Worksheets and Project Ideas

On Writing


Elements of a Story

Setting - the time and place a story happens

Characters - the people in the story:

Who are they?

What they are like?

What are their relationships to other characters?

Why they are important to the story?


Plot - what happens in the story from beginning, --> middle --> end

Problem - the main conflict happening in the story

Climax - the most exciting or intense point in the story


Participate in National Novel Writing Month with the nation this November! Click here for details


          Get free book templates and guides as well as affordable and professional printing options. Click here

                            Free book templates. Click here

Quick Flips - Easy ways to Introduce Cooperative Learning into Lecture

Flipped classrooms are receiving much attention and consideration these days by educators open to exploring ways to increase retention and engagement with course content, but developing a curriculum for a flipped classroom can be challenging as well as time consuming.  Here are some ways to quickly introduce cooperative learning strategies in the classroom that take little prep time and have tremendous payoffs:

  • Show and Play
    • Pre-record 2-5 minute summary of lesson
    • Invite students to play a game to practice the skill
      • competitions on the board
      • class relays to complete activity
      • toss a soft ball (foam or beach ball) to the class - learner who catches the ball is invited to participate or pass the ball
        • note: for this to work, students must be made comfortable enought not to feel embarrassed
    • Here's a sample pre-recorded summary of a lesson created with My Blackboard and Movie Maker
      • Sample Video (coming soon)
      • After showing the video, it's the learners' turn to play. As a rule, the video will be short, but learner engagement with the content would be significantly longer, roughly 15-20 minutes for a complex student learning outcome. To this, we might initially ask why spend more time practicing, and the answer is that learner engagement (with facilitation from the instructor) fosters acquisition and retention of skills with exponentially more success than does trying to absorb key elements from a lecture for most learners.


  • To Teach is to Master

Confuscious once said that to see is to know, to do is to understand, and to teach is to master. Educators can maximize on this truth by inviting learners to teach peers about upcoming lesson content

  • Invite learners to choose sections of a lesson or chapters from the textbook to teach the class by:
    • making a short video to play in class and invite classmates to participate
      • in an activity they choose 
      • a game to practice the skill
      • work a problem out (showing key steps) on the board
    • delivering a powerpoint presentation to introduce a concept


  • Instructor facilitates while learners present
    • using a class published rubric to assess performance
    • coaching and correcting misunderstandings
    • offering guidance where needed
    • making note (informal assessment) of the strengths and weaknesses of the class which offers valuable insight for:
      • future lesson direction
      • activity and test preparation
      • early intervention for struggling learners

More to come...

Ice Breakers and Bonding Activities for Community Learning Classrooms


  • Class Community Puzzle To show the class that everyone plays an important role in the classroom community, cut up the pieces of the puzzle template . Give one puzzle piece to each student in the class.  Ask the students to write their first name and where they are from on the front side of their puzzle piece. Then, ask them to write three pieces of information on the back side of the puzzle piece.

  • T-shirts
  • Tell us about your neighbor
  • Mission Badges
  • Community Building through Music (this will be a new page...coming soon...)

My grandma used to say that music is a universal language. I believe this is true. It is a fact that language and culture go hand-in-hand, so what a better way to build solidarity and connectivity between classroom communities and learn language and culture than through music?

  • More to come...

The Martian Chronicles Book Project

Click here to purchase source book on Amazon

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify stated and implied main ideas
  • Recognize supporting details and supporting detail types
  • Connect supporting details to main ideas
  • Paraphrase main ideas
  • Identify author’s purpose
  • Identify tone
  • Identify point of view
  • Make inferences
  • Predict outcomes
  • Draw conclusions
  • Recognize patterns of organization
  • Improve reading rates and fluency
  • Develop knowledge of word formation
  • Develop personal vocabulary-building strategies
  • Expand use of idioms
  • Develop note-taking and summarization abilities

Book Project Prepared by Danielle Hickerson, 2013

Instructor note: This is great for an intermediate class of adult students learning English. In addtion, I recommend recording yourself reading a couple of chapters to the students at a natural pace. When students listen and read it maximizes proficiency and language aquisition, and when they hear your voice it allows opportunities to learn your tone and intonation for better understanding. Reading this book at a natural pace takes roughly eight hours. Students typically get excited knowing they can read a semester book in eight hours, sort of lets them visualize the goal, but digesting the material will take the full semester. 

Click here to enter the student project

Community Building,in and out of the Classroom, Ideas


  • Bonding
  • Finding free and fun things to do in the community
  • more to come...

Learning In the Car

We spend many hours driving everyday.  Why not use this time to learn a language?  Here's an idea you might want to try to make the most of your daily commute:

  • Download videos in the language you want to learn from the internet and convert them to MP3 files.

  • Burn them to a disk or put on your iPod for listening in the car.
  • Listen on your way to class, work, or in between errands to get a feeling for the fluency of the language.
  • Try to transcribe the words and make your own vocabulary lists, then listen for meaning.

This also works great with music too!

On Your Computer

Set your browser to open to a popular magazine in the language you want to learn.

Look at the pictures, descriptions, and articles daily to practice reading and staying current with what is happening in the world of the people who speak your new language.


Danielle's Learning Games


Language Learning Links



Project Gutenberg:

VOA News:

New York Times Education:

Practice THEA Test:



MLA Template:


TOEFL Writing Practice:

Thesis Generator:



Guide to Grammar and Writing:

Grammar Explainations and Exercises:

Grammar Quizzes:

Amazing Cooperative Activities Book: Fun with Grammar:


Listening & Speaking

Alphabetical List of English Tongue Twisters:

Practice Worksheets & Teaching Materials:

Phonetics: The Sounds of Spoken Language - University of Iowa



Test-Taking Tips:

English Corner:

Photo Dictionary:

Urban Dictionary: - for terms that may not be found in an academic dictionary, but that turn up in informal conversations and texts.





By keeping our classes fun and learners engaged,

we avoid the educator's worst enemy: