• Syllabus Makeover: Five Ideas to Upgrade Your Syllabus

    test_handout_professor_corrected1.jpgWhen I was working on my Master’s thesis, I read a research study on student-teacher rapport which revealed that even if students were shown a soundless clip of only a few seconds that showed a teacher teaching class, those students would form very strong opinions and feelings as to the quality and interest of the given course. Such initial impressions can stick with students and frame how they view the course.

    In a way, the syllabus we create and distribute to students is very much one type of first impression that students get. Continue reading

  • Five Great First Day of Class Activities

    Classmate Classroom Sharing International Friend ConceptStephen Krashen once wrote “Motivational and attitudinal considerations are prior to linguistic considerations. If the affective filter is ‘up’, no matter how beautifully the input is sequenced, no matter how meaningful and communicative the exercise is intended to be, little or no acquisition will take place.” As August approaches, and with it the start of school, it’s a great time to look at ways we can lower the affective filter in our language classrooms and create a positive rapport and interconnection where learning can thrive. Check out these five first day community building activities to get your class off on the right foot.  Continue reading

  • Be + Adjective Walkabout Activity

    Be + Adjective PicturesAfter a wonderful vacation in West Africa over the summer, it’s time to get back to work here at TESOL Planner. Let’s start with a fun activity for beginners. As native or fluent speakers of English, we use the verb BE all the time, often without even taking note. Beginners, on the other hand, have difficulty with its use and very irregular forms. I designed this activity as a vocabulary development activity that also gives students practice using the BE verb with adjectives. It can easily be adapted to fit your classroom. The basic idea Continue reading

  • WH Questions Past Tense Talking Chart

    WH Past Tense Talking ChartThis is a great two-part activity that gives English learners a chance to practice question and statement forms in the simple past tense. I used it last night in my beginning adult ESL class, and everyone really seemed to enjoy it. I love using talking charts like this because they give learners at the lower levels something to guide their discussion. They also give me something to walk around and check to make sure everyone is getting the grammar. I can point out errors as students are making them. I can also collect them after the activity if I want to give more detailed feedback to everyone. I use charts like this a lot because it makes the learning process more interactive and helps even the shyer students participate and use English.  Continue reading