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

The U.S. Map; “Say” or “Tell?”; Four Parts of Speech

The word “tell” requires an object. “Say” does not require an object. 
Examples: What did you say? What did you say to him? I always say what I think.Tell me what you want. I told them what time the movie started.
Here’s a good place to test yourself on “say” and “tell.”
say/tell conversation

Remember: “Parts of Speech” in English tell us how a word is used. The same word may be several parts of speech, depending on how it’s used. 
“Dancing is fun.”  (The word dancing acts like a noun.)
“She is dancing the tango.”  (The word dancing is part of the verb)
“At the circus, we saw dancing horses.” (The word dancing is an adjective describing horses.) 
Here’s a super-fun game that let’s you practice identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
Parts of speech Jeopardy
For a quick, fairly accurate understanding of the origins of America’s Thanksgiving celebration, see:

How To Pronounce the Names of the 50 States

Many state names are difficult to pronounce and spell. Some were originally Native-American words. Others are Spanish words whose pronunciation has been anglicized. Note that “Arkansas” is pronounced “Ar-K’n-SAW” and the final “s” in “Illinois” is not pronounced. “Missouri” is sometimes pronounced “Mizz-oo-RAH” and sometimes pronounced “Mizz-oo-REE.”

* The District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., is not a state, but the area where congress, the Supreme Court, the White House and the headquarters of many federal agencies are located. There is also a beautiful state named Washington, which is all the way across the  country from Washington, D.C. Listen to the names of all 50 states, plus “the District of Columbia” pronounced as Americans pronounce them.

us states pronunciation

Error-Spotting and U.S. States

For Your Halloween Listening pleasure: A Headless Horseman

Most common errors made by ESL students in their compositions:

A Lively Way to Learn the Names and Locations of the Fifty States

This outline map includes a clue to each state’s name: the first letter. The most fun way to use the map is to project it onto a whiteboard. Divide students onto two teams. Give each team one marker of a color different from the other team’s marker. One player from each team may come to the board and write as many state’s names as they can. The state does not “belong” to a team until they have spelled the name correctly. The game can become noisy because students can coach from their seats. But remember: only two people should be at the board at any time.

Halloween Vocabulary and Fun, Ordinal Numbers and Quotation Marks

Here’s something clever to use as an aid in teaching both ordinal numbers and the use of quotation marks. After we read the poem about “Five Little Pumpkins” and analyze the use of quotation marks, a follow-up pair dictation will help pinpoint any problems students have using quotation marks. I like pair dictations where one student can see the video and the other can’t. The one who can see dictates the poem to his or her partner, line by line. The partner who can’t see the words writes down what he or she hears on an individual whiteboard..

This matching game is fun for everyone but only valuable as an ESL exercise if you identify the items in English as they are revealed.The exercise includes: haunted house, skull, bat,black cat, jack o’ lantern, witch’s hat, goblin behind a tombstone, ghost, spider web.

Follow the directions for an amazing interactive card trick.

Many American children learn this song in school.