Posts Tagged ‘Grammar’

A few months ago I started a nonlinear PowerPoint presentation on the parts of speech. After a lot of consideration, I decided to stick with the traditional eight parts of speech. I realize that this categorization is not without its disadvantages, but I felt that using the traditional eight would be most efficient for my students. This presentation, however, has turned into a bigger project than I had imagined, and as a result I have decided to post it in small bits. This first post is the one on the noun. It covers count nouns, noncount nouns, infinitives as nouns, and gerunds. The level targets the particular students that I teach. They are at the intermediate level. And here it is…



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At the beginning of the semester when I ask my grammar class when to use the present simple tense, I always get a few students who answer “now.”  This is only partially correct. The present simple tense is really not so simple. When you are writing about something that is happening right now, you use the present continuous (progressive) tense.

Hopefully I can help  my grammar students understand when to use the present simple tense and when to use the present progressive tense. To this end, I have created a short  interactive PowerPoint presentation that reviews the uses of both tenses and then gives the students a chance to quiz themselves on what they remember. If you are interested, please link to the presentation below.

The Simple Present Tense in Contrast to the Present Continuous (Progressive Tense)

The photo at the top of this post comes from:


This site has some cool photos that make for interesting grammar questions.

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I have been working with students on paragraphs of cause and effect for several years now and have never been able to find exactly the right materials to fit their level. Over time, I’ve worked up some materials and thought perhaps some of you could use them. There are three presentations:

1.   Subordinating Conjunctions

  • when
  • because
  • since
  • if
  • now that
  • so that

2.   Compound Prepositions

  • due to
  • because of
  • reasons for
  • causes of/for
  • result of
  • consequences of
  • effect of / effect on

3.   Sentence Transitions

  • therefore
  • for this reason
  • as a result
  • consequently
  • thus
  • that is why

The unit on cause and effect is not the first time my class works on subordinating conjunctions. We work on them early in the semester and use them again during the unit on time order and contrast.  Prepositions are also recycled throughout the semester, starting with prepositions for space and then time order. Later, we add some more when we work on process paragraphs. At that time, we mainly cover the prepositions used when giving instructions. The cause and effect prepositions are the most challenging of the semester.

I also wanted to remind you of the cause and effect concentration game that I made earlier. You can find the link to that post here: https://pjgalien.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/cause-and-effect-concentration-game/.

Image:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Happy_Stella.jpg

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Recently we reviewed adjectives and adverbs in my intermediate grammar class. As a wrap-up we played a modified Jeopardy game. By modified, I mean that it doesn’t follow the traditional question-answer format of Jeopardy. It simply asks questions (instead of asking for a question). The students had a lot of fun. They were really competitive! The link to the game is: http://jeopardylabs.com/play/grammar-review-esl-adjectives-and-adverbs.

I just wish it were a little more difficult. The third category where they simply had to change the adjective to an adverb was not challenging at all. Before I use it again, I will look for ways to make it trickier. That should make it even more fun.

If you would like to make a Jeopardy game of your own, it’s easy to do at http://jeopardylabs.com/.

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Some time ago I made a concentration game using PowerPoint and put the template here on this blog. The template doesn’t have any content, but you are welcome to take it and add your own content. You can download it at: Concentration Template.

From time to time, I check the stats for this blog and not long after creating the Concentration game, I did just that. When I check the stats,  I can see several things: how many hits there have been, the referrers, the links that have been clicked, and the search engine terms people have used. One day, I noticed that someone found this blog by using the terms “cause and effect concentration.” I thought this was a great idea and since one of the rhetorical patterns we work on in my writing class is cause and effect, I have made just such a game.

I use it to do two things:

  1. help students clarify their understanding of what cause means and what effect means
  2. practice writing logical sentences (with correct punctuation) that use the following words and phrases:
    • as a result
    • so
    • since
    • consequently
    • that is why
    • because
    • for this reason

I chose seven words and phrases because this is the number of pairs in the game. I did not use therefore and thus because these words are usually only used when writing about logical conclusions in math and law and would not fit any of the sentences in the game.

The game worked very well. I wrote the above words and phrases on the board and broke the class into teams. I then explained the game and told the class that the teams needed to do two things.

  1. First, they had to match two cards. One card would be a picture that represented a cause and the other would be a picture that represented the effect. They were not allowed to take notes on the location of the cards. This is a concentration game after all!
  2. After matching two cards, one team member would come to the board and use the information on the cards and one of the words on the board to write a sentence of cause and effect. The team could help them, but I would not look at the sentence until it was finished. If the sentence was correct, the team would get a point and another turn. If the sentence was not correct, the next team would have a shot at writing a correct sentence. Once one of the words or phrases on the board was used, I would cross it off to ensure that all of them were used for practice.

Students enjoyed the game and had to work hard to make sure their team’s sentences were logical and correct. The whole class appeared to find mistakes in logic particularly interesting.

Please note that  there is one picture that represents surprised and another that represents frightened or terrified. Surprised is intended to match up with the mouse and frightened or terrified is intended to match up with the ghost. Students thought it was funny when I acted out surprised versus frightened and were fine when I explained that I was looking for something very strong for the ghost and not so strong for the mouse.

To open or download the game go to Cause and Effect Concentration Game.

The source for most of the images was My English Images.

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Word Magnets

Over the weekend I learned about Word Magnets from Nik Peachey’s blog. I haven’t used it yet, but I think it would be very useful in a grammar or writing class. To see a detailed explanation of how to use Word Magents along with ideas and a review of the tool, please go to Nik Peachey’s blog.


Word Magnets:  http://www.triptico.co.uk/flashFiles/wordMagnets/Word%20Magnets.swf

Nik Peachey’s Blog: http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2009/10/revising-short-texts-and-syntax-on-iwb.html

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Many of you have seen and used Jeopardy templates for review. Some of these games use PowerPoint, but recently I learned about Jeopardy Labs. It is very easy to use. You can make your own games or use one of the games that are on file.  The one on Parts of Speech will be useful at the beginning of my writing class next semester. I am hoping to use this site to make a review game for my grammar class. I will share that with you when I finish it, but for now I thought I’d share this site so that you can get going on making some easy to use games of your own. Let us know if you make one!

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