Sunday, December 4, 2011

Summer Holiday Fun !!!


Level One & Two: I HATE THE BEACH

I Hate the Beach by Ann Dunn (PRACE,2006)
Click here to order PRACE PAGETURNER KITS

This week we read the funny story of a woman who hates the beach.

Do you like the beach? List the things you like about the beach. List the things you hate about the beach.

LESSON UNIT : Australian English at the Beach.

This is a really interesting and fun website about the beach - famous beaches, the history of the 'Aussie Cozzie' (bathing suit), Dangerous Creatures, Beach Safety and First Aid. (Developed by Barker, Chalk, Dunn, Malakar, Hanrahan and PRACE, 1999-2007)

Exercises from Australian English at the Beach for you to complete this lesson:

The Language of Signs (group work, matching, reading, vocabulary, prepositions

The Aussie Cozzie (A short history about bathing and bathers in Australia +Quiz)

Here is another video about the beach with Benny Hill!
The video was made in Australia in 1978.


1) Watch the Benny Hill video ONCE

2) What can you remember? Print out this fun, quiz about the video

3) Watch the video again to see if your answers are right or wrong

Jokes in English

Jokes in a second language can be hard to understand. There are many double meanings and playing on words. Here are some simple, funny jokes from :

Jokes for ESL Students (Level 1)

Jokes for ESL Students (Level 2)

Joke ...:-)

In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens.
In the second year of marriage, the woman speaks and the man listens.
In the third year, they both speak and the neighbors listen.

Here are lots of other similar jokes from (text and mp3)

Here are some simple American jokes and riddles you might enjoy

Download a printed copy of the jokes to read

Listen to the jokes (click here)

Source: The Lighter Side of TEFL

Tongue Twisters

These are fun! They are good for pronunciation practice. Have a go ...

She sells sea shells ...

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck ...

Here are some Tongue Twisters for you to download and practice on your own (PDF)

Holiday Reading

Some of you want reading practice over the holidays (are you crazy? ;-)

Level 1

200 Super Easy Reading Stories for ESL (+audio, +exercises)

200 Easy Reading Stories for ESL

Level 2

365 ESL Stories (+audio, +exercises)

Mullah Nasreddin Stories

Here are some very funny and wise stories from the 13th century Muslim teacher, Mullah Nasreddin (audio, video and lessons by Turgan Evren):

Nasreddin and the Coat

Nasreddin and the Beggar

Five more Nasreddin Stories (+Comprehension exercises)

The Christmas Story

These children perform the Nativity Story (the Birth of Jesus). Watch the video and then read the simple story below.

Here is a simple version of the Nativity Story for you to read.

Here is a simple crossword about the Nativity for you (word doc)

Writing a letter to Santa (Board Game you can play with your kids at home)

End Note

Dear students

thank you for coming to class in 2011. For the students of English following this blog from overseas (Peru, China, Egypt, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia) please visit again in 2012. There will be new lessons and some special new sections including a Practice Assessment Centre.

Best wishes ... see you in February 2012

Dale Pobega


Monday, November 21, 2011

Australian History : Refugees

VPAM 549.4, VPAU 500.1, VPAU 496.3, VPAU 493.3, VPAU 498.1

The Vietnamese started to arrive in Australia after the Vietnam War (1975). Many came in boats on dangerous voyages. They ran away from a bad government and poverty from the war. They wanted a new life ...

Click here to read the full text and download a simple dictation

Here is the dictation ...

REFUGEES (British Council)

Here is a listening /reading exercise (difficult)about Refugees with text and task.



Can you mark the countries from the story about refugees?

1) Vietnam

2) Cambodia

3) Laos

4) China

5) Afghanistan

6) Iran

7) Iraq

8) Sri Lanka

Do you know any others ...

9) _________


Print out the map of Asia and the Middle East here


Listening: Life in a New Country

1) Watch the video

2) Print this comprehension sheet

3) Watch other young refugees talking about their new lives in the UK.

Edmund (Uganda)

Kamran (Iran)

Exercise 2: You be the teacher! Make a comprehension sheet about Edmund from Uganda or Kamran from Iran


African Refugees in Australia ... where we come from, who we are

Question: How many hours do the women spend collecting water?

Vocabulary: a well / collect / fetch / round trip

Understanding Graphs & Charts (Talking statistics)

Look at the following graphs about the Somali, Ethiopian and Sudanese communities in Australia.

Somali Community

Ethiopian Community

Sudanese Community

How many Somalis / Ethiopians / Sudanese were there in 1991 and 2006?

What was the rate of increase?

What would you say about the graphs?

Find out more about one of these communities on the museum victoria website.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Australian History: They're a Weird Mob


VPAM 549.4 / VPAU 494.3 / VPAU 500.3

This is a film from 1966 about an Italian migrant called Nino.

On his first day in Australia Nino goes to a pub in Sydney. He meets a friendly Aussie man.

What happens? What problems do the two men have? Why do you think this film is called, They're a Weird Mob.?

Note the Aussie slang words and phrases from the film you do not understand.

(Can you guess the meaning of any?) ...

What'll it be?

A schooner

A Midi

A bloke

(beer) puts a gut on ya

Whaddya (what do) you do for a crust?

Your turn to shout

Bloody oath!

Aussie Slang

Here is a useful list of Aussie slang words, phrases and expressions (Monash Uni)

Here is a much longer list of other Aussie Slang words and phrases (some very strange and not used very much)

(Information Text) Dictation - European Migration after World War 2

After World War 2 many migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe came to Australia looking for a new life. In 1945 the war ended and many countries such as Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia were poor ...

Click here for the Dictation Cloze exercise and full information text

Listen to the Dictation ...

Click here for a (practice) test / questions based on the Information Text, Migrants After World War 2


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If I had a million dollars ...


What would you do if you had a million dollars?

Now play the game --- and download the mp3 --- at Genki

And what about these people?

Level 1 : Watch the video below, download this worksheet, tick how many times you hear the answers ... and then ask your class mates the big question!

Level 2: Make a list of what they would do if they won $10 million dollars?

1. (I'd) quit my job and travel



etc ...

Click here to read the transcript of the video to check your answers.


Level 2+ : Third Conditional (unreal conditional / regret or wish) : If I had ...

eg. If I had studied harder I would have passed

PAIR WORK: Print out this exercise and complete it with a friend (PDF)

Money, Money, Money

If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball ...

Money, Money, Money - Lyrics (click here)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Australian History : Federation and the White Australia Policy

Australia became a country in 1901. The colonies became states. This was called Federation. The first policy of the new Federal government was to make sure that "non-white" people did not come to Australia. This was called "The White Australia Policy."

Why do you think Australians in those times did not like non-white people?

What is racism? What is prejudice?

Can you think of other examples of racism?

Was there racism in the country you came from?

Watch the video above.

Now try this dictation (and find out more about the White Australia Policy) ...

Print out this dictation (fold, listen, write and check)



Rome is full of cats! The volunteers at Torre di Argentina cat shelter take care of them. Which cat would you choose?

Click here to meet (and choose) a Roman cat you can write about in the exercise below

ACCESS 1 : Read and Write Simple Information Texts : Design a Poster


In class we have been reading and writing descriptions of people, places, animals and things.

1) Use this poster to help you design your own.

2) Print this blank poster.

Let's pretend you adopted a Roman cat. Use your Roman cat to write your own LOST CAT poster.


Reading (Level 1)

Easy Dialogues (short conversations + audio)

Super-Easy Reading (stories, audio, vocabulary, cloze and sentence writing)


Listening (Access 1 Practice Test)

An Accident in the Bakery

We have been listening, reading, writing and speaking about accidents and scary experiences.

1) Watch the video above.What happens?

2) Watch again.Print and complete this PRACTICE TEST about the video.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Australian History : Immigration

Look at the painting. It is called The Last of England by the artist Ford Madox Brown. He migrated to Australia in 1852 during the Gold Rush.

Exercise 1 : Discuss these questions with a friend.

Who are the people in the painting? Where are they? Where are they going? What are they wearing? What are they thinking? How do they feel?

Exercise 2: Complete this reading exercise about The Last of England

Access 2 : Information Texts : Report on a Country

Use the New Zealand story from class to help you. Collect information (location, size, population, languages spoken, cities, attractions, climate, other interesting facts) about one of the following countries:


... more info & pictures


... more info & pictures


... more info & pictures


... more info & pictures


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Australian History : Gold : Hero or Villain? Peter Lalor and Eureka


Name: Peter Lalor
Height: 5 ft 11 inches
Age: 35

Hair dark brown, whiskers dark brown and shaved under the chin, no moustache, long face, rather good looking

This is how they described the leader of the Eureka Stockade miners ... read more about Peter Lalor and Eureka.

The Southern Cross Flag.

This was the flag of the miners at Eureka. How is it like the Australian flag? How is it different? What is missing from the Southern Cross flag? Do we need a new Australian flag? Should we change our flag? Why? Why not?

Flags of the World

Do you know these flags? Do you know the name of the country and nationality? (eg. Australia / Australian, Greece / Greek)

How well do you know the different flags of the world. Try this fun quiz.

Describing People

Here are some faces of the world ... young, old, rich, poor, happy and sad


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Australian History : Gold : Eureka


What is this document? Could it be ... money? ...a cheque? ... a certificate? What was this document used for? Why was this document important for goldminers? What are shillings? How much is five shillings in today's money? What is a colony? Where is Bendigo? Where is Ballarat? What is the Bendigo Petition? Who was Governor La Trobe? What was the Eureka Rebellion? Read on if you want to know more ...

A license to mine for gold was very expensive on the gold fields. Every month miners had to pay about $137 just for their license.

The cost of living was very high. Here are some prices from the goldfields in today's money:

*a pair of socks = $65
*a shovel = $200
*1 kilo of flour $30
*a packet of tea $20

Read more and do some exercises. Click here.


Grammar: Unless

In the story about Gold the German miner said,

"You do not go out at night unless you have a gun."

Watch this video and learn how to use UNLESS ...

Level 2+ : Grammar Exercises - Unless

Exercise 1

Exercise 2


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Instructions, Directions and Procedures 3



What do you know about Ancient Egypt? Do you believe in life after death?

The ancient Egyptians were very sophisticated people. They buried their dead in a special way to help them get safely to the afterlife. They made "mummies".

Download the story Tombs and Mummies

1. Read the story and answer the questions in your book. Use your dictionary for any new vocabulary.



We use the IMPERATIVE for giving instructions (exercises 1 -6)

We use the PASSIVE VOICE for explaining a process
or procedure (exercises 1 - 7)



What is your favourite sandwich? What ingredients do you need? How do you make it? Share your sandwich recipe with a friend. Tell the rest of the class or another person about your friend's favourite sandwich.

Level 1 and 2+ : Mr. Bean Makes a Sandwich

Watch the Mr. Bean video.

How did he make his sandwich?

What ingredients did he use?



Look at this picture with your friend.

1. List the ingredients

2. Download this worksheet and complete


Level 2+ : Listening ... My Favourite Sandwich

Questions ...

1. What are the two types of sandwich the speaker likes most?
2. What does a Foccacia have in the middle?
3. How do you heat up a Foccacia?
4. What is good to drink with a Foccacia?
5. What type of bread do use to make a Lebanese roll?
6. What is the speaker's opinion of the Lebanese roll?




Listen to these recipes by Level 1 and Level 2 students on VOXOPOP.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Instructions, Directions and Procedures 2


Duke Street Students : How to Make (Our Own Special) Indian Tea


Grammar (Level 2+): Used for ..+ verb-ing & Used to + verb

In our lessons we talked about UTENSILS and TOOLS.

eg. A rolling pin is used for preparing dough

Exercise: Can you tell me what these kitchen utensils are used for?

A whisk

An egg beater

A flipper

A carving knife

Used to ...

It is easy to confuse used to and used for.

Used to = something we did in the past but not now

eg. I used to drink 10 cups of coffee a day (but not now).

Remember the small spelling change with QUESTIONS and NEGATIVES ... drop the 'd'

eg. Did you use to drink lots of coffee?

eg. I didn't use to drink lots of coffee, but now I do.

Exercise: Try these online exercises

Exercise 1 (mix and match)

Exercise 2 (word order)

Exercise 3 (complete the sentences)

Exercise 4 (complete the sentences 2)


Homework (Level 2+):

How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee

Here is a simple (but good recipe for making a great cup of coffee by Ryan from the Flying Saucers Cafe in Santa Monica, California (USA).

Can you write instructions? Also list INGREDIENTS / UTENSILS.


a single cup filter

a paper filter insert

a 1 ounce scoop

boiling water

a grinder

to grind

(ground) beans

to dump something

to place back

to pour

a circular motion

to drip through

to stick

fine (adj)



coarse (adj)

to remove



In this lesson we are looking at PROCEDURES (Instructions explained). We use the PASSIVE VOICE when we describe most procedures. The OBJECT and not the SUBJECT of the action are important.

eg. the coffee beans are sorted

Watch this video about HOW COFFEE IS MADE.

Take some notes on the PROCEDURE for WET PROCESSING or DRY PROCESSING. (We will continue this exercise in class ...)


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Australian History : Gold


Who are these men? Where are they from? Where are they going? What are they carrying? What year was this?

What about the men below? Who are they? Where are they from? What are they doing?



The first gold was found in 1823 at Bathurst, N.S.W but the "Gold Rush" did not start until the 1850s.

Gold was found in Victoria in 1851, Queensland in 1858, Tasmania in 1886 and in Western Australia in 1886.

Hundreds of thousands of people came to Australia. They came from Britain, Ireland, Europe, North America and China.

Click here to read more about the Gold Rush


Print the exercise sheets, fold (only use the full story to check your answers AFTER you listen to the Dictations below)
Listen to the Level 2+ Dictation ...


Online Game

Level 2+: The Gold Rush


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Australian Census 2011


This week all students in the ESL program at Duke St are studying skills to help understand and complete the Australian Census 2011.

*What is a census?

*Why do we have to complete the census form?

*How does it help our Government?

*How can it help citizens of Australia?

CLICK TO VIEW SPOTLIGHT ON THE AUSTRALIAN CENSUS 2011 (In English - interactive. Teachers: good to use as intro tool in class)


Information (and video) in some Duke St student languages about the upcoming Census 2011 ...












Monday, August 1, 2011

Asking for Directions / Instructions and Procedures

View Larger Map

Giving Directions (Level 1 and 2+)

Look at the Google Map above. Use the navigation arrows to go from A (Duke Street Community House) to B (Bharat Indian Supermarket in Barkly Street, West Footscray)

Exercise 1: Write simple directions. (eg. Go to the corner and turn right into South Road)

Exercise 2: Include some landmark information in your directions. (eg. At the corner of South Road and Ashley Street you will see the Central West Shopping Centre)

Exercise 3: Include some time information in your directions. (eg. Drive for two or three minutes / keep walking for about 10 minutes).


Asking for directions / asking for something :


Excuse me ...

Sorry to disturb you ...

Sorry to bother you ...

Sorry to interrupt ...

Can I trouble you for a moment? ...

Exercise 1 : In pairs practice asking for directions. Use the vocabulary to open the conversation. Use the directions you wrote for getting to the Bharat Indian Supermarket.


Comprehension (Level 2+)

How to Make Indian Tea

Watch this video and make notes with your friend about how to make Indian tea. (You can play the video as many times as you like).


b. Write simple INSTRUCTIONS

Comprehension (Entry / Level 1):

How to Make a Cup of Tea


Exercise One: Use the words above and pictures. With a friend write down the instructions HOW TO MAKE A CUPPA

Exercise Two: Click here and Go to VOXOPOP. Tell me 'how to make a cuppa'.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Less Polite, More Polite: Instructions, Inquiries, Requests, Directions


(All Levels) Directions: Can you tell me the way to ...

All Levels : Watch the video. Make a list of the places (1-10) where the woman wants to go.

Can you follow the directions people give in the first half of the video? Check the subtitles in the second half of the video to see if you understood.

Entry Level and Level 1:

1. Practice exercise. Listen, read and record: Can you tell me the way to ...?

Entry Level:

2. Listen to Duke Street students give directions just like the people in the video!


Level 2+: BBC Skillswise - Instructions Worksheets and Activities

Level 2+:

Game: Destination Impossible (BBC)

Help the people find their way to their destinations by playing this fun game.

CLOZE EXERCISE : Giving Directions (BogglesworldESL)


TEACHERS: Other activities and pair work exercises about Directions from Lanternfish


Level 2+:

Exercise 1: Would you mind + -ing

Exercise 2 : Other ways to make imperatives into polite requests

Complete this exercise - watch the video and then select the correct sentence

Level 1:

Inquiries and Instructions : Banking

Level 1 students created their own dialogues. These are the following inquiries about some banking services and instructions about what you need to do to access them.

Level 2+:

Pair Activity (

Going for a Bite (Street Names and Nearby Landmark)

When we give directions we often include a landmark to help us find the place more easily.

eg. The Vietnamese restaurant is on the corner of Pine Street and First Avenue opposite the police station.

New Expressions:

What's up?

I was wondering if ...

to go for a bite
to get something to eat

to be in the mood for
to feel like

I wouldn't mind ...
I could go for

Download the activity sheets from this page (Part I: Street Name and Nearby Landmark)

Entry Level:

The Sound Alphabet

This is a song for teaching kids the English sound alphabet. You can play it at home. I hope it is useful:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter from Colombia


1. Can you match the photos with the places in my letter?

2. Can you find the places I visited on a map?

G'day students!

I hope you are studying hard? I am enjoying Colombia. At the moment my wife and I are at Santa Marta. Santa Marta is very modern and looks like the Gold Coast. It is nice and warm here - about 31 degrees! I know it is cold in Melbourne. Somebody told me it was 4 degrees the other day?

When we arrived we stayed in the capital city, Bogota for three days. In Bogota we went to the wonderful Gold Museum. It is full of Pre-Hispanic treasures made of gold.

After that, we flew to the beautiful Caribbean city of Cartagena which is very old and has beautiful streets. It also has double storey, town houses.

Our third destination was Mompox, 9 hours from the coast. The road was rough and muddy. Mompox is an old colonial town on the Magdalena River. It was built in the 16th century by the Spanish.

We are now back on the coast enjoying the sun.

Write to me if you like. You can leave a comment below or send me an email. Marion, Anne and Molly know my email address.

Best wishes amigos!

Your teacher,


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Australian History : Exploration 2

The First Europeans to Explore Australia

A. Read about Willem Janszoon and Louis Vaez de Torres

B. Read about Abel Tasman

C. Read about James Cook

D. Read about Arthur Phillip

Above picture: Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman

Exercise 1: Read the above stories about the European Explorers . Can you match the map below with the Explorer?

Exercise 2: Can you match this painting with the Explorer?

(Creative Commons reproduction, Wikipedia)


ACTIVITY : Let's Make a Time Line of European Explorers

1606 <-------------------------------------------------> 1788

Join three pieces of paper together (landscape). Copy the time line above (from 1606 to 1788).

Read the stories above.

On the time line you should mark :

Name of Explorer:
Ship name:
Part of Australia they explored:


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Australian History : Exploration

Contact - Aboriginal Art

Click the photo to read about this painting

What do you think is the right answer?

A. Captain James Cook discovered Australia in 1770

B. Aboriginal people discovered Australia, and have lived in Australia for more than 40 000 years

C. The first people to discover Australia arrived in the 1600s. They were Dutch explorers from the Netherlands.

Click here for the answers

Time in English

Can you say these ...?

the 1600s
the 19th century
40 000 years ago
20 AD
415 BC
the Middle Ages
the 21st Century
Prehistoric times


Click here for a map of South East Asia and Australasia.

Can you mark the countries on the map?

Can you draw the route Aboriginal people might have taken to get to Australia more than 40 000 years ago?