Friday, 8 March 2013



A lovely lesson from the British Council focusing and developing listening and writing skills. Submitted by Sally Trowbridge on 28 November, 2011. 

The lesson gives B2 Intermediate students the opportunity to expand their vocabulary and describe paintings. Inclusive in the resource are some really good examples of vocabulary and phrases that allow students to develop language skills in the field of Art Appreciation and History.

Students can list and present their top five paintings as part of the exercises.


Sunday, 3 March 2013



A Short Story about a Wedding

This resource is a British Council resource and can be found in their BritLit section. It was submitted by the TE Editor on 19 January, 2012 and is a lovely story resource set in a Sri-Lankan setting.

  • The resource will help you develop new vocabulary, an awareness of when the modal verbs 'could' and 'would' are used and an understanding of how the past tense is used in narratives or stories. 
  • This fantastic resource pack gives you plenty of practise with reading and listening skills and there are fantastic recipes to work with after. You could even try them out yourselves. 

I love working with narrative resources.  Often good social issues arise from them; mainly from the setting in which they are placed (the issues maybe historical, cultural or geographically based). 

This resource is no exception; the main issue in the story is the question around 'arranged marriages'. 

Do you agree with 'arranged marriages'? 

You can express your opinion by speaking it to friends or family in English or writing a response to this blog. 

What type of a wedding do you dream of? 

Perhaps a simple one, a fairy tale one, a royal one, a religious/faith based one or a special/cultural one based on the traditions of your own community. Try to describe it in your own words.

Follow Up Work
  • What type of marriages are there in your culture? Do you have 'arranged marriages'?  How do you feel about them?  
  • What advice would you give to a confused person having to make the choice between a 'love marriage' or an 'arranged marriage'? 
  • Do you have any special recipes or food that you serve at weddings? Write out the recipe yourself of describe the food that is served in your own words.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

What Would We Make of a Guy Fawkes Under Parliament Today?

What Would We Make of a Guy Fawkes Under Parliament Today?

A great article in the Mirror yesterday from a journalist known as the 'Fleet Street Fox'. 

This is suitable for an upper intermediate/advanced EFL student.  It is a 'what would happen if' type scenario and  encourages students to develop an imaginative and critical approach.  The writer confesses to be 'sarcastic' and 'sometimes right'.  I think it is a bit scary how near he is to the 'truth' here.

Click on the title link and follow the story.

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

Watch the video, read the subtitles and hear Big Ben chime.

Find out about the history of Bonfire Night with Joe and how the festival is celebrated today.
Follow up with comprehension questions, true or false statements and learn about phrasal verbs.

Just click on the title link!

Elementary English Podcast Episode 10

TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. 

There is only a transcript this week as this episode is the summary of the whole of Series 1.

  • From Podcast Number 7 meet Mohammed from Manchester again talking about Mohammed Yunus. He formed a microcredit bank (the Grameen Bank) in Bangladesh.
  • From Podcast Number 4 'Hot Seat' is played again.  Hannah explains a word and Max has to guess it.
  • From Podcast Number 9, 'Our Person In....' the Indian film industry or Bollywood is described and compared to Hollywood films.
  • From Podcast Number 6, 'Your Turn' asks people on the streets 'How green are you?'
  • From Podcast Number 7, Carolina from Venezuela goes to the pharmacist for medication for a cold.
  • From Podcast Number 1 and 2, Gordon's jokes are retold.

I will follow on soon with Series 2.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on Hurricane Sandy

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on Hurricane Sandy

A Journalistic Type of Resource.

There are absolutely tonnes of activities to select from in this lesson plan on Hurricane Sandy.  Essentially it is based on developing communicative skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and vocabulary for environmental disasters.

There are warm up, pre-reading, during reading and after reading activities.Also incorporated are quizzes, role plays, making up your own survey, discussion ideas, spellings, gapfills, putting whole text back together again, forming sentences, punctuation and writing ideas.

Lots and lots for you to do. Simply click the title link and enjoy!

Adult ESL Lesson: Is Freddy There? (Beginner)

Adult ESL Lesson: Is Freddy There? (Beginner)

This resources focuses on a telephone dialogue. Firstly, read the telephone answering service message and then read the follow up live telephone conversation when John returns Freddy call.  The dialogues are followed up by questions to check your comprehension of the task.  To start this lesson simply click the title link above.

The grammar focus of the lesson is on the words 'next', 'this' and 'last'.  Opportunity is given to students to discuss events that happened last weekend and make plans for next weekend. There is an activity to make up your own dialogue using the focus words and finally a grammar exercise.

Adult ESL Lesson: Transportation Schedules (Intermediate)

Adult ESL Lesson: Transportation Schedules (Intermediate)

Do you prefer to travel by aeroplane or train?


This resource introduces the topic of transportation with some general discussion points.  It then provides two transport schedules.  The first is the Eurostar ( a short descriptive paragraph explains the service) and the second  is an airline schedule to and from San Francisco and Taipei.  There are reading comprehension questions for each resource and finally there are discussion ideas to close the topic.  Click on the title link.

Adult ESL Lesson: American History Timelines (Advanced)

Adult ESL Lesson: American History Timelines (Advanced)

Do you know?

  • Who was Christopher Columbus? 
  • Who was this famous Chief Indian? What was he famous for?

  • What was the 'American Revolutionary War'?
  • Where do you think this scene is set, who is living there? What era would you identify it with?

  • This is the scene of the first bloodshed in Baltimore.  What year did this take place in?

If you would like to learn more about American History: 

This resources focuses on important events, people and places.
It contains:-

  • early and later timelines of American History 
  • reading comprehension questions 
  • ideas for class discussions.
Just click on the title link above and off you go.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Learning English - Words in the News - Auctioning Marie Antoinette's Clothes

Learning English - Words in the News - Auctioning Marie Antoinette's Clothes

18 October 2012
"A pair of Marie Antoinette's slippers and a garment she wore while in prison were auctioned in Paris to mark the anniversary of her execution. Among the 80 lots on offer were portraits and etchings of the queen and her ill-fated husband King Louis XVI".
Christian Fraser

  • Listen to the report.
  • Read it.
  • Familiarise yourself with new vocabulary using the audio file and an online dictionary if you like.

guillotine, amassed, opulent, execution, goes under the hammer, scaffold, fragment, etchings, artefacts and tyranny.

This Week In History

This Week In History

25 October 1917

Communists Depose Russian Rulers

Communists led by Vladimir Lenin bring down the Russian government.

  • Learn new vocabulary with the word checker - depose, communists, storm, provisional, break out.
  • Watch 2 videos of the event - the secret steps that happened before the revolution and secondly the beginning of the revolution.
  • Do the quiz to find out how much you have understood.

Elementary Podcast Episode 9 - British Council

TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.

If you are a beginner (A2 CEFR level) these British Council Podcasts are excellent for getting you started.  As the week progresses I will post up other related work which will be appropriate for different levels of student ability.  If you are an Intermediate level of student you may want to use this resource to revise and then extend your knowledge.  Advanced students may just want to dip into the additional and other resources added during the week.

Go to:

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. The podcast comes with a support pack and transcript which is 22 pages long.  Use this link:
Download and do the exercises.

Main Contents of Podcast This Week

  • Talking about plans for the weekend.
  • What famous person would you like to meet and why? Matt Groening, creator of the TV show and film 'The Simpsons'.
  • Vocabulary quiz - topics e.g. things that you play, things that you make.
  • Bridgit Keenan in India talks about Bollywood  films (have lots of singing and dancing in them).  They are very predictable and lively with happy endings. 
  • What would be your favourite holiday?
  • Dialogue of Carolina from Venezuela preparing a special meal for her friends.  She prepares 'guasacaca'.

  • Telling/retelling a joke
Here is a summary of the main language points of the podcast. Try to get more practise with these language points during the week if you can:
  1. The verbs 'make' and 'do'. Make is used when preparing a food dish.
  2. What is a gap year?
  3. What do you call them?  Try to describe what you want to say? (clove of garlic, plantains)
  4. 'Make yourselves at home'  phrase to make people feel comfortable.
I will follow up with work that is related through the week.  This work will be graded for different levels of student ability.