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Incorporate Authentic Material in Your Classroom

Using authentic material in your lessons can stimulate and capture the imaginations of your students. Original and native material such as newspapers, maps, brochures, menus and magazines are some ideas to bring real world language into the classroom.

Challenge Your Students with Task Based Lessons

Involving your students in real world tasks will help reinforce new skills and encourage the practical use of the language. Reading and comprehending a utility bill or a shopping receipt are some ways to motivate and enhance language learning.

Be a Guide on the Side, Not a Sage on the Stage

Student centred learning can go a long way in the classroom. Help stimulate student curiosity and encourage confidence by acting as a facilitator or guide and deliver lessons that reflect your interest in student experiences and learning skills.

Create an Enjoyable Learning Environment

Encouraging laughter and self-correction of mistakes in the classroom can help promote a positive learning environment that is safe and risk-free. Avoid criticism and judgement.

Remember the 80-20 Rule

Talking less and letting your students do 80% of it in class can reinforce speaking and listening skills in language learning. Encourage pair or group conversation after every lesson highlighting grammar points, new vocabulary and life/cultural experiences.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March Topic: International Women's Day!

International Women's Day  is March 8th! This year's theme, Press for Progress, encourages pledging towards women and girls worldwide to help them achieve their ambitions and to lessen the gap between gender inequality. Various events and traditions will be taking place to honour and celebrate women's rights and achievements worldwide. Take the time to explore this global event with your ESL students and get them talking about the progress made, as well as the struggles that many women still face today.

See YouTube video - International Women's Day 2018


5 Minute English: Vocabulary and grammar exercise
ESL Video: Video with comprehension questions on IWD
Women in World History: Reading about the past and the present
Have Fun With Your English: IWD Poem (video and script) by Maya Angelou
BBC: An interactive quiz on women's rights in British history
News In Levels: International Women's Days - Listening and vocabulary
ESL Holiday Lessons: A reading with follow up activities on IWD
My English Pages: Vocabulary related to women rights and equality
My English Papers: Seven Women Who Changed the World - reading
The Holiday Spot: A crossword puzzle on IWD with answers
ISL Collective: Worksheets on IWD  donation site
ESL Library: A listening podcast on International Women's Day
Word Search Fun: A wordsearch puzzle on IWD
International Women's Day: Resources for International Women's Day
Global Fund for Women: 10 Favourite Quotes about IWD

Friday, February 23, 2018

February Topic: Blue Jeans!

On February 26th, say Happy Birthday to Levi Strauss, the co-inventor of  blue jeans! Get your students to learn about the history of these popular causal pants.

Read more about the history and invention of blue jeans here.


1. Do you wear blue jeans? If so, when and where? How many pairs of jeans do you own? Would you find it hard to throw out your favourite pair of jeans? If so, why?
2. Are jeans popular and fashionable in your home country? If so, who typical wears them and when?
3. Do you remember your first pair of blue jeans? Do you remember the brand name and how much they cost?
4. What's the difference between a cheap pair of jeans and an expensive pair of jeans?
5. How has the look and feel of blue jeans changed over the years? What's the difference between the way they are marketed to men, women, children?


Socks on an Octopus: Infographic on the history of blue jeans (Source: Amercian Eagle)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black History Month

February is Black History month  in Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom. Be sure to get your ESL students learning more about the activities, events, and the important figures in black history.

See recommended links on Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

February Topic: The Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year, beginning February 16th, is best known as the Chinese New Year and is celebrated by many cultures around the globe. Its origin has to do with harvest and since this special time follows the lunar calendar, it falls on a different day every year. There are many festivities, traditions and customs which can make this an interesting and lively topic. Have your ESL students not only learn about the festivities that vary from culture to culture, but also the symbols and beliefs of the Chinese zodiac and what that means for the year ahead!

2018 is the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese zodiac. Find out what's in store for you (here) if you were born in the year of 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.


EL Civics: A picture vocabulary lesson with follow up activities 
Enchanted Learning: The Chinese New Year vocabulary word list 
Fact Monster: All about the Chinese zodiac 
Youblisher: The Chinese New Year worksheets 
Education World: The Chinese New Year reading with word bank 
Chinese Parade: A reading on the lunar calendar 
Chinese Parade: Chinese New Year traditions 
ISL Collective: Chinese New Year worksheets and exercises 
EC English: Reading and vocabulary lesson on the Chinese New Year 
Elllo: Listening and comprehension questions on the Chinese New Year 
Worksheets Plus: Reading and comprehension worksheets on the Chinese New Year
ESL Holiday Lesson: A lesson plan with activities on the Chinese New Year
ESOL Courses: Chinese New Year vocabulary, games and quizzes(online)
ESOL Courses: The Chinese zodiac signs and explanations 
English Club: Chinese New Year reading and quick quiz online
Heads Up English: The Chinese New Year discussion questions
ESL Library: Chinese New Year lesson plans: membership site

Here's a great infographic by Giraffe (Click here to see in full) - 50 unbelievable facts about the Chinese New Year:

February Topic: Valentine's Day!

Recommended Sites for Valentine's Day!

History: The History of Valentine's Day (video)
International TELF Academy: Learn about 10 different ways Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world
ESL PDF: Valentine's Day picture vocabulary worksheet 
The Holiday Zone: What is Valentine's Day?- Reading with questions (beginner) 
The Holiday Zone: The Story of St. Valentine with comprehension questions (beginner) 
The Holiday Zone: The Story St. Valentine with vocabulary and questions (intermediate) 
The Holiday Zone: Crossword puzzle challenge (beg/intermediate) 
The Holiday Zone: Crossword word puzzle challenge (advanced) 
5 Minute English: Easy reading with comprehension questions on Valentine's Day 
ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading with follow up activities on Valentine's Day
English Exercises: Valentine's Day worksheets and activities 
Teaching English British Council: Valentine's Day PDF worksheet
EL Civics: a picture vocabulary lesson (with activities) on Valentine's Day
ESL Flow: All about friendship, love and relationships
BogglesWorld ESL: Valentine's Day worksheets 
ITESLJ: Valentine's Day discussion questions
ESOL Courses: Valentine's Day online quizzes 
ESOL Courses: Listening activity on the history of Valentine's Day
ITESLJ: Conversation questions about Valentine's Day
Topics Mag: How Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world
Canada-ESL: Valentine's Day ESL lessons
ESL Video: St. Valentine's listening with quiz
Film English: ESL lesson plans around short films (Love)
ESL Library: Valentine's Day lessons  membership site
ISL Collective: 4 worksheets for Valentine's Day  donation site
The Eventier: Valentine's Images, Poems and Quotes

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February Topic: Chocolate!

Did you know that Hershey Chocolate was founded on February 8th in 1894? Since it is February, what better time to get your ESL students talking about the history of chocolate and all its products and recipes! Not only is chocolate considered to be a popular (and some saying healthy!) treat around the world, but also a popular and romantic gift for Valentine's Day too. 

Here's a great article with video on the health benefits of chocolate that you can share with your ESL students.  



1. Is chocolate considered to be a treat for you? If so, what is your favorite chocolate goodie (candy bar, chocolate milk, cookies..etc) and how often do you have it?
2. Is chocolate popular in your home country? What are some popular chocolate treats?
3. Recent reports suggest that chocolate can actually be good for you (see health benefits of chocolate ). Do you think this could change the minds of those who see chocolate as a guilty pleasure? What about for those who see chocolate as nothing more than a cause of cavities and weight gain?
4. What are some holidays/special events around the world that involve chocolate?
5. In what ways has the production, marketing and consumption of chocolate changed over the years? 


Bright Hub Education: Yummy chocolate lesson plan
ESL Discussions: Conversation questions around chocolate
Breaking News English: Lesson with activities: Chocolate is Good for You
Learning English: Reading and listening - Chocolate - The Food of the Gods
ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading and activity on World Chocolate Day
Breaking News English: Lesson with activities - Experts Predict Chocolate Drought
English Baby: Lesson on chocolate
Heads Up English: Mini lesson on chocolate
English For Everyone: Reading and comprehension lesson on chocolate
ITESLJ: Reading and comprehension on the history of chocolate
ESL Printables: The history of chocolate lesson - lesson sharing site
ESOL Course: How chocolate is made - listening and comprehension
ESL Library: Listening podcast: 6 Myths about Chocolate
Huffington Post: The best American chocolate bars ranked - reading

Friday, January 19, 2018

January Topic: Puzzle Day!

Get your ESL students to honour puzzles of all shapes and forms by having them do one on Puzzle Day (January 29th)! While the reason behind this day may be a bit unclear, it does mean something for the millions of puzzle fanatics around the world.

The mighty CROSSWORD puzzle and the latest craze of SUDOKU are just a few popular ones that continue to entertain, challenge and sharpen minds. For many, puzzles have been a creative and entertaining way to pass the time and relief boredom. 

In the ESL world, using puzzles can add some fun and liven up any classroom. Puzzles can also be a great way to reinforce vocabulary words, build on certain grammar points or review teaching topics.

See links to puzzles for the ESL classroom here!

January Topic: Global Belling Laughing Day!

It's Global Belly Laughing Day on January 24th! Who knew?  Share a laugh with your ESL students and get them talking about the benefits of laughing with a free lesson by ESL Made Easy on:
Laughter is the Best Medicine!  

Click here to download!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January Topic: Civil Rights Day

January 15th is Civil Rights Day in the United States. It is a day to celebrate and honor all those who took part in the American Civil Rights Movement (video) in the 1960's. It also celebrates the contributions of activist Martin Luther King, Jr., who was well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation and to promote black equality in the United States and globally.

Your ESL students may find this topic interesting as it will give them an insight into America's history of human rights.

Listen to Martin Luther King's Famous Speech "I Have a Dream" - Have your students take notes and then discuss as a class.


Recommended Movie:  The Help 

Recommended for: High Intermediate/Advanced Students

An aspiring author during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.