Practice with “That” Clauses

I know that… I think that… I’m happy that… We use such sentences all the time with and without “that.” Some of your basic level students already form sentences with that clauses, not knowing they’re using complex sentences. Well, there’s no need to bog them down with terminology. However, raising awareness of sentence patterns can…

4 Variations on a Speaking Task

Do you struggle to increase student production during a speaking task? Sometimes it can be a matter of choosing the format that students feel most comfortable with. With lower level students, you also need to be sure they have enough language support to complete the task. I sometimes use templates to facilitate speaking. The templates…

Setting Students Up for Successful Conversations

Don’t you love that feeling right after you finish a productive conversation with students? I’m excited and proud when I know students stepped up and managed to engage in a conversation on a new topic. I’m even happier to know that they’re aware of their solid performance and they took pleasure in the experience. Is…

Simpler, Livelier Tasks With Comparative Adjectives

I recently shared a Basic English lesson on comparative adjectives that form with -er. As simple as this topic seems, plenty of practice is always called for. Inevitably, production requires accuracy with other grammar elements. I found my students still struggling with subject-verb agreement and singular vs. plural nouns. (Bananas are better than cherries. And…

Accidents Happen: 3 tasks to practice the past progressive

Here’s an easy, engaging way to springboard into a grammar lesson on the past tense. Write three sayings on the board. (See below.) Ask the students to vote for the one they like the best. If you wish, invite them to explain their votes. The winning statement can become a banner for a day. Simply…

Tackling Divisive Issues With Sensitivity

In the past, I met requests for videos on conversation skills with lessons teaching speech acts, such as complimenting and expressing agreement. The request for current issues was and still is much easier to meet in the context of a private or group lesson. However, this fall I’m testing the waters with edgier discussions on…

Creative Writing: Building Stories, Skills, and Pride

Hello, dear readers! Welcome back. Let’s start talking and sharing ideas again. How was your summer? I relaxed more, read more, played the piano more, slept better, and fit in some quality time with my children. I worked just a little bit less, but it’s hard to stop completely. There’s too much I want to…

Summer Vacation Has Started

It’s time to rest my mind a bit more and enjoy the summer sun. I’m not completely on vacation, as I’m keeping up with some private lessons and a creative writing course. However, I’ve reduced my social media output for the summer months. It’s time to recharge the batteries and return in the fall with…

3 Activities to Practice the Simple Past

What communicative activities have you used to help students gain accuracy and comfort with the simple past? My two basic level students (see YT playlist) have been practicing the future with will and be going to. After this, I plan to shift to the simple past. Since we’ve already practiced was and were, I’m actually…

Figuring Out Figurative Language

The worrisome aspect about publishing a video is that you’re really putting yourself out there. You’re sharing your content with a potentially large audience that will evaluate and react to your work. If I let the fear of making a mistake or receiving criticism stop me, then I wouldn’t have a single video online. In…

The Fate of Fairy Tale Heroes: The Future With ‘Will’

I have a some old favorites when it comes to presenting and practicing verb tenses and verb forms. Like many other teachers, I’ve talked with students about the distant future so that we can form sentences with will. Far away times, like 2029 or even 2049, usually spark the imagination. Will cars fly? Will people…

Learning to Control My Fire and Avoiding Burnout

One of the major challenges in online teaching is finding a balance in all that I do. I juggle the different formats available to me, including private lessons, paid courses, and social media; I do my best to have a presence on multiple social media platforms; I search for the right topics that engage and…