written by: Keren Perles
• edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
• updated: 12/18/2013
English as a Second Language (ESL) students may have a difficult time grasping American culture and society. These three ESL teaching ideas will help elementary students master important concepts, enabling them to be mainstreamed more quickly.
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Elementary and ESL lesson plans should concentrate on the most important skills that students need to learn. One of the most important skills that ESL students in elementary school need to master is the ability to tell time and express it in English. This will help them adapt to mainstream society and will help them to feel competent around their peers. To help them with this concept, help them to create their own clocks from a paper plate, a metal brad, and some art supplies. Then let them use their clocks to show several different times, such as 3:30, 7:45, and 12:00. Make sure that they can differentiate between a.m. (in the morning) and p.m. (in the afternoon or evening), and teach them the following vocabulary phrases: a quarter to/of, a quarter after, half past, o'clock, noon, and midnight.
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All About Seasons
Before class, prepare various statements on sentence strips such as "The leaves turn colors" or "Snow falls down" that describe one of the four seasons. Then draw a chart on the board with the headers "Spring," "Summer," "Fall," and "Winter," and let students help you place the sentence strips under the correct header. When all of the sentences are sorted correctly, read through the list of sentences beneath each header and ask students if they have anything more to add about each season. Then encourage students to draw a picture of their favorite season, and encourage them to write a few sentences about that season under their pictures, using the sentences on the board to guide them if necessary.
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Exploring the American Flag
Students who have recently arrived from other countries may have difficulty understanding the history of America and appreciating the symbols of American patriotism. To teach them the concept of patriotism towards America, you can show them pictures of the flag, read them picture books about the Star Spangled Banner or Betsy Ross, and let them make their own American flags out of strips of construction paper and star stickers. You'll be able to practice the concepts of colors (red, white, and blue) and numbers (the number of stripes and stars), in addition to giving students an idea of how America became independent and the incredible people who were part of its history. Make sure to teach the following vocabulary words: colonies, states, symbols, Pledge of Allegiance, country, and patriotism. You can also give students an opportunity to describe highpoints of history from their countries.
These elementary and ESL lesson plans will enable students to feel more comfortable conversing about common topics in English, and will, therefore, enable them to become more comfortable in English-speaking society. Try them in your classroom and see the results!
Although ESL lesson plans all share similar components, the ages of the students in the ESL classroom can impact the content and process of the lesson. This series includes articles on ESL lesson plans for various age groups.