The Secrets of Poetry

This month I’ve chosen to highlight a poetry collection on my YouTube channel. I’ve taken quiet moments here and there for my own pleasure and listened to poetry readings by Tom O’Bedlam of Ireland. The one that I enjoyed most recently is The Secret of the Machines by Rudyard Kipling. The poem in plain text…

Seeing is Believing: An oral reading activity in the present tense

In my private lessons with Natasha, I’ve finally begun to place more emphasis on reading. We are working with a textbook, and while I appreciate the convenience of ready-made materials, I still feel the need to design some original materials to practice specific skills that match her needs exactly at this moment. Natasha is mostly…

Reflecting on How We Ask Students to Read

Recent consultations on lesson planning have encouraged me to reflect on all the ways we can use texts in the classroom. I’ve written in the past on ways to read with students, from silent reading to choral reading. I’ve also suggested activities to help teach text organization and suprasegmentals. I’d like to offer some additional…

Inquiring Minds: using headlines to practice embedded questions

Click here to listen to my introduction to the activity Inquiring Minds. A while ago I suggested a writing activity to practice embedded questions. Questionable Qualities focuses on identifying sentence structure (embedded questions as subjects, objects, and complements) and limits self-expression to sentence generations based on fictitious characters. The activity allows for communicative practice, but…

Top 5 Uses of Top 10 Lists

I discovered a site that publishes top ten lists. That’s all they do. Well, there is some variation.  They have top 20 and top 25 lists as well. The List Universe. The site offers materials that are appropriate for upper level students. Lists contain brief explanations for each item. As an added bonus, the site…

Getting the Most Out of Authentic Texts

If you’ve decided to bring in an authentic text to share with your students, what do you plan to do with it? You can use a text to meet a number of objectives, which include but are not limited to: Teaching text organization and comprehension of main ideas. Scramble the paragraphs of a short article…

The Power of Polls

I’ve suggested use of polls and surveys in the past. Those ideas included activities to target: Word parts Collocations Quantifiers Question formation The above activities were designed with intermediate and advanced students in mind. What about beginners? How can polls assist those with a limited amount of language, especially in terms of reading and writing?…

Second-hand Writing: Maximizing the usefulness of a writing activity

I hope the title caught your attention, but perhaps it’s also caused some confusion. Let me explain. I’d like to consider the possibility of using student compositions as the basis for other activities. It’s similar to a craftsman building something from recycled materials. Compositions that have been thoroughly revised and already graded could be used…

Mix and Match: An activity to develop reading skills

It’s helpful for language learners to understand the tone and the organization of any given text. These two factors are related to the writer’s purpose. Furthermore, recognizing a writer’s tone and means of organizing information is a skill that can aid students in composing their own texts since one must comprehend a model before trying…

Fun for Everyone: An activity to practice comparatives and equatives

Level: Intermediate to advanced Objective: To describe lesser-known sports and identify their appeal to people Skills targeted: Reading for details, using graphic organizers, making conclusions, writing with comparatives and equatives STEP 1 – Students receive a list of 4-6 lesser-known sports. For each sport, provide a recommended link that offers background information. Suggestions: Bocce Orienteering…