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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Christmas is in the air! Your ESL students should be busy for the next week or so with the various activities, worksheets and lessons related to this festive holiday season found below!

Make sure to spend time talking about the origin and meaning of Christmas as well as the festivities, symbols, songs and stories that make it one of the most joyous times of the year for Christians and non-Christians alike throughout the world! 

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

December Teaching Topics and Themes

Be sure to take a peek at some of the suggested Topics and Themes for December here! The main theme of course will be the holiday season - decked out in colorful lights and cheery decorations! However, you may also want to discuss a bit about the history of December 25th and focus less on the commercial side of it. Depending on where you are, your students will most likely be surrounded by an abundance of holiday festivitiesholiday carols and red and green symbols in their don't be afraid to get them all into the holiday spirit too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November Topic: Shopping!

With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us are getting in the spirit of shopping! It's a good time to get your ESL students talking about shopping and how it relates to CONSUMERISM. There is 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.

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

Have your students talk about the culture 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 this Friday, November 24th and Monday, November 28 th).


Thursday, November 17, 2016

November Topic: World Television Day!

Get set for World Television Day on November 21day was officially identified by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996 to acknowledge and commemorate the role that television has played in providing the world with ongoing information and communication.  Television has not only provided the world with universal links to social, economic and political developments, but has also been one of the most important drivers of technological developments in entertainment and communication.

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Start Your Own 1:1 Tutoring Business!

Watch "How to Enhance Your ESL Skills with Private Tutoring" YouTube video!

Download Your Guide and Editable Templates at the ESL Made Easy Store by clicking here  for only $15.99!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Fun Find for your ESL students!

Thank you Ana  Perez for the discovery of a great worksheet generator that looks professional!

Use your own vocabulary words you've been doing in the classroom and then create over 10 different activity sheets that are easy to use and printable!

Check it out here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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 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.


Friday, November 4, 2016

November Topic: Daylight Savings Time!

It's that time of the year again - Daylight Saving Time (DST) - officially ends this Sunday (Nov 6th), so get ready to turn those clocks "backwards"! DST was first introduced in the late 1800's before electricity and  modern lighting as a way to gain an extra hour of daylight and productivity. When the energy crisis hit in the 1970's, more and more countries began to practice DST and today it's observed by over 70 countries worldwide. Applauded for its role in energy conversation, but criticized for the way it disrupts daily life, DST makes for a great ESL discussion topic - one that can also provide a springboard for talking about "time".


Monday, October 31, 2016

November Planning Topics and Themes

There's lots to talk about with your ESL students this month! Be sure to check out November's Themes and Topics here for your month's curriculum planning or if you just need a quick idea.

International observance and celebratory days that might provide some interesting springboard topics this month include World Vegan Day, World Tongue Twister Day, Remembrance/Veteran's Day, World Kindness Day, Say Hello Day, World Television Day and of course the biggie in the U.S. is American Thanksgiving! Be sure to check them all out and feel free to add any of your ideas and suggestions for this month too!

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?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July Topic: Nelson Mandela

It's International Nelson Mandela Day on Monday, July 18th. This day is set aside not only to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life, but to remember some of Mandela's greatest achievements towards working with conflict, human development, democracy, peace and resolution. Get your ESL students talking about the values Nelson Mandela shared with the world on  freedom, equality and respect.


1.  What does freedom mean to you?
2.  Why is it important to respect others regardless of race and religion?
3.  Besides Nelson Mandela, can you think of other people who have contributed to peace on Earth?
4.  Why is it important to teach children how to be respectful and loving? What happens  when they are not taught this at a young age?


Friday, July 8, 2016

July Topic: International Puzzle Day!


It's international Puzzle Day on July 13th! Celebrate this day by giving your ESL students a few puzzles. Using puzzles such as crosswords and word searches is a great way to add some fun and liven up the classroom. Challenge students looking to build on their vocabulary and spelling skills or use puzzles as a way to review and reinforce  previous lessons or themes.

 Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July Topic: World Population Day!

WORLD POPULATION DAY, held every year on July 11th, was created by the United Nations Development Program in 1989. This important day was established to raise awareness of the issues and solutions related to our global population level. With over 7 billion people in the world (see the worldometer here!), there is no doubt that this is an issue that affects us all. It's also a topic that should spark some lively discussion as your ESL learners address such related issues as the impact of further development and population growth, sustainability and the impact all of this has on our young people.

Watch this short video clip "7 Billion - National Geographic" here.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

July Topic: Independence Day!

Monday, July 4th, is Independence Day in the United States. Also known as the Fourth of July, this date commemorates the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.  This is a festive day for many Americans as they celebrate with fireworks, parades, fairs, concerts, picnics and family reunions. It's a fun and proud day for Americans so get your students talking about the history, the culture, and the traditions of the United States!

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

July Teaching Themes and Topics

Be sure to check out July Themes and Topics here and follow ESL Made Easy for weekly posts on some of them this month. There's plenty to celebrate in July starting with Canada Day on July 1st and Independence Day in the United States on July 4th. July is also a good month to talk about chocolate, the world's population, and the importance of parents as it's Parents Day on July 26th. There's plenty more topics that fall in July so don't forget to mark your teaching calendar!

Monday, June 27, 2016

July Topic: Canada Day!

                            Happy Birthday Canada! 

Friday, July 1st marks the anniversary date (1867) of the union of the British North America provinces. This statutory holiday means fireworks, festivals, concerts and parades all across Canada! 

It's a proud day for Canadians to celebrate their heritage so why not get your ESL students talking about Canada Day too!
Watch Canada Travel Guide video here


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Importance of Bees

The world needs BEES and there's been a lot of buzz about them lately! Did you know that in North America, one third of the food we consume wouldn't exist without bees and other pollinators?

Unfortunately, the global population of bees and other key pollinators is dropping dramatically and scientists are struggling to understand the causes, impacts and potential solutions. A great thing to get your ESL students talking about might be ‎the sort of changes that are affecting the bee population (e.g., loss of habitat, pesticides and even viruses)!

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June Topic: Father's Day!

Sunday, June 19th marks a special appreciation day for fathers! There's no shortage of online resources so get your ESL students talking about the role of fathers in the family and in society as well as the history behind this celebration!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

June Topic: Donating Blood

June 14th is  WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY! This is a great opportunity to get your ESL students talking about what it means to be a blood donor and how donating their blood helps save lives around the world. You might also want to show the World Health Organization's short video clip in support of their "Thank you For Saving My Life" theme this year and read more about this day here. >>>

Learn about blood types, facts and information here by the American Red Cross.


Friday, June 3, 2016

June Topic: World Oceans Day!

June 8th is WORLD OCEANS DAY!  Officially declared by the U.N. in 1992, this day was intended to help us recognize the importance of oceans as part of our overall ecosystem. Given that they cover 71% of the Earth's surface and represent 99% of the living space, why not get your ESL students talking about the importance of oceans as sources of food, oxygen, and medicine around the world!

Read more about World Oceans Day here!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June Topics and Themes for ESL Students

For many teachers and students, June marks the end of the school year, but for others, it's about getting ready for summer classes! There's still a lot to talk about with your ESL students so be sure to check out our June Topics and Themes and don't forget to follow ESL Made Easy for weekly posts. One topic that may not get a lot of attention is Father's Day (June 19th). Why not use the days ahead to talk about the history of Father's Day as well as the various roles fathers play in the family and in the community.

Other noteworthy topics for this month are World Ocean Day, International Sushi Day, the start of Ramadan, the Summer Solstice, World Music Day, and International Anti-Drug Day. Stay tuned for related links to recommended ESL worksheets and activities!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Get Your Students Reading and Talking with  WOW News Stories!

When I find interesting or shocking news stories, I love to share them with my students. Focusing on the vocabulary in the story is one thing, but when there's a lesson, a theme, or an emotional reaction that a particular news story creates, there's a tremendous opportunity for ESL learners to remember and relate personal or shared experiences to what they are reading and comprehending.

News stories that are interesting, compelling, touching, shocking, humorous or just plain unbelievable can make learning and remembering new and tricky vocabulary and expressions painless. It can also help spark students' interest in talking about them!

Find TIPS and some of my WOW stories here!

Friday, May 13, 2016

May Topic: World Telecommunications Day!

Image result for world telecommunications dayIt's World Telecommunication Day on May 17th which could create some lively discussion in your ESL classroom! Get your students talking about how information travels the world, changes in communication (the good, the bad and the ugly!), as well as the importance of telecommunications in our ever changing world today.

Read more about World Telecommunication Day here!


ESL Conversation: Discussion questions about communication
ESL Holiday Lessons: Reading with follow up activities on WTD
English-Test: Online quiz on telecommunications
English Page: Telecommunications vocabulary
Science: Free PowerPoints on telecommunication topics
Forbes: The World's Largest Telecommunication Companies

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May Topic: Sleep!

May 12th is International Fatigue Syndrome Day.This day is set aside to recognize the fact that sometimes life can make us feel tired and worn-out. It is also a day to create an awareness on how sleeping problems and disorders can lead to serious health issues. Your ESL students might find this to be a familiar and interesting topic to discuss as they can talk about their own sleeping problems, habits and routines! 

Download the ESL MADE EASY
"Let's Talk About......Sleep" worksheet.
Student-centred reading and conversation lesson plan!
Great for multi-level classes or one on one teaching!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

May Topic: International Bird Migratory Day!

If you're a bird lover, then May 9th might be of interest to you! This special day for birds celebrates their diversity around the world as well as some of their amazing migration journeys. International Bird Migratory Day is a day to share the many ways in which birds matter to the environment, to our ecosystems and of course to us. Take some time to have a conversation about birds with your ESL students and see if there are any bird fans in your class! 

To find out more about International Bird Migratory Day, click here.

All About Birds: The Basics of Bird Migration
ESl Discussions: Conversation questions - Birds
Idiom Connection: Bird idioms
VOA News: Birds and Their Stories
Language Guide: Bird vocabulary with listening
Expresso English: Vocabulary words about birds
ESL Lab: Listening activity on raising birds
Daily ESL: Listen and Read - Birding
TLS Books: Facts and opinion worksheet on birds
Smith Life Science: Reading activity and crossword on birds
Layers of Learning: Printable worksheet on the anatomy of a bird
Easy Science for Kids: Fun facts about flightless birds and video