Top 5 Uses of Top 10 Lists

I discovered a site that publishes top ten lists. That’s all they do. Well, there is some variation.  They have top 20 and top 25 lists as well. The List Universe. The site offers materials that are appropriate for upper level students. Lists contain brief explanations for each item. As an added bonus, the site…

Getting the Most Out of Authentic Texts

If you’ve decided to bring in an authentic text to share with your students, what do you plan to do with it? You can use a text to meet a number of objectives, which include but are not limited to: Teaching text organization and comprehension of main ideas. Scramble the paragraphs of a short article…

The Power of Polls

I’ve suggested use of polls and surveys in the past. Those ideas included activities to target: Word parts Collocations Quantifiers Question formation The above activities were designed with intermediate and advanced students in mind. What about beginners? How can polls assist those with a limited amount of language, especially in terms of reading and writing?…

Second-hand Writing: Maximizing the usefulness of a writing activity

I hope the title caught your attention, but perhaps it’s also caused some confusion. Let me explain. I’d like to consider the possibility of using student compositions as the basis for other activities. It’s similar to a craftsman building something from recycled materials. Compositions that have been thoroughly revised and already graded could be used…

Mix and Match: An activity to develop reading skills

It’s helpful for language learners to understand the tone and the organization of any given text. These two factors are related to the writer’s purpose. Furthermore, recognizing a writer’s tone and means of organizing information is a skill that can aid students in composing their own texts since one must comprehend a model before trying…

Fun for Everyone: An activity to practice comparatives and equatives

Level: Intermediate to advanced Objective: To describe lesser-known sports and identify their appeal to people Skills targeted: Reading for details, using graphic organizers, making conclusions, writing with comparatives and equatives STEP 1 – Students receive a list of 4-6 lesser-known sports. For each sport, provide a recommended link that offers background information. Suggestions: Bocce Orienteering…

Whole Group, Whole Language Activities

If your curriculum allows for flexibility, consider basing some lessons around group activities. The activities should be driven by themes that appeal to your students. A single theme and a set of clear procedures make for an enjoyable, constructive class. The following activities require small groups of students (approx. 4 per group) to use speaking,…

Finding a Cure: How to work practical skills into a lesson

ESL students are faced with two basic challenges: They must master English for communication, and they must learn to function within an English-only environment.  For example, a student must be able to ask a passerby which bus he should take to reach the city library. Then, after boarding the bus, he needs to pay the…

Discovering the Potential of Online Surveys for ESL Instruction

While attending the recent TESOL convention in Denver, Colorado, I was excited to see a strong emphasis on blending the latest technology with traditional teaching. Sessions on creative uses of digital media often had standing room only. At the Electronic Village Fair, I was fortunate to find intimate groups of two or three at each…

Many Magazines, Many Benefits

I’ve noted before that magazines are great items to keep on hand. They can be used for a variety of communicative activities. Here’s one more to try out in your own classroom: Activity: Magazine Reviews Level: Intermediate to advanced Skills Targeted: reading (scanning, skimming); academic skills/ critical-thinking skills (making predictions, making inferences) STEP 1 –…

Putting a Spin on LEA for Upper Level Students

For those who are not familiar with the Language Experience Approach (LEA), it was created as a way to develop literacy for native-English-speaking children. In time, the approach found application in the ESL classroom as well. The basic idea is for a teacher or aide to transcribe an oral account as told by the learner and…