Tag: English

Videos to Teach the Past Simple Tense
Videos to Teach the Past Simple Tense

Recently I have created a set of videos to teach the past simple tense in English. There is a video that helps students learn to form the past tense in the following situations:

Past Simple for Regular Verbs – Videos and Speaking Activities to Teach this Grammar Effectively
Past Simple for Regular Verbs – Videos and Speaking Activities to Teach this Grammar Effectively

Do your students struggle with the past simple tense?

Do you want to make your teaching more effective and fun?

Five Short Grammar Videos
Five Short Grammar Videos

Grammar is very important.

But grammar revision is often boring.

Conjunctions of time
Conjunctions of time

To teach the conjunctions of time, it is crucial that the students understand the meaning of the conjunctions. That is why I have created the following graphic organiser which I use to explain the meaning of the conjunctions:
Conjunctions of time graphic explanation
I print the picture and hand it out to my students.


Then I explain the meaning of the conjunctions. If I teach monolingual classes I translate the meaning of the words and then I explain how the usage differs in English. However, if you teach an international group you need to explain the meaning in English.

  • AFTER means later or then.
  • WHEN says that action 2 happens after action one. Moreover, action one is certain to happen.
  • BEFORE means sooner.
  • WHILE – the two actions happen at the same time.
  • AS SOON AS – immediately after.
  • IF – is similar to when, but the action 1 may not happen and then the action 2 will not happen. I like to emphasize that IF includes a  decision.

I am not saying that the explanation is perfect, but it works pretty well for my students so it might work for your students, too.

Conjunctions of time – practise

Now your students understand the meaning of the conjunctions. But can they use them?
I suppose that there will be some exercises in your textbooks or that you can find some worksheets online. So I created two rather unusual exercises to practise the grammar.
The first one is a game. Download the following pdf document and open it in Acrobat reader by Adobe (the game will not work otherwise).
The game is called Penalty Shootout. Your task is to choose the correct answer and then score a goal.

The second unusual activity to practice the conjunctions of time is a video quiz.
Students prepare a piece of paper and watch the video and write down their answer for each sentence. There are eight sentences and the students can see the correct answers at the end.

I hope you will find these activities useful and that your students will learn the conjunctions of time and will use them correctly.

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.
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.

Sentence transformation – infographic

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:
Sentence transformation infographic

Sentence transformation – worksheets

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.

Sentence transformation – online quiz

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.
Full screen quiz

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

Phrases with Get #2
Phrases with Get #2

Together with Fluency MC we have already published several interesting posts. In our latest post, we tried to help you teach 16 phrases with GET. And this time, there are 16 more. All the phrases come from the song by Fluency MC called GET A LIFE. And as the song contains many more phrases with GET there will be some more posts soon.
In this post, there is the song, an infographic and three games to help you teach the phrases with GET.

Phrases with GET – song

As a starter play the song Get a Life to your students. All the phrases taught in this post can be found between 0:38 and 1:20.

You can join Fluency MC’s free starter course here and also get his free YouTube songbook! http://fluencymc.com/starter-course/
After introducing the phrases, move to the infographic.

Phrases with GET – infographic

Display or print the following infographic for you students and go through the phrases with them. If you teach a monolingual class, it is a good idea to translate the phrases with the students.

Phrases with get infographic
After you teach the pronunciation and the meaning of the phrases, it is useful to give your students about five minutes to learn the phrases on their own.
After this, play the video again (from the beginning to 1:20) and let the students enjoy the fact that they can understand.

Phrases with GET – games

The first game is just a simple piece of a drilling software. I call it Vocabulary Trainer. It displays a definition and your task is to write the phrase. Then the computer writes whether you were right or not. The phrases which you do not write correctly get repeated. Once you can see a zero twice it is the end of the game. I admit that it is not much of a game but I find it very useful when I learn foreign vocabulary.

Vocabulary trainer

The second game is called Dice. You see a definition and your task is to type the correct phrase. If you succeed, you will see two dice and your task is to stop them. You get as many points as there are points on the dice. If both of the dice show the same number, you will get 10 points bonus. The best scores are saved. Good luck.
Dice game

The third game is called Guess the Length. Again, first write the correct words and then you will see a line. Your task is to guess how long the line is. The best scores are once again saved in a leaderboard.

Guess the length game

Verb to be
Verb to be

The verb TO BE is the most important verb in English. Unfortunately, it is the most irregular verb in English, too. However, as all students of English manage to master its forms in the end, there is no reason to dispair. This mastery comes through practise.

In this post I would like to share with you several several exercises and games in which your students can practise the verb. There are about 90 different sentences in which students should use the verb TO BE. The vocabulary is limited so that students with a vocabulary of 100 words will be able to do the exercises.

In this post there is an infographic, a worksheet, an online quiz and two games. I hope it is enough and your students will learn the forms of the verb to be.

Verb to be – infographic

In the following infographic all the affirmative and negative forms are covered. The lower part gives a simple rule of thumb to help your students decide which form of the verb to be they should use.

Verb to be affirmative infographic
Verb to be additional infographic

If you teach a monolingual group of elementary students it is a good idea to translate the second infographic.

Verb to be – worksheet

The following worksheet is nothing fancy. There are no sophisticated communicative activities or unusual exercises. There are six simple exercises to practise all the forms of the verb TO BE.

Verb to be worksheet

Verb to be – online quiz and games

The following quiz can help your students practise all the forms of the verb to beat home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should match the beginnings and ends of the sentences and complete the sentences with the verb TO BE. In the second part, students have to put the verb TO BE into the correct form. The students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.

Verb to be – quiz

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

Verb to be – Penalty game

The second game is in Flash and will play only on desktop computers. It is called On Target, and your task is to choose the correct option and then shoot all the bad cows and ducks. You can shoot one of the bottles on the wall to get a bonus. Enjoy.

Verb to be – On Target game

Verb to be – links

There are some great activities to practise the verb to be at British Council site.

If your students do not know the adjectives used in this post, there is great song teaching the adjectives by my friend Jules from English Through Music Madrid.

Indirect questions: explanation of English grammar
Indirect questions: explanation of English grammar

When students hear the phrase indirect questions, they get scared. But actually this is one of the easiest grammar points in English. The only thing you have to watch out for is that if a sentence starts with a certain phrase (Do you know or Could you tell me etc.) you have to use the word order for an affirmative sentence. To put it simply, after the aforementioned phrases do not make questions.


To help you master this grammar there is a mind map, a video and several games in this post.

Indirect questions – video

The following video is based upon BBC learning English recording. To make it easier for learners of English to follow I have added the text and illustrations.

We recommend that you watch the video and stop the recording every time there is a task and answer the task before MASA does. It is a great fun and a superb way to learn English.

If you want to watch it full screen, click here:
Indirect questions video

Indirect questions – mind map

The following mind map tries to show the rules for indirect questions in a graphical form. As you can see each indirect question has to start with a phrase signalling that it is an indirect question. Then you use a question word or IF/WHETHER (if there is no WH.. word) and the word order of a normal statement.



Indirect questions – games

Now it is time to practise what you have learnt in the following games. The first one is a quiz with two games. If you answer the quiz correctly you can play the games called Angry Farmer and Math Pop. Both the quiz and the games are in HTML5 so you can play them on your mobile phones.

Indirect questions Quiz

The second game is in Flash and it will play only on your desktop. It is the notorious On target game. If you choose the correct option you will be given a chance to shoot the bad ducks. Moreover, you can get a bonus if you shoot one of the bottles on the sides. Enjoy.

Indirect questions On Target

Vocabulary videos

On Youtube we have created a new channel which contains all the vocabulary videos we have created. Here are some of them. So do not miss them:
You can learn the words connected with the environment at http://youtu.be/PbBR1sNc6C4
There is a vocabulary video introducing the Town features at http://youtu.be/5Plh_LBjwks
At http://youtu.be/c0T5j-5MEg8 you can learn some vocabulary to speak about Plants in English.
For young learners we have some names of Animals at http://youtu.be/wb6Ctlvz0Ys
If you want to learn more vocabulary on Sports you can go to http://youtu.be/14_5rLiIAm0 and learn the names of Winter Olympics sports
At http://youtu.be/9IWZb61DG1M you can learn Clothes Vocabulary
Furniture vocabulary is presented at http://youtu.be/7VOpE1n74h0
One of the most difficult parts for learners of English to learn are personal qualities.
To help you with this, you can try the video at http://youtu.be/3KisHI5O6WY

Passive voice
Passive voice

To learn Passive voice it is necessary to know the past participles. If you do not know the past participles go to our post on Past participle and learn the irregular verbs first. Once you do not have any problems with past participles, it is time to learn the Passive voice in English.
Passive voice is used if the subject (the thing before the verb) does not do the action described by the verb. Then you have to insert the verb “TO BE” in the correct form in front of the verb in past participle.

Passive – graphical presentation

First there is a mind map describing the form of the passive.


The second graphic clearly shows the usage of passive voice: Your task is to write two sentences under each picture using present simple tense and past simple. The sentences in the first column should be in active voice and the sentences in the second column should be in passive voice.

passive demonstration

See how passive is formed

Passive – games

Here you have a chance to learn the passive through games. Play each game at least twice and then I think that you will understand the basic rules of passives.
The first game is a simple online quiz. Try to fill in the verbs in the correct form.

Passive – online quiz

The second game is called Hoop shoot. Once again, choose the correct form and then stop the sliders in the center.
Click Here to play the game – Passive Hoop Shoot