Baby Santa Penguin

Baby Santa Penguin

Click here for a link to Purina All Stars, a video archive of animals. Watching these short video clips with your students will make great discussion starters.

Put on the board questions like:

  1. What kind of animal is that?
  2. What is he/she doing?
  3. What is the owner doing?
  4. Do you have a pet?
  5. What kind of pet do you have?
  6. What is your pet’s name?
  7. If you don’t have a pet, what kind would you like to have and why?

If you scroll down and look to the left side, you will see tabs for other pages – wildlife, meow, woof, odd couples, little critters and more.

Below is a list of more animal videos. I suggest previewing and downloading the videos before showing them in class ( just to make sure that there are no glitches and nothing  inappropriate pops up on the screen – the videos tend to load one right after the other.)

If you don’t have Real Player, click here and download the free version.

I ran across this site and thought the images could be useful. They offer four different variations for usage. It is probably best suited for low beginner to high beginner.

I’m just going to throw my two cents worth in here while I’m at it.
When you are teaching, be sure to include the tactile/kinesthetic learners.

You can do this in two ways -

  1. tactile variation: let the students color/trace/cut out the images
  2. kinesthetic variation: have the students act it out

Both ways help the students acquire “muscle memory” which helps
in the acquisition process. (It lowers the affective filter too.)

Auditory learners may benefit from not only hearing and repeating the target vocabulary a few times, but it may help if you can search around
and find a sound bite to go with the image as well. For example,
here is a link to a site that has a boatload of sound bites to choose from.

This link will take you to a page of toothbrushing sounds.

FYI – Soundsnap only gives your 5 free downloads a month. This site is free all the time.

Click here for a link to a website that has royalty free photos.

Now, let’s take it a step further. Why not turn it into a game?
Put up three pictures on the board. Then play the sound bite and
have some fun letting them guess which one it is!



page 1

page 2


2 Dec

What’s an oxymoron? To me, the name conjures up an image of a dumb ox. What does it mean to you?

Really it is just a fancy definition for words that seem contradictory when put together, like pretty ugly.

Merriam Webster definition

Oxymorons from A to Z & by category.

Lesson plus the printable activity

Colorful white board flip chart

Cute cartoon

Examples of Oxymorons in Poems & Poetry

Lesson plans

Short article

And now for something completely different…
Do you speak English?

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The links below are mainly focused on elementary students. With that being said, I felt there are a lot of useful lesson ideas that can be gleaned from these resources.

HD movie trailer

Lesson plans & more

All about foxes

Looking for a virtually inexhaustible resource for ESL conversation questions? Well, look no farther than here. Our good friends at The Internet TESOL Journal have a large database of questions. They are alphabetically organized by topics such as – annoying things, tipping and major American holidays.

The wonderful people over at ESL Gold have a page that is dedicated to Phrases for Conversation which are broken down into the following levels: Low Beginning, High Beginning, Low Intermediate, High Intermediate & Advanced. What makes this site stand out above the others is that it provides audio. The speakers are native North American speakers and they speak slow enough for the ELL (English Language Learner) to pick up on what they are saying, but not so mind numbingly slow that you want to bang your head against the wall.  Also, you can tell the narrators are some what professional because the inflection is in the right place, even if it does sound somewhat forced on some of the examples. This would be a great site for Chinese teachers of English to brush up on their English skills, assign as homework or use as part of a language lab.

I grew up in Ohio and let me tell you we are football crazy there. I kid you not. It is all about the football. I remember many crisp autumn evenings at the football stadium in my hometown, freezing my rear end off. But, it was fun. My best friend’s dad was the football coach. I went there to socialize and she, well, she went there to root the team on. Now that my son is a teenager, he is all about the football too.

With that being said, I have posted  a few links for nostalgia’s sake.  So, if you are stuck in a foreign country and there is no American football to be had, why not get your football fix by dedicating a thematic unit to (wait for it, drum roll please) FOOTBALL!

Okay let’s kick off with a link to the NFL…

Click here to go to a link to the National Football League (NFL)

Click here to view the inspirational movie trailer for The Blind Side

Click here for a site that gives lots of biographical information and includes clips from Fox and other sources, including the transcripts.

Click here for a link to an National Public Radio interview  describing how Michael Oher is the “perfect” position of left tackle.

Click here for a link to the New York times article called, The Ballad of Big Mike.

Click here for a concise rundown of the basics of football.

Click here for a copy of a printable worksheet.

Click here for a link to a talking point worksheet that asks the question, “Is Football a Waste of Time?”

Click here for a link to another Football worksheet.

Click here to go to a link  to an online grammar quiz focusing on the noun record and the past simple and past participles of win and lose.

Click here for a fictional conversation full of sports idioms.

Click here for a link to page that describes an American Football ESL game.

I love using movies to each English, but they can be too much – you know – too long, to boring, yadda, yadda, yadda. The Genki English guy, Richard Graham, has a suggestion. Use movie trailers. What a fantastic idea! He suggests using the Apple movie trailers. Good choice in that the movie trailers on the Apple site are offered in HD.

Below is the link to the trailer site. There is a veritable smorgasbord to choose from. It may not be such a bad idea if you want to mix things up and/or kill some time. Or, if you get a positive response from the students you could do it as a regular thing, turn it into “Movie Monday.” It doesn’t have to be on a Monday, but you get the idea.

You could do a bunch of different activities along with it, like:

  • transcribe it and have the student follow along as a simultaneous listening and reading activity
  • create a close activity from the transcript focusing on specific grammatical items, such as contractions
  • introduce new vocabulary and idioms
  • assign a movie trailer to be viewed cold (their choice) as homework. They have to view it and write down one new vocabulary word and find the appropriate definition to share with the class. (Homework – I know not the most popular choice, but this is not too difficult to do.)
  • have students perform it as a readers theater script
  • is there a song with lyrics involved? Assign small groups to sing the song to the class as others in the group act it out.

For example, Invitcus can be used to teach about Nelson Mendela and apartheid. If you’re a Rugby fan then “forget about it!” You could springboard a mini-unit about the game, history, rules, etc; Maybe you could get a Rugby club going with the students? Do you think they would go for that? I don’t know, but my teenage son would be totally into that (he plays’ American football – which is kinda like Rugby except with armor, right?)

What about Where The Wild Things Are? This story is a children’s classic. I remember reading it to  my son when he was a little guy. Can you get your hands on the book? This would be a great one to teach the kids.
Here is a random list of resources that can be found on the net:

This lesson incorporates math and science

Students create their own wild things

Character development lesson

Beginning, middle, end

Sequencing monster

What about A Christmas Carol? Another timeless classic.

and let’s not forget the ppt’s!

Then there is Amelia.

Is she dead? Is she alive and living with Elvis on a deserted island?

lesson plans

Even if you don’t have the series, you can still glean nuggets that you can use in class.


Forensic evidence – create a discussion – is she alive or dead? Let the students decide based on evidence provided by the following sources and then present their position to the class.
Is she alive?
Is she dead?

There’s lots of rich material to choose from. It can be used year after year once you put the lesson together. So a little bit of work will pay off in the long run.

More ESL Games

29 Nov

I ran across this on You Tube and thought it was really good.  It is a bowling game that requires the students to knock down colored pins. The vocabulary words are divided up into colors that correspond to the pin’s color. One team rolls the bowling ball and then the other team has to say a sentence using the words that are organized by color. I know it sounds confusing, but watch this to see how it is done.

Click here for a link to an article at ESL Focus about using ESL games to motivate  adults. At the end of the article she offers 10 tips.

More ESL games

Click here for a cute Alien zookeeper game.