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When students give a speech that gives instructions or write a paragraph that gives instructions, they sometimes need to remind their listeners or readers about something. The attached presentation gives examples of reminders and the grammar that is used with them. It then presents sentences with errors. I use this presentation in class. I ask the students to sit in pairs and then show them the sentences with the errors. They work with their partners to correct the mistakes, and then we discuss the corrections as a whole class.


Image — http://blogs.colgate.edu/pancakes-syrup.jpg

A couple of years ago I used a very short PowerPoint presentation on The Eight Parts of Speech. I made the presentation available to my students so that those who were confused about nouns, verbs, etc. could refer to it. I then decided that an expanded interactive presentation might be more beneficial. I also did not want to be tied to the traditional categories used in grammar.

I have now “completed” the expanded interactive version; however, as you can see from the title of the presentation, after some exploration, I decided to organize the presentation in the old, traditional way. While the categorization is old and traditional, the presentation of the material is not. The presentation is an interactive PowerPoint that allows students to follow their curiostiy by clicking on buttons. The second page of the presentation is “home,” and from there students can click on the part of speech that they would like to learn more about. I have also included an index. The icon for the index is in the upper right hand corner. Buttons in the bottom middle of the pages allow students to go back to the sections within the presentation.

In the future, I plan to expand some of the sections of the presentation. For prepositions of orientation, in particular, I imagine that  photos demonstrating the meanings of the words would be very helpful.


Correlative Conjunctions

I have been working on the eight parts of speech, and this presentation is one small part of that larger project. Enjoy. OK. That “enjoy” part was supposed to be funny. I can imagine you sitting down with a glass of something or other, having an appetizer, and oooohing and aaaaahing over correlative conjunctions. They are “enjoyable” but perhaps not in that way.

Correlative Conjunctions


Something new that people are talking about is Poll Everywhere. I haven’t actually used this yet, but it looks like it could be very useful and a lot of fun. It allows students to use shortcode texting on their cell phones to take polls. The polls can be conducted in class, and the results are available almost immediately. These polls could be learning objects or practice quizzes.  The lowest level of service is free.

I have experimented a little bit with Poll Everywhere. Be aware that while most cell phones will allow shortcode texting, some may not. In my case, I am on a family account and shortcode texting is blocked, so I am unable to submit answers using my phone. One way to ensure that all of your students can participate is to put them in pairs, making sure that students who do not have phones that allow shortcode texting are paired with students who do.

I would like to adapt an interactive PowerPoint presentation I made on  Fact or Opinion to Poll Everywhere and see how it works. In the meantime, let me know if you have any ideas or something you would like to share.

Image Source

Poll Everywhere


Giving Instructions Analysis

This video was very useful as an example of language that gives instructions. I used it today in my writing class, and it worked well as an introduction to several teaching points. The first time my class watched the video, pencils were down, and the students just watched for enjoyment and to get the general idea. The second viewing included a closer look and an analysis of the language used in the video. The video offers some good examples of features found in language that gives instruction.

Imperative Verbs

    • start
    • push
    • rest
    • cut
    • select
    • serve
    • enjoy
    • cajole
    • assure

Expressions That Are Useful When Giving Instructions

    • You will need _____
    • You will have to _____.
    • You need to_____.

A Reminder

    • Be(ing) careful not to _____.

The video also gave students exposure to interesting and slightly more complex introductions and conclusions than they have written so far this semester.


In my experience it is more difficult for my writing students to choose interesting controlling ideas for essays on similarities than it is for them to choose interesting controlling ideas for essays about differences (contrast). One key to writing about similarities is finding two topics that at first glance appear to have very little in common.  Recently a friend who admires Fred Astaire shared a You Tube video about some mirroring that Michael Jackson did of Fred Astaire. Although this topic is not particularly academic, the video illustrates some interesting similarities between a piece of work by Michael Jackson and some work by Fred Astaire.

I plan to use this later this semester in my writing course when we work on writing about similarities. I will either use it at the beginning of the unit as a “buy in” or at the point when the class is preparing to choose their topics.