Classroom Tips for new ESL teachers

28 Aug

Resultat d'imatges de esl teacher image

Some of you are already back to school, others like me are enjoying our last holiday days. Which means I am getting mentally ready for “La Rentrée” by organizing my own thoughts.

Next, there are some tips I would like to share with those starting this adventurous career.

1- Classroom rules:

It’s a good idea in the first class to establish the ground rules. The key to this is being consistent and fair. For instance, it is a good idea to set up a points system with a reward for the winning team (for example at the end of term). You can allocate points for winning games, being active, speaking in English, behaving well, etc. By putting students into groups for this, students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their classmates’ behaviour as well as their own – thus relieving some of the pressure on the teacher!

2- Dealing with fast finishers:

It’s always good to have supplementary materials at hand such as crosswords, word searches and general vocabulary exercises, such as matching words to pictures etc. This way your students won’t be wasting time doing nothing, or worse still disrupting others. Another option I really like (and they seem to like it, too) is to let them help other classmates, it works very well!

3- Group work and pair work:

It is important to use a mixture of pair work and group work. Your students may proclaim that they are too tired to move and that they would prefer to stay in groups with their friends. However, getting students to work with different people not only helps to improve their English, but it also keeps things interesting. You may choose to put stronger students with weaker students and at other times you may wish to put the stronger students into a group so you can work with the weaker students more closely. Be aware of the dynamics of your group and take note of who works well with whom. Sometimes it is necessary to keep some students apart if their personalities clash!

4- Using their L1 and English:

At an elementary level, students will of course need to use some of their own language in the classroom in general. However, in controlled practice activities and freer practice activities, students should be using only English. You will therefore need to make it clear to students that in these activities they must only use English. It is a good idea here to implement the points system whereby students can lose points for their team if they don’t use English (you could appoint some monitors to help you catch naughty students out).

5- Giving instructions:

One of the biggest challenges of teaching elementary students lies in setting up activities. As students know barely any English, giving instructions becomes a difficult task! It’s a good idea to demonstrate activities with one pair/group first (choose strong students to do this). Also getting the students to repeat directions back to you is a good way of checking students’ understanding.

ESL CLASSROOM LANGUAGE

2 Aug

Many years ago I found these friendly images and I decided to scan them to transform them into posters. I used them to decorate the “English corner” I had in the classrooms of the school I first worked at.

 If you have an English classroom or an English corner in the classroom where you teach ESL, these posters are useful to help your pupils remember the most common classroom language.

At the beginning of the scholar year I used to ask my pupils to help me decorate them. This way, since they have been involved they tend to remember and use them better.

Another option is to print them out in a smaller size and make a mini book for each of your pupils. My pupils love making mini books, specially when I let them staple the pages together 😀

DOWNLOAD POSTERS HERE

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Helping Kids Understand Conflict and Self-Control

26 Jul

It has been several weeks since my last post. I have to admit I have been enjoying my days off! However, I also like using my free time reading some interesting educational articles.

I mentioned “BusyTeacher.org” on my last post and this time I would like to share another website I really like because of its articles on education: MindShift. The article I found deals with giving children some tools to help them understand conflict and self-control. Personally, I think it is very urgent to help our students deal with these aspects.

Imatge relacionada

4 Tools To Help Kids Understand Conflict and Self-Control

Let’s face it: Kids have diverse opinions and they’re bound to disagree with one another. Today arguments occur not only in the hallway or classroom, but online as well. And whether or not these conflicts escalate can depend on how well students recognize and manage their emotions.

There are many ways to help build self-control in the face of rising frustration, whether students turn to meditation or build constructed arguments on the fly. Since we live in a democracy that values passionate and polarizing views — especially in our educational systems — it’s all the more important to know how to help kids manage their feelings responsibly.   

Here are some tips and tools for seamlessly integrating self-control and life-skills-building into the classroom.

Mars Gen One

 

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy

One way to promote healthy debate is by showing students that good arguments are based on thorough preparation. This game lets students select claims and evidence to become more persuasive. Once they learn the art of the argument, students can debate some tough topics online or in class. By practicing the game’s techniques, students will be ready for that next conflict with facts, and not have to resort to underhanded tactics or name-calling.

 

Listenwise

ListenwiseA website filled with podcasts covering current events, Listenwise is a good platform for students to practice patience when confronted with controversial ideas or opposing views that appear in the news on topics like race, politics and religion. As students listen, they can describe and rank the strength of their emotions as the story progresses. Then, they can analyze how their reactions changed over time, reflect on how diverse opinions made them feel, and make a strategy for being mindful in the future.

Twitter

Twitter

Twitter has been a go-to platform for teens and adults to air grievances, and the consequences can have a lasting impact on people’s digital footprints. Twitter is also a valuable communications tool that can be a great way to share ideas and engage in conversations. Kids need to understand the risks of social sharing and can be taught the importance of using the tool conscientiously by seeing some of the consequences of tweeting emotionally or impulsively. Students can tweet about a topic from class. But before it goes out into the world, they can write out how they think people will react to it.

 

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is an app that helps students practice meditation through breathing exercises and visualizations. Practicing some of these self-calming skills have been shown to help kids focus at school and at home. Smiling Mind can help kids learn lifelong skills to cope with stress and stay calm. Hopefully the next time they get into an argument, they’ll remember to just breathe.

 

 

 

FIND THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/47772/4-tools-to-help-kids-understand-conflict-and-self-control 

[What to do on the last days of class]

17 Jun

I love the website busyteacher.org, it offers all sort of resources for teachers. My favourite section in the web is the articles one, it has really helpful ideas! The plus side, is that there are many articles focusing on ESL, which is even more helpful for me 🙂

I am about to start my last week of the scholar year, I cannot believe how quickly it all went! Some of you might be in the same situation; therefore, when I found this article with ideas for the last lessons I thought it would be nice to share it in here.

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The end of the year is a special time for any class. Students may have a tough time focusing on getting through the final days of school, but there is a lot you can do to keep them engaged.

Screenshot_20180530-085623click on the image to read the whole article

* Plants & Flowers in the ESL class *

27 May

It’s Spring time, the moment when flowers blossom and everything looks more colourful and pretty thanks to them. Who doesn’t like flowers? I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t.

Using the flowers as a catch, I transform my ESL lessons into Science lessons without my pupils really noticing any difference.

To introduce the subject, we watch an episode of Peep and the big wide world called “Peep plants a seed”. It is adorable!

This episode gives us the chance to start talking a little bit about who has got plants or flowers in their homes, who takes care of them, etc.

Also, Peep teaches us what a plant needs to grow. In order to practice what we just learnt through the episode, there is this perfect online game where we need to help Calliou grow a garden

Sin título

Besides, I found a great song called “The planting song” with a fantastic video that reinforces understanding the process of how to grow a plant. I’m in love with this song, it is so catchy!

 

Something quite exciting to do, if you’re school has got a garden, is to do what Peep does in the episode and plant some seeds and see what happens. Now that we know what a plant needs to grow it should be ok! Every day, some pupils can go and check the evolution of the seed and keep a record by taking a photo and writing down what’s in there.

A nice worksheet to work on what they are doing is this one you can see below. On the left there is the task to do and on the right the images to be printed out and laminated so you can use them as an example when explaining the activity.

Untitled

Since we are in the process of taking care of our own garden, it is a good moment to learn a chant about it. It is called “My Garden”. I hope you like my tutorial 🙂

This is the worksheet I made to work on the lyrics of the chant:

Untitled 2

 

 

THE LITTLE POLAR BEAR

8 Apr

Most of my lesson plans are developed after a book, a story or a cartoon episode. This time, the lesson plan I share is based on one of the adventures of The Little Polar Bear. In winter, I focus my first grade lessons on everything related to this season: clothes we wear, food we eat, activities we can do, animals we can see, weather conditions, etc.

Before watching the cartoon episode called “The snow storm”, I tell my pupils we are going to watch a story about an animal that lives in the Arctic, but they have to guess what animal it is. After sharing their opinions, I switch on the projector so they can see the cute face of The Little Bear. They usually go “awww so cute” 😀

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After watching the video, we answer to a few comprehension questions:

  • Who else is in the story besides the Little Bear?
  • What are the names of the two main characters?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • What is the problem of Lass?
  • What do Lass and Lina like of each other?
  • What is the solution for Lass’ problem?

Usually, the polar bear is quite a popular animal amongst little children. Which keeps them motivated and interested.

We work on some body parts and compare them with the human body parts:

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We also work on some general information about Polar Bears through a little investigation we do. Working in groups of 4, the pupils have to share their knowledge and come to a decision about these features:

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Once all the groups are done, we put together what we have decided. If there are some doubts, we check the information here national geographic website.

After the hard work, it’s time to learn a song about the Little Bear! (sorry for my horrible singing skills).

 

It can also be fun to make their own polar bear craft! Here there are some examples. The one I like the most is the craft you make using your own hand 🙂

cute-polar-bear-crafts-for-kids

 

 

Where to find what an ESL teacher needs!

17 Feb

We could spend hours surfing the net trying to find the best materials and activities for our lessons. Therefore, after 12 years of teaching English as a foreign language I have a collection of my favourite websites. Besides, I have all these websites organized by catergories. I consider myself quite an organized person!

Resultat d'imatges de woman having an idea

Next, I would like to share the websites I use the most and I think they are better for saving us time:

Preschool resources:

Songs and Rhymes:

Stories and tales:

Printables ready to go:

Smartboard resources:

Video lessons:

Reading activities:

 

I hope to have been useful 🙂

 

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