Tesol Planner

Five Great First Day of Class Activities

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 classes and create a strong positive classroom rapport where learning can thrive. Check out these five first day community building activities to get your class off on the right foot. 

be + adjective activity

Be + Adjective Walkabout Activity

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 uses and very irregular forms. I designed this activity as a vocabulary development activity that also gives students practice using the BE verb with adjectives.

Past tense adventure story

Adventure Man: A Past Tense Journey

Get your students excited to practice the past tense with this adventure writing activity. The slideshow will guide students to try and recreate a man’s adventure story based on the photos that were found of his travels although the man himself has vanished.

ESL Reading Log

ESL Reading Log

Help your ESL students dig deeper into a book with this reading log. Students will write reflections, consider reading strategies, dig deeper into vocabulary, and write a summary.

stick figure

Stick Figure Speaking Exercise

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.

House Vocabulary

House Vocabulary Team Race

I first used this activity in a beginning integrated skills course, and my students loved it. Each subsequent time I’ve used it, I’ve had positive reactions from my students. It blends vocabulary, exercise, and competition to create a great activity to throw in and revitalize the class.

The Sunday Review

This week, TESOL Planner is releasing the first in a series of grammar practice slide shares to offer English learners the opportunity to study and review on their own. If you’ve ever found yourself asking “How can I improve my English?” then The Sunday Review is a great resource to add to your study routine.

Error Correction

Error Correction

Correction Symbols are useful because they help the students see the types of mistakes that they are making, so they can work to eliminate them. After grading something, I’ll often write a note to the student saying something like “review SVA” when I see that the student is making a lot of one particular type of error.

Demonstrative Pronouns Exercise

Demonstrative Pronouns Exercise

This activity is great because it gets students out of their chairs and practicing the close / far aspect of demonstrative pronouns in a physical way. During the activity, I could tell my students were connected, engaged, and talking through the grammar with their partner. After the activity, they said that is was fun.

present perfect

Present Perfect Bingo

Present perfect bingo is a great way to practice question in the present perfect and also the idea that it’s unfinished time; the questions ask about life experiences, and obviously, their lives are unfinished.

Friendship Quilt

Friendship Quilt

At the start of every semester, we all face the task of finding ways to get our students comfortable and connected. One activity that I’ve used is the friendship quilt discussion where students ask four classmates four questions to get to know them better.