Great news! At the end of August 2015 we will be launching our Free Language Club where you can join us for free online English classes. Find out more by checking out the video below – or click on the link:
This is a free lesson plan from You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans by Matt Purland. You can download the complete book for free here. (.pdf – 6 MB) This book is in the public domain, which means that anybody can use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Mode 1 Vocabulary Session
1. T asks each group to write down 8 interesting and random words or phrases. They must be content words, not function words. They could be completely random, or begin with the same letter (elicited from a SS), or from a particular topic, e.g. Music. SS work together – one list per group. SS can use dictionaries. One SS from each group reads out their words and T selects the most interesting and random words to write on the board – 8 in total. T does not allow boring words, e.g. table, chair, book… SS write down the whole list.
2. T checks that everybody knows all the words and leads a pronunciation drill with the words. SS have to listen and repeat each word after T.
3. T asks SS to work as a team and write down the type of each word, e.g. noun, verb, adjective, etc. When each group is ready T asks for a SS to come to the board and write the word types on the board next to the vocabulary words. T elicits whether they are correct or not. If not, T elicits the correct answer and the SS writes it.
4. Repeat 3, except with number of syllables in each word.
5. Repeat 3, except with the stressed syllable in each word, which is underlined.
6. Repeat 3, except with the stressed vowel sound in each word. SS writes it with Clear Alphabet, if possible. If not, T elicits it from SS who use the Clear Alphabet chart (p.107). SS could also write each word in Clear Alphabet.
7. Repeat 3, except with whether the stressed vowel sound is short, long, or diphthong. T models the stressed vowel sounds and SS repeat.
8. Repeat 3, except with schwa sounds circled. By the end of the session, your board might resemble something like this (with words from the topic of Music:)
…and so on.
- Try not to spend too long doing the vocabulary session. Remember to put together a lesson that provides a balanced ‘meal’ – where different skills are practised and different student needs are met. For example, while one SS might be happy to work with vocabulary for the whole lesson, another SS might prefer free practice activities, and so on.
We are really pleased to announce that we are now selling hard copies of 4 fabulous English Banana.com books:
Big Grammar Book, Big Activity Book, Big Resource Book, and Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1
I was inspired to create this new topic after a visit to Gdańsk Zoo during the summer. We had a great time and saw all kinds of amazing animals, including giraffes, monkeys, crocodiles (who lay as still as stone, just occasionally flicking open one eye and then tightly closing it again), and of course African and Indian elephants. There’s something quite breathtaking about being in the same physical space as live elephants – even if they were safely behind barriers.
I hope that you will enjoy using this new topic to teach or learn English vocabulary. It can be used with elementary level and above. My pre-intermediate students had problems with words like amphibian, zoologist, and petting zoo. We discussed topics like the purpose of zoos, and whether it is cruel to keep animals in captivity. You can let us know how you got on with this topic by contacting us here.
We’re always happy to find websites that offer “FREE ENGLISH LEARNING” – and here’s a great one:
English Clip.com features lots of fun activities and ideas for improving your English, including 40 free podcast lessons, English through songs, and vocabulary building games, to mention just a few.
Site creator Justin Time (do you get the pun?) told us:
“There are so many different kinds of people in this world and many different ways to learn. Keep trying different things and find a good way for you! Our site offers free English learning online for ESL and EFL students. Improve your listening with Justin Time’s funny podcast and songs. Play online vocabulary building games and puzzles. Boost your writing skill with a step-by-step guide. Justin Time says: “It’s got to be fun!”
“Stop by and have a laugh with Justin and get some lovely new words!”
Learn English with Exercises is the latest English language learning app from Creative Apps Lab. The app is packed with great exercises for practising English skills, including grammar, reading, vocabulary building, and communication skills. Better still, the app features many exercises from English Banana.com books, like Big Grammar Book!
The app costs $ 0.99 and can be downloaded from Apple App Store in any country worldwide. However, we have got hold of twenty free copies for readers of this blog! If you would like a special download code, please contact us and tell us why you enjoy learning with English Banana.com!
You can find out more about Learn English with Exercises app here:
You can order the app on iTunes here:
There is also a free starter version of the app, which you can get here:
This fantastic new app was produced via our Free Copying Licence, which allows anybody to use English Banana.com material for their projects – including commercial projects like this one – absolutely free of charge. To read our Free Copying Licence, please click below. Maybe you could make use of it…?!
This is a recording of a free class I taught on WizIQ.com on 28.02.13: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1140564-free-english-vocabulary-and-pronunciation-workout You can download the free material that we used here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/127589616/Auto-Mode-3-Example
You are welcome to join us for this FREE pre-intermediate English language class on the topic of “Clothes”. It was a pleasure to teach this class last night in partnership with MySchoolo.com
Here is the first class from a short Talk a Lot Elementary Spoken English course that I taught online recently. The topic in this recording is “Town” and we’re working from Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1. You can find the links for the other four classes in the course below!
Many thanks to Ma3ali English for organising the course and uploading the recordings.
Class 2: Food and Drink
This great website has been around for a while, but it’s a fantastic way to test your knowledge of English vocabulary (and other subjects, including Science, Geography, and Humanities). We spent around 10 minutes playing and earned 630 grains of rice, which doesn’t sound that much, but if 30 other people also did the same, we’d have enough grains of rice to feed one person for one day. Why not give it a try? 🙂
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”:
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? 🙂
Ah – silent letters. They’re so quiet that we can’t even hear them! They’re so quiet that we could question whether we need them in the spelling at all… but that’s another post!
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 🙂
We’ve recently been trying out a brand new web service which aims to help you to extend your vocabulary. Membean is a really fun way to “lock in” new words – through a variety of methods.
We asked Membean Founder and CEO Ragav Satish to explain more about the goals of this valuable site:
“Membean is a unique web-based vocabulary learning environment that has its roots in research on human memory and learning. At Membean vocabulary comes to life through engaging video, rich imagery, interactive visualizations, quirky memory devices and unforgettable passages. Once a word is learned it must be maintained in the memory. This is where Membean’s unique Adaptive Reinforcement Engine comes in. Based on your interaction with the tool, it knows when to show you a new word, what questions to ask you and when you need to re-learn a word.” It really is fantastic! Here is an example of a word definition page, for the word “panache”:
The other great thing about Membean is that it really motivates you to learn – plus it is totally addictive! You can sign up for a free membership today, and find out what we mean!