Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

Lessons for Beginner ESL Students
By:Lee Millisaw

Beginner ESL lessons should focus on encouraging students to become comfortable with expressing basic everyday information. Telling the time, commenting on the weather, and describing one's background and family are some aspects of everyday information that should be reviewed. Strengthening vocabulary and teaching the basic verb tenses should be priorities, as well.

Lessons involving photographs or other visual materials allow beginning ESL students to use a wide range of vocabulary words. You can ask your students to describe various images using words for colors, body sizes, clothing features and action verbs. Such activities can require students to describe images verbally in class or in written form for tests and quizzes. Often the tense required to describe images is simple present, which is usually the first tense covered in beginning ESL courses.

Dictation Exercises
Dictation exercises allow beginner ESL students to become more familiar with the sounds of English words. The teacher can read a set of sentences or a short paragraph aloud to the class and ask the students to transcribe what they hear. Dictation sentences can focus on everyday phrases or examples of common tenses. You can have them read their transcribed sentences aloud and correct their spelling mistakes after class.

Word Games
Activities involving word games may also be a helpful method in encouraging students to memorize new vocabulary. Activities such as crossword puzzles and word-matching exercises allow students to recognize recurring sounds and word combinations. Depending on the age level of your students, these activities may be a more engaging method to conduct an ESL lesson. Other word games may include hangman (where students are asked to guess the spelling of a word) and unscrambling words.

Personal Information and Telling Time
Activities within this topic area allow students to express aspects about themselves in both the simple and past tense. Information that may be conveyed include one's nationality, family situation, and location within a city or town. Students may also relate work information. They will use the past tense to explain where they were born. Another important topic, which utilizes present tense, is telling time. Draw a clock on the wall or use a model paper clock for this activity.

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