Textbooks often don´t offer enough speaking practice.
If the book is good it gives you two speaking activities per unit and nothing more.
Then the teacher has to search high and low to find some more.
To make the search shorter, I share three speaking activities you can use to practise the past simple tense. In these activities, your students will use regular verbs, irregular verbs and questions in the past simple tense.(more…)
Sometimes it is necessary to teach the very basics because students often believe that they know it, but they don’t. Numbers 1-10 are a typical example of superficial knowledge students often have. Even at a young age, they can count from one to ten, but once the numbers don’t go one after another, they are lost.(more…)
Recently my colleague noticed that our textbook contains too few exercises to practise the verb HAVE GOT. To bridge this gap I decided to create a board game. A board game will allow my students practise the grammar in a fun way and this activity can be used repeatedly.(more…)
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.
ELM – issue 1
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.
How to do Grammar Up exercises?
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.
You can download the first issue here.
ELM – issue 2
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.
You can download the whole magazine here:
ELM – issue 3
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Relative Clauses – Speaking
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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)
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.
You can find more exercises to practise sentence transformation at British Council site.
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.
I hope you like this post. If you find a mistake comment please!
Irregular verbs – video
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Irregular verbs – video
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.
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:
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.
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.(more…)
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.
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.
The lesson plan is incredibly simple:
- Students draw their lives.
- Students speak about their lives.
- Watch the video and answer the questions
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.
You can find the original video without the comprehension questions here
Draw you life
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.
Speak about your life
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.
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.
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.
Questions in the past tense – RAP
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.)
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.
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.
Questions in the past tense – Speaking
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.
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.
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.
Personal Qualities – learn the vocabulary
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.
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.
Practise the words
In this part, you can practise the words. The first interactive puzzle is the wordsearch. Your task is to find all the words.
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.
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.
It is vital to learn the words for different kinds of food. If you know the words for different kinds of food, not only you will not die of hunger, but you will be able to choose the food you like. Therefore, it is worth learning these words.
In this post, there is a pictionary with sixteen words. Then there is a game called random repeat which helps you learn the words really quickly and effectively. You can then practise the vocabulary in three crosswords, one wordsearch and a sudoku. I hope you will find this post useful.
Food vocabulary – presentation
Start learning the words with the following pictionary. Study the words, then cover them, look at the pictures and try to remember the words.
The best way I know to learn the new words is called Random Repeat. First, listen and repeat the words. Once the screen turns white, look at the picture and click the right word. To make this method more effective, it is a good idea to say the words aloud while you click.
Food vocabulary – practice
In this part, you can practise the words you learnt in the previous paragraph. The first interactive puzzle is the wordsearch. Your task is to find all the words.
Crosswords are another way to practise the vocabulary. There are three crosswords here. Can you solve them all? If you fill in a wrong letter, it will be red. Correct letters are black.
And as there are many sudoku lovers, I have prepared vocabulary sudoku for you, too. Fill in the words tomato, pasta, chips, meat, salad, muffin, bacon, soup and crisps in such a way that each word is just once in every line, every column and in every small square.
PowerPoint is a very powerful tool for teachers. If you know how, you can create nearly anything. You can make teaching activities which look good and which interactive. In this way you can draw students’ attention and involve them more. Moreover, PowerPoint is environmentally friendly and if you take your time, it looks really good.
However, not all teachers are capable of creating complicated presentations in PowerPoint, and those who are, usually do not have enough time. That is why I would like to share a simple quiz template where you only enter the questions and answers and you are ready to go. You don’t have to do anything else. The template will do everything for you.
PowerPoint Quiz Template – What it can do
Before you read on, you should try it out yourself.
As you can see, if you click the correct answer, a green tick and an arrow appear. If you click an incorrect answer, the incorrect answer disappears and you have to answer again. It is simple but effective.
PowerPoint Quiz Template – What you can do
First download the template and open it in PowerPoint. Then you can change the background, and delete all the other pictures you don’t like. You can add your own pictures, too.
To change the questions, just open the appropriate slide, click on the question and type your own question.
To change the answers, do the same. Open the appropriate slide and type your answers. The only thing you need to know is, where the correct answer should go. In slide number 2, the second answer must be correct. In slide number 3, the fifth answer must be correct. In slide number 4, the first answer must be correct. In slide number 5, the third answer must be correct. In slide number 6, the sixth answer must be correct. In slide number 7, the fifth answer must be correct. In slide number 8, the third answer must be correct. In slide number 9, the second answer must be correct.
Hopefully, you will find this template useful and your students will like it.
In this post, you can learn the words used for English punctuation. In this post, you can learn the words full stop, apostrophe, comma, hyphen, colon, dash, semicolon, brackets, question mark, slash, exclamation mark, quotation marks, capital letters, small letters, abbreviation and list.
To help you learn the words, there is a revolutionary method called random repeat which helps you learn the words really fast and effectively. Then there are two crosswords, a wordsearch and a sudoku puzzles to help you practise the new words. I hope you will find this post really useful and you will learn the words for English punctuation here.
English Punctuation – learn the words
Try our revolutionary method of learning vocabulary. It is called Random repeat. Click the PLAY button and listen and repeat the words. Once the screen changes its colour, click on the word which you see in the middle. For example, you see ” “, so you have to click on the words Quotation marks. In this way, you will learn the vocabulary really quickly and well.
If you need some examples of the usage, look here:
He/She can’t make it. slash, apostrophe, full stop
Cheers! – exclamation mark
“Mum, I’m at home,” I said. – Quotation marks, comma, apostrophe, comma, full stop.
This eight-year-old girl is very clever. – hyphen, hyphen, full stop
It is just a short walk – and he still took a taxi. – dash, full stop
If you prefer graphical presentation of new vocabulary, try the following infographic.
English Punctuation – puzzles
In this part, you can practise all the new words in puzzles.
First, there are two crosswords:
If you prefer a wordsearch try the following puzzle:
Some people love sudoku. In this post, you can print out a sudoku where your task is to fill in the words apostrophe, slash, brackets, colon, full stop, hyphen, semicolon, comma and dash. In each line, column and small square each word can be used just once.
“Why don´t they learn? It is horrible. I have to give him E. Why? What do I do wrong?” I was desperate. “All they had to do was to learn 25 words. And we learnt them at school. And now they know nothing!! What more can I do?!” I wailed.
“Be wise and revise,” Joe spoke.