Wednesday, December 10, 2008

60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! Let us remember those around the world who are suffering due to lack of basic human rights. May we continue to push our leaders and the U.N. to stand up for human rights! With great power comes great responsibility...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Memory Game To Practice Vocab Or Tenses

Over the past few years the Internet has really become the most powerful tool an ESL teacher can tap into. I love to explore ESL blogs- it's as good as sitting in on a class. I can quickly read what works and what doesn't work in ESL teaching. This blog is basically a collection of ESL materials and tips I find useful. If I'm the only one that reads it, that's fine... but I think there are many ESL teachers beginning to use online resources to become better teachers.

All ESL teachers need quick memory games that can be pulled out with few materials when times call for it: a sleepy or frustrated or bored class, for instance. I loved the memory game I found here. An ESL teacher shares a tried and true method. This is a game that can reinforce grammar or vocabulary, and energize a drooping class.
I like to do it with a tense focus, for example, I remember very well playing this game to review the past tense after the winter holiday season one year. It started off with,

“In the holidays, I visited my friend in Vienna.”

And the student to my left - all standing in a circle - said,

“In the holidays, the teacher visited her friend in Vienna and I ate a lot of chocolate.”

Each turn becomes a little bit harder as you have to remember all the phrases that came before, but it soon gets hilarious.
Thanks for the tip! Good luck teachers!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scribd Offers On-Line Books and Materials- Including ESL Books!

While searching for activities involving phrasal verbs (what can only be described as a second language learners' nightmare), I came across a useful tool for ESL teachers looking for resources!

Scribd publishes entire books on-line and uses a friendly interface to search through books. I found a delightfully helpful 83-page book on phrasal verbs and idioms which included activities, worksheets, and crossword puzzles. That book is called Phrasal Words And Idioms.

Anyone can upload documents to Scribd, so there is a wide range of ESL materials. I encourage all teachers to contribute so that we can continue to gain insight and help with ESL lesson plans! A simple search for "ESL" resulted in 3992 results, however, specific grammar points will bring up more useful results. Good luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Autumn (Seasonal) ESL Activities

The summer has come to an end and it's back to school! English language learners would greatly benefit from these fun FALL, AUTUMN and HALLOWEEN activities! All the classroom needs now is some cider!

There are from Boggles World ESL, a website that I can't get enough of!

Fall/Autumn Worksheets

Fall/Autumn Flashcards

Fall/Autumn Bingo

Halloween Worksheets

Halloween Bingo

Halloween Flashcards

How To Write Well In American Universities (For ESL Students!)

Writing at the university level is stressful and demanding on all students, most especially students for whom English is not their first language. While each professor has different demands and expectations, it is probably best for such students to talk to their professors in order to fully understand the writing expectations.

As for finding valuable resources, this article articulates well the level of grammar and thoughtfulness required in university writing:

Writing in North American Higher Education: A Primer for International Students

In it Purdue University author and educator Tony Cimasko recommends and gives advice in the following areas:

  • Rhetorical strategies (also known as logic or persuasion)
  • Writing from research
  • Bibliographies and in-text citations
  • Plagiarism
  • Directness
  • Using “I,” “we,” and “you”
  • Tips for using Microsoft Word and other word processing programs
  • Along with completing the professor's assigned requirements, students must paid attention to a slew of other competency areas. I think this mentioned article really lays out the foundation well. Happy learning, university student!