The first step of preparation is to plan your lesson. Once you have decided
what to teach and how to teach it, look at your lesson and think about ways to
expand it, and make note of what else needs to be done before your class. What
can you bring to add interest? What will you photocopy and how many copies will
you need? If you copy double-sided and have an odd number of pages, is there
something fun like a cartoon or tongue twister you can put on the last blank
In addition to preparing a specific lesson every day or week, it's helpful to
build yourself a collection of potential ESL resources to draw on as needed.
Think about upcoming holidays or future themes in your textbook. Create an
organized storage system from the beginning or you may find your growing
collection of pictures, handouts, and games becoming unmanageable. Label all
important personal items with your name. Here are some ideas for lesson
- Gather Basic Teaching Items
These will make planning and teaching easier.
- Good textbook or lesson (perhaps from the Internet)
- Small white board with pens, if you don't have access to a classroom
- Blank paper (a student may ask for some)
- Regular or picture dictionary
- List of extra activities to fill leftover time (see the
section of this guide)
- Collect Useful Materials
Be sure to protect your materials because they may be handled many times.
Slip paper materials into page protectors or magnetic photo album pages, glue
them onto card stock, or laminate them.
- Cut out magazine pictures
- Select photographs of a vacation, family members, etc.
- Collect travel brochures and public service pamphlets
- Save interesting newspaper or magazine articles
- Save cartoons or humorous drawings
- Borrow library books with pictures, such as children's stories or travel
- Collect blank note cards or postcards for students to write on
- Consider board or card games
- Bring children's building blocks or legos
- Bring objects like clothing, fruits, a clock, canned food, etc.
- Find relevant handouts on the internet (see the
Lesson Materials section
of this guide)
- Make Your Own ESL Materials
Creativity helps, but you don't need to be a creative genius to make
useful materials to accompany your lessons.
- Write simple quizzes
- Write dialogs and role plays
- Write tongue twisters to focus on a problem sound
- Create crossword puzzles using vocabulary words
- Make alphabet or vocabulary flash cards
- Create games, drawings, posters, etc.
- Use a craft with your lesson, such as cutting snow flakes or decorating
- Use Available Technology
If you have access to a TV and VCR, cassette/CD player, overhead
projector, or even a computer, use them to bring variety to your lessons.
Always be prepared with a non-technical backup activity should your equipment
- Videotape TV commercials or news clips, or borrow a library video
- Copy outlines, diagrams, cartoons, etc. onto overhead transparencies
- Tape record a few minutes of radio talk
- Choose a popular song to play and make a worksheet of the song lyrics
with missing word blanks; if you use a cassette, record the song 2-3 times
for easy playback
- Play background (instrumental) music while students work on an activity
- Find a website your students can use for ESL activities (see the
Resources section of this guide)