Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English

This list focuses on sites designed to provide online videos to assist English Language Learners develop their language skills. In addition to meeting that criteria, in order to make this list a site has had to have the following elements:

* videos provide engaging content, not just a teacher talking.
* free-of-charge.
* online follow-up language development activities after watching the video.
* classroom content appropriate for the classroom.

The Best Online Video Sites For Learning English

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Extensive reading: why it is good for our students… and for us. | Teaching English | British Council | BBC

An article by Alan Maley posted to BBC's Teaching English, 9 December, 2009: "Extensive reading: why it is good for our students… and for us." In this, the first of two articles for TeachingEnglish, Alan Maley considers the benefits extensive reading can bring to English language learners and teachers.

What is Extensive Reading (ER)?
Extensive Reading is often referred to but it is worth checking on what it actually involves. Richard Day has provided a list of key characteristics of ER (Day 2002). This is complemented by Philip Prowse (2002). Maley (2008) deals with ER comprehensively. The following is a digest of the two lists of factors or principles for successful ER:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Update: Advanced Writing Class

Several of you have expressed interest in the writing intensive class I'm starting. Sadamu has sent his application letter ~ I'm waiting on Allun's letter. Other applications have come in through the StudyCom page, but there is still space in the class.

I'd like to make a few comments about what I hope we can do in this course. First, the writing won't be just essays and academic writing. I want to customize the the class and assignments to suit individual writing goals: academic, business, professional, technical, and personal communication. Exploring a variety a writing styles, forms and situations will make the class more interesting ~ and develop stronger writing skills.

If you are interested in taking this class, please email me ~

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How to subscribe to blog updates and more

Get new blog posts automatically emailed to you. Go to Settings on Dashboard - click "email & mobile" tab. You'll see "Email Notices" at the top of the page, Type your email address in the blank next to "BlogSend Address."  You can enter a comma separated list of up to 10 email addresses. This should work. If it does not or is not on your dashboard, let me know and I can add your address from my dashboard. You can subscribe to comment notification by email whenever you post a comment to a post.

I've heard from some about staying in the class. My next step will be to check past participation and start dropping those who have never posted or commented.

Next, perhaps a poll or survey for ideas on what direction. I am not interested in being the only contributor and like the idea of "projects." Some could be to educate the rest of us about some aspect of your own countries and cultures. Other projects could be taking turns to research an area of English study, look for handouts and exercises, and prepare a lesson for the rest of the class.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New StudyCom class: advanced writing

I am starting an High Intermediate/ Advanced Writing Group (with emphasis on academic essays for TOEFL prep and academic writing). This writing intensive group will write substantial posts for class discussion, analyze and critique essays and writing samples, regularly write and revise  essays. I must limit enrollment because responding to student writing is labor intensive and time consuming.

To apply for the class, write an application letter essay and email it to me at

Introduce yourself and include a brief biography (paragraph #1). Describe your English learning background (paragraph #2) and evaluate your writing strengths and weaknesses (paragraph #3). Finally, state your writing goals and explain why you want to improve your writing (paragraph #4) 

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Gizmoz Is Good For Speaking Practice

Gizmoz lets you pick from a variety of images, then choose a background, and then quickly speak a message or, using the text-to-speech feature, type one. Then, after signing-in (registering or signing-in just takes seconds) you can either email the link or post it yourself on a blog or website.

As an opportunity for speaking practice, it doesn’t get much easier ~ Gizmoz Is Good For Speaking Practice

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The World’s 50 Best Open Courseware Collections

For the more advanced, those considering university in an English language speaking country or just the wildly adventurous: study a subject you are familiar with or that interests you in English. This strategy will teach you as much or more about English than about the subject studied.

The list linked below represents a handful of hundreds of open courseware initiatives that now exist. The following fifty collections are from English-speaking universities and colleges, located across the U.S. to England, Canada and Australia. Additionally, the list points to open courseware projects such as directories and primary source projects offered by various universities and colleges.

The list is divided into categories and each link is listed in alphabetical order within those categories. This method shows our readers that we do not favor one collection over another.

The World’s 50 Best Open Courseware Collections

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2009

I recently rediscovered Larry Ferlazzo's wesbsite & all its "bests".... and not for the 1st time. But this time I added it to my feed reader to keep track of it. Expect to see more of Larry's "best links" here.

 via Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... by Larry Ferlazzo on 11/17/09  

It's time for another year-end "The Best…" list. This one will be sharing my choices for the best eighteen sites to use with English Language Learner students.

Some of these sites may have been around prior to this year, but since I didn't discover them until now, I'm including them on the list.
Please vote in the poll at the bottom of this post and pick your top five. I'm having my students participate in the voting too, so you might want to consider using it as a lesson with your own students.

Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students – 2009:

Monday, November 16, 2009

20 Free Resources to Learn English from Home

Not everyone can afford classes or expensive English language learning software. Fortunately, there are many free resources available online that anyone can use to learn English on their own. From free online courses to language learning communities, knowledge can be found with just a click of the mouse. Here are 20 free English language learning resources to explore from the comfort of your own home:

20 Free Resources to Learn English from Home

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Best Sites for Practicing Writing

From Larry Ferlazzo's edublog, Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…  for Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

This “The Best…” list requires a bit of an explanation.

I’ve already posted The Best Websites For K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement.  That list primarily contains links to sites that provide direct writing instruction.  And I’ve also posted several lists of Web 2.0 tools where writing is a key feature to using them, including The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows, The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Animations, and The Best Ways To Make Comic Strips Online.

I thought, though, that it would be useful to create another list of the best places where the primary purpose is just to write, and which make it interesting and easy for English Language Learners and other students to do so.  I don’t think that’s an artificial distinction and, if it is, so be it!

Here are my choices for The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Long time no see you!

Hi All

Long time no see you! I'm very sorry not to post for long time.
I became seventy years old last June and my monthly working hours for my odd jobs will be smaller by one third from this October.

Yes, I have much time to learn English again.
I'll visit Blogging English more often and I'll post to this.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Grammar question

Hi teacher Vanessa,

I have a question about the grammar on one sentence.

"A sagittal section of the brain was made and the tissues examined under the microscope"

Should it have 'were' between the tissues and examined?

Thank you,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Verb Tenses

The other day I read this sentence:
The number of cars was risen 10% over the last five years….

You are right if you think this looks wrong - it is wrong! But it is not unusual to see sentences like this. The general structure of the sentence is sound (word order, use of articles etc) but the writer doesn’t know how to build up compound verbs properly.

(The correct version is: The number of cars has risen / has been rising over the last five years..)

I know that verb tenses get difficult with auxiliary verbs and when a sentence is in the passive voice - a new bridge has been built in the city center. Even more things can go wrong with compound verbs. Don’t just guess! There are only a few possibilities that you can use. Take another look at the sentence:
The number of cars was risen 10% over the last five years….

Once you decide that the subject of the sentence is singular (the number) and the verb is active then the grammatical possibilities for the verb are:

1. The number of cars rises over the last five years….

2. The number of cars is rising over the last five years….

3. The number of cars has risen over the last five years….

4. The number of cars has been rising over the last five years….

5. The number of cars rose over the last five years….

6. The number of cars was rising over the last five years….

7. The number of cars had risen over the last five years….

8. The number of cars had been rising over the last five years….

Any of these sentences, even the wrong ones, reads far better than the original sentence that I gave you. Some that are not correct are acceptable and would not upset the reader too much. If you are not sure of the possible verb forms take a look at a verb chart like the one here on

Follow the link scroll down the page to the VERB TENSE OVERVIEW table near the bottom of the page. You can see all the tenses laid out. Use what you think is the most appropriate one and make sure you make your verb agree with the subject of the sentence. Even if you choose the wrong tense your writing will be far more acceptable than if you put something grammatically impossible!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama's first speech as the US President

Hi All

How was your New Years Day? First of all, I'm sorry for my absence from this blog. I was so busy on my business that I missed to post to this for many months.

I was very interested in the US President election last year and I guessed that Clinton would win in it. So, I was surprised to hear Obama's victory. Then I wanted to hear his inaugural address. I had waited for it, but I missed it. Because he spoke at 2 am in our time and I was beaten by my sleepiness. As a result, I could listen to it on VOA web.

I thought that he spoke to all American, so it would be very understandable. However I couldn't understand most of them at first time. He spoke very clearly and modulated his voice for effect. I listed to it three time by today. Yet I don't think that I understand his speech.

I found that his speech appeared in our news papers in English with its translation. I got a copy of it yesterday. I'm going to study his speech as teaching materials. Because I was impressed by it and I could have its audio, its prints and its translation.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Myrtle Hill

Everybody How are you!
Let me to take advantage of this the opportunity.
To wish everybody have a wonderful New Year 2009 ,
to be joyful and health forever.

Let's us carry on our tour

Approaching Myrtle Path Turning south from the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery, We enter the Myrtle path. The Myrtle Hill On the right hand side are myrtle trees and a number of Black pines with extending branches are grown on the Spring Hill to the leftAlong the Myrtle Path, the roadsides are planted mainly with and some Luohan Pines on the right.

Myrtle flowers come in many colors-red、light purple、pink、purple blue or white. The flowers have a long blooming period of half a year normally from March to July. During Tang Dynasty, Myrtles were grown mostly in palaces and official residences
 Blooming flowers  in winter time

Luohan Pines ( Podocarpus macrophyllus) is a conifer in the genus Podocarpus, it is the northernmost species of the genus, native to southern Japan and southern China. Kusamaki and Inumaki are Japanese names for this tree, and Kusamaki is increasingly being used as the English name as well, replacing the old, botanically inaccurate names "buddhist pine" and "fern pine" (it is not a pine). In China, it is known as Luohan Pines..

It is a small to medium size evergreen tree, reaching 20 m tall. The leaves are strap-shaped, 6-12 cm long, and about 1 cm broad, with a central midrib. The cones are borne on a short stem, and have 2-4 scales, usually only one (sometimes two) fertile, each fertile scale bearing a single apical seed 10-15 mm. When mature, the scales swell up and become reddish purple, fleshy and berry-like, 10-20 mm long; they are then eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. The yew podocarpus growth speed is slow, 8 to 10 year beginning long height 1 meter, 4 meter high yew podocarpus then take time generally for 40 years, this is precisely its precious place.

Kusamaki is the state tree of Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

It is a popular large shrub or small tree in gardens, particularly in Japan and the southeastern United States. The ripe cone arils are edible, though the seed should not be eaten.

Luohan Pines in Hong Kong is regarded as a Fung Shui tree, thus having a very high market value. In recent years, the illegal digging of Buddhist Pine has become a problem in the city.

On the left stand a number of arresting Black Pines.

Black Pine trees in outstanding shape, two of which is like a pair of “opening arms” to welcome tourists coming into the garden. Rocks are from the Red River in Guangxi province (foreign guests may be interested to know that Guangxi is the adjacent province and west of Gungdong!) and how they appear today is result of long years of natural erosion under water. In the coming future,we will have special part to introduce the rocks and more pictures for watching.

Wishing you and your beloved ones happiness, success and most important of all, the very best of health.

Bye Bye!
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