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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Happy New Year!

New Year's 
customs, traditions and celebrations can help generate some lively classroom discussions with your ESL students. It's also great for working on past & future tenses by discussing key personal or global events from this challenging year 2020 as well as plans and possibilities for 2021!

Warm Up Questions:

1. How did you spend Dec 31st, 2020? Was it different from previous years?
2. Do you celebrate the coming of a new year in your country of origin? If so, what are some traditions and customs that mark New Year's Eve/Day and the start of the new year in your culture? 
3. For many people, a new year represents a time for making positive changes in their lives. What do you think are some common resolutions/goals that people make? Why do you think it might be difficult for some people to stick to these resolutions/goals? What advice would you give?
4. Did you create any resolutions/goals last year (2020)?
5. Do you have any resolutions/goals for this year (2021)? If so, have you created a plan for achieving them? What about your friend and family members?

Recommended Links Around the Topic of the New Year:

ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading and follow up activities on New Year's
Daily ESL: Listen and read activity on New Year's Day
EL Civics: New Year's picture lesson with follow up activities
ITESLJ: New Year's Day conversation questions
ESL Printables: New Year's Resolution worksheets 
ESL Library: New Year's lessons 
BogglesWorld ESL: New Year's worksheets
ESOL Courses: New Year's worksheets and activities
Learn English Feel Good: New Year's Eve/Day vocabulary quiz
ISL Collective: New Year's worksheets
A4esl: New Year's Eve phrasal verbs quiz
My English Pages: A short reading on New Year's with comprehension questions
One Stop English: 3 speaking activities on New Year's PDF
ESL Flow: New Year's resolutions and talking about the future worksheets
Heads Up English: New Year's speaking activity PDF
Rong-Chong: New Years Around the World reading with follow up activities
TEFL Net: A lesson plan on expressions using the word "change" 
Breaking News English: Reading and follow up activities on New Year's resolutions
Using English: New Year's resolution worksheet using adverbs of frequency
JenniferESL: YOUTUBE mini lesson on New Year's Resolutions
English - Zone: New Year's around the world traditions
Poetry.About: Classic poems about New Year's
Learning English with Michelle: Five New Year's Resolutions for ESL Learners
Brainy Quote: New Year's quotes
CDN History: New Year's By the Numbers 

Monday, November 30, 2020

December Themes and Topics!

Be sure to take a peek at some of the suggested topics and themes for December here! The main theme of course will be the holiday season - decked out in colorful lights and cheery decorations! However, you may also want to discuss a bit about the history of December 25th and focus less on the commercial side of it. Depending on where you are, your students will most likely be surrounded by an abundance of holiday festivities, Christmas carols and red and green symbols in their don't be afraid to get them all into the holiday spirit too - especially this year!

Monday, November 16, 2020

November Topic: Consumerism

Despite ALL that's going on during these stressful and crazy times, the holiday season is coming up. With Thanksgiving in the US and the festivities of Christmas celebrated across the globe, many of us will be trying to get in the spirit of shopping! Whether online, or in a mall, it's a good time to get your ESL students talking about shopping and how it relates to CONSUMERISM. There's no shortage of vocabulary, expressions and phrases when it comes to teaching around the theme of SHOPPING (see recommended links) and all the linking topics including sales and discounts, types of stores, online shopping, as well as the countless number of products that society needs and of course wants. 

Have your students talk about the culture and FUTURE of shopping in their country and see if it compares to days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (kick offs to the official start of the holiday shopping madness Friday, November 26th and Monday, November 30th).

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping to our American neighbours! (see links to Thanksgiving worksheets and activities).


1. Do you like to shop and if so, what are some things you usually like to shop for besides the basics?
2. How have shops and stores changed over the years? How does this compare to shops and stores in your home country? 
3. Are you an online shopper and if so, what do you typically buy? How does this experience compare to shopping in a physical store?
4. How are the terms 'consumption' and 'consumerism' related? What role does consumerism play in the environment, the economy, and in our daily life? Do you think consumerism can affect our well being?
5. What are the differences between "needs" and "wants"? Do you think society's needs and wants have changed over the years? If so, what could be some of the reasons besides creative and sneaky marketing strategies?
6. How has the role of marketing and advertising influenced consumerism? Can you give any specific examples?


ESL Discussions: Discussion questions on "Consumerism"
ITESLJ: Conversation questions on money and shopping
ESL Library: ESL Podcast: How Much Stuff Do We Need?
ESL Library: A reading and vocabulary lesson on consumerism
Breaking News English: Men Suffer from Shopping Too! - reading and activities
YouTube: The Story of Stuff - find matching comprehension worksheet here
Teaching English: Consumer - Society Lesson Plan
ESL Right Now: Consumerism-supermarket-psychology lesson plan
ESL Ect: Reading activities on Black Friday and Consumption
ESL Printables: Worksheets and on-line exercises on consumerism - membership site
ESL Video: 10 minute documentary on consumerism
ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading and activities on Buy Nothing Day
ESL Lab: Short video with 3 questions on Black Friday
YouTube: What is Black Friday All About! Watch and discuss
ESL Fast: Black Friday reading with follow up activities
ESL Library: Lesson Plan on Cyber Monday - membership site
English Blog: Reuters Video on Cyber Monday with full script
English Post: Reading on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with questions
Daily Infographic: Learn all about Cyber Monday - get your students to write summary sentences
Lyrics Mode: Shania Twain's Song with lyrics: "Ka-Ching"

Friday, November 6, 2020

November Topic: Remembrance Day

November 11th, known as Remembrance Day, Veterans Day and even Poppy Day in some parts of the world, is a time to recognize and remember those courageous soldiers, airmen and women and sailors who died during times of armed conflict. Originally associated with WW1, the scope of this day has since been expanded to acknowledge those who served in other wars as well as those currently serving.

There are a number of key symbols associated with November 11th including the famous war poem from WW1 Flanders Fields Poem (video lesson), the Last Post call, and the Two Minutes of Silence


1. What do the words 'peace' and 'freedom' stand for? Which is more important to you?

2. In what ways do countries try to achieve and maintain peace? What are some of the laws surrounding the concept of peace in your country? 

3. What is your ideal vision of peace in the world? Do you think it is, or will ever be, achievable? Why or why not?

4. What are some characteristics of peaceful people? How can we teach our children to live peaceful lives? If the world was full of just peaceful people, what do you think it would be like?


Activity Village: Activity worksheets on Remembrance Day 
DLKT-Holidays: Remembrance/Veterans Day worksheets for beginners
Bogglesworld ESL: Remembrance/Veterans Day activity worksheets
Bridge Ontario: Flanders Field - poem - beginners - picture vocabulary
MrDonn.Org: What is Remembrance Day PowerPoint
Canadian Reader: A Poppy is for Remembering - full lesson
ISL Collective: 6 Remembrance Day worksheets and activities - donation site
Government of Canada: PDF version of Canada Remembers Times - articles
VA U.S. Government: The History of Veterans Day
Teachnology: Veteran's Day worksheets
Education World: Lesson ideas and activities for Veterans Day
Homeschooling: Printable Veterans Day activity worksheets
Little Red Poppy: Reading and follow up activities
ESLVideo: A Remembrance Day tribute by Bryan Adam with follow up questions
English Gateway: A short fill in the blank exercise on Remembrance Day collocations
ESL-Library: A free listening podcast - Remembrance Day
War Poetry: Remembrance and Peace Event Poems
Altius Directory: Remembrance Day activities (poems and quotes)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

ESL BRAINS: Author (s) Interview!

If you haven't already found this site, then go ahead and check it out! It's packed full of ready-to-use lesson plans and worksheets on lively and relatable topics! Here's what Stan and Justa had to say about their site ESL BRAINS.

Why and how did you get into the ESL field?
Well, we met during studies as we both did English Studies. So we studied together to be ESL teachers but our story with teaching started probably even earlier. I (Stan) did some volunteer work back in high school teaching English to the unemployed, while Justa kicked off her career during her sophomore year teaching adults in private language schools.

Tell us a little bit about your ESL website / blog. 

ESL Brains is a website with ready-to-use lesson plans and worksheets both in printable and digital formats. What makes us different is the fact that we base all our lessons on authentic video materials and tackle some up-to-date interesting and thought-provoking topics. The idea is that your students not only learn English, but learn about something interesting or do some critical-thinking as they work on relatable topics.

Why did you create this site?

We had plenty of lesson plans designed for our students and one day we thought that maybe it’s worth sharing them with other teachers out there. Our idea was that our students enjoyed our classes so maybe somebody else would find the materials useful as well.

What has been your biggest challenge with your site?

Developing the website step by step and making things work with the little knowledge we had. It was just frustrating when we envisioned something and the end result wasn’t actually it. Unfortunately, nothing always works perfectly fine and we just feel very bad when we get a message saying something doesn’t work. I’d be angry if it happened to me so we do our best to fix any issues people have as fast as we can!

What piece of advice would you give to newbies in today’s world of teaching (online or in the classroom)?

Don’t be afraid of using technology in your classroom. Remember though that it’s there to help your students learn so get rid of any cool apps or solutions that don’t work for your students!

What are your future goals for your website?

We’re currently redesigning our website and making it more user friendly. We work with an UX designer and a web developer to breathe some fresh air into ESL Brains but also introduce new features to make teachers’ lives easier.

Any thoughts on where you see the future of the ESL field?

The pandemic has forced people to do online teaching and learning and I believe some people will keep doing that long after we forget about COVID! Lots of people have realized that learning online is effective. I predict we’re going to have a lot of hybrid courses in the future and it’s good for the industry as well. Students will have access to better quality teaching and teachers won’t waste so much time commuting and will have more flexible working hours.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at ESL MADE EASY!
See you there at ESL BRAINS.COM

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Topic: Halloween!

Halloween, celebrated in many parts of the world, is an exciting time of the year and well known for traditional and festive activities such as trick-or-treating (be safe), costume parties (uh, not this year) and pumpkin carving. Halloween is a cultural celebration with an interesting history that dates back nearly 2,000 years. This time of the year not only provides ESL teachers with lots of fun activities, but it can also provide an opportunity for some very lively conversation around linking topics such as superstitions and fears! So, have fun with it!


1. Is Halloween or a similar tradition celebrated in your country? If a similar tradition,  rather than Halloween itself, how is it different from Halloween in North America?
2. Why do you think the colors black and orange are used for Halloween?
3. On the eve of October 31st, most children go trick-or-treating door to door in their neighborhood. What do you think might be some positive and negative aspects associated with this traditional activity?
4. Halloween is believed to be related to many superstitious stories and beliefs. Are you are a superstitious person? What are some common superstitions in your country?
5. What is your biggest fear now? Did you have any fears/phobias when you were a child? Has this changed?


Feel free to add any of your favorite Halloween links you have used with your ESL students!