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Check Out ESL Basics – a Really Helpful Resource Site!

Have you discovered ESL Basics yet? If you haven’t, you are in for a treat! It’s a remarkable resource site for ESL students and teachers featuring hundreds of short easy-to-watch videos on the following topics:

Vocabulary, US Citizenship, Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, and Tongue Twisters

If you are studying with Talk a Lot Intermediate, you will find the videos about idioms and phrasal verbs particularly relevant.

ESL Basics is the brainchild of Andrea Giordano, who stars in the short videos, and Josh Michael, who does all the technical wizardry. The site is an absolute boon for any student who is learning new vocabulary (which should be everyone, right?) and for teachers who can dip in and out of the site, for example using a short video to illustrate a new idiom or phrasal verb. You can even request a video on a particular word, phrase, or topic. How cool is that? Here is an example of a video by Andrea about the phrasal verb “to check out”:

ESL Basics on YouTube...

Andrea making a video for ESL Basics...

I asked Andrea for some comments about the site for this blog post. She told me:

“At ESL Basics, we believe that real-life context is a student’s best friend, not a list of terms to memorize. This is why our language instruction is surrounded by a conversation. ESL Basics fosters an environment where students aren’t just learning one word, they are acquiring language. ESL Basics is structured around a philosophy of context-driven lessons, videos, and usability. We are also committed to equipping English language teachers to host student-centered learning environments. I am an avid traveler, experienced teacher, and dynamic speaker who loves to see students and teachers meet their full potential. As well as at our home page, you can find ESL Basics at: youtube.com/eslbasics and facebook.com/eslbasics. “

If you love picking up new language – as well as new ideas for teaching – I would really recommend following Andrea on Twitter too: http://www.twitter.com/eslbasics

It seems that ESL Basics is one of those rare resourse sites that you don’t see very often – one that exists for the pleasure of being there and helping out other people. The joy of sharing the English language is wonderfully in evidence at ESL Basics! Why not CHECK IT OUT today? šŸ™‚

http://www.eslbasics.com

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How I used the Love and Relationships Idioms in my lesson today

I wrote twenty idioms on the board which kind of told a story of a relationship from the beginning to the end:

Method (Pre-Int to Intermediate Level):

Pre-task: Elicit: what is an idiom? i.e. A fixed phrase with a meaning that isn’t clear from the words used in the phrase.

1. SS work in pairs. They discuss together which ones they know already.

2. Group feedback.

3. SS check ones they don’t know in the dictionary or online.

4. Group feedback. Go through the list in order. Give examples. Elicit examples from SS. Check that everyone understands each idiom.

5. SS work together to prepare a dialogue or performance that includes all 20 idioms. Give them around 15 mins. Make a cup of tea for yourself; have a break; er, I mean monitor SS… Dialogues could be set in the past, with SS talking about a past relationship, or in various scenes set throughout the course of a relationship; or discussing future foreseen problems that might arise in a present relationship… etc.

6. SS read out or act their dialogues/scenes. Give feedback. Solicit feedback from other groups. Make a note of errors.

7. Error correction on the board with the whole group.

8. Homework, or follow-on activity: find 10 more idioms or phrasal verbs on the topic of Love and Relationships, and write a sentence using each one.

Note: for higher levels, you could mix up the order and get them to put them into their own order to make a story of a relationship.

It worked well and passed the time nicely for about 50 minutes. SS seemed happy to be learning (a lot) of new idioms. Do let me know how you got on, if you used this lesson plan! Thanks šŸ™‚