First ESOL classes – planning decisions


Resources for class, and not a photocopy in sight

I’m very excited about going into my first ESOL class this morning, and pretty much as usual I have lots and lots of ideas and now it is decision time as to what to include. I think making these decisions about choosing, ordering and linking activities is what makes ‘planning’ the challenge that it is, and not having met a group this adds to that challenge.

My first decision is around whether I think it’s more important to share some information about myself so the students can get to know me a little, or whether to go straight into name games. I think I will start with a quick Q & A: I’ll write the following on the WB:






I will elicit questions from the students to find the answers. I like this because it will tell me straight away who the confident students and recap on some of the questions Thea looked at yesterday.

Learning and using the students names from the outset is really important so first activities have to be around helping me do this, and helping them learn each other’s names as well. As Thea also did some work on the alphabet in her first class yesterday so I’m going to start with asking ss to stand in alphabetical order. An anticipated problem here is when more than one student has the same first letter, so it will be interesting to see if they know how to deal with this. I’ll continue with this ‘ordering’ activity for other bits of personal information such as surname, country, month born in and possibly move onto numbers if this is going well as ask about children, siblings, number of years in the country.

This is a really lovely activity as it will get the students used to moving around in the classroom and give them the opportunity to talk to everyone in the class (and not just the person they will probably sit next to every week!)

I found what sounds like a good warmer on the eslcafe website this morning (gotta love mobile tech on a bus) about students choosing something they like starting with the same letter as their name. So I will follow on with this. This keeps the alphabet theme that Thea started yesterday and allows students to tell a little more information about themselves, as well as another chance to really learn each other’s names. If appropriate I will start to build up some vocabulary on the board at this point and maybe use some of these words as a basis for a spelling test.

An activity suggested during the #UKESOLchat last night was called ‘Draw Your Name’ so I plan to do this too. Although thinking of something for the ‘y’ in Cathy will be a challenge! I like this now as it will give ss time to sit and think alone after all those group activities and again should give me an idea of the range of vocab that they have. Those that finish their drawings first can write the words out.

We should now have quite a lot of information about each other at this stage I want to start a language experience style activity. I will elicit some sentences from the group and write these onto the WB and as the text expands get different students to read it back. I like this as it can springboard into various things depending on how strong they are, we can talk about punctuation, spelling, writing on the line, etc.

Once the text is finished this will be the tricky bit, somehow I need to get this printed, or copied out either 4 or 6 times to give the pairs or threes. They then cut this up into sentences to rearrange and re-read and then into single words to rearrange. Finally they write the text out, using the LCWC method.

What will be difficult for this activity is knowing how the group the students as I don’t know who’s strongest at reading/writing. Ideally for this activity I want students with similar ability grouped as they can work at their own pace.

A plenary activity, if there is time, will be to play noughts and crosses using the students names. This way they can recap on what they’ve learnt about each other in a fun way. If there isn’t time today, we can always do this as a warmer next week.

This is gonna be a chocca class already, but there are ideas I had that had to be left out. Alphabet Soup sounds a great activity and this could have lead them onto talking about that object, especially if it was out of their bag, and possibly a round of Kim’s Game. I had also thought about introducing something about mobile phones, what they have and how they use them. Lots of ideas for next week already.

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