Archive for December, 2008

level: intermediate

aims: present and/or review going to/will distinction for plans/promises, listening practice



(The lesson plan appears below.)

Well, I have very few classes left before I knock off for the holiday.  That leaves me thinking already about the New Year and that New Year English teaching favorite that is “reviewing future forms”.

Hence, the second installment in my “Mr. Show for English Teaching” series.

We’re looking at going to for personal plans and intentions vs. will for future facts and promises. (I don’t know about other languages, but speakers with Spanish as their L1 tend to confuse these two functions, often using will to talk about their plans for this weekend or to talk about the weather tomorrow, for example.)

Also, I kind of prefer to leave will for offers out of the equation and deal with it separately, as well as present continuous and present simple with future meanings and all that.  If not, I find that having so many variables and explanations can be counterproductive for the purpose of noticing and practicing these specific uses.

Here’s the video.



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It’s that time of year again.  If you teach in a school, or if you do extracurricular private classes with school-age kids you know what I’m talking about–the month of December (here in Spain, ehem, Catalunya, at least) finds us in the midst of a lull, between the trimestral or semestral or whatever exams and the start of Christmas vacations.   And with no real “meat” on the syllabus to feed to our hungry learners, what better way to while away the time than with a variety of holiday themed activities.  Yeah!  Wahoo!

Now, if you’ve googled xmas activities for TEFL or ESL or what-have-you, you’ve no doubt come across the TEFLtastic page of X-mas goodies, which pretty much has the market cornered on holiday ideas.  Really, dude is mad thorough over there.

Nonetheless, I see my opening here, so I’m goin’ in:  Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis”, for a variety of different language points.  Give ’em the video with the sound off first and have them tell you about it scene by scene, if you like.  Then hit ’em up with the worksheet of your choice.   (Note that the “definitions” worksheet could easily be incorporated wholesale into one of the others, with just a little cutting, pasting and boldfacing.) (more…)

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Now that I’ve fully surrendered my soul to the whims of the hoary Mammon of digital technology, I sometimes wonder what exactly I did to prepare classes before I got my computer.

But then I realize that the real change in habits wasn’t a result of buying the computer at all, really. It was the printer that really changed the game. Before buying the printer, I could use the ol’ laptop to search and research and look up all sorts of stuff, but the final step, getting it to the piece of paper to give to my students, required either A) a trip to the nearest locutorio/cybercafe joint (kind of a pain in the ass, actually) or B) meticulously copying out the necessary text by hand.

This series of worksheets and videos is a case in point: on one hand, you have a couple of Youtube videos downloaded and saved on the pen-drive, or to DVD or whatever. Pretty high-tech. Then on the other hand, you have some handmade worksheets written in felt-tip marker on graph paper. Not so high-tech.

Anyhow…this was originally created for some students who were using the Happy Earth 2 book, which has a little story on the Titanic and a brief exercise with past continuous.

Please note that I have never seen the film Titanic. Never have, never will. Personally, I was surprised that some of my kids, who are pretty young were familiar with the film or have seen it. I suppose it was one of the highest grossing films of all time, after all, but still.

After the aforementioned lesson from the book, I felt my kids were ready to do a little more with that ever-so-useful verb tense, hence the following (which, in fact, I will be using today): (more…)

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level: intermediate, upper-intermediate

aims: review present perfect / past simp. (esp. “Have you ever…?”), intensive listening, practice job interview situation.



(The Lesson Plan appears below.)

Still teaching your adults Present Perfect? Your students still have trouble producing or recognizing certain participle forms and what not?

Or perhaps you’re especially bored with the unit of job interviews, etc. in your textbook and you want to spice it up a bit.

If your students are adults, i.e. if they don’t have parents who would flip out over slightly racy subject matter then this video just might be for you.

Note: Contains references to drug use and child molestation. Obviously not for kids and definitely not recommended for teachers with uptight, by-the-book type students or teaching situations (click on the link below and watch the video to judge if it’s appropriate or not).

Disclaimer: $trictly 4 my T.E.A.C.H.E.R.Z. accepts no responsibility for any jobs being lost, teachers being fired, students and/or parents complaining, etc., due to use of materials presented here which may or not be considered controversial or taboo. Teachers should use good judgment in choosing materials to be used with each student or group. Just putting that out there…!

I must say that my Spanish adults, for example, ate this one up, they thought it was hilarious. And useful.

Also, I’ve included recommendations for using the video in one-on-one with each stage of the lesson.

See the video here. I would recommend that you go ahead and buy all the Mr. Show DVDs, it’s pretty gosh-darn hilarious stuff (plus, I have more Mr. Show lessons on the way, in case you’re wondering).


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