advanced ESL

Surprised man

Purpose: In this activity students use their listening skills. They may also review vocabulary, grammar or demonstrate reading comprehension, depending on the topic focus.

Prep Time: 5- 10 minutes

Materials: a text, worksheet, or list of sentences

Prep: write in some mistakes in the text to refer to during the activity

thinking about reading

Purpose:  Synthesizing is an important and challenging critical thinking skill (it is in the Transitions Integration Framework on page 42). This activity practices one approach to synthesizing: changing your thinking as you read new information. 


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



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