Category Archives: English Lessons

The Rabbit and the Turtle: ESL Lesson 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 […]

The Rabbit and the Turtle: ESL Lesson Three: Discovering Adjectives and Adverbs

… Introduction: Adjectives and adverbs, and shortening compound sentences with neither, either, so, and too The first four lessons in The Rabbit and the Turtle are pre-reading, designed to get students used to working together writing, talking and thinking about language and syntax. In this […]

The Rabbit and the Turtle: ESL Lesson 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 […]

The Rabbit and the Turtle: ESL Lesson 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 […]

The Storm: Creation of a Poem

… In Wuhan, China, summer of 2008, one stormy evening after my poetry workshop, Richard, a young scientist majoring in Physics, offered to walk me back to the hotel sharing his umbrella in the pouring rain as we made it up the steps built into […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]