A web site for the developing language teacher

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009 - issue 4/09


Welcome to the September/October '09 Newsletter.


8. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

We've been taking it relatively easy on the site over the summer but we're back with regular Newsletters & the Weekly Tips.
This month Marjorie Rosenberg returns with the article 'Teaching Vocabulary in Business English Classes' & in the same field Alex Case tells about how he has changed his ideas about Business & ESP lessons in the article 'Wrong about Business English and ESP'.
Hank Kellner also continues his series of article on 'Using Photographs To Inspire Writing.
If you're teaching younger learners, visit the newly revamped There's a lot of material to download, making your job a lot easier. See the sponsor link just below.


We continue to offer a new unit in Michael Berman's twelve intermediate conversation lessons 'Let's Talk About It'. Each month we have the chance to download a new unit of the book. To visit the page:

It's back to school! And we know how busy we are at this time of year! There's a site that can make preparing for class a bit easier - - If you are looking to make your own tracing worksheets, or for high quality science workbooks - then you should really have a look at the new

Based on the solid foundation of our KBTeachers' really easy to use math generators and telling-time worksheet makers, KBT has created new counting money activities will help you engage
your students in learning to identify U.S. coins and their individual value.


We are continuing with the chance for you to try out Moodle for a month free of charge. As you know we offer web hosting to language teachers at Developing ( & one of the hosting plans is the online course hosting with Moodle software. With this you can provide a meeting place online, courses, lessons, forums & a host of other things with this content management system. So if you would like to try it out for a month, send an email to with 'MoodleTrial' as the subject.
You can find out more about Moodle at:

Friendly web hosting for the ELT community.


Lesson plans, activities & articles are very welcome.
Send them to


If you have any information you'd like to include in the Monthly Newsletter, please do email it with the subject: 'Monthly News addition'. Thanks.

Happy teaching!


ADVERTISING - We reach more than a few thousand teachers every week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with the Newsletter, not to mention the 2000+ unique visitors a day to the Site, & the site has the Google PR5. If you've got a book, course, job...anything that you'd like to advertise, then do get in touch.




If you come across any interesting articles on your travels on the net that you think might be useful for readers of this newsletter, do send us the link.

Merriam-Webster releases list of new words to be included in dictionary

• 'Frenemy', 'vlog' and 'staycation' among additions
• A fifth of new words relate to technological innovation
*, Thursday 9 July 2009

The irresistible power of the digital revolution to transform everything in its path has been confirmed, lest anyone still doubts it, by one of the arbitors of the English language itself.

Merriam-Webster, the revered publishing house known for its texts on American English, released today a sample of more than 100 new words it has granted entry into its Collegiate dictionary this year. Fully a fifth of them relate to technological innovation.

"Vlog" makes its debut, defined as a blog containing video material, as does "webisode", that is a TV show that can be viewed through a website.

Some old expressions have finally made it into Webster years after they were coined, courtesy of renewed digital interest. So "fan fiction" is traceable back to 1944 but the writing of stories by fans involving popular fictional characters has boomed through posts on the web.

Likewise, the use of "sock puppet" to describe a false identity used for deceptive purposes originated in 1959, but its proliferation on the internet has given it new life. And "flash mobs" (1987) - crowds that descend on a designated location to perform an event have now become so common thanks to email and text message, that the phrase has now earned its place in the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster, a Massachusetts company, has produced dictionaries dating back Noah Webster's 1828 An American Dictionary of the English Language.

Given the global spread of the American form of English, the influence of the Webster's dictionary over the evolution of the language is arguably even greater than that of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Webster himself was a great believer in keeping things simple, and it was his idea to "Americanise" many of the spellings that now distinguish the American and English forms of the language. He dropped the "u" from colour and favour and turned centre into center.

That unashamed Americanisation is evident in this year's new words, which will have traditionalists squirming. They include "staycation" for a holiday spent at home and "frenemy" for one who pretends to be a friend but is in fact an enemy.

The green revolution also makes a strong showing, with "locavore" for a person who eats only locally-grown food; carbon footprint as a measure of one's carbon emmissions; and green-collar, referring to jobs designed to help the environment.

Other newcomers

The small, dark purple, berrylike fruit found in central and south America has been known by this word since 1868 but its place in the dictionary has been forced by a recent fad that claims it is an aid to dieting

A big year for berries all round, with the dark red mildly tart bruit of a mainly Asian shrub making its entry thanks to its new popularity as a flavour in drinks

Items, usually foods, forbidden under Islamic law

Memory foam
Another recent fad, this time for a mattress that supposedly remembers the shape of your back

One of several new words relating to health and medicine, it refers to drugs that protect neurons from injury or degeneration

Another fusion word, in this case relating to the union of rap and Caribbean rhythms in popular Puerto Rican music


Pimp your vocab

Puzzled by what you hear students of today saying? Take our quiz and see how in touch you are with the word on the street Lucy Tobin's dictionary for adults, Pimp Your Vocab, is published by Portico, £7.99, Tuesday 15 September 2009

1. If a student tells you you are ‘frosted’, do they think you are:
1. Mean
2. Wearing a lot of jewellery
3. In desperate need of a girl/boyfriend

2. A student tells a friend he is ‘flossing’. Is he:
1. showing off
2. cleaning his gums and teeth
3. getting ready for a big night out

3. You overhear students talking about ‘pre-gaming’. What is it?
1. Practising Wii moves before friends come round
2. Flirting, in anticipation of a sexual conquest (‘the game’)
3. Drinking at home before a big night out

4. A student on your bus home has been ‘rinsed’. Should you:
1. Lend them a towel
2. Turn around to see what is making them blush
3. Walk away – they are very drunk and might soon vomit

5. Where do ‘hench’ young people hang out?
1. Anywhere with food
2. With their fellow drug addicts
3. The gym

6. A bar in town is described as 'grimy'. Is it:
1. In need of a lick of paint
2. The best thing since sliced economy bread
3. Old-fashioned

7. A young sightseer approaches you in town. He asks about a McPee. How do you help?
1. Direct him towards a police station
2. Say the nearby park café has toilets
3. Admit, apologetically, that you do not know this person. Suggest he tries Scotland

8. What does ‘peng’ mean?
1. Money
2. Music
3. Attractive

9. You’re invited to ‘cotch’ with someone. What will you be doing?
1. Hanging out (or “loitering” as they said in your day)
2. Eating together
3. Getting the sweatbands and dumbbells out of that dusty cupboard – it’s exercise time

10. Someone has lost their ‘snap’. Should you:
1. Approach them more confidently – they are no longer angry
2. Offer to share your lunch
3. Reassure them that dentures are now available at knockdown prices, and that 7 out of 10 17-year-olds will never notice the difference

Answers further down the mail.


Schools told not to teach ‘i before e except after c’ spelling rule

From The Times - June 20, 2009

Generations of children have learnt how to spell by chanting “i before e except after c”, but new guidance from the Government says that schools should stop teaching the rule because it is irrelevant and confusing.

The National Strategies document Support for Spelling, which is being sent to primary schools, says: “The i before e rule is not worth teaching. It applies only to words in which the ie or ei stands for a clear ee sound. Unless this is known, words such as sufficient and veil look like exceptions.

“There are so few words where the ei spelling for the ee sounds follows the letter c that it is easier to learn the specific words.” These include receive, ceiling, perceive and deceit.

The guidance contains 124 pages of ideas for teachers on how to draw up interesting and engaging lessons on spelling. These include analysing television listings for compound words, changing the tense of a poem to practise irregular verbs and learning about homophones through jokes such as “How many socks in a pair? None — because you eat a pear.”

While other spelling conventions are useful, it says, “i before e except after c” should be ditched.

Greg Brooks, a literacy expert, formerly of the University of Sheffield, told the Times Educational Supplement that the rule was thoroughly misleading. He said there were too many exceptions, including eight, feisty, foreign, heinous, protein and seize.

Masha Bell, who has campaigned for English spelling to be simplified, said: “I before e is not a good rule. There are other sayings that are more useful, like ‘one collar, two socks’ for ‘necessary’.

“But children are having to fill their heads with this rubbish — because spelling is rubbish. I think the spelling system should be reformed. We could get rid of the silliest anomalies.”

But Judy Parkinson, author of the book I Before E (Except After C), which sold 450,000 copies in Britain, said that teachers should be able to make up their own minds about how useful it is. “It’s an extremely well-known phrase, easy to remember, and it obviously struck a chord,” she said.

“There are words that it doesn’t fit, but I think teachers could always get a discussion going about the ‘i before e’ rule, and the peculiarities of the English language, and have fun with it. That’s the best way to learn.”

The document says that short, lively spelling sessions are more effective than an occasional skills session, and suggests ten sessions of 15 minutes spread over each half term.

It recommends that children should keep a spelling journal to record their progress, and that pupils should learn to proof-read their work for mistakes as part of the writing process.

Next Tuesday children from around the United Kingdom will compete in the The Times Spelling Bee grand final. The ten teams of finalists will battle it out in London for the prestige of becoming champions of our inaugural Spelling Bee. More than 850 schools entered the competition, submitting teams of three 11 or 12-year-olds, plus one reserve.

Download the 'Support for spelling' document.


Texting is closer to speech than the written word, claims academic

Text messages mimic the way we speak more than the way we write, an academic who is the first ever to gain a PHD in the subject has claimed. Telegraph online 07 Aug 2009

Dr Caroline Tagg, a British linguist, who has studied thousands of SMS messages, said that the language used in texts is closer to the spoken word than that used on paper.

She said that we include verbal pauses such as "erm" and "oh" in texts and employ made up words and phonetic spellings in a playful way just like we do during an informal chat.

Contrary to the belief that text messaging is destroying the art of communication, she claims it is actually enhancing language skills.

"Text messaging is far closer to speech than formal writing, " she said."It is in a way a new form of communication between the two.

"Quite the contrary from destroying the English it is actually encouraging it."

Dr Tagg spent three-and-a-half years researching the subject of SMS text messaging and the language used in them at Birmingham University.

She read 11,000 text messages, containing 190,000 words, sent by 235 people, aged between 18 and 65.

Dr Tagg analysed spelling, grammar and abbreviations used in social and business texts.

From this analysis, she discovered that people text in the same way as if they were talking, using unnecessary words and often use grammatical abbreviations like "dunno".

The average text contains 17.5 words, she said.

The study showed that the ability to abbreviate and change the way words were written shows a deep understanding of the fundamentals of speech, spelling and grammar, she claimed.

And she also discovered from her 80,000 word thesis that abbreviations were much less common than popularly thought.

"You have to know how language works to know whether people will understand what you are texting," she said.

"For example removing the vowels from a word often allows its meaning to remain in tact but take away any of the consonants and it makes no sense."

From her research she believes that texts are much more about maintaining and building relationships rather than passing on raw facts.

As such they tend to include a lot of information which is irrelevant but entertaining.

"People deliberately use words like this when they don't need to." she said.

"There is a panic about the effect of text messaging and people are genuinely worried about it but I don't think they should be.

"People use playful manipulation and metaphors. It is a playful language. Not only are they quite creative, it is also quite expressive.

"It was interesting to be able to research a number of linguistic methods and frameworks and apply them to the text message, because the text messages were quite fun.

"It was enlightening."

Her tutor Professor Sue Hunston, who admits she can't text, said texts were just the latest stage in the development of language.

"Every stage of the English language has been studied," she said. "Now Caroline has studied its use in texts."


Johann Hari: Lies, damned lies... and the double-speak I would expunge

'Climate change', 'infant mortality', 'fair trade'... the list goes on
Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The English language needs periodically to be given a spring-clean, where we scrape off the phrases that have become stuck to the floor and toss out the rotting metaphors that have fallen down the back of the settee. George Orwell warned that language will inevitably become cluttered with phrases that have lost their meaning – or, worse, are actually "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". He advised: "If one gets rid of these bad habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration."

I'm not talking about the clichés that crowd us every day. "Your call is very important to us..." we are told, by automated voices that don't give a toss about our call, because if they did, they'd employ somebody to actually answer the damn phone. "With all due respect..." you'll be told, before being thoroughly disrespected. They are disingenuous, but they don't have political consequences.

No – I am talking about phrases that, while posing as neutral descriptions of the world, contain a hidden political agenda that then moulds the assumptions of the listener. An obvious recent example is the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques", a euphemism deliberately created by the American right to disinfect torture and make it sound reasonable. Language is often deliberately bent and misshapen for political reasons in this way. For example, in the 1980s, the proponents of the failed "War on Drugs" fought hard to turn the phrase "drug use" – plain, straightfoward, and unloaded – into "drug abuse." It evokes sinister images – it sounds like "child abuse" – but what does it mean? How is somebody who smokes cannabis to relax once a week "abusing" the drug? Do they beat up their spliffs?

These phrases can be successfully driven from the language: during the Vietnam War, news reports blandly referred to slaughtered civilians as "collateral damage" – a bloodless phrase that evokes nothing. Today, even the Pentagon press officers avoid those words when describing the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan, because it has been so thoroughly satirised.

So which phrases would I expunge? There's a useful book by the writer Steven Poole called Unspeak detailing thousands – but here's a short list of some of my own.

Labelling food as "Fair Trade." This phrase suggests that paying desperately poor people a decent wage is a nice ethical add-on, and a gratifying departure from the norm. In fact, it should be taken for granted – the default position of civilised human beings. If we believed that, the labelling would be reversed: it's all the other food that should be labelled as "Unfair Trade", "Rapacious Trade", or "Let's-Pay-a-Pittance Trade." The terrific comedian Andy Zaltzman suggests a sign that could be on the packets: it is a silhouette of an obese businessman pissing on an African child.

"Infant mortality." This sounds clinical and antiseptic – who feels moved when they hear it? – when what we are in fact talking about is dead babies. Here's an example. In Malawi in southeast Africa, the country's soil became badly depleted by overuse, so the democratic government there adopted a sensible policy of subsidising fertiliser. The nation's hungry farmers were given sacks of it at a third of its real cost – and the country bloomed. Then the World Bank damned this as a "market distortion" and said that if Malawi wanted to keep receiving loans it had to stop them at once. So the subsidies stopped, and the country's crops failed. A famine began – and "infant mortality rose".

That's the dull phrase. What we mean is – lots of babies died, totally needlessly. Three years ago, the Malawian government finally told the World Bank to stick its loans, and subsidized fertiliser again. Now nobody there is starving, and the country is the single biggest exporter of corn to the World Food Programme in southern Africa. When on some rare occasion this is mentioned in the news, they might say in passing, "Infant mortality fell." The phrase that tells the truth is: hundreds of thousands of babies stopped dying.

"Christian/Muslim children." Routinely, children are referred to as "Christian" or "Muslim" or "Jewish" or whatever their parents' religion, to justify corralling them into schools segregated by superstition, where they will be indoctrinated in that faith. But children – as Richard Dawkins has pointed out – have no religion. They haven't read the texts, thought through the ideas, and come to a conclusion on the basis of evidence. The purveyors of this phrase don't want them to, either – they want to get them at an age when their rational faculties are poorly formed, and implant it so deeply in their minds that they will become upset and confused when they hear rational counter-arguments. We should refer to them as "the children of Christian/Muslim/Jewish parents", with the clear implication that they have a right to form their own views.

"Climate change." This phrase was invented by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, when he discovered that focus groups found the phrase "global warming" too scary. Climate change sounds nice and gentle, and evokes our latent awareness that the climate has changed naturally throughout history. Even "global warming" is problematic, since it makes us picture putting our feet up in the sun. The more accurate phrase would be "the unravelling of the ecosystem", "climate chaos", or "catastrophic man-made global warming." They're a mouthful, but they are honest.

"Out of context." I would allow this phrase to be used, but in highly restricted circumstances. Sometimes, a quote is taken out of context, but if you are going to make that accusation, you should be required to give the original context, and explain why the quote was wrong. Instead, this has become a get-out-of-jail free card for anybody who is caught saying something disgusting. For example, when I revealed that Jake Chapman said his art-works performed "a good social service, like the children who killed Jamie Bulger," he simply said this was "stripped from the proper context." How? I have read it in context repeatedly and can't see his argument. It wasn't preceded by a sentence saying "If I was an attention-seeking fool who didn't take anything seriously, I would say..." Similarly, when I revealed that the historian Andrew Roberts praises the Amritsar massacre of innocent civilians as "necessary", and lauds the maniac who ordered it, he said my quotes were "out of context." How?

There are many more I could offer. The use of royal titles by republican commentators and newspapers is bizarre: why can't we call the Windsor family by their names, as we do with everyone else? Why not refer to "the Queen" as Elizabeth Windsor, and her son as Charles Windsor? It chips away at their ludicrous unearned aura, and introduces a republican logic to the language. The phrase "the politics of envy" is routinely used to stigmatize the most basic instincts for social justice – including by New Labour politicians like Hazel Blears. As the superb book The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett shows, the more unequal a society becomes, the higher the rates of crime, addiction, and sickness soar. To oppose that isn't envy. It is humanity.

Orwell said we must "let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around". If they are dead babies, call them dead babies. If the ecosystem is unravelling, say the ecosystem is unravelling. It is only when we honestly describe the world that we can begin to change it.


Answers to the quiz:

1. If a student tells you you are ‘frosted’, do they think you are:
Correct answer: Wearing a lot of jewellery

2. A student tells a friend he is ‘flossing’. Is he:
Correct answer: showing off

3. You overhear students talking about ‘pre-gaming’. What is it?
Correct answer: Drinking at home before a big night out

4. A student on your bus home has been ‘rinsed’. Should you:
Correct answer: Turn around to see what is making them blush

5. Where do ‘hench’ young people hang out?
Correct answer: The gym

6. A bar in town is described as 'grimy'. Is it:
Correct answer: The best thing since sliced economy bread

7. A young sightseer approaches you in town. He asks about a McPee. How do you help?
Correct answer: Say the nearby park café has toilets

8. What does ‘peng’ mean?
Correct answer: Attractive

9. You’re invited to ‘cotch’ with someone. What will you be doing?
Correct answer: Hanging out (or “loitering” as they said in your day)

10. Someone has lost their ‘snap’. Should you:
Correct answer: Offer to share your lunch




Our main site with a host of teaching ideas, plans & articles.

A choice of online development courses to enhance your teaching.

A range of web hosting options for teachers.

Blog, share, communicate & collaborate with other teachers.



Teaching Vocabulary in Business English Classes by Marjorie Rosenberg

(First published in 'Business Issues, Summer 2009 Issue 72, a BESIG/IATEFL publication')

One of the main areas of difference between teaching general or business English lies in the vocabulary which needs to be taught and learned. Learners who are fluent in English may still have a lack of knowledge of specific vocabulary used in the business world and even in their own fields. These learners may be students learning at institutions of higher education or for specific exams or they may be business people who need English for their current or future jobs. In both cases, the motivation for learning this vocabulary is generally high. Their needs, timetables and access to authentic materials and speaking situations may vary greatly, however. Therefore, business English teachers have to find a wide variety of ways to help their learners acquire, retain and be able to use the words they need in their professional lives.

One way to begin to think about methods for teaching vocabulary is to first consider what it means to know a word. Do we have to know what it means, use it correctly in context, understand where it came from, pronounce it correctly, know if it has a positive or negative meaning or if it is formal or informal, and so on? Depending on the type of learners you teach, a variety of definitions for knowing a word may be applicable to your situation. Opening up this discussion to learners has the benefit of getting them to think for themselves about what they really need. Then they can find ways to record vocabulary, search for it using different sources and find out how they themselves can best move vocabulary from a passive usage to an active one.

It is also important to realise that individuals learn and retain vocabulary differently. This often depends on their learning styles. One model which can be looked at is the visual, auditory and kinesthetic model. Visual learners need to see words or pictures and often have to write the word down to make sure it is spelled correctly. They may need to read the word in a sentence in order to remember it. Auditory learners need to hear the word or phrase said aloud. They concentrate on the sound of the word and the pronunciation is important for them. They may also need to put the word into a sentence and practise saying the sentence out loud or to themselves. Kinesthetic learners may need to move about or even make gestures while learning vocabulary. They may connect words with movements or feelings. For them, the positive or negative connotations of words can be very important and help them remember new words and phrases.

How does all of this apply specifically to business English? Lately, the economic crisis has been the major topic in a number of business English lessons. In reading through authentic material it is interesting to note that a large number of idioms are used. In looking at the idioms more closely, it is interesting to observe that there is a group of phrases connected to water. Terms such as bailout, to go under, waterfall payments, sink or swim, to buoy profits or to keep one’s head above water are just some of the ones which have recently come up. Presenting these words visually and/or kinesthetically has greatly helped some of my adult learners. As vocabulary in English changes so rapidly, it is important to help learners find ways which they can employ themselves to retain some of the words they need. When they begin to store words in more than one sensory channel, they find that their access to the word has also increased and the word comes to them more easily when they need it.

To read the remainder of the article:

Is it a Challenge Teaching English to Students in Vocational Schools? by Marjorie Rosenberg
Superlearning Techniques in Language Teaching by Marjorie Rosenberg
The Role of Brain-Based Learning and Alternative Methodologies in EFL by Marjorie Rosenberg
Teacher Development & Awareness of Learning Styles by Marjorie Rosenberg


Wrong about Business English and ESP by Alex Case

This article is based on ideas that I had when I first started teaching Business English and ESP and later found out not to be true, as well as common assumptions by teachers, managers and textbook writers that, in my opinion, need rethinking.

1. Business English is just General English with a Business English textbook
There can be classes like this, especially ones who have no present need, no idea of their future job and no plans to take a Business English exam. For all other classes there is a completely different ESP approach based around needs analysis, deciding what language and skills they need to meet those needs, course design, and designing and adapting materials to fit in with those needs. This can be very hard for a General English teacher to get used to and very time consuming if you don’t know how to do it efficiently, so a course on teaching Business English and ESP or at least reading a book on the subject is well worth the effort.

2. Needs analysis means asking students what they need
While that is a major part of it, basing a whole course on what they do in English now would leave out a whole lot of important stuff like future needs, what they want to study that is not connected to any specific needs, and things they want to avoid due to past bad experiences in the language classroom.

3. Business experience is essential to teach Business English
More than to make you an effective teacher, schools look for experience in business (especially big and well known businesses) so they have something to show off about when they are showing your CV to potential clients- something that is much more common in Business English and ESP teaching than in general English. You can make up for a lack of this with a list of famous companies your students work for, qualifications in business or economics, and/ or teaching qualifications such as an MA or a specific Teaching Business English certificate.

4. Most students need to describe their company structure
This is one of the most popular yet most complicated and useless topics in Business English books. Most people only need to know how to say who their CEO and direct boss is, and many companies are organised in ways that are not translatable into English or not easy to explain in any language. Please skip this topic until it comes up in conversation, and then teach your students how to simplify what they say as much as possible.

5. You can’t use games in Business classes
Highly motivated Business English and ESP students might be willing to go through a class with less fun than a kids’ class, but that doesn’t mean that a little fun wouldn’t motivate them, make remembering the language easier and refresh them before they go back to work. If there is resistance to mention of “games”, try calling them “speaking activities”, “competitions”, “roleplays”, “case studies” or even “teambuilding activities” instead.

6. Business English has to be boring
There are plenty of topics in Business English and ESP books that are interesting even with General English students, e.g. business ethics, advertising (its effect on children, your favourite adverts, working out what obscure adverts are advertising etc), technology, and the origins of everyday products. As mentioned above, there is no need to avoid games either.

7. Your students will already know about business, they just need to be able to explain it in English
Virtually every book on teaching Business English and/ or ESP has this gem of wisdom in it. To be fair to the authors, it is usually just to stop scaring you off and they do go on to make this point- the more you know about your students’ area of expertise the better you can design their course and the more interesting you will find what they tell you. What is more, factors like having pre-experience students, concepts that don’t translate across cultures (e.g. the difference between “barrister” and “solicitor” or between “MD” and “chairman”) and false friends might leave you as the only expert on something that is supposedly their speciality. To avoid a classroom where no one knows what the book is going on about, make sure you always take the teachers’ book, answer key and/ or a good specialist dictionary into the classroom. If you do get stuck, research the point and get back to them in the next class.

To read the remainder of the article:

How the future of textbooks has to be by Alex Case
Writing While Listening - Tackling the Double Challenge of Note Taking by Alex Case
Reading: Preparing Intermediate Students to Tackle Authentic Texts by Alex Case
Discourse analysis, advanced learners and the Cambridge CPE Exam by Alex Case & the accompanying lesson plan
Formal Letters for Everyone: Ideas of why and how to bring formal letters into every classroom in fun, interactive ways by Alex Case


Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VI by Hank Kellner

If you’re as long in the tooth as I am, you can probably remember Patti Page’s rendition of “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Page recorded the song on December 18, 1952, and within a few months it became Number 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts. And you can probably remember James S. Tippett’s “Sunning,” a poem that appeared in one of his children’s books, A World To Know.


Old Dog lay in the summer sun
Much too lazy to rise and run.
He flapped an ear
At a buzzing fly.
He winked a half opened
Sleepy eye.
He scratched himself on an itching spot,
As he dozed on the porch
Where the sun was hot.
He whimpered a bit
From force of habit
While he lazily dreamed
Of chasing a rabbit.
But old dog happily lay in the sun
Much too lazy to rise and run.

James S. Tippett

Truth to tell, Tippett’s poem doesn’t contain simile, metaphor, irony, allusion, or any of the other literary devices that are found in more sophisticated works. But that really doesn’t matter. Together with one or more photos of dogs like those shown here, simple poems like “Sunning” can easily inspire students at all levels from elementary school through college to write many different kinds of compositions. Who are some famous dogs that have appeared in literature, on television, and in films? What characteristics do dogs possess that make them desirable pets? In what ways can some breeds of dogs be helpful to handicapped human beings? How have dogs proven to be helpful in the military? In law enforcement agencies? How has a dog played an important role in your life or in the life of someone you know? The questions cited above are just a few of many you can ask students as you encourage them to write either expository or creative pieces. What’s more, if you simply want to allow your students’ imaginations to guide them, you could always show them photos without comment.

To view the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Hank:
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 5
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 4
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 3
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 2
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 1


At Developing we occasionally carry out consultancy work. The different projects have included tutoring DELTA candidates by email, offering advice on curriculum design & materials choice & short training courses in person & by email. If you would like us to help in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Back to the index

Which words make you wince? Poets have been asked for their most hated words. What are yours?
The Guided Language Acquisition Design - GLAD is a model of professional development in the area of language acquisition and literacy. The strategies and model promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. GLAD was developed and field tested for nine years in the Fountain Valley School District and is based on years of experience with integrated approaches for teaching language. Tied to standards, the model trains teachers to provide access to core curriculum using local district guidelines and curriculum.
100 Best Blogs for Tech-Savvy Teachers
73 Ways to Become a Better Writer
Companion Website for: Word Frequencies in Written and Spoken English: based on the British National Corpus
Frequency lists:
Twenty-Five Interesting Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom
Collections of free photos, sounds, music, gifs, clipart, fonts, icons, satellite images, cartoons, graphics, animations, etc.
List of free language learning resources.
18 Great Sites To Learn A New Language.

The top seven social networking sites for kids - Time Online.
50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills

Download Tony Buzan's iMindMap. Try it out & see how efficient it
can make you.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.

Back to the index


A few days, among many, to plan your lessons around in September, October & November:

7th - Brazilian Independence Day
8th - International Literacy Day
15th - International Day of Democracy
19th - International Talk Like A Pirate Day
21st - International Day of Peace
26th - European Day of Languages
27th - International Tourism Day
29th - Scotland Yard Anniversary
30th - International Spelling Day
Rosh Hashanah

3rd - Reunification Day in Germany
5th - World Teachers' Day
9th - John Lennon's birthday
10th - World Mental Health Day
4th > 10th - World Space Week
12th - Columbus day
16th - World Food Day
24th - United Nations Day
29th - Internet First Created - 1969
31st - Halloween
Nobel Prizes
Ig Nobel Prizes

5th - Bonfire Night
7th - Marie Curie's birth 1867
11th - Remembrance Day
16th - International Day for Tolerance
17th - World Peace Day
20th - Universal Childrens Day - UN
22nd - JF Kennedy assassinated 1963
25th - Eid Al Fitr
28th - Buy Nothing Day (varies)
30th - St Andrew's Day, Scotland
US Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thurs. in month.
Buy Nothing Day in US - day after Thanksgiving.

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

Back to the index


Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:

Getting them reading & writing - Writing skill
Lesson shapes - Lesson planning
Clunk Click Every Trip - Lesson material
Left out - Lesson material
Resuable speaking - Speaking skill

To see the Past Tips:

To sign up to receive them:

Back to the index


A new book review will be forthcoming on the site of 'Working with Images' by Ben Goldstein, in the excellent CUP Resource Books for Teachers series. As you would expect it is packed with practical classroom activities. Do check it out - the review is on the way.

To see all of out recommended books:

If you're going to, then please go through our Books page. You will pay the same & we will receive a few pennies to keep the site & newsletters free. Thanks.

Send friends an Amazon gift certificate & support the site.


8. PS   General internet/computer-related links

A few computer use rules of thumb:

- make copies of all
- important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software - use a virus scan & update the files every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam
- just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night
Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action.

Mind tricks: Six ways to explore your brain
Learn to Play an Instrument Online.
How to hack your brain - Sleep.
25 Free People Search Engines to find Anyone in the World
Lovely photos.,29569,1918031,00.html
50 Best Websites 2009 - from Time.
5 TED Talks on Science.

The 7 Most Impressive Libraries From Throughout History.

25 Linux tips for Windows switchers - A beginner's guide to getting started with Linux.
Londoners Through a Lens.
Goal: By November 12, 2008 I will only have 100 personal things. I will live with only 100 personal things for one full year, until November 12, 2009.
40 Free Fonts That Everyone Should Own.
The detailed service records of 250,000 medieval soldiers - including archers who served with Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt - have gone online.
The database of those who fought in the Hundred Years War reveals salaries, sickness records and who was knighted.
The full profiles of soldiers from 1369 to 1453 will allow researchers to piece together details of their lives.
Thomas, Lord Despenser is the youngest soldier on the database, whose career began when he was aged just 12 in 1385. Elsewhere, the career of Thomas Gloucestre, who fought at Agincourt, can
be traced over 43 years and includes campaigns in Prussia and Jerusalem.
Facebook for business guides.
Goggle Fast Flip.
The Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. We do this because we believe that any data that you create in (or import into) a product is your own. We help and consult other engineering teams within Google on how to "liberate" their products. This is our mission statement: Users own the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to give users greater control by making it easier for them to move data in and out.
The user manual site.

Back to the index


This newsletter is ReferWare. If you enjoy reading it and find useful information in this newsletter, you are asked to help spread the word about it. You can do this by forwarding a copy to your friends, telling them about it, and/or putting a link to from your site. You cannot:
1.Post this newsletter in part or in whole on your site.
2.Forward this newsletter issue after issue to people - just send them a single ssue and tell them to subscribe.

Has to be.

Disclaimer - all of the recommendations for computer-related software are personal recommendations. We take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong when downloading, installing or running them - not that anything should, but you never know. It's your decision, your responsibility. The same applies to the jobs mentioned above. And anything else that you can think of that we might be responsible for as a result of this newsletter!

Comments, suggestions, questions, advertising or problems unsubscribing then please contact us

SUBSCRIBE - it's free!
If you are reading a friend's copy why not subscribe yourself - it's free! Get along to the Front Page of the site & fill in the box.
Have no fears about your e-mail address - we will not pass it on to any third party.

If you change e-mail address please use the link above to unsubscribe the old one & then subscribe with the new one. This helps us enormously. Thanks.

This newsletter is a free service of the Developing and is Copyright (c) 2001-2009 Developing All rights reserved. No part of this Newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission.

To subscribe to the Newsletter

To the index of Past Newsletters

Back to the top

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology — Articles Books  LinksContact
Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2016© Developing