Teaching Good Manners Has Never Been So Cool

Genki English Volume 13I had never been so excited to teach the classroom niceties of “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me” as I was the other day. The first track of Genki English Volume 13, the I’m Sorry Song is an electronic extravaganza that would be a huge hit in a dance club were it not for the G-rated lyrics, which are as it happens, as simple as pie:

I’m sorry.
Excuse me.
That’s OK.
No problem.

The real magic is in the dance moves, which you really SHOULD watch on the video below (taken from a Genki English seminar by Richard Graham in Nagoya, Japan) – turn up the speakers before you do, though.

Sweet, isn’t it? Your students will love it as much as mine did. I’m mildly ashamed to admit that I listened to this song on repeat all the way to work on Tuesday. Much more upbeat than Mary Had a Little Lamb.

For the knowing Genki English member there are of course flashcards and students cards which can be put to good use during the explanation and review periods. Click here now to visit the song page at the Genki English homepage.

The Chocolate Touch EFL Worksheets for Korean and Japanese Students

The Chocolate Touch is a hilarious children’s novel by Patrick Catling about a greedy boy named John Midas who one day acquires the curse of turning everything he touches into chocolate. It’s a wonderful story worthy of time in the classroom but the problem is there just aren’t any supplementary materials to support the teaching of it to children in an EFL setting. Until now, that is. This past weekend I uploaded my novel study worksheet booklets for The Chocolate Touch designed especially for teaching students whose first language is Japanese or Korean. (I’m hoping to have Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin made within a year).

These materials are classroom tested and effective. They’re also a bargain in terms of how much time they’ll save you in not having to prepare your own materials. Each unit of the booklet covers one chapter of the book and includes vocabulary lists (with translations), which can very useful for getting across the meaning of key words in the text. This will be very reassuring to teachers who don’t share the L1 of their students.There are also reading comprehension questions, creative writing exercises, vocabulary practice, word puzzles, and a unit quiz. I’ve also included a comic strip project, a book cover project, crossword puzzles, a book report, and a final test.

Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9 Slide10

Not sure you want to commit? Try the first unit out for free with your students! We also have the other great children’s novels Nate the Great, Freckle Juice, and that Magic Tree House Classic Dinosaurs Before Dark.

OUP Webinar – How to Get Your Students to Write!

I was just catching up on my reading at the OUP ELT Global Blog when I came across an interesting primer for an upcoming webinar titled, “It’s Hard Enough to Find Enough Class Time for Writing”, the third in their Solutions Writing Challenge.


[Writing lessons] get treated like an extra add-on – only to be brought out when all other lessons have been completed. A shame though, don’t you think? We talk about preparing our students for the world of the 21st century in which digital literacy is key, but we find it challenging to allow time for doing those writing lessons.

South African freelance teacher Elna Coetzer will be describing some of her strategies and ideas for teaching writing in the classroom. Although it seems to be focused on the OUP textbook Solutions, I’m sure it will be full of insights for anyone in the business.

The webinar takes place on April 22nd, 2015, and then again on the 24th. You can sign up for it at the OUP registration page.

A Little ESL Humor: What Says Moo?

The next time you have a chance, ask your students what’s wrong with this picture. In my experience, the younger ones get it faster than the older ones.

Moo, I'm a horse.

Amazing Alphabet Mazes from Education.com

The days I’ve been busy building up the presence of The ESL Review on Pinterest, among other unfinished projects, and came across these amazing alphabet mazes from Education.com.

alphabet path A

Click on the image to visit the site.

Students just color in the lower case and upper case letter A’s until they reach the bottom of the page. I don’t happen to be teaching the ABC to any of my students right now, but next time around I certainly plan to put these into action. There’s one for each letter of the alphabet and they’re beautifully designed, colorful, and perfect for children just getting their heads around the alphabet.  

Be sure to check out my Letters Worksheet board on Pinterest for more great materials to teach letters with.