Teaching really elementary English language classes can be tough. But with more resources, it’s possible to revisit some elementary topics and improve them, hopefully making exercises that focus more precisely on aspects of language, and creating more interesting activities that make it easier for the teacher. This week, the topic is routines and daily activities with a mixture of exercises including brainstorming, exercises for adverbs of frequency and adverbial phrases or time, and reading comprehension exercises which introduce prepositions of time and transition words for talking about a daily routine.
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June 25th 2022
These days there are lots of ways to produce creative teaching materials. Sometimes, the results are surprising and unexpected. Ordinary teaching exercises in PDF format can suddenly come alive and be much more dynamic when converted to video. Below are some of the top recent videos on YouTube from the past several months :
This is a cool topic and one that nearly everyone can relate to.
Logistics and the supply chain might not seem the most exciting English as a second language topic but they are very important business issues these days.
The role play and airport language pages have been updated with more audio and video examples.
February 13th 2022
The “Comparative Adjectives” page has been updated and is getting better and better! It’s been neglected for a long time and now is getting some real attention.
February 4th 2022
Two of easiest and most engaging topics have to be movies and music. They are great icebreakers and a great way to teach many aspects of language. For example, at an elementary level they are great for likes/dislikes and conversations about going out. At more advanced levels, they are great topics for writing reviews.
December 30th 2021
Speaking exercises that require students to compare the past and present are a good way to gauge students’ language skills and fluency.
You can also have a look at the YouTube version of this exercise.
Some new pre-intermediate reading comprehension exercises have been added to the reading page. They are probably best for university students. The topics include internships, learning a new language and the digital classroom.
The elementary conversations page is being steadily updated with video gap fills which are really good for both online and classroom learning. The present perfect page is now much improved with the addition of audio and video.
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September 27th 2021
Body language is always an interesting topic for the classroom. Body language and gestures elicit a surprising variety of interpretations. It’s quite fun. And of course, when you add in a mix of cultures, it gets even more interesting.
August 13th, 2021
Now that’s is easy to gain access to a variety of voices, it is a great time to experiment with all kinds of listening activities.
July 11th, 2021
Listening exercises have been added for the phrasal verbs (two part verbs) and collocations page.
Also, the adverbs page .
Perhaps most interesting are listening/speaking exercises for talking about modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation. The student responses have been great. And, of course these are great topics, as students are heavily engaged with these new technologies in their daily lives.
June 21st 2021
I have improved the “describing people and appearance” page and added “clothes and accessories” as I realized it was simpler to add it to the “describing people” topic.
Also, the past tense page has been updated.
May 23rd 2021
The pages below have been updated and improved. And, of course, audio is being added to as many exercises as possible. And even some video, though this is in the experimental stages at the moment.
April 25th 2021
Indirect questions and reported speech are two aspects of English grammar that can be a little tricky. Practice with pictures and listening using multiple intelligences can help make lessons more entertaining and engaging.
March 18 2021
Like adjectives, adverbs are quite fun to teach. Pictures and audio help make grammar lessons more entertaining.
Students preparing to enter the workforce need to understand the language of job interviews. Listening exercises have been added to the vocabulary exercises.
January 31st 2021
At the moment, I am creating a lot of listening exercises to complement the vocabulary and conversation exercises. A list of many of the pages containing listening activities can be found at the link below.
January 14th 2021
Gerunds and infinitives are a tricky part of English grammar. This is a mixture of exercises to help improve students’ mastery of this aspect English grammar.
January 5th 2021
It’s now possible to create really excellent listening exercises to complement and enhance English language teaching worksheets and lessons. Artificial intelligence is rapidly making it easier to create listening exercises with accents from around the world. In the future, I will be adding listening dialogues and exercises to all my posts. At the moment, I am adding audio dialogues and conversational exchanges to past speaking exercises. Some of those pages are listed below.
One of the most important/useful things for teaching a new language are icebreakers. You just want to break down the barriers and engage with students immediately. I’m always thinking about and looking for good icebreakers. My favorite kind of icebreaker at the moment is what I think of as a “meanings” or “examples” icebreaker. This is great as the activity simultaneously generates lots of great ideas and clarifies the meanings of words or concepts. I can spend half an hour walking around a classroom (50 students generates lots of ideas!) asking students for situations that illustrate target vocabulary. It’s good fun.
It is essential that students get a grasp of collocations and phrasal verbs if they want to achieve fluency in English. The problem with teaching collocations and phrasal verbs is that they are quite slippery and can get too difficult for students really quickly. I think it’s best to introduce small sets of these kinds of verbs and verb-noun/adjective (etc.) combinations.
Here are some new and improved preposition and business English vocabulary /speaking worksheets.
There have been some gaps in teaching materials that I have started to fill in recently. One of these is the topic of personality. Talking about personalities is quite easy at an elementary level (and any level) as you can use a lot of adjectives. And parts of speech for specific topics, including personality, has become a kind of a hobby. It’s quite fun and you can see the level of complexity of a topic for language learners when you focus on its parts of speech.
These pages have been updated with improved vocabulary and speaking activities.
Business English encompasses a wide range of vocabulary. It includes academic vocabulary and more specialized technical vocabulary for different situations, tasks and jobs. As a teacher the challenge is to make the language more accessible the students. Over the years I have found that a combination of vocabulary-picture matching exercises and relatable questions have made for a good communicative lesson.
Shopping is one of those topics that easily engages students if you have good exercises at the right level. I’ve found it works really well with pictures as the pictures give contexts which are very familiar to most students.
Sports and exercise is a fun topic and and a good topic for speaking activities and expanding students’ vocabulary.
Elementary English language speaking activities generally focus on likes/dislikes, hobbies, interests and routines. These topics allow students to get used to practicing the present simple tense with topics that relate to their daily lives.
There really is quite an art to teaching extremely elementary classes. Activities and exercises need to be really scaled back and minimalistic. If you haven’t done it for a while, it can be quite a shock. This was my recent experience. But it can also be quite refreshing to experiment with new ideas on Level 0 or Level 1.
Socializing includes many varied and unexpected but common everyday situations which require competent speaking skills. Students of a foreign language have to be prepared to encounter these situations and be ready with appropriate responses. Pictures help give context to these situations and help students imagine how they might respond.