Posts Tagged ‘esl’

Don’t Be Fooled By Knowing Things

While teaching English in Japan, I was asked to give a group of young Japanese junior high school students a crash course in American table manners. We pushed a group of desks together to form a makeshift table, and I created a mock table setting using books for plates and plastic tableware. I began modeling how to use a knife and fork to eat. About 30 seconds into my demonstration, a young Japanese boy raised his hand and asked, “Why do we have to lean over our plate to eat?  We can pick up the plate and bring it to our face.…

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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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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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Culture Box with ESL Students

As the summer semester is getting started, a great way to get to know your students is by making culture boxes. A culture box is a collection of small items that represent various aspects of your life. They are very easy to put together and quite fun to share. I usually bring in an example to share with students to model what I want them to do. I ask everyone to sit in a circle on the floor of the classroom. I work with university students, so it might be odd for them to sit on the floor, but I think…

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Why blog in 2015?

I’m starting this blog in 2015 because I think blogs are passé. That right, in a world now inundated by various social networks and apps, I don’t think anyone will read this or much less comment on it, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong. My focus for this blog is to build a personal learning network around the things I’m passionate about. It’s my goal that this blog to become a hub that will extend out, and I can begin connecting with folks that wanna share ideas and collaborate to learn together. It’s gonna start rough and grow organically, so please…

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