Getting Fired Up for the Fourth of July!

If you find yourself teaching in the month of July, you may wish to highlight the celebration of U.S. Independence Day. Here are some ideas to consider. 1. Write an acrostic poem about freedom. Templates like this one are available online. You can start with a model based on another word, or you can show…

4 Important Questions to Ask When Sharing a Documentary with Students

If you’re in a position to select authentic materials for upper level students, you’ve likely shared videos of various kinds. Have you worked with any documentaries? Good documentaries are designed not only to inform, but also to provoke thought. Prompting language production is what we want, but of course it must be done with care,…

A Different Approach to Teaching Culture

I don’t often write about culture and how to teach it, but if you’ve read some of my older posts, then you know my basic belief. There’s always a cultural context in language instruction. Our examples, our choice of topics, our resources, and our teaching styles are all connected to culture. (See link to a culture quiz…

July Fourth: Fireworks, Flags, and Other Fun Topics

Not everyone is on vacation during July. If you’re teaching during the week of July 4th, there are a number of ways to tie the U.S. Independence Day into a language lesson. 1) The latest lesson in my vocabulary playlist focuses on idioms based on the colors red, white, and blue. A short interactive quiz is…

Love Lines: More Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Love is still in the air, and I’ve come up with more ideas to choose from. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to create a tutorial on terms of endearment. Students can increase their familiarity with variations and reinforce their understanding of usage by taking an interactive quiz. For those with enough time in…

Warming-Up to Valentine’s Day

As the month of February approaches, you may want to consider a few short, easy tasks you could make use of in the classroom. Do you know a good Valentine’s Day warm-up activity for adult learners? Feel free to share. Here are some possibilities:   1.  Candy Hearts. Use candy hearts or another substitute, such…

New Year’s Celebrations around the World

One of my female cousins lived right across the street from my grandmother and the two were very close, but on January 1 my grandmother never let her great-niece visit until a male relative had come in the house first. I was relieved when I found out that many others in the world have the same…

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…

Facing the Topic of Aging and Making It Fun

In my Language Notes series, I like to highlight sets of vocabulary that facilitate understanding and communication on a given topic. In my newest video, I’ve decided to face one particular topic head on — before someone else with observant eyes brings it up: aging. The truth is that we’re all aging, but for those…

Money Matters

Some like to talk about money and others don’t, but the topic does come up even among those who haven’t a clue about payroll spreadsheets. A good number of news articles also make references to wages and taxes, so it’s worth preparing learners to handle these conversations and texts about earnings. In my tenth lesson…

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…