Bohemian Verbs

I recently watched Bohemian Rhapsody and figured that I could make a short exercise to revise irregular verbs.

Freddie Mercury

You probably know that to make the past simple of most verbs you just add ed.

Well, today let’s look at some of the verbs that don’t follow this simple rule.

Become — Became
Begin — Began
Do — Did
Feel — Felt
Get — Got
Go — Went
Know — Knew
Leave — Left
Meet — Met
See — Saw
Wake up — Woke up
Win — Won

Can you use these to complete the short text below? 🙂

I actually enjoyed the movie even though I’m not a big fan of Queen. What about you? Did you watch Bohemian Rhapsody? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section and happy holidays to you and your family! 🙂

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A Hip-Hop Opera

Considering that we’re close to Christmas and New Year, your students are likely tired from their lessons and are looking forward to the holidays. How about giving them a lesson that will have them mixing what you thought was not mixable? 🙂

Let’s do this:

1) Ask your students what they think about Hip-Hop, what artists they listen to and what facts they know about their favorite rappers.

2) Show them a picture of Babatunde Akinboboye in the car from the video and ask them what he’s doing. Ask your students what they think he’s going to sing.

3) Show them the video of Akinboboye singing. Ask them to say what genre of the music he’s singing.

4) Ask your students how his performance made them feel and if they’ve ever heard of Opera being mixed with hip-hop.

5) After that, tell your students that they’re going to find out a bit more about the singer and his motivation. I adapted the short article from Time for this.

6) Ask your students 2 questions:
Whom did the singer make the video for?
When did he first hear the aria he sang?

7) After getting answers, ask your students to look at the words in the article and try to guess their meaning from the context. Get feedback, then give them a handout and ask them to match the words.

8) To give them some practice, ask them to complete the questions using the words they’ve matched and then discuss them in pairs.

9) If your students like singing, a fun activity would be to ask them to make their own mashup. Tell them to pick a song which they like singing and in pairs, find a different melody to sing along to. They can use their phones to search for instrumentals or karaokes on YouTube and sing a verse in pairs. Once all the students have finished singing. Have a class vote on the best mashup.

10) You can ask your students to make a recording of them singing their mashups at home as homework, in case they enjoyed the final activity and start the next lesson by listening to some good music.

You may feel skeptical about having your students sing, but if you play your cards right, this can give your students some extra speaking practice, and even some nice videos like this one. 😉

I wish you all to have a wonderful holiday and my next post will be the last one for 2018. But there’s more to come next year. I hope you liked this idea and if you’ve tried it with your class, leave a comment letting us know if they’ve liked it. 🙂


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Do you need a British accent?

I hear a lot of students complaining that it’s hard for them to understand people who talk with a British accent. It’s no secret that even people from the UK find it hard to understand each other sometimes.

Was it easy to understand the men in the video? It wasn’t for me 🙂
But some of the words they’ve used can be helpful when we talk to people, like:

Right. – OK. We use it to show that we’re listening to someone.
Look, I appreciate your position, but…
– I understand you, but…
I suppose. – Yes, I agree.
I trust you’ve… – I hope you’ve… I use it when I expect something to be true.
Where on earth did you get these? – We say on earth to emphasize that there’s no obvious answer to our question. We can also use it in questions that start with how, what, who and why.

Let’s see if we can use these by doing a few short exercises:

When I was in the UK, I’ve met a 10 year old boy who spoke in a similar way to the old man in the video, I was very disappointed that I couldn’t understand what he was saying, it felt like all these years studying English were for nothing, but that’s not how everybody talks so don’t be scared if you meet someone like that. What about you? Have you ever heard someone talk with an accent that you couldn’t understand? How did you communicate with that person? Let us know in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

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The That Place

Let’s look at some things that we write with The.

  • Rivers, Seas, Oceans and deserts

The Danube, The Black Sea,The Southern Ocean, The Gobi Desert

  • Countries with a governmental form (Republic, Kingdom, Federation) or unity.

The United States of America, The United Kingdom, The Czech Republic, The United Emirates

  • Countries with land or Island in them in the plural form.

The Netherlands,The Falkland Islands, The Comoro Islands

  • Big areas of the world.

The Middle East, the West, The New World

  • Most building names.

The Hilton Hotel, The Taj Mahal, The Statue of Liberty, The Louvre

  • Islands that start with Isle of.

The Isle of Man, The Isle of Wight, The Isle of Portland

Shall we try them in practice, look at some special cases and see where we don’t need the? 🙂

My country used to be called The Ukraine until it became independent and dropped the “The” from its name. It’s interesting that The Netherlands has no official answer how to write their country’s name. Can you think of any interesting examples of where we use or don’t use the. Let us know in the comments section. 🙂

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Much Many More

Today let’s look at the difference between much and many.

We use:

much for uncountable nouns

A watch

Look, I haven’t got much time so make it quick. (I can count seconds, minutes or hours, but not time. The same rule applies for money.)

many for countable nouns

A group of friends

I don’t have many friends. (I have 3 friends I can really trust, but I get on well with a lot of people.)

Two things to note:

1) In most cases, we use a lot of for positive sentences, while much and many are used in negative sentences and questions.

2) You can use much and many in positive clauses if you use so, as or too before them.

I have too many problems to solve.

There’s so much more that I could do.

As much as I’d like to stay with you, I have to go back to work now.

How about we check if you can tell the difference between them by doing a few short exercises? 🙂

So much has happened to me over the last week. What about you? Share the most exciting thing that you’ve done this week with us in the comments section and see you next week! 😉

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Online Job Interviews

Since I mostly teach English online, I’d like to share a lesson I’ve been working on for conducting job interviews via Skype. I hope it will be helpful to you and I would appreciate any of your suggestions on how to improve it even further. 🙂

So, let’s begin:

1. Start the lesson by asking your students some simple questions like:

How many job interviews have you had in the past 10 years?
How do you usually feel before a job interview?
What’s the longest job interview you’ve ever had? Why was it so long?
Were you asked any questions that you think were weird? What were they?
Is always telling the truth a good strategy for job interviews?

2. Have your students watch the video and say which question they thought was weird. Then, have them choose which questions were the job seekers asked.

3. After getting answers from your students and watching the video till the end, give them the following questions to discuss:

Are these questions common for most job interviews?
Which questions would you expect to be asked in your job interview?
If you were the HR manager, which employee would you hire? Why?
Have you ever had to lie at a job interview? If not, do you know anyone who did and got the job?
If you had to pick 1-2 things each person interviewed did well, what would you pick and why?
In some countries like the USA, talking about your salary is considered taboo. Is it common to talk about one another’s salary in your country?

4. While they’re discussing the questions write the following questions on the board:

  • How are you today?
  • Did you have any trouble finding us?
  • Isn’t this great weather we’re having?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?

After getting feedback, have them look at the questions and answer 2 questions:

Why do HR managers ask these questions?
What’s the best way to respond to these questions?

5. Divide your students to groups and tell them to imagine that they’re applying for a job abroad or a remote job. They’re going to have an online interview. Which things should they think about before the interview?

6. Get feedback from each group and have them make notes of it on the board. Then, have them watch the video below and ask them to put a tick if they see any of their ideas in the video (Stop the video at the 3:24 mark).

If you’d like to use the video above in your meetings or events, click here.

7. Find out which of their ideas they’ve seen in the video and then share your ideas with your students. Ask them what they think of your ideas and why this advice is good or bad. I’ll put my ideas below:

Technical:Delivery:
Check your software for updates.Exchange Skype IDs beforehand.
Test your audio/video & connection.Don’t use unprofessional usernames.
Stop downloading anything.Be in the center of the video.
Buy a better mic & headset.Smile and look into the webcam.
Check your employer’s time-zone.Look and talk confidently.
Stay calm in case of technical issues.Dress appropriately.
Turn off all notifications on your PC/phone.Practice makes perfect.
Don’t wear glasses.Make sure you’re in a quiet room with no noise and interruptions.

In case you were wondering, wearing glasses can make your potential employer see what’s on your screen, so if you’re watching a movie while talking or looking for answers on Google, take off your glasses before you start the interview. 🙂

8. Since each student is different, you can’t have them go through a job interview with the same questions so ask your students which questions they’d expect to be asked at their job interviews. Give them time to think of and write down at least 5 general questions and 5 questions relevant to their careers.

9. Once your students are done, have them swap their questions and interview each other in pairs. Ideally, you can send each pair to a different room so they could hear each other better. Each student should make notes about their answers and any questions they’d like to ask each other. When they’ve gone through all their questions, have the “employers” become “employees” and vice versa.

10. Get feedback from your students by asking each pair what kind of questions they asked each other, what they made notes of during the interview and if they think their partners would hire them.

Because I’ve taught a similar lesson online, what I did was record the interview I’ve had with my students and e-mailed it to them to think of a few things they’d change during their future online interviews so here’s my question to you: if you taught this lesson, what would you give your students as homework? 🙂

Feel free to let us know in the comments section and see you next weekend!

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What time is it?

This weekend I’ve fallen ill so I couldn’t add anything to the blog.

Let’s fix that and look at something simple: the time.

  • The first half of an hour (30 minutes) is always used with past.
  • The next 30 minutes is used with to.
  • 15 minutes are called a quarter.

When it’s 12:00 we say 12 o’clock or 12 AM or PM if it’s at night or in the afternoon.

And we need say half past 12 when it’s 12:30, but 29 (minutes) to 1 when it’s 12:31.

How to tell the timeLet’s test how easy this is by playing a memory game! 😉

When you’re done, leave a comment and tell us what time it is now in your country.

That’s all for this week. Take care of yourselves, it’s cold outside! 🙂

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How’s your spelling?

I recently ran across a list of the most misspelled words and decided that it would be a great idea to check if such misspellings are common for my little champions 🙂

So let’s take a break from explaining and get to training!

Misspelling these words is not about you, am I right?

If not, I hope that now you’ll remember how to write these words and I also hope you’ll enjoy your weekend! 🙂

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Win, earn, gain or obtain?

Today, let’s look at 4 words with the same basic meaning (get) but different use:

1. To win means to get a prize for taking part in something or to get the best result.

Gambling

I won a game of poker on my phone and got some virtual money.

2. To earn means to get something in return for your work. It’s usually something you deserve like money.

My poor GIMP skills

I earn money by teaching English.

3. Gain and obtain both mean to get something useful, but gain can also mean increase (weight, speed, height)

A box of chocolates

I ate chocolate all day yesterday and I gained 2 kilos as a result.

And you use obtain when you got something by asking or working for it, buying it or creating it from something else.

A woman camping

She obtained a map of the jungle from the salesman.

How about you obtain a score by completing the exercises below?

I hope you will gain and obtain more with each day of your lives! Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

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Make a wish

Today, let’s take a quick look at how we can use wish:

Wish can be used with the following tenses:

  • Past Simple (When we want things to be different)

Rome visit, June 2008 - 57 by Ed Yourdon. License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I wish I was single again. (I’m married now)

  • Past Continuous (When we want to do something else instead of what we’re doing now or later)

Sleeping

I wish I was sleeping right now. (I’m working on this blog post)

  • Past Perfect (When you talk about something you regret)

Student

I wish I had studied Cinematograhy at University.
(I majored in International Relations and I’m not happy about my choice)

  • You can also use wish with would when you’re not satisfied with what’s happening now.

Annoyed man

I wish he would shut up! (He talks too much and it’s annoying)

Let’s practice these uses of wish:

Is there anything you wish you were doing now?

Let us know in the comments section and I hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

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