Tutor Tips

Group of human figures talking in partners

New resource for teachers and tutors! Now you can watch a video of this activity and print a PDF of the instructions at http://mnliteracy.org/classroomvideos. If you are unable to click on this link from your email, view this tutor tip on the Minnesota Literacy Council website to access this link.

Thanks to Meghan Boyle for sharing this activity!

Purpose:  To reinforce the students’ familiarity with vocabulary through interactions with classmates

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

multi-colored theater tickets

New resource for teachers and tutors! Now you can watch a video of this activity and print a PDF of the instructions at http://mnliteracy.org/classroomvideos. If you are unable to click on this link from your email, view this tutor tip on the Minnesota Literacy Council website to access this link.

Purpose:  To get a quick assessment of student learning and help learners apply skills outside the classroom

Preparation Time:  5 minutes (to decide on task)

Materials Needed:  None

Screen shot of Walking Dictation youtube video

New resource for teachers and tutors! Now you can watch a video of this activity and print a PDF of the instructions at http://mnliteracy.org/classroomvideos. If you are unable to click on this link from your email, view this tutor tip on the Minnesota Literacy Council website to access this link.

Purpose:  To reinforce vocabulary and grammar structures in an active and participatory context.

Preparation Time:  5-10 minutes                              

New resource for teachers and tutors! Now you can watch a video of this activity and print a PDF of the instructions at http://mnliteracy.org/classroomvideos

Purpose: To review and reinforce new vocabulary

Preparation Time:  5-10 minutes

Materials:  index cards, 8 for each pair of students in class

A hand holding up three fingers

Purpose:  To help beginning level learners develop phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words, and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992). Phonemic awareness prepares learners to sound out and spell new words.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

Pyramid of Bloom's Taxonomy Labeled from the bottom to the top: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating

“Good learning starts with questions, not answers.” –Guy Claxton

Critical thinking is required in the workplace, in educational settings, and to address everyday challenges.  In ESL classes, teachers often ask only factual questions that rely on short-term memory, such as “What did Lee Pa do yesterday?” and “What is the capital of Minnesota?”  While memory is an important skill, teachers should ask questions and plan activities that dig deeper. Even in beginning level classrooms, it is essential that learners are asked questions that challenge them to think critically.

A black silhouette of a man's head with a blue brain inside and three question marks above

Purpose:  To practice recognizing and correctly using irregular past tense verbs

Preparation Time:  5 minutes    

Materials Needed:  A whiteboard, a list of 6-10 irregular past tense verbs. For example: go-went, have-has, buy-bought, make-made, take-took, see-saw, think-thought, drive-drove

Procedure:

Silhouettes of business men and women standing and talking with multi-colored speech and thought bubbles over their heads

Purpose:  To review vocabulary in an engaging and interactive method, or to preview new vocabulary for a reading.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  Index cards with vocabulary words written on them (enough for one per student; words may be repeated)

Procedure:

silver stopwatch

With pre-beginning and beginning level English classes, it can be an ongoing struggle to get everyone speaking English at the same time. Rather than trying to firmly restrict the use of the first language throughout the entire class period (which can be exhausting and counterproductive), set “English Only” periods where you ask the students to speak only English for a set amount of time while they complete a communication activity, such as a mingle, a walking dictation, a dialogue, or a gap fill.

Hands holding up letters to spell the word tips in capital letters

Purpose:  To help beginning level learners develop phonemic awareness and increase spelling skills with a fun and interactive activity designed to get them out of their seats!

Preparation Time:  10 minutes to create a word list and letter cards

Materials Needed:  A word list with 6-10 words and letter cards (each card will have one of each letters from the word list).

Procedure:

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