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January 2016 BlogLAEO

If you did well in the Blue Level and completed the test, you are ready to move on to the Red Level. You can preview the lessons here.

"It’s no use" is a popular expression often heard when there isn’t a solution for a bad situation:


Click here for the word of the day.

Today students should be completing the Blue Level.

Click here for the Blue Level Review.

Then take the tests:

Blue Level Test #1  /  Blue Level Test #2

Here’s another new reading exercise that provides practice with the pronoun "I." I work hard.

Here’s a new reading assignment for the Aqua Level. Everntually, there will be a reading assignment to match every lesson in that level. The focus for the Aqua Level is on the use of pronouns.

Today’s Blue Level lesson shows you how to use the verb "need" in the present tense.

I’m developing new reading exercises for the Aqual Level. This level focuses on pronouns. Here’s the first reading exercise. Is this helpful? Let me know!

The word of the day is "yank." When you yank on something, you pull it very quickly.

The word of the day is "wild." A thing that is wild lives according to the rules of nature and outside of human civilization.

Today’s live chat will be held at 10 a.m. CST.


Blue Level Lesson Twenty-six shows how the verb "want" is used in the past tense. This is kind of an odd verb. Sometimes we use the past tense form of "want" instead of the the present tense. Here are some examples:

  • I notice you called me. What did you want?
  • What did you want to do later today?
  • Is this what you wanted?
  • Hello. I’m calling because I wanted to know what time your store closes.

Each question could easily use the present tense instead (What do you want to do later today?), but instead the past tense is chosen. I think this is because the desire for something (want) begins in the past and is still present now. That’s my theory. Anyway you’ll hear "want" in both the present and the past tense when talking about something a person wants now.

The word of the day is "plan." People make plans for future activities.

I’m planning another live show for tomorrow at 10 a.m.

There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for the month of January 2016.

Today’s lesson on "have to" is in two parts. Here’s Part 1 and here is Part 2.

The words "have to" are used in creating a verb phrase (more than one verb) that expresses how necessary something is or isn’t. Here are some examples:

What do you have to do today?

(What is a necessary thing you must do?)

I have to go grocery shopping.

(Buying food is necessary.)

I don’t have to go to work today.

(It’s Sunday, so I’m at home and relaxing.)

I’m going to try another live hangout today but not until the afternoon. If you follow me on Twitter, I’ll post the time there. The topic will be working with numbers.

Blue Level students study basic vocabulary associated with doing addition and subtraction today.

The Blue Level reading assignment for today is #22: Mr. Jefferson is a math teacher.

The word of the day is "swerve."

The word of the day is "rot." This includes a new quiz at the end of it.

The Blue Level has many lessons that include basic yet essential vocabulary and grammar. Today’s lesson on the the days of the week is a good example of that. Many of you may know the days of the week, but based on my classroom experience as a teacher, some students don’t pay enough attention to this basic vocabulary skill. At the end of this lesson is an exercise. Write the answers in your notebook.

The word of the day is "profit." If you are fortunate enough to make more money than you spend on an investment or a business, you have a profit.

Today’s reading assignment is #20 in the Blue Level: Patricia and Graciela are returning to school.

I’m going to try to do another live event tomorrow, Thursday, January 21 at 10 a.m. CST.


The word of the day is "overwhelm." Thanks to Srinivas for the suggestion.

Here’s the video recording from yesterday’s live hangout on YouTube:



I feel like I’ve got some wiggle room.

Someone asked me about this expression today. It means that a person has extra time, extra space, or extra money when it comes to making a decision or doing something. I don’t know where this expression comes from, but it’s very popular.

If you are a Blue Level student, the lessons for this week are mostly about time and numbers:

Sunday: time, day, and date

Monday: months of the year / Live event at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday: count and noncount nouns

Wednesday: days of the week

Thursday: numbers

Friday: addition and subtraction

Saturday: modal verb: can

The word of the day is "eager." When someone is eager to do something, he or she is very motivated to do it. This word is useful when describing someone who is ambitious and interested in learning or doing work. How eager are you to learn English?

I’m hosting another live event tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

The verb "be" takes the form of two different words in the past tense.

singular plural
I was
We were
You were
You were
He was
They were
She was
It was

Click here to learn more about the verb "be" in Blue Level Lesson Sixteen. This lesson is in two parts. After you finish the first part, click here for the second part.

Today’s word of the day is "mope."

One of the most important things that you can do to improve your English is to develop your listening skills. I’m sending out an email this morning to members of this website regarding this topic.

The word of the day is "listen."

Today’s Blue Level lesson is on possessive pronouns.

As of today we are halfway through the Blue Level. Are you using the checklist to keep track of your progress? If not, I suggest that you print it out and use it!

For the next two days we will study pronouns and adjectives that show possession. Today’s lesson is on possessive adjectives. These are words that go before a noun. In the example below, I’ll show you how possessive adjectives coordinate with the subject in a matching sentence:

  • I have a car. It’s my car.
  • You have a book. It’s your book.
  • John has an idea. It’s his idea.
  • Mary has a business. It’s her business.
  • We have a classroom. It’s our classroom.
  • You have a desire to learn English. It’s your desire.
  • They have a house. It’s their house.

I’m hosting a live event today at 10 a.m. CST for one hour. If you would like to participate, you are welcome!

Learn how to use the word "even" in this new video:


Your lesson for today is on the past tense. Don’t forget to do the quiz at the end of the lesson.

The word of the day is "intend."

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Allow me to vent:

One of the most frustrating things about being a teacher is working with students who won’t work hard to achieve their goals. It’s not all of them, but it is a significant percentage. Somehow these students have convinced themselves that learning English should be easier than it is, and they don’t understand why they aren’t making any progress. They won’t spend the time to study really basic concepts that are important to master. Instead, they will simply watch a video on TV or on YouTube and think that’s enough. Then they give up. Well, that approach just doesn’t work. I think students who are really serious about learning English need to spend at least two to three hours a day focused on lessons, reading, listening exercises, and writing exercises. Fifteen minutes every other day just ain’t going to cut it.

End of my rant.

I’m going to do a live event on Google Hangout today, probably around 10 a.m. CST (16:00 GMT). Watch your Twitter feed for details. I’ll get the word out through other forms of social media.


Learning about articles (a, an, the) can be a real challenge for English language students, especially if they don’t really exist in the student’s first language. There are a lot of rules and reasons for choosing "a" or "the" or for not using an article at all.

Blue Level Lesson Ten can help you get started in learning how to use articles properly.

The word of the day is "high." You can use this word to describe your dreams for the future:

  • He has high hopes for the future.
  • She’s aiming high within the corporation.
  • My students are highly ambitious.

The verb "have" is one of those essential verbs in English that you should be using all of the time. We use "have" to describe possession of a thing or possession of a quality.

  • I have ten dollars.
  • You have a book.
  • Ralph has a lot of strength.
  • Wendy has experience as a chef.
  • The students have an interest in learning English.

Be careful when forming questions or negatives with this verb. Most Americans use the helping verb "do" for the present tense. I recommend this.

  • Do you have a car?
  • No, I don’t have a car.
  • No, I don’t.
  • Does she have a license?
  • No, she doesn’t have a license.
  • No, she doesn’t.

The word of the day is "inspire." Are you inspired to improve your English? Where does your inspiration come from?

I’m experimenting with Google Hangout again to do live webcasts. If you want to see what I did yesterday, go to my channel. I’m not going to leave it online forever. I’ll probably delete it after a few days.


You learn about the present continuous tense in Blue Level Lesson Eight. This tense is used to describe things that are happening now, things that are ongoing in your life, and things that are going to happen in the future.

Here’s how you do it:

subject + be + (main verb)ing

If it helps to think that the main verb is in the simple form with an "ing" stuck on to the end of it, that’s okay. It’s also referred to as a present participle.

You are learning.

you + are + (learn)ing

The subject in that sentence is "you." The verb "be" is "are," which changes according to the subject. The main verb is "learn" in the form of the present participle: learning.

Today’s lesson is in two parts:

Blue Level Lesson Eight

Blue Level Lesson Eight, Part 2

I’ll see if I can do a live lesson today on You Tube covering the present continuous tense and yesterday’s lesson on the present tense.

Blue Level Lesson Seven introduces you to the simple present tense. This is used for activities that happen every day, every week, every month, etcetera. This is a good tense to choose when describing your life or another person’s life:

  • I work Monday through Friday.
  • My neighbor drives a Corvette.
  • She makes great cookies.
  • The students study many different subjects.
  • We don’t have any extra time today. (This sentence is negative.)

Or you can use the present tense to describe objects and things:

  • This shirt fits.
  • These pants don’t fit. (negative)
  • This computer makes a lot of noise.
  • Peter’s car needs new brakes.

To make questions in the present tense, use the helping verbs "do" or "does" before the main verb.

  • What does she like for breakfast?
  • Does the bus stop here?
  • Do you have a job?

Click here to learn more about the present tense.

The word of the day for today is "glance."

My students often forget to use the word "there" when describing a person or a thing. It’s a very common pronoun that we use to show that something exists:

  • There are many people in line.
  • There is a class tomorrow.
  • Is there enough time to get some popcorn before the movie starts?

This word is also used for location:

  • Put the bags down over there.
  • London is a great city. I went there last year.
  • The car is all the way over there.
  • They’re driving to New York, but they’re not quite there yet.
  • No one is there.

In addition, we use the word "there" when giving something to another person.

  • There you are. (I’m giving this to you.)
  • There you go.
  • There

To learn more about "there," click here.

Here’s a video that’s included in the lesson. Watch it here or there:


The word of the day is "forecast."

Use "this," that," "these," and "those" to describe things near and far.

Look at the lesson, watch the video, take the quiz, and then try this exercise:

Directions: Choose this, that, these, or those for each sentence of question:

1. Is __________ your jacket? (It’s across the room.)

2. What is __________? (It’s in my hand.)

3. __________ peanuts are making me thirsty. (I’m eating them right now.)

4. __________ wasn’t a nice thing to do. (It happened last night.)

5. How are __________ new employees working out. (We hired them last week. They aren’t here right now.)

The answers are below.

For new students, I recommend that you look at Aqua Level Lessons Four and Five. These are lessons on pronouns used for men and women.

Everyone: Blue Level reading exercise #5: Bob is a businessman. Remember, you may practice reading the exercise and listen to yourself using the recorder.

Here are the answers for the exercise above: 1. that; 2. this; 3. These; 4. That; 5. those

This is a new video for the word "decide."


Today’s lesson is on nouns and pronouns. A noun is a word that represents a person, a place, or a thing; a pronoun represents a noun.

  • We bought a table.
  • It’s made of oak.

In these two sentence, there are two pronouns and two nouns. Do you know what they are?

nouns: table, oak

pronouns: we, it

The word "it" refers to the table. It’s extremely important for you to know all about how pronouns are used when you first learn English. That’s why I created the Aqua Level. Students often study in this level at the same time that they study in the Blue and Red Levels.

This quiz is on pronouns.

This is reading assignment #4 in the Blue Level.

It’s the beginning of the week and the beginning of a new year. People are headed back to work and need to pay attention to many important details that are a part of their jobs. This is your word of the day.

To make a question with the verb "be," put it in front of the subject:

  • Is she tired?
  • Are you happy?
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • How high is the ceiling?
  • Am I next in line?

Do you see where the verb "be" is in each of these questions? For more help with this, go to Blue Level Lesson Three.

How are you doing with the reading exercises? Click here for exercise #3, This is a little boy.

In Aqua Level Lesson Three, learn how to use the pronoun "I" and other pronouns related to it. I especially recommend that new students look at this lesson.

The word "clean" is a very common word in English, but you can use it many different ways. Click here to listen to some examples.

Blue Level Lesson Two shows how to make the verb "be" negative when it’s in the present tense. This is an easy thing to do. The lesson also show how to form contractions.

be + not

am not, is not, are not  /  isn’t, aren’t

After you take a look at the lesson, try this quiz. Remember to write your answers in your notebook, or print out the quiz and write the answers into the blank spaces.

Aqua Level Lesson Two shows you how to use the pronoun "you" in the singular and plural forms.

Do you use a budget when it comes to spending money? This is your word of the day.


Let’s start the new year off right. Here’s is your first lesson from the Blue Level. This shows how the verb "be" changes in the present tense. This is an extremely important verb.

Singular Plural
I am
We are
You are
You are
He is
She is
They are
It is

Don’t forget to print out this checklist of lessons and exercises for the Blue Level. Keep this next to your computer and check off lessons as they are completed.

Today’s word of the day is "announce."


Each course level on this website has a checklist. Print out and keep the checklist next to your computer, tablet, or phone and use it to track your progress as you move through the lessons:


Click here to go back to December 2015

Click here to go to the LAEO Blog Archive.

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