Browsing Category ESL Activities

How Basketball Teaches ESL Students to Give Feedback

I recently played a silly game of basketball with my students to demonstrate how to give meaningful feedback. It worked remarkably well, and I want to share it with you. I work with ESL students at an art university. One of the most important things they need to learn is how to give feedback to one another, so they can improve their artwork. This may seem like a simple task, but I assure you, for them, it is not. Students will often say nothing, or they will simply compliment each other for doing a good job. I believe this is…

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ESL Pronunciation Practice with Google Voice

I have used several Google products in my classroom for the past few years. I started out slowly with Google Drive, and I’ve been slowly testing out other services to see what works in my ESL classroom setting. I started using Google Voice at the beginning of this Spring Semester, and now that we’re at the halfway point, I want to reflect on how I’m using it and how it’s working for me and my students. Initially, I was looking for a way to visually show my students their pronunciation errors. I looked into various services and apps that would allow my students to…

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Easy Way to Organize Student’s Presentations & Essays

Do your students give presentations or write essays that are scattered? Do they jump from one idea to another? Do they talk around and around a subject, only to get to the main idea at the end? I created this simple Outline Template to help students better organize their ideas. It is color coded to help students visualize the grouping and breakdown of their ideas. The dark boxes on the left are for students’ main ideas. The middle gray boxes are the explanations of those ideas. The white boxes on the right are for examples. These boxes are easily adapted to fit PIE…

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Ignite Presentations with ESL Students

I ask my ESL students to give Ignite Presentations every semester. It’s always a fun, fast, and exhilarating experience for them. Ignites push them to get to the point quickly and succinctly. An Ignite Presentation is exactly 5 minutes long with exactly 20 PowerPoint slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. I usually show my students the Scott Berkun presentation titled “How and Why to Give an Ignite Talk.” I ask them to watch his talk and take notes. Afterward, they will have to explain how an Ignite Presentation works. After viewing Scott’s talk together, we go over the parameters of an Ignite Presentation.  We make sure everyone understands how…

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Coloring Books & Creative Process

I recently used a Creative Therapy Anti-Stress Coloring Book with my class. My students loved it! I first heard about adult coloring books on the Wink Fun blog and thought it would be a  perfect speaking activity for my ESL art students. I photocopied a few pages from the coloring book and let students choose the design they liked best. They were instructed to color the design for homework. The following class meeting, they shared their artwork and explained their creative process. For example, they were asked how they chose their color palate, the order they filled in the design, as well as…

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How to Watch The Royal Tenenbaums with Students

I watch The Royal Tenenbaums every semester with students because it’s a great listening activity. Also, it’s an excellent way to have some fun with your students. What You’ll Need: A copy of the movie A screen to view the movie White Board w/ markers Photocopies of Main Characters (Royal, Ethel, Chas, Margot, Richie, & Eli) Some tape About 3hrs of class time Setup: Prep the classroom before the students arrive. Section off the whiteboard into roughly 6 equal parts. Tape the photocopied images each character into a section. Put the DVD into the player and let the main menu screen play…

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Storytelling Icebreaker

I used Rory’s Story Cubes with my Speaking/Listening ESL students, and they loved it! Rory’s Story Cubes are a set of nine dice with various icons on each side. Roll the dice and make up an impromptu story that connects all nine icons facing up. Simple, creative, and fun. I learned about Rory’s Story Cubes from EdTech.tv. I watched his tutorial on YouTube and decided to buy a set of physical dice from Amazon for $7 (here). I used them as an ice breaker at the beginning of class to get everyone focused and engaged. I have a small class,…

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Running Dictation: Great fun!

Running Dictation is one of my favorite games to play with ESL students. It’s great for many reasons. The rules are simple, and it gets students out of their seats and moving around. It practices many communication skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and group dynamics. It’s highly adaptable for any age and skill level, all while providing lots of laughs. This is my favorite way to play: 1. Print some text on a sheet a paper and place it somewhere that students cannot easily read from their seats. I usually place mine just outside the classroom door on the…

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Review Art Vocabulary with LP Covers

I used LP covers to review art vocabulary with my students, and it worked really well! First, I activated their schema by putting different categories of art vocabulary on the white board. I used categories such as Line, Composition, Color, and Shapes. I gave them a few minutes with a partner to brainstorm as many words as they could think of. Then as a whole class, I elicited words for each category and wrote them under the correct heading. For example, under Line, they called out straight, diagonal, wavy, zigzagged, and so on. Under Composition, they called out foreground, background, mid ground, top,…

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Facebook Groups for ESL Classes

I love Facebook. I use it a lot, and Facebook Groups are an easy way to share links, pictures, and videos with an entire class. Plus, they serve as an excellent practicing ground for ESL students to post and leave comments in English. However, they don’t work as well as they did a few years ago. On the first day of my class, I suggested that we create a Facebook Group for our class. I wanted a frictionless way to share interesting websites with my students. Adding students as ‘friends’ can be dicey, so a group is a perfect way to connect. Everyone keeps a bit of personal privacy…

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