10 Fabulous ESL Activities for Online ClassesMelody
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For some time now I have talked about how you can start teaching English as a second language and I am confident you found this helpful. Now that you have started your side hustle teaching English as a second language, which we commonly know as ESL, you are probably wondering how to keep your students engaged in class. I know how it feels and so today I just want to share with you 10 interactive ESL activities for kids’ online classes
You want to make sure your student is with you throughout the lesson, right? I have found these activities help to engage the student and for classroom control. These activities are the best, especially if you are teaching children who need continuous engagement.
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What is the Challenge with Kids?
When I started teaching online my worst nightmare was to lose control of the kids’ attention in the virtual classroom. Children are hyperactive and can easily lose attention to something else that’s not part of the lesson. It is not always easy to have control when the kid can only see you via a medium. The situation becomes more difficult if it is a group class.
Younger children of 3-5years cannot read, therefore learn from visuals. This means you need to be as creative as possible to use visuals in delivering the lesson.
Some of these children are not self-motivated. They are only taking these lessons because their parents think they should. This gives you the teacher an enormous challenge to keep them motivated in class.
With this in mind, I want to help you out today. I don’t want you to scream and lose your brain during your first lessons. Here are 10 fabulous ESL activities for kids’ online classes that will not only keep you in control, but that will also make your students enjoy the lesson.
1. Categories game
This is my favourite game of all time. It helps the teacher assess the vocabulary level of your students and their listening skills. To play the game, you agree on “categories” let’s say “colours” or “verbs”. So the teacher calls out the category and the student shouts a word that falls into that category.
here is an example –
Teacher- a colour that starts with P
Student – pink!
Teacher – Well done clap clap…
So the idea is to check if your student knows these categories. Ideally, when the student gets it correct, you clap hands or applaud them in the best possible way so they keep showing off. If the student gets it wrong, take time to explain to them so they understand better.
I usually alter this game to fit very young learners of 3-5 years. I show a card with a specific colour and say this is pink? The student answers by saying yes it is, or no it isn’t!
This game is the best strategy to correct students without offending them or getting them discouraged.The Categories game is a smart way to correct students without offending them Click To Tweet
2. Flashcards quiz
Every teacher who teaches junior kids has at some point used flashcards. They are a superb way to deliver a lesson in a visual format. Flashcards are important interactive ESL activities for kids resource for both online and physical classes.
The teacher raises a flashcard and asks the student to name what is on the card. With younger children, the teacher can ask in the form of a question and say, is this a dog? The teacher expects the student to say yes it is, or no it isn’t.
If it is not a dog, then the teacher probes the student to tell her what is on the card. I have found it very convenient to have different flashcards. Using the categories as with activity number one, each lesson is a quiz on a particular category eg animals, colours, concrete nouns, etc.
If you are a beginner ESL teacher, you may find these low-budget flashcards from Amazon very useful. They can save you dozens of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to deliver your lesson effectively.
3. Correct and Incorrect Sentences
This activity is ideal with older children, 8-12years, who can read and write. What you do is you write correct and incorrect sentences together and ask the student to pick which one is correct and which one is not. Ask them to explain why they say that it’s incorrect.
This activity helps you assess your students’ spelling and reading skills. It also tests their grammar.
4. Behind the Window
This is another activity to do with flashcards and ideal for younger kids, 3-8years. The teacher takes a flashcard and hides it behind a Manila with small holes. The holes have to be small enough for the kids to see what’s behind. Raise the Manila and ask the kid to guess what is behind,
This activity helps teachers to assess if their student can see and interpret what they see.
This is a must-have resource for ESL teachers. You will never run out of ideas to keep your students engaged. These interactive games will make your online teaching fun with minimal preparation.
5. Odd One Out
As the name suggests, this is a quick interactive activity where the student picks the odd one out. The teacher can give a set of common things, or items that belong to the same category then puts one which belongs to a different category. The teacher then asks the student to pick the odd one out.
an example: pink, red, black, banana
The student has to pick the odd one out and explain why. Here it is a banana. Because it is a fruit whilst the rest are colours.
6. Action It!
This activity is whereby the student demonstrates what they did at a particular time. The teacher can ask the child to show through acting what they did when they woke up. This could be a particular routine, like brushing teeth or bathing. After acting, the student can then write on a paper or board.
This helps the students to recall what they have done and then write.
7. Animal sounds game
This is one activity where the teacher gets to act like an animal. The teacher plays animal sounds and asks the student to identify the animal. To make life easy, I prerecord animal sounds, then play them during the lesson. I don’t want my students to get confused when my soft voice barks like a baby.
I have often heard other teachers saying they don’t want to look like clowns during their online lessons, so this prerecording will help. It will save you the embarrassment when you cannot hiss like a snake.
8. Guided Drawing
This an activity where the teacher asks the student to draw something related to the lesson theme. If your lesson theme is animals, the teacher can ask the student to draw their favourite pet. You guide the student through the drawing, making sure they bring out the important parts of the animal.
9. Use a puppet to tell a story
We have often seen this on TV in our favourite cartoons. This is undoubtedly a very effective method to keep kids engaged. Telling a story using a puppet is super easy. All you need is to invest in a beautiful and eye-catching puppet doll.
By talking to the puppet and having it talk to the kids too, you help them build their vocabulary. Kids love it when they have dolls talking to them. Their imagination is easily captured and as a result, you have a great lesson.
Here is an affordable stuffed puppet set that can bring magic to your online lessons.
10. Watch films
I reserved this interactive ESL activity for kids for online classes for last. It has always been my convenient scapegoat to deliver lessons when I haven’t pre-planned. It is easy just to ask your student to watch a film together and derive lessons from it.
Watching films helps build vocabulary and assessment to see the concentration span of your student. You need to select a film in line with your lesson theme. There are plenty of film resources for ESL Teachers.
This is the list of my top 10 interactive ESL activities for kids’ online classes. Remember the goal is to make the lessons fun, interactive and memorable so that learning does not become boring. Who wants to be in a boring lesson worse off virtually? No one.Invest in your tutoring business and watch your income explode Click To Tweet
So invest in all the tools that will make your students want to have another lesson and watch your booking sheet always fully booked.
Have you tried out these activities in your online lessons? Let me know how it went in the comments. I would love to hear from fellow teachers.
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