Tara Benwell's Blog (187)

Guest Post: In Flanders Fields

My father and his wife are doing some traveling this month. Their cruise ship made a stop in Belgium this week, and my stepmom shared an excerpt from her travel diary that I thought you might be interested in. The poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae is one that most Canadian children learn in school, and it is interesting to learn more of the history behind it. My stepmom gave me permission to share her excerpt with you. I hope you find this post as interesting as I did. Maybe it…


Added by Tara Benwell on May 17, 2013 at 15:00 — 6 Comments

What Should We Do With Our Blank Slate?

My older brother built a stage in our basement for my kids last week! We painted the wall behind the stage with chalkboard paint. This way, the kids and their friends can draw whatever scene or message they want for their plays and performances. 

The chalkboard paint has a special warning…


Added by Tara Benwell on April 30, 2013 at 18:31 — 16 Comments

Practising English Online - A Writing Challenge for ALL MyEC Members

I just returned from an excellent TESOL convention in Dallas, Texas. The annual convention provides professional development for English language teachers from all over the world. I always enjoy listening to the ideas of teachers, administrators, publishers, and writers. Like every year, I always come home feeling inspired. 

This year, I attended an excellent session on materials writing. In the English language teaching (ELT)…


Added by Tara Benwell on April 12, 2013 at 19:40 — 17 Comments

What's Your Sentence?

How do you want to be remembered? Write one sentence in the past tense about how you want people to remember you.

For example: "She was a generous neighbour who was always there to lend a hand."

This challenge may change the way you live your life!

Share your sentence with us in one of the following ways:

3 Options For Joining the MyEC One Sentence Challenge

  • Take a video…

Added by Tara Benwell on March 15, 2013 at 13:00 — 17 Comments

Writing Challenge: Finish My Sentence

Hi writers! We've had a few serious months of writing, so now it's time to have a little fun. You'll need a partner for this month's writing challenge! 

Your Task

1) Ask a MyEC friend to write an incomplete sentence that could be the start of a story. 

2) Start a new blog post. Use your friend's sentence to write the beginning of a short story. Use the title: Writing Challenge: Finish my sentence [Be sure to give credit to your friend…


Added by Tara Benwell on February 27, 2013 at 19:30 — 13 Comments

Tip For Tagging

I want to share a quick tip about tagging! A tag is a keyword. You can add tags to the blogs, photos, and videos you post on MyEC. This makes it easier for members to search for specific content. It also helps English learners learn new words! Use a space after each tag. 

If you want to use a phrase or expression with more than one word in your tag, you have to add quotation marks around the words. For example: "Why did the pope…


Added by Tara Benwell on February 14, 2013 at 22:00 — 4 Comments

Guess the Gift

Sweety had a great post about some gifts she received in January. She challenged members to share a photo of a gift they had received recently. Sahar shared a beautiful post with a collection of gifts. This inspired me to collect a few gifts that my family received recently. I have a little story to…


Added by Tara Benwell on January 14, 2013 at 15:23 — 22 Comments

Writing Challenge: Reflexive Pronouns

How were your holidays? Did you all enjoy yourselves? I enjoyed myself. My children enjoyed themselves too! They got a new karaoke machine for Christmas. My daughter always sings to herself in the shower, so my husband thought it would be a fun idea to buy her some…


Added by Tara Benwell on January 10, 2013 at 15:00 — 16 Comments

Happy Holidays!

At this time of year we often write wish lists for our loved ones. On my wish list was a coffee bean grinder and a novel by Kate Morton called "The Secret Keeper". I also asked my daughter to learn a song for me (see below). It's from my favourite Christmas movie, "The Polar Express". I'm hoping she'll sing it at our Christmas Eve celebration tomorrow night. 

I thought it might be fun to create an EnglishClub wish list. What would you like to see added to EnglishClub/MyEC in 2013?…


Added by Tara Benwell on December 24, 2012 at 3:33 — 7 Comments

12-12-12 What should we call this kind of date?

People around the world are talking about today's date.  December 12, 2012 (12-12-12) is considered to be a lucky day by some people, and an unlucky day by others. Some people think the end of the world is coming. Others believe it's the perfect day to get married or play the lottery! 

According to the…


Added by Tara Benwell on December 12, 2012 at 15:09 — 19 Comments

Writing Challenge: Nations and Nationalities

As many of you know, I am from Canada. I was born and raised here in Canada. This means I am Canadian. You could also say that I am a Canadian. My mother tongue (also called "native language") is English. In school we learned…


Added by Tara Benwell on November 28, 2012 at 18:00 — 42 Comments

Hamburger Paragraphs and the Grade 3 Teacher

[It's time for another guest post on my blog. This time my 8-year-old daughter is the guest. She told me a funny story on the way home from school last week, and I asked her to type it out so that I could share it with all of you. I thought you might enjoy it, and even learn something important about writing. If you're a teacher, maybe you'll even try this lesson! I haven't changed a word.] 

Hamburger Paragraphs and the Grade 3 Teacher

My silly teacher…


Added by Tara Benwell on November 13, 2012 at 14:28 — 21 Comments

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? This is the short form for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, at least 300,000 people try to write the first draft of a novel in just 30 days. To complete this personal…


Added by Tara Benwell on November 2, 2012 at 15:00 — 14 Comments

Writing Challenge: My Keychain

It has been a while since we've done a "getting to know you" exercise on MyEC. I hope you'll join me in this month's writing challenge! 

For this writing challenge, I will need you to reach into your purses, knapsacks, or coat pockets and grab your keys. Set your…


Added by Tara Benwell on October 19, 2012 at 15:30 — 15 Comments

How Has Foreign Language Learning Helped You? NEW Blog Competition

Some of you took part in Kaplan's blog competition a few months back. It was a great experience, wasn't it? Here is another opportunity to practise your writing. Kaplan is holding a new blog competition (Sept 28-Oct 26), and you are invited. It is called "Inspire Language Learning". Find the details on…


Added by Tara Benwell on October 4, 2012 at 14:00 — 9 Comments

Dyslexia and other Learning Difficulties

Have you ever wondered if you, your child, or a friend might be dyslexic? Dyslexia is a condition that is inherited, and ranges from mild to severe. A dyslexic person's brain does not function in the same way an average person's brain functions. The…


Added by Tara Benwell on September 19, 2012 at 18:39 — 27 Comments

Writing Challenge: Compound Nouns

Some people assume that English teachers are wonderful spellers. This is not true! In fact, many of us have to review spelling rules regularly. We also have to review other aspects of the language before we teach a lesson. One thing I have trouble remembering is compound nouns. I often find myself looking up words…


Added by Tara Benwell on August 28, 2012 at 18:21 — 44 Comments

My Summer Vacation -A Back to School Activity

It's almost time for "Back-to-School" in many countries, including Canada. Many students are asked to write essays or paragraphs about their summer vacation. Here is an idea that is more interactive! It's a great way for students to get to know their teachers better. Create a Word Cloud (or have your students create one using something like Wordle that they can use to get to know each other better) with words that remind you of your summer…


Added by Tara Benwell on August 14, 2012 at 19:42 — 36 Comments

Writing Challenge: Live from the Penguin Cam

We've done a few serious writing challenges over the last few months, and I'm very impressed by how much you have learned about punctuation,…


Added by Tara Benwell on July 20, 2012 at 20:30 — 14 Comments

Writing Challenge: To Capitalize or Not

capitalize (verb): to write the first letter of a word with a capital letter

This month I'd like to challenge you to review the rules about capitalization. We don't use capitals very…


Added by Tara Benwell on June 21, 2012 at 16:00 — 35 Comments

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