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Summer Break!

Hey all! Sorry about the lengthy silence…but it’s summer break, and as fellow teachers, you know how precious that time is! So, I haven’t been doing much lesson planning, but I have been doing a lot of reading! I go back to teaching at the end of June, so look for more reading guides and current event lesson plans around early July!

Thanks, and happy summer!

TESOL 2017

Hey all! The blog will be a little quiet this week (as well as last week…it was spring break!) because I’m heading to Seattle to attend TESOL 2017. I’m looking forward to a lot of good presentations and some time hanging out in a new city! If you’re also heading to TESOL, I hope you have a wonderful time! I’m planning on doing a presentation round-up and summary next week, so be on the look out for that!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day to all my fellow female ESL teachers out there! Below you’ll find a few news articles related to International Women’s Day. I hope you are able to use them in your ESL reading classes to begin an important discussion about gender and equality!

If you have a wonderful woman in your life, make sure to thank her today for all of the hard work (visible and invisible) that she does every day!

Current Events: Social Media Use Leads to Social Isolation

Hey all! Here’s my current events lesson plan for this week! It’s based off of this article from NPR, and I thought it was an incredibly interesting and thought-provoking topic. I know that my students are constantly on social media (even when we’re in class…grrr), so this is a worthwhile topic for students to contemplate. This lesson is best suited for intermediate or advanced students – it’s not a long article, but some of the vocabulary is difficult (even after editing it for readability).

Click here for the lesson plan “Social Media Use Leads to Social Isolation”


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Current Events Round-Up: The Oscars

Sorry all! I’m a bit behind on current events this week – it’s almost midterms in my department and I’m in charge of a few different projects, and basically it’s been a little crazy!

One of the biggest events this past week was the Oscars, so here are a few articles related to the Oscars. Most of these articles are a little on the long side, so be wary if you teach lower level students!

Happy Friday to everyone!

Class Project: Reading Out Loud to Children

Have you ever tried have your ESL students read aloud, either as a whole class, individually, or to each other? Sometimes this is a strategy that works pretty well, but often times you get students who are not paying attention while someone else is reading, or reading ahead to mentally practice what they’re going to read, shy students, students who are nervous about vocabulary pronunciation, and so on.

So how do you help build students’ confidence with reading out loud, and make it fun? Easy! (…ish!) If you are teaching college level ESL students (like I am), have them read aloud to children, especially preschool or kindergarten age. Children are very easy audiences for ESL learners…children are usually active participants in the reading aloud process (they ask questions, they make comments, they get excited). In the past, when I’ve had my ESL students read aloud to children, they really enjoyed the reaction they got from the kids. They also said that they were never worried about pronunciation, because kids don’t really pay attention to that. They also said it was just plain fun hanging out with children because they got to talk a little bit about their culture (they chose pictures books based on their culture to read out loud). ESL students are also likely to put a little more effort into reading out loud to children, because it’s a lot like play-acting…they have to be aware of how their voice affects the reading of the story. ESL students also get to work on creating a dialogue over what they’re reading. Sometimes they ask the children to respond, or ask what happens next, or follow up a page with a tag question (“That rabbit is really cute, isn’t he?”). Also, small children really respond to being read to – it helps them with processing and language skills. So overall, having ESL students read to small children is mutually beneficial.

Now you might be wondering…”How do I find children to read to?” This is the slightly harder, but more rewarding part. I am lucky enough that my university is located in a downtown area, and the public library is only about four blocks away from my office. I have worked with my public library for a few years now to collaborate on my ESL reading classes. This includes doing tours of the library, hosting a conversation hour, and so on. The library hosts a preschool story time every day, and we have participated in this before – parents bring their young children and the ESL students take turns reading the picture book for the day. So the first thing you could do is approach your public library and ask if they would allow your ESL class to participate in a similar event. I also know of a colleague who has taken her ESL reading class to her daughter’s preschool with very positive results. If you have a preschool near your classroom, you may approach them about forming a reading partnership. You could even bring your class on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to build on the benefits of reading aloud!

So if you want your students to get past bored, repetitive, wooden reading aloud, try out this idea! Good luck!