Never Out of Time: How to Get the Most from Instructional Videos

Next week I’ll be traveling to Baltimore for the annual TESOL convention. My colleague Vicki Hollett and I will be presenting on videomaking. We’ll focus on the planning, filming, and production, but there is certainly more we could discuss with teachers. One thing I like to hear about is how other teachers make use of…

Globetrotters: Practice with nationalities

Learning the names of nationalities in English is challenge…even for an ESL teacher. I just spent considerable time trying to learn what someone in Northern Ireland might be called! A while back, I offered some practice with geography and nationalities. (See post from 2013.) The topic is still in demand, and so I’m back with…

World Storytelling Day 2016: Got a story to tell?

Join in the fun of celebrating World Storytelling Day. In my last post I offered suggestions for working with fables. What else could you do? 1. Create a story chain. Perhaps my YouTube colleagues and I can inspire your students. This week we released a collaborative playlist for World Storytelling Day 2016. We each told…

Beneficial Ways of Working with Fables

When I learned a month or so ago that someone had actually organized a World Storytelling Day, I grew excited. The official date is March 20, but storytellers are welcome to celebrate the art anytime. Even before my discovery, I had been thinking about making more use of stories in my online lessons. Short stories have helped me contextualize target…

How Could I Do That?

Some months ago I was asked to distinguish between How could I have missed that? and How could I miss that? Reading over my explanation, I’m not completely satisfied with the answer I gave. So, can I express my regret by saying, “How could I have been so unclear?” I initially wrote that the perfect form…

Down a Less Traveled Path: Less common uses of prepositions

It’s challenging enough to address common uses of prepositions because there are so many of them, so why seek more hurdles? Because our students will come across other uses, and it may be helpful to give some exposure and practice within a supportive classroom setting. After I published a video that explained the common uses…

How to Have a Happy Leap Year

I’ve been reading about superstitions surrounding Leap Year, and it seems that some folks associate the day with bad luck. I think Friday the 13th has already claimed the title “the day of bad luck,” so why not treat February 29 as a day of fun and opportunity? Here are some suggestions for making leap year…

Skillful Skipping: Words with Dropped Syllables

In my 20-day Fast Speech Challenge, I address words that can lose a syllable. On Day 15, I present words like actually and history. Would you like to give your advanced students some exposure to words with disappearing syllables? Take a look at my Skillful Skipping_handout. The focus of my video series on YT is…

Dropping the T in a Game of Twen(t)y Questions

In my 20-day Fast Speech Challenge, I ended up spending the most editing time on Day 17: Dropping the T. In fact, I pulled the original video and reloaded it after adding some clarification and new examples. Can you easily explain why we lose the T in center and Internet in fast speech? I  noted the…

Word Jugglers: Learning the Uses of -er

A learner asked me why we add the suffix -er to existing prepositions to form words like insider and inner. What a wonderfully curious question! I love how this person’s mind works. Talk about a teachable moment. I responded with an explanation about the versatility of -er and called attention to the parts of speech we can build…

Fast Speech and Why It Challenges Learners and Teachers

Plenty of learners have told me that they struggle to understand fast speech. I’ve offered study tips and listed resources for listening practice in the past, but I’ve finally decided to make my own special contribution. I’m currently running a 20-day Fast Speech Challenge on YouTube. My goal is to teach some common patterns in terms…