Writing Cards – Christmas Cards for ESOL, ESL and EFL



Can’t be bothered to read the post – Click here for the lesson on Writing Cards


Sending cards is an enourmous business in the UK and the USA with the average person spending way too much time and money on them. There’s also a lot of social pressure to send and receive them especially at Christmas time. Who hasn’t been presented with a card for someone who is leaving the office, sick or getting married, and thought ‘I don’t know what to write!’?

It’s also pretty difficult for ESOL/EFL and second language English learners to write them to. I used this lesson with a group of pre-intermediate learners.

Here are the lesson stages

1. Ask the students to tell you when they last recieved a card of any description. Write a list of the cards they tell you about on the board. It might look something like this. Anniversary, wedding, congratulations, birthday, valentines, get well soon, sorry, condolences…

2. Pass out the sheet and have the students correct the mistakes then match the card messages to the people they are for.

3. Now ask students to write their own messages in response to the prompts. You could ask them to work in pairs or alone and could check the answers by getting to write on the board.

4. There are some really good electronic greetings cards on the net. You might like to show these to your students if you have an interactive whiteboad or projector.


Simle Box

Writing better sentences for IELTS and TOEFL

Watch this video with a short poem by the writer Gary Provost

We’re not novelists but varying the rhythm of your sentences can help you with your writing. Some sentences can be short. Some need to be long to show that you can use effective and complex structures. Above all, the sentences you write must be effective at communicating your ideas.



New Year Resolutions – Simple low level ESOL / EFL lesson

The new year is the natural time to think about changing the things that you do and the habits that you have. Most gyms will be full this week and empty by the end of February. Here’s a simple E2 ESOL lesson that will get students talking and thinking about the new year

Download the lesson here https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/newyear_sresolutions.doc

All these lessons and many more can be found on my website


The 25 most common spelling mistakes – IELTS and EFL


If you haven’t got time or can’t be bothered to read the post the spelling lesson is here:

The twenty five most common spelling mistakes in English. https://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/the-25-most-common-spelling-mistakes-in-english.doc

The most pleasing things about making spelling mistakes when typing into Google is not that it offers you a handy correction,  but the fact that there are hundreds  of people who have also made the same mistakes, and have also gone the extra mile by putting these mistakes live on the web.

Websites that help with your spelling

There are some great webistes that can help your students with their spelling. The BBC have a really good Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check game as well as lots of others on their skillswise site. www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise

There are also some good flash spelling games at www.manything.org

Spelling Miatakes by Native English Speakers

There are lots of funny places to look at real life spelling mistakes in English, one great example from the north of England is by Prof. Vivian Cook who took photos of genuine spelling errors made by British people.


You can also find hundreds of honest spelling errors by visiting www.google.com and seraching for ‘spelling mistakes’ under images

Other Mistakes !

If you’re looking for something a little bit more hardcore then there are a whole range of websites that make fun of Chinese spelling mistakes. These are in vogue at the moment but some are a bit rude so I wouldn’t advocate showing these to your class.


Here’s a good one from www.engrish.com