November 2008 Volume 9, Issue 4


Activities and Resources for ESL!

"My ESL students want to use the Internet, but the language is so difficult!"

"I want to use computers in my ESL classroom to help my  students learn English, but I also want them to have computer and critical thinking skills. I wish I could find ways to put it all together for them."

You've come to the right place. The only advice I would strongly give, and it's free, is to walk your talk. Walk your students through the activities or game the first time around. Adults and kids need confidence before trying new things. Once they feel comfortable with the activity, let them loose! So often I notice people not engaging in a delightful experience because they just don't feel that they know enough. Sound familiar?

Games  - From BBC. I had a hard time leaving! This game will help students develop the vocabulary they  need to succeed in important exams and in life! - If they like music, this is so much fun. You go through the city recording sounds of different types. When you are through, you go to your mixer, adding the sounds to different tracks. I felt like a very hip composer when I was done! The only reading required is on the signs. - You have to try this game. It's a version of Twenty Questions. You sign in and select a topic. I chose sports. I thought of Roger Federer. Then I answered the question and the sneaky computer had me figured in just a few questions! Play it with the class on the computer. Then take it to the class and let students do the talking with their own thoughts and questions!  - Another BBC offering. Choose literacy or numeracy, and then choose topic and level. - Again, from BBC. My score on this one was abysmal! I used to think my senses were pretty sharp! - Not BBC, but UK. Philologus is an online resource allowing teachers to create games and activities for use in the classroom. You'll find published games that other teachers and students have created. Fun. Click on (Info) next to each game to find a description of the game. - Our ESL students would probably score better than I did, but I learned oodles!

Other Activities and Resources - Wow. Have your students click on any category and feast on the results. "Different from an encyclopedia or from traditional online dictionaries, thesauri and glossaries because the images replace the words." Examine all of the links that give you different options. Site includes sound. (Thanks, Tom Dietvorst!) - English for All has numerous resources with lesson plans that are very detailed. You may copy and paste right from the site and adapt the ideas to your students. The video streaming was not very effective on my system, but it may work on yours. (Thanks, Tom Dietvorst) - This site is very well developed with great categories for adult el topics. I looked into a few and found that ESL students would benefit from several since there is audio with many of the stories. Worth a check. - Feast on these lesson ideas on using computers with ESL students! (Thanks, Tom Dietvorst)- You'll have to pick the lessons for ESL students; the language is more appropriate for ABE or Pre-GED. What a wonderful way to get students working on their own while you work with those that need your personal attention for a bit. - This article was a joy to read. It's short, sweet, and helpful. "Integrating Computer Skills into Low Level ESL," by Susan Gaer, Santa Ana College, San Ana, California - What is elllo? ELLLO is a free online listening resource of over 1,000 listening activities designed especially for ESL and EFL students and teachers. Most listening activities include images, an interactive quiz, transcript of the audio and downloadable MP3. - Very simple, very sweet, varied and to the point. The podcasts were instant and very clear. - You'll love this one! Topics on the left with ESL competencies on the right.

Upcoming Workshops

We know how precious we consider our time to be. That's why we are trying something new: short, simple, hands-on and useful sessions where you are. Join me in Lunch and Learn to pick up valuable skills in just one hour! Get on your computer and let's play. (Keep your brown bag and tea handy as we go along!) We'll use Elluminate, which allows you to see my computer, see me mouse around, and participate in many great ways. One hour! I've chosen Friday because so many programs tell me that is the best day. We'll give it a try and go from there.

Following is a list of Topics for now. I've also posted them on a Google calendar (see below), which you can access any time. Our license is limited to 25 people, so first come, first in. If we fill up, preference will be given to AEFLA programs since that is where the funding originates! Thanks, CDE/AFLA!

Scheduled Lunch and Learn Activities
1. Creating Student Activities with Power Point I - 11/14 Noon-1
We will examine basic Power Point presentation options and create a four-slide learning activity with text, sound and downloaded images. We will also examine other PP activities that you can later download and adapt as you please.
2. Blogging with Students - 11/21 10-11 AM -->>(NOTE earlier time!)
During this session, you will examine models of student blogs for ESL, ABE and GED students and create a blog  for your students, adding images and other student resources.
3. Creating ESL Student Activities Using the Computer - 12/5 Noon -1
We will examine four different activities using different applications, learning the step by step process of creating them. We will also create one activity together on a topic defined by the participants. You will be given resources for additional activities that you can later download and adapt as you please.
4. Intro to Excel 2003 - 12/12 Noon - 1PM
You will examine Excel's basic options for entering and managing cell information, apply simple math formulas, and create simple interactive charts. Great for teaching different social studies content!
5. Managing Files with Windows XP - 12/19 Noon - 1PM
We will examine and practice different options for creating, saving, moving, and finding files and folders in Windows XP. For beginning techies in the making. Bring your file management questions with you!
Planned for 2009
1. Creating Student Activities with Power Point II
We will share activities that you have developed in PP and create a new learning activity, which embeds video and links to other resources.
2. Let's Get Serious about Games
The Web is exploding with games that teach all sorts of vocational and academic skills. Let's play.
3. Let's Enter a Second Life
Explore educational resources in Second Life that you can use for teaching anything to anyone. We'll focus on ESL, ABE and GED. Grab an avatar and let's travel! No Second Life experience needed; you'll receive instructions on how to prepare to join the rest of us there for the session.

And much, much more.

Instructions for classes scheduled above: When the date arrives, go to Enter your name and join the class. The first time you use the program, start the process about 10 minutes early to give the program time to download. You may have to ask permission from your lab tech, so be sure to check that out beforehand.

To review the class schedule and future events in 2009, go to open the calendar.

We will also be planning three onsite, hands-on workshops in late winter and spring of 2009, where you will be invited to come or send someone to produce wonderful educational projects or activities at different levels. Stay tuned!

Think Again

1.  What word or phrase does the image represent?


2.  You should get this one right away, you English teachers!


Your feedback, suggestions, questions and error reports are most appreciated!