Valentine’s Day

Here is a place to see and practice some of the vocabulary associated with Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is always on Feb.14, and isn’t a legal holiday at all. It’s associated with cards and little gifts for our favorite romantic partner and people we feel special affection for. Schoolchildren often make or bring Valentines for each of their classmates and the teacher too.

Valentines Concentration

And here’s a print-out board game that generates some questions for discussion of relationships and romance. Ooh la la!

The verb “to marry” is tricky in English. Don’t forget: in English, one is married to someone, not with someone. Here’s a good practice site.

Adorable video/writing prompt:   What happened that started all of Cupid’s problems? What do you think happens after the video ends?

Special Places On-line to Practice English

Cartoon drawings to use as prompts for simple verb practices. What does he do on Mondays? (He cooks.) What did he do yesterday? (He cooked.) What is he doing right now? (He’s cooking.) What was he doing at noon yesterday? (He was cooking.) What has he been doing this week? (He’s been cooking.) 
Want to work in a restaurant? A doctor’s office? A hotel? 
Vocabulary/phrases for the workplace _ restaurants has many interesting multi-level ways to improve listening comprehension and pick up new vocabulary painlessly.
Fabrics ans Materials used in Clothing
Create a comic strip: Graphic design symbols and commands, plus a chance to write a simple script. 
(If you email your strip to me, I will correct the English and email it back to you. No rude or vulgar words, please! Send to:


Taking a Phone Message

This is an excellent clip to use for practicing taking phone messages. Notice that it is normal to speak a little more slowly when leaving a message.  ESL students would be wise to learn the NATO alphabet to help spell out names and addresses. For example: “My name is Kayla.That’s kilo-alpha-yankee-lima-alpha.” (Google “NATO alphabet” if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Other common words, such as “K as in kangaroo,” are acceptable too.) Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone to repeat a message. So many English words sound alike, English speakers do it all the time. And it’s also important to repeat the message back to the caller, to be sure you wrote down a name and phone number correctly.

We Shall Overcome

We Shall Overcome is the most famous song of the American Civil Rights era, which brought an end to race-based laws and mandatory segregation of the races in the Southern states. The first version is karaoke, to help you with the words. The second version includes many famous singers, such as Joan Baez. “We Shall Overcome” has become a universal cry for social justice. Baez sang the song in honor of dissident playwright Vaclav Havel during The Czech Republic’s “Velvet Revolution,” and in honor of South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandella.


A school teacher wrote this wonderful song about Rosa Parks, a woman who became famous for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a White man in 1955. In the song, you hear the idiom: “to freak someone out.” It means to upset someone almost to the point of insanity. Parks’ refusal to submit to an unfair racial code “freaked out” the White people in power.

Learning to Write What You See

Here’s a fun way to learn to write. Use a video such as:

or turn off the sound on a movie. Try to write what is happening on the screen as quickly and simply as you can. Ask another student or a friend to read out loud what you have written. You will be surprised how many of your own mistakes you can correct by yourself.

Season’s Greetings!

Open this link, type a command and watch Santa do as you say. Remember that the reindeer’s name is “Rudolph.” (Pet Rudolph, Santa.)

Here is a famous American story about Christmas in simplified English. Jim and Della were a poor young married couple who only had two things of value: his pocket watch and her beautiful hair …

Everyday Pronunciation of Questions With Reduced Sounds, Part 1

Try not to pronounce English word-by-word, although we will probably understand you if you do. But you may not understand what English-speakers are saying if you expect to hear us pronounce each word distinctly. The audio link in this post asks each of the following questions four times. Notice that there are variations among the four.

Where did you get it?    Where did he go?

What did you do?    What do you mean?    What did you mean?

What do you think?      What do you want?

When do you want to go?

questions with reduced sounds 1