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…

Holiday Wishes

Like many others, I’m running around in these final days of holiday preparations. To all those celebrating, I wish you a peaceful and joyful holiday! I’ll be back soon with a new post. Kind regards, Jennifer

Just Like New!

The topic of new things is perfect either before or just after New Year’s Day. It could also be timely for the start of a new school year. There are a lot of expressions and idioms using the word new. Here is a short list if you’d like to teach some: brand-new as good as new new…

Full of Holiday Cheer (and Grammar, too!)

Celebrate the diversity of December! Whether your students are all from a similar cultural background or not, the different December holidays can be a single topic for the ESL classroom. Articles, videos, and blog posts about different celebrations are shared widely over the Internet, so chances are students already have some familiarity with traditions from around the world….

Some Things Are Easier than Others: Some vs. Any

A YouTube viewer asked me about some vs. any. It’s one of those topics that seems simple at first, and then certain examples start revealing complexities. Early on, we teach the guideline to use any in questions and in negatives. That helps with simple There isn’t/aren’t any… statements and Do you have any.. questions. But what about this one: Where can…