My Family’s Thanksgiving Celebration

For beginning level students, a Google Slide presentation of regular verb activities we do to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family. (You might want to add a slide, “We watch football games!) Use the language prompts to generate conversation. (Who cooks at your house? Do you cook? What do you cook? Does your husband cook? What does he cook? Do your children cook, too? What do they cook? What time do you cook? Etc. Don’t forget to have your students ask you questions.  (Be sure to include negative questions and responses as well as short answers to the students’ questions.)

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Aches and Pains

Aches and Pains, another Nearpod presentation with audio and interactive activities, is to help your beginning-level ESL students learn to say what hurts. It requires minimal computer experience and will give the students practice using a computer mouse, mouse pad, or tablet/iPad. I suggest that this lesson be presented by the teacher first to demonstrate how to advance the slides, use the audio, and complete the interactive activities, and then assigned to the students to use either individually or in pairs as a study tool.

For additional practice for your students on describing how they feel and responding to others’ feelings, take a look at these online resources: ESL Health Unit, Aches and Pains, Injuries/Parts of the Body, Expressing Pain, Showing Sympathy/Injuries.

Many thanks to the producer of the Body-Parts presentation.

Labor Day in the U.S.A. and Canada

Labor Day.pngDo your students know why they don’t have classes on Labor Day? They may appreciate their day off more if they know the history of the holiday here in the United States. Unionizing has been in the news a lot in the United States in the past few years. This could be a great discussion topic in your classes. I hope this exercise will help generate that conversation whether it is managed as a classroom activity or assigned to the students individually.

Students working independently should click on this EDpuzzle link to watch the video about Labor Day with the accompanying oral questions. They will have to stop the video from time to time or the oral questions will overlap with the video’s audio. Next, have the students look at the questions and the directions for each on the Google Form below. Then, when they are ready, they should play the video again and answer the oral questions, stopping and starting the video as necessary or as assigned.

Once You Have Met a True Human Being

Once you have met a True Human Being, let him not disappear from the horizon of your Heart.

– Rumi

Ask your students to explain what this quotation means. Ask them to define what Rumi meant by a “true human being.”  Why do they think this picture was chosen to accompany this quotation? Do they agree with the choice of image? Why or why not? 

What do your students know about Rumi? Locate where he was from on the map. When did he live? What was the world like during Rumi’s lifetime?

Is there anyone your students could name as an example of a “true human being? Who and why?

Fun with Synonyms

Each word means something similar to the synonym at the top of its box, yet each word means something just a little bit different. Study one set at a time to learn what the differences are.

Study Questions:

1. Practice the pronunciation of each word in each box. In the first set, (nice), each word is stressed on the first syllable except three of them. Which three are they?

2. In the next or “good” set, there are six words that are stressed on the second syllable. Which ones are they? ( is a good resource for meaning and pronunciation.)

3-4. In the “sad” set, is the -ed in “depressed” pronounced like a <t>, <d>, or <id>? What about the -ed in “delighted” in the “happy” set?

5. In the “laughed” set, which synonym is a silent action?

6. In the “like” set, which synonym is first in the dictionary, and which is last (alphabetically)?

7. In the “said” set, how many words end with the <t> sound, the <d> sound, or the <id> sound?

8. In the “big” set of words, which words contain a diphthong?

7. In the “little” set, which word is a derivative of another one listed there?

8-9.  In the next two sets of past tense synonyms, each contains at least one word that has another acceptable form. Which are they?

10. In the “pretty” set, which word is used most often to describe a man?

11. In the “looked” set, which synonym is used most often to mean “looked with admiration?”

12. In the last set, which word might be used to describe wood? How does that meaning relate to being afraid?

Thanks to Pinterest for Other Ways to Say (A Teacher Created Resource)

What Does Failure Really Mean?

Good for class discussion, research, writing, and/or oral presentations. What does failure really mean? What words do the students think are synonymous with failure?What can we learn from failure? Can we learn without ever failing? Who is Brian Acton? What was his failure? What happened to him after his “failure?” Can you name anyone else who “failed” and became, not only rich and famous but one of the world’s most influential people? Is it possible to change the way we feel about failing? Might there be a more positive way to refer to failure? Take a look at the video below, and then find out more about these “failures,” their life stories, and that of other “failures” you may be familiar with. ​Maybe after this discussion, the students can come up with a different definition of what failing really means.


Activity Picture Prompts for Discussion

Here are some slides which show a variety of activities to elicit conversation in your language classes. Ask your students about what they see. Use these slides to talk about clothing and different kinds of equipment needed for the activities. (Are they count or non-count items? Describe them.) What different kinds (and levels) of skills are needed to participate in these activities? How are these skills acquired? (Are there any similarities to acquiring language skills?)
Are these activities common where the students come from? Did they participate in them “back home?” Have them talk about an event they participated in. (This is how I found out one of my students was actually an Olympian!)
What about now? Do they engage in these activities in their adopted homes? Why or why not? What are the benefits? What are the difficulties? Are there health benefits to participating in these activities? What are they?  Would they recommend that other people try them? Are these skills for careers or hobbies? (What’s the difference?) Are there opportunities for professionals and amateurs to participate?
Your students can bring a picture of a hobby, sport, or activity that they enjoy participating in and meet in groups of three or four to discuss the different pictures. The group can then select one of its members to present it to the class. Or, turn this discussion into a writing (blogging) activity or an oral demonstration presentation to put into a vlog. Students can tweet the links with an image to their online presentations. The possibilities are endless!