Listening Skills: websites & resources

9th June 2021

Listening Skills

The following websites are good for listening practice.

What are the pros and cons of each one ?

What do you like or dislike about them ?

How helpful do you find them ?

Try to use complex sentences in forming your answers, giving reasons and your thoughts.

Example: For me, the best site was (Speakgood.com) because it was well designed, easy to use and extremely helpful. I especially appreciated the subtitles which enabled me to understand what was being said.

Fitness is a way of life: Actor Asha Bhat | Hindustan Times

British Council (LearnEnglish Teens). Home – skills – listening: https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/listening

Newsinlevels.com: https://www.newsinlevels.com/

This was recommended to me by my Brazilian friend, Ana (also a ESL teacher). Small news stories are told at three levels of English, and you can listen first, then read the text. Also a good way to learn new vocabulary. Having said that, the speaking is rather flat and lacking in intonation.

BBC Learning English (for pronunciation): http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/pronunciation

Small videos focusing on individual sounds and letters.

Learn English with Emma

https://www.youtube.com/user/EnglishTeacherEmma

Mad English TV: https://www.youtube.com/c/MadEnglishTV/videos

A YouTube channel for learning. I’ve used some of these videos for adult classes.

TOEIC Channel: https://www.youtube.com/embed/SJlu–hdFQU?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent&listType=playlist&list=PL4IJAxR6Bqq8vP0kEeQRgU6lUe4s4u2DW

Many videos with large text, for beginners. Over twenty dialogues for you to listen to and repeat.

English Class 101: https://www.youtube.com/embed/XtEixjKMPfM?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&start=307&wmode=transparent

Perfect for Lockdown, a 90 minute lesson featuring British English. If you are unable to attend a physical class, this could be a useful refresher.

Pronunciation – plosives (b / d / g / k / p / t) (0.39 – end) http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/pronunciation/tims-pronunciation-workshop-ep-17

Also listen to music (with lyrics)

Films (short clips – 30 seconds to 1 minute)

TV shows with subtitles.

Try these:

Music and what better than The Beatles (‘Help’): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po5ti70U0bc

Any English song with lyrics (words) will be a great way to learn, and fun as well.

Film ‘King’s Speech’, an Oscar-winning film from 2010: https://www.youtube.com/embed/3oFmeT1RVQs?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

TV show – ‘Eastenders’

This is a ‘soap opera’ – a TV drama that is shown two or three times a week. Each episode last 30 minutes and has many different characters. This drama is set in east London, so many people have an accent typical of that area. See how much you understand: https://www.youtube.com/embed/qgUf9hlTnnU?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Poems for pronunciation practice.

16th April 2021

I loved the beat generation. Then I realised it has no place for women |  Books | The Guardian
Members of the ‘Beat Generation’ hanging out & chewing the fat in New York, 1950s. Allen Ginsberg, whose poem ‘Howl’ ends this blog, is on the right, smoking a cigarette.

A major issue I encounter with ESL students is pronunciation and associated features such as intonation, stress, rhythm and pacing. Therefore, I decided to select some English-language poems for practice in class, while online students can find a multitude of YouTube videos of poems being recited by professional actors. I shall add some links at the end of the blog.

Now, without further ado, poetry.

Amazon.com: Poetry: Jeong-hie Yun, Da-wit Lee, Hee-ra Kim, Nae-sang Ahn,  Myeong-shin Park, Yong-taek Kim, Hyun Seok Kim, Chang-dong Lee, Hyun Kim,  Dong-ha Lee, Jun-dong Lee, Michel Saint-Jean, Myung-soo Jung, Seung-ho Lee,  Sung-min
Poetry can take many forms, not just writing; poetry in cinema, in dance, in speech … in life.

Let’s take a look at the first poem, ‘Dreams’ from 1922.

Recite the poem slowly and clearly. In the first line, stress ‘fast‘ and ‘dreams‘.

Secondly, listen for the rhyming pattern in lines 2 & 4: ‘die’ rhymes with ‘fly’, while verse 2 rhymes ‘go’ with ‘snow.’

Regarding ‘colour’, which tone of voice to use, decide if this is a positive or negative poem. Discuss in class what you think and give reasons.

Remember, art (painting, cinema, literature etc) is subjective; each person is allowed to have their own opinion. Develop speaking skills to enable you to support your views (give reasons).

Dreams

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Read more at: https://www.biography.com/news/langston-hughes-poems

The following poem, from 1938, was featured in the British film ‘Four Weddings and a funeral’ (1994), and may be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDXWclpGhcg&ab_channel=englishclasspoems

Funeral Blues

By W.H. AUDEN

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

A highly emotional rendition, one person expressing their feelings over a loved-one’s death.

Let’s continue with a nonsense poem by Edward Lear from 1876:

The Akond of Swat

Who, or why, or which, or what, Is the Akond of SWAT?

Is he tall or short, or dark or fair?
Does he sit on a stool or a sofa or a chair,
        or SQUAT,
    The Akond of Swat?

Is he wise or foolish, young or old?
Does he drink his soup and his coffee cold,
        or HOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

Does he sing or whistle, jabber or talk,
And when riding abroad does he gallop or walk
        or TROT,
    The Akond of Swat?

Does he wear a turban, a fez, or a hat?
Does he sleep on a mattress, a bed, or a mat,
        or COT,
    The Akond of Swat?

A great poem to demonstrate rhythm as well as ‘floating opposites’ e.g. young & old, hot & cold, not forgetting synonyms such as talk & jabber. Now, for really advanced beatniks, try the beginning of the famous, indeed infamous, poem ‘Howl’

Howl, Parts I & II

Allen Ginsberg  1926-1997

For Carl Solomon

I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, …

The poem, along with a recitation by the poet, may be accessed here:

https://poets.org/poem/howl-parts-i-ii

And now, as promised, some YouTube links of magnificent actors reciting majestic poems.

First up, Richard Burton reading the beginning of fellow Welshman Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’.

Now Benedict Cumberbatch, who you may know better as Sherlock or Dr Strange, reciting a John Keats poem, ‘Ode to a Nightingale.’

Finally, Amanda Gorman reading her own ‘The Hill we Climb’ from President Biden’s inauguration 2021.

Mindset 2, Lesson 1: Say it, feel it, ace it !

15th April 2021

May be an image of 2 people
Are you ready for Level 2 ? All right, let’s hit the books !

First up, new and familiar idioms:

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

it’s raining cats and dogs

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

NOW … your turn … what idioms fits ?

Lunatics Paradise: Australia's Renewables Fiasco Like Living in a Madhouse  – STOP THESE THINGS

At breaktimes, all the younglings come pouring out of their classes, screaming their little heads off …

it’s ___________________________________

Students protest against tuition fees - BBC News

Students are unhappy about tuition fees

They are _____________

You still can!': Music teacher champions adult students learning violin

She can speak five languages, do karate and is now learning violin

She has added __________________________

Yawning Girl Reading A Boring Book Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 19559231.

She thought the novel would be extremely exciting.

Unfortunately, for her, it’s just a ___________________ story.

Street Photography in Austin - Assignment Chicago

Some areas of downtown are no-go areas.

You really _________________________________________ if you go after dark and alone.

buster-keaton-396846_640

Poor Buster is so funny, yet he always looks _______________________

Oh, dear …

This beautiful young lady seems to be upset about something.

Angry woman screaming against her husband with his face deformed - eniGma  Magazine

Possibly something the man said is a ______________________ with her ?

Excited Motivated Multiracial Business Team Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1037298239 | Shutterstock

We’re going to have a tremendous success with our new product which we shall be launching in Europe, the US and parts of Asia.

We’re really going to ________________________________

Marcello Mastroianni

Excuse me, I have to take this call _______________________

Extra exercises may be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

IELTS students always need to concentrate on expanding their lexical resources. Having said that, I feel this class needs extra work on fluency and pronunciation. To that end, some exercises to assist:

Exercise 1: Just a minute. In pairs, one student has to speak for one minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation.

The subjects are: Your favourite gift // your neighbourhood // what you like about your city // shopping // your family

Exercise 2: Newsreader. Read the following extracts with appropriate pronunciation, intonation and stress, not forgetting body language.

Some stories are sombre (sad, solemn), others convey information that is somewhat depressing or raise concern. However, we end with some lighter entertainment gossip and football transfer speculation.

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II returned to royal duties just four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, with her first in-person event Tuesday.

The queen hosted a ceremony at Windsor Castle for William Peel, who retired after serving for 14 years as lord chamberlain, the most senior aide in the royal household.

A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, or WTTC, has revealed the full extent of the damage done to the global travel industry in 2020 after business was devastated by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, the sector’s income slumped by almost $4.5 trillion last year. In 2019, travel and tourism was linked to one in four of all new jobs created around the world. But in 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost.

HCMC – The Ministry of Health has confirmed 16 new imported Covid-19 cases in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Hanoi, Danang, Quang Nam and HCMC, taking the country’s tally to 2,733 as of tonight, April 14.

Five of the new cases were reported in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The patients, aged between 29 and 39, returned to Vietnam from Russia on Flight VN5062 on April 12. They were immediately transported to Ba Ria-Vung Tau for quarantine after arriving at the HCMC-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport. All of them are being treated at Long Dien District Medical Center.

Who is Hey Stephen by Taylor Swift about?

The song is about a crush Taylor had on Stephen Barker Liles, who’s in the band Love and Theft.

The two reportedly met in 2008 when his band was opening up for her on tour.

Speaking to Access Online, Taylor said: “The song is actually about a guy who I had a crush on and never told him.

“So I wrote everything that I was thinking down in the song instead of telling him.”

Manchester United are eager to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus – according to Sai Gon Post.

The Red Devils will consider an exchange deal that would see Paul Pogba return to Turin in order to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford this summer.

United are on course to receive a big payout for finishing in the Premier League’s top four again, and plan to put those funds towards the re-capture of a club legend.

See you next week

May be an image of 10 people
Vietnam festival, London 2012 … it was raining cats and dogs !

IELTS: Mindset 2 first review

22nd December 2020

IELTS information for Ghana students – Achilinks Consult
Ready to pass with flying colours

After three or four lessons, I expect my students to know several common idioms (their meaning and how to use them appropriately), a number of low-frequency words (L-FWs), how to introduce an answer, how to form a complex sentence and to demonstrate varieties of intonation and stress.

Without these features, you ain’t gonna get above a ‘5’, no way. Therefore, time for a quick review, see how you’re measuring up to the standard, whether you need to turn over a new leaf and put your nose to the grindstone.

Therefore, let’s recap

Idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

5 Best IELTS Practice Tests for International Students | ApplyBoard
Students putting their noses to the grindstone

Part 1: What do the aforementioned idioms mean ?

Part 2: Give each student an idiom. They have to use it, correctly, in a sentence.

L-FWs:

gritty / industrial / quite / safe / residential / boring / peaceful / suburban / bustling / vibrant / city centre.

ubiquitous // naïve // stroll // a bazaar // bizarre // predictable

absent-minded // sky-high, astronomical // an entrepreneur //

hawkers or peddlers // a mover and a shaker // consider //

Part 3: Students have to describe their neighbourhood, using as many L-FWs, and idioms, as they are able.

Encouraging IELTS students to read beyond the course book | Collins ELT
Students burning the candle at both ends

Introductions:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Part 4: Students have to demonstrate they know how to introduce their answer.

What do you want to do in the future ?

Give them one minute to prepare a very short reply.

Student Visa For Australia Without Ielts 12th Pass Students in Jalandhar,  VISA Solution Services | ID: 8848189962
It’s funny you asked me that question because recently, I have been considering moving to Australia …

Complex Sentences:

Part 5: Moving on, students have to form complex sentences out of the following information, using intonation to reflect excitement or a positive point and, conversely, a negative factor. Discourse markers to be employed in order to link ideas, naturally. Furthermore, I shall be listening for adverbs and adjectives.

First, choose the correct relative pronoun (who, which, whose or where)

London //

capital of UK // many shops and museums // expensive and cold

Teacher John //

from New Zealand // smiles and plays guitar // talks too fast

Ironman //

real name Tony Starke // very rich and intelligent // is fictional

Thailand //

90 minutes flight from HCMC // friendly people, great food // many western tourists and crowded

ABC English Centre //

located in city centre, District 1 // use laptops and tablets in classes // lessons are four hours long, with extra homework.

Team work

Part 6: Class split into two teams. They have to plan a day in their city (here, of course, it’s Sai Gon) for my friend Ethan.

The exercise can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

Just look for this picture:

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...

Finally: review negotiation language. Watch this video and discuss your views on the tourists opinion of Sai Gon:

How do the tourists feel about the city ?

As residents, do you agree with the review ?

Students can discuss the video using the following language:

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I disagree // I’m not entirely sure about that // No way ! // They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

IELTS: Intonation, stress, let me feel the emotion (Volume 1)

16th November 2020

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for my Asian students is copying the speech patterns of English, how our voices rise and fall, how we pause for effect then stress key words, augmented by body language and facial expressions.

Best way to improve is to copy so, without further ado, some classic film lines.

Let’s dive in !

First up, ‘The Italian Job’, a British film from 1969 starring Michael Caine, who is still working today, an actor from south London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g_GeQR8fJo

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off !”

Now, let’s cross the pond (the Atlantic Ocean) and go Stateside, with Tom Cruise being yelled at (shouted at) by Jack Nicholson who you may remember from a previous video. The clip is from ‘A Few Good Men,’ a 1992 drama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo

This can be for two students or teams: Start at 0:13 – 0:19

“You want answers,”

“I want the truth,”

“You can’t handle the truth !”

Movin’ on, most of most students are teenagers … this one’s for them. Emely Martinez and some informal, vernacular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7nyqZJG1WU&list=PLcFdqEA1TNzMEObFQ-XYy4u6dYnrkUSEa&index=13

Watch from the beginning

“Oh my gosh, I think I’ve just come up with the best theory … teenage life sucks !”

Now for a personal favourite, the inimitable Peter O’Toole an actor I had the pleasure of seeing, and briefly meeting, back in my London days. Here, Peter is on a talk show, explaining about a long, arduous flight from Japan to the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuhHThAaymQ

I heartily recommend watching the whole clip, however our section starts at 2:21

“Coming from Japan, one indeed stops at lots of places … Hawaii and all over … and it coincided, our stopping, with the cocktail hour … everywhere we went, it was cocktail hour … and one doesn’t want to be discourteous …”

Finally, my favourite TV chef (after Keith Floyd, obviously) is the beautiful Ching-He Huang

My Day on a Plate: Ching He-Huang

Here’s an assortment of phrases and lines from one of her numerous YouTube clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVmAMQYTtHk

The whole clip is under two minutes. Here are some selections, in order of appearance.

“From street food to fine dining, Hong Kong is the place that has some of the best food on the planet. Every time I come my absolute favourite thing to do is eat.”

“So this is the pineapple bun, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for, it’s flakey and it’s sweet … it’s really good.”

“It’s small and punchy … just like you !”

“The sweetness of the prawns … eeerrrrrrrr !”

“This is some serious woking !”

The last phrase shows how we can play with English; a wok is a traditional Chinese frying pan. Here, Ching uses the noun (wok) to form a verb (woking), which is non-standard, in fact, it isn’t in any of the online dictionaries I searched. Having said that, most native-English speakers watching the show will know what she means.

If you are unsure, Ching is saying that the restaurant is extremely busy, there is a lot of high-energy cooking going on (woks are associated with high-temperature, very quick dishes).

Ching-He Huang recipes - BBC Food

IELTS: Be “industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic” students

6th November 2020

IELTS Mindset 2 Unit 1:Listening

How to start turning standard English into IELTS-style answers

Tips:

Introduce your answer

Paraphrase the question

Use low-frequency words (LFW)

Think what idiom or expression is appropriate

Use intonation and stress

Speak fluently and pace yourself

For a database of idioms and IELTS – language you will need to know, click here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

Example:

Last week we used these words:

city centre / industrial / residential / suburban

quite / safe / vibrant / boring / peaceful

bustling / gritty

Which adjectives could describe the four types of area ?

NEXT UP:

Speaking exercise – imagine you live in the first picture. Describe the neighbourhood and your life. However, when you get a high-paying job, you want to take out a mortgage and move to the second picture. Describe that neighbourhood.

New Barlinnie super-prison to be moved next to iconic Provan gasworks -  Glasgow Live
The Impact Of Covid-19 On Residential Living - London Belgravia Real Estate

NEXT UP:

Introducing and expanding your answer

Coffee Shop (Jin and Ru) | Cute korean girl, Ulzzang korean girl, Ulzzang  girl
Starbucks in Seoul: How the Seattle Chain Flooded South Korea

Do you like coffee ?

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages.

NB (Latin – nota bene = note well, please read, important information)

  1. I didn’t answer immediately but introduced the question.
  2. Use of discourse markers to extend the answer
  3. Saying something positive and negative about the subject
  4. This was all one sentence – a complex sentence which you will need to start using in order to pass IELTS with flying colours

Try these:

  • Living in HCM
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

New vocabulary

ubiquitous everywhere, very common

naïve innocent, inexperienced

stroll a gentle walk, for exercise (collocation: take a stroll)

a bazaar (noun) a permanent, covered market 

bizarre (adjective) very strange, unusual

absent-minded extremely forgetful

sky-high, astronomical very expensive, maybe too expensive

predictable it is possible to guess the answer, people doing the same thing

hawkers

Street _______ are common in Vietnam, and they are _________ in District 1. It is nearly impossible for a westerner to take a ________ without being approached. Some claim to sell Ray Bans or designer sunglasses, but you would have to be extremely ________ to believe they are genuine ! They are all fake, probably made in China. Many people try to _____(collocation) money by selling to tourists especially around Ben Thanh Market, a kind of _______, though this is strictly for tourists as the prices are ____________ !

Pronunciation Practice

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

Young Learners, Level 4: Safety First … and the gunpowder plot !

29th October 2020

E up U 1, L4 & U 2, L1

Objectives:

review recent vocabulary

sentence building

develop the use of intonation and stress in natural speech.

Warm Up:

Two teams – on the board, six sports but the letters are tangled. One member of each team has to write the correct spelling.

kis // odosabrnw // cie-etksa // ni-niel akste // aabkrdoset // furs

Next up:

Three boys and three girls holding the six sports flashcards. Three hold the cards the right way up, the others hold their cards upside down.

If the card is the right way up, it means the student is good at the sport.

First I will ask: Is he or she good at (surfing) ? The class will answer, using previously taught vocabulary,

“Yes, he’s / she’s very good at it.”

“No, he’s / she’s not very good at it.”

Partner work:

Ask each other, or in small groups, “What are you good at ?”

Examples:

Safety Last (Harold Lloyd, 1923, USA, 73', BW, silent) | BOZAR Brussels

I’m very good at climbing

67 Best Big Fish images in 2020 | big fish, fish, monster fishing

I’m very good at fishing

I was so happy': 8-year-old Japanese drummer talks viral fame, Robert Plant  and the secret to great drumming | CBC Radio

Is she good at playing drums ? Yes, she ….

frank spencer is rollerskating.wmv on Make a GIF

Is he good at in-line skating ? No, he …

Adjective round up:

A chance to encourage students to extend their English skills.

First, opposites

Big _______ // huge ________ // scared ________ // dangerous _______ // happy ______ // cheap ________ // boring ________ // hard-working ____

Next, tell me about the man. What does he look like ? What does he wear ? What is he doing ? Is he scared ? Is he brave ?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEcTjhUN_7U&t=148s

start clip at 03.00

Which brings us to the theme of safety and the book work for the Saturday Class.

E up U 2, L 1

British culture

As a break, a little introduction to the UK and its history and traditions. The beginning of November sees Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night

Image result for guy fawkes mask

In 1605, a group of men wanted to kill the King of England, James I. They wanted to blow up the building where the King was going to be, so they hid 36 barrels of gunpowder under the building. However, the King’s soldiers found one of the men, Guy Fawkes, and arrested him. The King was safe ! To celebrate, people made giants fires called bonfires : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wnq7aqHLCSM

Start and play up to 0:52 to explain the background, then from 3:25 and have the class copy the children in the video. This helps with pronunciation as well as learning new words, and learning about Britain.

Image result for guy fawkes dummy

We still do this today. Also, children help to make a Guy Fawkes from old clothes and old bags, and then adults put it on the fire. Finally, there are fireworks, sometimes at home, sometimes in parks so everyone can see.

Image result for guy fawkes dummy

Many different types of fireworks are used:

Some young children are holding sparklers – they have to wear gloves and be VERY CAREFUL.

Image result for 5th nov fireworks
5th November fireworks in London

Past Tense: Various exercises

21st October 2020

An omnibus of past tense exercises

Most common verbs infinite / past / past participle

Exercises

Pronunciation guide

TOP 25 REMEMBERING THE PAST QUOTES (of 78) | A-Z Quotes
because practice makes perfect

15 most common verbs:

infinite \ present // past // past participle (verb 3)

1to bewas werebeen
2to havehadhad
3to dodiddone
4to saysaidsaid
5to gowentgone
6to getgotgot/gotten
7to makemademade
8to knowknewknown
9to thinkthoughtthought
10to taketooktaken
11to seesawseen
12to comecamecome
13to wantwantedwanted
14to useusedused
15to findfoundfound

Regular verbs: just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.

NOTE: ‘to be’ is different:

I am hungry / You are hungry / She is hungry / We are hungry

Now, practice: In groups of three or four, ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Let’s start simply:

What did you do today ? 

Each student takes turns describing their day. Use these photos to help you.

Related image
Related image
Image result for go to school
Image result for easy rider bike
Related image

Extra practice:

buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

Present tense ——– Past tense

act —— acted

go —- went

learn —— learned OR learnt

play — played

read —– read (pronounced ‘red)

ride —— rode

sleep —– slept

watch —- watched (pronounced ‘watch -t‘)

win —- won

What is the past tense ?

I act in a film. Last week I ______ in a film.

I go to London. Last year I _______________ to London.

I ride an elephant. Last month I ___________ an elephant.

I learn English.

Last Saturday, we ___________ English with Mr Paul.

Piano playing monkey | Playing piano, See monkeys, Gershwin

The monkey plays piano.

Last night, the monkey _________ piano.

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She reads a book. Last Sunday she _____ a book.

He sleeps all day. Yesterday he _______ all day.

Sleep may trigger rhythmic power washing in the brain | Science News

I watch the amazing Spiderman.

Last week I ______ the amazing Spiderman.

Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man is a great New York movie

Put these verbs into the past tense, then complete the sentences:

want ———

take ———

decide ———

see ——–

buy ——–

think ——–

learn ——–

I —— to stay in bed this morning

She —– great photos with her new iPhoneX

We have —— to go to Thailand for Tet 

Last night I —- a great film !

He —- food for Christmas from Harrods.

Tuesday ! I —— today was Wednesday

We —– about past simple in our lesson.

Pronunciation guide

In English, verb can be regular or irregular.

Regular verbs add -ed or -d in the past tense.

EXAMPLE:

I walk to work // I WALKED to work

I play guitar // I PLAYED guitar

She smiles on TV / She SMILED on TV

They dance in T-ara // They DANCED in T-ara

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-ed past tense verbs pronunciation

Words have 3 end sounds:

‘t’

‘d

‘id’

If the word ends with: 

ch / f / k / p / s / sh / thi – The sound is ‘t’ look = ‘lookt’

t /or / d/ – The sound is ‘id’ visit – ‘visitid’

Other sounds are ‘d’ bang = ‘bangd’

What is the correct pronunciation for these regular verbs ?

Look = Looked // laugh = laughed // end = 

beg = / visit = / kiss = 

brush = / breath = / love =

Read these sentences:

He cleared up the mess / He rolled up the newspaper / I have visited India

No Homework ! That sounded good / Teacher shouted, ‘No way !’

We all worked hard today / Tom talked so much / 

The students played many games and laughed.

Top 10 Places to visit in India for First Time Traveler
They have visited India
8-year-old girl stuns playing 'complicated' Led Zeppelin song on drums -  National | Globalnews.ca
She has banged the drum !

Speaking Practice – warm up game

7th October 2020

An activity for all levels

Teaching speaking skills 1 | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

A major problem for students is pronunciation and also, in some classes, it can be rather tricky to get the students talking. Obviously, many learners are scared of mispronouncing and ‘losing face’ by their mistake.

This activity helps with both issues.

Arrange the class in small groups and hand each member an card. The students have to read out the information, while the other write down what they hear. Many of my students feel that work is something to be done as quickly as possible, but that will not work in this situation.

Instead, the other team members will need to check what is being said. This encourages slow, clear and careful pronunciation. To assist, use expressions such as:

Can you speak slower, please.

Would you mind speaking slower, please.

How do you spell that ?

Could you repeat that, please.

Sorry, I didn’t catch the phone number.

Let me confirm …

Is that ‘b’ as in blue or ‘p’ as in pink ?

Teachers: adapt to suit the level of your class. Add email address, specific requests etc

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Hi, my name is Jane

I’m 22 and work as DJ

I’m really into dancing and parties

I don’t like reading or housework

I hang out with my best besties

We go to clubs and bars

I get there by motorbike or taxi

My email is jane98@aol.com

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Hi, I’m James

I’m 27 and I’m a football coach

I like to watch films. I’m a gamer

I’m not into shopping or dancing

I meet up with my brother

I go to the gym and the cinema

I have my own motorbike, Yamaha

My mobile is 098 724 5628

Beautiful Mexican Women And How To Date Them

Hello my name is Anna /

I have just turned 19

I’m studying chemistry

In my free time, I eat out I love hanging out with my friends

My blog is AnChem@wordpress

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Hello, I’m Carole

I’m 35 and a university lecturer

I’m really into reading

I hate playing sports I detest clubs and loud music

My fb page is CaroleCambridge.

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Hi, call me Sarah All right ?

I will be 24 next week

I work in a shopping mall

I go to work by bus

I love eating out. Chinese food.

My cell is 089 428 1015

Genomind Blog | teen girls

I’m Tammy

I’m sweet 16

Next year I go to university

I love sitting in the park, reading

I enjoy listening to music & singing

Email me on tam16@yahoo.com

Womens Soccer League / Soccer Girls USA

Hello everyone, I’m Jill

I’m 16 …. no, I’m actually 27

I play football in USA

I go to the park on foot

We eat at Mexican restaurants

My number is 555 207 8291

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Hi. You can call me Billie

I don’t want to say my age !

I am a professional dancer

My partner gives me a lift to work

I want to work in the theatre

Contact on billie09@gmail.com

Herr Deutschland is a Berliner - EXBERLINER.com

My name is Harry Brown,

I come from Berlin, Germany

I listen to music and play football

I love shopping with my girlfriend

I usually grab a taxi

My phone is 39 402 4951

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My name is Peter

I was born in France

I watch movies at home and read

I hate theatre, it is so boring

I always use Grabbike.

Facebook me Peter of Paris

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My name is Julie

I’m an actress and I’m 31

I love theatre more than cinema

I often hang out in the park

Call on 38 703 8946

Chinese Students Need Faith | Christian Reformed Church

My name is Eric

I am only 18

I love football and playing piano

I never read books or go shopping

My iPhone was stolen in the park

NB: all images are taken from Google searches, (including ‘royalty-free images’) and the information is purely fictitious. As I have readers from around the world, I wish to reflect this diversity in the photos.

These blogs are for education use, and are not monetised. No copyright infringement or personal offense is intended at all.

If I have included your image, please accept my sincere apologies, and I shall remove the picture.

Train kept a-rollin’: Train videos for listening and vocabulary.

12th September 2020

A compilation of train-related videos to help you improve your listening skills and to increase your vocabulary.

Contents:

Trans-Siberian Railway:

Listening skills. Native and non-native speakers talking in English. English subtitles.

Shinkansen – 10 cool facts:

Listening to native and non-native speakers.

High-speed trains in China:

Listening skills. English pronunciation & vocabulary.

London Tube at rush hour:

A glimpse of London life.

Why trains can’t go uphill:

Listening skills. English pronunciation. Science vocabulary.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train

Vocabulary for very young learners.

Travelling – The Trans-Siberian Railway

Write down new expressions / vocabulary.

Do you understand the gist (the main points / keywords)

Would this appeal to you ? Why or why not ?

What would you need to bring ?

Shinkansen: Bullet Train – top ten facts:

This is as much as listening exercise as an engineering one. How much can you understand ? Which presenter is easier to understand, the young lady or the man from USA ?

High-speed trains in China:

London Tube at rush hour:

James May – why can’t trains go uphills ?

What do you think of James’ pronunciation – can you understand all ? Try to copy him.

What is the problem with trains and going up gradients ?

What do they struggle to do ?

What are the scientific reasons for this ?

Image result for steepest railroad in uk

What was the problem with James May speaking ?

James normally speaks quite clearly, but there were problems. This was due, I feel, to the speed and the amount of language. Look at this conversation analysis: (0. 10 – 0.42):

“And now, ‘Why can’t trains go uphills ?’ Well, the smarter ones amongst you will have recognised already, especially if you’re a qualified railway engineer, this is a bit of a trick question because of course, train can go uphills … they’re just not very good at it.

If you think about the topography of most of the world, this is clearly a bit of a problem. Human being can, albeit rather sweatily, motivate themselves up a gradient of around eighty degrees, or one in a quarter.”

Listen again– hear how James:

  • links words
  • uses expressions (bit of a)
  • adds addition information / commentary in supporting clauses. 
  • Creative use of adverbs – ‘sweatily’ shows how words can be made into adverbs by adding –ly to the end

Think – does James need to add the clauses ? What is the purpose ? Consider the medium (TV, internet, blog etc) and the target audience.

James is speaking to a fluent, English-speaking audience, probably native speakers, or people who have lived in the UK for a long time. Therefore, they will be more used to this natural way of speaking.

This is why I recommend student put their text books down and read real English books, watch English-speaking films and TV shows and sing English songs. It really helps.

He does make allowances for non-British audiences by showing two fifty-pence coins, but his language isn’t downgraded.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train: