Category Archives: Lessons

English and poetry 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 […]

Shakespeare portrait

Shakespeare’s Sonnets 1 – 10

… The texts for the following sonnets are taken from The Pelican Shakespeare and read by Simon Callow. Enjoy. … Sonnet 1 From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty’s rose might never die, But as the riper should by time decease, His tender […]

T.S. Eliot

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 […]

Edna St. Vincent Millay

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 for […]

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 […]

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 […]

CIMG5102

Forget: Beautiful thoughts simply expressed

… Beautiful thoughts aren’t always pretty and neither are beautiful words. At the poetry workshop this summer at Wuhan I’d show two short poems by Alice Notley that were simple to understand. Here is one of them. After Tsang Chih I was brought up in […]