An Endless Tale: An activity to practice descriptive adjectives and adverbs of manner

It’s almost Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. I’ve posted a number of related ideas in the past for teachers to consider. I’ve discussed the value of sharing this holiday in an ESL or EFL classroom, I’ve suggested online resources to tap into, and I created a writing activity to spark the imagination of intermediate students.

My beginner student is now at a high enough level to enjoy short stories and even help tell them. I created the Endless Tale_handout with Natasha in mind. She is familiar with regular and irregular verbs in the simple past, so I know she can understand them in context. For that reason, I decided to tell the story in the past tense. I also chose to focus on adverbs of manner and contrast them with descriptive adjectives in form and use. I hope the activity works well for you, too. Enjoy!


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Dawn Reyes says:

    Thank you for this awesome activity, Jennifer! It provides so many appropriate and fun challenges aside from adjectives and adverbs: I love the way that you have incorporated not only reading for context clues but also given readers a taste (or even the flair!) for storytelling, which is at the heart of Halloween. Thank you…I would like to share this activity with my ESOL students and their parents.

    Sincerely, Dawn Feliciano Baltimore County, MD

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. I’m so glad another teacher can make use of this, Dawn. I did the activity yesterday one-on-one with my student, Natasha. We also ended up using the story to identify non-action verbs/ linking verbs that are followed by adjectives (be, feel, became, seem, etc.) and review pronunciation rules for past tense (-ed) endings. She had trouble with the additional syllable in verbs like sounded and wanted.

      Natasha was able to tell me her ending to the story, and it became something like LEA (Language Experience Approach) because I acted as the scribe and put her ideas down in a readable format. It was fun. She read the entire story to me, and I also ended up recording my own reading for her to practice with.

      Happy teaching to you! Thank you for posting your comment.

      PS – RE: Young learners. I shared this story with my kids yesterday, and my son came up with his own ending then and there. This morning in our carpool to school, he retold his story to his friend. 🙂

  2. Sinh says:

    Dear Jenifer,
    First of all, let me thank you for all the posts which are so useful for both English learners and English teachers. I have a question in mind and I think I need some clear explanation from a native speaker. So I take the courage to post my question on your blog.
    I was reading a sample IELTS essay written on an argumentative topic, and ran into this sentence, “This essay will shed light on these three questions…” So I notice the idiom “to shed light on” – which means to “make clear”, if I’m not mistaken. The question was raised in my head – when should we use English idioms appropriately? As in my native language – Vietnamese, it’s not always proper to use idioms in all communication contexts. As far as I know, idioms are normally used in everyday situation or in conversation, therefore, I had a little doubt when seeing them used in formal writing context. Anyway, I should stop all this guessing, and hope that you can give me a clear view on this matter.

    Thank you so much.

    Sinh – from Hanoi, Vietnam

    1. Hello Sinh,

      Thank you for posting your comment. Thank you also for your patience in waiting for my reply.

      Idioms can “color” our speech. We see this in journalism, for example. I think the key is to know which ones are purely conversational (e.g., “drive me up the wall”) and which have more versatility, like “shed light on.” Overuse of idioms can certainly lower the register of a written text, but if used sparingly and with care, they can work effectively. That’s my opinion, at least.

      Best regards,

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