Tuesday, 6 November 2012

What Would We Make of a Guy Fawkes Under Parliament Today?

What Would We Make of a Guy Fawkes Under Parliament Today?


A great article in the Mirror yesterday from a journalist known as the 'Fleet Street Fox'. 

This is suitable for an upper intermediate/advanced EFL student.  It is a 'what would happen if' type scenario and  encourages students to develop an imaginative and critical approach.  The writer confesses to be 'sarcastic' and 'sometimes right'.  I think it is a bit scary how near he is to the 'truth' here.

Click on the title link and follow the story.

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night



Watch the video, read the subtitles and hear Big Ben chime.

Find out about the history of Bonfire Night with Joe and how the festival is celebrated today.
Follow up with comprehension questions, true or false statements and learn about phrasal verbs.

Just click on the title link!

Elementary English Podcast Episode 10


TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.


http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/elementary-podcasts/series-01-episode-10

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. 


There is only a transcript this week as this episode is the summary of the whole of Series 1.


  • From Podcast Number 7 meet Mohammed from Manchester again talking about Mohammed Yunus. He formed a microcredit bank (the Grameen Bank) in Bangladesh.
  • From Podcast Number 4 'Hot Seat' is played again.  Hannah explains a word and Max has to guess it.
  • From Podcast Number 9, 'Our Person In....' the Indian film industry or Bollywood is described and compared to Hollywood films.
  • From Podcast Number 6, 'Your Turn' asks people on the streets 'How green are you?'
  • From Podcast Number 7, Carolina from Venezuela goes to the pharmacist for medication for a cold.
  • From Podcast Number 1 and 2, Gordon's jokes are retold.


I will follow on soon with Series 2.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on Hurricane Sandy

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on Hurricane Sandy




A Journalistic Type of Resource.

There are absolutely tonnes of activities to select from in this lesson plan on Hurricane Sandy.  Essentially it is based on developing communicative skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and vocabulary for environmental disasters.

There are warm up, pre-reading, during reading and after reading activities.Also incorporated are quizzes, role plays, making up your own survey, discussion ideas, spellings, gapfills, putting whole text back together again, forming sentences, punctuation and writing ideas.

Lots and lots for you to do. Simply click the title link and enjoy!

Adult ESL Lesson: Is Freddy There? (Beginner)

Adult ESL Lesson: Is Freddy There? (Beginner)





This resources focuses on a telephone dialogue. Firstly, read the telephone answering service message and then read the follow up live telephone conversation when John returns Freddy call.  The dialogues are followed up by questions to check your comprehension of the task.  To start this lesson simply click the title link above.


The grammar focus of the lesson is on the words 'next', 'this' and 'last'.  Opportunity is given to students to discuss events that happened last weekend and make plans for next weekend. There is an activity to make up your own dialogue using the focus words and finally a grammar exercise.

Adult ESL Lesson: Transportation Schedules (Intermediate)

Adult ESL Lesson: Transportation Schedules (Intermediate)



Do you prefer to travel by aeroplane or train?



 


This resource introduces the topic of transportation with some general discussion points.  It then provides two transport schedules.  The first is the Eurostar ( a short descriptive paragraph explains the service) and the second  is an airline schedule to and from San Francisco and Taipei.  There are reading comprehension questions for each resource and finally there are discussion ideas to close the topic.  Click on the title link.

Adult ESL Lesson: American History Timelines (Advanced)

Adult ESL Lesson: American History Timelines (Advanced)

Do you know?

  • Who was Christopher Columbus? 
  • Who was this famous Chief Indian? What was he famous for?


  • What was the 'American Revolutionary War'?
  • Where do you think this scene is set, who is living there? What era would you identify it with?


  • This is the scene of the first bloodshed in Baltimore.  What year did this take place in?








If you would like to learn more about American History: 

This resources focuses on important events, people and places.
It contains:-

  • early and later timelines of American History 
  • reading comprehension questions 
  • ideas for class discussions.
Just click on the title link above and off you go.




Sunday, 28 October 2012

Learning English - Words in the News - Auctioning Marie Antoinette's Clothes

Learning English - Words in the News - Auctioning Marie Antoinette's Clothes



18 October 2012
"A pair of Marie Antoinette's slippers and a garment she wore while in prison were auctioned in Paris to mark the anniversary of her execution. Among the 80 lots on offer were portraits and etchings of the queen and her ill-fated husband King Louis XVI".
Reporter:
Christian Fraser

  • Listen to the report.
  • Read it.
  • Familiarise yourself with new vocabulary using the audio file and an online dictionary if you like.

guillotine, amassed, opulent, execution, goes under the hammer, scaffold, fragment, etchings, artefacts and tyranny.

This Week In History

This Week In History



25 October 1917

Communists Depose Russian Rulers

Communists led by Vladimir Lenin bring down the Russian government.



  • Learn new vocabulary with the word checker - depose, communists, storm, provisional, break out.
  • Watch 2 videos of the event - the secret steps that happened before the revolution and secondly the beginning of the revolution.
  • Do the quiz to find out how much you have understood.



Elementary Podcast Episode 9 - British Council

TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.



If you are a beginner (A2 CEFR level) these British Council Podcasts are excellent for getting you started.  As the week progresses I will post up other related work which will be appropriate for different levels of student ability.  If you are an Intermediate level of student you may want to use this resource to revise and then extend your knowledge.  Advanced students may just want to dip into the additional and other resources added during the week.

Go to: 

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/elementary-podcasts/series-01-episode-09

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. The podcast comes with a support pack and transcript which is 22 pages long.  Use this link:
Download and do the exercises.

Main Contents of Podcast This Week

  • Talking about plans for the weekend.
  • What famous person would you like to meet and why? Matt Groening, creator of the TV show and film 'The Simpsons'.
  • Vocabulary quiz - topics e.g. things that you play, things that you make.
  • Bridgit Keenan in India talks about Bollywood  films (have lots of singing and dancing in them).  They are very predictable and lively with happy endings. 
  • What would be your favourite holiday?
  • Dialogue of Carolina from Venezuela preparing a special meal for her friends.  She prepares 'guasacaca'.

  • Telling/retelling a joke
Here is a summary of the main language points of the podcast. Try to get more practise with these language points during the week if you can:
  1. The verbs 'make' and 'do'. Make is used when preparing a food dish.
  2. What is a gap year?
  3. What do you call them?  Try to describe what you want to say? (clove of garlic, plantains)
  4. 'Make yourselves at home'  phrase to make people feel comfortable.
I will follow up with work that is related through the week.  This work will be graded for different levels of student ability.





HelloQuizzy.com: The Commonly Confused Words Test

HelloQuizzy.com: The Commonly Confused Words Test


40 questions to test your knowledge of words that are commonly misspelled and confused.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Hallowe'en Scene 2 Language Focus

Hallowe'en Scene 2 Language Focus


Follow up language points from the second video of the Halloween Series from Word on the Street, Learn English. The focus is on personal pronouns and in particular 'it', 'them' and 'they'.  'It' is a subject and an object pronoun whilst 'they' is a subject and 'them' an object pronoun.

Hallowe'en Scene 2

Hallowe'en Scene 2



"Ashlie and Stephen's house is full of witches, wizards, and ghosts... and everyone's having a frighteningly good time!"

Watch the video by clicking on the above link.




Follow up exercises to the second part of this series include rearranging sentences in order, a gap fill exercise and developing phrases with 'so' and 'just'.

Hallowe'en Scene 1 Language Focus

Hallowe'en Scene 1 Language Focus


Language activities designed to follow on from Scene 1 of Halloween. They include learning new expressions with the word 'think', a conversation to fill in the gaps for and finally more common expressions with the word 'way'.

Hallowe'en Scene 1

Hallowe'en Scene 1




Watch and listen to the video and develop your Halloween vocabulary.  Simply click on the title link.

Incorporated into the resource is a description of the practice of 'dressing up' for a special celebration or occasion, cultural vocabulary relevant to the festival and a discussion of various traditions.  

Read the transcript, learn about the different uses of 'get' and complete a gap fill activity based on the video.

A Spelling Game for Halloween

Spelloween




A spelling game for a bit of fun.  

How quickly can you identify the incorrectly spelt word from the pair!

BBC One - Human Planet, Human Planet - Nitin Sawhney

BBC One - Human Planet - Nitin Sawhney

Suitable for Upper Intermediate/Advanced TEFL students.

Nitin Sawhney is a British Indian producer, musician and composer. He explores music from all cultures and traditions. Listen to him describe his musical work for the BBC Series the Human Planet.









1.  Check out what a 'composer' and a 'musician' and a 'producer' are if you are not sure.


2.  Find out what 'score' means.
  
How many different definitions can you find in the Macmillan English Online Dictionary? 
We are talking about a musician in this article so which definition do you think is the correct one here.
Can you also find phrasal verbs and a phrase? 
Make notes in your vocabulary book. 
Add your own words if you can think of them.

3.  Nitin's language and phrasing is very descriptive. Click on the title link above and listen out for the following phrases:-

  • 'panorama of human emotion'  

What is a 'a panorama' and what do you think Nitin means by the whole phrase?


  • 'vocabulary (appropriate sounds) to connect up a common narrative'  

Find out what 'narrative' means and then try to interpret the whole phrase


  • 'musical motifs'  

Find another word or synonym for 'motif'? Try to interpret the whole phrase.


  • Finally, Nitin describes his music for the Human Planet series as 'a unique sound with a feeling of timelessness'  

Break down the word 'timelessness'. 'Time' you probably know and 'less' also so what do they mean together: 'Timeless' literally means without time. It is a quality something has; it never changes as time passes by.  We can say ' the music had a timeless feeling'. If we rephrase this and change the word order of the phrase around. We can also say ' the music had a feeling of timelessness'.  Another associated word with this particular word family is 'timelessly'.

Which is the adjective, which is the adverb and which is the uncountable noun?


Define the word 'unique'?

'Unique' is another adjective.  Can you derive the adverb and the uncountable noun as described above (hint do not get confused and put the word 'less' in).

BBC One - Nature's Miracle Babies, Episode 1, Mimicking mum

BBC One - Nature's Miracle Babies, Episode 1, Mimicking mum


Series Producer:  Annie Heather
Presenter:  Martin Hughes-Games
Executive Producer:  Sara Ford



Watch the baby panda's in incubators that ensure they get the best possible start to life.















  • How many times a day do the pandas go into the incubator?
  • Why are they put in incubators?
  • What 2 conditions are closely monitored while the baby panda is in the incubator?.
  • How else is the baby panda's progress monitored?
  • Where do the babies spend most of the day?
  • What is 'mimicking' mum in the video?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hunger

Food and Hunger


Brainstorm and collect any food and hunger vocabulary you already know!

      e.g      malnutrition
                 starvation
                 appetite
                 essential nutrients
                 vitamins
                 energy
                 a nutritious meal      


These programmes are from the BBC Worldclass website and look at the issues of hunger and poverty in two different parts of the world.

Watch the programmes and add any new vocabulary you learn to your vocabulary book.



'Mummy is Hungry But Feeds Us Before Her'

10 October 2012 Last updated at 16:32
"The charity Save the Children, best known for international poverty relief, says the UK's poorest children are bearing the brunt of the recession, with some missing out on regular hot meals, new shoes or warm clothes.
BBC Newsnight has spoken to one eight-year-old girl about her experiences of poverty, which sees her mother skipping meals to ensure that the children eat.
In order to protect the girl's identity her words have been voiced by an actor.
This film was broadcast during Newsnight on Wednesday 5 September 2012 at 10.30pm on BBC Two".

'Recipe for Success from Nepal'

13 July 2012 Last updated at 16:33
"Nepal is one of the hilliest countries in the world. The Nepalese people say that if it was flat it would be almost the same size as the USA!
Most of the population live in remote areas, hours from the nearest town or shop so many grow their own food. But growing enough to live on is a real challenge.
Ben Thompson travelled to the western Nepal with World Class to find out what life is like for young people, and why school lunches make a huge difference to these children's futures".
Schools World Service is a BBC British Council co-production



The Day of the Dead - A Short Guide

The Day of the Dead - A Short Guide


A short video from students in Colegio Newland in Queretaro, Mexico presenting the way Mexicans decorate an altar and celebrate the 'Dia de los Muertos' or The Day of the Dead. This celebration is on the 1st November 2012.


Learning English - 6 Minute English - Speak Any Language Instantly

Learning English - 6 Minute English - Speak Any Language Instantly


This resource tells you about a mobile application that understands any language through voice recognition and can respond.  What do you think about this? It could take away hours of potential studying!

Listen to the audio file, read the transcript, learn the designated vocabulary and engage in further reading tasks if you are interested in this story ( they are at the end of the PDF dialogue script)

A History Mystery

Shocking Coincidences of Two American Presidents 

Lincoln and Kennedy





A History Mystery!  


Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy  separated by a century in a surprising number of their major life events.  

Play the slideshow above to reveal further similarities and parallel lives to an extent you would not believe.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

All in a Day's Work

All in a Days Work

Free e-lesson from Global Critical Eye

Suitable for Upper Intermediate and Advanced TEFL students.

The Last Miner (Luis Urzua) Out from the San Jose Mine, 2010 in Northern Chile


A Banker



  • What types of work are available to do in your country?
  • Are they blue collar or white collar jobs?
  • Do you think age, qualifications and gender affect what jobs you can do and your final salary?
  • Who earns the most and who earns the least? Why? 










This excellent resource from Macmillan develops vocabulary (idiomatic phrases and words) around the topic of work.  The resource is communicative with plenty of ideas for discussion and writing.  It encourages 'critical thinking' about issues in the workplace.  All students need to approach their studies with a 'critical eye'. 

Simply click on the title link above and explore this great resource. 

Finally, I would like to know:-

Who do you think deserves more money and prestige for the job they do?  

The Managing Director of Oxtron-x, the famous technology multinational (fictional character in the resource above) 


or

 The last rescuer up from the San Jose Mine in Northern Chile in 2010?

(Watch this video clip from the BBC of Manuel Gonzales rising to the surface in the capsule. He was the first rescuer in and the last rescuer out of the San Jose Mine in Northern Chile).



Perhaps you have opinions and ideas you would like to express in the comment box after this post.

Traders

Traders

Straightforward, Macmillan Publishers


Click on the title link to get access to this Straightforward e-lesson from Macmillan Publishers.  The following activities are incorporated into the worksheet :- 




  • Sorting safe and riskier investments into ascending order.
  • A reading comprehension activity about Rene Rivkin, a once successful stockbroker from Australia.
  • A study of past simple and past continuous tenses: the theory of grammar and a gapfill exercise requiring you to choose the appropriate tense and use it correctly.
  • Pronunciation of strong and weak forms in - was and were.
  • Idioms on taking financial risks to extend your vocabulary knowledge further.


There is also an answer key and teachers notes. 


My Daughter, The Fox

My Daughter, The Fox

Submitted to Learn English, British Council by RachelRo
Suitable for Upper Intermediate/Advanced Students



How Does Your Culture Present Foxes in Stories?


A resource is based on a short story by Jackie Kay about a woman who gives birth to a baby that is a fox.  A beautiful little story with many wonderful activities to do with it. A great literary resource!

  • Listen to an audio file and read the story from a PDF file simultaneously.
  • Pre-reading activities include identifying who the pronouns (personal and possessive) in a piece of text are referring to and differentiating expressions that apply to young animals and babies.
  • Whilst reading there are question prompts to help you predict and anticipate the next part of the text.
  • After reading there are opportunities to:
    • summarise the story by reordering sentences, 
    • find evidence to support inferences from the text, 
    • compose your own sentences using designated vocabulary , 
    • match nouns and adjectives to form noun phrases, 
    • insert prepositions into a gap fill text, 
    • develop verbs and prepositions into phrasal verbs, 
  • Opportunities for creative writing and project work including reflecting on 'special children'. 
  • Further language work on animal metaphors, animal sounds and using idioms and idiomatic phrases. 
  • Finally, dictionary work explores the names for male and female animals and their connotations in terms of human behaviour (personification). 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Time Prepositions

Time Prepositions


Test your knowledge of time prepositions in this free, online quiz for intermediate to advanced learners.

English Vocabulary Pyramid – TRACT

English Vocabulary Pyramid – TRACT


Listen to James use a vocabulary pyramid to teach the root word 'tract' and words that have developed from this root.  For example - abstract, extract, attract, subtract, detract, contract, tractions.  Groups of words such as these are sometimes referred to as 'word families' in English.


Autumn Worksheet

Autumn Worksheet

by www.englishforeveryone.org



Familiarise yourself with some autumn vocabulary and construct your own simple sentences.  Suitable for pre-intermediate learners.

BBC Nature - Humpback Whale Videos, News and Facts

BBC Nature - Humpback Whale Videos, News and Facts


Explore and find out about these wonderful mammals whilst improving some of your English communicative skills (reading and listening).  Simply click on the title link.  A great page of resources incorporating:
  • audio files
  • videos
  • informative articles
  • news


BBC One - The Blue Planet, Coral Seas, Mating Calls

BBC One - The Blue Planet, Coral Seas, Mating Calls

Presented by David Attenborough.




Listen to the Humpback Whale Mating Calls off the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Here is a clip from the 'Blue Planet' Series, programme 6 from 8 dedicated to 'Coral Seas'. It is presented by David Attenborough introduced in Elementary Podcast this week.

Look at other clips from the same programme or watch the whole programme from the red link on the page and practise listening to English in a scientific context.  Simply click on the title link and explore.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Going Green

Going Green

A Critical Eye online free lesson resource from Global.  The publishers are Macmillan. 

Do you know what the phrase ' going green' means?



An excellent resource to develop vocabulary associated with conservation and environmental topics enabling students to communicate in group discussions after.

Click on the title link and explore!

Green is Great - Part 1

Green is Great - Part 1

Richard visits the Eden Project in Cornwall in the UK.  It has been developed on a piece of countryside and is made up of several 'biomes'.  The 'biomes' are the white, round shaped structures shown in the photograph.  



Inside each biome is an ecosystem from a different part of the world; for example, a tropical rain forest.  The plants, insects and animals that form the ecosystem are all carefully managed and studied by different types of scientist.



Watch the video and do the learning activities especially focused on developing scientific, environmental type vocabulary and communicative activities.  Just click on the title link above.



Banking

Banking


Last week in Episode 7 of the Elementary Podcast from the British Council reference was made to a micro credit bank in Bangladesh.  Banking in the UK is very different to that model of banking.  

Here is a video, written transcript, vocabulary building and gapfill activity to help you learn how banks operate in the UK. There are the main high street banks but like the programme shows there are alternatives to this system if you look locally.  

This resource gives some extremely useful advice if you are thinking about coming to the UK to live and work.   Simply click on the title link, watch the video and complete the vocabulary and gapfill exercises.



TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.



If you are a beginner (A2 CEFR level) these British Council Podcasts are excellent for getting you started.  As the week progresses I will post up other related work which will be appropriate for different levels of student ability.  If you are an Intermediate level of student you may want to use this resource to revise and then extend your knowledge.  Advanced students may just want to dip into the additional and other resources added during the week.

Go to: 

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/elementary-podcasts/series-01-episode-08

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. The podcast comes with a support pack and transcript which is 22 pages long.  Use this link:
Download and do the exercises.

Main Contents of Podcast This Week

  • Talking about moving flats.
  • What famous person would you like to meet and why? David Attenborough, a famous UK wildlife, nature and natural world programme presenter.
  • Vocabulary quiz - time vocabulary and conversions. For example - 7 d's in a w = 7 days in a week
  • Prague (capital city of the Czech Republic) and eating 'carp' at Christmas.
  • Dialogue of Carolina from Venezuela with friends in a pub in Newcastle
  • Telling/retelling a joke
Here is a summary of the main language points of the podcast. Try to get more practise with these language points during the week if you can:
  1. Prepositions ('on', 'at' and 'in') and time phrases.
  2. Vocabulary around having a drink in a pub.
  3. Using the phrase 'I bet' to mean 'I'm sure'
I will follow up with work that is related through the week.  This work will be graded for different levels of student ability.






Friday, 19 October 2012

Daily Situations

Daily Situations

by Vovansi, Busy Teacher


A set of cards describing daily situations for two students (A and B). Click on the title link and then download the PDF file to your computer from the web page. Learners can role play the basic situations or they can add further questions and answers developing dialogue further. There are 30 situations where student roles A and B are clearly stated. 
These activities are to be done in pairs and can also be used as a warm up activity at the beginning of class.

Everyday Dialogues

Everyday Dialogues

by Carrot at Busy Teacher


A really useful resource for Elementary/Pre-Intermediate Students.

Click on the link above and then download the PDF file.  It contains a set of dialogues/role play cards for everyday social situations.  For example - making a doctors appointments, going to see the doctor and describing your symptoms, going into a post office etc etc.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tackling Hunger in Kenya – In Pictures

Tackling Hunger in Kenya – In Pictures


Following on from earlier posts in the week to remember 'World Food Week'  here is a very interesting and useful slideshow.

The resource is probably going to be better suited for Intermediate to Advanced Learners.  Although there are pictures some of the words might be difficult so be prepared to look them up.

The Guardian is a very good British newspaper.  I would describe it's political standpoint as a little 'left wing', socially and morally aware and slightly socialist.  It has a section on 'global development' with really good resources in it.

I thought this resource was particularly relevant as it shows us the positive side of 'world hunger' and how people have helped and indeed are still helping themselves.  I love slide 10, the woman looks so proud after harvesting her own dinner for her family illustrating how small-scale projects are making a difference and improving health and income in Northern Kenya.  

We all need help at some time in our lives and this shows how a little can go a long way.

Just click on the title link above and explore.




Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Egypt Photos -- National Geographic

Egypt Photos -- National Geographic




This week's elementary podcast from Learn English included a report about taxi's in Cairo.  I have found a lovely slideshow from the National Geographic featuring and briefly explaining many Cairo and other Egyptian landmarks including the library in Alexandria above.  Enjoy browsing!

Determiners

Determiners

from englishclub.com


Several pages of linked information on different English determiners; articles, possessive adjectives and others.  Simply click on the title link and browse through the information. Test your knowledge in a quiz at the end of the activity.


Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine

Macmillan Straightforward Series. Upper Intermediate Level.Activity designed by Joanna Budden.



http://www.macmillanstraightforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/SFuppint006S.AltenativeMedicine-Updated.pdf

Investigate 6 different types of alternative medicine.  Read the therapy adverts and follow the web links to find out more about each one.  Match 12 patient cards to appropriate therapies.

For further information on how these resources could be used in a class or group situation please go to:- 

http://www.macmillanstraightforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/SFuppint006T.AltenativeMedicine-Updated.pdf

An excellent group activity, role play encourages further discussion between patient and therapist. Functional language skills can therefore be further developed.