Journal Prompts For ELL Students using Google Slides

In order for my ELL students to continue some kind of virtual learning, I created these Google slides as journal prompts. In my district, students are not required to do work for a grade during this quarantine. Therefore, coming up with something engaging was very necessary!

I created 10 slides with different journal topics. Students can write on the slide and return it to you. Of course many of my kids write on a separate piece of paper and send it to me. These prompts are best for Middle School and High School Students.

Each question is followed by a sentence frame. Depending on the level of your students, you may want to write your own response first. 

See some examples below:

Check them out here:

Thanks for looking!

My Favorite Games for the ESL Classroom (plus a freebie!)

I love to use games in my ESL classroom. Not only is it a great team bonding exercise as my students of different languages will have to work together, but it just a fun way to learn! I usually have game days when I know any of my planned lessons will go out the window, like the day before break or after a long day of WIDA or state testing.
Plus, I really think it's important to let the kids have some fun once in while. I will definitely get in on the games, too. I have found that playing games with my students helps to develop a great rapport with them (and a little more respect when I beat them).  They are off their phones, they are engaged and playing in a low stress environment. Finally, so many of my students do not have games at home and thus the concept of sitting around with your family playing board games is a new experience for them.

So here are my top picks for the best ESL classroom games....  (Scroll to the bottom for a freebie!)
(Affiliate links are included.)

1.  Guess Who? Guess Who? is my favorite game of all! It is the perfect way to practice asking and answering yes/no questions AND to review physical appearances.
Guess Who? is similar to "20 Questions", in which players take turns asking yes/no questions about the other's mystery character. For example, "Is your person wearing glasses?" or "Does your person have brown hair?"

2.   Headbanz  Headbanz is a fun game to review basic vocabulary and asking questions. One person wears a picture on his/her headband. He/she asks other players questions to determine what the picture is.  For example, "Am I an animal?" or "Am I a food?"

3. Charades Charades is always a winner in the ESL classroom. I like this version because my students don't have to be able to read since the cards are only pictures. However, there are categories which makes it a little easier.

4. Zingo!  This game works well with level 1 students who need to build their vocabulary. It is similar to Bingo. Students have to match a card with a picture and word to his/her card. When the students sees that a card matches, they have to say the word, thus practicing pronunciation and recall.

5. Scattergories  I love playing Scattergories. Players are given a list of categories and must write a word for each based on a letter.  I would recommend it for Level 3 and above ESL students.

However, I know it is too difficult for my Level 1 and 2 students.  That's why I created this resource (below) to use with my students. It is much simpler and achievable for them. I have lists for eight different categories and a blank list for you to make up your own category. This can also be used as a  fun review after finishing a unit. For example, after finishing a "Food" unit, have students brainstorm as many vegetables as they can.

Download these free "Category" lists here!
ESL Category Game

Free ESL Resources

Here are my free ESL resources all in one place!

Click on any images below and it will take you to my TpT store for the free download.

Thanks for looking!

Autobiography Writing For ESL Students

My two favorite projects for my ESL students are their Personal Narratives and their Autobiographies. Not only is it great practice using verb tenses, but it also an excellent way to get to know your students.  I am always blown away by the amazing stories they share!
I have just completed uploading a FREE Autobiography project for you to use with your ESL students.

This autobiography has 3 parts: the past, the present and the future. You can use all three parts or just one or two parts depending on the grade level of your students.
You may want to start with Part II "My Life Now" since it covers the present tense. Then continue with "My Past" and "Coming to a New Country" followed by "My Future".

I always review each tense and then give my students the related part. This could be a project that you use throughout the year, culminating in a final Autobiography after learning all three verb tenses.
Or, you can use it all at once for more advanced students.

If you would like to download this FREE autobiography, click here!

Thanks for looking!

Halloween Descriptive Writing

Are you looking for a last minute Halloween activity? Maybe something fun but also engaging and incorporates writing?? I was searching for an activity for my students that was a little "spooky" but also followed the curriculum, too and I couldn't find anything.  So....I created these Halloween Descriptive Writing Task Cards.

These cards can be used to practice descriptive writing, as story starters, journal entries or even as daily warm ups.
How I use them: I give each student a task card and a graphic organizer. (There are 20 task cards. Most are a little scary like the ones below, but there are a few cute ones for those students who may not like Halloween.)  I project the task card on the board while they describe it to the class using their five senses.

Graphic Organizer

Halloween Contests for the Classroom - Free Printables

Looking for some Halloween fun in the classroom? Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love that there are so many great activities to do with students this time of year! I put together a few printables for you to use in your classroom, including a language arts, math and art contest.

  1. Language Arts: Short Story Writing- My students are learning story elements and plot this month. We are reading short stories, but not writing them. So why not have them write a scary short story for Halloween? To get them excited and thinking, we go over possible characters: a witch, a zombie, a vampire, etc. Spooky settings are fun, too! Graveyards, haunted houses. You could even give them a story starter, "It was a dark and stormy night."

 2.  Art: Since it is a little difficult (and dangerous!) to have a pumpkin carving contest, why not have a pumpkin decorating contest with paper? I love any art projects with my ELL kids because I am always amazed at their talent.

3. Math: How Many Candy Corn Are In the Jar? - This is a lot of fun in math class. Of course, you can use any candy for this contest. (I like fall colored M&Ms!)

To download these printables, click here!

Thanks for looking!

ESL Classroom Expressions and Commands for Your Classroom

Create a word wall with these classroom expressions and commands for your ESL classroom! I know that getting my students to speak English aloud is a real challenge for me, especially when most of their classmates speak the same home language. I set up words and expressions around the classroom for them to refer to so there are no excuses for not trying English first. These are great for those beginner ESL students who are still learning classroom English. 

Each card has a visual to help students understand what you are saying to them or what they may want to ask you.

Which expressions/questions are included?
  • I have a question.
  • I don't understand the directions.
  • How do you say that word?
  • May I use the dictionary?
  • May I borrow a pencil?
  • Do we have homework?
  • May I work with a partner?
  • May I go to the bathroom?
  • May I sharpen my pencil?
  • May I use my phone?
Teacher commands:
  • Sit down, please.
  • Stand up.
  • Go to the board, please.
  • Write on the board.
  • Put away your books.
  • You may work with a partner.
  • Open you book.
  • Close your book.
  • You may work in groups.
Download this free resource from my TpT store here!

P.S. In case you haven't downloaded our free ESL classroom vocabulary cards, check them out here!

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