Passive voice – board game
Passive voice – board game

I love playing games with my students. They lower students’ anxiety and they give them a chance to practise the language. Moreover, in a game mistakes are welcome, and students find it easier to concentrate and perservere. Therefore, a well designed game supports the learners’ growth mindset and is better than a lot of worksheets.

In this post, I would like to share a board game which I created for my students to practise the passive voice. Before I play the game with my students I teach the passive voice using the activities here. Once I feel that my students understand the grammar, we play the following board game.

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Passive voice game

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Printing the game, you will need to print three times as many pages two as pages one. Thus if you need the game for three groups, you will print the page 2 three times and the page 1 once. Moreover, you will need a dice for each group of students.
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My students usually play the game in groups of three or four. Each of the students should take a counter that will represent him or her in the game. They place the counter on the START and throw the dice. They move their counter, read the sentence and transform it into the passive voice. The others listen carefully and check their answers using the key from the page 1. If the student forms the sentence correct, they may stay in the place where they landed. If they form the sentence incorrectly, they must return to the place where they started their move.

The student who gets to the end first is the winner.

I hope your students will enjoy the game as much as my students did.

English Learning Magazine – free download
English Learning Magazine – free download

Six years ago, I spent a lot of time working on a magazine for learners of English. I managed to produce three issues. Today, I feel it is time to share them.
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ELM – issue 1

[/su_heading][su_spacer] The first issue is about sports. There are several vocabulary exercises where students can learn the names of various sports. There are several texts about famous sportspeople and about things connected with sport. Then there are several Grammar up exercises, too.

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How to do Grammar Up exercises?

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Grammar up is a new and unique way to improve your English and grammar. Each article consists of two texts. One is bold – this is the correct English – and the other is small – this is the text without grammar.

First read the bold text several times aloud. Then cover the bold text with a piece of paper. Complete the small text in writing first. Replace the dashes with articles and prepositions and put the verbs into the correct form and tense. Once you finish check your answers against the bold text. Then print out the page again, cover the bold lines and read the small text. Add the missing grammar while you read the text aloud. Check your answers at the end of each line.

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Download

[/su_heading][su_spacer] You can download the first issue here.
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ELM – issue 2

[/su_heading][su_spacer] The second issue is about science and technology. Once again, there are texts about various scientists and discoveries, there are vocabulary exercises and Grammar Up exercises.
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Download

[/su_heading][su_spacer] You can download the whole magazine here:
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ELM – issue 3

[/su_heading][su_spacer] The third issue concentrates on Easter. There are texts about various customs connected with this Christian holiday. Moreover, there are some language games to improve your English.
I have already shared this magazine here and you can find it at Easter – a magazine for learners of English.

Verb to BE – negative form
Verb to BE – negative form

In the previous two lessons, students learnt affirmative of the verb to be. They learnt the long and the short forms so now it is time to teach the negative form of the verb to be. But before we teach anything new, it is necessary to practise what they learnt in the previous lessons.

First, practise the subject pronouns in the following video. It should be easy for your students by now, so you can set the speed of the video higher, to make it more challenging.
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Second, repeat the affirmative using the following video. Students need to say the correct long form of the verb to be before they hear the correct answer.

Third, revise the short forms using the following video. Students see a sentence and their task is to read the sentence aloud and complete it with the correct short form of the verb to be.

Fourth, play the following dictation to your students. Students listen and write what they hear. The correct text will appear at the end of the video and students need to correct their answers on their own. The dictation introduces the negative forms.

Fifth, explain the grammar using the following graphic organiser.

Verb to be negative form

You can find the printable version of the infographic here:

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Verb-to-be-negative-form.pdf” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Verb to be negative form infographic[/su_button]

Sixth, print the following handout and give one copy to each pair of students. Students cut the columns 1, 2 and 3 into cards.  Students shuffle the cards and their task is to match the pictures to the pronouns and the pronouns to the verbs to be. Teacher checks the answers.

Seventh, students cut the column 4 and put the pictures aside. They are going to play the following memory game. They turn all the cards face down. Students work in pairs and they take turns. One of the students turns three cards. If he/she is able to create a grammatically correct sentence which consists of three colours (black, red and blue), they can keep the cards.  The winner is the student who collects most cards.

Eighth, students watch the following video. Their task is to say the correct sentence using the negative form of the verb to be before they hear it.

You can see the whole lesson in the following mind map.

Verb to be negative form lesson plan

When I teach the verb to be again – Lesson 2 – Short Forms
When I teach the verb to be again – Lesson 2 – Short Forms

In the previous lesson, I taught the affirmative of the verb TO BE and now it is time to revise the grammar and explain the short forms.

First, we need to revise. Students need to revise a lot, or they will forget. So let’s start with revising the pronouns. Play, the following video. First, students listen and repeat and then they say the correct pronouns before they hear the correct answer.

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Second, play the next video. Now, the students need to supply the correct form of the verb to be. Students need to read the whole sentences.

Third, hand out the cards from the previous lesson and students play the memory game.

Fourth, the teacher explains the short forms using the graphic organizer from the previous lesson.

Fifth, students stand up and they make sure that there is enough space around them. Play the following video. Students now listen and point to the form of the sentence they hear. If they hear a short form they point to the right and if they hear a long form they point to the left. To make it more competitive, sit down those who make a mistake or hesitate for too long.

Sixth, play the following video and students repeat the sentence they hear, but they must supply the short form of the verb to be.

Seventh, hand out the following worksheet. As my students are very tactile and they love touching things, I created the following worksheet. Print it out (both pages on one piece of paper) and hand it out. Students cut the worksheet and now they can model the short forms by folding the slips correctly. If they fold them well, the short form will cover the long form precisely. In this way, they see the formation of the short form.

It is a good idea to repeat the most popular activities at the end of the lesson.

I hope you like the ideas which I share here and that they will come hand when you teach the verb to be.

When I teach the verb to be again, I am going to do this – Lesson 1
When I teach the verb to be again, I am going to do this – Lesson 1

I have already taught the verb to be many times. But this year I failed exemplarily. So I stopped and spent a week planning a sequence of lessons to really teach this basic grammar point. In these posts, I would like to share the lesson plans and materials I have created.

[su_heading size=”20″]Lesson 1 – Affirmative[/su_heading]

To be able to teach this grammar, I found out that I need to teach the pronouns first. If my students fail to understand the pronouns, they cannot learn the grammar.
So I start with the following video. First, students listen and repeat the pronouns. It is a good idea to tell the students the meaning of the words in their MT now. Otherwise, they might be confused and they will learn nothing.

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[showmyads] Next, students watch the video and supply the correct pronoun.

Third, print the following game. It is best to print it on a slightly heavier paper and laminate it. Ask the students to use their scissors and cut the first two columns. Students need to cut the papers into similar squares.

Once they finish, they shuffle the cards and then they try to match the pictures with pronouns. The teacher goes around and checks their answers.

Fourth, display or print the following graphic organiser and explain the grammar.

Fifth, ask students to use the graphic organiser and write as many sentences as possible. Set a time limit (5 minutes are enough) and make it a competition.

Sixth, ask the students to cut the third column of the game into cards. Now, they use only the black and red words. They shuffle the cards and then they match them. The teacher checks their answers again.

Seventh, students cut the last column into cards and they play the following memory game. They turn all the cards face down. Students work in pairs and they take turns. One of the students turns three cards. If she is able to create a sentence which consists of three colours (black, red and blue), they can keep the cards. The winner is the student who collects most cards. My students love this game and they really care if the sentences are correct.

Eighth, students place the black, red and blue cards in front of them and the teacher says a sentence in their MT and the students make the sentence in English using the cards.

Ninth, students work in pairs and one of them says a sentence in their MT and the other student makes it using the cards. Activities 8 and 9 are possible only if the students share the same MT. If this is not the case, just skip the activities.

Tenth, students watch the following video and they say the whole sentence adding the verb to be in the correct form.

By following the sequence of activities, my students mastered the pronouns and corresponding forms of the verb to be. In the following lesson, I am going to teach the short forms of the verb to be.

Why is the Present Simple Tense so Difficult to Teach
Why is the Present Simple Tense so Difficult to Teach

The present simple tense is the most important tense for elementary students of English to learn. To be able to communicate intelligibly they need to master at least the basic rules. If they don´t they will struggle with many other grammar rules. Therefore it is crucial that they learn this tense.

But what does it mean to master the present simple tense? What do the students need to learn? In this post, I will list all the things you need to teach to help them with this grammar.

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Present Simple – Form

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1. SVOMPT

[/su_heading][su_spacer] In my opinion, this is the most important rule the students must learn. If they don´t put the words into the correct order they will speak like Mister Yoda at best. But it is more likely that they won´t communicate at all.

Many teachers and experts believe that the students will pick up the SVOMPT rule on their own. They believe that it is enough to provide the learners with enough input and this rule will take care of itself. They are wrong! It works in this way only with gifted students but not with the weaker ones. You need to teach this rule.

I have already created two posts on teaching SVOMPT. You can find the first one here and the second one here.
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2. Negatives

[/su_heading] In most languages, you just add the negative prefix or suffix to a verb. In English, you need to add another verb – the auxiliary DON´T. For many students, this is a completely new notion and you need to prepare them for this. Moreover, in the third person singular, you need to use DOESN´T.

In my experience, this rule is best mastered by using drills. Of course, we shouldn´t drill for hours on end, but 5 minutes in several consecutive lessons would be nice. For drilling I love using the following Drill table:
The present simple drill table
I love using the following video based on the drill table:

And to give my students a visual support to learn the negative form, I use the following graphic organiser:
Present simple tense new infographic web
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3. The -S ending

[/su_heading] When we speak about the present simple tense form, most people will mention the -s ending first. It is a real problem even for native speakers. It takes very long to master and even advanced learners of English often fail to add it when speaking. And some teachers seem to be obsessed with the third person singular.

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I personally don´t care much. If the students use English extensively, this will take care of itself in time. But there is no way to make the process any quicker. Of course, I would drill it and I would correct it but I wouldn´t worry about it too much.
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Present Simple – Forming Questions

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Here we go again. The auxiliary DO!!!

To form a question in the present simple tense, students need to use the auxiliary DO. It is not so difficult to explain. Once your students know the SVOMPT rule, just tell them to add DO at the beginning of the sentence. This “DO” informs the listener that the sentence is a question.

It isn´t difficult to understand. The problem is that in the third person singular they need to use the auxiliary DOES. To help my students I use the following drill tableThe present simple tense drill table full
and the following graphic organiser:
Present simple questions part 2

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Questions Words

[/su_heading] Don´t forget the questions words! Many teachers suppose that their students know the question words, but they don´t. You have to teach them! You can use the following video to teach the words:

Or you could edit the following mind map. It contains the question words and their Czech translation.
Tázací zájmena v angličtině

And now you might think that you are done with teaching the present simple tense. You are wrong! There are the short answers. While students can understand that they need to use the auxiliary DO again, they often fail to use the correct pronoun. To help them I have created the following post to teach just the short answers in the present simple tense.

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VERBS

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Fine, now your students know the rules how to form the present simple tense. Great job! You can start teaching something else now, can´t you?

No, you can´t. Students need to know the verbs they could use the grammar with. The present simple tense is traditionally taught with the verbs for daily routines. But these verbs, though very useful, are not the most frequent ones in English. To teach our students real English it is necessary to introduce a batch of the really frequent verbs in English. The following list contains all the verbs that belong among the 250 most frequent words in English:

If you are looking for a way to teach the verbs, you can find some interesting methods for teaching vocabulary here.

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Present Simple – Fluency

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Have you noticed that there is one verb students can use correctly most of the time? Do you know which one?

It is the verb LIKE. Students often fail to form the present simple tense correctly, but they produce the questions “What do you like?” and “Do you like One Direction?” correctly. How is this possible?

The answer is simple. The verb LIKE is used in many communicative exercises (sometimes the exercises do not contain any other verb) and students simply become fluent using this verb. Our goal is, however, to achive the same fluency with the other verbs too. But how? What can we do?

I have designed the following exercise to help my students become more fluent:

Moreover, when preparing communicative exercises, we need to use more verbs than just the verb LIKE.

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Present Simple – Pronunciation

[/su_heading][su_spacer] This topic would need a whole new post. So I will just mention what makes the present simple tense so difficult to learn.

We cannot rely on the fact that our students will learn the present simple tense by ear. As the native speakers contract the pronunciation of the auxiliaries heavily, we cannot expect our students to pick them up just by listening. We need to teach the grammar.

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Present simple – usage

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Shall you explain the usage of the present simple tense at the beginning? Please, don´t.
If it is the first tense you teach, do not bother with explaining the usage. Teach the verbs, meaning and the form and explain the usage only once you introduce another tense.

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Conclusion

[/su_heading][su_spacer] In this post I have tried to show all the aspects of the present simple tense, which you need to teach. Moreover, I shared some materials which I use to teach this tense. I hope you find this post useful and that you will be able to teach the grammar better.

You can use the following mind map to check that you taught everything:

Please, share your ideas in the comments section.

7 Problems with Reading Aloud and a Possible Solution
7 Problems with Reading Aloud and a Possible Solution

Reading aloud is one of the most frequently used activities at schools. At the same time, it is one of the most discussed activities in ELT and many teachers refuse to use it. In this post, I would like to discuss the problems reading aloud poses and a possible solution.

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Problems with reading aloud

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The first problem, and one of the most frequent complains about this method, is that reading aloud is not natural. The typical question is “When was the last time you read aloud?” And people have a really hard time to remember and answer this question. But we actually read aloud much more frequently than we realise. For example, parents read to their children every night. When I cook, I read parts of the recipes aloud to remember them. A friend of mine often reads jokes from his mobile phone for me. As you can see, even nowadays we read aloud much more often than we realize.

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The second problem is that there is very low student participation in this activity. Commonly, one student reads and the others listen (actually, it would be more correct to say that they do something else – usually something undesirable 🙂 ). Those who promote reading aloud say that the others learn from the mistakes their schoolmates make. But I think it is wishful thinking. When one student reads the others simply don´t listen. Therefore, if we want to read aloud in class we must do something about it.

The third problem is that some students read badly and slowly and thus they set a bad example for the others. That is true, but as the others do not pay much attention they are not really affected. Anyway, giving these weak readers enough time to get through the text isn´t good either. We need to speed up their production!

The fourth problem is that students need to understand the text. The comprehension is much more important than the ability to read the text aloud. But my question is – “Is it possible to read something aloud without understanding it”? If you just hear something and repeat it, then it is possible to ignore the meaning, but if you need to read a text aloud many parts of your brain get activated and you understand more. Once again the speed of the production is important.

The fifth problem with reading aloud is repetition. To be able to read a text fluently and understand it well, students need to re-read the same text several times. And even if the text is interesting, they are bored as soon as they start to read the text the second time. If they are bored, they do not pay attention and if they don´t pay attention they don´t learn! Therefore, if we want our students to read something again, we have to change the text somehow. But how? Printed words are impossible to change.

The sixth problem is, that reading aloud is time-consuming. Let´s suppose, that you teach an ideal class with 12 students who pay attention all the time. However, even a short text takes about one minute to read for each student. Moreover, you need to correct them and thus each student spends two minutes reading. That is 24 minutes in this ideal scenario. It is a lot of time that could have been used better. Don´t you think?

The seventh problem is connected with noticing the language. Many textbooks use short texts to introduce some grammar. Students are expected to notice these grammar points and deduce the correct grammar rules from them. But it hardly ever happens. Students need to read the same text again and again to notice the grammar (some of them do not notice anything no matter how often they read it 🙂 ). To help the students notice the grammar, the students need to produce it and hear it many times.

As you can see, reading aloud faces a lot of problems, but I still think that it is a great activity. In this way, students can practise their pronunciation, they can revise the grammar and vocabulary and they can improve their fluency. But we need to change the activity a bit to achieve all of these desirable outcomes.

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Reading aloud solution

[/su_heading][su_spacer] I came up with the following activity. It is called Reading Aloud Video and it works in the following way. First, play the video and students just listen to the text. In the second part of the video, students read the sentences they see on the screen, then they listen to the correct pronunciation (it is a feedback) and then they repeat what they have just heard. In the third part, students see the same sentences again, but this time some words are not complete. They have to read the sentences as if they were. After a while, they hear the correct version of each sentence. In the fourth part of the video, students read the sentences aloud. This time they have to replace all asterisks with articles (the/a/an), dashes – with prepositions and words in capital letters with their correct form in the present simple tense.

You can see the video here.

This video solves several problems mentioned above. As all the students read at the same time, thus the participation is high (problem 2). As the video does not stop, students need to read quickly and they need to correct themselves and so they learn from their own mistakes (problems 3 and 2). The same text is repeated 4 times and each time it poses a different challenge (problem 5). The video takes 12 minutes which is not too long (problem 6). And as students need to produce the correct grammar, there is a bigger chance that they will notice it (problem 7).

What do you think? Do you think this solution is good? How would you improve it? Please comment and let us know? Thank you.
POLL:

Shall we make another video like this?

Three activities that worked very well this week
Three activities that worked very well this week

In this post, I would like to share three activities that stood out in my teaching this week. They worked very well and I think that my students learned a lot from them. I hope you will find them useful and entertaining, too.
The first activity is a speaking activity where students use relative clauses. I used this activity with my teen students who are at pre-intermediate level and they liked it and they produced a lot of English.
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[showmyads] The second activity is a vocabulary revision activity. I used it with my third and fourth year and I was glad that I could revise all the vocabulary and grammar in a way that the students enjoyed.
The third activity helped my fifth-year students learn how to tell time in English.

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Relative Clauses – Speaking

[/su_heading][su_spacer] It is very difficult to make teenagers speak. No matter how interesting a topic might seem most of the students get out of their way to finish the conversation as soon as possible or they swap into their mother tongue.
If I try to solve the problem by giving them some time to prepare, they get easily distracted and the results are poor.
Knowing all of this I came up with a different kind of preparation this time. I created the following worksheet.

As you can see there are sentences and students should fill them in with the information which is true for them. The students provide just the information and the worksheet provides the language which should be practised.
It took about ten minutes for the students to complete the worksheet. When they finished I asked them to work in pairs. In their pairs they read their sentences to their partners.
Then they changed partners and read their texts again. When they finished I asked them to throw the worksheets away. I changed the pairs again but this time I had written the following on the board:

  • MUSIC +-
  • TV PROGRAMMES +-
  • PEOPLE +-
  • ANIMALS +-
  • ACTIVITIES +-

Now the students had to speak about these things but without the worksheets. And the did. And surprisingly they used language which was very similar to the one they had been used in the worksheet.
The whole activity took about 35 minutes and the students used and produced a lot of English and used the relative clauses. It made me really happy.

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Vocabulary revision

[/su_heading][su_spacer] I often feel that I do not revise enough. I teach something, my students know it, we revise but the students forget incredibly quickly. They need to revise more. But they don’t want to. They don’t like doing things again and again.

That is why I decided to concentrate on revising this year. I try to devise activities my students would enjoy doing repeatedly. The following activity is very simple and it worked with Years 3 and 4.

It is very simple. Seat students in pairs. Play the following video and one student asks: “What´s this?” and the other answers “It´s a …” and the thing they see in the video. Once the video starts to flash, a new picture will appear soon.

Each picture is shown for ten seconds, however, it is no problem to play the video faster. Just go to the settings in the lower right corner and set the speed to a higher number.

It is a good idea to revise first with the whole class. Just play the video and ask the question “What´s this?” yourself. The students answer and as each picture lasts 10 seconds you have ample time to correct the students and help them if necessary.

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Telling time

[/su_heading][su_spacer] It is not easy to teach students tell the time in English. I love using the following resources – TELLING TIME IN ENGLISH. They work perfectly and even the weakest students learn to tell the time (supposing they can use the infographic).

However, these activities work only as long as we use digital time. At the moment the students see a watch with hands, they are lost.

I spent a lot of time wondering whether there is a way to help my students with the hands. And then I realised that the language is not arbitrary. It reflects reality. Look at the pictures below.

The hands clearly show what words people should use. The big hand shows what words we should say at the beginning (you need to learn the phrases from the infographic at TELLING TIME). And the small hand tells us the hour. We use the number the small hand is closer to.
See the examples below.

Ten past ten (the small hand is close between 10 and 11 but closer to 10)

Ten past ten (the small hand is close between 10 and 11 but closer to 10)

Five to three (the small hand is close to three)

And to practise telling the time in English, I created the following video. Play the video and students tell the time. The correct answer appears after seven seconds.

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The End

[/su_heading][su_spacer] I hope you like the activities and that you use them in your classes. Moreover, I hope that they will work for you and your students as well as they worked for mine.

You can find some more useful activities at the British Council site.

Sentence Transformation
Sentence Transformation

For some students, sentence transformation is the test they are really scared of. They feel that they cannot form the sentences correctly and often fail their exams just because they mess this part up. However, as a learner and teacher of English, I feel that this test is simple. I cannot help thinking that the same phrases get repeated all the time and that it is enough to learn a set of around one hundred phrases and you are fine.
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[showmyads] To test my notion, I created a set of materials to teach some highly productive phrases which appear in this test. In this post, you will find an infographic with 16 phrases, a worksheet where students will memorize the phrases and an online quiz where the students can test their ability to use the new phrases to transform sentences in English.
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Sentence transformation – infographic

[/su_heading][su_spacer] In this infographic, I tried to organize the phrases clearly and easily. In the white box, there is one way of saying something and below in the colourful box, there is another way of saying the same thing.

First, students should read the phrases and translate them. If you do not teach a monolingual class, explain the phrases your students do not understand or ask them to use the Google Translate service (it has improved a lot recently).

Sentence transformation infographic
You can see the full image here:
[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/sentence-transformation-part-1-full.jpg” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Sentence transformation infographic[/su_button] [su_spacer][su_heading]

Sentence transformation – worksheets

[/su_heading][su_spacer] To help my students memorize the phrases, there are two worksheets here. Print the first worksheet and students have to copy the phrases into the empty boxes below the phrases. On the second page, they have to remember the phrase with the same meaning and write it under the phrase in the box.(See the pictures)
Memory tables 1
Memory tables 2 explanation

In the second worksheet, students try to solve the puzzles using the phrases they have learnt above.

In the first exercise, students should fill in the missing letters to complete the phrases.
In the second exercise, students find the phrases in the wordsearch. They have to fill in the missing vowels (A, E, I, O, U, Y), too.
In the third exercise, students try to find the phrases in the squares.
Students can check their answers in the key below.

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Sentence transformation – online quiz

[/su_heading][su_spacer] In the following exercise, students have a chance to apply what they have learnt. Their task is to transform the sentences so that they have the same meaning.

For the full-screen quiz, click the button below.
[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/Sentence transformation/Sentence transformation (Web)/index.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Full screen quiz[/su_button]

You can find more exercises to practise sentence transformation at British Council site.

Grammar Point – Irregular verbs #2
Grammar Point – Irregular verbs #2

In my previous post I offered a set of materials to help you teach the 10 most frequent irregular verbs in English. Now, there are a couple of activities to teach, or if you are a student to learn, another set of 10 irregular verbs. We give you a set of activities to help you teach the past tense and the past participle of the verbs give, find, think, tell, become, show, leave, feel, put and bring.

Here you will find a video, a worksheet and a game. The video contains a short dictation, Random Repeat method and a simple fill in the gap exercise. In this way, your students will learn and remember the correct form and pronunciation of the past tense and the past participle of the given verbs. They can practise their knowledge using the worksheets below. And they can really enjoy the lesson by playing the Snake game in which they need to use the irregular verbs again.
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[showmyads] I hope you like this post. If you find a mistake comment please!

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Irregular verbs – video

[/su_heading][su_spacer] This video is called Grammar Point. It is an interactive video where you are given some time to complete the tasks set in this video.

The aim of this video is to help people learn the past tense and the past participle of the verbs give, find, think, tell, become, show, leave, feel, put and bring. In the first part, there is a dictation. You need a piece of paper and something to write with. Listen and write the sentences. At the end of the dictation you will see the correct version on the screen.

In the second part of the video, the Random Repeat method is used. This method was suggested in the book Human Memory by Baddeley. You first listen and just repeat the words, then you hear only the infinitive and your task is to say the past tense and past participle of the verb. You have 4 seconds to do this and then you hear the correct answer.

Then, you see a sentence and your task is to complete the sentence with a correct verb in the correct form. You have 5 seconds for this and then you hear and see the correct answer. Please read the whole sentence aloud to maximise the learning.


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Mind map

[/su_heading][su_spacer] Some students find mind maps very useful, while others hate them. Anyway, for those who it might help, here is a simple mind map showing the verbs, the past tenses, the past participles and the meaning of the verbs. It´s up to you if you use it.

Irregular verbs 2 mind map

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Worksheet

[/su_heading][su_spacer] It is important to practise the irregular verbs to learn them. The following worksheet contains several pages with exercises to practise the irregular verbs. You can check your answers in the key.

You can check your answers here:

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Snake Game

[/su_heading][su_spacer] To reward my students, I use video games. You can try it with the following Snake game. Once the students finish the worksheets, display the following game on the IWB. Students use the keyboard to control the snake. Whenever they eat an egg, they have to complete the sentence with an irregular verb in the correct form.

If you cannot connect to the internet, then you can use the desktop version of the programme.
[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/Snake_irrverbs2_web/snake_irr_verbs2/snake_win32.zip” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Desktop – Windows 32 bits[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://engames.eu/Snake_irrverbs2_web/snake_irr_verbs2/snake_win64 (1).zip” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Desktop – Windows 64 bits[/su_button] [su_spacer][su_heading]

Links

[/su_heading][su_spacer] You can find some interesting ideas on teaching irregular verbs at British Council site.
Did you like the post? Do you find it useful? Have you found a mistake here? Please, let us know and comment!!! Thank you.

Irregular Verbs – Grammar Point
Irregular Verbs – Grammar Point

Recently I published a post on irregular verbs which I am really proud of. In this post, there is an app which helps students learn the past tense of the 52 most frequent irregular verbs in English. Using the app, over 80% of my students managed to learn all the past tenses of the verbs. This is a result I had never achieved before.

Even though the results are astonishing, I noticed three problems. First, students didn´t learn the correct pronunciation using the app. Second, students didn´t know the past participle of the verbs. And third, they could not use the the verbs in context.

That is why I decided to create a series of posts where I will offer a set of materials to help my students learn all these things. In this post, you will find a video called Grammar Point, where you can learn the past tense and past participle of the 10 most common verbs in English. Then there is a worksheet to help you practise the verbs.

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Irregular verbs – video

[/su_heading][su_spacer] This video is called Grammar Point. It is an interactive video, where you are given some time to answer the tasks given in this video.

The aim of this video is to help you learn the past tense and the past participle of the verbs be, have, say, make, go, take, come, see, know and get. In the first part, we use the Random Repeat method, which is suggested in the book Human Memory by Baddeley. You first listen and just repeat the words, then you hear only the infinitive and your task is to say the past tense and past participle of the verb. You have 4 seconds to do this and then you hear the correct answer.

In the second part of the video, you see a sentence and your task is to complete the sentence with a correct verb in the correct form. You have 5 seconds for this and then you hear and see the correct answer.

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Worksheet

[/su_heading][su_spacer] It is important to practise the irregular verbs to learn them. The following worksheet contains several pages with tasks to practise the irregular verbs. You can check your answers in the key.

You can check your answers here:

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Your ideas

[/su_heading][su_spacer] You can find some interesting ideas on teaching irregular verbs at British Council site.
Did you like the post? Do you find it useful? Have you found a mistake here? Please, let us know and comment!!! Thank you.

Snake – Quiz Game Template
Snake – Quiz Game Template

When I was a child, the Snake game was incredibly popular. Of course, that was a long time ago. The games have changed since but when I see how popular the game Slitherio (a new version of the Snake game) is, I believe children have not changed that much. And they might appreciate if we bring the Snake game into our classroom and use it to teach something.

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Past continuous tense – usage
Past continuous tense – usage

In our previous post, we tried to explain how to form the past continuous tense in English. In this post, we will try to show you when you should use the past continuous tense.

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Adverbs of Frequency for Elementary Students of English
Adverbs of Frequency for Elementary Students of English

Adverbs of frequency are a really a complicated grammar. Even though many textbooks teach these words very early on, their usage is not simple and there are many exceptions to the rules. But as I have to present it to elementary students, I try to keep them as simple as possible and I keep all the exceptions secret. (Sorry kids 🙂 )

In this post, I would like to present all the activities I use to help my students master this grammar. To teach it, you need to teach the adverbs first and then you have to explain where the words should go in a sentence.
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Lesson Plan

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Here is the simplified lesson plan for teaching the adverbs of frequency:

  1. Listening
  2. Vocabulary worksheet – Activity 1 (students translate the words)
  3. Vocabulary worksheet – Activity 2 (students solve the wordsearch)
  4. Vocabulary worksheet – Activity 3 (students solve the jumbles)
  5. Vocabulary worksheet – Activity 4 (students solve the crossword)
  6. Grammar explanation – Infographic (Teacher explains the grammar)
  7. Video Game
  8. Pronunciation – Students listen and repeat the poem
  9. Homework – Students learn the poem by heart

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Listening

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To introduce the adverbs of frequency, I use the following poem. Print the worksheet and hand it out. Students listen and complete the text in the worksheet.

Then check their answers.
I always sit in chair,
I usually brush my hair,
I always look like a daisy,
and I´m always so so lazy.

I´m often on my phone,
on Facebook, I´m never alone,
I´m sometimes a bit crazy,
and I´m always so so lazy.

I never feed the cat
I never make my bed
My dad sometimes gets crazy
because I´m always so so lazy.

Now you can elicit what you will do in this lesson.
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Adverbs of Frequency – Vocabulary

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To teach this grammar, it is vital that students know the vocabulary. To achieve this I use the following worksheet.


In the first exercise, students try to translate the words. If you teach a group of students who do not share a common language, ask them to use dictionaries or Google Translate (this tool has improved recently). Students really need to understand the words.

In the second exercise, students try to find the adverbs in the Wordsearch. (Note: OFTEN and NOT OFTEN are in the same place.)

In the third exercise, students solve the jumbled words.

The last exercise is the most difficult. Students place the adverbs into the crossword in such a way that they fit in. You can see the solution in this document.

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Grammar Explanation

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To explain the grammar I use the following mind maps.

Adverbs of frequency mind map

The simple way to explain this grammar is: PLACE THE ADVERB IN FRONT OF THE VERB WHICH CARRIES THE MEANING. However, this rule does not work for the verb to BE as you have to place the adverb after it.

The mind maps show a more detail explanation of the grammar. Help your students understand the mind maps. Then I always ask my students to use the mind maps and write as many sentences as possible using only the words in the mind maps. I set a time limit, for example 5 minutes, and at the end I praise the students with most sentences. While the students write, I walk around the classroom and check that the students do not make mistakes and help them, if they got lost.

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Game

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My students love games on the white board and this one is simple and full of motion. Students stand up and watch the video. Their task is to choose the correct sentence. If the answer is in the upper left corner, students stretch their left hand up.If the answer is in the lower left corner, students stretch their left hand down. If the answer is in the upper right corner, students stretch their right hand up. If the answer is in the lower right corner, students stretch their right hand down. Thus the students get some movement and they practise the grammar, too.

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Pronunciation

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I finish the lesson with the poem from the beginning of the lesson. This time, I want them to learn the pronunciation.

Students take the worksheet with the poem and they listen to the following recording and repeat each line in the pause.

At the end of the lesson, I set the homework. Students have to learn the poem by heart, and in the following lesson they say it in front of the whole class.

English with Youtubers – Niga Higa´s Draw Your Life
English with Youtubers – Niga Higa´s Draw Your Life

English with Youtubers? Are you joking!? Youtubers use horrible English and their stories are about nothing! They use F words all the time and they have no ethics! For example, the most popular Youtuber showed some anti-Jew messages on his channel. Simply put, these videos cannot be shown at schools!

A few days ago I believed this too. Then I searched for the most popular youtubers and I was surprised that it is not true. I watched a video by a guy called Niga Higa (his real name is Ryan Higa) and I was stunned. The video had a message, there were no dirty words and his English was great.

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So I decided to create a lesson plan around this video. I piloted the lesson in my classes and I have to say that I enjoyed the lessons very much. And so did the students.

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Lesson plan

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The lesson plan is incredibly simple:

  1. Students draw their lives.
  2. Students speak about their lives.
  3. Watch the video and answer the questions

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Interactive video

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Play the following video and it stops after a few seconds and the students have to answer the comprehension questions to be able to continue.

[h5p id=”1″]

You can find the original video without the comprehension questions here

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Draw you life

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For the following activity, each student needs a piece of paper which is divided into 4 or 6 equal parts (it depends how much time you have). Ask the students to draw some important moments in their lives into each part. It is a good idea to prepare your own drawing before the lesson and demonstrate what you want your students to do.

Give your students about 5 minutes to do this. Give the time limit before they start so that the students do not spend too much time on it.

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Speak about your life

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Students work in pairs and speak about their lives.

After a while, they swap their partners and speak again.

It might be a good idea to do this speaking as a 4-3-2 activity. The first time, each student speaks 4 minutes. The second time they have to say the same things in just 3 minutes and the last time they have to do it in two minutes. In this way, they will become more fluent.

At the end, I ask my students if someone wants to present their life for the whole class. There are always some volunteers who I then reward.

Teach Past Simple Tense With Michael Rosen Rap
Teach Past Simple Tense With Michael Rosen Rap

I have already shared many materials to teach the past simple tense here. You can find activities to teach irregular verbs, a great post on teaching questions in the past simple tense and a post on teaching negative in the past simple tense. However, this post is different. Here, I would like to share a set of activities where students can practise the past simple tense in an entertaining and creative way using the poem Michael Rosen Rap.

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Past continuous tense – the form
Past continuous tense – the form

Teaching the past continuous tense, you need to do two things. First, you have to teach the form. Second, you need to teach the usage of this tense. In my experience, if you teach both at the same time, students get sloppy with the form. Once, you start to correct them, they get confused because they are not sure whether the form or the usage was wrong. That is why I think that you need to devote several lessons to the form before you teach the usage.

In this post, I would like to offer you a set of activities to help your learners learn the form of the past continuous tense and then you can move to the usage. In this post, you will find an infographic, a rap song and a game to teach the form of the past continuous tense.

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Past continuous – RAP SONG

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Together with I_will_rap we created the following rap song. First, print the following worksheet, hand it out. Ask the students to fold it in such a way that they cannot see the last section.

Now, ask the students to listen and complete the lyrics.

Students can check their answers in the last section of the worksheet.

Then, ask the students to do the exercise two. Students read the lyrics again and answer the questions.

At the end of this part, I always ask my students to learn the lyrics by heart. In this way, they have to remember the form correctly.
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Past continuous – infographic

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Display or hand out the following infographic to your students. The infographic consists of two parts. The first part gives the general rule how to form this tense. At the beginning there is the subject. If the subject is just 1 person or thing, it is followed by WAS or WASN’T. If the subject are 2 or more people or things, they are followed by WERE or WEREN’T. WAS and WERE are then followed by VERB with the suffix -ING.

Past continuous infographic

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Past-continuous-infographic.jpg” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Full size image[/su_button]

The second part of the infographic demonstrates the rule.

Explain the infographic and ask your students to write as many sentences as they can using the second part of the infographic. In this way, they will practise the form. I usually give a time limit and it is a competition who will write most sentences.

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Past continuous – Battle Ships

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I use the following game either to introduce the form or to practise the form. First, I play against the class. I display the following Powerpoint presentation and students have to guess where the treasure is hidden. They give the coordinates by say the sentences in the past continuous tense. Reward the winner with a sweet and play the game again.

Once students understand the rules, hand out the following worksheet. Each student hides 3 ships in their grid. They try to hit their partner´s ships before their partner hits theirs.

Elementary Grammar Up – free book download
Elementary Grammar Up – free book download

Grammar Up is a new, holistic approach to teaching and learning English grammar.

When you take English in school, you learn one piece of grammar at a time. After a while, you become confused by all the rules, and you forget most of them.
Native speakers don’t know the rules for the grammar. They use them.

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With Grammar Up, you work in the same way. The grammar points are not explained—you have to use them. And when you use the grammar, you learn it.
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How to use this book?

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There are 9 short texts for elementary learners of English. First, you have to read the text and answer the comprehension questions. You can either write your answers on a piece of paper or you can remember them. Check your answers below the questions.

This comprehension exercise is followed by the first Grammar Up exercise. You will see the same text you have read, but this time half of every second word is deleted. The text looks like this:

You wi_____ see t_____ same te_____ you ha_____ read, b_____ this ti_____ half o_____ every sec_____ word i_____ deleted.

Try to read the text and complete each word. It is ideal to read the text aloud this time. If you are not sure how to complete a word, turn back to the original text and find the correct answer. It might be a good idea to write the full text and check your answers then.

This exercise is followed by the second Grammar Up text. This time you see a text in which all the verbs are in the infinitive form, all the prepositions are replaced by a dash (-), and all the articles are replaced by an asterisk (*). The text then looks like this:

You SEE * same text you READ, but this time half – every second word DELETE.

Your task is to read the text again and add all the missing words and forms. It might not be a bad idea to write out the text as well.

I hope you like this book and that your facility with grammar goes up!!!

[sociallocker id=”3511″]

You can see the Word document here:


[/sociallocker]

This is the second Grammar UP book. You can find the first one at https://engames.eu/grammar-up-book-for-free/ .

You can find more great materials for teaching English at British Council site.

Questions in the Past Tense
Questions in the Past Tense

I remember the times in my teaching career when I dreaded teaching questions. I especially hated the questions in the past simple tense. After my explanation, students got confused and they often failed to produce even the most basic questions.

Fortunately, the situation has changed. Nowadays, I look forward to teaching this grammar. I have developed a set of activities which help my students learn the grammar easily and they form the questions correctly and without thinking much about it.

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In this post, I would like to share with you the activities which work very well for me and my classes. You will find a great original rap with comprehension questions, and a simple video called Grammar Point, where the grammar is explained and practised. I hope you will find this post useful.

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Questions in the past tense – RAP

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I start my lesson with the following RAP song. I hand out the following worksheet and I ask my students to answer the questions:

As you can see the worksheet contains five copies of the same worksheet. Print it out and cut it into five pieces. Play the Rap song at least twice and ask the students to write their answers to the questions. Explain that it is enough to write just one word.

Once I check the students’ answers, I always ask my students to rap along and learn the poem by heart. It is not difficult.

To get the pronunciation correct, students can copy the rap or they can follow the recording in American English, which you can hear below:

(Recorded by Christie Baarns. You can order her services at https://www.fiverr.com/christiebaarns/record-a-pro-voice-over?funnel=636d1dd1-8a9e-4ea1-8178-093ac3d4002b She provides great services.)

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Grammar Point

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Now it is time to explain the grammar. It is much easier now, as the students know the 12 examples given in the rap. I play the following video for my students:

I stop the video after the explanation and I hand out the following infographic which explains the grammar and I clarify the grammar in students’ MT, if necessary.

Forming questions in the past simple tense

Once, I am sure that the students understand the grammar, I play the rest of the recording. There is a grammar challenge. Students hear a sentence but part of the sentence is difficult to hear. Their task is to ask about the missing information. The video provides 7 seconds for their answers. Then they will hear the correct answer.

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Questions in the past tense – Speaking

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To practise the grammar, students need to use it in real-life conversation. I love using Clock Speaking. The questions are divided into four sections and there is a time at the head of each section. Tell the students to find a different partner for each time. Then say what time it is and students have to work with the partner they have arranged. They ask the questions and answer them.

Personal Qualities vocabulary
Personal Qualities vocabulary

In this post, you can learn the vocabulary to describe personal qualities. Here we will try to teach you the following words: sociable, friendly, sensitive, talkative, confident, ambitious, dull, cheerful, easygoing, loyal, honest, worried, modest, shy, sensible, hardworking. These words are quite useful, as you can speak about other people and describe them.
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To learn these words you can use the mind map or the revolutionary method of learning called random repeat. Moreover, you can practise the words in two interactive crosswords, a wordsearch and a sudoku. I hope you will like this post and you will find the words you learn here useful.
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Personal Qualities – learn the vocabulary

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The first way in which you can learn the words is called Random Repeat. Play the following game. Listen and repeat the words and once the screen turns white, read the definition and click the right word. To make this method more effective, it is a good idea to say the words aloud while you click.

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/vocabulary/Personal Qualities/Random rep text/index.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Random repeat – full screen[/su_button]

If you feel that you are a visual learner, then the following mind map might be more useful for you. Study the words, then cover them, read the definitions and try to remember the words.

Personal qualities vocabulary mind map by engames.eu

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Personal-Qualities.jpeg” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Full size image[/su_button]

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Practise the words

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In this part, you can practise the words. The first interactive puzzle is the wordsearch. Your task is to find all the words.

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/vocabulary/Personal Qualities/personal qualities wordsearch.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Full screen word search[/su_button]

Crosswords are another way to practise the vocabulary. There are two crosswords here. Can you solve them both? If you fill in a wrong letter, it will be red. Correct letters are black.

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/vocabulary/Personal Qualities/personal qualities crossword1.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Personal Qualities – crossword 1[/su_button]

[su_button url=”https://engames.eu/vocabulary/Personal Qualities/personal qualities crossword1.html” target=”blank” background=”#f56b68″ size=”6″]Personal Qualities – crossword 2[/su_button]

And as there are many sudoku lovers, I have prepared vocabulary sudoku for you, too. Fill in the words loyal, dull, friendly, sociable, shy,
worried, sensible, cheerful and modest
in such a way that each word is just once in every line, every column and in every small square.

If you would like to learn more words, you can try our post on punctuation.
You can learn the food vocabulary here.
You can learn the words connected with health and disease here.