Category Archives: English Lessons

Walking and Thinking about the Present in English

… Walking through Tompkins Square, I see red roses in the brisk air. I’ve been thinking about the present because that is what I am going to be talking about with my students this morning, and here it is, a blooming rose. Although we call […]

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 […]

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 […]

On Nouns Becoming Verbs in English

… In English we can take a noun and change it into a verb and the sentence still makes sense. I saw an example recently. There was a sushi restaurant on First Avenue near St. Mark’s that had a great box lunch special. For around […]

William Blake’s To The Evening Star

… TO THE EVENING STAR THOU fair-hair’d angel of the evening, Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown Put on, and smile upon our evening bed! Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the […]

5 Poems by Robert Frost

The Tuft of Flowers “Iamb the Iamb,” Robert Frost said. As strictly as The Tuft of Flowers sticks to form (iambic pentameter couplets here), in the reading Frost changes words: the instead of a in a reedy brook and it really sounds like he says […]

5 More American Poets: Stein, Frost, Eliot, Pound & Eberhart

These poetry vimeos featuring the poets reading from their works ought to be a useful tool for any English or writing teacher. I took the readings from The Caedmon Collection Recordings and added the texts and other visuals hoping to enhance and help the poems […]

Robert Frost reads Acquainted with the Night (for the ESL student)

… Acquainted with the Night is a good poem to show English language learners the present perfect, that period of time in the past that comes right up to the present but remains unspecified: “I’ve walked a mile.” “But when?” The simple past comes to […]

5 American Poets

… The five poems and poets that follow are for English or ESL teachers who are looking to do a class with some poetry. I made videos to go with the poems just for the fun of it, but also to provide some visual food […]

Homesickness by Min

… It is a flying bird without feet but never gets tired It is a strong tree without roots but never turns weak It keeps disturbing wonderful dreams Hence souls wander forever … Min was a student of mine during my Wuhan University stay in […]

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 […]

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 […]