The Onion Ring!

Interaction Patterns and Seating Arrangements

How should you sit and pair or group learners for the best learning results? How can you change up the classroom to keep the learners engaged and on task? How does the classroom management change with different activity types? These questions are essential for creating a student-centered learning environment. This post is best viewed while listening … Read more


THE Podcast is new and improved!

The Definitive Article Podcast with Jimmy & Dave is back and better than ever! We are aiming to bring our tools and advice to every ESL teacher. Both Dave and I (Jimmy) have a couple decades of experience with young learners and academic management, so that is where our focus will remain. The same great content will … Read more

SSB Phonics

Quick Phonics Interactive Rush

I was teaching a SSB (5 year olds) and they can be some of the most challenging students to teach – they know how to push their boundaries. So I decided to design an activity that was complex enough, but with a simple output that the students would be engaged, not over-worked, and be able to use their limitless supply of energy.


Students are able to practice decoding S blends interactively with students and teacher.

Materials needed:

Some Students
Phonics Flashcards (S Blends Phonics FC)


  1. Have every second learner stand up and move their chair facing the student on their right (back to the teacher)
  2. Demonstrate the activity – Student A with their back to the teacher has to run and grab a Phonics card, run to their partner (Student B) say the word and hand over the card. Then Student B runs to the teacher hands over the card and says the word.
  3. Play.




Intrinsic Phonological Awareness

In a a study of 38 preschool children (3 and 4 years old) a set of phonological awareness tasks were assessed three times over the course of a year. The tasks used were rhyme and alliteration matching tasks with distractor items that were either semantically or phonologically related to the target. In both tasks, the children found the distractors matched for phonological similarity more difficult to reject than the semantically related distractors or the unrelated distractors.