Beginning ESL

black chalkboard with the words what where how why when and who written on it with a question mark in the middle

Purpose:  to get learners comfortable with asking and answering basic conversation questions while building an awareness of wh- question words.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  Sets of Wh- Questions and answers cards, cut apart

Procedure:

row of five pastel colored question marks

Purpose:  This structured speaking activity gives learners the chance to practice asking and answering questions. The repetition that the activity provides builds comfort with the language, as well as confidence and fluency.  

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  1-6 prepared questions

Procedure:

hands holding up a true and a false card

Purpose:  This silent activity gives learners a chance to develop their listening skills. It is helpful for learners who are not comfortable sharing answers aloud in class develop confidence in their listening abilities.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  True/False cards for the class

Procedure:

a blue and red image of a brain within a light bulb

Purpose:  Total Physical Response (TPR) is a method of teaching that connects language with physical movement. Movement in language learning is an excellent way to boost memory. This listening activity helps to build learners’ understanding of language, and allows them to demonstrate understanding in a physical and low-pressure manner. Movement in the classroom also contributes to lowering learner stress levels.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  A list of 4-8 movement-based commands

adult ESL teacher leaning over a table to help two ESL learners who are looking at a picture in a book

In the third and final video of the CCRS in the ABE Classroom series, Dan Bruski of Hopkins ABE skillfully integrates a variety of teaching standards into his beginning level ESL class. During the lesson, learners work on strengthening their vocabulary, developing grammar and critical thinking skills, and using language in a communicative context.

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.

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