22 Private/Small Group Lesson Ideas…all you need is a laptop and a dream. And you don’t really need the laptop.
- Look at pictures of places and discuss.
- Read “The Road Not Taken” and discuss.
- Read “The Lottery” and discuss.
- Discuss trips you’ve taken. Start by thinking of all the adjectives you can.
- Think of a business situation and role play it (interviews, etc.).
- Summarize a movie.
- Summarize a book
- Summarize a trip.
- Summarize a past project.
- Summarize a future project.
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control website and discuss.
- Read an article from The Economist and discuss.
- TED.com videos (watch, discuss, comment).
- Learn speaking techniques at rachelsenglish.com.
- BusinessEnglishPod has 20 minute listenings you can expand into lessons.
- Pretend you’re making a hotel reservation online.
- Go shopping online and buy presents for the people you love.
- Or, buy stuff for yourselves online.
- Go to craigslist.com and try and sell something online.
- Order a pizza for a charity. Practice, then make a real phone call.
- Comment on YouTube videos. Like this one.
- Comment on Blogs. Like these.
Website Review: Learn English—British Council
In Short: The best site on the internet for learning English. It’s multilevel. It’s really big. It’s really helpful.
First: Low-level, intermediate-level, and high-level students will all find great stuff.
Second: The site is really big. You can watch and listen. You can read and write. You can practice grammar. You can play games. You can make friends.
Third: The activities are helpful, interesting, and modern. The site is easy to use and looks great.
For Students: Here are three things you might really like on the site. For listening, Big City, Small World is great. Studying for the IELTS? Check out this section. Or, you might join the virtual community Second Life so you can speak and listen to real people in English all the time.
For Teachers: Send your students to the site and have them write their own reviews. Ask them to answer three questions: (1) What can you listen to on this site? Describe it. (2) Is this a good site? Why/Why not? (3) Would you recommend it to a friend? Why/Why not?
Website Review: Teaching English www.teachingenglish.org.uk/
In short: The best site for English teachers on the internet. If you only have time to visit one site a day, this should be it. What do you need? Activities for you classroom? They got ‘em. Training to make you a better teacher? Oh heck yeah. A worldwide community to bounce ideas off of, get help from, and have fun with. Si. Da. Nae. Hai. Tak. Yes. Yes. Yes.
For students: This site is mainly for teachers, but if your teacher isn’t using it, you might tell them about it. Also, check out their sister site for students: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en
For teachers: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they also have links to tons of other sites. Oh, and make sure to like them on Facebook…
Website Review: englishonline.net
In short: For $39-$129, you can access lot of good writing advice and have a teacher look at your stuff. You’ll definitely improve.
This site is half pay stuff, half free stuff. You can pay for writing courses. They look like they’re best for really advanced students, so some students might like a book that’s a little simpler. Still, the content seems strong. The Business Writing course looked especially good. You can also take these courses: “Essentials of Writing”, “Technical Writing”, “Research Essay Writing”, and “Resume Lab”. (The “Essentials of Writing” course would be best for lower level students.)
For free, you can listen to cool conversations with nice supporting materials. You can also check out daily vocabulary, idioms, and grammar points for free.
For students: Once you sign up for a writing course, you can access forums. If lots of people put stuff there, they’ll be great.
For teachers: Why not recommend this site to your students? Paying for a course, could be just the motivation they need to take their skills to the next level.
Website Review: http://www.edochan.com/teaching/level.htm
For students: You can play these games with your friends. Also, check out this article. It’s about learning Japanese, but there is lots of good advice for learning any language.
For teachers: The authors of these games make them fun to read about and easy to understand. You’ll enjoy games that start like this: “Have the students remove their shoes to prevent bloodshed…”
Note: This is the main site, but most of it isn’t interesting for teaching and studying English.
In short: Some great materials. The best parts are the stories. You can read, listen, and read simple versions. They are written by Kieran McGovern and he is very talented. You can learn more about him here.
Though the site design has improved recently, there are still broken links. Sometimes, the site is confusing. Most links open in a new window, so if you browse the site, you need to close a lot of windows.
For students: Check out the podcasts page for an excellent collection of listening materials.
For teachers: Click on the “reading” tab on eslreading.org to learn all about choosing ESL books (readers) for your classes. You can also read an article about writing readers.
Website Review: eslplans.com
In short: As of today there are 200 plans on this cool site. Some are simple fill-in-the-blank worksheets and others are more detailed and exciting activities. All the plans are submitted by users. There’s a nice community feel to the site. Everything is excellently organized and super easy to use. Refreshingly few ads and no clutter at all really create a nice experience.
For teachers: This site is a great idea, but still feels a little empty. Why not submit one of your plans and encourage those around you to do the same. If this site goes viral, everyone wins.
Website Review: tefltunes.com
In short: £10GBP (~$15) gets you a one-year subscription to lesson plans built around songs. As of today, there are 42 plans on the site, 8 of those are free. The free ones are certainly great plans that will ensure exciting, memorable, and educational lessons. The site is well organized and easy to use.
For students: If you want to find some songs to help you improve your English, this is a great place to go. You can search for songs using level, theme, task, or artist. You’ll need to study them by yourself, though.
For teachers: Consider asking your school to pay the £20GBP (~$30) so everyone at your school can use these great materials.
Website Review: joongangdaily.joins.com
In short: A great English news site for upper-intermediate or advanced level Koreans. Many of the stories are in English and Korean, so Koreans can quickly check the translation. Even if you’re not Korean, though, you’ll enjoy reading these stories on everything from current events to entertainment. You can also listen to many of them.
For students (in Korea): Check out the Foreign Community tab where you can find many English language events. There are many nice opportunities to go practice your English in the real world.
For teachers: Assign one of the stories that have audio to your students. Ask them to read it for the next class. They can print it off, but should be familiar with the intonation, timing, and word stress while reading.