Useful Lesson Links 2.0

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A new year, a new list.

I would like to take the opportunity here and thank all English class participants who were willing to embark on our online experiment. Thanks for your patience and for staying with us. It was not always easy, especially at the beginning, but I believe we learned a lot and together. I must admit, I would probably have never done this voluntarily and alone. But now I am glad we did. There are some possibilities we have online that we didn’t have in our classrooms. Though many of you miss personal contact, seeing each other on our screens is the next best thing. I hope we continue having satisfactory meetings together.

I will continue placing links here for easier planning and access.

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Modality

If you check my concept of The Verb Structure Circle, you will find that it does not deal with modality; it focusses on the four basic forms of the English verb and the various combinations possible among them. An additional page deals with modality.

This post relates to a lesson on modality we recently had in one of my groups and is meant to summarize what we discussed there with some additional elaborations.

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About translation

I always tell my students to be careful whenever they resort to their native language to understand a new word they have encountered. One big disadvantage of online classes is that you cannot really stop people from ‘googling’ a word they don’t know or are not sure about by checking a translation site (hoping to get a ‘quick fix’ I guess).

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Teams backgrounds – not a fan

Microsoft Teams has several useful functions, and I enjoy using the platform for my online classes. As already mentioned several times in other post, my absolute favorite is the possibility to share – almost anything – with my course participants.

But then there is the so-called background effect. In the beginning, when we ‘teamed up’ online, I found this function useful as well, even funny at times, when people became creative with their own background images (one of them created a background that made him look like he was sitting in a Star Wars spaceship – spectacular!).

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Share where you live

One great benefit of online teaching is the ability to share the internet. I have used this a lot. We played online escape rooms together, shared and discussed articles, images and charts, Ted talks, you tube videos etc.

In one session, using google maps, we went to our respective homes. We went to Spanish villages, home towns in Germany or the US; in one session we looked at the respective places people live at currently in Hannover. We ‘showed’ a new employee around the city, introduced her to places to see, or things to do. It was quite enjoyable and sometimes also fairly personal when we shared background stories of where our families live or lived, why some of us wanted to move or were not happy with where they lived.

Looking around via street view offers a special experience, an experience that can be supplemented by a few rounds of Geoguessr.

The Pandemic: Before, during and after (are we there yet?) Some thoughts and links

It was and is interesting to observe how focusses have changed and concerns shifted over the last 18 months. From the beginnings of the crisis (that I documented on extensively), over the long phases of lockdown – settling into things, kind of – to now: a time of discussions on future work models, so-called ‘New Normals’, frustrated managers, new concepts of leadership, jobs quit, and life models reconsidered, to mention just a few.

Below I will post those links that I have shared most the last weeks and months.

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Useful Lesson Links

January 2021

I will close this post here now and start a new one. It has become a little long and was beginning to lose its organizational benefit.

This post started in April 2020 after we had begun to go online and I was beginning to get the hang of things. In earlier posts, starting in March, I kind of documented the process of turning from total resistance – ONLINE classes, NEVER – to actually coming to enjoy my online meetings.

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The various functions of Verb + ing

Brief summary: the VERB + ing form can cause a lot of confusion when analysed. First of all we are familiar with this form as part of the verb structure commonly know as continuous or progressive like in

We are talking about the continuous form in class at the moment.

Here, structurally, the VERB + ing is combined with a form of the auxiliary verb BE. Whereas the auxiliary BE takes on all the grammatical โ€˜workโ€™,  the VERB + ing never changes. In traditional grammar terminology it is called a participle, the ing participle or ‘present’ participle. Confusion sometimes arises, I believe, from the various semantical functions this participle – the form VERB + ing – can take.

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Stephen King Revisited (after a brief current corona status report)

We are in week 13 of Corona. I had to go into my calendar and count. Ever since Germany started with loosening the quarantine measures, life has become a little more restless again. As one writer said: going into ‘Corona’ was easy, getting out again way more complicated.

Our local sports club has been opening up gradually. The individual sports departments had to hand in concepts how to uphold the corona regulations and outdoor sports could commence. Thus, I’m back on the tennis courts, even though I didn’t miss it during the total shutdown. We went for long walks instead behind our village. On the weekends we explored the hills and forests of our region in a radius of 30 kilometers – and were quite amazed at what we found.

But, to tell the truth, it was good to meet more people and friends again. And I must admit, the last two weeks I was on our sports ground almost every day. (The sports pub was also allowed to open under strict hygiene rules ๐Ÿ˜‰

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What will be different after corona crisis

I believe this will be one of the topics of the coming weeks. The past weeks we have been talking about what the current situation is like for us. Most of my English class participants are in home office, so we talked about what that is like for us. I documented my own gradual development into doing my classes online over the weeks with the ups and downs, and adjustments.

Turns out, many of my students are not unhappy with working from home and say they will try to keep a higher amount of work time spent in home office after the corona situtation.

One of the interesting questions for me in this connection was and is WHY many of us – among those privileged to carry on earning money doing home office – are partly even happier than they were before. We’ve had some very open exchanges on this question, which touched upon what will, might be or stay different after the corona shutdowns/lockdowns on the one hand, but also relate to and question aspects of the lives we led or lead or have been leading (I’m not totally sure of my verb structure choice here).

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