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Learning english, we found 175 activities for you.

learning english assignments

Uses of like

This activity helps you to practise using like in different sentences

learning english assignments

I love sports

This activity helps you practice using words to do with time and place

learning english assignments

Family holiday

Add some prepositions to a story about going on a family holiday

learning english assignments

What a great idea!

Learn about exclamative clauses

learning english assignments

See and know

Learn about how to use see in spoken English

learning english assignments

Choose which parts of these sentences have been left out

learning english assignments

Bank accounts

Practice listening with this activity about bank accounts

learning english assignments

Can you understand?

Can you identify what is really being said in this listening activity?

learning english assignments

Which animal?

Answer some questions to learn new words to describe animals

learning english assignments

Vocabulary for the house and home

Practise using vocabulary about the house and home

learning english assignments

Vocabulary for work and jobs

Practise using vocabulary connected to work and jobs

learning english assignments

Actually and actual

Learn about the uses of actually and actual

learning english assignments


Free Printable English Worksheets For ESL Teachers

Browse our archive of completely free quality English worksheets and lessons (PDF and Word documents). Download, customize and print the resources, incorporate them in your lessons or assign them as homework to your students.

Our Massive Library of Free ESL Worksheets by Category

If you are looking for ESL worksheets for different learning areas, select the matching category. You’ll find assorted lists of worksheets and other materials there, for all levels from beginner to advanced, for all ages from kids to adults.

Free ESL reading comprehension worksheets

Reading Comprehension Worksheets

Free ESL writing worksheets for your lessons

Writing Worksheets

Free ESL grammar worksheets

Grammar Worksheets

ESL listening free exercises

Listening Comprehension Worksheets

ESL idioms free lists & worksheets for your lessons

Idioms Worksheets

ESL phrasal verbs: lesson plans & resources

Phrasal Verbs Worksheets

Free ESL noun worksheets for all ages and levels

Noun Worksheets

ESL Vocabulary & Conversation Worksheets

Vocabulary & Conversation Worksheets

learning english assignments

Lesson Plans (coming soon)

Below, you’ll find all our worksheets sorted by student level.

ESL Worksheets for Adults and Teens (Intermediate to Advanced Students)

These are our available worksheets on different topics for higher-level students, like adults and teens. You can download, edit and print them all for free. When you open the worksheets, there is an option to download PDF and Word files.

Intermediate Level (B1-B2)

Esl writing worksheet: opinion essay about video games (intermediate), esl lesson plan: nature & environment (intermediate), esl listening comprehension worksheet: in the kitchen (intermediate), esl listening comprehension worksheet: travel and transportation (intermediate), esl lesson plan: summer activities (intermediate), esl reading comprehension worksheet: studies (intermediate), esl reading comprehension worksheet: global warming (intermediate), esl reading comprehension worksheet: at the workplace (intermediate), esl reading comprehension worksheet: job interview (intermediate), esl reading comprehension worksheet: holiday (intermediate), esl listening comprehension worksheet: school lunch (intermediate), intermediate-advanced level (b2-c1), dialogue/debate worksheet: fast fashion – the true cost of clothes (intermediate-advanced), esl listening comprehension worksheet: technology and relationships (intermediate-advanced), esl vocabulary & conversation worksheet: job interview (intermediate-advanced), esl grammar worksheet, future tenses: traveling (intermediate-advanced), esl writing practice worksheet: newspaper articles (intermediate-advanced), esl writing practice worksheet: creating concise sentences (intermediate-advanced), esl writing exercise: creating complex sentences: las vegas (intermediate-advanced), esl everyday idioms vocabulary exercises (intermediate-advanced), esl vocabulary worksheet: food idioms (intermediate-advanced), esl vocabulary worksheet: idioms & slang (intermediate-advanced), esl reading comprehension worksheet: raising children (intermediate-advanced), esl reading comprehension worksheet: dreams (intermediate-advanced), esl reading comprehension worksheet: giving advice (intermediate-advanced), esl grammar worksheet: phrasal verbs: office & business (intermediate-advanced), esl grammar worksheet: phrasal verbs: dating (intermediate-advanced), esl grammar worksheet: phrasal verbs: sports (intermediate-advanced), illustrated esl lesson packages for kids.

Exclusively available from JIMMYESL: The following bundles include illustrated vocabulary worksheets for various exercises, flashcards, and a certificate of achievement. They’re great to help young learners memorize new vocabulary with fun!

School & Classroom Objects – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

School & Classroom Objects – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

Shape Names – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

Shape Names – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

Body Parts – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

Body Parts – ESL Vocabulary Worksheets & Flashcards

Esl worksheets for beginners and elementary.

These are the ESL worksheets for young students, and for beginner and elementary level students. Again, you can download all worksheets in PDF and Word format, edit and print them for your lessons. Have fun teaching!

Beginner and Elementary Level (A1-A2)

Esl reading comprehension worksheet: in the restaurant (beginner-elementary), esl reading comprehension worksheet: france (beginner-elementary), esl reading comprehension worksheet: zoo animals (beginner-elementary), esl reading comprehension worksheet: playing football (beginner-elementary), listening comprehension worksheet: the pet competition (elementary), esl vocabulary worksheet: sports activities, action words (elementary), esl reading comprehension worksheet: the world of dinosaurs (elementary), list: prepositions of place: at, in & on (elementary), elementary-intermediate level (a2-b1), esl vocabulary worksheet: weather report & forecast (elementary-intermediate), esl vocabulary worksheet: let’s go shopping (elementary-intermediate), esl grammar worksheet: using articles (elementary-intermediate), esl grammar worksheet: -ed & -ing adjectives: describing feelings & situations (elementary-intermediate), esl vocabulary worksheet: describing people (elementary-intermediate), ideas to create your own esl lesson plans.

Check these ideas for engaging and fun ESL lesson activities which you can use to easily create customized worksheets. Or browse our full list of activity ideas to find tons of inspiration and materials.

Community building activities for the classroom

15 Engaging Community Building Activities for the Classroom

Icebreaker Activities for your ESL Lessons

ESL Icebreakers: 8 Games & Activities For Students of All Ages

Warm Up Activities & Games for ESL Lessons

Fun ESL Warm Up Activities & Games for Adults & Kids

Fun ESL Speaking Activities for Teens and Adults

12 Fun ESL Speaking Activities for Teens or Adults

ESL Vocabulary Games for Adults and Kids

17 Fun ESL Vocabulary Games for Adults and Kids

120 would you rather questions: ESL conversation

120 Would You Rather Questions to Start an ESL Conversation

How to Make a Lesson Plan for Teaching English

How to Make a Lesson Plan for Teaching English (The Definitive Guide)

Teaching english pronunciation – ESL guide

The Definitive Guide on Teaching English Pronunciation

12 great esl listening activities & games.

ESL conversation starters - over 150 questions

150 ESL Conversation Starters and Questions (The Essential List)

English grammar: 33 ESL strategies and activities

33 Sure-Fire Strategies & Activities for Teaching English Grammar

18 Tips for Great ESL English Conversation Lessons for Adults

18 Tips on Giving Great English Conversation Lessons for Adults

learning english assignments

learning english assignments

Free English Online

Online English resources for teaching and learning English are available for free. Use our free interactive speaking and listening lessons, reading and writing exercises, quizzes, and games to improve your English. 

Our pages include a variety of online English exercises at various levels, as well as practice for the Cambridge English and IGCSE ESL, plus higher-level courses like the IB English Language B . Our most recent free English online activities, games, and teaching resources are listed above.

Take our free level test if you are unsure of your level. The Junior Level Test is for students aged 6 to 12, and the Senior Level Test is for students aged 13 and up. It only takes 15-20 minutes to determine which English language course to take. You can also choose to have your results emailed to you. So why waste your time? Take the English level test online right now!

If you enjoy our free English online resources and would like to contribute to the site’s upkeep, please consider clicking this link . Our website promises to publish new content on a regular basis throughout the year, so you’ll always find something of interest.

Starters | Beginner | Elementary | Intermediate | Upper Intermediate | Advanced

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ESL Worksheets | Free Worksheets For Teaching English

Welcome to our ESL worksheets page. On this page, you can find many printable ESL worksheets on many topics for English language learners and teachers. All the worksheets on Games4esl are absolutely FREE to download and use in your English classes.

Worksheets For Teaching English

The worksheets on this page are arranged by topic or by grade. Choose a topic/grade below to browse through our huge library of worksheets. Alternatively, use the search bar below to find resources for your lesson.

Worksheets By Topic

  • Action Verb Worksheets
  • Adjective Worksheets
  • Adverb Worksheets
  • All About Me Worksheets
  • Alphabet Letter Worksheets
  • Alphabet Tracing Worksheets
  • Animal Worksheets
  • Animals And Habitats Worksheets
  • Big and Small Worksheets
  • Body Parts Worksheets
  • Christmas Worksheets
  • Classroom Object Worksheets
  • Clothes Worksheets
  • Colors Worksheets
  • Compare And Contrast Worksheets
  • Contraction Worksheets
  • Counting And Number Worksheets
  • Countries and Nationalities Worksheets
  • Comparative Adjectives Worksheets
  • CVC Words – Phonics Worksheets
  • CVCE – Magic E Worksheets
  • Daily Routine Worksheets
  • Days Of The Week Worksheets
  • Debate Plan Worksheet
  • Digraph Worksheets
  • Directions Worksheets
  • Easter Worksheets
  • English Grammar Worksheets
  • Fall Worksheets
  • Family Worksheets
  • Farm Animal Worksheets
  • Feelings Worksheets
  • ‘Find Someone Who’ Worksheets
  • Food Worksheets
  • Future Tense Using Will
  • Halloween Worksheets
  • Hobbies Worksheets
  • Hundreds Chart
  • Jobs and Occupations Worksheets
  • Mad Lib Worksheets
  • Months Of The Year Worksheets
  • Numbers As Words Worksheets
  • Number Tracing Worksheets
  • Past Continuous Worksheets
  • Past Simple Tense Worksheets
  • Pet Animal Worksheets
  • Places In Town Worksheets
  • Prepositions Of Place Worksheets
  • Prepositions Of Time Worksheets
  • Present Continuous Tense Worksheets
  • Present Perfect Tense Worksheets
  • Present Simple Tense Worksheets
  • Pronoun Worksheets
  • Rooms Of The House Worksheets
  • School Subject Worksheets
  • School Subject Word Searches
  • Seasons Worksheets
  • Senses – Five Senses Worksheets
  • Shapes – 2D Shapes Worksheets
  • Sports Worksheets
  • Sports Word Searches
  • Spring Word Searches
  • Summer Clothes Worksheets
  • Summer Worksheets
  • Synonym Worksheets
  • Telling The Time Worksheets
  • This That These Those Worksheets
  • Transportation Worksheets
  • Verb To Be Worksheets
  • Weather Worksheets
  • Wh Questions Worksheets
  • Winter Clothes Worksheets

Worksheets By Grade

  • Grade 1 Worksheets
  • Grade 2 Worksheets
  • Grade 3 Worksheets (Coming Soon)
  • Grade 4 Worksheets (Coming Soon)
  • Grade 5 Worksheets (Coming Soon)

Reading Comprehension Worksheets

  • All Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Grade 1 Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Grade 2 Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Grade 3 Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Grade 4 Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Grade 5 Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Middle School Reading Comprehension Worksheets

More ESL Resources

Before you go, don’t forget to check out our other free ESL materials, including  ESL Games ,  Board Games ,  Flashcards ,  PowerPoint Games , Online Quizzes , and  ESL Lesson Plans .

learning english assignments

Kids on phone

Explorer in Cave

  • Print and make

Do you like learning about new things in English? We have lots of activity sheets about many different topics. Download and print the worksheets to do puzzles, quizzes and lots of other fun activities in English.

learning english assignments

Acrostic poems

learning english assignments

Chinese zodiac

learning english assignments

Christmas food in the UK

learning english assignments

Digital citizenship

learning english assignments

Doing chores

learning english assignments

Elderly people

learning english assignments

Fairy tales

learning english assignments

Flag design

learning english assignments

Free-time activities

learning english assignments

Helping the environment

learning english assignments

Looking after pets

learning english assignments

Musical instruments

learning english assignments

New Year's Eve

learning english assignments

New Year’s resolutions

learning english assignments

Olympic and Paralympic games

learning english assignments

Pencil case


T-shirt design

learning english assignments

Typical dish

learning english assignments

English courses for children aged 6-17

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English EFL

Classroom assignments.

learning english assignments

Methodology , Teaching

By S.V.Richard

Learning another language can be a lot of fun. Classroom assignments are important to help students use proper grammar and learn the foundations of a new language. To be fluent, however, it is crucial for students to embrace their studies by using what they have learned in their lessons outside of the classroom as well.

One school I worked with provided everything with English, Spanish and Vietnamese translations to accommodate their diverse student population. It created a more inviting environment for the students, and this provided students with opportunities to immerse themselves into new languages. Additionally, it helped facilitate communication between parents and teachers, which is equally important to help students succeed. As a result, students will likely be more successful with their academic and language goals the more they are encouraged and able to practice reading, writing and speaking.

One way teachers can motivate students to become more fluent is by translating signs around the school. Objects around the school, such as the chair, desk, etc., can also be labeled. Also, allow the students to make signs during pep rallies and football games in different languages to cheer on their team. Include translations for bathroom signs, labs, libraries and offices. The more students see these words and connect it to their environment, the more helpful it is for students to remember the meanings.

Have the cafeteria menus translated into both the students’ native language and English. Offer snack signs in multiple languages. Prompt students to order their selections using new vocabulary that they have learned in class.

Provide students with class assignments in both languages. Test directions can also be given in different languages. Although it may seem redundant reading the same directions over and over again sometimes, students will be more successful applying their language skills with more exposure. Advanced students may assist the teacher by reading the directions to the class as well, which gives them more opportunities to speak a new language in ways that are meaningful by connecting their new learning to real life skills.

Watch educational videos and use the closed caption. When students are home, encourage students to watch appropriate, parent approved movies that are offered with different language options.

Flyers, take home letters and school announcements are other alternatives teachers can use to not only encourage students’ academic growth in foreign languages, but to also accommodate every student to ensure they have equal access to their own education.

learning english assignments

S.V.Richard  has an MA in special education from the College of Notre Dame in MD. Her 20-year-old twins will graduate college this year!


  • 101 English Conversations
  • English Tips
  • Improve Your English
  • 120 Common English Phrases
  • Mistakes in english
  • Tools for Learning English
  • English for Work
  • English Grammar
  • English Conversations in Real Life
  • American English Conversations (Video)
  • Everyday Conversation: 100 Topics
  • English Listening
  • English Writing
  • English Idioms
  • Elementary Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Advanced Level
  • Synonyms and Antonyms Dictionary
  • Academic Words
  • CNN Student News
  • Holidays Worldwide
  • American Life


With English stories , you can:

  • Understand deeper and broaden understanding
  • Know more vocals and how they are used in real contexts
  • Motivate imagination, create your own story
  • Enhance communication skill

Besides, we wrote an ebook about the topic “ How to Learn English Effectively through short stories “. You can refer to our ebook first.

40 English Conversations

101 English short stories for English learners from beginner to advanced level

A. Beginner Level

learning english assignments

  • A Baby and a Sock
  • Birds and a Baby
  • A Cat and a Dog
  • The Baby Bear
  • An Apple Pie
  • The Top Bunk
  • A Birthday Bike
  • In the Garden
  • Today’s Mail
  • Boys Will Be Boys
  • A Good Meal
  • No Friends for Me
  • Life Is Good
  • Tell the Truth
  • God Loves Babies
  • A Clean Car
  • Farm Animals
  • Corn for People and Animals
  • Rain and Hail
  • Hungry Birds
  • At the Bus Stop
  • Brown and Blue Eyes
  • Catch Some Fish
  • Daddy Likes Beer
  • Bears and a Pig
  • A Short Plane Ride
  • A Windy Day
  • Try to Tell the Truth
  •  A Bad Economy
  • The Birthday Party
  • Plants Need Water
  • Life Will Be Better
  • A Lucky Day
  • My Family’s House
  • Wash your hand
  • She Writes Letters
  • A Bus Accident

B. Intermediate Level

learning english assignments

  • The Christmas Story – The Birth Of JESUS
  • The Man Who Learned From His Cow
  • The Girl Who Dressed Like a Boy
  • The Jindo Dog
  • The Wait-and-See Man
  • The Seal’s Skin
  • the Bear’s Son
  •  Strong Wind
  • Brer Fox’s Shoes
  •  Three Rabbits
  • The Bridge between the Earth and the Sky
  • The Wild Pigeon

C. Upper-intermediate Level

learning english assignments

  • The Christmas Star and the Little Wanderer
  • The White Ribbon (Kassie’s and Betty’s friendship)
  • The Joyous Christmas Surprise
  • A Little Princess | Part 1
  • A Little Princess | Part 2
  • A Little Princess | Part 3

D. Advanced Level

We will update more English short stories in the future. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and youtube channel 

Thank you, @Tony Illustrated English for being willing to share your stories on our blog – One of our partner


For example:

Short Stories in English: Farm Animals

The  chicken and the duck  were friends. They lived on a  farm . They  walked around  together. They swam in the pond together. They talked about many things. They talked about the cat. They thought the cat was tricky. They thought the cat was dangerous. The cat  looked at  them a lot. They didn’t trust the cat. “We must always keep our eyes open when the cat is around,” they both agreed. They talked about the dog. The dog was very friendly. The dog wanted to play. The dog had lots of energy. It barked a lot. It  ran around  a lot. They both liked the dog. They talked about the farmer. The farmer brought them food. The farmer  took care of  them. The farmer took care of all the animals. He fed the cow. He fed the pig. He fed the goat. He fed the sheep. He fed the rabbit. They liked the farmer. He  took good care of  everyone. He was a nice man. “Farmers are good,” said the chicken. “We need farmers,” said the duck.


  • Online Testing

©helenadailyenglish.com. All rights reserved by Helena


Here you can find activities to practise your listening skills. Listening will help you to improve your understanding of the language and your pronunciation.

The self-study lessons in this section are written and organised by English level based on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). There are recordings of different situations and interactive exercises that practise the listening skills you need to do well in your studies, to get ahead at work and to communicate in English in your free time. The speakers you will hear are of different nationalities and the recordings are designed to show how English is being used in the world today.

Take our free online English test to find out which level to choose. Select your level, from A1 English level (elementary) to C1 English level (advanced), and improve your listening skills at your own speed, whenever it's convenient for you.

Choose your level to practise your listening

A1 listening

A1 listening

A2 listening

A2 listening

B1 listening

B1 listening

B2 listening

B2 listening

C1 listening

C1 listening

Learn to listen with confidence.

Our online English classes feature lots of useful learning materials and activities to help you listen and respond with confidence in a safe and inclusive learning environment.

Practise listening to your classmates in live group classes, get listening support from a personal tutor in one-to-one lessons or practise by yourself at your own speed with a self-study course.

Explore courses

Online courses

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Group and one-to-one classes with expert teachers.


Learn English in your own time, at your own pace.

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One-to-one sessions focused on a personal plan.

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Get the score you need with private and group classes.  

Faculty Resources


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The assignments in this course are openly licensed, and are available as-is, or can be modified to suit your students’ needs.

If you import this course into your learning management system (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.), the assignments will automatically be loaded into the assignment tool. These assignments and quizzes come pre-loaded with specific assigned point values. We recommend changing the point values to match your course design .

This course includes a series of assignments associated with most modules, as well as essay assignments that can be included in the course as you see fit. Some instructors assign multiple rhetorical styles, while others scaffold just one or two large essays throughout the course. For this reason, the essay assignments are listed at the front of the course and can be easily moved into the appropriate places within the LMS. The different rhetorical style essays are each split into at least two parts, with one for prewriting and one for the final draft.  They could also be combined into one assignment or split into several smaller assignments; for example, you could divide each essay into a prewriting, drafting, and final draft stage (which is how the argument essay is currently organized).

The “Writing Process—Revising and Proofreading” module also includes a discussion assignment that has students peer review whichever essay is assigned during that module ( Discussion: CARES Peer Review).

  • Narrative Essay
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Illustration Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Argument Essay

The optional “Essay Reflection” Assignment can also be paired with any of the rhetorical style essays listed above.

The assignments can also be broken down into smaller steps or combined/simplified as desired. Remember, these can be deleted, modified, or replaced within your LMS to meet the needs of your students.

  • Assignments. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Pencil Cup. Authored by : IconfactoryTeam. Provided by : Noun Project. Located at : https://thenounproject.com/term/pencil-cup/628840/ . License : CC BY: Attribution

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42 English Activities For High School: Challenges, Writing Practice, Games, Discussions, And Resources

March 27, 2024 //  by  Jill Webb

Are you an English teacher looking for learning games and activities to help enliven your English language arts teaching? We know that sometimes teenage students can easily lose interest. So, don’t be a boring teacher—bring a few unique ideas into your lessons to keep them invested! Below is a list of fun and creative activities for high school students. It includes a variety of English language learning experiences—from poetry to writing and more! If you’re ready to engage your students while helping them increase their language skills, read on!

1. Paint Chip Poetry


This is a fun activity that’s easy to understand and set up. This game will challenge your students to use paint names to create beautiful pieces of poetry. A mix of paint chips, poetry prompts, and “variation cards” to keep things interesting makes for a unique way for your kids to experiment with words and poetry. It’s also great to add to your classroom party game stash!

Learn More: Amazon

2. Figurative Language Challenge


You already know that nothing beats repetition when it comes to helping your high schoolers grasp new concepts—but coming up with new ways to practice concepts can be time-consuming! This bundle includes simple challenges to get your students practicing different types of figurative language; it includes metaphors, similes, alliteration, and more. Editable worksheets and slides review the concepts for your learners—then, they task them with developing their own examples. These activities are great for inclusion classes because they work in stations.

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

3. Six-Word Memoirs


This writing activity sounds simple but is deceptively challenging: writing six-word memoirs. Explain to your students that briefer writing demands greater attention to each word. Then, reinforce this lesson by having them each write their own memoir—in only six words! This activity is an innovative writing challenge, a hands-on introduction to memoirs, and a surefire way to get to know your teens and help them connect with each other. Plus, you can display their final creations along with corresponding images of their choosing. 

Learn More: Six-Word Memoirs

4. The Break-Up Letter


Need a clever and relatable creative writing exercise ? Try this letter-writing activity with a hilarious twist. Rather than write a typical letter, your students will be asked to write a break-up letter! These printable prompts are a perfect way to get your teens thinking about how well they explain themselves in their writing.

Learn More: Presto Plans

5. Pop Sonnets


Here’s a fun way to fill some extra time with your teens—while also reinforcing their understanding of Shakespearean language. This clever book is full of familiar pop songs—rewritten the way Shakespeare might have penned them! “Translating” lyrics they already know will help your high schoolers practice and better grasp the language in Shakespeare’s plays.

6. Listening Skills


We all know it’s important to teach young kids how to listen; it can be easy to forget that your high schoolers still need guidance and practice to be good listeners! Be sure to emphasize this essential school and life skill with your teens—this blog post gives some concrete, tangible ways to teach and encourage active listening skills. Challenge your students to honestly complete a self-assessment of their own listening skills. Then, use these exercises to work together to improve their scores!

Learn More: The Secondary English Coffee Shop

7. Reading Bingo


A lot of the activities on this list are about class and group work—but there’s no getting around the value of good old-fashioned independent reading. Gamify your teens’ reading by distributing Bingo cards. Then, offer a prize for the first student to read all the books on the card or in a certain pattern! All you need to do is edit the cards to match your readers’ level and let the competition begin!

Learn More: Spark Creativity

8. Poetry Slam


Poetry can get a bad rap in high school—help your students get more engaged by making sure they know it’s not all love poems and sonnets! A poetry slam is an ideal way to expose your teens to a new medium. Inviting your high schoolers to perform their works for the class helps build their confidence and gives them a voice. You’ll be surprised when you see the smooth-talking skills of your kids!

Learn More: Teacher of Vision

9. Truth or Dare Grammar


If you need an easy lesson plan to review grammar, look no further. This fun game for your teenage learners will help get them invested in grammatical skills! You—and your kids—already know how to play truth or dare. This editable version is grammar-themed and school-appropriate. It’s a perfect activity to pull out at the end of the day when you still want to reinforce your kids’ learning.

10. Book Spine Poems


Have you heard of book spine poetry? It’s exactly what it sounds like; your students can arrange the text they find on book spines to craft surprisingly insightful poems! All you really need is a collection of books, but these simple worksheets will help your kids organize their work without having to carry around a stack of books. If you don’t have enough books on hand for everyone, never fear—turn this into an online game and allow them to “hunt” for titles online!

11. Soccer Ball Questions


You don’t need to be in the hot seat with questioning skills when teaching a lesson! Make one of these Socratic soccer balls—just add question prompts to a regular soccer ball. When it’s time to get your teens to practice their Socratic questioning skills, all you need to do is have them roll the ball and pose a question based on the first prompt they see.

Learn More: Building Bo o k Love

12. Black-Out Poetry


Here’s another great activity for your lower-intermediate learners—this black-out activity will challenge your students to use a page of a book to create a poem by blacking out specific words. Surprisingly, the rigid constraints are a creative way to help your teens who may struggle to find inspiration or with writer’s block. If you have early finishers, ask them to find fun images to pair with their fresh poem.

Learn More: Arapahoe Libraries

13. Review Game


A quiz challenge is a great way to review all the material for key lessons. In this fun game your learners will play a “Let’s Make a Deal” game—based on the popular game show. You’ll act as the game show host and make deals with the teams. This downloadable resource includes editable elements so you can customize the game and prizes for your own classroom.

Learn More: The Hungry Teacher Blog

14. Balderdash

learning english assignments

Balderdash is a class board game for a reason. This small-group game will get your high schoolers laughing as they try to trick each other with made-up definitions for uncommon words. It’s a fun, unexpected way to teach new vocabulary while getting your students thinking critically and creatively! You can use a regular version of the game or just create your own using online resources.

Learn More: Boardgame Geek

16. NYT Crossword


A classic—and much beloved—game in the US is the New York Times daily crossword! Did you know there’s also a student version? Printing off one of the puzzles is a great, no-prep language exercise for your more advanced English classes.

Learn More: The New York Times

17. Inklewriter


Inklewriter is an innovative tool that can be used to get your students working individually on their creative writing. The free app makes use of interactive writing—sort of like a classic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story made high-tech. The prompts and questions will guide your teens while still challenging them to flex their creative muscles as they create their own unique stories. 

Learn More: Inkle Writer

18. Book Raffle


A book raffle tradition will help to get your lower-level class invested in reading—especially if your students don’t have many of their own books. All you’ll be doing is inviting your kids to compete for the chance to read specific books; creating excitement around a fundamental language activity in the process—independent reading! To get started, simply select a few books—they can be new or ones already in your class—and introduce them all to your learners. Then, your readers can enter their names in draws to win reading rights to their favorites. Once you have a few book raffles under your belt, feel free to modify the process to make it work for you and your teens!

Learn More: Brown Bag Teacher

19. Writing Prompts


Writing prompts are a classic classroom tool to jumpstart creative writing. Provide your students with this list of enticing prompts that are sure to help them produce literary genius. To get them started, you can let them pick their own from the list or assign them at random. Either way, you’ll have a low-prep way to get great results from your high school writers. 

Learn More: Small World

20. Vocab-Zee


This language-themed twist on the classic game of Yahtzee is a great rainy-day activity or sub plan for your class. Put your students in groups and provide them with copies of the game instructions. Then, they’ll take turns rolling the dice and performing vocabulary-based actions based on their roll. 

Learn More: Go Sadlier

21. Body Biographies

learning english assignments

Help your pupils become masters of character analysis by assigning these eye-catching body biographies. Prompt your young writers to examine the different characteristics of each character—both tangible and intangible—and use them to create a character analysis. The visual aspect of the posters makes this activity more engaging than a written description and encourages your kids to search for different elements of character roles in the text. Not only will your students love doing this, but you’ll also be able to display their body biographies for reference. 

Learn More: Study All Knight

22. Podcast Pairings

learning english assignments

Consider pairing relevant literary podcasts with your classroom texts/discussions. Introducing a different medium into your teaching toolbox is an excellent way to change up your methods and better engage auditory learners. These podcasts are sure to give your students different perspectives on the topics and ideas that are introduced and discussed in your classroom texts. 

Learn More: Building Book Love

23. Keyhole Book Scene

learning english assignments

This is a clever visual way to emphasize the importance of different characters’ points of view. Having your students create a keyhole book scene gives you the opportunity to check your students’ understanding and comprehension of a story. Ask your learners to illustrate a scene from one of the texts they are reading—from the perspective of someone looking into the room through a keyhole. You can base the assignment on a specific character’s point of view or let your kids choose the perspective themselves. They should be encouraged to include different text elements and imagery to show what exactly the specific book scene “looked like” in their minds. 

Learn More: The Room Mom

24. Crime Stories

Engaging Secondary Students with Crime Stories Blog COVER.jpg

Have you ever considered engaging your high school literacy students with creepy crime stories? Your teens can pick a real-life criminal and use their investigative skills to determine motives and other crime components. Then, have them choose a medium—blog, podcast, research paper, etc.—to present their perspective. The real-world aspect makes these narratives particularly compelling—and your learners will be so engaged in the crimes that they won’t realize how much hard work and learning they’re actually doing!   

Learn More: Besp o ke ELA

25. Song Lyrics to Teach Paraphrasing

learning english assignments

What teenager doesn’t love music? Here’s a great way to use this to your advantage! Print off lyrics to popular songs that your students will love. Then, challenge your kids to go through the lyrics and attempt to paraphrase what the song is saying, using their own words. This will help them get a better understanding of what their favorite songs are about as well as give them practice in their rewording skills.

Learn More: Mondays Made Easy

27. Selfie Fingerprint Poem

Great Ideas And Tips For Teaching Poetry. Poetry reveals many aspects of life that they may not get to experience or witness first hand. Poetry may speak some ‘truth’ about how others live and that helps build empathy with our students. Read on for 6 ways you can set your students interest ablaze for poetry! Grades 4-12 | Middle School ELA | High School English

Poetry can be a tricky topic to introduce—and a particularly hard one to get your high schoolers excited about. With this fun fingerprint poem, your students can use colors and stanzas to create a poem that represents themselves and is as unique as their fingerprints. This is a great way to get your students excited about introducing themselves and things that they consider to be important. 

29. Funny Short Story Study

learning english assignments

Looking for something to break up the heavier literary units you have planned this year? This diverse bundle of hilarious short stories is perfect for teaching your students short and sweet literary concepts such as sarcasm, irony, foreshadowing, etc. 

Learn More: Hopefully Home

30. Thought Bubble

learning english assignments

Do your students need help delving into the thoughts of the characters you’re reading about? This simple thought bubble exercise will get your high schoolers engaged in deeper-level thinking. All they have to do is imagine what a character in a book, a short story, or even an image is thinking. Then, they can write it in a thought bubble on a sticky note. Getting into the habit of considering characters’ inner thoughts will encourage your readers to pay more attention to the text and make stronger connections with the stories.

Learn More: The Thinker Builder

31. Escape Rooms

learning english assignments

Make learning fun for your high school English students by incorporating escape room activities in your classroom! You can download an escape room kit online that incorporates concepts from books your students are reading in class—or design your own! An escape room is an interactive way to encourage teamwork among your kids and enhance their understanding and application of the texts you’ve covered. 

Learn More: Teach Nouvelle

33. The What If Game


The what if game is sure to get your students’ creative juices flowing! This group activity is fun and easy to set up. You’ll start by dividing your learners into groups of four to five, giving every group three cups—one for characters, one for settings, and one for actions. The groups will begin by brainstorming examples for each category and placing them in the cups. Then the real fun begins! Have your kids take turns drawing papers, one from each cup, and combining them in “What if?” questions. The last step is to use their what if question as a story prompt, being sure to fully explore the character, setting, and action they’ve drawn. Your high schoolers will enjoy the mix of group brainstorming and individual writing—and produce their own literary masterpieces in no time!

Learn More: Bespoke Classroom

34. Hexagonal Thinking 

learning english assignments

Hexagonal thinking is another dynamic group brainstorming activity—and a great way to help your students think critically about texts and make broader connections. After reading through a story with your class, separate your students into groups. Then, give each group a series of blank paper hexagons and have them fill in various themes, characters, quotes, and even simple drawings. Once they’re done, task your kids with working together to arrange the hexagons in a web—in a layout based on logical connections between the cards.

Learn More: Now Spark Creativity

35. Mock Trials 

learning english assignments

Help your students examine a text through mock trials. After reading through a story, pick a student to be the prosecutor (or a group of students to be a team of prosecutors) and a student to be the defendant (or team of defendants). Give your kids time and tips for drafting their arguments, and then select a jury from their classmates. When everyone is ready, it’s time for the trial! You can be the judge, critiquing your students’ logic and powers of persuasion. Your teens will have so much fun playing their roles that they won’t even notice the preparation and research involved!

36. Graphic Essay

learning english assignments

Looking to shake up your students’ essays? Graphic essays are a clever way to introduce visual elements into a traditional writing assignment. Your students will use pictures and symbols to convey certain portions of the story. It’s a helpful way to engage visual learners and encourage all your kids to think and express themselves in new ways. They’ll appreciate the chance to inject their work with their own creativity—and the break from normal essay writing! 

Learn More: Living in the Layers

37. Elements of Fiction Stations

the basic elements of fiction for middle school

Get your class up and moving around the room with these informative stations that teach the basic elements of fiction. At each station, your learners will delve deeper into elements of fiction such as setting, conflict, characters, point of view, and plot structure. You can have your kids visit these stations during certain time periods or even different class periods. 

Learn More: Hey Natayle

38. Figurative Language Tasting

Pinterest Pin for blog post: How to Host a Figurative Language Tasting

Who doesn’t love to eat tasty snacks while learning? Get your students actively involved in your delicious and savory lesson using a few snacks. Explain to your kids that the objective of this lesson is to practice using different figurative language elements to describe both the taste and feelings of snacks. Then, let the fun begin! Distribute the snacks to your young gourmets—along with prompts that challenge them to describe the tastes using various types of figurative language. It’s sure to help your high schoolers develop a taste for descriptive writing!

Learn More: It’s Lit Teaching

39. Explode the Moment 

Story pin image

Are your kids having trouble expanding their thoughts and ideas during writing time? With this activity, your students will be challenged to expand or “explode” the moment they are writing about. For example, if your learner writes “The park was fun,” they’ll be prompted to explain the entire moment at the park, using sensory imagery. This is a relatable method to encourage your high schoolers to consider the “who, what, where, when” portions of their writing.

Learn More: Raise the Bar Reading

40. Figurative Language Sort

figurative language sort

Even though this activity was created with younger children in mind, that doesn’t mean your high school students won’t be engaged and excited to participate. You’ll need to prepare for this activity by collecting some interesting pictures and writing sentences about them using different types of figurative language that you’ve studied in class. To begin, give your high schoolers (individually or in a small group) one of the pictures, along with the related sentences. Then, task them with categorizing the sentences based on the type of figurative language. Lastly, encourage those who finish quickly to come up with their own examples for each category!

Learn More: Teaching with a Mountain View

41. Movement in the Classroom

learning english assignments

One way to make learning especially memorable for your students—and re-energize them if they need it—is to get them moving and actively participating in the engaging lesson. This doesn’t have to be complicated or require a lot of prep; you can find simple ways to add movement to work you’re already doing. For example, don’t just give your high schoolers a list of discussion questions; print out the questions and place them around your classroom. This will get your kids up and moving as they talk to each other! 

42. Literary Puzzle Pieces 

Author purpose jigsaw activity

Sometimes a simple visual can give your students a new perspective on their work. Help them understand literary themes by comparing them to jigsaw puzzles—drive the point home by having them create their own paper puzzle pieces as they discuss the themes in your texts. First, put your high schoolers in small groups and give each group large paper puzzle pieces. Explain that each puzzle piece represents an element in your book; as they fill in the pieces they’ll be “solving the puzzle” of understanding your text. You can use this activity in different ways depending on the needs of your class, combining group discussion with independent work. It’s an ideal, hands-on discussion prompt to help your kids better grasp the subject material.

Learn More: Learning in Room 213

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Designing Assignments for Learning

The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning outside of the traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. This resource distills the elements of assignment design that are important to carry forward as we continue to seek better ways of assessing learning and build on our innovative assignment designs.

On this page:

Rethinking traditional tests, quizzes, and exams.

  • Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
  • Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

Reflect On Your Assignment Design

Connect with the ctl.

  • Resources and References

learning english assignments

Cite this resource: Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (2021). Designing Assignments for Learning. Columbia University. Retrieved [today’s date] from https://ctl.columbia.edu/resources-and-technology/teaching-with-technology/teaching-online/designing-assignments/

Traditional assessments tend to reveal whether students can recognize, recall, or replicate what was learned out of context, and tend to focus on students providing correct responses (Wiggins, 1990). In contrast, authentic assignments, which are course assessments, engage students in higher order thinking, as they grapple with real or simulated challenges that help them prepare for their professional lives, and draw on the course knowledge learned and the skills acquired to create justifiable answers, performances or products (Wiggins, 1990). An authentic assessment provides opportunities for students to practice, consult resources, learn from feedback, and refine their performances and products accordingly (Wiggins 1990, 1998, 2014). 

Authentic assignments ask students to “do” the subject with an audience in mind and apply their learning in a new situation. Examples of authentic assignments include asking students to: 

  • Write for a real audience (e.g., a memo, a policy brief, letter to the editor, a grant proposal, reports, building a website) and/or publication;
  • Solve problem sets that have real world application; 
  • Design projects that address a real world problem; 
  • Engage in a community-partnered research project;
  • Create an exhibit, performance, or conference presentation ;
  • Compile and reflect on their work through a portfolio/e-portfolio.

Noteworthy elements of authentic designs are that instructors scaffold the assignment, and play an active role in preparing students for the tasks assigned, while students are intentionally asked to reflect on the process and product of their work thus building their metacognitive skills (Herrington and Oliver, 2000; Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2013; Frey, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012). 

It’s worth noting here that authentic assessments can initially be time consuming to design, implement, and grade. They are critiqued for being challenging to use across course contexts and for grading reliability issues (Maclellan, 2004). Despite these challenges, authentic assessments are recognized as beneficial to student learning (Svinicki, 2004) as they are learner-centered (Weimer, 2013), promote academic integrity (McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, 2021; Sotiriadou et al., 2019; Schroeder, 2021) and motivate students to learn (Ambrose et al., 2010). The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning is always available to consult with faculty who are considering authentic assessment designs and to discuss challenges and affordances.   

Examples from the Columbia University Classroom 

Columbia instructors have experimented with alternative ways of assessing student learning from oral exams to technology-enhanced assignments. Below are a few examples of authentic assignments in various teaching contexts across Columbia University. 

  • E-portfolios: Statia Cook shares her experiences with an ePorfolio assignment in her co-taught Frontiers of Science course (a submission to the Voices of Hybrid and Online Teaching and Learning initiative); CUIMC use of ePortfolios ;
  • Case studies: Columbia instructors have engaged their students in authentic ways through case studies drawing on the Case Consortium at Columbia University. Read and watch a faculty spotlight to learn how Professor Mary Ann Price uses the case method to place pre-med students in real-life scenarios;
  • Simulations: students at CUIMC engage in simulations to develop their professional skills in The Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center in the Columbia School of Nursing; 
  • Experiential learning: instructors have drawn on New York City as a learning laboratory such as Barnard’s NYC as Lab webpage which highlights courses that engage students in NYC;
  • Design projects that address real world problems: Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy on the Engineering design projects completed using lab kits during remote learning. Watch Dr. Yesilevskiy talk about his teaching and read the Columbia News article . 
  • Writing assignments: Lia Marshall and her teaching associate Aparna Balasundaram reflect on their “non-disposable or renewable assignments” to prepare social work students for their professional lives as they write for a real audience; and Hannah Weaver spoke about a sandbox assignment used in her Core Literature Humanities course at the 2021 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium . Watch Dr. Weaver share her experiences.  

​Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning

While designing an effective authentic assignment may seem like a daunting task, the following tips can be used as a starting point. See the Resources section for frameworks and tools that may be useful in this effort.  

Align the assignment with your course learning objectives 

Identify the kind of thinking that is important in your course, the knowledge students will apply, and the skills they will practice using through the assignment. What kind of thinking will students be asked to do for the assignment? What will students learn by completing this assignment? How will the assignment help students achieve the desired course learning outcomes? For more information on course learning objectives, see the CTL’s Course Design Essentials self-paced course and watch the video on Articulating Learning Objectives .  

Identify an authentic meaning-making task

For meaning-making to occur, students need to understand the relevance of the assignment to the course and beyond (Ambrose et al., 2010). To Bean (2011) a “meaning-making” or “meaning-constructing” task has two dimensions: 1) it presents students with an authentic disciplinary problem or asks students to formulate their own problems, both of which engage them in active critical thinking, and 2) the problem is placed in “a context that gives students a role or purpose, a targeted audience, and a genre.” (Bean, 2011: 97-98). 

An authentic task gives students a realistic challenge to grapple with, a role to take on that allows them to “rehearse for the complex ambiguities” of life, provides resources and supports to draw on, and requires students to justify their work and the process they used to inform their solution (Wiggins, 1990). Note that if students find an assignment interesting or relevant, they will see value in completing it. 

Consider the kind of activities in the real world that use the knowledge and skills that are the focus of your course. How is this knowledge and these skills applied to answer real-world questions to solve real-world problems? (Herrington et al., 2010: 22). What do professionals or academics in your discipline do on a regular basis? What does it mean to think like a biologist, statistician, historian, social scientist? How might your assignment ask students to draw on current events, issues, or problems that relate to the course and are of interest to them? How might your assignment tap into student motivation and engage them in the kinds of thinking they can apply to better understand the world around them? (Ambrose et al., 2010). 

Determine the evaluation criteria and create a rubric

To ensure equitable and consistent grading of assignments across students, make transparent the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. The criteria should focus on the knowledge and skills that are central to the assignment. Build on the criteria identified, create a rubric that makes explicit the expectations of deliverables and share this rubric with your students so they can use it as they work on the assignment. For more information on rubrics, see the CTL’s resource Incorporating Rubrics into Your Grading and Feedback Practices , and explore the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). 

Build in metacognition

Ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the assignment. Help students uncover personal relevance of the assignment, find intrinsic value in their work, and deepen their motivation by asking them to reflect on their process and their assignment deliverable. Sample prompts might include: what did you learn from this assignment? How might you draw on the knowledge and skills you used on this assignment in the future? See Ambrose et al., 2010 for more strategies that support motivation and the CTL’s resource on Metacognition ). 

Provide students with opportunities to practice

Design your assignment to be a learning experience and prepare students for success on the assignment. If students can reasonably expect to be successful on an assignment when they put in the required effort ,with the support and guidance of the instructor, they are more likely to engage in the behaviors necessary for learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Ensure student success by actively teaching the knowledge and skills of the course (e.g., how to problem solve, how to write for a particular audience), modeling the desired thinking, and creating learning activities that build up to a graded assignment. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills they will need for the assignment, whether through low-stakes in-class activities or homework activities that include opportunities to receive and incorporate formative feedback. For more information on providing feedback, see the CTL resource Feedback for Learning . 

Communicate about the assignment 

Share the purpose, task, audience, expectations, and criteria for the assignment. Students may have expectations about assessments and how they will be graded that is informed by their prior experiences completing high-stakes assessments, so be transparent. Tell your students why you are asking them to do this assignment, what skills they will be using, how it aligns with the course learning outcomes, and why it is relevant to their learning and their professional lives (i.e., how practitioners / professionals use the knowledge and skills in your course in real world contexts and for what purposes). Finally, verify that students understand what they need to do to complete the assignment. This can be done by asking students to respond to poll questions about different parts of the assignment, a “scavenger hunt” of the assignment instructions–giving students questions to answer about the assignment and having them work in small groups to answer the questions, or by having students share back what they think is expected of them.

Plan to iterate and to keep the focus on learning 

Draw on multiple sources of data to help make decisions about what changes are needed to the assignment, the assignment instructions, and/or rubric to ensure that it contributes to student learning. Explore assignment performance data. As Deandra Little reminds us: “a really good assignment, which is a really good assessment, also teaches you something or tells the instructor something. As much as it tells you what students are learning, it’s also telling you what they aren’t learning.” ( Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 337 ). Assignment bottlenecks–where students get stuck or struggle–can be good indicators that students need further support or opportunities to practice prior to completing an assignment. This awareness can inform teaching decisions. 

Triangulate the performance data by collecting student feedback, and noting your own reflections about what worked well and what did not. Revise the assignment instructions, rubric, and teaching practices accordingly. Consider how you might better align your assignment with your course objectives and/or provide more opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills that they will rely on for the assignment. Additionally, keep in mind societal, disciplinary, and technological changes as you tweak your assignments for future use. 

Now is a great time to reflect on your practices and experiences with assignment design and think critically about your approach. Take a closer look at an existing assignment. Questions to consider include: What is this assignment meant to do? What purpose does it serve? Why do you ask students to do this assignment? How are they prepared to complete the assignment? Does the assignment assess the kind of learning that you really want? What would help students learn from this assignment? 

Using the tips in the previous section: How can the assignment be tweaked to be more authentic and meaningful to students? 

As you plan forward for post-pandemic teaching and reflect on your practices and reimagine your course design, you may find the following CTL resources helpful: Reflecting On Your Experiences with Remote Teaching , Transition to In-Person Teaching , and Course Design Support .

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is here to help!

For assistance with assignment design, rubric design, or any other teaching and learning need, please request a consultation by emailing [email protected]

Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignments. The TILT Examples and Resources page ( https://tilthighered.com/tiltexamplesandresources ) includes example assignments from across disciplines, as well as a transparent assignment template and a checklist for designing transparent assignments . Each emphasizes the importance of articulating to students the purpose of the assignment or activity, the what and how of the task, and specifying the criteria that will be used to assess students. 

Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) offers VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Diagnostic) tools ( https://www.aacu.org/value-add-tools ) to help with the creation of clear and effective assignments that align with the desired learning outcomes and associated VALUE rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). VALUE ADD encourages instructors to explicitly state assignment information such as the purpose of the assignment, what skills students will be using, how it aligns with course learning outcomes, the assignment type, the audience and context for the assignment, clear evaluation criteria, desired formatting, and expectations for completion whether individual or in a group.

Villarroel et al. (2017) propose a blueprint for building authentic assessments which includes four steps: 1) consider the workplace context, 2) design the authentic assessment; 3) learn and apply standards for judgement; and 4) give feedback. 


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., & DiPietro, M. (2010). Chapter 3: What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching . Jossey-Bass. 

Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., and Brown, C. (2013). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(2), 205-222, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2013.819566 .  

Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . Second Edition. Jossey-Bass. 

Frey, B. B, Schmitt, V. L., and Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. 17(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7275/sxbs-0829  

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., and Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning . Routledge. 

Herrington, J. and Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48. 

Litchfield, B. C. and Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 142 (Summer 2015), 65-80. 

Maclellan, E. (2004). How convincing is alternative assessment for use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 29(3), June 2004. DOI: 10.1080/0260293042000188267

McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, J. (2021). Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t Need that Lockdown Browser! Faculty Focus. June 2, 2021. 

Mueller, J. (2005). The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1(1). July 2005. Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox is available online. 

Schroeder, R. (2021). Vaccinate Against Cheating With Authentic Assessment . Inside Higher Ed. (February 26, 2021).  

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., and Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skills development and employability. Studies in Higher Education. 45(111), 2132-2148. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582015    

Stachowiak, B. (Host). (November 25, 2020). Authentic Assignments with Deandra Little. (Episode 337). In Teaching in Higher Ed . https://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/authentic-assignments/  

Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Authentic Assessment: Testing in Reality. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 100 (Winter 2004): 23-29. 

Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S, Bruna, D., Bruna, C., and Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(5), 840-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2017.1412396    

Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice . Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Wiggins, G. (2014). Authenticity in assessment, (re-)defined and explained. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment-re-defined-and-explained/

Wiggins, G. (1998). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test. Educational Leadership . April 1989. 41-47. 

Wiggins, Grant (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation , 2(2). 

Wondering how AI tools might play a role in your course assignments?

See the CTL’s resource “Considerations for AI Tools in the Classroom.”

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14 Creative English Activities for Teenagers Guaranteed to Get Them Pumped to Learn

Life is pretty complicated for teenagers, even without throwing English classes into the mix.

That’s why it’s so important for English educators to keep lessons for teens engaging and motivating .

Wondering how to do that?

I’ve been an ESL teacher for many years and these are 14 of my favorite English activities to get teenage students listening and chatting in the classroom.

They’re guaranteed to keep your students excited about class!

Online Activities

1. best for classroom quizzes: kahoot, 2. best for authentic content: fluentu, 3. best for digital flashcards: quizlet, 4. best for vocabulary definitions: knoword, group activities, 5. best guessing game: interview with the stars, 6. best for physical movement: grab the ball, 7. best fun musical activity: lyrics jigsaw, 8. best question and answer practice: i mustache you a question, 9. best for parts of speech: mad libs, 10. best word association game: apples to apples, 11. best for material review: jeopardy, 12. best discussion-based activity: werewolf, one-on-one activities, 13. best for vocabulary and spelling: board games, 14. best for creative writing: person, place, action.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

english activities

Level: All levels

Focus:  Vocabulary, spelling, grammar and review

Price: Limited free version available, paid plans from $19/month

In a nutshell,  Kahoot! is a program for creating quizzes to play learning games with your class.

To get started with this addictive game, I recommend signing up and exploring the platform a little bit. This will allow you to get familiar with the layout of the site and practice creating your own Kahoot! quiz. 

You can also choose from a massive selection of pre-made quizzes to make your lesson planning a little easier. However, I personally love to create my own quizzes because you can add images and videos, and make them more relevant to what your students are currently learning. 

The Kahoot! experience is very similar to a fully personalized game show. After setting up the screen if you’re doing a live class or joining a video conference with the students, the teacher (or game show host, if you will) presents the game on their screen.

Students see the questions on the teacher’s screen, then enter their answers on their devices, using a PIN code that connects them to the game session. Scores are then tallied in real-time on the teacher’s game show screen.

By concluding the class with a game of Kahoot! I can  summarize the lesson, finish on a fun note and reward good behavior. 

english activities

Focus:  Vocabulary and listening comprehension 

Price: $299 per year for a minimum of 10 users (teachers and students) 

The FluentU program includes quizzes, flashcards, a robust video library and more—all based on authentic video content. That means students can learn with English-language vlogs, movie clips, trailers, funny commercials and more.

To use FluentU for teenage learners, I recommend browsing the video library for content you know your adolescent or younger students would enjoy. You can do this by keeping an ear to the ground to stay up to date with the latest YouTubers, video games and films that they’re interested in. 

learning english assignments

You can assign specific videos or flashcard decks for your students to study, and can track their progress. Or you can let them choose the content that interests them and allow for a completely self-guided learning experience.

Every word is clearly defined, so all students have to do is hover their mouse over a word (or tap, on mobile devices) to get a definition, memorable image, example sentences and part of speech.

If they want to study the word later, they can add it to their vocab list right from the video player. After each video, students are tested on their understanding of key words from the content they just watched.

learning english assignments

The best part of this kind of video learning is that it’s addictive: Students can easily go down the rabbit hole of content. All videos are followed by additional recommendations, so it’s easy to click from one video to another.

Videos can also be filtered by level, type and topic, making it easy to consume the kind of content that interests each individual student.

Finally, each vocabulary word (or phrase) has video examples of it in use—so if they want to see the word in use in another context, they can easily hop over to the next video that features it.

english activities

Focus:  Vocabulary building

Price: $35.99 per year with 30-day free trial

Flashcards are undoubtedly one of the most popular and trusted methods of learning vocabulary in another language. 

They’re like bread and butter for an ESL teacher and can be a fantastic tool to introduce and summarize English vocabulary, grammar rules and more. 

On the Quizlet website, learning with flashcards is relatively straightforward. After signing up, you’ll have access to millions of flashcard “packs,” which are pre-made and cover the standard subject areas in a high school curriculum.

Be aware, however, that these flashcards are user-made and answers should be thoroughly checked before you share the quizzes with your students. Of course, you also have the option of creating your own flashcards to target particular learning areas.

In addition, you can tweak the flashcards to make them more teenage or kid-friendly and save your packs for later use. One way you might do this is by creating packs on video game vocabulary or YouTube phrases, for example.

You can also set up a Quizlet live game, which is similar to Kahoot!, discussed above.

After creating your custom flashcard deck, you can invite your students to a round of Quizlet to add a little bit of competition to the classroom. I’ve found this to be an excellent motivator, and it can really help bring students out of their shells. 

english activities

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Focus:  Vocabulary building and word definitions

Price: Free for a basic account, $45 per year for a pro account

I promise you one thing: Once your students start playing Knoword, it’ll be nearly impossible to get them to stop.

The strength of the online game Knoword lies in its simplicity. Students can get started with this game almost immediately and practice their reading, vocabulary and spelling.

Basically, the program will provide random word definitions and students must type the missing words as quickly as possible. 

To use this game for teenage learners, I recommend that you give them a class code and pit students against each other for some healthy competition. You’ll also have the option to assign individual tasks and track the student’s progress. 

Similar to Quizlet above, there are many pre-existing packs based on the school subject or you can play the main vocabulary definition game . You can also create your own customizable learning packs should you want to test your students on a specific area or make the coolest exam ever.

The main vocabulary game can be challenging, which is why this is recommended for intermediate students and above.

english activities

Level: Intermediate and up 

Focus: Speaking and question forming

I’m always on the lookout for new twists on classic ESL games to give students an activity they haven’t done before. This game is somewhat similar to the popular game “20 Questions,” only with a few slight changes, making it extra fun. 

The teacher will put the names of famous people or characters into a container. These names can be real, fictional cartoons or any characters you can think of (as long as the students know who it is). 

Students will then draw out names and must assume the character. Instruct the students to answer the questions as if they were really that person or character. 

If you’re teaching a lower-level class, you can model with an example and write some sample questions on the board to prompt the students. You can also do the question and answer one by one by having students come up to the front of the class one at a time. 

If the students are slightly more advanced, I like to do a kind of “cocktail party” style approach where the students will mingle throughout the room and ask each other questions. Just make sure you move around the classroom and check that the students are practicing their English. 

At the end of the party, students can do a vote-style assessment of who they think each of their fellow classmates is. 

Level: Beginner and up 

Focus: Listening

If I had to choose one “tool” for the rest of my ESL teaching career, it’d have to be a ball.

From introductory activities to summary games, you can incorporate a ball into almost any activity. Plus, I’m a big believer in action and movement in an ESL classroom.  

For this group game, you’ll need a ball (or several) and some space. This game works great outdoors in a big open grassy area. 

After placing the students into groups, they’ll then be equally spaced away from the ball in two teams. Of course, you can also play one-on-one, depending on the amount of space and number of balls you have!

The teacher will make a true or false statement. This statement can be an English-related statement, such as the word happy is an adjective or a statement related to skills you have been teaching in class.  

If the statement is true, the students must rush to grab the ball before their classmates, but if it’s false, they must leave it be. Students or teams will receive a point every time they correctly snatch the ball before the others on the true statement. However, they’ll lose a point if they grab the ball on a false statement.

For a smaller (and possibly safer) version, you can play at the student’s desks with a small ball or object to snatch. 

Level: Beginner and up

Focus:  Listening, language structure and team collaboration 

This is a go-to activity to create a fun atmosphere in the classroom. That being said, it does require a little bit of preparation. 

Start by choosing some popular songs with clear singing and simple lyrics. Contemporary music and pop songs are always good choices, especially songs that your students might have heard before. 

Next, print the lyrics on either one large page or smaller pages, depending on the size of the class. The next step is to cut the lyrics into lines and mix them up before handing them to your class or groups. 

Inform the students that they’ll be putting the lyrics back together again in the correct order . You can also turn the activity into a competition to see who can put the “jigsaw” together the fastest. 

What I especially like about the game is when the students catch themselves singing along to the lyrics. It’s like a sudden realization that they know more English than they think! 

Focus: Speaking and listening

For this activity, all you need is a stick, some paper, pens and chatty students.

After cutting out a mustache and taping or pasting it to a stick, have the students pass the mustache around until you say stop (or play music and pause it to stop). Whoever’s holding the mustache under their nose gets to ask the class a question. Students take turns answering and then passing around the mustache.

Questions can be as simple as “What’s your favorite color?” or as complex as ethical debate prompts. You can write a few sample questions on the board to get things going.

If your class is usually shy, you can introduce this activity the day before and have them prep some questions as homework.

Of course, you can replace the mustache with any item if you’d prefer students to just hold an item in their hands rather than putting it up to their faces. Grab a ball from the “Grab the Ball” activity, for instance, and pass it around!

If your students aspire to travel the world or move to an English-speaking country, this is a fantastic way to practice listening comprehension and asking/responding to questions.

This game can sharpen communication skills, preparing students for a job interview or coffee with an English-speaking friend.

Level: Lower intermediate and up

Focus: Writing, listening and speaking

If you ever had a ton of fun with “Mad Libs” around a campfire, why not share that fun with your ESL students? This game  tests their knowledge of grammar and parts of speech, and the results are hilarious.

Here’s how it works: Each “Mad Libs” story has blank words for you to fill in, usually parts of speech (you’ll be choosing nouns, adjectives, emotions, places, etc.) and you only get to read the full story after you’ve picked your words.

Writing.com has pages upon pages of “Mad Libs” puzzles that are great for teens. Or, if you’re tech-savvy, you can download an app onto your classroom device. The official “Mad Libs” app can be found on the Apple store.

Then just sit down with your students and go around the table asking for nouns, verbs, adjectives and more. For ways to get your students more involved, have them write the words down themselves or spell them out for you.

With more advanced students, you can even encourage them to write their own stories, then remove a certain number of words for their classmates to fill in.

Once your students get into it, they might start cracking up with the hilarious stories that come up!

Focus: Reading, speaking

This game is a great way to go more in-depth with parts of speech by doing word association using adjectives. And you can either buy your own box online or you can make your own cards that focus on the vocabulary you’ve been teaching in class. Genius!

You’ll want a group of three or more students to play this game with. Cards are split into two types: green for adjectives and red for nouns. Students get seven red cards and then one green card is put into the middle by the “judge,” who rotates each round.

Students then choose a red card from their hand that they feel fits the green card best, and place it face-down on the table. Once everyone’s made a choice, the judge reads all the cards out loud and decides which is the best of the bunch.

The winner of that round gets to keep the green card. Whoever has the most green cards at the end of the game is the winner.

You can mix “Apples to Apples” up a bit by playing opposites (they put in the card that least fits the adjective) or change things up completely by giving them several green adjective cards and one red noun card with the objective of matching a variety of adjectives to that noun.

“Apples to Apples” can also be a great way to get your more advanced speakers debating. For example, go around the table and ask whether the students agree with the winning card that the judge picked, or justify their own card choice for that turn.

Focus: Listening, speaking

It was the first day of classes, and I’d gotten my first group of teenagers. Our books hadn’t yet arrived. What did I do? I came up with a “Jeopardy” board. 

As I found out, “Jeopardy” is a great way to review old information that may have been tucked away during the summer. Besides this, it’s also a great way to check student comprehension in a fun way. 

Not to mention that the possibilities for quiz categories are endless. Some “Jeopardy” categories you might use include US vs. UK English, the present tense or superlatives. It’s a game that is easily customizable based on your classroom needs. 

You can go into easier categories for lower students or harder ones to really challenge your advanced class.

There are several ways you can make this game, including both analog and digital versions. If you’d like more tips on how to create your own “Jeopardy” game for your classroom, check out our more in-depth instructions here .

For websites that have pre-made digital “Jeopardy” templates which also allow you to make your own, you can also check out Factile and JeopardyLabs .

Level: Advanced

Focus: Speaking, listening

The party game Werewolf  gives a twist on your everyday role-playing exercise with a focus on discussion.  Your teens will have to focus on banding together to either beat the Werewolf or outsmart all the others.

There are different variations of this role-playing game, but the most basic one has one moderator (in this case, the teacher) and a werewolf, while the rest of the players are villagers.

Werewolf has “daytime” and “nighttime” phases. During the nighttime phase, everyone closes their eyes. The moderator asks the player with the werewolf role to open their eyes. The werewolf silently selects a villager to “kill” by pointing, then closes their eyes. No talking is allowed during this phase!

Once a villager has been selected, the moderator begins the daytime phase by asking everyone to open their eyes. The moderator now spins a tale about a werewolf attack in the night, and announces which villager has been “killed.”

Students must now discuss who they think the werewolf is, while the person with the werewolf role must try to throw attention away from themselves. This phase requires some smooth talking skills and clear communication!

At the end of the discussion phase, the villagers eliminate one player, who they think is the werewolf. If they’re wrong, the game continues for another round. If they’re right, the game ends. 

english activities

Focus: Speaking, reading, listening

There are tons of board games you can play one-on-one with teenage students. They’re great for sparking English communication in a fun environment.

  • “Guess Who” is perfect for those who are learning to talk about features and characteristics. You can even go beyond how a person looks and work on what a person does. For example, you could print out a page of people in their work environments and your student can ask, “Do they wear a uniform?”
  • “Scrabble” is also a classic game that teens enjoy. You can use the game to focus on vocabulary and spelling. If you get bored playing the old-fashioned way, you can tweak the rules. For example, allowing your student to choose one letter in any word on the board can be a fun way to get them thinking outside the box.
  • For more vocabulary, you can always play “Word Battleship.” The gameplay is the same as regular “Battleship,” except instead of using boats you use letters to form words. It’s a great way to review words and focus on spelling, especially when the student is making their own board.

Focus: Writing and reading

A lot of teenage students really dislike writing. However, some are more enthusiastic about the idea if you give them the freedom to write what they want.

While the list of possibilities for creative writing exercises can seem endless, one of my favorite games that my private students really enjoy is called “Person, Place, Action.”

The student is given nine pieces of paper. On three of them, they write a person, on another three they write a place and on the final three they write some sort of action.

These can vary from short answers to long answers. Lower intermediate students could write “runs a race” for one of their actions, while a more advanced student could elaborate with “runs a race through the desert during the hottest day on record.”

These sheets of paper are then folded and sorted into their categories, and then the student picks one from each category. The student then unfolds their paper and writes a story with the given prompt.

I generally join in with writing on nine slips of paper with my student to give them more variety, and you can get some pretty wacky results with a little bit of brainstorming.

These activities are sure to inspire your students to love the English language and encourage them to strive for fluency. They won’t even realize all the learning they’re doing while having so much fun!

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Android Police

Google search's new ai experiment wants to help anyone you know learning english.

The new feature makes an AI bot that chats with English learners

  • Google is testing a new feature called "Speaking practice" in Search, allowing users to chat with an AI bot on their phone to improve their English skills.
  • This feature is currently available in Argentina, Colombia, India, Mexico, Venezuela, and Indonesia for users in Search Labs.
  • Through AI-driven exercises, users can practice speaking naturally, learning new words and phrases without the pressure of conversing with a real person.

When you're picking up a new language, it's key to dive into its books, music, or movies. Chatting up native speakers is a big deal too—it helps you catch onto the culture's slang and everyday lingo. But let's be real: hopping over to the language's homeland isn't always doable, and tackling foreign media when you're just starting out can be rough. That's where Google steps in. The search giant is testing out a new feature in Search that lets people chat with an AI bot on their phone to practice their English skills.

The new experimental feature is called "Speaking practice," as spotted by @howfxr on Twitter. The AI bot helps non-English speakers practice by asking them to say sentences with specific words. For now, it's only available in Argentina, Colombia, India, Mexico, Venezuela, and Indonesia for people using Search Labs , as per TechCrunch .

In October 2023, Google rolled out a similar interactive AI feature for users in those same countries. It would throw a prompt your way, ask for a spoken English reply, then give it a rating along with some pointers for improvement. But the new feature ditches the rating method for a more natural conversation experience with an AI bot. This means people can chat back and forth.

The aim is to level up users' conversational English skills through AI-driven exercises. By practicing with the bot, users can learn new words and phrases naturally, all without the pressure of talking to a real person. Hopefully, this gets them ready to talk to real people instead of just bots down the line.

In a screenshot posted on X, one of the conversation starters goes like this: "I'm sad because I lost my favorite sweater at the park yesterday." Now, to keep the chat going, the user needs to say something using the words "love," "sad," and "sorry." Another prompt, this time about getting fit, needs a response with "exercise," "heart," and "tired."

Google Search Labs spreads its wings across 120 new regions

Duolingo's been there, done that with ai chatbots for languages.

AI-powered language learning isn't a new concept. Duolingo, probably the go-to language learning app for many, introduced an AI chatbot a few years ago and even plugged in GPT-4 last year. But unlike Duolingo, Google doesn't come with a structured curriculum or a system that guides learners through different levels.

It remains unclear when Speaking practice might go live for everyone or if it'll expand to cover other languages in the future. Hopefully, with more testing, Google will unleash this AI chatbot to help everyone level up their English (and maybe other languages too).

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Tax pros: Register now for the 2024 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum

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Attendees get up to 19 continuing education credits, networking opportunities, case resolution, advice on practice management and more

IR-2024-117, April 22, 2024

WASHINGTON — The IRS encourages tax professionals to register now for the 2024 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum , coming this summer to Chicago, Orlando, Baltimore, Dallas and San Diego.

The Nationwide Tax Forum is the IRS’s largest annual outreach event designed and produced for the tax professional community. This year’s agenda will feature more than 40 sessions on tax law and ethics as well as hot topics like beneficial ownership information, cybersecurity, tax scams and schemes, digital assets and clean energy credits.

Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) participants and other tax professionals can earn up to 19 continuing education (CE) credits. A complete listing of seminar courses will be available in May.

IRS transformation: A historic time

Attendees at the forums will also learn how the IRS is evolving to meet their needs and those of their clients. The IRS is continuing to make changes across the agency as part of its transformation work under the Strategic Operating Plan , which is made possible with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“This is a historic time at the IRS, with change taking place across the agency with our ongoing transformation work,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “This summer you’ll have a chance to learn more about these changes. We encourage you to register soon. Some of these locations will fill up quickly.”

See Werfel’s YouTube video inviting tax professionals to the 2024 forums.

Locations and registration details

The following is the 2024 Nationwide Tax Forum lineup:

Attendees who act by the June 17 early bird deadline can take advantage of the lowest registration rate of $255 per person. Standard pricing of $309 begins on June 17 and ends two weeks before the start of each forum. Onsite registration is also available at a cost of $390.

Please note, members of the following associations can save $10 on their registration:

  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
  • National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
  • National Society of Accountants (NSA)
  • National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP)

Members should contact their association directly for a tax forum discount code.

Forum highlights

Attendees get more than continuing education when they attend the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum. Here are some additional benefits for attendees:

Exhibit hall – In addition to the seminars, the forums also feature a two-day expo with representatives from tax, financial and business communities offering their products, services and expertise designed with the tax professional in mind. Inside the exhibit hall, attendees can visit the IRS Zone to share their perspectives with IRS representatives and to learn more about the IRS’s vision for transformation and digitalization.

Case Resolution Program – Tax professionals can once again bring their toughest unresolved IRS case to the Case Resolution Program room. IRS representatives with specialized expertise will be available to meet one-on-one with tax professionals (by appointment only). A new addition to the 2024 IRS Tax Forum will be the ability to book an appointment with TAS case resolution in advance. Because of the popularity of the program, tax professionals can bring only one client case per meeting with IRS representatives in the Case Resolution Program. For complete details including what tax professionals need to bring to the appointment, visit the case resolution information page.

En español – This year the IRS is increasing the number of Spanish-language seminar courses available to attendees. Details will be provided next month in the seminar course list. Also, see the Spanish practice management offering below.

Hiring – Curious about career paths at the IRS? IRS hiring staff will be on hand to talk with attendees about jobs currently open in examination and other areas across the agency.

Monday pre-forum activities – Attendees arriving early can maximize their time at the Tax Forum by participating in additional events. On Monday, IRS partner associations NATP and NSTP will offer an optional annual filing season refresher course for participants in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.

Following that, at 5 p.m., IRS partners will present a 90-minute panel discussion on practice management . Experts from the NAEA, NATP, NSA, NSTP and Padgett Business Services will present ideas on how new, as well as established tax professionals can attract and manage customers, increase productivity and have a more satisfying work-life balance. A Spanish-language version of the panel will be presented at 7 p.m.

National Taxpayer Advocate town hall – Meet National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins on Wednesday during the forum networking reception to discuss issues facing taxpayers and tax practitioners. The Taxpayer Advocate wants to hear from tax pros and learn about issues facing taxpayers and practitioners. Includes Q&A.

Registration information

For more information, and to register online, visit www.irstaxforum.com .

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