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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.

Monday, November 16, 2020

November Topic: Consumerism

Despite ALL that's going on during these stressful and crazy times, the holiday season is coming up. With Thanksgiving in the US and the festivities of Christmas celebrated across the globe, many of us will be trying to get in the spirit of shopping! Whether online, or in a mall, it's a good time to get your ESL students talking about shopping and how it relates to CONSUMERISM. There's no shortage of vocabulary, expressions and phrases when it comes to teaching around the theme of SHOPPING (see recommended links) and all the linking topics including sales and discounts, types of stores, online shopping, as well as the countless number of products that society needs and of course wants. 


Have your students talk about the culture and FUTURE of shopping in their country and see if it compares to days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday (kick offs to the official start of the holiday shopping madness Friday, November 26th and Monday, November 30th).


Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping to our American neighbours! (see links to Thanksgiving worksheets and activities).

WARM UP CONVERSATION QUESTIONS BY ESL MADE EASY:

1. Do you like to shop and if so, what are some things you usually like to shop for besides the basics?
2. How have shops and stores changed over the years? How does this compare to shops and stores in your home country? 
3. Are you an online shopper and if so, what do you typically buy? How does this experience compare to shopping in a physical store?
4. How are the terms 'consumption' and 'consumerism' related? What role does consumerism play in the environment, the economy, and in our daily life? Do you think consumerism can affect our well being?
5. What are the differences between "needs" and "wants"? Do you think society's needs and wants have changed over the years? If so, what could be some of the reasons besides creative and sneaky marketing strategies?
6. How has the role of marketing and advertising influenced consumerism? Can you give any specific examples?

RECOMMENDED ESL LINKS AROUND THE TOPIC CONSUMERISM:

ESL Discussions: Discussion questions on "Consumerism"
ITESLJ: Conversation questions on money and shopping
ESL Library: ESL Podcast: How Much Stuff Do We Need?
ESL Library: A reading and vocabulary lesson on consumerism
Breaking News English: Men Suffer from Shopping Too! - reading and activities
YouTube: The Story of Stuff - find matching comprehension worksheet here
Teaching English: Consumer - Society Lesson Plan
ESL Right Now: Consumerism-supermarket-psychology lesson plan
ESL Ect: Reading activities on Black Friday and Consumption
ESL Printables: Worksheets and on-line exercises on consumerism - membership site
ESL Video: 10 minute documentary on consumerism
ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading and activities on Buy Nothing Day
ESL Lab: Short video with 3 questions on Black Friday
YouTube: What is Black Friday All About! Watch and discuss
ESL Fast: Black Friday reading with follow up activities
ESL Library: Lesson Plan on Cyber Monday - membership site
English Blog: Reuters Video on Cyber Monday with full script
English Post: Reading on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with questions
Daily Infographic: Learn all about Cyber Monday - get your students to write summary sentences
Lyrics Mode: Shania Twain's Song with lyrics: "Ka-Ching"

Friday, November 6, 2020

November Topic: Remembrance Day


November 11th, known as Remembrance Day, Veterans Day and even Poppy Day in some parts of the world, is a time to recognize and remember those courageous soldiers, airmen and women and sailors who died during times of armed conflict. Originally associated with WW1, the scope of this day has since been expanded to acknowledge those who served in other wars as well as those currently serving.

There are a number of key symbols associated with November 11th including the famous war poem from WW1 Flanders Fields Poem (video lesson), the Last Post call, and the Two Minutes of Silence
 

CONVERSATION QUESTIONS THAT FOCUS ON PEACE BY ESL MADE EASY:

1. What do the words 'peace' and 'freedom' stand for? Which is more important to you?

2. In what ways do countries try to achieve and maintain peace? What are some of the laws surrounding the concept of peace in your country? 

3. What is your ideal vision of peace in the world? Do you think it is, or will ever be, achievable? Why or why not?

4. What are some characteristics of peaceful people? How can we teach our children to live peaceful lives? If the world was full of just peaceful people, what do you think it would be like?

CONVERSATION QUESTIONS ON THE TOPIC OF REMEMBRANCE/VETERANS DAY:

Activity Village: Activity worksheets on Remembrance Day 
DLKT-Holidays: Remembrance/Veterans Day worksheets for beginners
Bogglesworld ESL: Remembrance/Veterans Day activity worksheets
Bridge Ontario: Flanders Field - poem - beginners - picture vocabulary
MrDonn.Org: What is Remembrance Day PowerPoint
Canadian Reader: A Poppy is for Remembering - full lesson
ISL Collective: 6 Remembrance Day worksheets and activities - donation site
Government of Canada: PDF version of Canada Remembers Times - articles
VA U.S. Government: The History of Veterans Day
Teachnology: Veteran's Day worksheets
Education World: Lesson ideas and activities for Veterans Day
Homeschooling: Printable Veterans Day activity worksheets
Little Red Poppy: Reading and follow up activities
ESLVideo: A Remembrance Day tribute by Bryan Adam with follow up questions
English Gateway: A short fill in the blank exercise on Remembrance Day collocations
ESL-Library: A free listening podcast - Remembrance Day
War Poetry: Remembrance and Peace Event Poems
Altius Directory: Remembrance Day activities (poems and quotes)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

ESL BRAINS: Author (s) Interview!


If you haven't already found this site, then go ahead and check it out! It's packed full of ready-to-use lesson plans and worksheets on lively and relatable topics! Here's what Stan and Justa had to say about their site ESL BRAINS.

Why and how did you get into the ESL field?
Well, we met during studies as we both did English Studies. So we studied together to be ESL teachers but our story with teaching started probably even earlier. I (Stan) did some volunteer work back in high school teaching English to the unemployed, while Justa kicked off her career during her sophomore year teaching adults in private language schools.

Tell us a little bit about your ESL website / blog. 

ESL Brains is a website with ready-to-use lesson plans and worksheets both in printable and digital formats. What makes us different is the fact that we base all our lessons on authentic video materials and tackle some up-to-date interesting and thought-provoking topics. The idea is that your students not only learn English, but learn about something interesting or do some critical-thinking as they work on relatable topics.

Why did you create this site?

We had plenty of lesson plans designed for our students and one day we thought that maybe it’s worth sharing them with other teachers out there. Our idea was that our students enjoyed our classes so maybe somebody else would find the materials useful as well.

What has been your biggest challenge with your site?

Developing the website step by step and making things work with the little knowledge we had. It was just frustrating when we envisioned something and the end result wasn’t actually it. Unfortunately, nothing always works perfectly fine and we just feel very bad when we get a message saying something doesn’t work. I’d be angry if it happened to me so we do our best to fix any issues people have as fast as we can!

What piece of advice would you give to newbies in today’s world of teaching (online or in the classroom)?

Don’t be afraid of using technology in your classroom. Remember though that it’s there to help your students learn so get rid of any cool apps or solutions that don’t work for your students!

What are your future goals for your website?


We’re currently redesigning our website and making it more user friendly. We work with an UX designer and a web developer to breathe some fresh air into ESL Brains but also introduce new features to make teachers’ lives easier.

Any thoughts on where you see the future of the ESL field?


The pandemic has forced people to do online teaching and learning and I believe some people will keep doing that long after we forget about COVID! Lots of people have realized that learning online is effective. I predict we’re going to have a lot of hybrid courses in the future and it’s good for the industry as well. Students will have access to better quality teaching and teachers won’t waste so much time commuting and will have more flexible working hours.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at ESL MADE EASY!
See you there at ESL BRAINS.COM


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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 (be safe), costume parties (uh, not this year) 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!

CONVERSATION QUESTIONS ON THE TOPIC OF HALLOWEEN BY ESL MADE EASY:

1. Is Halloween or a similar tradition celebrated in your country? If a similar tradition,  rather than Halloween itself, how is it different from Halloween in North America?
2. Why do you think the colors black and orange are used for Halloween?
3. On the eve of October 31st, most children go trick-or-treating door to door in their neighborhood. What do you think might be some positive and negative aspects associated with this traditional activity?
4. Halloween is believed to be related to many superstitious stories and beliefs. Are you are a superstitious person? What are some common superstitions in your country?
5. What is your biggest fear now? Did you have any fears/phobias when you were a child? Has this changed?

RECOMMENDED LINKS ON THE TOPIC OF HALLOWEEN, SUPERSTITIONS & FEARS:


Feel free to add any of your favorite Halloween links you have used with your ESL students!

Friday, October 16, 2020

October Topic: World Food Day!


WORLD FOOD DAY
is recognized globally on Monday, 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 to use with 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. 

WARM UP CONVERSATION QUESTIONS BY ESL MADE EASY: 

1. Define the following words: nutrition, hunger, starvation, malnourishment, and famine.

2. Are there any 'hunger' problems in your country? What are some programs and services available for those suffering from hunger and malnutrition?

3. What different hunger related social and economic issues might various countries face?

RECOMMENDED LINKS FOR ESL STUDENTS ON THE TOPIC OF WORLD FOOD DAY:

ESL Made Easy: Food theme links to activities and worksheets

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October Theme: 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!  

Friday, October 2, 2020

October 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!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

September Topic: International Coffee Day!


One of my favorite topics....International Coffee Day is coming up this week! This day has been traditionally observed and celebrated on September 29th or  October 1st (depending on who you talk to) 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!

WARM UP CONVERSATION QUESTIONS BY ESL MADE EASY:

1. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? If so, how many cups do you drink a day?
2. Is coffee considered a popular beverage in your country? How do most people take it?
3. Can you name some popular coffee brands or businesses? Do you have any coffee chains in your country? If so, has this hurt or benefited the economy?
4. What is fair trade coffee? How do you think this has helped local farmers and communities involved in these coffee farms?


RECOMMENDED LINKS ABOUT COFFEE FOR ESL STUDENTS:

Rong Chang: An easy reading with activities on How to Make Coffee
Listen A Minute: Easy reading with follow up activities on Coffee
ESL Discussions: Discussion questions around the topic of coffee 
Elemental English: How to Order at Starbucks  
Road To Grammar: Is Coffee Healthy?.....video and exercises
BBC: Six Minute English - Coffee Addiction 
English-Test: Online quiz on the history of coffee 
WikiHow: Celebrate Coffee Day - with pictures
One Stop English: Reading lesson plans on coffee 
Breaking News English: A lesson plan on coffee
Reading ESL: A short reading with follow up activities on coffee
ESL Pod: Listening activity: Ordering coffee and tea
ESL Writing: Listening activity with questions: What is Coffee?
News English Lessons: A lesson plan: Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
Heads Up English: All About Coffee - advanced lesson plan pdf
Coffee: 20 Interesting Facts About Coffee


15 Things You Should Know About Coffee by Daily Infographic. Find here!



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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 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.
 

Warm-up Questions:

1. Does your country recognize the autumn or spring equinox at this time of the year?
2. What is your favourite season and why? Has your preference changed over the years?
3. Do you think people are affected emotionally, mentally, or physically by the change of seasons?
4. What are some things in people's lives that change with the change of seasons?
 

RECOMMENDED LINKS FOR YOUR ESL STUDENTS:

Earth Sky: Everything you need to know about the September Equinox 
StickyBall: "Fall" phrasal verbs - definitions and worksheet 
ESL Printables: Autumn worksheets:  *lesson sharing site
Bogglesworld ESL: Autumn words bingo cards
Bogglesworld ESL: Autumn worksheets and activities
EL Civics: Autumn powerpoint with picture vocabulary and sentences
English For Students: Fall and autumn vocabulary 
ESOL Courses: Online quizzes, lessons and games about autumn 
Live Science: 5 odd facts about autumn 
Teach-Nology: Reading comprehension worksheet about the autumn season 
Worksheet Library: Acrostic poem - FALL 
Anglomaniacy: Autumn worksheets 
DLTK-Holidays: Autumn puzzles 
English Worksheets Land: Autumn worksheet - practice possessives 
English for Everyone: Autumn worksheet
Educator Worksheets: Reading and comprehension worksheet on the autumn season  
ESL Pod: Listening lesson - things associated with autumn 
ESL Tower: Worksheets on the four seasons 
ISL Collective: Autumn worksheet  *Donation site
Can Teach: Fall poems