrases. In this post I aim at introducing and teaching nine basic greetings for elementary students. To achieve this goal I there is a nice mind map and several games to practise these words.

Greetings – mind map


In this mind map there are the basic greetings ordered according to their frequency in British English. So the most frequent word in British English is “HI”.
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Basic greetings mind map
The letters in the circles show how formal or informal the given expression is. If it is informal we use the greeting with people we know well and our friends. With other people we use the formal greetings.

Notice that HELLO is both formal and informal. This greeting is often used instead of GOOD MORNING etc. and no one thinks you are being impolite.

Greetings – games


It is time to practise the greetings and learn them. The first game is in HTML 5 and it will play on any mobile device you use. It is a simple crosword. Click on any square and at the top of the crossword there will appear a clue. Then just type your answer. You can print out the crossword too and then solve it on a paper. It is up to you:

Greetings – Crossword

The other two games are in Flash and therefore they will play just on your desktop. The first one is called Teacher invaders and you have to answer all the questions with the correct greeting and then shoot all the invaders. Good luck.

Greetings – Teacher Invaders

The second game is called half a minute and it is suitable for classes with an interactive whiteboard. When you start the game there will appear the jumbled greeting and students have to write it on their paper and then one of them can type it into the computer. However, you have to do this in 30 seconds. Have a good fun with it.

Greetings – Half a minute

SVOMPT – word order in English
SVOMPT – word order in English

SVOMPT rule is one of the most important rules in English. If students learn to follow this rule, their English will improve dramatically, and they will be understood. Once a student knows some words and follows the SVOMPT rule, we can say that he/she can speak English.

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I love Darren Crown’s explanation of the origin of the SVOMPT word order. In his humorous book “AngliÄŤtina na rovinu” he writes that English was first used by a primitive tribe whose members did not want to use their brain too much and thus they created a word order which is always the same – Subject, Verb, Object, adverbs of Manner, adverbs of Place and adverbs of Time. So let´s stop looking for some complicated explanations and let´s think like the primitive barbarians and stick with the SVOMPT word order.

SVOMPT – mind map


The path shows the way an affirmative English sentence is created. You start with a Subject at the top and then you go down and add the words according to the SVOMPT rule.
SVOMPT word order mind map

SVOMPT – games and quizzes


At the moment you feel you understand the grammar it is time to put your knowledge into practice. First, to be able to follow the rule you have to know what part of speech a given word is. You must know whether it is a Subject, Verb, Object, adverb of Manner, adverb of Place or adverb of Time to place the word into the correct place in an English sentence. To help you with this, you can try the following quiz where your task is to tell what part of speech a given word is. If you pass the test, you can play the game Angry finches.

If you want to play the quiz on the full screen, click on the button below.

SVOMPT – what is this word

In the second quiz your task is to put the sentence into the correct order. If you pass this quiz, you can improve your vocabulary in the game called Word Boggle.

If you want to play the quiz on the full screen, click on the button below.

SVOMPT – Arrange the sentence

Both games and quizzes are in HTML5 so they should play on all mobile devices.

Vocabulary placement test – intermediate students
Vocabulary placement test – intermediate students

Have you tried our vocabulary placement test for elementary students, and it was too easy for you? Have you scored close to 2000? Then this is the vocabulary test you should take. Here we test the words which belong between 2,000 and 5,000 most frequent words in English.
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There are 60 questions and the score at the end tells you how many words from the 3,000 words you know. If you add this score to the score from the test for elementary students, you will know how many words from the five thousand most frequent words in English you know.

Vocabulary placement test – test


Give a try to the following test. The score at the end of the test tells you how many words you know. So if it tells you that your Score is: 2,350 points it means that you know 2,350 out of the 3,000 words which belong into the group of 2,000 to 5,000 most frequent words in English.

If you want to do the test on the full screen, click the button below. The test is made in HTML5 so it will play on your mobile phones as well:
Vocabulary placement test – full screen

If you want to know the total number of English words that you know among the 5,000 most frequent words in English take the Vocabulary test for elementary students and then add the score to the score from the test above. Thus if you score here 1,750 and in the elementary test 1,800, you know 3,550 words from the 5,000 most frequent words in English.

Remember, THE MORE ENGLISH WORDS YOU KNOW THE BETTER YOUR ENGLISH IS!!!!

Vocabulary placement test – comment


Please, if you spot a mistake, or you come up with a better definition, please leave a comment. We are trying to improve each activity, and your comments help us a lot.
Thank you.

Jack the Giant Killer – comic story part 1
Jack the Giant Killer – comic story part 1

Students like reading comics. Comics are often the only thing students read. When I started an extensive reading project last year, students did not mind reading comics, however when we moved to short stories, more than half of them stopped reading and started to hate the programme. On the basis of this experience I have prepared a fairy tale comic for students to read.

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To be able to read a text and understand it, it is essential that you know the words. The more words you know the more you can enjoy the text. That is why I have so many materials dealing with the vocabulary here. First, learn the vocabulary with our associative method and then play the games. Once you know the words, watch the video and answer the comprehension questions.

Jack the Giant killer – vocabulary


First, learn the vocabulary using our associative learning method.

Associative learning method


When I study vocabulary, I am able to learn about 50 words a day. And here is how I do it.

The Associative learning method.
Take each word and find in your mother tongue or any other language you know some words it reminds you of. Thus for example, when I see the word GIANT I come up with these associations: Gigantic, Gigi (my former student´s nickname, anténa (antenae). When I create these associations I move to another word. I go on like this with four words. Then I cover the English words and I see just their translations and I recall them.
In this way I go on for as long as I feel like it and my vocabulary grows.

Vocabulary activities


Here are the words and materials to learn them using the associative method. You can verify your knowledge of the words at the end where there are two quizzes. If you pass the test you can play a game. All of the activities are in HTML 5 so you can learn using your mobile whereever you are.

For a better mobile experience it is better to click over here and see the activity full screen.
Vocabulary – associative method

If you prefer doing these activities offline, you can print out the following worksheets and try them out:
Word games_part01_giant

Word games_part01_key

Giant_page_pdf – associative method worksheet

If you like crosswords on your computer, you can try the following one. It is in HTML5 so it will play on all mobile devices too:
Jack the Giant killer – crossword

Jack the Giant Killer – video

Now, that you know the vocabulary, you can watch the first part of the video and enjoy it.

And now try the comprehension quiz. If you pass the quiz you can play the game called HOT RACE. The quiz is in HTML 5 so it will play on any mobile device. However, the game is only in Flash and it will play on your desktop only.

If you want to play the quiz on full screen, click the following button:
Comprehension questions – part 1

Associative learning method – comments

  • How did the method work for you?
  • How many words were you able to learn this way?
  • What problems did you encounter?
  • Is there anything more you would like to tell us?

Do not hasitate and comment below. Thank you 🙂