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…

Can Language Be Taught Without a Cultural Context?

I had wrongly assumed that all my virtual students shared my view about the relationship between language and culture. I believe that when you learn a language, you also learn a culture. Furthermore, when you teach a language, whether you are a native or non-native speaker, you serve as a cultural guide, if not an ambassador of…

Celebrating New Year’s Eve: A whole language activity

Are you planning ahead for your last lesson of the month? Perhaps you’d like to use an activity with a New Year’s Eve theme. Here’s one for adult learners at the lower levels.  Enjoy! Step 1 – Present the following vocabulary: at midnight                         champagne                        make a toast celebrate                             dress up                               New Year’s Eve tradition…

Thanksgiving Thoughts: Last minute ideas for the classroom

Those especially teaching in EFL settings might like to have a bigger choice of materials to finish off this week. Here in the U.S. the school week is ending today so that we may prepare for Thanksgiving Day. If you would like to include one more activity to deepen students’ understanding of this holiday, please…

Cultural Beliefs Activity: From conversation to writing

Knowing popular legends in English-speaking countries can facilitate communication and understanding in the target language. Every so often I love to address a cultural belief and turn it into a language lesson. This week I’ll be posting a video about the Tooth Fairy. My son recently lost a tooth and the staff at my family dentist’s was…