Tag: articles

Colourful Teaching
Colourful Teaching
Imagine that even your most challenged students understand new grammar? Imagine that they discover the rules themselves? Imagine that your students ask you to test them on the topic you have just taught. All these things have happened to me after I started to use colourful teaching. What is colourful teaching? These are cleverly designed materials which use colours to guide students. First the colours show everything but after a while there are fewer of them and the students need to understand the rules to complete the rest of the worksheet. ADVERT [showmyads] I have created several worksheets like this and I would like to share two of them here. I hope you will find them useful.
Indefinite Articles – Colourful Teaching
The first worksheet is for elementary learners of English. Its aim is to teach the basic usage of indefinite articles in English. I need my students to understand that they should not use indefinite articles with plurals and that they should use AN if the word is pronounced with a vowel. Hand out the following worksheet. You need it printed in colour, otherwise it will not work. Ask the students to look at the first three examples and complete items 4-12. Tell them: “The colours will guide you.” Go around the class and help the struggling students. Check the answers on the board and ask the students to complete items 13-21. This time, the students will encounter an interesting problem at item 14. Explain that the green colour is more important than the pink one and that the correct answer is no article. Once again write the correct answers on the board. Then ask the students to complete the items 22 – 30. When I used this with my students all of them managed to solve this last section without any mistakes. It is a good idea to elicit the grammar rules at the end of the activity.
Questions in the Present Simple Tense – Colourful Teaching
Another grammar point, which I have successfully used this method for, are questions in the present simple tense. Once again, print the following worksheet in colour and make sure that each student has one. Ask the students to study the first examples and complete items number 1-4. Check their answers and write them on the board. Continue with the worksheet. Now the students should do items 5-9. Check their answers again. The second column is more of a challenge but if you ask your students to complete it on their own you will be surprised how successful they will be. Elicit the rules at the end of the worksheet.
Articles with names
Articles with names

The following post on the usage of articles with proper names is not going to be 100% grammatically correct. It’s not that I’m going to insert typos here and there. What I mean is that the rules stated here are just rules of thumb and will not work all the time. I am not a grammarian; I am a teacher. Thus my aim is to compress complex grammar into a small pill that learners can take whenever they encounter a problem. Using this pill, students will make some mistakes, but most of the time they will get the grammar correct.
So in this post you will find a simple infographic explaining the usage of the definite article in front of proper names. There are also several games you can use to practise the most common English names. I hope you will find the explanation useful even though it will not work in all cases.

Articles with names – infographic

Ask your students to look at the infographic. Explain that using the definite article before names is very complicated in English and there are very few rules to guide them.
However, as they can see from the infographic, we managed to come up with a few.

Articles with names

Articles – full size image

Explanation: Most of the man-made structures that stand outside (where they get rained on) do not take an article. Most of the buildings where common people go inside to enjoy themselves take the article THE. Thus it is Oxford Street, but the Ritz Hotel. Notice that palaces do not take the article THE because they are not for common people. However, the Tower of London takes the because it is for the common people :-).

Articles with names – infographic

Now that you have explained the grammar, it is time to practise the grammar. You can use either some worksheets, or you can try our games here.

The first game is called Penalty Shootout. In this game you should choose the correct option and then try to score a goal. Good luck.
As the game is in Flash, it will only play on desktop computers.

The second game is called Fling the Teacher. To win the game, you have to answer all the questions by choosing the correct options. If you answer all the questions correctly you will fling your teacher. (But I am sure that he/she will not mind as long as you know all the names that take articles 🙂 ). The game is in Flash and it will only play on desktop computers.

Definite and Indefinite Articles
Definite and Indefinite Articles

As there are no articles in my mother tongue, using them correctly in English is a real challenge. Like many other non-native speakers, I often leave them out or use one too many. And my students do this too.
I have been thinking for years how to teach articles effectively and finally I feel that I found the way. I created a mind map which shows the thinking process you should go through to have the articles correct.

Articles – mind map

There are two mind maps. The first one is simpler and the other is for more advanced students.
The mind maps show the thinking process you should go through to get the articles correct. Start at 1 o’clock and go clockwise.


Articles mind map for elementary students

The following Mind map is for intermediate students:
Articles mind map for intermediate students

Articles – Video

If you still feel that you need more explanations, you can watch the following video explaining the usage of the definite article “THE”. The recording was prepared by BBC learning English.

Articles – games

For those of you who regularly come to our site there are two new games this time. The first one is a classical game called Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. You have to answer all the questions correctly to win this game. Good luck!

Articles – Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The second new game is called Fling the teacher and your task is again to answer all the questions correctly. If you manage to do this you will fire the teacher :-), because you will not need him any more.

Articles – Fling the teacher.

The last game is the Penalty game which has been used here several times (eg. for teaching prepositions AT, IN, ON or verb patterns )

Articles – Penalty Shootout

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