The Drama-Based Approach to Teach Communication

I’ve produced a short look into the Adrift book, and the way it uses the drama-based approach to teach communication skills. If you’re not a video person, you can also read my summary. But I do recommend checking out the video, to see inside the actual book. One of my favorite activities to make students aware of how much communicating we do with intonation, body language, and facial expressions is to have them read a short script of a scene. Then we watch the scene. Looking at the words on the page, devoid of delivery, is a very different experience. […]

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Play on Feelings: Using Intonation to Express Emotion

Intonation is notoriously difficult for English learners, yet it is important for sending emotional messages. When we are worried about a situation, we may express that as much with our tone as our words. The listener needs to pick up on that worry in order to fully communicate. When our students speak, they also need to convey their feelings to help others understand their needs. On the other hand, sometimes we speak ironically. If our students can’t understand a sarcastic tone of voice, they will take away the opposite message from that the speaker intended. And looking beyond communicating […]

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Pragmatics is Everywhere

I got this amazing feedback from an educator about one of our drama books a while back. I introduced the idea of using [Her Own Worst Enemy] in the classroom to my principal, and she loved the idea! I also did a tiny lesson on pragmatics with some of my ninth graders, and they seemed to enjoy it. A few weeks after the lesson, a special needs student was able to connect pragmatism to another lesson we were doing. There are powerful things for students to learn in this play! This is why we keep putting out books. It’s […]

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2019 ELTons Awards Finalist: Stories Without End

We are honored to announce that Stories Without End by Taylor Sapp is a 2019 ELTons Awards Finalist in Innovation in English Language Teaching in Learner Resources. This book has been selected as a finalist by a panel of experts from among 150 international products, publications and services as meeting the stringent criteria for innovation and practical application. Winners of the 17th British Council ELTons Awards for Innovation in English Language Teaching will be announced at the award ceremony in central London on Monday 10 June 2019. Find out more or watch the live webcast at http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/eltons. About the […]

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Technology in the ESL Classroom

I’ve just gotten back from the TESOL Convention and I learned quite a bit and met quite a few interesting people. One topic that kept coming up again and again was the question of technology in the ESL Classroom. Every year, it seems like there’s a new app or website for teaching English. And there’s always a new online tutoring company-the newest one this year had some kind of rabbit mascot that I only saw when they were filming promotional videos. In fact, with TESOL down and IATEFL still to go, there’s been quite a bit of chatter about […]

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Slides from TESOL 2019 Presentations

It was an honor to present at the 2019 TESOL Conference and spread the word about using drama and video in language learning. Our author, Taylor Sapp, also presented on using his story prompts to help reluctant writers write and I hear it was very well-received. Patrice Palmer presented on teamwork skills and is getting ready to release a book on teacher self-care later this year! In case you’re looking for our slides from TESOL. I have put them on the TESOL schedule website/app. But I’d also like to share my presentations to make sure everyone gets a chance […]

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The banner from TESOL19 featuring a yellow background, a picture of the Georgia World Congress Center, and the words TESOL 2019. Check out our slides from TESOL

Come Learn with Us at TESOL19

We’re going to be at TESOL19 Convention this year exhibiting at Booth 939, so please come on down and check out our books, including our newest releases: Adrift, Short Plays for Language Learners, and 60 Positive Activities for Kids. You can also hear about what we’ve got coming for the rest of 2019, download a free ebook, enter our raffle, and watch some movies! But they’re educational movies, so it’s OK! We’ll also be presenting on our books and how to use them in the classroom. Here’s our list of TESOL19 sessions. If you scroll down, you’ll also find […]

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Adrift a video drama series for English Language Learners from Alphabet Publishing and Chasing Time English

Are You Teaching the Hidden Grammar of Conversation?

We’re excited to a brand-new series, Adrift, a four-episode video drama and accompanying coursebook for learners created by Chasing Time English for C1+/advanced language learners. The videos (available for free on the Chasing Time English site) provide engaging input for natural language as well as demonstrating how body language, gesture, facial expression, and voice are used to communicate non-verbally. And the story line will get students talking as if it were their new favorite TV show: A man wakes up in a mysterious room. An unknown agent interrogates him about his last job, a job that went wrong, unbeknownst […]

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How to Put on a Play in Class

The benefits of drama in the English classroom are surprising. Students learn and practice a variety of acting skills, using their bodies and voices to make meaning. When they put on a play, what to say is given to them so they can focus on how to say it. Speaking with emotion and attitude are skills we don’t always find in our coursebooks. And when students act a role, it’s a sort of safe space where they can make mistakes. Plays are also usually written in natural language so they are a wealth of idioms and conversational expressions. They are […]

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Copyright Page for Textbooks

If you’re a small publisher or self-publisher, keeping your business afloat is not easy. And one thing that eats into your profits is when teachers photocopy books that aren’t photocopiable. Textbooks and workbooks make money by selling class sets; that’s just how it works. So while I sympathize with teachers who buy a book and photocopy it over and over (If you can’t afford class sets, talk to your school administrators. They should be providing you with the tools you need in the quantity you need them.) , that practice makes it impossible to continue producing quality work.  So, […]

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