Saturday, December 10, 2011

On ad-speak and poetry

On ad-speak and poetry shamelessly re-posted in toto from Harriet the Blog at the Poetry Foundation

Ian Daly — a “planning director and cultural strategist” at a marketing firm in New York called Anomaly — recently compiled a list of words and phrases that he titled “Shit I Never Said Before Working in Advertising.” A sampling:

Blow it out

Ladder it up

Tease it out

Bullet it out

Build it out

Build affinity

Soft launch

Hard stop

Fair push

Push back

Reach out

Touch base

Connect around

Loop in

Circle back



Share of mind

Are you tracking? I’m tracking.

And it goes on, reading a little like a weirdly intricate instruction manual, a little like half-baked inspirational literature, and maybe a little like… poetry?

We’re reminded of Robert Archambeau’s recent essay on the various ways that advertising has co-opted (unwittingly?) the language and approach of Symbolist poetry. Writing about Lexicon — the company behind such evocative product names as “Blackberry,” “Swiffer,” and “Pentium Chip” — Archambeau says:

The greatest of Symbolists Stéphane Mallarmé, in his Crise de vers describes the poetry he admires as… “verse that from its constituents makes up a total word, new, strange to the language and like an incantation”. For him, the poem itself was a single word. And like the words coined by the people at Lexicon, Mallarmé’s total word gives us “an array of specific, resonant meanings and associations” rather than something more defined and limited.

Read Ian Daly’s full list and Robert Archambeau’s full article.

Using Educational Techology for Adult ELT |

Packed with useful links and learning resources, including but not limited to vocabulary, pronunciation, writing, passive voice verb use, games, building sentences, text to speech, lesson plans, irregular verb videos and more.

Subscribe for regular updates by email or add to your rss feed reader.

Using Educational Techology for Adult ELT |

'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Short simple sentences will get you through!

Post by Patrick at Academic writing 
This post is for students who are having problems with writing longer texts: write short simple sentences! If your teacher can't understand what you are saying, then your marks will plummet  (students of English for International Finance will know the meaning!). Look at this paragraph from a website about the rise of house prices:
One of the main factors in the UK housing market is the acute shortage of housing, especially in popular areas. This means that even a very small increase in demand has a proportionally bigger increase in price.
Understand the main point? Yes! It's a great example of clarity in writing. Academic writing is a vehicle for IDEAS. Good academic writing is not noticed at all, because the reader can just focus on the content.
In fact, you don't need to be very inventive at all. Just use one of a small variety of sentence patterns you can see from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Art of Building Virtual Communities

What if after planning a self-paced study group, setting up a blog, preparing and study materials, and taking time to answer students asking about lesson and nobody shows up? Or worse, people show up, take a quick look around, decide it isn’t worth their time and leave! A self paced, cooperative study group is the only way I can offer more than just a few and those at different levels the opportunity to work on their English.

We are getting more visitors but still none stopping to ask questions or leave a message. I am looking for ideas to get visitors to stick around and still not giving up.

One model that holds merit an be found on the Learning Circuits Blog. How do you think this would work for Blogging English?

It is developed around the roles and interactions members of a community have as participants in that community: Linking; Lurking; Learning; Leading.

I bet w already have linkers (visitors who bookmark and save or share the link) and lurkers. Now we need active learners. More leaders would help too.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome to Blogging English

Welcome to our self-paced study group for English learners. Please take the time to visit the site. Check out resources and links. Join our ESL open study group by clicking the "follow" button on the right hand side of the page.

PS ~ Before you go, don't forget to leave a message introducing yourself or just saying hello!

Where do you want to go with English? What are you working on? What are your goals? Please leave a message telling us more about your learning interests and plans. How can we help? Do you have a personal learning plan? We can help you develop a plan and customize your own Personal Learning Network.

Do have suggestions, ideas about features to improve the study group?  Should we add a separate discussion group, chat, bulletin board to leave messages, voice messages? Let us know.

If you have questions about grammar and usage, please post them at StudyCom's Question and Help Board. You will also find many learning resources, mini-lessons and study guides there.

In the meantime, check out these Great Sites for Students to Practice English

I look forward to reading your messages and welcoming you to our group,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

About ESL Newsletter: Speaking Speaking is the topic of this week's About ESL newsletter. For "dessert" ~ spooky talk. Poe's Raven and a candy haunted house for Halloween,

Speaking English well is the goal of all English learners. In this newsletter, you'll learn about speaking English on the telephonespeaking English in situations at work, and speaking English in everyday situations, also known as small talk.

Here are ten questions to help you 
start speaking English
. Each of these questions help to begin or continue a conversation. The questions are in two categories: Basic Facts and Hobbies / Free Time. There are also a number of questions that can help you continue the conversation after the first question.

Teachers can help students with lesson plans on practicing telephone English, and making small talkTeachers will also be interested in this lesson focusing on how to get an ESL class conversing.

candy haunted house ~ how to make one

Finally, it's Halloween here in the United States soon. Have fun learning spooky English with the Halloween resources on the site, including a vocabulary quiz"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe and more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Schools and Creativity [videos]

 This video is to help non-native speakers of English understand the gist of Sir Ken Robinson's TED 2006 conference keynote on "Do Schools Kill Creativity" (below).Please watch it before or after viewing this one. 

Sir Ken Robinson's TED 2006 conference keynote address "Do Schools Kill Creativity" makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.


What do you think of these videos and the ideas they express? Do you agree or disagree with Sir Ken Robinson? What was your school experience like?

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Larry Ferlazzo “Links I Should Have Posted"

via Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... by Larry Ferlazzo on 10/9/11. He writes, 
I have a huge backlog of resources that I've been planning to post about in this blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing so. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Beginner Level - The Best ESL Videos

Real English ESL Video & Lessons ~ Beginner Level. Double-Click on any word on the page for an English definition, or translation
Real English is different. Students who have not lived in an English-speaking country should begin with Lesson 1! The people in the videos are spontaneous. Spontaneity is difficult, just like real situations with strangers are difficult. The people seem to speak fast, but in reality, they are speaking at normal speed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English

Help with #spelling for ESL learners and native speakers. They have problems with English spelling and make mistakes too. English spelling is notoriously inconsistent. Improving your spelling will help you not just with writing but also reading and vocabulary development. Be patient though - mastering spelling won't happen overnight.

"Here are the 100 words most commonly misspelled ('misspell' is one of them). Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the time you spend searching dictionaries by 50%. (Use the time you save celebrating in our gameroom.)"

Teaching Spelling Strategies to ESL Students (also from YourDictionary)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Beginners - Resources, Lesson Plans, Activities

The current issue of's ESL's Newsletter focuses on beginners and includes: helpful 20 point absolute beginner teaching guide; other beginning level English lesson plans; review or starter with 25 basic English lessons; practice exercises for asking questions in English; a lesson explaining the common verbs do or make.

Are You an Absolute Beginner? 
Do you understand the question? If yes - you are not an absolute beginner. If no - then you might be an absolute beginner. A simple definition of absolute beginners... Read more

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Online ESL Newsletters

Years ago, before Web 2.0 and live or real time learning applications, lessons by email and newsletter subscription ruled. They're still around and still a useful learning tool. 
With, you can even create your very own newsletter for learning English. Maybe I should do that for Blogging English. Do you have a favorite ESL newsletter? Please share it with us by posting a link to comments.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

DIY U: Getting Started With Self-Learning

Are you ready to get started with self-learning? Read this important message from P2PU

P2PU is excited to announce an overdue collaboration with Anya Kamenetz, author of The Edupunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential, to create a new course centered around motivated learners who are ready to experiment with an innovative approach to learning.

Together we started DIY U: Getting Started With Self-Learning on This course is a chance to explore the process of self-directed learning. We’ll help each other with two goals: creating an individualized learning plan, where you define your own goals and the path to get there, and reaching out to others to build a network of peers and mentors who can help you on your path.

DIY U is a pilot attempt of developing learning plans together. It will runs through September and is intended for those new to P2PU and even to online learning in general. If you’ve been a fan of P2PU but haven’t found a course or study group to suit you, this is a great place to start. If you have friends or students or others in your network who are newer to this self learning thing, please encourage them to sign up! And even if your interest in personal learning plans is more academic or theoretical, we encourage you to bring a focused learning goal to the table!

An exciting and diverse crowd has already signed up – with plenty room for more! One of the participants (and a P2PU staffer) has even created a tutorial on how to hack the P2PU course module to layout your individual learning plan. Sign up and start working through the tasks to take charge of your learning goals!

And then you can add all the English learning resources here - and more - to your Personal (English) Learning Plan

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

About ESL: Visual Learning

Hello all. It's been very quiet here. No excuses please ~ the analytics on my Blogger dashboard tell the story. Sadamu is the only member I've heard from: I owe him an email and hope he will let me share his message with you. I haven't been active here but have been posting mini-lessons and learning resources to the StudyCom Help Board that you can visit. You can also post grammar and usage questions there. 

Today's ESL resources from About ESL focus on visual learning. If you haven't already subscribed to the newsletter for your learning portfolio, don't put it off any longer: subscribe now! If you are a visual learner or interested in visual learning, take a look at Digital Delights for Learners too. If you don't know what kind of learner you are, find out before planning or starting your self-paced English learning program.

From Kenneth Beare's newsletter, your Guide to ESL
This week's newsletter provides a number of visual aids such as dictionaries, and tense charts to help with learning. The visual tense charts provide a picture for each tense to help with understanding, and a tense timeline shows all the tenses on one page. The visual dictionaries provide context for each picture with plenty of related vocabulary. There's also visual help with prepositions and finally a sheet on separable and inseparable verbs.

Visual Tense Charts 
Visual clues can really help learners understand tense usage. This resource provides a visual tense chart for each of the major uses of the 14 tenses in English... Read more

For more advanced learners, this tense timeline chart shows all the tenses on one page moving from past to future and can be a good way to review tenses by contrasting and comparing usage.

Visual Dictionaries 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Broadsided: Responses: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011


Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

At Broadsided, we believe that art and literature belong in our daily lives. We believe they are not just decoration, but essential communication. They inspire and they demonstrate the vitality and depth of our connection with the world.
Moved by the plight of post-tsunami Japan, Broadsided artist Yuko Adachi sent us the image "Love Heals Japan" (see right) and asked if we would help her find writing to accompany it. We were inspired by her idea, and decided to ask other Broadsided artists if they had been similarly moved and, if so, if they'd be willing to share their work.
We posted that art, and asked writers to respond. Below are the collaborations that resulted, as well as a short note from the writers and artists about this process. We hope that you will download, print, and share these with your community.
Yuko has created a high-quality giclee print of her collaboration with Hugh Martin. You can purchase it on Etsy. All proceeds will go to the relief effort in Japan.
Click each image below for the pdf; scroll down for more information about each collaboration.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

add your 2¢ worth

What area of English do you want to work on and Why? What is your personal goal?

How would you assess your English level?

  • Listening comprehension? 
  • Speaking? 
  • Reading? 
  • Writing?
What features would like to see added?
  • Text to Voice
  • Chat
  • Private group
  • Other
Use the comment feature to answer or add anything else. No rude language, spam or inappropriate comments please.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Language Learning MOOC for English

I wrote about MOOCs (☜ watch the video) or Massive Open Online Courses a while back when I was taking the PLE/PLN course - a MOOC called PLENK (for Personal Learning Environments and Knowledge Networks). Remember all the PLE and PLN graphics? Back then that we could adapt the ideas here for an open online study group. Now someone is doing just that, although a class rather than a study group.

What do you think?

Read the post, think about it and let me know. Then we can start planning how to do it.

"A MOOC course structure seems to usually be centered on topics such as online learning, teaching practices (M-learning), learning about connectivisim, or other such related fields as education and e-learning. Adapting the MOOC structure for some topic not related to the field of education itself would pose some challenges considering the participants would likely not be comprised mainly of educators or even people with an affinity for Distance Education technology and innovation. As others have pointed out, the effectiveness of a MOOC structure is partially dependent on the subject matter; not all subjects lend themselves to this style of information presentation. However, some especially do. Language Learning might be ideal for this type of course design.

Since being introduced to the MOOC earlier this year, I have often thought about how a Language MOOC might play out. This post is an explanation of why I think Language Learning suits the MOOC structure"

Friday, July 08, 2011

Digital Delights for Learners

Sites for learning & developing creativity ~ many links to free and fun to use learning resources including courses, music, games, reading and study tips, subject specific pages (art, history, grammar, geography, science, music, ear training, speech accent archives), apps and much more. Follow for daily email updates.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Learn Natural English Daily at PhraseMix

This site looks like fun and comes highly recommended for learning idioms for speaking

Welcome to PhraseMix! Improve your English ability by understanding and memorizing common English phrases. Learn useful, real world phrases.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tell Your Stories Through Writing

One can’t believe impossible things” said Alice. “I daresay you haven’t had much practice” said the queen
The post continues, "Writing has always been a challenging and an overwhelming task," but identifies children as the group having difficulties. Adult and young adult learners often find writing even more difficult. Would you as older writers and L2 learners, find the storytelling tools a help to writing or another obstacle, this one technical?
Take look at the ones reviewed here. Try them out. Let us know what you think.
  • Writeboard is web based document that you can work on alone or with others.
  • OurStory tool uses a timeline to help you write your stories and adds pictures, videos and text. Send it others via mail or share it on different social networking sites.
  • At StoryBird, create your own stories using existing drawings.
  • TheStoryStarter has more than 1 million story starters and prompts for all ages. This tool is great to start a narrative story. Choose a starter that interests you and write your own.
  • WhatifQuestions asks you “What if?” questions to generate your own story.

And more...

“You are not the same as you were before. You are much more… muchier now” said the Mad Hatter to Alice.

Tell Your Stories Through Writing, Ozge Karaoglu's Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Guide to Grammar and Writing

Still the best and most comprehensive English grammar and writing resource online for writers, English teachers and any English learner whether ESL/EFL/ESOL or NS.

Dr. Charles Darling

Guide to Grammar and Writing is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, a nonprofit 501 c-3 organization that supports scholarships, faculty development, and curriculum innovation.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Using Spell-checkers

Should spell-checkers be allowed in tests? is not just about tests but offers sound general principals for using spell-check programs. At the The Spelling Blog, Johanna Stirling writes about,

You have to be a halfway decent speller anyway to be able to use a spell-checker. Your attempt has to be close enough to be recognised by the software and where there is an option, you have to be able to choose the right one. You also have to cope with homophones and other real-word errors on your own. See Spell checkers, how useful are they? for more on spell-checkers and an activity to train learners to use them well.
Autocorrect is more of a problem for both learning and meaning. This "corrects" your spelling automatically without you noticing it. So there is no opportunity to learn. Autocorrect may even turn it into the wrong word - not the meaning you intend - but it will be spelled correctly!

For fun and examples of spell-check correction problems, read Ode to a Spell Checker. Can you find and correct all the mistakes spell check made?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mobile ESL

Mobile ESL from Athabasca University

This is a course of lessons and practice on the system of English. It is divided into eighty-six sections.

Each section covers an area of basic grammar and contains a number of exercises. The exercises are not all the same length. Some exercises have only five questions, but others have up to nine questions. This is because some areas of grammar are more important than others.

his course tests your knowledge of English grammar and, more importantly, it gives you practice in using your knowledge to make correct and appropriate sentences. When you do the exercises, you will see that grammar is not just a game. Grammar has meaning - if you change some of the grammar in a sentence, you also change its meaning."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poetry Pairing

Japanese Defense Ministry, via Associated Press There was one bright moment the Sunday after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as Japanese naval forces rescued a 60-year-old man who had been riding the roof of his house for two days. The man, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, was found nine miles south of his hometown and nine miles out to sea.
Go to related slide show » 
In our weekly “Poetry Pairing” series, we collaborate with the Poetry Foundation to feature a work from its American Life in Poetry project alongside content from The Times that somehow echoes, extends or challenges the poem’s themes. Each poem is introduced briefly by Ted Kooser, a former United States poet laureate. 
This week we put three pieces together: the poem “The Word That Is a Prayer,” a photograph, above, from a Times slide show of over 100 images of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and a March 11 blog post by the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, “Sympathy for Japan, and Admiration.”

Annotating Text

At our school, we really push students to get comfortable and familiar with the idea of annotating academic text that they’re reading. That’s just one of several reasons why we don’t use standard textbooks much in our English classes, and instead use copied units from Pebble Creek Labs, the Write Institute, or ones developed by local universities. And we always have a lot of post-it notes on hand for when we aren’t using consumables. We encourage students to read text with a pen or highlighter in their hands.

This is why I’m really big on web apps that let you annotate webpages (see Best Applications For Annotating Websites).

This kind of annotation habit is a reminder and strategy for students to interact more meaningfully with the text, and makes follow-up work so much easier (unit projects, studying for tests, etc.). It’s a habit that they’ll find useful for years to come.

Annotation “prompts” include using the typical reading strategies (ask a question, make a connection, visualize by drawing a picture and writing what it is, summarizing, predicting, and agreeing/disagreeing) and highlighting a specifically limited number of words (to help students develop the discipline of not highlighting tons of them)

Not just for research, note-taking and studying but also helps reading in general by focusing attention on the text.

Posted via email from Academentia

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are you safe? Please check in!

It's been a worrying time for anyone with friends, family or acquaintances in Japan - but not as hard as being there! I was very relieved to hear from Sadamu and learn that he and his family are OK. I hope to hear from Youngim and Junai soon too. After all the excitement in Egypt, we'd like to hear from Sayid Salem too. Now that the group is open, I can't tell for sure who any one is or where you are from.  

Please post a short note letting us know how you are. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

ESL on YouTube

YouTube is an excellent ESL learning resource. In addition to many ESL and English learning channels, you can also practice your listening skills with videos on topics that interest you. 
StudyCom has it's own YouTube Channel. Check it out. Do you have a favorite YouTube channel for studying English? Please share it with us.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Internet pick of the day: ESL blogs

I posted this on StudyCom's Question Board last week. Each week or more often (when I remember), I post a mini-lesson or online resource. You can post your grammar and usage questions there ~ don't ask me to do your homework for your or edit your papers. If you want to work on your writing, come here. 

While looking for study resources on the web, don't overlook the many ESL blogs created and maintained by ESL teachers all over the world. Some are learning blogs for their students. Others are for other ESL teachers and about teaching ~ ideas, teaching tips, lesson plans, technology, etc. 

Most if not all have resources you can use. You can also subscribe to blogs you like. My first pick is Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day at Edublogs. In addition to English, you will learn a lot about the world, current events, important issues and many other topics. 

More to look at:'s list of Best ESL EFL Teacher blogs. Do you have a favorite ESL blog? Please share it with us?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...