Author: movingenglishlessons


The Definite Article in English


When Do you Use the Definite Article in English?

➡️In English, there are two kinds of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.  An article is a word that comes before a noun.  However, there is just one definite article: “the” in the English language. There are two indefinite articles: “a” and “an”.  Are you comfortable knowing when to use the definite article? It is actually very complicated and I notice that some of my students who are learning English who are from Russia or from countries in Asia have more difficulty with this concept because articles are used differently in their native languages. 

✅In simple terms, we use “the” in English in front of nouns that are singular and plural to describe something that is unique or when there is only one of something.  For example, “We live on the second floor of our apartment.” Also, if you are talking about a capital city you could say, The capital city of the United States is Washington D.C.” 

😁There are many differences in geography that you need to be aware of when using the definite article.  You can see in the visuals that I’ve created that the article is used for rivers: The Wapsi river, BUT NOT for lakes: Lake Monroe.  However, if it is plural, you use it: The Great Lakes.


When Not to Use the Definite Article in English 

For the most part, we DO NOT use the definite article in English when we talk in general about something and we DO use it when we describe specific and particular things or groups of people. 

🎸We use “the” for musical instruments.  “I play the piano and I have been playing the violin my entire life.” However, you could talk about musical instruments in general and use the plural form without “the.” Take this example: “The shop sells many different kinds of guitars and I am looking forward to buying an electric guitar. Nonetheless, I see the shop features the electric guitar in its catalogue.” In the previous example, the catalogue refers to the general type of musical instrument, while the one the person wants to buy is one particular guitar, which is why it doesn’t require the definite article.

🤖Also, we use the definite article in English when describing machines, appliances, and inventions.  You could say, “I really enjoy using the new vacuum cleaner.” Also, “Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.”

💦When you use “the” it provides more specificity to the item you are referring to. In fact, It describes a particular item.  Rather if you use “a” to describe the same machine, it is more general.  For example, “I really need to buy a new vacuum cleaner for my house.” This example contrasts with an example that talks about the particular machine/invention: “The vacuum cleaner is a useful invention that we use to clean our carpets.”

🦉When describing specific kinds of animals, we use “the.”  For example, the Great Horned Owl is a large owl native to the Americas.” However, if you mention animals in the plural, you would simply say, “cats, dogs, geese, or birds” without the article. Also, if you want to point out one particular animal that you see, you could use “a” or “an”: I went to the zoo last week and saw a giraffe eating a leaf from a tall tree.” 🦒


Examples of the Definite Article in English

💵You can also use “the” when talking about currency: the dollar, the yen, the peso, the real, the ruble.  For example, “The peso’s exchange rate is 2% higher this week.”  Compare that sentence which talks about a particular currency with this one: “I have a peso in my wallet and plan on buying a few candies at the candy store.”  Again, when I use the indefinite article, I am highlighting the fact that there is one particular peso in my wallet. 

🌎On the other hand, when you are talking about countries, continents, cities, towns, street names, squares, and names of avenues, you don’t need to use “the.” For example, It is my dream to visit Tokyo, Japan, which is located in Asia. I might visit  Yoyogi Park and Hachiko square.  ⭐️There are a few countries to be aware of.  Ukraine doesn’t need “the” anymore because it is no longer a republic of the Soviet Union.   Also, The Gambia is named after a river, so it does have the article.  

🏙The truth is that I lived in New York City for a number of years and I became familiar with some of the landmarks that make the city so unique.  I toured the Empire State building, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate at Giovanni’s for dinner. These are examples of buildings, monuments, and landmarks (article more often than not), and a restaurant named after a person (no article).

👵🏽👵🏽When we talk about groups of people, we use “the” as well.  Some examples to illustrate this point are: “The injured, the poor, the elderly, the young, the rich, the unemployed.”  However, if you talk about one person in that group, you would specify and say, “I saw an elderly man yesterday” or “Did you know that she is a poor girl?”

☘️The same rule applies to talking about different nationalities. For example, “The Irish are vibrant and funny people.”  However, you could mention one Irish woman and say, “Silvia is an Irish woman.”  Remember, though, that you have to say a Frenchman or a Frenchwoman because you can’t ⛔️ say “A French.”


A PDF about the Definite Article in ENGLISH

Here are some exercises with the definite article in English.  Write “the” if it requires the definite article or “x” in the blank if it doesn’t require the definite article.

  1. Do you play _____ trumpet? 
  2. Could you please pass ______ salt. 
  3. Have you ever been to _____Michigan?
  4. What is the exchange rate between ____dollar and ____peso?

Would you like to do more practice exercises.  I would like to direct you to my wonderful resource that explains the use of the definite article in detail.  You will finally understand this tricky grammar rule once and for all after you do the exercises. English


Watch a Video about the Definite Article

In this video, I provide you with some clear examples of when to use the definite article in English. I give some example of geographical features, places in the city, and names of hotels and buildings.


Would you like even more practice?

Check out the link to the BBC’s website about the definite article. You can complete a few dialogues that will allow you to better understand this concept.




Talk about your Favorite Movie IELTS Cue Card

One of the strategies I use with my students who are preparing for the IELTS exam is to create vocabulary lists related to the topics that they will surely encounter on the IELTS speaking exam.  One of the topics that could potentially come up is about films and movies.  Here is a great list of words that will help you crack the IELTS speaking exam.  You might get a cue card that asks the following:


Take Notes to Prepare your Answer

How could you better prepare for this question?  I would suggest taking the following steps to take notes and improve your response:

    • Step 1: Brainstorm your top 3 movie choices and quickly choose one that you could talk the most about.
    • Step 2: Write down the genre of the movie (science fiction, romantic comedy, drama…etc)
    • Step 3: Write down three key events from the plot and a few charming or memorable characteristics of the main characters.
    • Step 4: Use some of the adjectives on the above list to talk about why you love the movie so much
    • Step 5: Train your pronunciation and fluency with a language partner or with a teacher.

You could even consider creating a word web or using a table with columns to organize your keywords and notes that correspond to each of the questions on the cue card.

Sample Answer

“The best movie that I have ever seen is “The Shape of Water,” which won an Oscar in 2018.  The movie falls into the “romance” and “fantasy” genres and is about a mute cleaning lady who works in a high security government office.  She ends up falling in love with an amphibian creature that is held captive for research study in the government building.  She thinks of a plan to rescue the creature and help set him free. The main character is played by Sally Hawkins and she is gentle, caring, and determined.  The movie left a lasting impression on me because it showed the nature of human beings and their desire to research the mysteries of the planet.  However, these mysterious creatures and animals have feelings and we have to treat other beings with respect. The loving bond the cleaning lady and the creature develop is intense and beautiful and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I love movies with suspense and I also enjoy movies that are unpredictable. In conclusion, the Shape of Water held all the qualities that I look for in a good movie and more: mystery, fantasy, and love.”


Vocabulary about Movies and Films

The resource I have designed is a wonderful way for you to study advanced vocabulary for the IELTS test on your own.  These digital task cards are ideal for B2 (upper intermediate) and C1 (advanced) adult ESL language learners. These digital task cards help you learn common expression, collocations, and important vocabulary words for talking about movies. You can also listen to the audio recording of the word to practice pronunciation and select the correct definition.



IELTS Speaking Part 3 Questions about Films

  1. Have movies become increasingly popular or decreasingly popular in recent years?
  2. Do you think movies will be replaced by television series?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of basing movies on books?
  4. How important is it for a movie director to be creative and inventive when making a movie?
  5. Should movies be censored or should be we free to choose what we watch?
  6. What is your opinion about downloading movies illegally from the internet. Should there be a fine for this?
  7. What makes movies so appealing to watch?
  8. Do you think people will stop going to the cinema in the future?
  9. How has technology like CGI (computer generated imagery) improved movies? What are the disadvantages of too much technology in movies?
  10. How have films changed since you were a child?

Conversation Questions about Movies


Ways to Talk about Movies and Watching TV:



Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz


To Give Away

  1. To give something away= to give something you no longer need to a person or an organization as a gift or a donation.

For example, “I am going to give some of my old clothes away this weekend.”

2. To give something away=to reveal a secret, often accidentally.

For example, “Jeff gave away the surprise birthday party and basically told everyone he knew about it.”

3. To give away someone= to hand over the bride to the groom on their wedding day, usually performed by the father of the bride.

For example, “Bradley gave his daughter away to Simon on their wedding day.”

4. To give yourself away= to accidentally tell or share some news that you wanted to keep private.  

For example, “Susana was pregnant, but she was keeping it a secret.  She gave herself away by rubbing her belly continuously.”

To Give Back

  1. To give something back to someone=to return something to someone.

For example, “Timmy gave his pencil back to Quin.”

2. To give back=to donate time or money to help society.

For example, “We decided to give back to the community and organize a tree  planting in the local park.”


To Give In

  • To give in= To agree to do something even though you don’t really want to do it.  For example, “My son always begs me to take him to the mall until I give in.”

To Give Out

  • To give out= To distribute flyers, papers, and worksheets to people. For example, “The workers gave out the flyers about the labor rights protest on Sunday.”
  • To give out on= to stop working. “My coffee grinder gave out on me last week.”

To Give Up

  • To give something up=to stop doing an activity that you regularly do. For example, “Brian gave up beer because it was giving him a stomach ache.”
  • To give up on someone=to no longer be concerned with a person and what they decide to do. For example, “I gave up on Seth because I realized he wasn’t going to take my advice about getting off drugs.”


To Give Off

  • To give off=to radiate or emanate. For example, “The sewage system is giving off a bad smell.”phrasal-verbs-give

To Give Forth

  • To give forth=to emit or release something. For example, “The roses give forth an uplifting fragrance.”

To Give Over

  • To give over=to deliver a person to the authorities. For example, “The teen gave over her neighbor to the authorities because he had been seen robbing someone in the street.”   
  • To give over=to transfer control or to hand over.  For example, “The small fruit company wasn’t doing well and was given over to the larger, international company.”

Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz

Test your Knowledge of these Phrasal Verbs with Give


Do you want to learn more about phrasal verbs? Check out this awesome Youtube video: 

Conversation Questions with Phrasal Verbs:

1) Do you give up easily or are you persistent?
2) What kitchen appliance recently gave out on you (broke)?
3) Do you give in easily when other people want to do something that you don’t really want to do or do you “stick to your guns?” “Stick to your guns” is an expression that means you refuse to compromise or change your mind.
4) What is one bad habit you want to give up this year?
5) How often do you give clothes away?
6) Is it more likely for you to keep a secret or give away a secret?
7) Do you give back to your community and volunteer or donate money to local organizations?



6 Animal Idioms with their Meanings



Animal Idioms With their Meaning

Idioms are a wonderful way to study the English language and sound more natural and fluent in conversation.  Also, these idioms are playful, creative, and they make learning language more exciting.

To let the cat out of the bag means to reveal a secret.
For example, “Jessica let the cat out of the bag and told everyone about the surprise birthday party.”😼

An elephant in the room is something that is everybody knows about, but nobody wants to talk about.🐘For example, “The fact that sam was caught for theft was the elephant in the room at all of the family dinners.”

To be a chicken can mean to be scared of things. 🐓To “chicken out” means to be too scared to do something and to back out. For example, “Sam is such a chicken.  Last week he chickened out and didn’t go into the cave with us.”

To stop something cold turkey is to abruptly quit doing something. For example, “Suzy quit smoking cold turkey.” 🦃

A person who wouldn’t hurt a fly is a harmless person.🪰For example, “Jennifer wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s so sweet.”

A rat is a person who is considered sneaky and who might tell others about someone’s mistakes or wrongdoings.🐀To rat someone out is to tell on them or tell the teacher/ authorities about what they did wrong.  For example, “Jim ratted me out and told the teacher that I stole his pencil.”

Your turn! What other animal idioms have you heard? Do you work like a dog? Are you a night owl or an early bird? Do you watch people like a hawk? Have you ever felt like a fish out of water? How do you kill two birds with one stone? Write down your favorite idioms in the comments.


Animal Idioms with their Meanings

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the animal idioms.🐓

5 Tips for the IELTS Writing Task 2

Tip #1: Highlight the Keywords

I am going to share 5 tips with you to help you write the essay for the IELTs exam much faster.  These tips will also help you get a higher band score.  There are many words you should study to prepare for the IELTs writing task two.  These are words that are commonly used in English and that can strengthen your lexical resource score.

  On the IELTs exam, you will have 40 minutes to write more than 250 words.

An Example of an IELTS Task 2 Essay Topic:

The growing number of overweight people is putting a strain on the health care system in an effort to deal with the health issues involved.  Some people think that the best way to deal with this problem is to introduce more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  To what extent do you agree?

  • Highlight the Key Words:The growing number of overweight people is putting a strain on the health care system in an effort to deal with the health issues involved.  Some people think that the best way to deal with this problem is to introduce more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  To what extent do you agree?




Tip # 2: Substitute the key words with synonyms 

Some of the most common words can be substituted, which shows your ability to use lexical variety and to vary your word choice.  It is a terrible idea to restate the essay topic word for word. DON’T COPY THE TOPIC SENTENCE! 



You can use the highlighted words to brainstorm synonyms.  The more you practice creating graphic organizers like the ones you can see here, the more expansive your vocabulary will become. 



On the IELTS exam, you typically write about social issues on task 2 such as: environmental issues, health-related issues, and questions about technology to name a few.  Therefore, it is a great idea to master the type of vocabulary you could use to talk about problems.Click here for an extensive list of IELTs Writing Task 2 topics! 




Tip #3: Re-write the Introduction for the IELTS task 2 Essay:  

Here is an example of what your introduction might look like.  I italicized the words I changed :

The soaring number of obese people is putting an unnecessary burden on the health care system.  Many people hold the opinion that the best way to tackle this pressing issue is to add more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  I completely agree with this statement and feel that creating healthy habits and routines is one of the best ways to prevent weight problems in youth early on, positively impacting future generations. 


Tip #4: Brainstorm Words Related to Obesity


  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of exercise
  • Childhood diabetes/ heart disease 
  • future generations
  • Sports
  • Healthy habits 
  • School as a place to establish healthy routines and teach health


Tip #4: Structure your essay into paragraphs



In this essay, I might suggest writing the first paragraph about the causes of obesity and the second paragraph about the importance of routines and physical education classes to prevent obesity.  Then, move on to the conclusion.

Tip #5: Write a conclusion

Your conclusion can be your introduction, but paraphrased.  You could add words like:

  • To sum up,
  • To conclude,
  • In conclusion,
  • Finally,
  • In summary,

I would suggest changing the sentence order and using a few of the other synonyms like “manage” or “handle” or “address” in the conclusion.


Would you like additional practice with this topic? Get your IELTS essay writing resource today. 


This is a digital writing activity that I use with my students who are preparing for the IELTS and TOEFL IBT exam and who need practice with word choice and sentence structure in essay writing. Once you purchase the product, I will share a link with you so that you can make your own copy of the google slides activity.  The essay topic is about two environmental issues: global warming and deforestation. Students are given a structure to plan their essay and I help them brainstorm related vocabulary words. I give them a step-by-step process for writing their essay and constructing their paragraphs.

The goal of this lesson is to help students learn how to paraphrase. I use a two-step strategy: 1) word choice. Students are presented with a number of “drag and drop” activities to substitute words in the sentence with a variety of synonyms, which is fun and interactive. 2) sentence structure. Students learn to put the second clause of the sentence first, playing with paraphrasing ideas through sentence structure.

*There are audio instructions on every slide so students can do this independently

*There are transition words to help students use more transitional language in their paragraphs

Don’t Make these 5 Mistakes on the TOEFL IBT Speaking Exam


1. Don’t Use a Template

Some people who have no idea what they are getting themselves into with the TOEFL IBT exam.  They are new to the exam and go into the test center and expect an easier exam.  They may try to “wing it” and improvise.  Don’t go into the TOEFL IBT exam unprepared! In fact, you need to take notes. These are key and important things to keep in mind to prepare for the speaking exam:

  • Organize your answer in a template 
  • Write down key words and the main idea
  • Uses synonyms to rephrase the key ideas  

2. Forget to Cite your Source

The TOEFL IBT speaking exam has a few integrated tasks that require you to read a passage and listen to a lecture or read a campus proposal and listen to a speaker give an opinion.  Some people begin talking about the reading passage or about the lecture, but they don’t say who or where the information is coming from.  This is a BIG MISTAKE! 

  • Use phrases like, “According to the professor…”, “The reading explains…” “The professor mentions…”  “Based on the reading…” 

“Don’t repeat the same sentence structure too often.  Avoid saying, ‘The writer says that…, and the speaker says that…Moreover, the speaker says that…’  Grammar is not the only element of good language.  Variety is also a part of good speech (and writing), so alternate your sentence structure.”  -Kaplan Prep Plus 2021-2021



3. Avoid Transitional Language

Some students I’ve worked with use very few transitional words.  They are so nervous and they simply forget to use words like, “Firstly,” and “Furthermore…”  in their responses.  These words are helpful and will most definitely increase your score because they show that you have advanced linguistic skills.  

Also, transitional language helps you make connections and show important relationships that exist between the reading passage and the lecture.  The test examiners want to see if you can make these important links between the different sources.

If you need ideas and are looking for a guide to help you learn how to use transitional language correctly in your response, you can get it here! 

4. Don’t Pay Attention to the Evaluation Criteria 

When I ask students whether or not they know how they are being evaluated, they almost always say “no.”  So, I highly recommend looking at the evaluation criteria and seeing how you will be scored.  After you answer practice questions, you can go back and reflect on your answer and look at the check-list. It will help you improve your future answers.  If you download my guide, you can read the evaluation check-list.  


5. Think Negative Thoughts 

Students have told me that when they feel nervous, their minds go blank and they simply can’t focus and concentrate in English.  This causes many blocks and inhibits your ability to give the kind of great answer you are truly capable of giving.  Stay positive and repeat a positive mantra over and over again in your head.  According to the Barron’s TOEFL IBT exam preparation book, “Negative thoughts can interfere with your concentration, and you may not hear the questions correctly. Take deep breaths before each question and say this in your mind: ‘I am a good speaker. I am ready to speak.”


See Just How Easy it is to Teach Kids English Online

Teach Kids English Online Today!

I am going to show you some tips and tricks that will help you see just how easy it is to teach kids English online.  It is a job that is fun, easy, and engaging for both the teacher and the students.  First of all, the screen creates a kind of distance between the student and the teacher, so it is important to create connection between the learner and the teacher when teaching English as a foreign language online.  There are many ways to establish rapport at the beginning of class when you teach kids English online.

1. Use Puppets to Teach Kids English Online

Puppets are adorable, eye-catching, and funny.  The truth is that parents love seeing their kid’s teacher with a puppet at the beginning of class.  Personally, I use colorful puppets that have moving mouths that can talk and pronounce words or model sentence structures. When the puppet’s mouth moves, it comes to life and truly is a living character in your classroom.  The truth is that many young learners are too shy to speak English directly to you, but they will speak to a puppet.  I ordered my puppet from The Puppet Company on and I absolutely love how lively their puppets are. My toddler loves puppets and as a mom, I experience the magic puppets bring to my child every day!


2. 2D Props that Sparkle create Connection in Online Classes

In truth, when I first started teaching kids English online, I used mainly digital props on Manycam.  Then, I realized that the platform I teach on was so interactive and digital, that I needed to use more 2D printables in order to be more successful and create more connection with my students.  I use 2D props to reinforce vocabulary words, to spark conversation, to extend lessons, and to indicate when it is time for the student to speak.  Some of my “must-have” props are: a star, a big pencil, a large glitter magnifying glass, glitter emojis, correct/incorrect signs, “Hello” and “Nice to meet you” signs.  I also use pom poms, stuffed animals, and toys for fun.  I put glitter on as much as I can in the online classroom to make the colors explode. To top it off, I have a box of cookies as a prop to teach “eat” and “sweet.” You get get a set of the props I’ve made on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Gets Yours Today! 


3. Use bright, colorful props to teach kids English Online

When I first started teaching kids English online, I found myself drawing props and running around the house for hours searching for props.  After years of teaching children online, I decided to upgrade my props and make them brighter, more colorful, and more eye-catching.  These bright props increased my ratings and parent satisfaction.  Parents love to see a teacher who is well-prepared, professional, and on top of his/her game.  Now, I have full bookings and have to turn-down classes because I’m swamped with work. Want proof? Check out these before and after pictures of the transformation:

Watch this prop video!

Buy Yours NOW!


4. Play Games with Props when you Teach Kids English Online

There are many games that I play with kids to encourage student talk time.  One of the games that I love is to roll a gigantic red dice.  Whatever number it lands on dictates how many times the student says the word.  It is brilliant, colorful, and exciting.  Another game I play with kids online is a pinwheel game.  I put pictures of voices on a pinwheel and spin the colorful wheel around.  The kids have to pronounce the word with a “robot” voice or a “man” voice and it is very dramatic and it boosts engagement.  In general, spinners are a wonderful addition to the online classroom.  If you want to use digital spinners, you can make your own at this site and this site.

These games are available for download with one click!


5. Use Props as Extensions and to Facilitate Student Talk Time

Sometimes, when class finishes early, I review the concept we learned with an extension.  When I first started teaching online, I really didn’t have any extensions or 2D props and when I ended early, I had no idea what to do with the kids.  Nowadays, I might have a poster that displays a spinner with different images on it and I ask the kids, “How do you go to school?”  One student responds, “I go to school by bus.”  The poster encourages more improvisation with the English language and makes learning visually stimulating.

Check out my must-have props!

Check out this fabulous weather spinner extension! 

6. Make Kids Laugh when Teaching English Online

I try to use humor as much as possible to teach kids English online.  If you can break the ice and make kids laugh, you truly win their hearts.  Here are some ideas to make kids laugh: Put on funny glasses, wear a clown nose, cover yourself with a blanket at the beginning of class and then dramatically uncover yourself to surprise students, wear a costume or a colorful headband, show stinky socks/feet, use a spider prop to be silly, open a box with something surprising inside.  Students love funny props, especially after a long day of school.  Don’t underestimate the power of humor in the online classroom.

7. Use Flashcards to Teach Kids English Online

Flashcards are an indispensable part of my online teaching methodology.  When I taught in-person classes to kids, I used flashcard games creatively to encourage good pronunciation and repetition.  I use them to stimulate student output and to encourage faster language acquisition.  I am a visual learner and have always valued visuals in the language classroom.  Therefore, I find flashcards to be highly engaging and essential.  Not only that, I have a toddler at home who is learning the alphabet and key vocabulary words and I also use the flash cards with him at home, so I can kill two birds with one stone.  To teach kids English online, I put the flashcards on popsicle sticks and move them close to the webcam.  I like students to see a different image than the one they see on the screen in order to make further associations with the word. The more chances they can see the word in action, the more likely they are to use it and remember it.

I make my flashcards 8.5×11 so that you can print them out any size you want.  You can print them big, half-size, four on a page, or six on a page.  I do this because I want you to decide what is best for your own classroom and to give you the versatility to choose.  You can find my flashcard food and fruit freebies here! Download, print, and teach!


8. Using Manycam for Teaching Kids English Online

Manycam is a useful tool that can be a wonderful resource for motivating kids.  Nowadays, I use manycam for cool effects like putting a rain cloud over my head to teach the weather or I use the “tears” to show sadness when I say goodbye.  I tend to avoid using scary masks.  However, some of the animal effects are nice such as putting a frog on top of your head putting some pig ears on your face.  Manycam is also useful for adjusting lighting.  Not only that, I put on a welcome video before class in one of Manycam’s preset windows and I put a “goodbye” video at the end of the video.  There is a free version of Manycam that many teachers use when they are starting out.  However, I use the paid version because I use more presets to plan my classes.  There are some alternatives to manycam like Camtwist.

In this video, I teach you how to make an intro and goodbye video in canva and insert it into manycam!

9. Finding a Company to Teach Kids English Online

There are many great companies out there to apply for.  The bottom line is, find a mentor to help you navigate the onboarding process. As a matter of fact, you are more likely to be hired and to pass the interview process if you have a guide helping you who knows what is expected and required.  If you try to do it alone, it might become overwhelming.  You may not realize that this is a competitive industry and the expectations are high.

Magic Ears Online ESL: 4 Students in a Classroom

As you may know, I teach for Magic Ears.  SIGN-UP to TEACH with Magic Ears HERE! I highly recommend the company because there are four students in the classroom and the platform is fun and dynamic.  I can be your mentor if you want to apply.  The cancellation policy is flexible and the hiring process has just become easier because the staff gives you feedback and you can keep trying until you get hired. Consequently, it is the best online ESL company to work for and although the bookings are slow at first since they are determined by your rank, they do pick up quickly and now I can teach for them as much as I’d like.

I’ve been teaching with Magic Ears for 5 contract periods and am a seasoned Magic Ears teacher with a Senior Ranking.  My goal is to become a Magic Master! Teach with Magic Ears!


Download this free PDF with bonny images to decorate your background for your interview!

Do you want to teach at GOGOKID or Outschool? Also, if you want to try teaching at Itutorgroup to get your feet wet teaching, they have a less competitive hiring process and I would recommend Nikli Lubing as your mentor for all of those companies.  Not only can she mentor you at itutorgroup, she can also help you with outschool and GogoKid! 

Nikki Lubing, Online ESL Teacher

If you need lesson plans for going solo and teaching on your own website, I highly recommend using Daniel Didio’s online ESL curriculum for kids.

10. VIP KID and Using Rewards in the Classroom

As you may have heard, VIP KID is the most renowned online ESL company for kids out there and it is a fun company to work for with great opportunities for career advancement and leadership roles.  The curriculum is outstanding and the professional development is the best out there.  If you want to apply to VIP KID, I highly recommend contacting Amanda Panda to help mentor you and to give you advice about making an introduction video and creating an attractive profile.  You can download many freebies on her site and she also has a lovely Etsy store with a lot of wonderful props and fabulous rewards that have endless possibilities.  If you need help editing your video, please contact Classroom Pro edits on instagram or facebook. 

Amanda Panda: Your VIP KID MENTOR!

As you can see, teaching Kids English Online…

is feasible and accessible to anyone who reaches out to a mentor for help and is open minded and dedicated.  The benefits of teaching kids online are many such as: a flexible schedule, you can teach while you travel, you don’t have to deal with a ton of classroom discipline issues, you don’t have to commute to work, and you can make teacher friends online.  There are many perks, but I find the schedule to be conducive to pursuing my goals, family commitments, and to maintaining healthy exercise habits.




Unlock the Secrets of the Conditional Tenses in English

Is it hard for you to keep track of all the conditional tenses in English? Many of my students confuse the zero, first, second, third conditionals.  Maybe you need a quick review.  At last, I’ve come up with some amazing charts and tables to help you unlock the secrets of the conditional tenses in English.  I am eager to help you use these constructions effectively in conversation. Foremost, I want to give you some opportunities to practice them in the form of fun, engaging quizzes. I only ask that you share this epic blog post with your fellow language learners.

The Zero Conditional in English

We use the zero conditional in English to describe things that are always true or that happen often.  “If” and “when” mean “every time.”


The Zero Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to make zero conditional sentences. Remember, the zero conditional is used to explain things that are expected to happen. The structure is: If/when + present tense, present tense...


The First Conditional

We use the first conditional to talk about a possible future.  This may have to do with health, diet, studying for an exam, or activities that help you reach your goals.



The First Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to use the first conditional. You will find many great examples of when you can use this grammatical structure. Remember, the first conditional is: If + _____(present tense), ...___will.  Good luck!

The Second Conditional

We use the second conditional to talk about the future when we don’t expect something to happen.  In other words, the second conditional is used for hypothetical situations.


The Second Conditional

This is a quiz that will test your ability to use the second conditional effectively.  Remember that the structure is: If + ___(past tense) , would +verb. 

The Third Conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about an imagined past.  This construction could be used to talk about something you regret or something you would have done differently or a result that could have changed.


The Third Conditional Quiz

The third conditional is very tricky.  This quiz will test your ability to use the third conditional in a variety of situations.  The structure of the third conditional is: If + past perfect, would have + participle 

Mixed Conditionals

We used mixed conditionals to talk about something that happened in the past and that influences our lives now.  These situations are hypothetical and we can look at some specific examples to learn how to use them properly.


Mixed Conditionals

Mixed conditionals are used to describe hypothetical situations in the past that influence you now.  The structure is If + past tenses/ would...

Might, Could, and Would with Conditionals

We use might, could and would in second and third conditional sentences to express the probability of a hypothetical situation occurring.


Might is unlikely and unknown, could is unlikely, but possible, and would is the most probably option. I realize this could be tricky for non-native speakers, so we can work on some examples.  You could use any of these words, but it really depends on the likeliness of something hypothetically happening and you want to select the correct word to communicate that idea.



Might, Could, and Would with 2nd and 3rd Conditionals

We use might, could, and would to express the probability of something happening.  You can use any of them, but choose the one that aligns with the likeliness of a hypothetical situation.  

I hope these quizzes and visual descriptions have helped you become more comfortable with using the conditional tenses in English. Focus on practicing these and I’m sure you will have some important breakthroughs.  Please leave some examples of your own conditional sentences in the comments! If you would like me to add a quiz to this where I mix all the conditional tenses and you have to identify which tense it is, then let me know!

7 Phrasal Verbs with Blow


Phrasal Verbs with Blow

1. Blow Away

These phrasal verbs with blow are very fun to use in conversation.  In American English we use the word “blow” more often than you would think and it even as become popular in American slang.  In fact, you can say, “That blows” if you want to communicate that you really don’t like the outcome or to express disappointment.  In this post, I will discuss the different ways “blow” is used as a phrasal verb.  Maybe you are aware of some of these uses, while others are unfamiliar to you.  Nevertheless, I recommend studying phrasal verbs for about five minutes a day so that your English doesn’t get rusty.


There are many things in this world that blow me away.  Starbucks has a matcha latte that simply blows me away every time I drink it.  Apple products such as iphones, ipads, and Macbooks never cease to blow me away.  Also, my two-year-old son blows me away on a daily basis because he develops new reading, artistic, and communication skills so quickly.  What blows you away? Please share your ideas in the comments.

2. Phrasal Verbs with Blow: Blow Somebody Off


It feels terrible when somebody blows you off.  You set a time to meet and are waiting for that person in the coffee shop, wondering where they are.  You try to send them a message, but they don’t respond.  They didn’t stick to their promise to get together with you at the scheduled time.  They make you feel like you don’t matter and that is awful. I remember when I was in Brazil and a friend completely blew me off. I felt like such an idiot waiting for her to appear, but she never did.  Nonetheless, she had a good excuse and communicated that with me the next time I saw her.   Sometimes when someone blows you off, it can hurt your friendship. In the comments, tell me about the last time someone blew you off!

3. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Out


When you blow out the candles on your birthday cake, do you make a wish? I usually wish for things that aren’t material possessions such as: love, happiness, and an inner flame keep the passion in life burning.  This phrasal verb can also be used to describe a fire.  A gust of wind may come along and blow out the flames, leaving you only with a few hot coals.  For that reason, it is better to build a bonfire on a calm day when it isn’t terribly windy.  Do you build bonfires outdoors in the summer time? What do you typically wish for when you blow out candles on your birthday cake? Leave your comments below.

4. Phrasal Verbs with Blow:  Blow Up


I find American action films to be on the violent side.  It is typical to see cars, buildings and motorcycles blowing up.  Explosions sell when it comes to the entertainment industry.  Honestly, I prefer watching movies with good dialogue and an intelligent plot, but many people enjoy watching action movies where nearly everything blows up.  I have also heard “blow up” used in American slang to refer to getting bulky and big muscles at the gym while lifting weights.  My brother-in-law often says, “Let’s blow up!” when he goes to the gym, but it is used this way less often. How about you? Do you like to watch Hollywood action movies?

5. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Down


Have you ever read the story, “The Three Little Pigs?”  In the story, the wolf threatens the pigs by saying,  “I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down.”  He is essentially saying that he is going to use the strength of his breath to destroy their home.  This phrasal verb is often used to refer to storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes that blow houses and structures down.  I am originally from Iowa, so our house was nearly blown down by a tornado one summer.   Tornadoes are terrifying and you have to be very careful and hide in the basement of the house if there is a tornado nearby.  Have you ever seen a house get blown down in a storm?

6. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Over


We use this phrasal verb a lot in the Midwest in the United States because the weather is constantly changing and there are some very intense storms that hit our cities and small towns.  People look up to the sky and say with a sense of hope, “Don’t worry, this storm will blow over in a couple of hours.”  I’ve typically heard this phrasal verb with blow used to talk about weather, particularly about storms. However, you can also use it to talk about a bad situation.  Perhaps people got in a big fight in your house and to describe the tension you could say, “This will blow over soon.” How about you? Do you live in a place where there are many thunderstorms and snowstorms? Do they blow over quickly?

7. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blowout


This is a phrasal verb we use to talk about a car tire that has a hole or puncture in it.  You probably have to pull over to the side of the road and fix the blowout.  It isn’t a pleasant feeling when you are stranded on the side of the road having to call the insurance company or a tow truck to help you fix the problem. Have you ever had a blowout? How did you fix the problem? Did you replace the tire with the spare tire in the trunk? Are you good at fixing tires yourself? Leave your comments below.

I hope these phrasal verbs with blow are helpful! Take this quiz:

Phrasal Verbs with Blow

This is a quiz that will test your understanding of these tricky phrasal verbs.


How to Speak Proper English

Have you reached a plateau with your fluency?

My students explain that they reach a certain level with their fluency.  However, they can’t get to the point where they sound like a native speaker.  They read for hours in English, do listening activities, and do grammar exercises.  Nonetheless, when they speak, they don’t sound as well-educated and polished as they do in their own native language.  They feel frustrated and upset when people don’t understand them in English.  They can’t express themselves freely.  The method I have designed is a highly effective approach that takes students from an upper-intermediate level to an advanced level.  In fact, I am going to highlight the story of how I helped one of my students reach this high level of fluency.  Without a doubt,  this method transformed her life and her career.  Now, she speaks English like a rock star.  


What is the Write Speak/ Speak Right Method? 

This unique method involves working with a coach to help you express yourself clearly, efficiently, and properly in English.  It is an approach that will help you internalize new vocabulary words and sentence structures. In this post, I will highlight my work with one of my students, Lena.  She will share her perspective and talk about how she perceived the method.   She will explain how this method helped her improve her speaking and writing skills in English.  


  1. Write your ideas down
  2. Read your written work aloud to your coach
  3. Analyze the sentence structure and word choice to align with what you want to express
  4. Make the necessary changes to the writing
  5. Use the newly- learned structures and words when you speak English

Where did this Method Come From?

I use this method with my students because it worked so well for me.  When I had writer’s block and struggled to finish writing my dissertation, I went to the writing center at the University of Madison-Wisconsin and worked with my coach, Leah, to help me generate ideas, communicate clearly, and enhance my writing skills.  I met with Leah once a week for over a year and oftentimes we would focus on one sentence or one paragraph during the entire hour meeting.  We would deeply analyze the text first, talk about what I wanted to express, brainstorm more ideas, tweak the structure, add more, and then polish the writing.  Leah’s purpose was to help me develop skills that I could transfer to become a better writer independently.  The method transformed me completely, motivated me tremendously, and helped me finish my dissertation much faster than if I had tried to do it alone.  

Leah and I presented our collaboration at a writing conference in Chicago and shared our experience with other writing coaches.  Her help changed my life forever and enhanced my communication skills.  I was the first female in my family to graduate with a PhD.  I was able to achieve that accomplishment because of the effectiveness of this method.

Years later, I thought to myself…could this method work for second language learners?  The answer is YES! I adapted the method to use it with my ESL students.  I am going to talk about how well it worked with my student, Lena and how you should try it too.   


Ideas Flow through Speaking 

This method is based on the idea that the student can elaborate their ideas through talking about them.  Also, your audience may not be able to understand what you’ve written. So, you can explain what you’ve written to your coach and through conversation, determine if you have in fact communicated your message clearly and efficiently.  

My student, Lena, would bring a paragraph to our English class. She would read it out loud first. Why should the student read the writing out loud?  First of all, it is a great way to practice pronunciation, but the main purpose is for the student to re-discover the words on the page and verify that they are expressing what they are hoping to express.  Most coaches and teachers correct students’ work outside of class and review the corrections, however, this doesn’t allow the student to notice their own mistakes and become an independent learner.  Do you want to catch fish for your students or teach them to fish on their own?

My student, Lena, began by reading the paragraph aloud and then we would talk about what she wanted to say.  She brought up key points that she hadn’t written down, she expanded her ideas, and I sometimes tried to take a few notes and write down her thoughts.  Many times, what she wanted to communicate wasn’t clearly expressed in words.  So, by talking about it, we generated even more ideas and came up with a more solid foundation.  Then, we transferred those ideas to the page.


Tweaking Sentence Structure for Greater Fluidity 

Sentences in English are often tricky for second language learners, especially when they try to translate directly from their native language.  Sometimes the word order, the grammatical structure can be hard to understand if you aren’t a native speaker.  In fact, it is hard for native speakers, too.  Lena and I spent considerable time on each sentence and we sometimes moved the last part of the sentence to the front of the sentence to emphasize the main idea.  In addition, we added commas and transition words.  I notice that second-language learners often make their sentences either too short or too long.  In Spanish and Portuguese, the sentences are generally much longer than in English.

It is definitely helpful to have a native speaker coach you in this phase of the process in order to see different ways of eloquently arranging nouns, adjectives, and verbs, and prepositions on the page. A collaborative approach between the coach and student can help the learner develop important skills to structure the sentence to make it more readable.  You might find the Writer’s Handbook useful from the UW-Madison writing center.


Word Choice to Maximize Eloquence 

As writers, it is easy to repeat the same word multiple times.  However, we want to avoid redundancy in our writing.  Lena and I worked hard to search for synonyms and to find the correct word that fit the context.  Her writing became much clearer, but at the same time extremely convincing.  She truly expressed what she desired to say to her audience.  She told me later that she found herself using these more advanced vocabulary words in her everyday conversations in English.

Vary your words to avoid repetition and redundancy.

During our classes, she would often say things like, I would have never been able to say it that well before I started taking these classes. Honestly, over the weeks and months, her writing and speaking jumped to a whole new level.   She found herself becoming the fluent English speaker she’d always dreamed of becoming, deeply transforming her communication skills.  Now, she can communicate with her audience with a sense of freedom and confidence she didn’t have before. 

Here are some advanced vocabulary exercises you can do on your own to improve your word choice and to start using more complex words in your writing.


Collaborate to Gain Confidence 

The ultimate goal of the Write Speak/ Speak Right method is to help you communicate more confidently.  The role of the coach is to help guide you to implement these effective strategies on your own. You will find yourself speaking English more like a native speaker, using idioms, collocations and more complex sentence structures with more ease. 


Lena’s review of this method: 

“Anne’s method of teaching English worked amazingly well for me. Anne and I decided to try it when I needed to prepare for a very important workshop that I would have to teach in English. For that workshop, I needed to write a lot of educational materials. When I first started thinking about doing that I was terrified, so I reached out to Anne to ask her if she would agree to proof-read my writings. Fortunately, she agreed, but she insisted that we needed to do it together. She said that I would have to read my writings to her out loud and we would correct them together, making sure that everything I wanted to communicate to my students was clear. I happily agreed without realizing the greatness of the impact this practice would have on my life. 

Transitions Words Create Flow

So, the first part of the process was me waking up every morning and writing down my thoughts about a particular topic that I wanted to explain to my students. I tried to be as clear as possible, but at first, I simply didn’t know some very important words and expressions that could help me make my explanations clearer and more concise. So, I just used the words and expressions that I knew at the moment, knowing that Anne would help me find the right words during the class. 

Transitions are important to link two different ideas and to connect paragraphs.

When Anne and I met for a class, I would start reading my writings aloud, sentence by sentence. At the beginning, we needed to review and correct every sentence. We would stop on a sentence and start to discuss what I wanted to express. Anne would help me with the sentence structure and with finding the right words. She, of course, always pointed out to my mistakes and I corrected them in the text immediately.

When we finished a paragraph I would read the entire paragraph for us to make sure that the big idea was communicated clearly. Sometimes, we felt that there was a need for transitions between different sentences, so we would continue to work on that paragraph until we both were happy with it. 

Anne also always corrected me when I mispronounced worlds. It was extremely helpful for improving my speech. 

We kept working like this for three or four months, meeting three times a week every week. 

After the first month, I realized that I started making fewer mistakes in my writings.   I noticed that I was using the words and expressions that I hadn’t used before. I also started to notice that I struggled less with speaking English and that my pronunciation improved.  

Fluency in English is Transformational both Personally and Professionally

Lena is living proof that speaking as fluently as a native speaker is possible for people who live in non-English speaking countries.

Now, after having worked with Anne for several months, I am a different person. My writing and speech improved dramatically. I am much more confident when I talk to my English speaking students. The coolest thing is that I don’t need to translate words in my head anymore, instead I think in English now! I even dream in English at night! I have never lived in an English speaking country.  Not only that, I haven’t had a chance to practice English in my day-to-day life, so the classes with Anne have been a very valuable experience for me.

I have never met such an enthusiastic and always ready to help teacher. These classes have changed my life and me as a person. I can’t recommend them high enough. I think working with Anne and using her fantastic method is the best way to accelerate your learning and perfect your English. I’ve finally reached the level of fluency that I’ve always dreamed of.