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By Maria Zabala Peña at: englishforeso@yahoo.es or mariazabalapena@gmail.com. For ESL without photocopies go to my other blog HERE

New!! VIDEO BLOGS on English for Communications and on English for Office Applications (Computers). See links below.

English for Communications. Click HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña.
English for Office Applications (Computers). Click. HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña.

Autonomous Learning. Merriam Webster:Name that thing. Visual vocabulary test on line for advanced students

Name that Thing by Merriam Webster

Aim: identify the word you see in the picture/improve your reading speed and vocabulary
Level: advanced.Words range between middle advanced to advanced levels. See pictures to decide if this quizzes are within your reach!
  • You have 15 seconds to answer each question.
  • The faster you answer, the higher your score.
  • The harder the question, the higher your score.
  • At the end you can compare your score with other participants'  within your age range.

Access the quiz by clicking Here: Name that Thing

Pronunciation. How do you say...?

 IF YOU ARE A SPANISH NATIVE SPEAKER take a peek at the  list of words . New words have been added ! 

"How you say" is an on-line tool that will help you to learn how to pronounce words.
Aim: students introduce words they do not know how to pronounce in order to learn them with the sound Suggested procedure if you want to use this tool in your class
  •  make a list of the words students mispronounce.
  • group students in teams
  • write the words on the board
  • ask teams (in turns)  how a word is pronounced
  • check the pronunciation by introducing the  in How j say
  • give a point to the team that pronounces the word correctly
Access the HOWJSAY page by clicking HERE 

IF your students are Spanish speakers, you may start with some (or all) of these words:
  • Problems with "I" or "AI" sound:  to determine, idea, opposite, to  examine, horizon, since, microphone,  to print, tiger, virus, compliance  /kəmˈplaɪəns/  
  • Problems with stress pattern:  successful,  component (stress in "po"), foreigner, surface, insurance, hotel, interesting, incorregible (stree in KO), 
  • Words with two stress patterns: to present/ a present, 
  • The "able" words: vegetable, suitable (the "i" does not sound), able, comfortable, table, capable, removable, printable 
  • Letter B  does not sound: debt, plumber, doubt
  • Letter W does not sound:  sword,  answer, drawer. would, write, whiskey
  • Other silent letters: mayor (no "y"), heir (no h), guard (no u), shepherd (no second h), sign (no g) , know (no k), listen (no t)
  • The -es ending sounding as "iz"or "is". Most student ignore the ending: services, oranges, he fixes/watches, exercises, sizes
  •  The ones they always get wrong:  biscuit (the "u" does not sound), receipt, recipe, architecture (the K), busy, , key, Pharaoh, choir, aisle,rare, archive (K), corps  /kɔː/ as in Peace Corps vs. corpse.
  • The ones that are very similar to Spanish words and students pronounce in the Spanish: fashion: Jamaica, Arkansas, Zanzibar, Ottawa.Lancaster, Asia, South, Trafalgar  Square (stress on FAL)
  • The ones with less syllables than we expect: chocolate, digital, restaurant,  basically
  • Teasers (homophones or almost homophones): flour and flower,  guerrilla and gorilla, waist and  waste, pear and pair, heir and hair, write and right, four and for, hear and  here, no and know...  For more homophones in British English go to this page HERE
  • -age words: beverages (also stress pattern), village, image, message, usage

Autonomous Learning: Video and tasks for teens and adults by the British Council

Aim: this British Council site contains videos with pre-watching and post watching tasks for teenagers but most of the topics should appeal to adults too.

Click HERE to access the British Council videos for teens page. 

Level: the level of the tasks are indicated under each video. Most I have seen are B1 or B2 but check for other levels.
This site belongs to the British Council
Topics: there is a very wide range of topics, from food, tourism and street art to homes of the future and European integration.
Procedure: Videos come with:
  • on line self corrective pre-watching and post watching tasks.
  • a printable version of the same  tasks that the teacher may bring to class. The t
These tasks could be carried out:
  • by the students on their own.
  • in class by projecting the on-line tasks on the White Board.
  • in class, with the help of the teacher by distributing a photocopiable version of the tasks.
Click HERE to access the British Council videos for teens page 

Professional Phone Etiquette : Taking Good Phone Messages

Original video source: E-how: http://www.ehow.com/video_4401591_taking-good-phone-messages.html
On Youtube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00m1mQFF5zo
Aim and procedure: students listen to the famous lady in red as she advices on how to take a message.
I have posted the question under the video.

You can download both the video and a photocopiable worksheet with questions by clicling  HERE

1. If you answer the telephone for another person or you have to take a message, what information do you have to get?

2. The information you get must be ……………………..

3. How do you ensure that you get the information correctly?

4. According to the lady in red, what else is very important when taking messages?

5. What is the sentence you can use to finish the conversation when taking a message?

Video Transcript
Alright, now let's talk about taking messages. And your whole job might be about taking messages, or you might just simply answer the phone for another person, and you'll need to take a message for them. It is absolutely crucial that you get a certain amount of information from the person on the other end of the phone. And the information must be accurate. You need to have their name, the business that they're calling from, if that's applicable, the telephone number, and a brief message. Now, I said it is crucial that this information be accurate. Well, how do you make sure it's accurate? You repeat it. "Okay, this is John Smith from XYZ Corporation, and your phone number is 872-939-4086, and you want to talk to Bob about the planning meeting on Friday. Okay, great. I'll make sure that he gets the message." And then, you have to make sure that that person gets the message. It's very, very important that business messages not get dropped through the cracks. So take accurate information and pass the message on, immediately, not three days later, but immediately after you record the message.

How to chair a meeting

Task: students watch a video on how to chair a meeting. Students reflect on how to start a meeting.
Level: pre-intermediate and above. Some of the vocabulary might be difficult for pre-intermediate levels but the video is repetitive, has partial subtitles and I provide you with pre and while watching tasks, which will easy the burden of the activity. 

You can download of the materials download by clicking HERE 
  •  provided video (the business of English, episode 4, only up to minute 4) ,which  you can see on Youtube or download by clicking HERE
  • pre-watching and while watching tasks

How to conclude a phone call

Aim: Students listen to an E-How  video in which the lady in the red sweater tells us how to finish a phone call.

See the questions and video below on-line.

If you don't have an internet connection in the classroom, you can download the questions, transcript and video, by clicking  HERE .

Phone Etiquette for Concluding a Call -- powered by ehow

Listening comprehension questions: 
  1. When you end the call what should you do before saying thanks at the end? (elaborate your answer)
  1. Many people say  only “thank you” to end a call. What other type of “thank you” could  you use?
  1. According to the lady in the red sweater, what type of language should  you avoid? 

Pair work: how to read Internet domains and punctuation symbols

Emoticon symbol dictation

Aim: students work in pairs to dictate internate domains and emoticons. Students learn and practice how to say difficult simbols such as: dot  (.), dash (-), Ampersand (&), percent sign (%)...

You can donwload the materials for the teacher and students by clicking here 

Domain dictation

These materials  have been prepared by Beatriz Papasseit and myself , María Zabala Peña