3 Activities to Practice the Simple Past

What communicative activities have you used to help students gain accuracy and comfort with the simple past? My two basic level students (see YT playlist) have been practicing the future with will and be going to. After this, I plan to shift to the simple past. Since we’ve already practiced was and were, I’m actually…

Teaching Basic English: A Second Chance

It’s been seven years since I last decided to create a series of online lessons for beginners, and I clearly remember the challenges I faced the first time. (See 2012 post.) Apart from the physical challenge of trying to find a place with a board to write on, I had to decide how to teach…

Back to the Basics (2)

Recent questions from students have prompted me to consider additional opportunities for review. Basic level students have asked me about the verb form after people and the reason for using helping verbs in questions. From subject-verb agreement to question formation, students need more practice with grammar. Comments and email sent to me reveal further doubts over…

Teaching the ABCs of English…Literally

A fellow teacher has requested ideas for new ways to teach the alphabet. Will you help me out? I’ll get the ball rolling with some initial thoughts and suggestions. Print or cursive? For letter recognition, I recommend using printed letters only. Reading cursive handwriting can come later. Keep things simple for beginners. That includes writing….

Back to the basics: Making time to review

Because my beginner student and I cannot meet as regularly as we’d like, and because of the fact that we want to cover a lot when we do meet, I need to remember that review is always a necessary component of her studies. Before moving on to new topics, I need to be sure I’m…

Why Teaching the Basics Isn’t So Simple

Yesterday I had my second lesson with my new student. As you’ll recall, she’s a false beginner and has been in the U.S. for a few years. She’s also a friend,  so we’ve come up with an arrangement that will involve a combination of off- and on-camera instruction. Yes, you’ll soon get to see my…