Making Discoveries: An ESL Story

I first crossed paths with Walton Burns at a TESOL convention. We’re both members of the Materials Writers Interest Section, and it turns out that we have quite a bit more in common, especially in the roundabout way we discovered our professional calling. Walton may not have planned to become an English language teacher or…

Summer Listening Practice

I’ve made suggestions for summer reading, so why not summer listening? I can’t take all the credit for this idea. A private student asked that I put together a study guide for the two months we won’t be meeting. The request is specifically for listening practice. I’m trying to compromise on who should set the tasks….

Tagged: An activity for tag questions

Here’s a fun game to practice tag questions. See suggested variations on my Tag questions_handout, which includes modifying the activity in order to practice negative questions. Step 1 – Students will be working in groups of three or four. Prepare enough copies of the statement cards (see handout, Set A) for each group to have one…

A Timely Text: An activity for diphthongs

Make pronunciation practice fun and meaningful. Why wait until Halloween to use a spooky story? Try the following activity with upper level students. Click here to view the Diphthongs_handout. Step 1 – Write the key words on the board in the following manner and have students listen and repeat after you: find                            boy                             owl                 climbed               …

Truth or Dare: An activity for vowels followed by R

Why not take a fun party classic like Truth or Dare and turn it into a pronunciation game? The following activity makes use of truth-seeking questions and gives practices with vowels followed by R. Note that I chose not to include the diphthongs /aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ/ mainly because this exercise will supplement my next lesson…

Phrasal Verb Dominoes: An activity for intransitive phrasal verbs

Here’s a fun way to study 20 phrasal verbs in a meaningful context. Multiple encounters with the 20 key verbs found throughout the entire activity will help students retain the meaning and use of each verb. View Intransitive phrasal verbs_handout. Step 1 – Hand out Quiz 1. Have students complete the quiz solo. Then ask them to…

Little Steps, Useful Lessons: Braving the learning curve of a new online resource

It’s Week 1 of the Electronic Village Online 2011, an annual online even sponsored by the CALL-Interest Section of TESOL, Inc. Latecomers are often allowed to join, so I wouldn’t hesitate to request membership in a group if a particular session catches your interest. I signed up for VILLAGE: Language Learning and Community Building in Second Life. I…

Student Stumper 26: Phonetic Symbols

QUESTION: Why are there different phonetic symbols for the same sounds? Which ones should I learn? ANSWER: First of all,  I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for students to learn the IPA or any other set of phonetic symbols in order to master English pronunciation. However, I do think that familiarity with the symbols is…

Shop and Chop: Practice with fricatives and affricates

Need to offer upper level students some practice with troubling fricatives and affricates? Consider using this activity, which contextualizes the sounds in a fun and meaningful way. Step 1 – Read the list of phrases in the box in Task A (see Shop and Chop_activity) and have students listen and repeat after you. Next, ask them…

ESL/ EFL Site Forecast for 2011

I’m curious to see if anyone reading this will suggest a website we should all keep our eyes on in the future. Do you anticipate the growth of any particular resource or contributions of an individual content creator? Let me share a few sources that I predict will develop some good materials for ESL/ EFL teachers…

First and Last: A speaking activity

About a year ago, I posted a speaking activity called “Firsts” for upper level students. Allow me to offer another activity that could be used with both upper and lower level students. I call it “First and Last”. I find it timely for such activities as 2010 is drawing to a close, and we’ll soon be welcoming…

Celebrating New Year’s Eve: A whole language activity

Are you planning ahead for your last lesson of the month? Perhaps you’d like to use an activity with a New Year’s Eve theme. Here’s one for adult learners at the lower levels.  Enjoy! Step 1 – Present the following vocabulary: at midnight                         champagne                        make a toast                      celebrate                             dress up                               New Year’s Eve                                                                                          …