A while back I posted a set of verb cards to use for a variety of different activities. This is a new set that I created that uses actual images instead of clipart. There is a total of 81 different commonly used verbs in English. You can use these cards for an endless number of activities in your class. Keep reading for some examples. Continue reading
When 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
Stephen 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
After 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
This 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
Since the start of language, it has been used to tell stories. It’s a natural part of the human experience to recount events and experiences in our lives. Using past tense forms can be difficult at first for English learners. This is an activity that I’ve used for several semesters to give students a chance to be creative and practice the past tense. It also promotes the use of the simple past and past continuous together.
One common grammar structure in English is using going to to discuss future plans. It’s something learners will hear and need to use in their daily lives. I created this going to bingo activity to get my adult ESL students a chance to practice the grammar while at the same time giving them a moment to get up out of their chairs and stretch. They really seemed to enjoy it, and it gave them ample opportunity to practice the target grammar as well as learn more activities and plans vocabulary. If you’re planning on covering this topic in class, check out this activity. Continue reading
I came up with this activity on the fly today as I was working on the past tense with my class, and it worked great. My students got into it and didn’t want to stop. I used this activity after I had introduced simple past tense statements (positive and negative) and questions. We did some guided practice, and then I had them play a game with verb cards I had created for another activity previously in the semester. This activity is great because it also gives them a chance to learn more vocabulary. Continue reading
I’m using the book World English Intro by Cengage learning in my beginning integrated skills course. I love this book because it has engaging material and photos by National Geographic. I just completed unit 10 which covers health and illnesses. The unit introduces expressing feelings such as “I feel sick” as well as using should and shouldn’t for advice. This article contains all of the material I created for this unit, but if you’re teaching illnesses, remedies, health, or advice with should and shouldn’t, you’ll get great ideas and materials no matter what book you’re using. Continue reading
In my opinion, teaching is the perfect profession for the creative mind. Teachers are constantly faced with the challenge of creating new and exciting materials that are interesting and useful. Sometimes this process of creation runs us into challenges, which is exactly what this activity did for me, but in the end, I created an awesome and interested activity sequence that I can use in future semesters. We’ve been working on count and non-count nouns and food vocabulary in my class. This week I introduced how much and how many. I wanted to give my students an interactive way to practice this topic, so I came up with an idea for a modified bingo activity that would get students to Continue reading
I’m currently in the middle of a unit on food in my beginning ESL course. One of the topics of this unit is using some and any in questions and statements. I created this grocery shopping activity to give students a chance to ask and answer questions using the target grammar. There is also a hint of competition in the activity, which I find always gets students excited and active. This activity also works to reinforce food vocabulary because students will get food vocabulary cards with pictures on them. Continue reading
I recently covered a unit on fashion in my beginning ESL course. I wanted to do something that would be fun and engaging with students, as well as get them using English vocabulary for clothes. I ended up creating this activity sequence that ultimately gets students to piece together an outfit for a specific occasion from “stores” of magazine clothes created by groups. The great thing about this activity is that Continue reading
It can at times be a challenge getting beginning students to use the target language. I’ve found that giving them specific meaningful tasks and supports for those tasks can make it easier for them to practice target structures. Giving students a card with a vocabulary word and a picture can give them a talking point and save them time looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. Having them work in groups to complete tasks can also help the weaker students because, in my experience, the stronger students are usually happy to explain things to others. I used this set of vocabulary cards in my class for an activity to Continue reading
A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s a saying I’m sure many of us have heard before. This phrase rings so true in language teaching. Pictures help students make associations with words without having to translate. I use tons of pictures in class. I often display pictures on slides, but recently I’ve also started creating vocabulary cards with pictures. This lets me structure different interactive activities that get students talking and learning in a fun way. These food vocabulary cards can be used in many different ways to get students learning food vocabulary and different grammar structures. One way I recently used them is Continue reading
As self-study or as a whole class review, these slides can help your students learn to recognize errors in their sentences. Click to go to the review slides.
One mistake I commonly see my students make, especially at the beginning levels, is confusing verb tenses and forms. Have you ever seen this sentence? “She is cook breakfast every day.” Knowing when to use the BE verb and when to use the DO verb to help form verb tenses can be complicated for beginning learners. Continue reading
In my intermediate integrated skills course, I’ve started placing more emphasis on the importance of reading because it’s an excellent way to help students improve their fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and more. As someone who has learned a foreign language, I know that although reading in a new language can be motiving and exciting, it can also be challenging and frustrating. A new reading pedagogy that is growing in popularity is Reading Apprenticeship. Continue reading
Learning irregular verbs can be challenging, especially for beginning students. I like to give my students guided practice with new structures by getting them to write out their answers and then having them ask and write their classmates’ answers. This gives them a chance to prepare what they will say, so the discussion part isn’t so daunting. This is especially important for beginning students who are yet very comfortable with using the language. Continue reading
Some activities are very specific while others are quite versatile. The stick figure activity is one of my favorite speaking activities because it can be used for so many things at all levels. I’ve used it in my low-beginning – intermediate ESL courses, as well as my composition courses with native speakers. Continue reading