Category Archives: ESL Lessons

Syntax

Learning English: Simple Sentence Syntax

If you were going to teach English to someone who was just beginning to learn it, what would you teach? There is a game I sometimes play with beginners, a kind of bingo with a die and some beans for markers. Call it Syntax. Student […]

principle parts copy 2

Learning English: Main Verbs

… To the English Learner: If you want to learn English, begin with the verbs. That is where the action is. This is true with any language, and very true with English because what makes English English are its helping verbs. But let’s look at […]

Collage of Sandburg on a wall in Philly

Poetry Lesson: Fog by Carl Sandburg

… What follows is an ESL (English) lesson I use with Fog by Carl Sandburg. I present it from the point of view of a teacher talking. The objective is to get the student writing, and that process is divided into three parts. Students first […]

Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson: A closer look at and a lesson for an ESL teacher

… I love and yet have mixed feelings about a poem by Emily Dickinson, but it doesn’t stop me from using it in a poetry lesson for students who are learning the English language. I let the class memorize the first stanza to exercise their […]

correction marks

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Four: Writing a Story and Using Correction Marks

… Introduction: If we want students to write well, it’s good to emphasize correction marks. When students use them, it helps them to focus on the writing and to think about punctuation and syntax. All correction marks are pretty similar. I’ve borrowed some of mine […]

Sentences

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Three: Practicing Syntax: Agreeing and Disagreeing (either, neither, and, but, so, and too)

… Introduction: The first four activities in this lesson are pre-reading ones, designed to get students used to working together writing, talking and thinking about language and syntax. In this activity, the teacher talk is about main verbs and helping verbs in compound sentences. The […]

Simple sentence

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Two: Writing Simple Sentences

… Objective: Students will understand the simple structure of a sentence by writing four kinds of sentences using the completed Venn diagrams from Activity One as prompts: affirmative and negative sentences, and Yes/No and explanation questions. Students will write explanation questions of their own, ask […]

Handout One

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity One: Similarities and Differences

… Introduction: Because a fable like the Rabbit and the Turtle deals with essential human truths everyone understands, it’s a good place for ESL students to start to work together. This lesson is geared toward High Beginners/Low Intermediates, but it can be ratcheted up or […]

CIMG6874

Bernadette Mayer’s Tomorrow: writing in the future

… I admire a poem by Bernadette Mayer called Tomorrow. It’s from a book of hers called Scarlet Tanager. The poem is a good prompt to get my ESL students writing about the future and the conditional. In the poem Bernadette moves at an impossible […]

aicCorpses

Exquisite Corpses: Wuhan Poetry 2010

… The six photos above were picked at random. I first picked 13 because 13 is one of my favorite numbers, then I flipped a coin, tails (odds) and heads (even) to eliminate either 6 or 7 of them. It came up heads so I […]