Category Archives: English Lessons

Thinking about the Future on the Day the Clocks Fall Back, November 3, 2019

… In English we deal with the future by using nine helping verbs called the modals: will, shall, can, could, would, should, may, might and must. Only will will ever happen; all the others are possibilities, the wouldas, couldas, and shouldas of the world. Every […]

ESL Lesson: Parts of Speech

… Objective: This lesson is for beginner ESL students to understand how English works. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are discussed by the teacher with enough information for the learners to recognize them in the sentences. The main objective is to give students the […]

ESL Lesson: Reading a Short Story: Daydream

… Daydream by Roberta Allen Introduction: This activity is for students with high beginner to low intermediate skills; they are beginning to know enough English to work with others reading, speaking and writing it. Communication has begun. The first activities in this reading lesson are […]

An ESL Lesson: Writing a Story Using Picture Prompts and Correction Marks

… To the teacher: I took the idea for this lesson from an ESL workbook that I used many years ago. Nothing remains of the book, but for this picture, which I now use as a prompt to get students to write a story together. […]

American Music: Writing Lesson One: Pick A Bale Of Cotton. What is Rhythm? Template for a Five Paragraph Essay

… Handout One: The Work Song (making a list) … … … Handout Two: Pick A Bale Of Cotton (examining lyrics) … … … Handout Three: What is Rhythm? … … … Handout Four: Writing a song, and then an essay … … Lesson One: […]

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. […]

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 […]

Robert Frost reads Acquainted with the Night (a closer look at the present perfect tense in English)

… Acquainted with the Night I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his […]

Poetry Lesson: Fog by Carl Sandburg

… What follows is an ESL 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 examine […]

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 […]