Many of you who have been following me know about this compound words vocabulary builder and class starter activity that I do with my students. It’s been something that has worked for me since I first came to Korea in 2009. You can find many of them on the waygook site that me and others have uploaded there but I still like to make fresh ones to meet the needs of my particular students.

But once in awhile someone sends me some of their own that they have made and I like to share those as well. The idea seems to have caught on very fast and many teachers use it now. Why not? It works in getting students to learn new words and rehearse and relearn forgotten ones. Not only that, it is a load of fun. There is no class I have ever had that did not appreciate the fun packed in these series I and others have simply termed, What’s the word?

If you are not familiar with how it works, let me give you a quick run down. Essentially what happens is you show students two pictures that may or may not have any relation to one another. But they do when they are put together in a common phrase or word. The simplest of examples would be:

what's that word


You can teach complete sentences. The is especially effective for young learners. They love images and how those images can be translated into words.
what's that word

That’s how it works.
I cannot take any credit for the collection of eight I am about to post here because they were made by someone else. I have looked at a few of them and they seem to follow the pattern. However there are some that give too much information because they reveal half the word.

I am guessing this is because the Teacher who submitted them taught elementary school students so their imagination might not be as active as that of students in upper grades. Nonetheless give them a go and if the students respond less than anticipated, modify them as you see fit and continue.

So without further ado here they are.
What’s the word package of 8 [restrict]What’s the word X 8[/restrict]
This is a .rar file so you will have to decompress it with either winzip or winrar. Both of the programs are free to download but most computers already have one of their own or one of these.



Camp is almost over and some activities were very popular among the students and some were okay.

For the camp I put together a nice bundle of power points, riddles like this one I am about to explain, worksheets for conversation sections, videos for listening and a whole lot more. You can find the complete Winter camp bundle here. Since the students expected the camp to be more fun and a bit less sturdiest and my co-teacher as well for that matter, I had to add some fun activities like this one.

It’s actually a speaking activity disguised as a riddle slash game, but shhh, the students don’t know that :). Anyways, my point is this activity achieved it’s purpose as well as meet the fun demanded by the students and my co-teacher.


Movie Riddles Worksheet [restrict]Movie Riddles[/restrict]

The worksheet has an example of what students need to do. All the Teacher has to do is read the example to them and explain that it’s a 수수께끼, a riddle in English. And that they have to keep it a secret because the rest of the class needs to 추측 or in English, guess.

When you tell the students this, they understand exactly what they need to do. The idea is for them to think of a movie. Write the information on the paper that you can download above, keep that information secrete then give the class clues in order for them to guess,추측, what movie they are talking about.

If you have shy students, this activity gets rid of the shyness. Give it a go.


by -

These are funny, (sort of for some of them), quirky, silly, stupid and helpful to young learners in remembering the alphabet.

  1. Q: What letter of the alphabet is an insect?
  2. A: B. (bee)

  3. Q: What letter is a part of the head?
  4. A: I. (eye)

  5. Q: What letter is a drink?
  6. A: T. (tea)

  7. Q: What letter is a body of water?
  8. A: C. (sea)

  9. Q: What letter is a pronoun like “you”?
  10. A: The letter ” I ”

  11. Q: What letter is a vegetable?
  12. A: P. (pea)

  13. Q: What letter is an exclamation?
  14. A: O. (oh!)

  15. Q: What letter is a European bird?
    A: J. (Jay)

  16. Q: What letter is looking for causes ?
  17. A: Y. (why)

  18. Q: What four letters frighten a thief?
  19. A: O.I.C.U. (Oh I see you!)

  20. Q: What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment but not once in a thousand years?
  21. A: The letter “m”.

  22. Q: Why is the letter “T” like an island ?
  23. A: Because it is in the middle of water.

  24. Q: In what way can the letter “A” help a deaf lady?
  25. A: It can make “her” “hear.

  26. Q: Which is the loudest vowel?
  27. A: The letter “I”. It is always in the midst of noise

  28. Q: What way are the letter “A” and “noon” alike?
  29. A: Both of them are in the middle of the “day”.

  30. Q: Why is “U” the happiest letter?
  31. A: Because it is in the middle of “fun”.

  32. Q: What word of only three syllables contains 26 letters?
  33. A: Alphabet = (26 letters)

  34. Q: What relatives are dependent on “you”?
  35. A: Aunt, uncle, cousin. They all need “U”.

  36. Q: What is the end of everything?
  37. A: The letter “g”.

Get the word file.


Alphabet Riddles[restrict]Alphabet Riddles [/restrict]


by -

You want to expand their minds, stimulate their brain, massage their noggin(1620s, “small cup, mug,” later “small drink” (1690s), of unknown origin, possibly related to Norfolk dialectal nog “strong ale” (now chiefly in eggnog). Informal meaning “head” first attested 1866 in Amer.Eng.). I couldn’t help but to add the historical bit in there. :) I get carried away sometimes, forgive my digression.

Anyways, idioms are fun because they get the students thinking outside the box. They are fun and in my classes, well, the higher level ones, I either use a warm up to get the class going, a riddle or an idiom. They all do wonders I find.

And in my constant search for material beyond the little bestowed upon me by my school, I came across a good list I will be using for a while. With no further nonsense, here it is:

  1. as easy as pie: very easy.
  2. “I thought you said this was a difficult problem. It isn’t. In fact, it’s as easy as pie.”

  3. be a piece of cake: be very easy.
  4. A: “Bob said the test was difficult, but I thought it was a piece of cake.””

  5. be broke: be without money.
  6. “No, I can’t lend you ten dollars. I’m completely broke until payday.”

  7. beat: exhausted; very tired (adj.).
  8. “This has been a long day. I’m beat!”

  9. beat around the bush: evade an issue; avoid giving a direct answer.
  10. “Quit beating around the bush! If you don’t want to go with me, just tell me!”

  11. Break a leg!: Good luck!
  12. “I understand you have a job interview tomorrow. Break a leg!”

  13. break someone’s heart: make someone feel very disappointed/discouraged/sad.
  14. “Joe broke his mother’s heart when he dropped out of school.”

    broke: without money.

    A: “Can you lend me 10 dollars?”
    B: “I’m afraid not. I’m broke.”

  15. call it a day: stop work for the day.
  16. “It’s late and you’ve accomplished a lot. Why don’t you call it a day?”

  17. chicken (adjective or noun): cowardly.
  18. “Fred will never ask Lucy for a date. He’s chicken / a chicken.

  19. Cool it!: calm down.
  20. “There’s no need to be so upset. Just cool it!”

  21. cost (someone) an arm and a leg: cost a lot; be very expensive.
  22. A: “Your new car is really nice.”
    B: “It should be. It cost (me) an arm and a leg!”

  23. ditch class: skip class/play hookey.
  24. You shouldn’t have ditched class yesterday. We had an unannounced test.

  25. drag one’s feet: delay; take longer than necessary to do something.
  26. “Joe should have finished his project a week ago. Why is he dragging his feet?”

  27. feel blue: feel sad and depressed.
  28. “I’m feeling blue because I haven’t had any mail except bills for a long, long time.”

  29. give someone a hand (1): help someone.
  30. “I can’t do this alone. Can you give me a hand?”

    give someone a hand (2): applaud (to show respect or appreciation for someone/something).

    “Dave’s done a wonderful job with The ESL Café on the Web.:) Dave definitely deserves the hand but I don’t expect you would be clapping as you read this lol
    Let’s give him a hand!”


  31. have one’s hands full: be extremely busy.
  32. A: “Will you be able to help us this afternoon?”
    B: “I’m afraid not. I’ll have my hands full trying to finish my research paper.”

  33. jump the gun: do something before it’s time to do it.
  34. A: “How did Marsha know about the party? It was supposed to be a surprise.”

    B: “Chuck jumped the gun. Without thinking, he said, ‘I’m bringing the cake at your party;
    I hope you like it!”

  35. keep one’s fingers crossed: hope for the best.
  36. A: “How did you do on the test?”

    B: “I think I passed, but I won’t know until tomorrow.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed!”

  37. nuts: crazy.
  38. A: “Stuart says some really strange things sometimes.”
    B: “Sometimes? All the time! He’s nuts!”

  39. pooped: very tired; exhausted.
  40. “I went to bed really early last night. I was pooped!”


  41. pull someone’s leg: tease someone by trying to make her/him believe something
    that’s exaggerated or untrue.
  42. A: “Wow! Carl has done some really amazing things!”
    B: “Don’t believe everything he tells you. He was probably pulling your leg.”

  43. rain cats and dogs: rain very hard.
  44. “You can’t leave just now! It’s raining cats and dogs
    and you don’t have an umbrella or raincoat!”


  45. Step on it!: Hurry up!
  46. Step on it! The taxi will be here at any time and you’re not even dressed!”
  47. tricky: easily confused or misunderstood.
  48. “This problem is tricky. I don’t really understand it.”

  49. under the weather: ill; sick; unwell.
  50. “Ted was feeling under the weather yesterday, so he decided not to go to work.”

  51. wishy-washy: uncommitted; without an opinion of one’s own.
  52. “Don’t be so wishy-washy. Tell us how you really feel.”

  53. yucky: terrible; distasteful; very unpleasant.
  54. “Don’t eat the soup at the cafeteria. It’s yucky!”

  55. Zip your lip!: keep something secret; promise not to tell what has just been said.
  56. “What I told you is really important, so zip your lip!”

  57. macho: super masculine / masculine to an extreme (in appearance and behavior).
  58. “Her husband would never agree to help with the housework;
    he’s too macho to do that.”

  59. run-down: (1) not well; weak; fatigued.
  60. “Are you eating regularly and getting enough sleep? You look run-down.”

    run-down: (2) in poor condition; needing repair.

    “This must be a poor neighborhood. All the buildings look really run-down.”

  61. ditch class: skip class and go play soccer.
  62. You shouldn’t have ditched class yesterday. We had an unannounced test.


If you want the complete list of the word file, download it below.


32 Idioms and expressions[restrict…]32 Idioms and expressions[/restrict]



guide to Beijing

This guide helps you navigate your way through one of the best cities in China; Beijing. It's now available on amazon.com. Get it...