Thursday, 15 December 2016 13:47

Christmas ESL Teaching Megapack

Christmas is upon us once again and has put together a wonderful Christmas teaching mega pack for you to use in your English classes.

The Christmas ESL teaching mega pack contains colouring sheets, mazes, puzzles, ESL Christmas worksheets and Christmas quizzes to keep your English classes truely festive. 

Additionally, the Christmas teaching mega pack also contains craft activities to do in the classroom with your children and also Christmas party games if your school is running a Christmas party this year!

See the link in red below to download your free Christmas teaching pack.

Teaching ESL to Kindergarten Using Shadow Puppets
Teaching English to kindergarten children is now the fastest growing job type in China. What's more, for me, it's also the age where I personally get the most job satisfaction. If you are a creative person, who enjoys making things, painting things, inventing songs and getting your hands mucky; basically, the child who never grew up yourself, then teaching ESL to kindergarten children in China is a line of TEFL teaching which you should seriously consider.
As a kindergarten teacher, you should always be on the hunt for new ways to engage with your kindergarten kids. One problem with teaching kindergarten kids in China is that you will find that the kids will have had very little access to the type of education that western kids get in kindergarten, where the emphasis is learning and interacting about the world around them through play, craft, songs, touching things and using their full range of senses in their learning journey. This is where you, as a kindergarten teacher in China, can have the most impact on young lives and child education by bringing western teaching methods into the Chinese kindergarten classroom. One fantastic way of bringing a story to life is through making shadow puppets to tell the story you are using through shadow puppetry.
Using Shadow Puppets to Teach ESL to Kindergarten
Using Shadow Puppets to Teach ESL to Kindergarten

This idea was recommended to me by David Parkin, who is a British teacher living and working in Beijing. He works at a kindergarten in Beijing and used shadow puppets to teach his kindergarten class recently.
David used a book called Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. The book is about different animals going to the zoo but not being suitable for one reason or another, too heavy, too tall, too fierce, too small, etc. So the book has some fantastic language for the kindergarten kids to learn, but actually any English book suitable for kindergarten work work well. David made the shadow puppets to teach ESL to his kindergarten class using card, chopsticks and sticky tape. A simple large piece of cloth was used to cast shadows from the shadow puppets onto for the kindergarten class.

Using Shadow Puppets to Teach ESL to Kindergarten kids
You can make shadow puppets to teach ESL to kindergarten kids using any good simple story really, whether the target language is animals, family, food, shapes, whatever. Just cut out your card, stick the shape onto a chopstick and you've got your shadow puppet!

Pre-teach the kindergarten class using your shadow puppets
Making your shadow puppets to teach English to your class is very easy. Simply find some good images online, print them onto card, cut them out and stick them onto've now got some awesome shadow puppets to teach with!

Using shadow puppets to teach kindergarten

Before you start, be sure to pre-teach the main language from the story with your kindergarten students. You can use your shadow puppets to do this.

Making Shadow Puppet props for teaching
Also remember to make shadow puppet props to help tell the story to your kindergarten children. This will help them to understand what is happening and remember more of the target language from the story.

Using Shadow Puppets to Teach ESL to Kindergarten
Plod..plod..plod..went the elephant. Bring English stories to life using shadow puppets with your kindergarten classes.

Use animal sounds when reading stories to kindergarten
And don't forget to make all those wonderful sounds and animal noises when recreating the story for your kindergarten kids.

Using Shadow Puppets to Tell Stories to kindergarten kids
Give your kindergarten kids a massive treat by telling English stories to them using shadow puppets.

Getting Prepared to Tell Stories to Kindergarten Kids Using Shadow Puppets

As any good teacher will know, you just can't hang up a sheet of cloth and start reading your story using your shadow puppets - your kids will have no idea what is going on. You need to prep them and pre-teach the key language for the story.

There are many ways to pre-teach the vocab you need before using your shadow puppets to teach ESL to your kindergarten kids, but here are the steps which David used in his classes in Beijing:

First introduced the animals in the book by making hand gestures / noises and had the kids guess what the animal was. The vocabulary was then reinforced through a speed guessing and performing the animals game.

The puppets were held up behind the cloth to make the silhouette and the kids were asked 'what's this?' for each of the puppets.
The kids then come up one by one and are given a puppet and have to ask the others 'what's this?'
The kindergarten kids are then taught the key adjectives using hand gestures and a song.
We played a game where the animals were sorted into different containers and this was turned into a race.
Students, with the teacher, made full sentences such as 'the giraffe is too tall', 'the elephant is too heavy', the 'tiger is too fierce'.
We sat in a circle and the teacher read the book to the kids showing the pictures in the book. Everyone could now understand the story.
The teacher did the full story again, this time using the shadow puppets on sticks behind the cloth to tell the story using shadows.

by Stuart Allen
Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is a staple classic song and body movement routine to learn the parts of the body. We sang Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes ourselves at kindergarten when we were small (never knowing we'd grow up as English teachers one day!) and now we use Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes when we teach young ones ourselves now. 

Free Printable Dominoes and Flashcards

I've made some Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes dominoes, which you can download and print below. Simply cut out the dominoes and and then deal them out to your students. They put down dominoes in turn, connecting body part to body part. The first student to run out of dominoes is the winner. 

There aren't any words on these Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes dominoes because I created them for very young children who can't read yet. If you are teaching Parts of the Body to very young children, then these are ideal. I found that all the other Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes dominoes online had to match the part with the word, but this is useless with very young children. 

In the download are also heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes flashcards which you can use first to pre-teach the vocabulary. Full instructions are also in the free Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes pack.
Tuesday, 23 February 2016 02:21

Pocket-Sized Chinese Menu to Make and Carry!

Ordering Chinese food in China can be extremely difficult for most people coming to live or travel in China. Whether you are an English teacher living and teaching in China, or you are planning a holiday to China, the chances are that at some point you are going to be very stuck on how to order food.
The problem is that most small to medium-sized restaurants in China (that's about 98% of all restaurants in China) will have no pictures to point at on their menu and no English to read from. Additionally, the waitresses in small Chinese restaurants will not be able to understand any English at all. This makes ordering food in a Chinese restaurant in China very tricky if you don't speak or read Chinese well.
Download our Pocket-Sized Menu to Make and Carry!
We have made a really cool pocket-sized mini-Chinese menu for you to print, make and carry. The mini-menu is free and has all of the main dishes you'll like from rice, noodles, meat dishes, vegetarian choices, spicy food and non-spicy foods as well as beer, tea and other beverages. 
Simply download the free printable pocket-sized menu below, print it, fold it as instructed, and then you'll have a super handy Chinese menu to carry in your pocket, bag, wallet, purse or rucksack!
The menu comes in English, the Chinese next to it to show the waitress and also in pinyin so you can have a go at saying the dishes too if you want. Download the free Chinese menu below and always carry it with you! Job done!

by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen China
Published in Articles about China
Lost was an HBO smash hit about a plane which crashes onto a deserted island thousands of miles from anywhere and the world believes the plane lost. In reality, many of the passengers are still very much alive. Lost continued for many years.

This is a supplementary activity for intermediate or advanced students who want to learn a few verbs in present continuous form which they may not have come across before. Advanced level students are always eager to come across new words and this is an exciting way to teach them something different.

To run this high-level present continuous TV lesson, you'll need the first episode of Lost Season 1 of Lost S01E01 - you can download this here. 

Before class, you should print out the jigsaw puzzle containing the words on page 3. You need to arrange your students into groups of three; you should make one copy per group. Cut up the puzzle pieces using scissors or a craft knife and paper clip the pieces together. Each group of three will now have a neat bundle of puzzle pieces. Remember to shuffle up each group’s pieces before you paperclip them together! (Tip: white card is better than white paper.)
In class:
Play the first episode of Lost (season one), where the plane crashes onto a desert island and everyone is in a state of panic and shock. Groups need to watch the movie and put the puzzle pieces into a pile in the order that they see the action. When the movie clip has finished, the students should put the pieces together from left to right, then right to left, then left to right, then right to left (as shown on page 4). If they have got the order right, then the puzzle should fit neatly together.
You should play the episode from the very start until 15:16mins. You might want to play the clip twice if your students need to see it again. 
Have fun! 
Published in Movie lessons
Po is an overweight panda, who works in his uncle's noodle shop in China. He is a martial arts fanatic and dreams of one day leaving his boring job in the restaurant and becoming a Kung Fu master! He eventually leaves his job selling noodles and goes to a mystic temple, high in the Chinese mountains to study Kung Fu with the grand master.

Up high in the mountains is a mystic scroll, and legend has it, that whoever has the scroll and reads its contents, will be endowed with supreme knowledge!

Kung Fu Panda is fantastic for children and in this ESL craft activity for writing, your students will be making their own aunthentic-looking ancient scroll (with real ancient-looking paper!) and writing their own 'mystic message' inside. This Kung Fu Panda craft activity lends a perfect platform for your students to do some creative writing and then can give their scroll to their parents after; perfect for English school activities.

Want to instantly download Kung Fu Panda movie file for this craft activity? Click here - you'll be helping this website to keep going.

For the English Teacher

Aims: Students have to make their own mystic Dragon Scroll with their own poem to show and display
A large bowl of strong tea (cold)
A4 paper (one per scroll)
Lots of sticks/chopsticks (two per scroll)
Kung Fu Panda Craft Activity: Getting Ready

The night before, prepare your ancient scroll paper by soaking the A4 paper in the tea for 30 minutes and then allow to dry. This will leave you with really authentic ‘ancient’ paper! This part is optional, of course. You will also need two sticks for the top and bottom of the scroll, chopsticks or paintbrushes will do, but real sticks look better!

What to Do in Class
Show the following clips to the students. This will set up the background of the film, how special the scroll is and make them ultra excited about making it! It will make them feel like their own scroll has an ‘aura of magic’!
First scene shown (05:05 - 07:30)
From when Shifu is playing the flute and the temple is first shown. This scene introduces some of the characters in the film and, more importantly, introdueces the fabled Dragon Scroll. It tells that the holder of the scroll will have limitless power and only the Dragon Warrior can hold it.
Second scene shown (18:55 – 25:50)
Po enters the Secret Hall of Warriors. The scene develops the feeling of magic and sorcery in your students. It shows Po checking out secret weapons and generally getting into mischief. The story of the Dragon Scroll is furthered and Po gets into trouble when first trying Kung Fu. The students will love this scene!
Third and final scene shown (1:00:00 – 1:03:52)
This scene shows Tai Lung, the evil snow leopard, defeating the other five warriors. The scene moves on to the temple where Po finally takes the Dragon Scroll. Master Shifu tells Po that the poem on the scroll holds the secret to limitless power and will help Po to defeat Tai Lung.
Important! Be sure stop the movie before the scroll is totally unravelled (just before Po gets the shock)! There is nothing on the scroll and your class won’t be as good if the students know this! 
Teaching tips
As with any movie lesson, try to watch the scenes of the movie well in advance. This will help you to get your mind ready for the class and you will feel far more comfortable teaching the lesson. 
With this particular lesson, don’t feel under pressure to make the special paper beforehand. It is a nice touch and the scrolls will look better, but it doesn’t enhance any language skills, so don’t get too worked up over doing it if you haven’t the time or materials.
Before you start making the scrolls, talk with the class what kind of things will be in the poem on the scroll. Write any student ideas on the board as they throw them at you. This part is crucial to give students some clear ideas on how to write their poems on the scroll. Don’t rush this part, even though the students will be eager to get started making the scroll. Stay in control of what goes on.
Make sure the students write the poem (or whatever they can write according to ability) first before attaching the sticks at the top and bottom. The students will be keen to construct the scroll first and then write the poem (kids are kids!), but it will be difficult to write on the paper after the sticks are attached! Kids usually aren’t that practical!!
There is no need to show the clips in 100% English (without the help of first language subtitles). Having first language subtitles aids their understanding and enjoyment of the movie. The main language aim of the class is the poem writing; the students will miss the ‘feeling’ of the class and the whole lesson won’t be as stimulating if you insist of doing everything in English! 

Lesson by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen

Published in Movie lessons
Curious George is a hit family movie about the relationship between a little monkey and an explorer. You can use this ESL movie lesson when you are teaching young children different colours. There are four different English activities and a few of these are craft-based lessons to teach colours. Your kids will love watching clips of Curious George and they'll know their colours better after this class. Curious George is suitable for all ages.

Want the Curious George DVD? Click here to buy, you'll be helping us out!

Activity One
- this activity is extremely simple and ideal for teachers who have a lot of classes and little preparation time. Get some flashcards with colours on one side and the word on the other. Play some flashcard games and teach your young learners to read the colour words. Afterwards, hand out the Curious George balloon colouring sheet and see if they can colour it correctly. The other sheet can be done for homework and your kids should colour it with their parents’ help.
Activity Two – before class, pop down to the supermarket and pick up a large bag of different coloured balloons; the more colours the better! Make sure that you have at least two balloons per student, as some are bound to go pop! Help your students to blow them up and tie a knot in them and ask students what colours they can see. Each student should have a turn and then choose a balloon they like. Kids finish the activity by drawing a Curious George face on the balloons with a board pen and taking it home to show their parents!
Activity Three – this one can be a bit messy, so make sure you put down lots of paper and warn parents not to let their kids wear their best clothes! You will need poster paper, poster paint and some paper plates. Mix up some poster paper and put some on the plates. Kids have to plop their hands and fingers into the paint to design their own artwork. Maybe show Clip Three again or make one before class to give them ideas. This activity can be messy and is best with smaller classes. Get a helper if possible! Great fun for the kids!!
Activity Four – after your students are quite comfortable and confident with identifying lots of colours, it will be time for a game! Divide your students into two teams and put a row of chairs across your classroom to form a volleyball net. Spread each team to cover the space on each side of the ‘net’. Blow up a balloon to use as a ball. Students need to hit the balloon to each other over the net. However, before they hit the balloon over, they must say a colour. This is a high-energy game and a great way to re-enforce vocabulary.  

Lesson written by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Teaching animals to Young Learners? Then this movie lesson plan for animals is right up your street! Use Barnyard to teach animals to your kids in English class.

Whether you are a TEFL teacher or a pre-school teacher in your home country, you're going to need to teach animals, the farm or the zoo at some point. Rather than just the same old Old McDonald song, why not give this excellent animals at the farm lesson plan and card game a try? Perfect for teaching young learners all the animals you can find on the farm.

Want to download the film in minutes from Amazon? Click here to download, you'll be helping us too!


What to Do in Class

1. Print and cut out animal cards. Fold the prints lengthways so that the animal picture is showing one way and on the reverse is the Barnyard logo. Print out one set of cards per group of students (maximum of 4 to a group).
2. Laminate each individual card. You should have 20 Barnyard animal cards. Lamainting the cards will keep them in good condition from grubby paws and allow you or colleagues to use the cards for future animal/farmyard lessons.
3. Have each group of children sit on the floor in a small circle. Give each set of laminated cards to each group and shuffle well.
4. Students should lay the spread out the cards face down on the floor with the Barnyard logo facing upwards.
5. In a clockwise direction, children should take turns in trying to find pairs of animals. After two cards have been turned over, if they do not match, the cards are turned face down again and it is the next child’s turn.
6. When a pair is found, the student must call over the teacher and tell the teacher the name of the animal. If they are correct, the child can keep the pair. Teacher should be on-hand to lend support and help for students who can’t remember the animal names.
7. Eventually, there will be no more cards left. The student with the most pairs at the end is the winner.

Animal cards: Cat, Coyote, Chick, Bull, Cow, Dog, Donkey, Gopher, Hen, Horse, Farmer, Mouse, Kangeroo, Pig, Rabbit, Rat, Rooster, Sheep, Turkey, Barn 
ESL Activity 2 – Jigsaw Puzzle
1. Print out one of the following pictures in full-page colour per pair of students.
2. Print out one accompanying jigsaw template per pair of students.
3. Using a glue stick (dry glue is best), stick the jigsaw template back-to-back with the full-colour printout.
4. With scissors, cut-out each jigsaw piece and laminate.
Give one puzzle to each pair of students. Students must put the puzzle together to form the Barnyard picture. 
5. When students have finished, they should tell the teacher which animals they can see in the pcture.
Additional follow-up teaching activity ideas
“Old MacDonald had a Farm” song
Animal Flashcard activities
Animal mime games
Children draw and colour their favourite animal
Children go into small groups to make their own farm on large poster paper. Groups then show their farm to the class and their parents and display on the classroom wall.

Written by Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Atlantis....the lost empire! The hundreds of years, this mythical kingdom has captured the imagination of both children and adults alike. In this ESL movie lesson, you'll be using parts of the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire to create a fun platfrom for your students to do some creative writing. 

In the film, the hero finds a hidden map with a secret code on it. If he can decipher the code, then he can find Atlantis. Your kids will be making an Atlantis-style hidden map using the code in the Atlantis ESL movie lesson plan. They'll be practicing the alphabet and spelling skills. Perfect for a special craft activity in your school. Awesome fun for children learning English!

You can rent or buy Atlantis: The Lost Empire direct from Amazon right here if you need. You'll be helping us out as well!

What to Do in Class
After introducing the topic and playing parts of the DVD (clips detailed at the bottom of this plan), it is time to get on with your class activity.
The activity is for the students to make an ancient map showing the way to the treasure buried under Atlantis – which child wouldn’t get excited about that?!
The difference about this map is that it is written in the old Atlantis language, so groups of children will need the Key of Language (in the lesson plan PDF below) to complete their maps!
Making the Map Paper 
This part is entirely optional! You can do this on standard white A4 if you lack time or materials, but with just a little bit of preparation, you can make really authentic map paper!
The night before class, soak your white A4 in strong tea and leave for 30 minutes. Carefully take out the paper and leave to dry. When it’s dry, screw the paper up into a ball to form creases, straighten it out and carefully burn the edges with a cigarette lighter. Two points I would like to make here – first, don’t burn too much otherwise you’ll have to start again from scratch and secondly, burn the paper outside in an open area. Setting fire to your home, your school, or yourself is definitely not cool!
Drawing the map in class 
This is where the kids can be really creative. They get to choose the shape of Atlantis and the features that Atlantis has!
Before drawing, perhaps you could pre-teach them several things which Atlantis might have i.e. waterfall, cave, river, monsters, mountains, forest, dragon, treasure…you are only limited by your imagination! Remember that any features that the kids want to label on the map must be written in Atlantis words. For this, each group of students will need a Key of Language to decipher the code.
Alternative Activities
Before class, get a giant A3 or A2 piece of paper and make your own ‘ancient’ map at home. Draw and label lots of fantasy places on your map, for example, Skull Mountain, Ghost River, etc. Label it in Atlantis language! 
Bring the map to school and tell them that there is hidden treasure somewhere on the map which the kids need to find. Hand out some directions to find the treasure in Atlantis language and the kids have to translate it into English to locate the treasure.
This is perfect when teaching directions or prepositions of place! This is also a good activity for students just getting into using full sentences, where their spelling and word order might be a problem. 

Lesson written by Stuart Allen

Stuart Allen
Published in Movie lessons
Runaway Train is about children who run away or go missing. It is a topic for mature-minded, intermediate-level or advanced-level students. This is a delicate topic, but certainly worthwhile and will offer your students something very different from what they've studied at their school or in any language schools.

Download Runaway Train by Soul Asylum immediately here from Amazon - you'll be helping this website too.


Using Runaway Train In Class
Put the students into pairs and hand-out the song lyrics. Play the song and let the students read the lyrics and they listen. At the end of the song, ask the students to try to guess what the song is about. To put them in the right direction, tell them that the song isn‟t about a train!
After a few minutes, ask the students for feedback and jot some of their ideas on the board. After you have collected many ideas, thank them for the good ideas and let them know that you will tell them what the song is about a bit later on in the class (telling them now will ruin the first activity!)

Task 1
Tell the class that Runaway Train really took the world by storm and that there were many opinions to what the song was really about. Hand-out some of these opinions and ask the students to read them. Feel free to focus on any interesting language from the blogs about the song.
When the students have finished reading the blogs, ask them to write their own mini-blog about what they think the song is about...

Optional Task

In America, the faces of missing children have been put on milk cartons since the 1970's. Give your students some cultural information and ask them to get creative by bringing to class some empty milk or yoghurt cartons and asking them to make their own imaginary appeal in English.

Lesson by Stuart Allen

Stuart Allen

Published in Song lessons

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