This week, I would like to kick off a mini-forum of lesson planning and worksheet-creating tips and resources. Every classroom and school situation is, indeed, different, but we can all learn from each others’ experiences. Similarly, we can all benefit from each others’ lesson planning related bookmarks!
Please comment with a quick breakdown of a lesson that worked particularly well for you, or, (for those of you who have done teaching or ESL before JET) any helpful tips from your past training/teaching. Also, if you have used any online resources, it would be awesome if you would post a link and describe how you modified what you found.
I’ll go first.
As a part of my job as a writing tutor, I attended an ESL/ELL teaching workshop meant for volunteer teachers for adult immigrants and refugees. Most of the content was very situation specific, but there was one thing I took from it and have tried to apply to every teaching moment I’ve had since. The instructor recommended structuring activities around a very simple pattern: I do it, we do it, you do it.
It’s par for the course to do an example of any given activity with your JTE before telling your students to pair up. A good example–a good “I do it”–can be the very best supplement to (or even substitute for) an explanation of an activity. However, the ESL instructor found that an interchange between the class or a group as a whole and the teacher made students less shy: if they made mistakes, they made them anonymously, and heard the correct answer among their peers’ replies. A “we do it,” even as simple as getting the class to say an answer or speak a sentence with you, helps to close the percieved gap between learner and native speaker. It is also a more active way of getting an example sentence or vocab word to stick. It’s easy to forget a new word you have just heard; it’s hard to forget a new word that you’ve just said twice with the class and the JTE.
I notice when I forget a “we do it” portion of an activity. The students are either silent in the first few minutes of their conversation groups/pairs, or they simply read off the page. Without a “we do it,” I often find that too much of my time is taken up with explanations or just by trying to get students speaking. What are the “we do it” parts of your activities, and how can you use them best?
And now some resource links!
The classic Englipedia. This site is a compendium of ALT-generated and textbook-supported activities and games. There are lots of book-based resources for Junior High, and increasing resources for elementary school. For High School, there are many games and activity ideas.
PB Works’ activity compendium. This is a huge lesson and activity wiki with lessons generated by ALTs everywhere. It includes links to worksheets. All levels, and a great source for ideas!
Discovery Education Teachers’ Resources. This is geared toward teachers of all levels for US school subjects, but has great information if you want to do a topic-based lesson. Also, clip art!
Please share your favorite lessons, tips, and links! Sharing is caring!
Posted by Lauren, who wants to read your replies.