Low Beginner Introductions: Where Are You From?

Here’s an introductions speaking task for low beginner ESL answering the question “Where are you from?” I love tap sheets (see below). You could have students cut out the words and then arrange them into sentences, but you could also use it as is as a tap sheet, over and over.

Break students into pairs. Hand out one sheet per pair. Have each student write their country into one of the empty boxes on the sheet. Then have Partner A begin speaking and simultaneously, with a finger or the eraser side of a pencil, tapping on the words on the page to form the sentence in order:

Partner A will tap: “Where (tap) are (tap) you (tap) from (tap) question mark (tap)?” Partner B will tap: “I (tap) am (tap) from (tap), [country name] (tap) period (tap).”  The roles are then reversed. 

Students do not say the punctuation out loud, but they must tap on it. You may notice I have replaced this font’s letter I with a serif I because students at this level often confuse lower case l with upper case I.

Click on the image below to download the tap sheet for use in your own class. 

You can follow up this introductions speaking task with an introductions writing task. Have students read and fill in the blanks, using a scaffolding approach until they are able to reproduce the entire dialogue.

Again, click on the image below to download it for use in your own class. 

Let me know how it works in the comments below. Do you love tap sheets as much as I do? 

Having Fun with New Canada Jigsaws (CLB 5-6)

Over 35 field testers from all across Canada field tested Callan’s New Canada Jigsaws. Here are a couple highlights of some of the fun field testers had. 

Field tester Marianne Akune in Richmond says her class “thoroughly enjoyed” the government unit. Well no wonder! This creative teacher turned one of the follow up exercises into a smart board activity:

” I used the text to create a SmartBoard activity.  I transposed each paragraph onto one page, and the students did a “click and drag” (or touch and drag) activity with it.”

Marianne Akune’s class

Field tester Tracey Curell in Winnipeg took the punctuation and capitalization out of the Folklorama paragraph writing exercise to see what her students could do.

“They loved the activity, and it also caused lots of discussion about how to do a group project when there are differences of opinions. (As you said there are a few ways you could put it together.)  I have attached a few samples of the end results for you,  so you can enjoy seeing that you created yet another successful activity! I can’t wait for the book!”

Here below is Tetiana’s LINC 6 class in Edmonton field testing the Alberta jigsaw. 

Here below is Tracey’s LINC 4-5 class in Winnipeg field testing the PEI unit. 

Here below is Smiljka’s CLB 4-5-6 class in Sudbury field testing the New Brunswick unit. 

Here below is Steven’s CLB 5-6 class in Saskatoon proving jigsaws can work even if you don’t have groups of four. 

Here below are five students from Marianne’s class in Richmond field testing the government unit. 

And here’s the final product!

Writing About Household Repairs

I’m a big fan of using picture dictionaries to teach ESL, particularly to beginner and intermediate levels. Oxford Picture Dictionary, Heinle, Word By Word, I use them all. While they are all excellent and worth purchasing, I prefer the illustrations in the Oxford Picture Dictionary. Oxford also has different levels of picture dictionaries. 

When teaching a Housing unit with related vocabulary and tasks, I particularly like the Basic Oxford Picture Dictionary’s section on Household Problems. I scanned page 33 to give you a sample.  The pictures are very clear and most common household problems are depicted.

I made a worksheet for a beginner class to accompany this page for writing practice. Each sentence states a household problem or repair needed and whom to call for help. I find pattern practice is an effective way to teach writing to beginner level students. Feel free to click on the image below to view it large on your computer and print it out for use with your own class.