Catchy Animal Guessing Videos from Maple Leaf Hashima

Maple Leaf Learning has more than one hundred videos on their YouTube channel for young learners, including immensely useful series that teach the sounds of the alphabet and how to read CVC words. Their animal guessing series has also been a surprising hit in my classroom, which just goes to show that you can never predict what children will like.

There are four videos in the series: “Whose Tail is It?”; “Whose Mouth is It?”; “Whose Ears are These?”; and “Whose Feet are These?” The lyrics go something like, “Whose tail? Whose tail? Whose tail is it?” and then a cropped image of an animal’s tail is shown. The kids then go wild guessing whether it belongs to a lion, a pig, a monkey, or something else entirely. This is followed by the big reveal of what the animal is, which causes no shortage of ‘I told you so’s among the children.

Maple learf hashima - monkey

                                            Can you guess whose tail it is?

Between reviewing animals, body parts, and introducing the concept of possessives, there’s a lot of useful English being taught in a way that students can readily pick up. The lyrics are surprisingly catchy too, and you’ll soon find yourself, not to mention your students, absentmindedly singing the song while washing the dishes (and drawing strange looks from your spouse).

Give them a watch, you won’t regret it.

LG5 Unit 2 Worksheets Now Available!

TeachersPayTeachers Phew! It took some doing but I uploaded my Let’s Go 5 unit 2 worksheets to the ESL Review Store at Teachers Pay Teachers. If you’re teaching superlatives and comparatives like I was for the past week, these will be a big help in the classroom. There are games, puzzles, extra writing exercises, and a much improved unit test, 65 pages in all. LG5 Unit Sample Page 1 And good to my word this worksheet packet was will be available here to download on my blog for free for one week only! Of course by buying it you’ll get lots of free quarterly updates in the years to come. Let me know what you think. Happy teaching!

My Long Overdue After Action Report on Teaching Halloween in 2014

I know, I know… Halloween is so last month, but I was far too busy trying out some truly great Halloween teaching materials to write about them. And I just couldn’t wait until next year to mention my two top favorites. I’ll probably write about the runners up next September but for now…Videos Galore

The good people at Super Simple Learning really outdid themselves this year with new music videos to accompany their Halloween album. Throughout September and October they uploaded a new video to their epic YouTube channel every week – each one more impressive than the last. They’re beautifully animated and display a gift for drawing the eye of just about any child (and even teachers in their mid-thirties). So beloved were their latest work that I was  continually inundated with pleas to show a particular favorite again and again.

The trouble is that they’ve raised the bar so high that I now have impossibly high expectation for this coming Christmas.

The Coolest of the Cool in Halloween Songs

e9537-424381_282201598517709_989987321_nTo date I haven’t made very big use of the holiday themes from Genki English, but this year I was determined would be different. So out from the teacher’s toolbox came the song Happy Halloween, which has since gone on to become one of my students’ favoritest (to use a Junie B-ism) Richard Graham songs, joining the lofty ranks of such classics as I am a Robot and The Genki Disco Warm Up.It teaches the very useful sentence pattern, “Look, there’s a vampire!” along with some other basic Halloweeny words like witch, ghost, and mummy. But the real classroom magic came from the super catchy chorus and the surprise… (sorry, no spoilers here)… which had the kids in absolute stitches and caused them to sing the song incessantly in the class, at home, and everywhere in between.

스크린샷 2014-11-15 오후 7.39.12This theme also comes with the usual array of Genki goodies like student cards, board games, imagination worksheets, and dominoes (but alas, only if you’re a member). There’s an online story book you can check out here that can also be made into a hard copy for the offline classroom. To top it off we also played the Harry Potter game, a very apt activity for the time of year, even if the little ones didn’t really know who the great teen wizard was.

On an entirely different note, I’ve recently got to thinking that an Epic Rap Battle of TEFL between Richard Graham of Genki English and the good people at Super Simple Learning is long overdue; something like the Ghostbusters/MythBusters battle that came out last week, perhaps.

Categories Game from ISL Collective

Last week I began teaching Spectrum Writing Grade 4 to my advanced class of elementary students, a series I’d definitely recommend as the most fun to teach out of the entire Spectrum line. The first lesson is about sorting items by categories, to supplement which I dug up this fantastic FREE activity on ISL Collective, by Philip Roeland, an EFL teacher based in Thailand. It’s a simple enough board game in which to win children roll a dice and land on squares that instruct them to list things in a certain category, like name 3 things that are black or name 3 things that need electricity, with both easy and difficult version of the game. My students had a real blast with them.

스크린샷 2014-11-09 오후 10.02.20

스크린샷 2014-11-09 오후 10.01.34

Whiteboard Art: Teaching Comparatives and Superlatives with the Amazing Team

Superheroes excite the imagination of elementary school students in South Korea just as much as the United States or other countries – which make them great for teaching comparatives and superlatives to kids! But truth be told, Superman, Iron Man and company are just a bit too super – I prefer my superheroes a bit more average. Thus, the Amazing Team was born.

IMG_7788“But teacher, that one can only fly up to 200kph! What’s with that?” one astonished student demanded.

Well, that’s why he’s not SUPERman,” I replied.