Resources for Distance Learning

We know we aren’t the first and we probably won’t be the last people you hear from to talk about our resources for distance learning (or that work well teaching online). But we assume if you’re reading this blog, or getting this email that means you like what we do. And we certainly like what we do and think they’re pretty useful. Now when I say resources for distance learning, I mean a few different things. First, it could mean resources that are well-suited for online learning platforms like Zoom or Google Classrooms. Some of our resources are on […]

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Warmers for Online ESL Classes

In our new-to-many online learning environments, icebreakers, getting-to-know-you activities, and other warmers are perhaps more important than ever. Starting a class off on the right foot is a great way to help students feel comfortable and safe. So, I’d like to share some of my favorite online warmers. There’s a getting-to-know-you activity, a get-to-know-the-teacher activity, a set-the-tone activity, and a way to do the syllabus or class rules interactively online! Some of these work best on the first day of a new class or new term. 3-2-1 Introductions This is an activity I learned from Shelly Terrell and it’s […]

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Easy Kitchen Furniture in Minecraft

Whether you build a cool house, castle, or tower in Minecraft, you need furniture and decorations to make it look nice. Here are some easy furniture ideas in Minecraft. You can put them in your house! Share your best furniture ideas in the comments or show how you used my ideas here! Chair An easy way to make a chair is to use a stair.You can also put two chairs next to each other. It looks like a couch. Or make an armchair.Put down a stair with a stair.Put two signs on the sides of the char. Don’t write […]

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Set Your Roleplay to Music

Looking for a way to make your roleplays more engaging and also help students explore communication tools more effectively? Try music. We all know the power of music to set a mood. Television shows and movies exploit this all the time. You probably know the famous theme from the film Jaws: Duh-duh…duh-duh…duh-duh,duh-duh,duh-duh-duh! It builds suspense even when nothing particularly frightening is happening on screen. The music alone tells you something bad is about to happen and evokes a mood that makes the appearance of a deadly shark even more terrifying! Soundtrack to Life Or think of a man and […]

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Get Students Writing and Talking!

As more and more teachers are turning to online teaching and distance learning for the forseeable future, and students may be considering self-study options, I’d like to introduce our free prompt generating tool, English Prompts, with three different kinds of prompts: creative writing, speaking, and role-plays. The first, Stories Without End, generates a random short story prompt that ends on a cliff-hanger. The genres vary from horror to comedy to sci-fi to realistic fiction, so there’s a broad range of topics. Don’t like the story? Click “New Story”! Here are some ideas to use it with students: Have students […]

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Embodied Mind: The Dancer and Dance and Grammar

“How can we know the dancer from the dance?” Yeats famously wrote. And in the dance of human communication, the body plays a role. Language is more than word choice or grammar, and even more than prosody. Gesture, body language, facial expression are all tools of meaning-making. This is why study of the embodied mind, how the mind and body are not separate, has been informative for linguistics and education. Alice and Colin, authors of the forthcoming 60 Kinesthetic Grammar Activities, have written about ways to use the body in teaching grammar: Check out the original post on English […]

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Kinesthetic Grammar Activities: Getting Grammar on the Move!

We’re thrilled to be publishing a book on Kinesthetic Grammar Activities from Alice Savage and Colin Ward. Kinesthetic grammar is a great way to practice language dynamically. The benefits are many:The benefits are many: Vary the pace of the classroom Help teach nonverbal language and gesture in communication Activate embodied mind and improve the memorability of target grammar Build classroom community! I’ve included an excerpt from Alice and Colin’s wonderful blog post. I highly recommend checking out the full post, which includes some example activities. Then come back here and check out the book, 60 Kinesthetic Activities, coming out […]

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Time Management as a form of Self-Care

A recent post on Patrice’s blog about time management made me stop and think. Like many in the education business, I never feel like I have enough time to do all my work. And then there’s everything else that needs to be done outside of work: paying bills, keeping the house and yard up, laundry, cooking, family time! So I always feel guilty when I do anything fun. I admit that I enjoy computer games from time to time, particularly Pokémon Go and Minecraft. Now I console myself that playing Pokémon Go gets me some exercise and it’s also […]

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The Art of Exams

There’s a lot of takeaways in Sharon Hartle’s new blog post, THE ART OF GATHERING… EVEN FOR EXAMS. I think assessment and examinations are a neglected topic in TESOL/EFL circles. Particularly in a world where examinations are necessary, there’s rarely much reflection on what exams mean and their purpose. As Sharon writes, too often we think of exams as a form of assessment. The goal seems to be to judge. We take it for granted that some people will fail. We assume exams should be stressful and unpleasant. However, this (unconscious) attitude to examination does little to help our students […]

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Activities for Thanksgiving

There are a lot of reasons to teach about Thanksgiving and do some activities for Thanksgiving in the classroom. First, Thanksgiving is a major American holiday* and students living in the US should know about it. Second, it’s a great excuse to talk about important themes such as gratitude and family. For lower level students, you can always talk about food! Third, even EFL students with little exposure to American culture have probably heard of Thanksgiving. So it’s never a bad idea to share about the holiday. So we’ve collected some activities on Teachers Pay Teachers that are perfect […]

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