advanced ESL


Purpose: This activity can take up to an hour and focuses on speaking, listening, writing, and, to a lesser extent, reading.  Students also get a chance to see target vocabulary used in different ways. 

Preparation time: none

Materials needed: Sentence template for each learner with a different color for each group (see link below), white board or area of whiteboard for each group, and red pens


popsicle stick puppets
In a classroom setting, students hear many voices, providing all students with multiple language practice opportunities. In a one-to-one setting it can be challenging to give the student enough practice. The following suggestions give the student ways to talk about one topic several times, from several points of view.
Example question from "Learn English Grammar (US Edition)"

The iTunes App Store has hundreds of English learning apps.  Most are targeted at either children or adults outside the U.S.  It can be difficult to find content that's a good fit for adult English learners in the U.S.  How do you know what's worth downloading?  What's worth investing a few dollars in?  Here are five iPad apps that Minnesota teachers have found, tried, and liked.

table and chairs

Purpose: to practice describing vocabulary words

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Materials: a set of word cards with vocabulary to review

Prep: create the set of word cards and place a chair in the front of the room, facing the class


1.      Divide the class in to two teams.

2.      A student from team A sits in the chair in the front of the room and chooses a word card.

3 women discussing


Purpose: to use verbal and nonverbal communication signals to acknowledge and affirm others and their contributions

Man thinking

Purpose: to increase listening comprehension by making inferences and giving evidence to support answers to questions about a text. 

Making inferences is an important transitions skill. For more information about this skill please see the Transitions Integration Framework, page 15.

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes

the circle game

Prep Time: 2-5 minutes

Materials: flip chart paper, markers, tape

Prep: gather the materials and decide on a topic


Journeys book

Thanks to Jessica Horning at Open Door Learning Center, Lake Street for sharing this tip!

Purpose:   Students answer comparison questions about a story from Journeys by comparing their life to the author’s life.  They also identify any unknown words and guess at the meaning through determining the part of speech.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Materials needed: Journeys books, Journeys Response Sheet (see link below), copier

four arrows

Many thanks to Lori Leininger for sharing this activity idea!

Purpose:  This activity stimulates student learning through movement, social skills and discussion. This activity is fun and takes very little preparation and is a great review activity.

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Materials: Four large signs that you will create

Purpose:  to review vocabulary and practice asking and answering questions

Prep time:  10-15 minutes

Materials:  sets of index cards, each with a question and answer (see attached handout for examples)

Prep:  You’ll need an even number of people to do this activity.  Each person needs one card, so prepare the cards accordingly.




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