Immigrants will see Canadians wearing poppies on their lapels. Help them crack our cultural code by teaching them about this important cultural observance.
I love using strip stories with low beginner ESL and literacy students to practice vocabulary and syntax. Students will need a pair of scissors to cut up parts. I start by having them match these Remembrance Day pictures and words:
Once students have mastered the vocabulary, I call out the words and have students hold up the correct picture.
The next step is having students read the story a few times in pairs. Following that, students cut up the story, put it back together in order, and read it again. I have students read it over again and again as they slowly begin to progressively turn over more and more words and sentences they remember, until the whole story has been covered and is known by memory.
I have students read to one another in pairs and then volunteer to tell the story of Halloween to the whole class when they are ready. My students enjoy volunteering for this but there is no pressure to do so if they are not ready. I follow up with oral questions about Halloween.
The last step is having students complete a cloze passage that they can then take home to review.
Have I missed a step? Or do you have any great follow up activities? If so, please let me know in the comments.
Click on any of the above images to download the PDF of the entire exercise to use with your class.
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?
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.”
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.
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.