class room ideas

January 27, 2014 § Leave a comment


Start using the book.  Beneficial for the new students.

Topics for glitter book –

  1. Rewrite The Paragraph – changing tense, person, adjectives, or nouns.
  2. Introduce well known works of art – presentation, group discussion, then individual writing:
  • Stick to representational art for vocabulary purposes.</li>
  • Give artist, name of piece and date.
  • Historical context would be good too, occasionally, overkill – I don’t care.
  • Write:  These will be separate writing topics, not all at one time…

Feelings from or about it, and why.  Describe it – colors, name of objects, number of objects, painting, stained glass, fresco, sculpture – statue. Setting – a room, church, house, field, time period, war, coronation, nativity.

Item 2 caveats…

PROBLEM Technical and logistal problem:  No overhead projector, no color copying, computer lab has lg screen – but it is open and centrally located – we may disturb other people.   Rats!!


Note:  well known pieces so not distributing copies to keep is not all bad. Still it is extremely lame.

  • Use computer lab anyway ūüė¶  Then they could see on their own screens too.  Visiting museum sites is awesome.
  • Have color copies made – use plastic sleeves.  I keep copies.  ūüė¶
  • Combination of above – intro, discussion, vocabulary in classroom, write in computer lab.
  • Possibly write about piece on computer – in comments, or create a member only place/forum on my site for students.  Ideal, but just logging in and starting may be a time consumer

Forum for Students on my website –  spontaneous activity, perhaps. 

  • A place to practice writing/reading to each other?  Like texting?  Perfection not required.
  • Perhaps I can pose conversational questions, they can answer.  What did you do last week, etc.

Computer Lab

View works of art by the same artist, others in the same school of work or time period.   Museum sites!

Also have them Google Search for images by the artist. 


Class Wednesday 20nov

November 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

The plan for class tomorrow. Draft
Print lists of verbs and explanations

1). Tongue Twister

2). Vocabulary/grammar – correct wildly erroneous information I provided on verbs. Regular vs Irregular.

English regular verbs change their form very little (unlike irregular verbs). The past tense and past participle of regular verbs end in -ed, for example:

work, worked, worked

Make note of, but do not dwell on:  regular verb exceptions/confusions

…But you should note the following points:

1. Some verbs can be both regular and irregular, for example:

learn, learned, learned
learn, learnt, learnt

2. Some verbs change their meaning depending on whether they are regular or irregular, for example “to hang”:

regular hang, hanged, hanged to kill or die, by dropping with a rope around the neck
irregular hang, hung, hung to fix something (for example, a picture) at the top so that the lower part is free

3. The present tense of some regular verbs is the same as the past tense of some irregular verbs:

regular found, founded, founded
irregular find, foundfound


Irregular verbs are an important feature of English. We use irregular verbs a lot when speaking, less when writing. Of course, the most famous English verb of all, the verb “to be”, is irregular.

What is the difference between regular verbs and irregular verbs?

  Base Form Past Simple Past Participle
With regular verbs, the rule is simple…
The past simple and past participle always end in -ed: finish finished finished
stop stopped stopped
work worked worked
But with irregular verbs, there is no rule…
Sometimes the verb changes completely: sing sang sung
Sometimes there is “half” a change: buy bought bought
Sometimes there is no change: cut cut cut

One good way to learn irregular verbs is to try sorting them into groups, as above.

Review lists of verbs – both

3).  Describe events in sequential order: another class, no time today

NOTE:  Sequential events for Glitter Book exercise

4). Glitter book
Write a letter to someone: a friend or relative or an official like a president of their countries. (Joanna? We have talked about the president of Argentina before.)

List some ideas to include, if needed.
Write about:
The status of family, any new friends
Unusual observations about the US/Austin and anecdotes
What they miss about their home countries
What they like about the US
President: suggestions, grievances, reality check

5). Lab. Perhaps nothing with headphones. Epic equipment fail last class. My purchases are cheap crap.
No reading passages.
Verb exercises?

after class 11nov

November 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Class Session:

  • We did the Tonugue Twister
  • Vocab: bittern, bitter, biter
  • And conjugated To Bite, regular verb – simple present, past and future
  • Missed Modals
  • Computer lab completed and finished puzzles – Joanna did the games too (she liked it very much) – I had them post their interpretation of the photograph in comments, if they had an email address.

Maribel and I stayed late to finish a puzzle – food
A very successful class! Yay! Except the headphones were a problem again. I requested speakers. They may buy headphones again too.

Next class:

Preferably printouts:

  • Bring is lists of some Regular and Irregular Verbs
  • Also reflexive pronouns: himself, myself, themselves etc.
  • Modals in general – intro
  • Modal – CAN

Postcard exercise for writing – Glitterbook.  Possibly a letter instead – no card or mail…unless they have someone to send something to in English

  • Write postcard/letter in GB
  • Copy to real postcards
  • Post cards to someone, themselves, me?  Whichever.

class plan 6nov Simple Future Vs. Future Progressive

November 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Wednesday class plan notes…

1).  Wake up with a poem or tongue twister:  I embellished

She sells seashells on the seashore.
How many seashells did she sell on the seashore?
She sold sixty-six (66) seashells on the seashore.

note:  A good one for Ss!

2).  Return Glitter books Рdiscuss corrections
Note to class: To Live – Conjugate
I live vs I have been livingSimple Present vs Present Perfect (?). I need to check that!  It is Present Perfect Continuous
I live here now. Vs I live here now and in the past
I lived in Austin. Past only, not living here now.

3).  Grammar:
We did To Live for grammar today

Next class – from ESL Library RSS

Simple Future Vs. Future Progressive…

Students learn more quickly when they can visualize a concept…

The simple future can be tricky for English students to learn because there are so many ways to express the future in English. Unlike the simple past, which has one basic form, the simple future can be expressed by using will + base verb, be going to + base verb, or be + -ing verb. See Simple Future: Teaching the Three Forms for complete explanations, practice lessons, and fun activities to do with your students. Even though it’s a bit tricky, all three uses are common, so students quickly become familiar with the simple future as they learn English. But what about the future progressive (also known as the future continuous)? This structure is not commonly used in English, so students don’t come across it very often. However, higher-level textbooks deal with this form, as do tests like the TOEIC. It is also used occasionally in English writing and speaking, so high-intermediate and advanced students need to learn it at some point. Although it is rarely used and thus harder to grasp, presenting the future progressive using the method outlined below will make it easier for your students. Section 6, Tricks, could be especially helpful!


See detailed explanations of the three future forms, examples, practice lessons, and fun activities in my blog post Simple Future: Teaching the Three Forms.


1. Form: WILL + BE + -ING VERB

The future progressive is formed by taking the modal will, the base form of the verb BE, and an action verb + -ING. Luckily, students don’t have to worry about subject-verb agreement: BE doesn’t change forms after a modal.

What about the other two future forms? We can never use¬†be + -ing verb¬†instead of¬†will¬†(She is being eating dinner¬†is clearly incorrect), but it is possible to use¬†be going to¬†instead of¬†will¬†(She is going to be eating dinner). Most people would agree that it‚Äôs a bit of a mouthful‚ÄĒsticking to¬†will¬†is best (She will be eating dinner).

2. Use:

The function of the future progressive is to show a continuing (long) action getting interrupted by a short future action. Using the words long and short helps students understand this use better. The reason the future progressive isn’t used that often is because it’s a little strange to try to predict what will happen exactly at a given moment in the future. Unlike the past, where we know what happened already, we don’t usually know for certain what will happen in the future.

3. Time Marker:

The time markers when is common for this case.

4. Examples:

  • I¬†will be sleeping¬†when you¬†arrive¬†home from work next Friday night.
  • They¬†will be doing¬†presentations in class when the practice fire alarm¬†rings¬†at 2 p.m.
  • The mayor¬†will be finishing up¬†her work when the power¬†goes out¬†at the scheduled time tomorrow.

5. Important Reminders:

A.¬†Don‚Äôt forget to remind students that you can start the sentences with either the¬†independent clause¬†(a Subject-Verb[-Object] structure that can stand alone) OR the¬†dependent clause¬†(that begins with the adverb ‚Äúwhen‚ÄĚ and can‚Äôt stand alone) with¬†no difference in meaning. Students shouldn‚Äôt memorize the future progressive as always occurring first in the sentence, because this isn‚Äôt always the case. Also, remind students that a¬†comma¬†must be used when a dependent clause begins a sentence.

  • When you¬†arrive¬†home from work next Friday night,¬†I¬†will be sleeping.
  • When the practice fire alarm¬†rings¬†at 2 p.m., they¬†will be doing¬†presentations in class.
  • When the power¬†goes out¬†at the scheduled time tomorrow, the mayor¬†will be finishing up¬†her work.

B. Always include some examples with a third person singular subject so that students realize that the regular simple present subject-verb agreement rules must be followed for the verb in the dependent clause. (I.e., the third person singular pronouns he/she/it, singular count nouns, and non-count nouns all take -s on the end of the verb.)

C. It’s also possible to use the future progressive when a clock time is mentioned instead of a dependent clause.

  • What¬†will¬†you¬†be doing¬†at 8 p.m. tonight? (The meaning is:¬†What will you be doing when it is 8 p.m. tonight?)
  • I¬†will be studying¬†at 8 p.m. tonight. (The meaning is:¬†I will be studying when it is 8 p.m. tonight.)

6. Tricks:

A.¬†Use the expression ‚ÄúNO 2 WILLS‚ÄĚ to remind students that they will never see two future forms used in the same sentence (if it contains one independent and one dependent clause). (Click to tweet this tip!) Chant it like a mantra in your class‚ÄĒit really sticks in students‚Äô heads and helps them remember to always use a¬†future form in the independent clause¬†and a¬†present form in the dependent clause. Remind students that even though the verb in the dependent clause has a simple present structure,¬†both clauses have a future meaning. Point to the diagram at the beginning of this blog post as an example. This is true for all future tenses!

B.¬†Have students memorize common ‚Äúshort‚ÄĚ action verbs so they‚Äôll easily recognize when the future progressive is needed. Short action verbs include:¬†start, begin, call, arrive, ring, come, land, hit,¬†and¬†go out¬†(as in¬†the power goes out¬†or¬†the lights go out).

C. If students have learned the past progressive before (and they do usually learn the past progressive before the future progressive since it’s more common), remind them that the future progressive has the same function as the past progressive. For more information or as a comparison, see Simple Past Vs. Past Progressive.

7. Practice Lessons:

Get some simple future practice with our¬†Future¬†lesson (Grammar Practice Worksheets), our¬†Future (going to)¬†lesson (Grammar Stories), and our¬†Future ‚Äď What are you going to do?¬†and¬†Future ‚Äď Where are you going to go?¬†lessons (Easy Grammar Sentences). We don‚Äôt have any Future Progressive lessons at ESL-Library yet, but I plan on writing a Grammar Practice Worksheets lesson on the Future Progressive soon. (I‚Äôve been a bit busy over on our new young learners site,¬†Sprout English!)

4).  Vocabulary:  Custom vs Habit next class.

5). ¬†Lab: same set we’ve been working on. Still the first puzzle! ¬†They wanted to do it again for review. ¬†Glad they like it.
Continue with puzzles – #4

Notes to review for class:
Present Perfect
Pronouns – reflexive (?) Himself, Herself, Themselves, etc.

30oct 2013 post class

October 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Today we had three students in class. Ania, Joanna and Maribel. We spent a lot of time talking. And I corrected. They are doing so well communicating! M has not been well, so we spent some extra time in discussion. It was a good exercise for vocab. J would like to learn to read recipes in English. I had sent her a request for instructions to make that cake. She will email it to me.

A brought cake! She is an excellent cook. So we had two weeks of cake!

I had them write in the Glitter Notebooks (from me) about why they want to be American citizens. They were very earnest and diligent, and asked a couple of really good questions about freedom and democracy, so I gave them 30 minutes.

We worked on the computers after cake…see 30oct on ESL Computer Lab Did the first one. They liked it a lot. We will continue next class.

Next class Monday and Wednesday Toni.

Continue lab Puzzles and Games | ESL Computer Lab

Review writing assignment.

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