The passages found in both the Cambridge textbooks and Ecce Romani take place around the Bay of Naples, meaning that the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius is a critical event for the families in both stories. However, too often is the humanity of history forgotten, replaced by dates, facts and figures. The British Museum currently has an exhibit dedicated to that eruption, focusing on the individuals affected. The video created to promote this exhibit is a fine example of how this event can be taught in a classroom, by remembering the individual.


Cawfee Tawk.

Ok, this made me laugh:

“The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire…. Discuss…”

“Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal was neither new nor a deal…. Discuss…”

“The radical reconstruction of the South was neither radical nor a reconstruction…. Discuss…”

“The internal combustion engine was neither internal nor a combustion engine…. Discuss…”

Check out the full article on teaching interdisciplinary writing at Used Books in Class.

I only need Juan reason to listen to music in class…

There’s been an over-abundance of ESL posts on this blog, I know. I’ll get back to German, Latin, etc. soon enough, I promise. I’ve been building a curriculum from scratch for this ESL job I just took, so lately my mind has been concerned with little else.

Today’s post deals with GRAMMAR and LISTENING COMPREHENSION in one fell swoop! We’re covering “to be” in class this week – a new concept for some students and a much needed review for others. After going over the basics, I decided to make it a little fun by letting them listen to some of their favorite songs. Including one by, you guessed it, One Direction.

I whipped up a quick worksheet featuring some lyrics from popular songs, leaving blanks in the place of forms of “to be” and the contractions that go with it. We’d listen to the song, and then rewind to the appropriate section so they’d have a second and third chance to listen for the correct form.

The kids enjoyed it a lot, and were actually quite successful in filling in the blanks. Fun was had by all. (Except for the kid who tried to steal my speaker. Fun was had by most, suspensions were had by some.)

Grab the worksheet after the jump: Continue reading

Make like a tree, and get outta here.


Gillian decided it was time to turn over a new _______ and forget her past mistakes.

Why don’t you take a _______ out of Simon’s book and start helping.

Autumn came suddenly and the first _______ had fallen before August had even ended.

Answer: leaf

Our friend Tim gives us this great lesson plan on how words can be used in different ways. Many ESL students get confused by these multi-tasking words. I mean, how do you tell the difference between “He leaves,” and “The leaves fell”? Tim recommends using gapped sentences to help students use context clues to decipher just that. I’ll probably be using this in my ESL classroom in the next few weeks.

Speaking of leaves…

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Whap! Biff! Ka-POW!

For Christmas this year, I gave my 13-year-old cousin a series of Spider-Man comic books. He’s never been much of a reader, but he DEVOURED those few issues in a matter of hours. Got me thinking. Comic books and graphic novels are often regarded as lesser forms of literature, but if it gets a kid reading who normally dreads the task, how can that be a bad thing?

Adam West Batman is the best Batman.

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Modals and Advice Columnists – But wait, there’s more!

Remember that worksheet I posted a lil’ while ago that used an advice column to teach modals? Well, here’s an extension activity. This new worksheet works with the same article, but it introduces vocab and English idioms and whatnot. It’d be good for more beginner students to aid in their overall comprehension of the content.

Download it after the jump. Continue reading