If Walls Could Talk: What to Hang Up in the Classroom

A new school year is just around the corner. Whether you work online or in a traditional classroom, you likely have some food for thought up on your walls. Personally, I keep my own Teacher’s Pledge near my desk. It’s not in view of my webcam, but I can turn my head and see it…

New Holiday Traditions

My children were dismayed to find that they were among the few who still did not  have an Elf on the Shelf toy doll this holiday season. Apparently,  groups of children begin their day at school by sharing news about their elves at home. What elves? Are you as clueless as I was? Elf on the…

First-day Ideas: Icebreakers and More

In a group setting, building a sense of community is key from the get-go. Whether you start working with a new group of students next week or six months from now, I hope you will take the time to consider some of the following activities. They are designed to help students become acquainted with one another. A…

Packing in Ideas for a New School Year

Many teachers are heading back to school now. Are you ready? Let me highlight some older posts that will help with back-to-school prep. What do you like to bring into your classroom? What do other teachers always make sure they have on hand? Read about classroom essentials and playful props. How will you make your…

An Appetite for Language Notes

In my fifth video lesson in the Language Notes series, I plan to address meals and mealtimes. I’ve found that this topic has vocabulary that is easy to translate but tricky to understand in full. On the one hand, the definitions are clear because there are direct translations in other languages for breakfast, lunch, and…

Globetrotting: A lesson on geography and nationalities

In my third lesson in the Language Notes series on YouTube, I address geography and nationalities. As I explain in my video, I didn’t know until I studied another language that not everyone in the world talks about seven continents. Some recognize only six or even five continents. What were your students taught about geography?…

Education about Education

For my new YouTube series on smaller language points, I’ve decided to answer the request of a couple viewers and explain the U.S. system of education. I feel a good number of language learners will benefit from my short talk because they either plan to study in the U.S. or are already studying in the…

Riddle Me This!

Click the link to listen to this post. Yes, I want to hear the May 19, 2011 blog post and a bonus riddle! What’s short in delivery, long in effect, and can add fun to a lesson? You got it: a riddle! Have you ever used riddles with your students? Because the typical riddle is short,…

TESOL – Day 1 Observations (continued)

One can be certain that a visit to the Electronic Village at TESOL will always result in a learning experience. With multiple mini workshops to attend within a single hour, the only challenge is deciding where to start. Yesterday I first sat down at Randall Davis’s computer station. Randall, who teaches at the University of…

TESOL Observations – Day 1 (academic session)

My first day of TESOL actually began on Wednesday because I attended a committee meeting and luncheon. As much as I enjoyed the company and the discussion yesterday, the true excitement always begins when the academic sessions are in full swing.  That is why I mark Thursday as Day 1. An interest in technology guided…

And the Oscar Goes to… Using Popular Films for Language Lessons

Share a bit of pop culture and allow recently nominated and/ or awarded films to engage your students. Here are just a few ideas. Black Swan. Look at the official trailer posted by Foxsearchlight. Have students read the video description and locate all present and past participles used as modifiers. After watching the trailer, pair…