Something Old, Something Borrowed, Some Things New

I haven’t posted any new additions here in quite awhile.  Part of the reason is that I had been busy helping USALearns create a DB of Web sites that teachers can access right from the Teacher Home Page.( – Once you’ve registered and signed in you’ll see the Home Page.) Look for “More Practice” under Resources for Teachers. With this new DB you can easily search for specific skills in specific units. I found a lot of great correlating Web sites that I haven’t posted here yet, so be sure to check it out.

Besides the “More Practice” link there are some other valuable new links on the Teacher Home Page. You can now download the video script of each of the 20 units of 2nd Course. (These may not be new to you if you downloaded Video Scripts under 2nd Course here on Partners in Practice.)

One link I think you (and your students) will really love seeing is the iTunes collection of 2nd Course video podcasts. These are actually old. Many people don’t realize that 2nd Course video stories were all originally filmed as a series called English for All and were shown on the Website,  USALearns borrowed the videos and a few of the activities from this site (but added so many new activities) to create 2nd Course.  If you can’t wait until you sign into the USALearns Teacher site, here’s the link to the podcasts below.

2nd Course (English for All) Video Podcasts

And finally, the very new thing for USALearns is an official Facebook page.  Be sure to visit and click “Like” and make some comments to help keep the conversations going.  And don’t forget to ask your students to “Like” the USALearns Facebook page and answer questions on the page.  There’s a new  post almost every day giving everyone a chance to use their English skills with people from all over the world.

USALearns Facebook Page


1st Course U11: Clothes Shopping

With shopping on everyone’s mind this time of year, here are 2 clothes shopping videos that might be a good fit in your lesson plans.

This is a fun little video from the Top Notch series that is posted on YouTube. (If YouTube is blocked at your school, try the next video.) You can go to the Pearson website to get information about the whole series. There’s a review of the verb “like” as the young woman asks two sports-engrossed guys about her new clothes purchases. After viewing have students retell the story, either orally or in writing.

Do you like this?


Here is another video about clothes shopping from the Macmillan Inside Out series. (This is a sample posted on their website, not on YouTube, so this hopefully will work even for those of you with YouTube blocked at your schools.)  This video is slightly more difficult than the Top Notch video above because we don’t see the clothes mentioned, just the shopping bags they are in. Also it is in British English, but the language is very clear. Again in this video, students get lots of practice with the verb “like.”

As an activity, ask students to make 2 columns on a piece of paper, one for Martine and one for Jamie. Have them watch the video and write down all the items each of them buys. Also ask them to write what activities each likes to do. Another possibility, especially if you show this video in class is to ask students to “narrate” the story. After several viewings and students are very familiar with the video, turn the volume off and ask a student to be the narrator and talk about what is happening in the video. For DL students who are set up with sending you audio files, you might ask them to record themselves narrating, and then send you the audio file. Of course, this could also be a writing assignment.

Do you like shopping?


1st Course Unit 9 – Filling Out Forms

In Part 2 of the Family Unit 9, Ms Marquez teaches words to describe the marital status of family members. The unit also offers activities for filling out forms. Here is a link to even more practice on marital status words and many more words that are found on forms.

This is a great online resource from the Voice of America. They have a section called VOA Learning English The Classroom with lots of activities for various levels of English (and lots of other cool stuff for you to explore like an interactive photo word book, idiom dictionary, etc.)

The good fit here are the 3 activities called Filling Out Forms which include vocabulary, listening and conversation practice. I can only link you to the activities menu and you’ll have to scroll down the list to click on the correct set of activities. There are quite a few drag and drop activities, so make sure your beginning students know how to navigate those types of questions before you set them off on their own.

Filling Out Forms, Parts 1-3

1st Course U5: Birthdays

Mrs. Marquez talks about birthdays with the class to practice ordinal numbers and months. The interviewing team at Real English also asked people about their birthdays. There’s even a short review of spelling names and cardinal number practice with age.

This is a perfect partner video for USAL unit 5, and there are 10 great extending practice activities that follow. Thanks so much real-english for being a “partner in practice” with your great, free, REAL content!

Real English Birthdays Video and Exercises


1st Course – U16 – Going to a Doctor

Again for this topic there are lots of choices on the Internet.  Here are some that fit well with USAL level and content.

As always with el civics, you’ll find great photographs and simple sentences describing the actions in this link.

Scroll down to the end of the pictures to find a list of “Medical Clinic Lesson Activities.”  There’s a powerpoint on Illnesses and Injuries, a crossword puzzle, Parts of the Body Bingo cards, and readings. You might want to use the powerpoint and bingo for Unit 15, or here, as a review.

EL Civics Medical Clinic Page



English Express has a selection of good, basic readings with audio and activities on this topic. Students can listen to the readings.  There are also printable worksheets for the readings under Teachers Notes.

Be sure to use the search function of English Express to find the right level and date of the activities.

Going to the Doctor – Level 1 – (November and December 2007) – Maritiza has an earache.  She makes an appointment to see the doctor.

Having an Eye Exam – Level 1- Feb 2008  – This is a slight tangent, but still works as a nice extension of this topic.

Other readings on English Express that MIGHT be of interest are Going to a Physio (physical therapist) April 2008. In 2007 there are two articles about going to a dentist.  Have a look and see if they would be of interest to your students.

English Express Readings


Finally, REEPworld has activities on this topic of illnesses and talking to a doctor that students can do online.

Health Problems


1st Course U20- Vocabulary and Reading Practice

There are readings on all the topics in this unit on EL Civics. As always, great illustrations to help comprehension.

Beginner Level Weather Words


Weather Reading






***NEW *** Have a look at this wonderful resource of low-level reading materials made available by Bow Valley College in Alberta Canada. There are 40 theme-based ESL Literacy Readers available on this site. There are 3 levels so you should be able find a level appropriate for everyone in your multi-level classes. (Actually Phase 3 is way too difficult for any 1st Course students.) I’ll attach the pdf of a short one that contains the future tense and is on the topic of a relaxing weekend, so a nice fit with this unit.  But go to the site and check out all the others available.

relaxingweekend pdf

Check out more at: ESL Literacy Readers from BowValley College


You can also find a lot of readings related to this unit at Because I can’t link to specific readings, I’d suggest you go to the site and browse through Level 1 readings. Here is a simple crossword puzzle students can print and complete. It was created by our Canadian friends at English Express, so beware of the reference to Canada Day.

Summer Fun Crossword



1st Course U2 – Classroom Objects

For very basic, flashcard-type practice of vocabulary, explore these 3 related sites and choose the one that works best for you. The vocabulary is the same, but each has a slightly different take. All 3 are good for low beginning students. These sites are designed for children, but the graphics for classroom objects are age-appropriate for adults.

1. offers “videos” meaning graphics with audio. Below is the link to the video on classroom objects. Click videos at the top activity bar to find more topics. Each topic has a slideshow presentation of only the words, then another with a question and answer and a third with the question only (What is it? or What are these?) with the graphic. The question-only videos could work well for an in-class quiz. Lots of other things on the site like powerpoint slides and flashcards. Explore!

Classroom Objects Videos

2. has audio files with worksheets. Lots of different worksheets that can be used with the audio files! Too many for me to try to explain so just go to the link and explore. I liked how the language expanded to using the classroom objects with the questions, “Can I borrow?” or “Can I have?” in the last audio file.

Classroom Listening and Worksheets

3. Finally, if your students like learning vocabulary with a beat, they can listen to a vocabulary chant. offers audio files of chants with the same vocabulary presented in the links above.

Classroom Objects Chants