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games, parties, activities, makeovers of traditional games

Flap Books: A Simple Secret for Student Support! (by Lesley Ito)

I think what every teacher needs to know is this simple secret to successful ESL/EFL classes: Students can accomplish so much more if the lesson has proper support. It is very difficult for students, particularly at the EFL level, to stand up in front of the class and spontaneously tell a story or talk about their lives. One great way to provide support is with a simple, versatile craft called a Flap Book. Students can use these as a prop for communication as they hold their Flap Books and then lift the flaps as needed to remind them of what they want to say.


Multicultural Activities in Class (by Vicky Loras)

I lived in Canada the first eight years of my life, which means that my schooling was only for three years. However, the great educational system left me with many good memories which I have incorporated in my teaching the ten years I have been in the world of ELT. These tips work equally well in classrooms of students from every corner of the world and even with people from the same country (they can do a little bit of research first, before the activities and learn a lot at the same time!) The educational system in Canada is very much based on diversity and multiculturalism, so quite a few things have remained with me. I will mention some I put into practice with my students: (more…)

Love, Kindergarten Style

This year, my kindergarten class liked each other a lot, in song and craft.


Text Your Knowledge (by Nick Jaworski)

Part of the series: Stuff All EFL Teachers Should Know

As a manager I interview a lot of teachers.  One question I always ask is about reading texts.  If you have a short reading text, what are some different ways in which it can be used?  I am constantly surprised by the lack of responses I get to this question.  Candidates most often give one of two responses

1)      I have the students read the text and then I ask them questions about it.

Ok, this is standard and nothing wrong with that.  We want to check to see that the students comprehend the text, but this is generally quite boring and is really more of a test than teaching reading skills.

2)      I have the students read it out loud.

Sadly, I have seen this used a lot in classes at well.  I’m sitting and observing a class of 15 students and the teacher asks one student to read out loud while the others follow along in the book.  This has to be one of the worst wastes of time for a class.  One student is speaking and the other 14 students are bored out of their mind and not paying attention.  Additionally, the one reading isn’t comprehending the text because they are too focused on speaking correctly.  The only thing being worked on here is pronunciation of the one student reading the text. (more…)

Party Animals

My students love parties. I’m always looking for excuses to have a party, so it’s a good fit. It’s also fortunate if you happen to teach English in Japan, where end-of-year parties are already built into cultural expectations for groups.


Play With a Purpose–Projects in Children’s EFL

Natsuru, Iroha, Kokomi 1My students and I love projects. For them, projects are the reward for working hard. For me, they’re the payoff for all the baby steps leading up to them, and a chance to see if my students can use English in “authentic” ways.

My kindergarten class just finished their first project. I’ve had these 5 and 6 year olds since April, meeting once each week for 45 minutes. Our weekly class is their only exposure to English. Play is a big part of our lessons because play is a big part of their lives–and it’s a very effective way of getting them to practice a lot of English.

We just finished learning the names of shapes. We made the shapes with our bodies, drew them on each other’s backs, counted them, combined them with colors and actions, sang songs about them–typical practice activities for young learners. The reward? Getting to play with the shapes to create pictures. Three triangles make a lovely tree, two circles and two hearts become a butterfly, hearts, circles, and triangles can all create colorful flowers.