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

Thursday, December 25, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Person of the Year - Advanced Student Mini ESL Project

Time has named their person of the year along with runners-up, people who mattered and the ones to whom we, unfortunately, said a fond farewell in 2008. What a wealth of information on individuals we knew (or never/somewhat knew?), followed, admired or disapproved of this past year!

Students can be assigned to choose 1 or 2 people from this list and asked to prepare a small presentation to give in class as they relate to the following questions:

• Who is the person of the year? What field does/did s/he work in (e.g.: science, space, arts, etc.)?
• Where is s/he from?
• What are his/her main accomplishments?
• Why is this person remarkable?
• Is there a famous quote by this person?
• Do you look up to this person? What positive qualities does/did this person possess?

As the students present, take notes on the board of the new vocabulary. Discuss the key words/expressions extensively. Divide the class in groups and ask to vote for their person of the year based on the presentations by their classmates, supporting their point of view.

Canadian students can relate to their local newsmaker of the year Prime Minister Stephen Harper as announced by the Canadian Press. This project may be especially useful for the students getting ready for their citizenship test.

Talking about Canadian resources, this site is a truly amazing place to find information on remarkable Canadian athletes. View Canadain Olympic 2008 medallists here. Make sure to bookmark this site for the Vancouver Olympics next winter.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:31 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

‘Tis the season’ to discuss winter holidays traditions in our ESL classes. Somehow, I find that food occupies the central stage in those discussions. Students’ faces brighten up when they talk about traditional dishes on their holiday tables. Both women and men participate actively. From Italian panettone to Jewish jam-filled sufganiyot (doughnuts) and from Chinese pudding to Greek orange and brandy cake to local staples such as gingerbread cookies, there is a plenty recipes to share.

I find this is a perfect day to challenge the students with the names of the ingredients they’re less familiar with. We usually make a list of common names of the nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.) dried fruit (prunes, raisins, dates, etc), spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, etc) and/or herbs (oregano, basil, mint, etc).  I think spices and herbs are crucial to describe authentic ethnic dishes!

This is also a good opportunity to review amounts (a pinch of salt, a handful of nuts, a few orange peels, a teaspoon of oil, some milk), different ways to prepare foods (cook, broil, steam, grill, etc), metric and imperial measurements (how many grams is three-quarters of a pound?) and many other food-related phrases (e. g.: roll/knead the dough, sprinkle with sugar, flip over with a spatula).

We always go home hungry, motivated to sample foods from other parts of the world and most importantly, with lots of new vocabulary!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 9:50 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

top Wednesday, December 03, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Naughty or Nice? – Help Your Students Find Out As You Sing Along

Although not everyone celebrates Christmas, Santa Claus still remains a focus of interest for many students during this season.
What is a better way to talk about this jolly personage than by singing along? Find a good recording of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and set a festive mood in your pre-holiday class.

Warm up your class before listening to this popular song by discussing the following questions:

• Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were little? Who did you think gave you presents on Christmas: Santa Claus or your parents?
• Did you think Santa Claus brought gifts only to the well-behaved children?
• Did you feel disappointed when you learned that Santa Claus was unreal?

A full list of suggested pre-listening and post-listening activities along with lyrics is here. Enjoy!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 12:18 AM   0 Comments  Add Comment


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