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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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Topic: Halloween!

Halloween, celebrated in many parts of the world, is an exciting time of the year and well known for traditional and festive activities such as trick-or-treating, costume parties and pumpkin carving. Halloween is a cultural celebration with an interesting history that dates back nearly 2,000 years. This time of the year not only provides ESL teachers with lots of fun activities, but it can also provide an opportunity for some very lively conversation around linking topics such as superstitions and fears! So, have fun with it!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October Topic: World Food Day!

WORLD FOOD DAY is recognized globally on October 16th and is intended to help raise awareness about hunger and poverty. It also commemorates the founding of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization back in 1945. This is a great discussion topic for your ESL students so set some time aside and get them talking about the importance of food and the challenges associated in its production and distribution around the world. 

Watch YouTube 2016 Theme: Food and Agriculture


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that special time of the year again when many Canadians celebrate THANKSGIVING - a time for giving thanks for the bountiful harvest and for all the other blessings in life. Even as Canadians take part in roasting turkeys and baking pumpkin pies, people in America are celebrating COLUMBUS DAY - a day for commemorating one of the first European travellers, Christopher Columbus, and his arrival to the New World in 1492. In other parts of the world, countries have been busy with their own HARVEST FESTIVALS  to celebrate all the successful harvests on their land. No matter what part of the world you're in, this time of the year provides ESL students with a bit of history and a lot of vocabulary! 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

October ESL Planning Themes and Topics

There is a lot to talk about in the month of October!  It's Vegetarian Day on Oct 1st and a busy week next week with World Animal Day on Oct 4th, World Habitat Day on the 5th and World Egg Day on the 9th. But, the big topics this month will be Thanksgiving celebrated here in Canada and the U.K. on Monday, Oct 10th as well as Halloween on Oct 31st. Be sure to check out October ESL Planning Themes and Topics here and follow ESL Made Easy for updated posts on recommended links to free ESL activities!

Friday, September 23, 2016

September Topic: Coffee!

International Coffee Day is coming up this Thursday! This day has been traditionally observed and celebrated on September 29th in many coffee loving countries.  If you or any of your students are java lovers, then what could be more fun than learning about coffee, its origins, and all its economic and health benefits. International Coffee Day is a great day for helping to raise awareness for fair trade coffee and for all its coffee growers around the world. Learn more about fair trade coffee here.

World-wide coffee vendors also look forward to this day and celebrate with giveaways and special deals for their loyal customers. Talking about International Coffee Day can make for a lively and stimulating class discussion (on any day, really) - especially for your coffee drinkers! 


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September Topic: Autumn Equinox!

It's that time of the year again when the hours of daylight become shorter if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of you who enjoy the cooler days and nights, the changing colour of leaves, and wearing warm fuzzy sweaters, you don't have long to wait. 

This year, the Autumn Equinox is on September 22nd, or depending on where you live, September 23rd. Many of us recognize this time to welcome the change of seasons with traditional celebrations, symbols and festivities. And with that, comes plenty of vocabulary words and activities you can do with your ESL students. 

Find follow up activities for your ESL students here!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Day of Remembrance

The anniversary of September 11th (also known as Patriot Day in the United States) can be a sensitive topic to address with a multicultural class of adult ESL students. However, because of its significance, it's also a topic we can't easily ignore. Below are some warm-up questions I've used in previous years. If you have any ideas or activities that have been particularly effective for you, please feel free to share them. It's always helpful to hear what has worked well for others!


1. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing the moment your heard about the events of September 11, 2001?
2. Do you think the events of September 11th have changed American culture?
3. What are some possible ways people around the world could help to commemorate this important day?
4. Do you think children should be taught about September 11th (including what happened and why)?


Teacher Vision: Activity and exercise lessons on September 11
ESL Library: A lesson plan - Famous 9/11 Heroes
History: All About the History of 9/11
Breaking News English: Reading with follow-up activities on Ground Zero
YouTube: A picture (question) lesson about Ground Zero
Twin Towers-New York: History of the Twin Towers
Ducksters: Facts about Patriot Day

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome back to ESL Made Easy!

If you haven't already scheduled in some teaching ideas, be sure to visit September's Themes and Topics for ESL Students here!  September is busy starting with Labour Day on September 5th, follow by World Suicide Prevention Day, A Day of Remembrance (September 11th), Positive Thinking Day, and National Grandparents Day. Other topics that might be interesting to your ESL students are World Heart Day and International Coffee Day.

ESL Made Easy's Classroom Templates are available to purchase online! We've created over 24 ready-to-use activities that cover all 4-skills to make your teaching easier and to get your students talking. Support our blog and help make it ad-free for $4.99! Find out more here!

We wish everyone a great start to the new teaching year! As always, we welcome your suggestions, ideas and comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

5 Compelling Reasons to Use News in Your ESL Class!

By ESL MADE EASY - If you’re teaching English as a Second Language, using standard textbooks can get tiring after a while. Students may see the scenarios you ask them to discuss as contrived or not representative of real life language applications, and teachers often get bored using the same lessons over and over.
However, there’s one source of material that will never run dry, and that’s current events. With so much happening in the world around us, there’s very little reason to use the discussion sections in printed textbooks to strengthen your students’ conversational skills. Need more convincing? Here are five compelling reasons to use the news as a teaching tool in an ESL class.

1. The newspaper is an authentic text.
Unlike the awkward scenarios in most textbooks, the news is real (forget the biases)  — it's authentic. Students can actually take what they learn in class and have an actual conversation, in English, with friends, family, acquaintances, and co-workers about the same subjects.

2. It helps students build vocabulary and learn idioms.
There are some words that come up frequently in current news articles and nowhere else. By using the news to teach, students can learn these words. Also, as students learn idioms that are used in reporting and in everyday conversation, they’ll feel more and more comfortable with the language.

3. It helps students learn what is going on in their new country.
Many English learners are new to Canada and therefore may not be familiar with the country’s current hot button issues, key figures, or political climate. Using the news as a teaching tool in class not only helps your students the language — it teaches them important nuances about their new home.

4. It gets students in the habit of keeping up with the news.
Once students are comfortable picking up an English language newspaper or watching an English language news broadcast, they’re more likely to continue the practice long after your class is done. This is a great habit for them to get into - they might learn to paraphrase all the crazy hoopla that's been happening with the US election coverage on CNN too!
5. It makes your job more interesting!
The news is always changing, which means that there’s always something new to talk about in class. And while it’s true that you won’t be able to rely on last term’s class prep to get you through your current class, your new lessons will take the monotony out of teaching the same material from one term to the next, and it will help you grow as a teacher.

Using newspapers and news broadcasts in your ESL class as a teaching tool is an idea that you should consider if you haven't already been doing it. You and your students will reap the benefits mentioned above, and you’ll find yourself becoming much more knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world around you.


Friday, August 5, 2016

August Topic: World Left Handers Day!

August 13th is Left Handers Day and because I'm a leftie , it'll be a proud day for me! Almost 85% of the world's population is right handed which means much of the world's products such as scissors, desks, and sports equipment are projected for right paws. However, if you're a leftie like me, let's not let this get us down as many of us have learned to adapt quite well in this right-handed world. Interestingly enough, there's been many famous lefties such as Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Julius Caesar, Celine Dion, President Obama and Michelangelo who have made significant contributions in the creative world too!

What about you?...
•Are you a leftie or a rightie? If you are a leftie, how has this affected your life?
•Do you know any left-handed people? If so, do they often complain about being left-handed?
•Are there any challenges for left-handed people in your home country? Explain.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

August Teaching Themes and Topics!

August is full of some interesting topics that your ESL students will enjoy starting with Friendship Day and Sister Day on August 2nd! If your students like cats, International Cat Day might be a fun topic to explore too.

Other mentionables are International Indigenous Day, World Humanitarian Day, Senior Citizens Day, World Mosquito Day, Dream Day and Daffodil Day!

Don't forget to mark your calendars with all of August's Themes and Topics for your ESL students here!

Friday, July 22, 2016

July Topic: Parents!

It's National Parents' Day on July 26th! This day promotes responsible parenting and celebrates the special love between a parent and their child. It also recognizes the important roles that parents play on their children's lives. Get your students talking about what it's like to be a parent, what their parents were like and/or what their childhood was like.


1. Are you a parent? If so, how many children do you have and what are their ages? If you aren't a parent yet, do you want to have children and, if so, how many would you like to have?

2. What are/were some of the house rules observed by your family? (Ex. no computer after 10 p.m., formal dinner every Sunday...etc)

3. What are some of the challenges parents face today when it comes to raising young children? What about when it comes to raising teenagers?

4. Do you think parents today have a more difficult time raising children than their parents and grandparents had? Explain.

5. In what ways can parents "spoil" their child? What negative consequences might this have on their child's life?

6. What are some things that your parents did when you were a child that you would or wouldn't do now as a parent?

7. What do you think makes someone a good parent? What makes someone a bad parent?

8. The verbs 'make' and 'let' are often used when describing a childhood experience. 'Make' suggests being required to do something and 'let' suggests being allowed. (e.g. my parents used to make me tidy my room every Saturday and my parents used to let me stay up late on Saturday night). Make your own sentences using the verbs 'make' and 'let' based on your own childhood experiences. If you are a parent, what are some things you make or let your children do?