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Latest ESL articles for busy teachers:

10 Simple Word Games You Can Play with a Magnetic Alphabet

10 Simple Word Games You Can Play with a Magnetic Alphabet

Dollar stores are great resources for teachers. You can find all sorts of materials there that make your classroom more interesting and effective. One such material is a magnetic alphabet. For just a dollar you get 26 building blocks for language that your students will love using and will learn from every time they do. Plus you get great versatility. If you aren’t sure what to do with these great ...
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5 Ideas to Help Students Master FCE for Schools Speaking

5 Ideas to Help Students Master FCE for Schools Speaking

Speaking is a core component of the FCE for schools exam and many a teacher (especially those more inexperienced ones) will dismiss practicing speaking if they believe that they have strong speakers in the class. However, this could be detrimental to your learners, no matter how good they are in speaking, they also need to know the exam format and what to expect and just because your student is almost f ...
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Give It a Year: 7 Strategies for Teaching about the Calendar

Give It a Year: 7 Strategies for Teaching about the Calendar

The topic of calendars is a very important one for ESL students. Everyone needs to be able to discuss the date or the year, no matter what their age. An added challenge for some is that they may usually put the date before the month, but now need to adjust to the month and then the date. Of course, there are also ordinal numerals to work with as well. Here are some simple, fun strategies to teach readin ...
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8 Simple Things You Can Do To Turn Your Next Guided Reader Into A Super-Engaging Reading Adventure For Students

8 Simple Things You Can Do To Turn Your Next Guided Reader Into A Super-Engaging Reading Adventure For Students

Getting students to read can be difficult enough but getting them to read books in English can be a real challenge. Many students may not read much in their own language and the thought of reading in English seems like an impossible task. Even keen readers who read for pleasure don’t see reading in a language which is not their first language a pleasurable thing to do. Getting them to re-think the ...
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What Do I Even Do with This? Great Uses for Your Class Online Learning Management System

What Do I Even Do with This? Great Uses for Your Class Online Learning Management System

Many classes, even those that are traditional “on site” classes and are not online, now have an online “learning management system” course website (sometimes called the “course shell” or simply “course website.”) These course shells generally feature a place to post announcements and documents, a way to email the entire class or individual students, and an ...
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Monster University, The Curious Alien, And 3 Other Brilliant Communicative Activities Your Students Will Love

Monster University, The Curious Alien, And 3 Other Brilliant Communicative Activities Your Students Will Love

Have you ever experienced the frustration of not being able to make your students speak English in class? Have you ever had to waste valuable time on telling them not to use their L1, or speak in sentences instead of chunks? Well, there are various reasons for this, such as they aren’t motivated enough, they’re afraid of making mistakes, you as a teacher are scary, they are always corrected, ...
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You Can Do It: Words of Encouragement for ESL Teachers And 5 Important Things I Have Learned Through Experience

You Can Do It: Words of Encouragement for ESL Teachers And 5 Important Things I Have Learned Through Experience

Are you new to teaching ESL? Are you starting out in your first classroom or a new school? Are you worried that you aren’t giving your students everything they need in the way of language instruction? Are you haunted by the fear that you may have made a mistake in taking this job or choosing this career? I’m here to tell you that your worries are perfectly normal. Teaching ESL isn’t l ...
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Now Your Beginners Can Have Fun, Too: 5 Simple Reading Games For Beginning ESL Students

Now Your Beginners Can Have Fun, Too: 5 Simple Reading Games For Beginning ESL Students

Beginning students often get the short end of the stick when it comes to fun classroom reading activities. They’re not ready to read a book. Even short stories are too complex. Forget about traditional vocabulary and reading games. But just because their skill levels are at the start doesn’t mean their fun level has to be, too. Here are 5 games you can play with beginning reading students th ...
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'DDD Your Language' And 3 Other Little Habits You Need To Have To Make A Big Difference In Your Students" Vocabularies

'DDD Your Language' And 3 Other Little Habits You Need To Have To Make A Big Difference In Your Students’ Vocabularies

How complex are your students’ vocabularies? Are your habits increasing their lexicons or limiting them? Do you know just how much influence you have on how much your students learn? If you have been an ESL teacher for a while or if you’re still new to the field, these simple habits can make the difference in how fluent your students are in the language they are learning. And they will certa ...
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10 Educational Online Tools For Teachers

10 Educational Online Tools For Teachers

Digital revolution is changing rapidly and becoming popular to all ages. Not only youngsters are now only immersed in technology but lots of educators as well. Many educators nowadays are widely using newest and most useful online tools to advance their classroom environment and make their job, teaching and connecting with students, easier and more fun. Incorporating digital technology to education has ...
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We"re A Bazillion Dollars In Debt - I Read It On The Internet: Teaching Students To Support Claims

We’re A Bazillion Dollars In Debt - I Read It On The Internet: Teaching Students To Support Claims

Did you know that President Obama was once a gang member and even served time in prison before rising to the presidency? That vegetarianism kills? That more people die by violence from knives than guns in the U.S.? That the U.S. spends five bazillion dollars on foreign aid every year? I didn’t know any of that either, but these are just some of the claims I’ve read in student papers over the ...
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Where Do I Start With PBL? 5 Steps To Building Killer Projects

Where Do I Start With PBL? 5 Steps To Building Killer Projects

Projects are awesome! I mean they can be a lot of work, but they are a great time for the kids and usually result in some laughs, or at least warm and fuzzy feelings, for the teachers. Of course part of why they are so awesome is the fact that students learn so much more from applying what they have learned in a different setting. It helps them get comfortable with the language, as well as to learn to u ...
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Teacher, I Need to Talk to You Now: Acclimating the Very Novice Student to Classroom Manners

Teacher, I Need to Talk to You Now: Acclimating the Very Novice Student to Classroom Manners

It was only a couple of days into the semester of my community college freshman English class that I began to notice something a little off. On the face it, it was a typical community college class for California: diverse students from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds and a variety of ages, from traditional freshman age to mature students who were homemakers, displaced workers, and veteran ...
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10 Learning Centers Perfect for Listening and Speaking Class

10 Learning Centers Perfect for Listening and Speaking Class

Are you looking for a way to incorporate listening and speaking learning centers into your ESL classroom? Try one of the following with your class and give students some ownership in their own language learning process. Apply These 10 Ideas for Listening and Speaking Centers 1 Reading Recording If you have the resources (tape player/recorder or some digital recording method) you won’t ne ...
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It"s Not Them, It"s You: Why Students Don't Pay Attention And How To Keep Dead Time Out Of Your Classroom

It’s Not Them, It’s You: Why Students Don't Pay Attention And How To Keep Dead Time Out Of Your Classroom

I hate those classes where all I can see is the top of my students’ heads because they’re all looking down at the cellphones in their lap. Why don’t students pay attention? Is it all this new technology that you just can’t compete with? Is it the fact that kids today just can’t pay attention? Do you need to gamify your classroom? Or did you just get stuck with the worst stu ...
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And Speaking of the Use of Cell Phones, Eleanor Roosevelt Said…Teaching Students Appropriate Uses of Quoting and Paraphrasing

And Speaking of the Use of Cell Phones, Eleanor Roosevelt Said…Teaching Students Appropriate Uses of Quoting and Paraphrasing

Some interesting things happen when students are asked to use quotations, paraphrases, or source material in their work. Papers start off with “To be or not to be, that is the question…” and make no other reference to Shakespeare, Hamlet, suicide, etc. References to cell phones and the internet are attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln, people who were almost certainly no ...
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What Do You Mean You Don"t Have Deodorant?: 7 Things To Bring With You When Moving To Korea

What Do You Mean You Don’t Have Deodorant?: 7 Things To Bring With You When Moving To Korea

Moving to a new country can be both intimidating and exciting. One of the trickiest parts is trying to decide what to drag half-way around the world and what you can just buy when you arrive. Of course, these things vary depending on what country you are teaching in, and even what area of a given country you will live in. On that note, here are five things I wish I had brought (or had brought more of) ...
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Why Your Video Lessons Are Boring, And What You Can Do About It: 10 Great Activities

Why Your Video Lessons Are Boring, And What You Can Do About It: 10 Great Activities

Comprehension is of vital importance to all our ESL students. This is one of the things we as teachers put great emphasis on. We all agree that our ESL students have to be able to understand what they hear whether it is in person, on the phone, through the Internet and/or videos. That is why, in order to help our students and keep the “ball in the air” many ESL teachers have decided to inclu ...
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Mind-What? 6 Simply Awesome Ways You Can Use Mind Maps To Teach ESL

Mind-What? 6 Simply Awesome Ways You Can Use Mind Maps To Teach ESL

I'm sure most of you, if not all of you, are familiar with mind maps. Why? Well, because they are simply awesome. They can be used in a bunch of different ways and most teachers use them in their ESL lessons. And, why wouldn't they? Mind maps are an amazing way to present new material, to dip into students creativity, and even help them remember things they have learned previously and need to refresh. G ...
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ESL Teachers Ask: How Do I Begin My First Lesson?

ESL Teachers Ask: How Do I Begin My First Lesson?

“Help! I’m going to teach my very first ESL class soon, and I don’t know how to ‘break the ice’. I don’t want to seem like an inexperienced, boring teacher. How should I start my class in a fun way?” * Oh, so much is happening on the first day of class. So much excitement! So many expectations! But if this is your very first day of class — ever — yo ...
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Not Everything Can Be Googled: How To Teach Your Students To Find Valid Source Material (Online And Off)

Not Everything Can Be Googled: How To Teach Your Students To Find Valid Source Material (Online And Off)

The Internet has opened a door to the free exchange and availability of information. In living memory, when doing research, you had to actually go to a physical library, look for a book or journal, which sometimes wouldn’t be available, and it would need to be ordered, which could take weeks. Those days are gone. Finding an obscure or treasure of a book is as simple as googling it. But this has al ...
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How Heavy Is A Pound? How Far Is A Mile? 5 Ideas For Teaching Weights And Measurements Experientially

How Heavy Is A Pound? How Far Is A Mile? 5 Ideas For Teaching Weights And Measurements Experientially

To be on the safe side as language teachers, we should assume that math is not the strongest subject of people studying English as a foreign language. Even if it is, equations and numbers do not automatically relate to physical weight and size in our heads. There are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram, but what does that weight feel like? A mile is a little less than 2 kilometers, but how far is that really? To i ...
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