There’s an Elephant in my Lesson!

elephant in the room

Here are two audios from the webinar “There’s an Elephant in my Lesson.”


The King and the Birds “The King and the Birds” – a parable

Refuse the Bag  – “Refuse the Bag” – a loop song

Phrasal Verb Stuff

You know them as Phrasal Verbs.  I call them Party Verbs because it is the gathering of two or more words, and some of those words are “party-cles.”

For a limited time, “Do You Wanna Eat Out or Do You Wanna Eat In?” is available for download.  It’s one of 20 songs that will appear later in the year on my CD “Kevin Sings Phrasal Verb Hits.”  Do_You_Wanna_Eat_Out.

Here is a PowerPoint Game that practices Party Verbs:  Kevin’s_Particle_Verb_Game_short version for webinar

Here is the Guide to Varied Phrasal Verb Activities: Guide to Varied Phrasal Verb Activities_Webinar 2012.  One of the tasks in the “Guide to Varied Phrasal Verb Activities is “The Neighbor’s Dog.”  It’s an authentic, unscripted listening task based on this short audio: The Neighbor’s Dog

Leave a comment if you find these useful, or if you just think I’m handsome.





Countdown audio for Classroom Management

I’ve been experimenting with recordings to help with classroom transitions. Maybe the most important transition is regaining learners’ attention after some interesting group work. This audio gives them a countdown, provides some time–finish up, get to their seats, clean up–and signifies that it’s time for the next task.

Leave a comment if try this and you find it works. Sometimes it’s a matter of routine. Students might need to hear the audio a few times before really getting the process.

Loop Listening

I like to use audio loops for listening activities. Students in small groups hear the words a lot of times until they recreate the text. The easiest task is for them to write the words. But I prefer to have small pictures and words on little pieces of paper. Give one set to each group and they can move the pictures and words to re-construct the text. It’s more fun than writing and involves teamwork.

The usual listening set up in the classroom is to put the CD player at the front and play it loud enough for ll to hear. With a loop audio like this one, I like to put the player in the corner of the room, or even outside, and play the audio quietly. Then groups need to send one member to listen, and that member tries to snap a piece of the language and carry it in her head back to the group.

Here’s the environmentally-friendly text:

When you go to the store
refuse the bag.
Bring your own.
Recycle. Re-use.

It may take your students longer than you might expect to put the whole text together, even if this is just 14 words.

Who’s Got What? Fruits

Hey! You may have seen a demonstration of “Who’s Got What?” at a conference. I’m putting these audios online for a limited time. I would love any comments, as these are pilots and I’m trying to perfect them before they go to CD.

This is the Fruits game. Works best with real fruit (apple, banana, kiwi, orange). It’s for four players.

Here’s the user manual for “Who’s Got What? Fruits.”

30 countries with a million English speakers (and where English has some official status)

Play this song or video in class to develop your students awareness of how many people speak English, where they speak it, and how deeply rooted English is in the corners of the globe.

There are, according the David Crystal’s book English as a Global Language, 30 countries where English has some official status AND where there are at least 1 million speakers. 30 countries! We don’t include English learners here. These are countries were people actually speak English as a first, second, or third language and often where it is used in government.

Note: the list includes Hong Kong, which is not actually a country, but is significant as a former British colony.

Put students into teams. Ask them to write the names of as many of these countries as possible in 3, 5, or 7 minutes, or whatever is appropriate to your level of class. See which team can come up with the most correct answers.

You can release hints to students at intervals throughout this brainstorming time. For instance:

2 of these countries are in North America
2 of these countries are in Europe
9 of these countries are in Asia
11 of these countries are in Africa
None are in South America proper, but one is an island country very nearby
1 of these countries is in the center of the Caribbean
3 are in Australasia

Before giving the answers, have students listen to the song which lists these. There is also a video to help them with the geography.

AUDIO (1:01): 30 Countries with a Million English Speakers

Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Jamaica, Kenya, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Ireland, The UK, Canada, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, The USA, Trinidad and Tobago

10 funky adjectives ending in “Y”

It’s a very Englishy thing to add a “Y” to a word and turn it into an adjective. Fish smell fishy. Woods smell woodsy. Cows can be beefy, and on and on. These words tend to be a little slangy, or informal. (By the way, funky means unusual).

Here are 10 fun “Y” adjectives .

1. classy
2. dicey
3. ditsy
4. glitzy
5. jazzy
6. junky
7. pricey
8. sassy
9. snazzy
10. spunky

You may not know them all, but you can probably figure out their meanings. Try filling in the gaps in this “definition poem” below. Place one of the “Y” adjectives in each space. (Rhymes will help you too).

Someone who’s got style and taste is (1) _________
A girl who’s got a lot of spirit but a smart mouth is (2) _________
A situation or a place that’s risky and dangerous is (3) _________
A restaurant that costs too much is (4) _________
If your clothes are chic and and stylish you look (5) _________
And if you’re lookin’ snazzy then you’re also lookin’ (6) _________
A girl who is absentminded and shallow is (7) _________
And a hotel that’s very showy and bright is (8) _________
A broken old car that hardly runs anymore is (9) _________
And a person who is bold and forward in a good way is (10) _________

1. classy 2. sassy 3. dicey 4. pricey 5. snazzy 6. jazzy 7. ditsy 8. glitzy 9. junky 10. spunky


Looking for a St. Patricks song with an EFL/ESL twist?   Listen to the song “If I Were a Leprechaun.”  The lyrics comes from Mary O’Flynn at  I recorded some music to them.