Thursday, March 26, 2015

New: Job Satisfaction Vocabulary Activity, Glossary and Discussion Questions

New today on is a Business English vocabulary activity on the topic of job satisfaction. This activity allows students to practise 27 words and is smartphone-friendly. It comes with a glossary and discussion questions.

Activity URL:
Discussion questions:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ESL Teaching Resources: Holidays

A new mini-unit has been added to the site, on the topic of 'holidays'. It can be done online or downloaded as a pdf. It is free for teachers to use and distribute with their classes.

The topic begins with a warm-up discussion, and then there is a short quiz to test the students' knowledge of holidays around the world. This is followed by a reading activity on the Indian festival of Diwali. Next, there is a grammar activity, which is a review of the passive voice used in the present simple tense. The examples covered in the grammar section will come up in the listening section, which is on Chinese New Year. The follow-up activities are a class presentation or a writing activity.

The online materials have been designed to work nicely on a smartboard. Students can access the materials on their smartphones, too, including the quizzes and the listening audio. Alternatively, the unit can be downloaded in pdf format, printed out and distributed. (The teacher will still need to log in for the listening clip.)



Sunday, March 01, 2015

Something for teachers to think about when asking questions

 Questions must be guided by definite aims. They should be asked:

-- to test a student's preparation (Find out if students did their homework.)

-- arouse interest (Bring them into the lesson by motivating them.)

-- to develop insights (Cause them to see new relationships.)

-- to develop ideals, attitudes and appreciations (Ask questions that cause students to get more than knowledge in the classroom.)

-- to strengthen learning (Review and summarize what is taught.)

-- to stimulate critical thinking (Develop a questioning attitude.)

-- to test achievement of objectives (Check to see if what has been taught "sank in.")

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Vocab used in law and courts

Here is an activity to help intermediate - advanced ESL learners understand all those words in the courtroom dramas and detective shows that we always see on tv - words such as jury, attorney, prosecution, testimony.

The activity is presented as a series of short newspaper articles with questions on vocab contained in the article.

The activity is mobile-friendly.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

If OCTO means eight, why is October the TENTH month?

If you know your prefixes, you will know that OCTO- or OCTA- means eight. An octopus has eight legs. An octagon has eight sides. SEPT- means seven. NOV- means nine and DEC- means ten. So why, for instance, is October the tenth month and December the twelfth month?

The reason is simple. The Romans used to do things in tens and they used to have ten months in a year. Then along came Julius Caesar, and the Roman Senate named a month after him - July. Augustus Caesar also got a month named after him - August.

So September - December were bumped forward and became the ninth - twelfth months, despite what their names suggest!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Update: Movie Vocabulary

The Movie Vocabulary activity has been updated to work on mobile devices:


Monday, February 09, 2015

Business English: How to Write an Email of Enquiry...

I have just added a Business English section to the site:

The first articles in the section deal with how to write an email of enquiry or a reply to an email of enquiry.

The aim of these articles is to show realistic examples that are carefully planned and written in plain, clear English. There are also writing tasks that teachers could use in their classes.