Modals for Beginners

Modals find their way into grammar lessons at all stages of learning English. At the lower levels, it’s wise to present modal verbs in small doses, allowing time for practice and feedback. With one of my beginners, Natasha, I decided to teach “Would you like…?” for polite requests and invitations. (See beginner video lesson.) That…

3 Tips for Teaching Basic Vocabulary

I had the pleasure of Skyping with a group of teachers in Costa Rica last month. Although the focus of our live session was on pronunciation and speaking skills, we had time for Q&A at the end. One teacher asked me for ideas to make learning basic vocabulary more fun. I gave some tips off…

Commenting on Halloween Costumes: Activities for Beginners

Some of you who’ve been visiting my blog over the years may recall that I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite U.S. holidays. I’ve already shared many activities with this holiday theme. However, looking over my past posts, I see that I should bring some balance into the offerings by creating at least one or…

Frequent Flyer: An activity to practice adverbs of frequency

It has been a long time since I worked with my friend and student Natasha, with whom I made my playlist for beginners. We are both in new towns and very far from each other, but because there has been a demand for more video lessons, I found the time to drive out to her new…

Naming Names: A pair activity to practice yes-no questions with beginners

I’ve shared activities in the past to practice question formation. However, I’d like to offer one more in case you have a group of beginners who are still limited to the simple present tense. Please view my Naming Names_handout. You may find that the activity is similar to games you’ve either heard about or played before. The…

Easy as 1, 2, 3: Ideas for Practicing Ordinal Numbers

I recently covered ordinal numbers with my beginner student, Natasha. She found first, second, and third easy to learn and use. The challenge, especially in terms of pronunciation, began with fourth and onward. On camera I limited practice with ordinal numbers to reading randomly selected dates. Off camera I’ve been thinking of ways to give meaningful practice…

The Art of Teaching Articles (Part Three)

Recently I faced the challenge of explaining article usage to my beginner student, Natasha, whom you may know from my new series on YouTube. I hadn’t planned to focus on the difference between indefinite and definite articles yet, but as you know students’  needs and interests can easily change our game plan. I ended up creating…

Who’s Who: Practice with present forms of BE

You can listen to this post here. As I continue to work with my new student, I’m challenged to provide meaningful speaking activities that make use of her limited amount of English. However, by talking about people we both know or are at least familiar with, we’ve been able to have simple conversations. The activity…

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…