Venn Diagram


Graphic organizers are a visual way to organize written information. They can be used to deepen understanding of new vocabulary, to structure pair work activities, to increase listening or reading comprehension, or as a pre-writing exercise. They are a great scaffolding tool to prepare students for conversation and writing activities.

Prep Time: 5-15 minutes

gold frame

Purpose: Sentence starters and frames give students extra support when they are doing a speaking or writing activity. They are an example of scaffolding and work best for students who would struggle a bit too much with generating sentences on their own.

writing process slides

Purpose: Effective writing instruction includes teaching students how to plan, revise and edit their writing. Students work through these steps at different rates. These printable posters both remind students of the steps and help track where each student is in the process.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the class

Materials: Writing Process Posters (see link below), a permanent marker, one clothes pin for each student, tape, and some ribbon or string.


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



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

Purpose: to practice reading, listening to and writing and spelling a few sentences related to the lesson’s topic to a partner. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Materials needed: Spelling list for the week, computer, copier, paper cutter


Purpose: to use the learning strategy of predicting and storytelling in order to increase reading comprehension

Making predictions before reading is an important transitions skill. For more information about this skill please see the Transitions Integration Framework, page 14.

Source: Based on an activity in Zero Prep by Laurel Pollard and Natalie Hess

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

two figures walking

Thank you to Jessica Jones and her class at Open Door Learning Center for showing us how this activity works with a video!

Purpose to use reading, writing, speaking a listening skills while working with a partner

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Materials: signs for students to read, paper and pens


  • gives students practice with reading comprehension and using prior knowledge to make sense of a text
  • helps with vocabulary development
  • provides opportunities for one-to-one interaction and cooperative learning.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes once story has been selected; longer if you need to type up the story



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