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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Monday, April 14, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Earth Day Teaching Ideas

Whether you devote only 10 minutes a day (just to mention the upcoming community day or garage sale in your area) or decide to teach a whole unit on environment, April gives us, ESL instructors, a chance to contribute to taking a better care of our Earth.
The following activities can not only help us teach the language, but also be highly educational given a great cultural diversity of our classrooms:

1. Talk about recycling. Draw a table on the board divided into 4 columns: green bin (for food scraps collection), green/blue bin (plastic, paper, glass collection), general garbage and solid waste drop-off depot. Give students a list of items which are daily disposed in almost any household and ask them to arrange these items under the headings.

Possible examples: egg shells, dead batteries, coffee filters, old computer, expired medicine, pizza box, paint, coat hangers, toilet paper rolls, junk mail, etc. Ask your students to continue the list until they reach a certain amount of items.

2. Talk about energy consumption. Bring in 2 light bulbs: the incandescent (regular) or halogen and the fluorescent. Explain the difference between the two types and brainstorm additional ideas for reducing energy consumption (relate to water heater temperatures, full loads of dishwashers/washing machines, turning off the unnecessary lights, etc) Have the students do the research about the amount of electricity our appliances use.

3. Talk about human activity that damages the environment. Brainstorm sources of air/water/land pollutants (smoke from factories, industrial waste, car exhaust fumes). Have students work in groups to suggest ways to protect the environment (recycling, biking, carpooling). Explain the widely-used terms: the greenhouse effect, acid rain, global warming.

4. Work with atlas. Have a look at the natural resources map of your area or a map of national parks. Discuss why certain areas are protected from mining and/or how extracting natural resources disturbs natural ecosystems. Talk about alternative fuels and sources of energy on our earth.

5. You may find this worksheet helpful for introducing/reviewing vocabulary related to environment in higher-level classes.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:01 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Current Events

I like talking about current events to my students. 
When teaching overseas, it gives the students the opportunity to talk about events they are familiar with, things that are happening in their own country.  It generates a lot of new vocabulary.  Students are able to speak about very familiar topics.  For example, every spring in Japan the cherry trees blossom.  This is celebrated throughout Japan with parties, picnics and outings.  Students are able to inform you of the best days to see the cherry blossoms, the best locations, the best time of day etc.  Sharing this information with a teacher, especially a foreign teacher, allows the students to gain confidence in their ability to communicate in English.  It allows the students to feel proud of their English skills.
When teaching in your own country, it gives students the opportunity to talk about events that they aren’t as familiar with, yet want or need to know about.  For example, April's Fools' Day is a notable day that many newcomers aren’t exactly clear about.  By having students discuss the upcoming event, they are able to use new vocabulary and clarify misinformation about the event.  They’ll become confident because they’ll be speaking about an event they need to know about.  They knowledge will help them feel as if they are part of their new community, which will in turn motivate them to participate in the community and use more of the new language that they’ve learned.
POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 3:16 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment


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