Posts

It's beginning to look like Christmas!

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Today some of my students taught me how to say "Merry Christmas" in their languages:     I love teaching my students about Christmas at school and using it as a chance to find out about festivals and traditions in my students' own countries.  Many of my ESOL students are very familiar with Christmas as they celebrate it in their home countries. However, for a lot of my students from the Middle East and Sudan Christmas can be a completely new for them:  "Who is this man with a red coat and white beard? Why is my child dressed as a shepherd in their school play? Why are there green trees with lights in every shop and building?" These are just a few questions that my students often ask! There are many great Christmas resources out there. Two of my favorite videos to show students are: The Nativity Story for ESL students:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swmOqAcFP80 Mr Bean's Christmas:  Mr bean Episode 6 FULL EPISODE 'Merry Christmas, Mr bean' - YouTube

Festivals and celebrations!

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I really love the build up to Christmas lessons at my school, as there are so many great opportunities to find out about important days and festivals in my students' own cultures. I am so blessed to teach students from over 20 countries currently and know learners from over 50 places (from Argentina to China and every country in between!).  From my experience students love to share about their own cultural traditions and celebrations. It is a great opportunity for them to learn from each other and to learn about important celebrations in the UK, It is also a good time for students to practice making comparisons between cultures. Just the last week I discovered the Egyptian Christmas is on a different date to the Polish one and that the Kurdish New Year (Naroz) is different from the UK! Here are some of my Pre-Entry and low Entry 1 Festival activities (click on the pic to download):   Here are some of my Level 1 and 2 Festival writing worksheets (click on the pics to download).  

Writing invitations and letters about holiday activities with Entry 1

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I have been very busy teaching my Entry 1 students writing skills over the last few weeks in preparations for their Entry 1 ESOL and FS writing exams.  Enabling ESOL students to write at Entry 1 can be a challenge, as some literacy concepts such as writing postcards and letters can be quite alien to learners. Writing postcards especially is a very British/ Western activity and these days so much communication is now done online digitally (when was the last time you handwrote a note rather than send a text message?). One of my students pointed out today that she doesn't need to worry about spelling when she e-mails her boss as the computer checks everything automatically! Therefore, I try hard to familiarise my students with as many different types of written text as possible and encourage them to write about places they are familiar with using the name of another friend in the class to write to.   As with my previous Entry 1 worksheets, the first page is designed as an example and

Pre-entry Dates and Ordinal Number Activities

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I've been spending a few classes teaching my low/ zero literacy class how to read and say the date in English recently. We've done several activities looking at days, months and ordinal numbers vocabulary. I have been trying to think of creative ways to make this language really meaningful and personalized to my students (particularly in terms on engaging in the literacy element). Therefore, I made two worksheets looking at birthdays and expiry dates for foods. I will also add my Ordinal Number PowerPoints and worksheets below. The birthday worksheet was very interesting as many of my students could only tell me their own or their children's birthdays, but not any other family members. This really showed me how "birthdays" are not necessarily celebrated in some countries or hold as much importance as they do in Western countries like the UK. Therefore a few of the later activities in the worksheet can be adapted to each student. My birthday worksheet is here: The

Writing Worksheets for Entry 1 and Entry 3

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 I've been very busy over the last few weeks preparing my students for their ESOL and Functional Skills writing exams. As this year I am teaching Entry 1 and Entry 3 students, a lot of my new resources will be made for these levels, but can easily be adapted to higher or lower students.  Both the ESOL and Functional Skills writing exams require students to write specific types of texts with a specific purpose. Therefore these writing activities aim to reflect the tasks my students might come across both in exams and also everyday life.  The Entry 1 activities have been specifically scaffolded to show students an example of a note or letter and then prompt creativity by encouraging students to use their own words and write their own personalized letter. A lot low level students struggle with writing their own thoughts and ideas, so I make sure I spend a lot of time gathering ideas with them as a whole class before doing the gap fill and independent writing tasks.  Here are two of my

Advice for EAL teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools

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 I've been asked by a few Primary and secondary School teacher's recently about resources and materials for EAL students (English as an Additional Language) who have just started school in the UK and have low English levels. Whilst I am not an EAL specialist, I do think absolute beginner (low literacy) ESOL materials can be relevant to both teenagers and adults. For primary school children there are a lot of other great resources out there as well.  Do you teach EAL or ESOL? What websites do you use? Please post in the comments box below 😀 Here are my best free websites if your students have low/ zero literacy skills in English or their first language: Teach ABC English  https://www.teachabcenglish.com/ Shaw English Phonics  https://shawenglish.com/tag/phonics-2/ Scottish ESOL Literacy  https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/33697.html New to ESOL  https://esol.excellencegateway.org.uk/content/etf308 Bogglesworld ESL  https://bogglesworldesl.com/phonics.htm   Here are my best free vocab

Using the Covid-19 App and Accessing Covid-19 Information in Different Languages.

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 I've been back to face-to-face teaching with my ESOL students for nearly 2 weeks now. It has been really fun, although slightly strange with all the social-distancing and Covid-19 rules. One of the challenges my students have faced is accessing updated Covid-19 information in their own languages (particularly if they have low level English). They have also been unsure what to do if they, a family member or someone they live with has Covid-19 symptoms or what the rules are for self-isolating.  So I made several enquiries on Twitter and Facebook to other ESOL teachers and refugee organizations and was sent these very useful links in response:  https://www.walsallforall.co.uk/post/covid-19-translatedguidance https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/   https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/      This information is as up to date as I can find from 6/10/20. I have made some basic posters for my learners here: The second poster also has information in Bengali, Chinese, Polish,

Back to Face-to-Face Teaching

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It's been a long time in coming, but I have been so excited to go back to face-to-face teaching this week. Sure, there have been a lot of challenges, but it has been fun as well. My students are so happy to see each other in person (rather than on Zoom) and know that we are taking every precaution for their health and safety. So what's changed? Firstly, we have very strict rules for wearing face coverings, hand sanitizing  and keeping a 1 meter difference at all times. Everyone is temperature checked when they arrive (if they are above 37.5 we will send them home) and asked if they have any Covid-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell). We must cover our faces when in communal areas such as the hall and toilets, but we are allowed to uncover our faces when sat in the classroom (as all  the chairs are 1 meter apart). I have been provided with a face shield, which I wear in the classroom when I am near students. I have used this a lot whe

How to Learn English on Twitter

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I've used Twitter a lot recently- particularly to connect with other ESOL organisations and to share my resources. In my Twitter 'Home' I've started following many useful sites with Tweets aimed at my students, whether its a simple grammar explanation or useful set of vocabulary and idioms. Therefore, I have made a worksheet aimed at Entry 2+ with instructions for how to join and use Twitter.  It is possible that some students may already use Twitter in their own languages, so I have included instructions for how to change your language. I've also listed some good organisations for students to follow. If you can recommend any more organisations or people I can suggest to my students, please leave me a message in the comments below. Here's a link to my worksheet 

Introducing ICT to Asylum Seeker and Refugee Women

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Introducing ICT to Asylum Seeker and Refugee Women This year I had the privilege of introducing a small group of asylum seeking and refugee women to ICT skills for the first time. These ladies have had little or no experience with using laptops or computers and were desperate to learn. Some of them had very little English and low literacy (zero beginners) and others could read and write quite well (Entry 1+). None of these ladies knew anything about computers and had not had the opportunity to learn before- they may have spent years living in a refugee camp or been denied access to ICT education. None of these ladies had an e-mail address, but they were desperate to have one and learn how to use it! First of all, we started the classes by learning basic computer skills and how to type. My students were used to do everything with one finger on their phones, so they tried typing everything with just their index finger (this proved quite time consuming). I was able t