word cloud containing the words balance, debit, credit, overdraft, statement, withdraw, interest, transaction, transfer, and deposit.

Thanks to Ami Christensen, US English Language Fellow in Bangkok, Thailand, for sharing this activity!

Purpose:  To help learners review vocabulary in a creative and highly visual manner while they practice listening to one another.

Preparation Time:  About 15 minutes  to create a word cloud example and write some example definitions

Materials Needed:  Computers with printing access; if not available, paper and pens (the activity is more fun when students can use colored pencils or markers)

Achieving the Dream

While the Adult Basic Education field continues to build our library of materials found at  Open Educational Resources for Adult Education, three Minnesota community colleges have joined 35 others in the "Achieving the Dream" group to use openly licensed materials in an effort to cut

film unrolling behind a movie film canister

Purpose:  A fun and engaging way to practice speaking that incorporates media and encourages student to get creative and utilize critical thinking skills.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A short clip from a movie or TV show. Ideally the clip will have lots of action or physical humor, or show a scene where something confusing or mysterious is happening.


If the sun is shining and the birds are chirping but what you really want to do is engage and learn something a little more technical, there are options.

First, ABE Summer Institute will soon be on us, don't forget to register and book your hotel room. 

Among the amazing break-out sessions at Summer Institute this year:

blue outline of a hand

Purpose:  To help students practice listening for, identifying, and producing final consonant sounds in order to develop their English intelligibility.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A list of vocabulary words that end in consonant sounds and/or consonant clusters (e.g. math, question, health, teacher, art, student, assignment, homework, lunch, board) and sets of cards with final consonants and/or consonant blends from the vocabulary words written on them (e.g. n,  r, rt, nt, rk, rd, ch, th)

clip art image of a man pointing at a powerpoint presentation with a pointer

Purpose: To learn complex subject matter through a PowerPoint information gap activity. This promotes teamwork within student groups as well as working together as a whole class to become familiar with complex material.

Transitions Integration Framework category/skill/sub-skill:

Effective Communication

Skill 1: Engage positively and actively with individuals in both one-on-one and team settings to accomplish goals

Image of red corded phone

Purpose:  To have students gain experience differentiating between closely related sounds that impact their English pronunciation through producing minimal pairs. A minimal pair is a pair of words that differ only by one sound that is in the same position of each word. For example, ship/sheep or bet/bed.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  Five minimal pairs that contain sounds that the students struggle with producing. Examples:

Clip art image of the back of a postcard with a stamp

Purpose:  To practice and review vocabulary, develop writing skills in a low-pressure and fun way.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  3x5 index cards, or papers cut to a similar size


1.       Together with the students, generate a list of vocabulary from the current lesson or unit and write it on the board.

2.       Have the class brainstorm a list of different topics that they could write about that could include the vocabulary. Encourage them to be creative.

pile of letter tiles

Thanks to Sheri Lear for sharing this activity!


Purpose:  The purpose of this activity is to help students improve decoding skills and improve spelling by attending to discreet phonemic features such as vowel sounds, consonant blends, prefixes and suffixes.  Students use tiles to build words by listening to word chains and adding, taking away, exchanging or mixing up letters as directed by teacher.         


Prep Time:  About 10 minutes




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