If you haven’t yet heard of Canva.com, you should definitely check it out. It makes the creation of nicely formatted picture resources incredibly easy. You can also make endless flyers, posts, etc. that have beautiful designs and elements. Two other great websites that go wonderfully with the idea of pictures is www.pexels.com and https://pixabay.com/. These two websites offer free stock photos. Not only are the stock photos free, but they come with a CC0 License that gives you complete rights to use the images for anything you could ever need them for. I used the above-mentioned websites to make these 26 pages of comparison photos. Continue reading
This semester a colleague and I started a cross-cultural conversation hour on campus to provide a space for English learners to practice their conversational skills and for everyone who participates to share and learn different perspectives on the topic of the week. We surveyed to see what topics students were interested in discussing, and the topic of stereotypes was voted as a top choice. We came up with this sequence of activities to give students a chance to think about stereotypes, how they affect us, and what we can do to counter them. Whether you lead a conversation hour or are looking for an activity to do in your class, these activities are relevant and can help give students a chance to share their experiences and learn about the experiences of others. Continue reading
As the fall semester is getting close to winding down, it’s time to start thinking about curriculum for spring. It’s important that my new classes start off on the right foot, so I usually spend a significant part of the first couple of weeks doing community building activities and talking about strategies that can help my students be more successful throughout the semester. I want them to feel comfortable and ready to fully participate in class. I created this “Getting Started” unit to use the first couple of weeks. It comes in handy because not all students have their book the first week. The unit has everything you’ll need to get an intermediate-level class ready for the semester. Just print a copy for each student and you’re ready to go. Continue reading
At my school, we recently started holding a conversation hour to give language learners listening/speaking practice. For the first week, our theme was holidays. For one part of the event, we did this activity designed to get people talking about their favorite holidays. It sparked a lot of discussion and gave people a chance to learn about holidays from different places. Whether you’re leading a conversation hour or working on a unit about holidays in your class, this activity is perfect.
Pictures are essential in the language classroom. They’re interesting, they spark discussion, they provide a purpose for tasks, and they relate to people. They can be used in so many different ways. Having a bank of pictures on hand is as essential to a language teacher as a painter having a paintbrush. Continue reading
Do you want a new activity to get your class up and talking? Check out this great resource. It’s a new twist on an old game, the ask and switch. You can use it to practice new vocabulary, questions using which, or just to get students talking and learning more about each other. Click to learn more. Continue reading
The feeling of reading your first book in a new language is truly amazing. I remember after I read my first book in Spanish, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Words that would have previously been unintelligible shapes on paper had become a whole new world of meaning. It was exciting and very motivating. It also really helped me improve my language skills. Adding a full-length book to your ESL curriculum can be a great way to add authentic and engaging material to your class. Check out this article get all you need to use the book I Have a Dream by Margaret Davidson in your class. I used it in my low intermediate class with adult learners and it went really well.
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
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
This is a great activity that can be adapted for many different discussions. Whether it’s a discussion about a book students are reading in class or a first-week community building activity, these cards are great. Students get half of the questions in advance, so they can think about what they will say. As the discussion progresses, a grid of questions forms on the table. Continue reading
I love using pictures in my classes. They can be interesting, engaging, and also give students a starting place for talking. One great way to use pictures in your classroom is to use a picture collage. This activity gets students up out of their chairs and talking with different classmates. Continue reading