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    • #6545


      Think of the best way of presenting the meaning of at least five of these words or phrases. Say why.

      • to hop
      • embarrassed
      • get engaged
      • lukewarm
      • wardrobe
      • elbow
      • to surrender
      • homeless

      Write your answer in a reply below. Don’t forget to comment on other teachers ideas.

    • #7912

      Barbara Bujtás

      To hop: miming it is the fastest way.
      Embarrassed: describing a situation is good because it’s also listening practice and an opportunity to use previously acquired language, L1 translation is quick (although it doesn’t require too much cognitive effort).
      Get engaged: describing a situation
      Lukewarm: explanation, it’s easy once they know hot, warm, and cold, lukewarm can be associated with these.
      Wardrobe: it’s the easiest thing to draw, very quick.
      Elbow: I would show it because it’s always around 😂
      To surrender: I’d describe a situation.
      Homeless: I’d explain it or refer to a homeless person whom they might know. It is more personal.

      • #8004

        Excellent answers and love the humanistic outlook for talking about ‘homeless’ which reminded me of several stories, too. Thank you, Barbi.

        In our tutorial, we’ll have an opportunity to include a few of these into our teaching practice, e.g. Describing a situation for ‘get engaged’ or ‘to surrender’, observe, reflect and ask each other.

      • #8041

        Rhett Burton

        Wardrobe = easiest thing to draw. I felt the same way. I could use a few rectangles and circles.

    • #7963


      to hop – Demonstration  (+ TPR with YLs). It’s quick, easy, and engaging.

      embarrassed – Share a short embarrassing story. It’s fun, engaging, and contextualises the vocabulary whilst developing relationships with students 🙂

      get engaged – Act out or use a video clip of a marriage proposal. It’s fun and engaging.

      lukewarm – (1) Draw thermometer & act out or describe a lukewarm bath or cup of tea, (2) Story/Explanation with a situation to illustrate negative connotation for a lukewarm welcome/reception (e.g. for intermediate/advanced students). Concept check questions (CCQs) to highlight the difference with a warm welcome!

      wardrobe – Picture. Quick and easy. Possibly CCQs to distinguish from other bedroom furniture and cupboard.

      elbow – (1) Gesture/Point (noun), and (2) Mime (verb) (+ TPR with YLs). It’s quick, easy, and engaging.

      to surrender – Act out (Hands up! Go down on my knees.). Draw a white flag and explain the situation. CCQs?

      homeless – Picture with story. It’s more meaningful and memorable.

    • #8040

      Rhett Burton

      to hop – Guided TPR movements that make for authentic interactions
      embarrassed – fold a paper into a triangle. Wear them like underwear. Pretend to be embarrassed. make Sounds and cover face. Show movements and expressions
      get engaged – Make a command before we play a game. “Let’s engage with.” Complete a variety of task that require different modes of engagement (sing, act, play, write, etc)
      lukewarm – Use realia to and feel the temperature of the water.
      wardrobe – Draw a picture using simple squares. Ask CCQs as you draw to get students to brainstorm what it could be.
      elbow – Sing Head and Shoulders. Then point to the elbow and ask CCQ question.
      to surrender – Get a dice and play a modified version of Risk. Rule – The team that has one army left MUST SURRENDER.
      homeless – I would like to find a story about an animal that has lost his way or has had their house destroyed.

      • #8042

        Rhett Burton

        Lukewarm – I thought about different usages for lukewarm. I decided on the simplest because my students are pre a1 to a1.

      • #8066

        embarrassed – Brilliant! I burst out laughing when I read that! I can see the kids loving and going to show their friends, siblings, and parents, too, lol!

        Good point about ‘lukewarm’, which could probably apply to ‘get engaged’ and ‘elbow’ (noun or verb), also, depending on which definition is most useful and relevant to your learners.

        FYI – Ice Age and Lion King come to mind for a homeless animal. To what extent do you find it useful/easy to draw on popular cartoons/YouTube clips in classes?

      • #9457

        Beverly Anne Suarez

        I was thinking of the other meaning of “get engaged”, but I like this idea. Although I feel like students might still be confused because you didn’t use the whole phrase “get engaged” and there are other meanings of “get” that they might be more familiar with.

    • #8873

      Naoko Amano

      Hi, everyone.

      embarrassed : Actually, I introduce this word in many lessons as a feeing word. Other words I use are  hungry, happy, grumpy. I use flash cards for these words.

      elbow:  When I introduce body part, I touch them. And I use a song.

      Wardrobe : Like body parts , I introduce furniture,  I show the flash cards.  I use toys. Students really enjoy making a  room with furniture toys.

      Homeless : May be I would show a picture or introduce other words like nameless, paperless.

      lukewarm: I will tell a story about bath water.


    • #9292

      scott gray

      hop        TPR or short vid of a bunny rabbit hopping

      embarrassed      act out a situation like on a camping trip and pretend to put my pants down and the walls of the latrine fall down. How do I feel?…

      lukewarm       draw a picture of a thermometer on board and picture or act out entering a pool/lake or so with the temperature. oh, it’s lukewarm. a little cool but not that warm…

      elbow     point to body part

      wardrobe      draw a picture on the board and maybe point to the picture of one from the CS Lewis series of novels.

      to surrender      invite a student up to the front of class and have a competition where I surrender.

    • #9371

      You’re embarrassing example is hilarious and memorable!

      With lukewarm, depending on the level of your students, how might you also convey the negative connotation it often has (compared to warm)?

    • #9388

      scott gray

      For lukewarm, maybe say think of a man coming in from skiing outside shaking and cold and walks over to the table to pick up what looks like a cup of hot chocolate and then taking a drink and spitting it out saying it’s lukewarm.

    • #9456

      Beverly Anne Suarez
      • to hop: show them the action
      • embarrassed: read a book like “Froggy Gets Dressed” by Jonathan London and tell them that Froggy was embarrassed that he forgot his underpants.
      • get engaged: For little kids, this can be a bit tricky since they don’t have that concept of “relationships” yet. I recently got engaged so what I did was show them my ring and just told them I’m getting married.
      • lukewarm: I believe in explorative learning, so I will bring hot, cold and lukewarm water to class and make them feel all three.
      • wardrobe: show them a picture
      • #9468

        All great, and especially nice for students to connect with and learn more about the real you! Plus congratulations on your engagement!!

        Wherever possible, explorative and experiential learning definitely bring classes to life 🙂


      • #9488

        scott gray

        Congratulations and love that you made it real with the water examples.


    • #9465

      Jessica Sohn

      to hop: will act it out

      embarrassed: will tell them a short made up example about an embarrassing situation.

      lukewarm: I’ll just use the whiteboard and draw three bowls of water. COLD / HOT on each ends. maybe indicate the temperature in numbers. And then explain the bowl in the middle. neither cold nor hot… lukewarm!

      wardrobe: I will draw or show them a picture.

      elbow: will show them the body part and then maybe add a short “Simon says” to just make it fun.

      • #9467

        Rhett Burton

        just to make it fun = the words that have kept me teaching for 18 years
        Simon says works great for young leaners and rules can be adjusts to make it enjoyable for all ages too.

      • #9469

        Indeed. After presenting the words, Simon Says could be used for almost all of those, e.g. “Simon Says ‘hop‘!”
        [act/(pretend to) be embarrassed, point to the wardrobe, lick your elbow]

        Besides making it fun, it offers good practice and can be done as a TPR sequence for lower stress/anxiety with new/shyer students.

      • #9489

        scott gray

        I agree if you can make it fun they remember just that much more easily. For Simon says you have to make sure you get to, “Simon says keep looking at me and don’t laugh or smile” while you make the weirdest face or in Japan pretend to pull soba noodles from your nose while saying “hanakara yakisoba” and  see who can keep a straight face. Also, a good skill to promote, the ability to focus.



    • #9472

      Rhett Burton

to hop – I would do a variety of tasks/activities and exercises to bring ‘hop’ into my students’ attention.

      I would use TPR strategies  to show, to act out, to perform, and to illustrate the meaning of the word (hop). I would demonstrate the language while performing a song to stimulate more senses. Super Simple Songs’ “Walking, Walking” works wonderfully. I would continue repeating various circling/flooding activities to focus on forms through controlled practice. Once I perceive that students have acquired the confidence to use the language out of a controlled setting, I will stage a task that promotes autonomous/spontaneous language production in the real-world. To do this, I will walk to the student’s school and observe which students use our practiced methods for language production. Note: If one student uses the song while going to school, then usually all the other children will follow suit #socialmotivation. This final task helps me anchor language in a daily real-world routine. These types of real-world activities help students transfer what they have learned in a controlled environment to a non-controlled environment. This transfer leads to autonomous learning where students will continue to produce the language, even after a lesson is finished, because it has been internalized in long-term memory.

      Also, songs that pop into your head are often undeniable (we have to sing them.)

    • #9478

      Hi Rhett. Since you previously shared how you would present each word, it’s great to look at one example here with you and see what you do with it more deeply.

      Super Simple Songs was a huge hit with my kindy classes in Tokyo back in 2006 and they’ve remained top of my list ever since – and my own kids loved their stuff naturally, too. Walking Walking works perfectly here: https://youtu.be/fPMjnlTEZwU

      Even though I only taught some classes 2-3 times per month for 20-30 minutes, the routine songs would stick the most and some happily parents told their HR teachers that their kids were singing at home, too, notably where parents also put the songs on for them! 🙂

    • #9765

      Masatoshi Shoji
      • to hop gesture (easy to understand)
      • embarrassed Give a definition and an example sentence
      • get engaged Give a definition and an example sentence
      • lukewarm Give a definition and an example sentence
      • wardrobe Show a picture (easy to understand)
      • elbow Show a picture (easy to understand)
      • to surrender Give a definition and an example sentence
      • homeless Give a definition and a picture. (Explanation necessary)
      • #9773

        Lots of good suggestions and reasons, Masatoshi. With learners in Japan, you might also elicit the L1 translation from students.

        For elbow, I think you can just use your own elbow (or students’) and putting your hands up palms outward is a good gesture to accompany surrender.

        I agree that an explanation may be necessary for homeless, but in Japan it’s perhaps easier due to the use of ホームレス.

        In addition to pictures, I notice some teachers also beginning to use GIFs, and emoticons can work well, too, e.g. embarrassed.

    • #16328

      Aiden HANAE

      1.to hop

      I think I would mime or act it out, or if it was online, I might use a short video clip.


      2.get engaged

      I might use a translation of the phrase to make sure they understand (if I know the students use the same native language), but I would start out by trying to have the students elicit the meaning from a situation or a picture of the situation.



      If I can, I would like to have three cups. One cold, one warm and the last one lukewarm.

      Obviously, this is not going to be realistic, so a picture of the three cups with a thermometer might be something I will use instead.



      I think I would just point my elbow and say the word and then introduce a few other words about body parts. Then I would point each body part and ask what the word was again, just to check if they understood.



      If I know that the students can understand the word “home”, I would like to question the students “So what happens if you don’t have a home?” and perhaps introduce similar words that they might know such as “loveless” “painless” “cashless” to help them make a guess.

      • #16330

        Clear answers, Aiden! Here are a few comments on each 🙂

        1. Good to act it out, even online and, with kids, get them to do so, too. “If the bum is numb, the brain is the same!” 😉

        2. Translation is definitely quick and easy but I like how you aim to use elicit first from a situation (e.g. story) or picture. You can also demonstrate, going down on one knee. How would you clarify the difference between propose and get engaged?

        3. Nice physical way to demonstrate, especially with young learners. Note the subtle but important difference however between warm and lukewarm.

        4. Just one thing to sometimes consider is elbow as a noun vs verb, especially with intermediate and higher-level language:
        e.g. He elbowed his way through the crowd.
        e.g. I heard Bob was devastated after his girlfriend gave him the elbow.

        5. Good idea to draw attention to the suffix ~less


    • #16485

      David Booton

      to hop: the easiest would be to demonstrate it.

      embarrassed: this one you could give a situation. If the class was younger, you could mimic going to the toilet and forgetting your zipper or something similar. If the class is older you could just describe a situation.

      get engaged: once again, if the are younger demonstration.  playing both roles getting on your knee to propose, etc.  Older students, give a quick explaination.

      wardrobe: quick picture and then CCQ to clarify confusion.

      elbow: if the body part, point to it.

    • #16493

      David Booton

      it is simple, it works, and the kids think it is hilarious.

    • #16498

      Ketlyn Leva

      As I usually teach adults, this  is  how I’d  do  it.
      get engaged – situation to be used as example + showing them what it is here in Brazil + talking about how it happens in the US, for example.
      lukewarm- use baby bottle as an example and/or use  a scene of a video
      elbow- demonstrate the  body  part
      to surrender – definition and example. Perhaps  a video to  illustrate it  would  be  good.
      homeless – I would separate the words to get to the meaning and check it with ccq.

      • #16504

        Great idea to breakdown ‘homeless’ into its word parts, especially since ‘~less’ is high frequency.

        And now that you mention video, I’m reminded of using GIFs as these can sometimes be quicker to find and more engaging than a flashcard.

    • #16507

      Ketlyn Leva

      Sure.. and gifs may add an element of fun, depending on what you pick. 😉

    • #16464

      Ketlyn Leva

      If I didn’t have much time to prepare, I would…

      to hop – Gesture
      embarrassed – situation + explanation
      get engaged – gesture (point to your ring finger in your left hand) and explanation
      lukewarm – use hot and cold
      wardrobe – picture and also closet (AmE)
      elbow – demostration
      to surrender – example/situation + translation (in case they didn’t get the meaning)
      homeless – would on the suffix

      If I had more time, I would use gifs or parts of movies to illustrate these words.

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