Lesson Ideas

EAL: Descriptive writing, fronted adverbials

Here’s a very brief insight into some day-to-day EAL planning.

I work with EAL learners in Year 4. Planning for my EAL lessons is informed by one of the following:

  • National Curriculum SPaG
  • the Unit of Inquiry for that (half)-term
  • WIDA targets

In their literacy classes, students were learning to use fronted adverbials (was a new one for me tbh). They were also reviewing expanded noun phrases as part of the same activity – descriptive writing based on images.

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Using Stories Without End

Here’s a quick follow-up to my review of Stories Without End (Taylor Sapp, Alphabet Publishing).

As you may have read, I thought this was great resource which could be easily adapted to my own context. Here is an example of how I adapted one of the stories.

The resources as they are include a few lead-in questions related to the story content, a bit of vocab pre-teaching, the story, and some creative follow-up tasks.

I bulked these out a bit and created the following sequence around the text called ‘Spooky House’ (in which some kids are deciding whether or not to enter a scary looking house). This was for A2/B1-ish level. I taught it at Primary (without the grammar bit) and also Secondary (full content). Worked well for both.

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Seesaw for EAL and young learners

Someone contacted me last week in a panic. ‘Aaargh, we’re going to start using Seesaw – any tips? Is it easy? Can you do a lot on it?’ etc.

I find Seesaw really easy to use as a classroom learning app for EAL. The functionality for slides and templates is like a Jamboard +1 (you pay for the privilege). You can do quite a lot with it – here are some random (very random) screenshots from my Year 4/5 lessons just to give you a general idea. These aren’t all-singing-all-dancing, I just want to reassure the person who contacted me that things will be more familiar than you imagine.

In no particular order…

It’s really easy to model activities/tasks when not doing a live lesson. In this example, I wanted learners to predict the captions for a load of images. I can record myself doing the task and add a voiceover with instructions too (students just click play button to view).

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18 more ways to introduce your lesson topic

This term I’ve tried out a few different ways to introduce a lesson. These ones have worked well. They might be worth reading if you’ve exhausted my previous list!

  1. Song lyric gap fill

Example: 3rd conditional, regrets

Do a short gap fill on part of a song related to your topic. Mine was on some lines from Frank Sinatra’s My Way:

Regrets, I’ve had a few… (0.55 – 1.06)


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Wordwall assignments

Yes, another Wordwall post. No, I’m not on commission. It’s just a great tool.

I forgot to mention the ‘Set Assignments’ feature in my previous posts. It’s a really useful diagnostic tool.

  • Make your game. Click to share it and you’ll see the option to set assignment
  • Fill in the details, like deadline, etc.
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Jamboard (so far)

Jamboard mentioned a lot recently. I decided to give it a go with my Secondary classes. Started using it last week so this is all new to me. Early thoughts.

Jamboard versus (e.g.) whiteboard.fi

This was the first step for me – working out which one I might find more useful. There were far more tools on whiteboard.fi (wait), but Jamboard won straight away because it integrates well with Google Classroom (wait), so that was that really.

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Fluency and fun: Hidden words

Here’s a quick speaking activity for Primary EAL. A good one for Friday afternoon fun.

Check out this ‘Hidden Words‘ post on Bored Panda. Is just a load of illustrations with six hidden words in each.

Get the students to spot the words, explain where they are, explain their meaning, look up their meaning if unsure, etc. Lots more language than I thought came out of this one, and the students took control of the activity! A nice one for fluency practice.

Here it is as a Powerpoint. All images (including feature) copyright Bored Panda, I just had to add it to a ppt because of adverts or suggested reads on their site being potentially iffy for YLs. Plus all the comments give the answers away!

Reading tasks for homework

Hiya, hope online learning is going well.

Here are some random reading tasks I set for homework. Each student chooses one of these to do a week. These are in a big folder on my desk, but they’ll be adapted for online learning now probs. Still, you might find them useful. Ten for fiction, six for non-fiction.

Most of these are well-known, so not all my ideas or anything. Examples:

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