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General Writing Resources / Using Tumblr to promote journal writing
« on: March 31, 2014, 11:56:35 AM »
Have students create a Tumblr account and post daily (or weekly) entries about almost anything.

Tumblr can act as an online diary/journey for students to share thoughts, write short stories, create mini biographies and ask questions. They may even want to write about things they have learned in class and how they have (or how they can) apply the material they have learned to real life situations.  Students can then follow each other’s blogs and offer comments to their fellow peers.

Getting to Know You Activities / The 10 Fingers Game
« on: March 31, 2014, 11:31:46 AM »
The 10 fingers game (this is pretty much the same thing as "Never Have I Ever")

This is a fun game that I learned while teaching at a children’s youth center.

In the beginning of the game have everyone hold up ten fingers (or 5 if you’re short on time). Starting with one student, everyone goes around completing this sentence “I have never…” with something they have never done before. For instance, one student can say “I have never played video games”. If a student has completed this action they put a finger down. The game continues until at least one student has one finger up.

Pre-reading activity
  • First, have students jot down 5 ideas or words associated with space and/or junk (have them do this within 1 to 2 minutes)
  • Next, have the students get into pairs of 2 -4 and share their ideas with their group members.
  • Afterwards, ask students to discuss what they think space junk is within their groups.
  • Then, have each group come up with one idea as to why space junk exists and have the groups share their idea with the classroom.


This is a simple writing activity that can get students thinking on the first day/week of class.

Teach your students the basics of writing a letter (i.e. forms of address and closing and where to write their name and date). Afterwards, have them write a letter to themselves and seal it. Tell them that they can open the letters the last day of class.

In the letters, students can write about their current likes and dislikes, why they want to learn English, what they know about English at the moment and anything else that they can think of.
On the last day of class when they open their letter, students can see how much they have improved their writing skills and if they changed at all throughout the course of the class.

I came across a website called Woodward English while attempting to find creative ways to teach our students basic grammar rules. This site has a lot of useful tips and resources for English teachers, and I wanted to highlight one of my favorites.

There’s a section on the site called “Common Mistakes” which covers things like the difference between you’re/your, they’re/there/their, maybe/may be and much more which I found to be very useful. Check out the following link

Grammar - Error Correction / Punctuation posters for your classroom
« on: March 07, 2014, 11:27:23 AM »

Have your students learn the power of punctuation through songs and pictures!
This webpage contains 7 different punctuation posters with an optional melody component, to teach your students a valuable writing and reading skill in an entertaining way.

Here's an example!

Punctuation Song Posters

Reading Activites (during reading) / Newspaper Scavenger Hunt Activity
« on: February 25, 2014, 11:44:26 PM »
Newspaper Scavenger Hunt Activity to teach student skimming and scanning skills.
Created by: Sheila P and Kat K

This is a fun lesson that could be modified to fit most age groups and literacy levels. This particular activity is relatively short but could be lengthened if the teacher wishes.

Lesson Topic
: Skimming and Scanning using the Newspaper to find information quickly.
Skills addressed: Skimming, scanning, navigating a newspaper, sharing information, reading speed, using headlines to find information
Main activity: In groups students perform a newspaper scavenger hunt to find answers to given questions.
Learner level: Intermediate/advanced, adults- could be modified for children with work from the teacher.
Materials: Questions handouts, newspapers

Lesson objectives:
Students will be able to (SWBAT):
  • Skim and scan written material appropriately to increase efficiency
  • Navigate through newspaper sections to find appropriate headlines
  • Document main ideas appropriately and correctly answer discrete reading questions*
1. Overview:
  • Remind students of difference between skimming and scanning
  • Explain rationale for focus on this topic
  • Explain the rationale for using the newspaper
2. Main activity:
  • Break students into groups of 3-4 (if time allows, students can also work on this individually)
  • Distribute questions worksheet to groups, emphasize that students can work together to get all of the questions answered.
  • Distribute newspapers to groups.
  • Instruct students to answer the worksheets as quickly as they can, remembering to skim and scan the newspapers instead of reading entire parts.
  • When students are finished, go over the answers if time allows.

*I have attached the student handout that was used in our classroom which can be used as a sample to create your own set of questions.
*A PowerPoint has also been attached which briefly defines the difference between skimming and scanning and why these skills are important.


General Reading Links / ESL Games
« on: February 17, 2014, 07:37:27 PM »

Check out the above website for access to a variety ESL games for your students! There's a section for online games, vocabulary exercises, as well as classroom activities that range from jeopardy to billionaire. This would definitely be a fun way to get students involved and learning! Some activities focus on vocabulary building but there's also ones that help students with learning past/present/future tenses, parts of speech, prepositions and so much more.

Extensive Reading / Using comic books to promote extensive reading
« on: February 10, 2014, 11:30:13 AM »

I thought that this story was an interesting read, and perhaps it is something we can incorporate more in the ESL/EFL learning environment.

This reading focuses on the L2 learners choosing their own reading material, allowing them to pick something that that they are interested in. The report specifically looks at a Japanese women’s university and the use of comic books to promote extensive reading for the classroom.

Technology and Teaching Reading & Writing / Practicing Pronunciation
« on: February 02, 2014, 09:51:21 PM »
Use this website to help your ESL/EFL learners practice their pronunciation skills
In the English language, there are several words that may look similar but sound very different. For example, cough, tough, dough - although the -ough endings are similar in each of the three words, each word produces very different soundings.

This website will allow your students to practice their listening and speaking skills through the use of videos and dictations to help students improve their pronunciation skills. At the end of each unit, tongue twisters are provided so that students can practice their newly learned information in a fun way. Also, PDF documents of exercises are provided with each unit, so that teachers can turn many of these lessons into classroom activities.

Here's an example of confusing how spelling and pronunciation can be in English which can also be found on the website. This poem can be read or listened too via QuickTime player.

This is a fun icebreaker assignment that I like to use a lot when I'm hosting an annual event for my organization, but it can also be great as a first day classroom activity, (in which the game is best suited for students who already have some knowledge of English) or just as a getting to know you activity in general.

First, create a game sheet that has a lot random and general personal facts, with a blank after it (the blanks will be used to have students sign off on a fact that describes them)

Here's an example:
My first language is Korean  __________
My favorite color is purple ____________
My birthday is in February ____________

Second, print copies of the game sheet to hand out to your students.

Third, explain the rules of the game to your students. The rules are simple, have your students mingle with their peers and ask the questions on their game sheet to others; if they find a student that fits the description, have that student write/sign their name next to the fact. (Note: to make the game more challenging, tell your students that a person can only sign off on the SAME sheet once. This is to get your students interact with as many people as possible). Also, students cannot sign off on their OWN game sheet.

The game can last until everyone's sheet is complete with signatures or until the allotted amount of time you have set.

This activity is definitely interactive and it will get your students reading AND talking.

Discovery Education's website ( has a lot of resources, that I found would be helpful for teaching in any type of environment. The online site offers many interactive and engaging ways to get your classroom students involved! One thing I found to be particularly helpful in an ESL/EFL environment is the use of crossword puzzles.

If you follow this link:
there's an option to make your own criss-cross word puzzle. This can be a great in-class activity after a lesson or as homework assignment so that students can synthesize what they have learned. For instance, teacher's can create a crossword puzzle based on vocabulary words they are teaching.

Here is an example of a pre-made crossword puzzle that centers around identifying the parts of speech.

The Puzzlemaker tool also allows teachers to create word searches, cryptograms and a variety of other puzzles. The best part of this site is that it's FREE!

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