Beginning ESL

drawing of woman in a red shirt shrugging her shoulders and looking confused

Purpose:  It can be embarrassing and difficult for learners to admit that they don’t know the answer to a question in class. This activity helps learners to become more comfortable with expressing uncertainty.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

ESL teacher helping two learners categorize a set of pictures

We like to say that if there is something to support ABE instruction that hasn’t been created yet, MN ABE will make it happen! Continuing the amazing history of homegrown Minnesota resources, the Minnesota Literacy Council and ATLAS have responded to requests for ABE CCRS videos with a project that will benefit all ABE teachers, no matter what level of ELA you may teach.

two-persons-sitting-back-with-back-in-symmetrical-posture

Purpose:  This partner activity helps learners to develop listening skills that are necessary for phone calls and other methods of communication that aren’t face-to-face.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  handouts with 3-6 questions written on them (one for each learner)

Procedure:

a brain in a clear lightbulb

Purpose:  Help learners improve their listening and recollection skills, as well as practice responding to questions.

Preparation Time:  2 minutes

Materials Needed:  mini-whiteboards, markers, erasers

Procedure:

  1. Generate a list of 2-5 questions that tie into the current class theme.

Example 1:

(Low beginning level class, theme of family)

Image of a abstract tree with letters on the leaves

In the classroom, how often do you hear the question “Teacher, how do I spell that?”

While it’s easy for teachers and tutors to quickly spell a word for learners, we want to make sure that learners are gaining the skills that they need to begin to sound words out themselves. For learners who are working on spelling, word families and rhyme is a way to help learners make educated guesses about how new words are spelled, based on other words that sound similar.

red and white target with an arrow in the middle

Purpose: This small group activity gives learners opportunities to practice formulating questions and answering a wide variety of questions.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: None

Woman listening with her hand up to her ear

Purpose: When it comes to developing strong communication skills, strengthening listening skills is critical. This activity helps learners practice listening to both questions and answers, as well as improve their auditory memories.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: Several small talk questions

a pile of multi-colored stopwatches

"Routines are the backbone of daily classroom life. They facilitate teaching and learning…. Routines don’t just make your life easier, they save valuable classroom time. And what’s most important, efficient routines make it easier for students to learn and achieve more."

Learning to Teach…not just for beginners by Linda Shalaway

 

Routines are a lifesaver to ESL teachers and learners of all levels. A good routine provides numerous benefits to teachers and learners, including:

children's classroom poster of words that start with B

Learners connect familiar words from their own vocabulary with specific sounds to help them with strengthening their spelling associations.

Materials Needed: whiteboard, marker

  1. Choose a vocabulary word from the week’s unit.
  2. Write the word on the whiteboard, then go through the word letter by letter.
  3. For each letter, ask the learner/s to tell you what sound the letter makes.
  4. Have the learner/s verbally generate a list of words that start with the same sound.

Example: During the unit on community:

ESL teacher watching adult learner review vocabulary

Encouraging very beginning level learners to speak English and participate in classes can be a challenge, but setting speaking routines and planning activities that allow for lots of interaction can give even the lowest level learners opportunities to build their speaking skills. The new video Adult ESL Literacy Level Instruction: Building Speaking Skills features a pre-beginning level adult ESL class moving through a high-energy level speaking lesson.

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