Tag Archives: tips

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.

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

First time teaching ESL to very young children?

5 Aug

Teaching very young children can be either the best experience in the world or the worst, it all depends on you and what your expectations as their teacher are.

I have to admit that when I started teaching ESL to 3-5 year old children I was only 21 years old and I had no experience with them at all. Not just as a teacher but neither in my personal life. I did not have any young siblings or cousins and I had never worked as a babysitter during my teen years.

However, I found out it was easy for me to connect with them and they seemed to like me and enjoy my company. I am aware I was very lucky because it could have been a desastre due to my lack of experience with very young learners. I always say to myself this is a gift given to me and I am very grateful for that.

During my first years teaching I learned a lot from my experienced workmates and from my pupils. This is why I would like to share with those teaching ESL/EFL to very young learners for the first time some of tips so you avoid frustration thinking you are not a good teacher.

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TIPS FOR ESL/EFL TEACHERS DEALING WITH VERY YOUNG LEARNERS FOR THE FIRST TIME:

  • For many of them it may be the first time they hear a person speaking in English. Do not take it personal if they ignore you at first.
  • Some pupils may not be keen on joining you when you suggest activities and that is ok. Whenever they feel ready they will join you.
  • Using soft toys or puppets as your “teacher helper” will be very useful because they can relate to them.
  • Praise them as much as you can, even if it is for very little things they have achieved (e.g. understanding commands, listening to a story, dancing to a song, …)
  • Little children love having classroom routines, it makes them feel secure. Therefore, it is important you always start and finish the lesson the same way. (e.g singing a Hello Song and a Goodbye Song, greeting each other, speaking about the weather, counting how many we are in the class, …)
  • When your pupils are able to follow the classroom routines without you having to say anything, it already means a lot!
  • Do not expect them to express themseleves in English, they will probably use their mother tongue and that is ok. Little by little they will add English words and short sentences in their vocabulary.
  • The more movement activities you add into your lesson plans the better. In general, pupils spend many hours in class sitting down and they will appreciate the chance to move around.
  • Storytelling is essential and I have not met a single child who does not like listening to stories.  It is magic to see how they are able to follow sequences of events and get the general picture of what is going on (having visual support is basic).
  • Little children love partying, this is a good excuse to help them learn a little bit about the English culture through celebrating some festivities as part of the lesson plan.

 

I remember panicking the previous days to my first teaching experience, so I hope to be helping some fellow teachers who feel as lost as I was. We have a lovely profession but it can be very taugh, too. Therefore, I try to help as much as I can sharing my knowledge and experience 🙂

 

Games with FLASHCARDS ready to go!

12 Mar

Imagine one day the internet doesn’t work and you cannot teach the lesson you had planned. Or another scenario, imagine you teach somewhere the internet is not available at all. What can you do? Simply go “old school” and use some wonderful flashcards! 😀

Next, I am sharing with you some flashcard games that you can use in class. Mainly with young learners who like using material they can touch and play with.

1 Guess where!
Children play in pairs. Child A turns all his flashcards face down and asks e.g. Where’s the car? Child B points to a card and guesses Here! Child A turns the card over and says Yes, you’re right! if it is the car, or No, this isn’t the car! As soon as child B guesses correctly and the car is found, they have the next
turn.

2 Pass the card
Play with the whole class. Children stand or sit with you in a circle. Show the first flashcard to the child on your left who names what’s in the picture e.g. T-shirt! This child then shows the flashcard to the child next to them, who names what’s on the card and passes it on round the circle in the same way. Once the flashcard has passed to three or four children, start the process again with another flashcard. Continue the game in the same way with all the flashcards.

3 Snap!
Children play pairs. Each child puts their flashcards facing down in a pile. They turn over their flashcards one at a time at the same time and say the words e.g. Giraffe! If they have the same picture, the child who says the word followed by Snap! first keeps the flashcards. The child with most flashcards at the end of the game is the winner.

4 Abracadabra!
Children play in pairs. Each child lays his flashcards facing down in a row on the desks. Child A points to Child B’s first flashcard, pretends to wave a wand and says e.g. Abracadabra! It’s the butterfly! Child B turns over the flashcard. If it’s the butterfly, they say Yes! and leave the flashcard facing up. If it isn’t the butterfly, they should say No! and leave the flashcard facing down. Child B then has the next turn.

5 Find your partner
Play with the whole class. Children choose a flashcard secretly and hold it so no one else can see. Then, they walk round the class asking other children e.g. Have you got an apple? / No, I haven’t / Have you got a plum? / Yes, I have until they find a partner with the same flashcard as themselves.

6 Memory
Children play in small groups using two sets of flashcards. They mix the two sets facing down and put them facing down. Child A starts turning two of the flashcards up and saying what they are in English. If they are the same, he can keeps them. If they are different, they have to be facing down again. The game finishes when all the pairs of flashcards have been found. The winner is the child with more pairs.

7 Noughts and crosses
Play with the whole class. Draw a noughts and crosses grid on the board. Stick a flashcard facing down on each space. Divide the class into two teams, one to play with noughts and one with crosses. Children in each team take turns to choose a card. If they can identify what’s in the picture, turn over the flashcard and write a nought or cross in the square. The first team to complete a row of three wins the game.

8 Hot and Cold
Play with the whole class. Ask two children to wait outside the classroom door for a moment. While they are outside the door, stick one of the flashcards somewhere in the classroom, where it is ‘hidden’ but nevertheless visible without moving anything. Involve the rest of the class in helping you to do this. Ask the two children back into the classroom and everyone asks e.g. Where’s the lion? The two children look for the flashcard of the lion and the rest of the class helps by saying Hot! Hot! Hot! if the children move near to where the card is hidden and Cold! Cold Cold! if they move away. When they find the card, the two children say e.g. Here’s the lion! and everyone claps and says Hurray! Repeat several times with different children.

 

º Dyslexia in the ESL class º

12 Feb

A little bit of help is always welcome 🙂 The BusyTeacher.org offers really good advice on different teaching aspects. Click on the image to read about Dyslexia in the ESL class:

Dyslexic Students in the ESL Classroom: Simple Things You Can Do To Help

What If You Don’t Have A Language Partner?

7 Jan

That’s what happens with my French, I cannot really find ways to apply my speaking skills 😦

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