Aim: To present and give student practice with English Conversation in the context of city shopping and related daily activities.

For our second lesson, we met at Union Square, at the first day of it's unique winter market with over 150 booths of local vendors selling handcrafted gifts and lots of free samples of food items. We started across the street, with cups of Turmeric Chai on the second floor of Whole Foods, reviewing last week's lesson:  most challenging ESL for Russian students: vocabulary, pronunciation and past tense as identified by Swan and Smith (2001):

Rhythm and Stress:     Competition, Intelligibility
Intonation:                    Finish yes/no sentences up (not down)
Pronunciation:              Months, clothes, sixth, asked, hugged, modern
Situations:                    “Did you see the film?”  “I do not like it. Do you like it? Yes I like it.”
Form question using Auxiliary verb:    “You like her, don’t you?”  (not “is many people in the room, isn’t it)
Past Tense            “I was sleeping until the phone rang” (progressive),  He had gone by then (perfect)

We played a quick game of Eye-Spy and then went across the street to the market. After walking the booths, we went down to the Lower East Side and read the script allowed as a controlled practice. Reading the script allowed, introduced the student to alternative emphasis and phrasing commonly found in informal settings. For freer practice we listened to  La Traviata, discussed Italian opera and the challenges the student was having with Statistics class. 

Assumptions: Students will already know the core function (example: how to identify and purchase items from a convenience stant), but some Ss may have a limited vocabulary of adjectives and nouns to create effective questions and answers that can identify the student's unique requirements. 

Materials:  Will and Grace TV Sitcom, Episode #1.5 "Boo! Humbug"  

Swan, M. and Smith, B. (2001). Learner English, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, pp. 145-161. Retrieved from

Lesson Plan



1.    Send a brief text in the morning:
ONE thing  that will make the day amazing.

2.    Leave a voice mail in the evening:
ONE thing that you noticed today, something simple and appreciated.
Use good conversational English. (the call will go to voice mail and played back later) 

Next lesson: Communication with Professors (understanding assignments), using Roll Play