Monday, February 10, 2014

EAL Social Studies

This semester, I am teaching an EAL social studies class and beginning the course with a map of Canada assignment and learning about Canadian culture in general. From there, I plan on teaching about general Canadian culture including symbols and the national anthem, the government, First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, and then focusing more specifically on Saskatchewan.

I am going to use this particular post to store useful links for teaching the course.

Canadian Symbols

Thursday, October 10, 2013

EAL Science Blog

This is just a quick post to share yet another one of my many blogs.  I know there are tons of ways to share information online and a multitude of different websites and apps but I'm well versed in Blogger and just find it the easiest way to post information for students.  I have been using blogs for years to post online lessons for students in all subject areas.  I have also used them to communicate with students and families online.  Currently, I'm attempting to use and for that instead but there's still something to be said for a really solid website that's consistent and easy to navigate to.

Today, I updated my EAL Science blog as I have just begun teaching an EAL Science class and am excited to have the students do an excellent Webquest I found.  Yes, Webquests still exist and there are some good ones out there.  My challenge was always finding ones that were 100% relevant to what I wanted to accomplish and I found the perfect one for teaching about biomes and animals adaptations.  Here's a screen shot of my EAL Science Blog. 


I should also mention that I will be introducing students to Google Docs through this project as well as a yet-to-be-determined Scrapbooking program (suggestions are welcome!) and Fotobabble.  I considered Three Ring but it's really more for publishing already existing projects.  I hope to add some of their work to Three Ring, however, and begin creating an online portfolio for students.  There are so many possibilities..I just wish I had more time in the day.

Also, I am hoping to blog about our fun pumpkin tart making that we will be doing tomorrow morning.  A great way to teach English is by just doing things and I love incorporating our local culture and traditions into student learning.  It's my first time making pumpkin tarts so it should be an interesting experience!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quizlet: Flashcards, quizzes, games, and more!

Today, I was helping a student
who's reading The Hunger Games
and wanted to find her some
additional vocabulary practice.  Unfortunately, the first thing I found was basically the cheat sheet for her actual assignment.  Oops!  I quickly took that back and thought about how in sync I must be with her English teacher.

After that, I looked for websites where students can practice the vocabulary and came across the wonderful world of  It's got a ton of potential to use as a teaching and learning tool for all students and it's FREE.  Since this is an EAL-themed blog, I'll focus on the language learning aspect.

A great way to learn and reinforce English vocabulary is by using index cards in which students write the word, its meaning, and draw a picture.   They can also write a synonym, antonym, and even write a sentence using that word.  This website allows students to either create their own set of flash cards or use sets already available on the website. There are already thousands of existing sets of vocabulary words for every possible subject at a variety of grade levels.  In exploring the website, my student and I also discovered that there were many bilingual vocabulary cards in which students would be able to view words in their own language along with English.

Here's an example of a set of EAL oriented words.  These are rooms and chores around the house. Students can read through the words, listen to them using the audio tool, and then proceed to practice using the quizzes or games available.

Another possibility for the program is to have students create their own vocabulary sets along with definitions and photos.  For example, provide students with the word list and it's up to them to create the index cards with definitions and photos.  You can add more required information as mentioned such as synonyms, antonyms, or writing a sentence using the word.

As you can probably tell, I was very excited about this website.  I see tons of potential and am excited to use it in my next Science unit on biomes, food chains, and sustainability. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

One of the websites I use with students the most is  It's essentially the online version of

Reading A-Z where they can listen, read, and complete quizzes at an appropriate reading level.  It works so well in my classes because I always have a wide range of reading levels in a class.  I imagine this is true of all EAL classes or any class for that matter.

Other things that are great about the website is that you can monitor students' progress with respect to books read, levels passed, and minutes spent on the program.  It's sometimes tricky to watch every computer screen all the time but you can easily use the teacher account to make sure students are on task and completing their assignments as assigned.

There are also reading benchmark tests at each level where students can read aloud and it is recorded for the teacher to assess.  This reading assessment also includes a comprehension portion where students have to explain what happens in the story in their own words.

This program is well designed and also features a motivational point system to keep students engaged.  As for time, I find that 30 minutes is usually about right.  The actual lesson can take longer because it takes time to get students to logon to the computers and navigate to the website.  Of course, this becomes much quicker after using it two or three times.  It's also possible for students to access the website from anywhere so they can read at home for extra practice. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

EAL Links (Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation)

Thanks to the STF Library for a fantastic list of links and print resources.  There are tons of resources here to explore.  Enjoy!

Annotated Bibliography 

Here's the link to the .pdf document with a very extensive annotated bibliography of EAL resources.  

English as an Additional Language Annotated Bibliography

  • Go to the drop-down menu for bibliographies and click on "EAL/ESL/English as an Additional Language"

EAL Websites 


Open Access Journals

EAL Resources (Online)

Here are some helpful links for anyone looking for EAL resources. I have used most of them and would definitely recommend the Oxford website and the Penguin ESL readers. The first few resources were provided by the ministry and I added a few of my own afterward.  Be sure to check out the Oxford English File and Azar Grammar.

EAL Resources from the Ministry of Education

A Guide to Using the CFR with EAL Learners

EAL Middle Years Modules 1-5

Recommended Reading
Coelho, Elizabeth. 2004. Adding English. A guide to teaching in multilingual classrooms. Pippin Publishing. Don Mills, ON

Some Resources I Like...

Azar Grammar - Love these grammar books and just discovered a great website that complements the texts. I am excited to try out some of the songs with my students.

Dave's ESL Cafe - This website has it all...lots of ideas for lesson plans on every topic related to teaching English as an Additional Language.

Busy Teacher - This website has a variety of others listed that are useful for teaching EAL including many that encourage the integration of technology in learning.

ESLPoint - Has a number of activities available online at many different levels.

Learning English with CBC Manitoba - This website is fantastic. They discuss relevant newsworthy topics, provide audio, lesson plans, and lots of great ideas. It is well worth a look if you teach EAL at the high school level in particular.

Oxford University Press English File - This is possibly the best quality website for EAL learners to play all sorts of games online to practice English. Students can choose their level and do a variety of activities and games to practice English skills. I have used this a lot in the past especially at the elementary level.

Shakespeare in Bits - This is an Ipad App that I just discovered and absolutely love. They have taken Shakespeare plays, created cartoon animations along with dialogue, summaries, notes, definitions, character lists, etc. and made Shakespeare a lot easier for EAL students to understand. I downloaded a play for my students this semester and the app really helped them understand what was happening in the play and of course they were much more engaged because they got to use an IPad! The downloads are a bit pricey at $14.99 but worth it and likely not much more than the cost of a book.

Hope that was hopeful for someone out there in the blogosphere. Please feel free to add more great websites in the comments and I will edit the list.

EAL Teaching Resources (Print)

Here are some of the various books that I use to teach EAL.  I know teachers are curious what they can use to teach EAL and there's no magic all-inclusive program but there are tons of resources available out there.  These are a few that I've used ...some are from the resource lists for the locally-developed EAL courses.  If you want more info, let me know.

Oxford Bookworms and Penguin Readers - Both series are designed for EAL students and come in a variety of genres with different levels.  The penguin readers can be bought with audio CDs and both sets have glossaries and comprehension questions as well as activities to practice reading strategies.

More resources to teach comprehension strategies.  These are listed as resources in some of the locally developed courses such as EAL B10L.

Appropriately leveled readers for EAL high school students.  The one on the left has fantastic images and a great format.  The Reading Explorer books also come with several support materials including CD-Roms, DVDs, a teacher guide, and audio CD.  I haven't used it much as I just got it as a sample book but the topics are relevant and there are lots of vocabulary building activities, reading passages, reading comprehension, and digital media.  Images are from National Geographic Digital Media so, as one can expect, they are stunning.

I teach a lot of EAL literacy classes so quite a few of my resources are subject-specific.  These Science resources are excellent and are at an upper elementary level but cover content-obligatory language and include relevant topics.  This is simply an example of the wide variety of resources available as you can find them targeted towards different subject areas. 

The Azar Grammar Books are kind of like the bible of grammar to me.  I love the way they present tenses and provide lots of opportunities for students to practice grammar forms.  There are three levels and they also include some CDs for sections on listening comprehension.  Writing Matters is a book I just discovered this year and it's fantastic.  My students are writing amazing paragraphs and my only complaint is that I don't have enough time to cover everything I'd like to as there are so many different writing forms and practice activities.

These come with a CD and are a fun way to practice conversational English and reading/speaking fluency.  The beginning book is great because you find students that are shy when it comes to speaking up will finally become a bit more confident with participating in an English conversation.

Again, more examples of reading comprehension practice books and high-interest, low readability.  Great for beginning readers.

More reading practice!

I have dozens more..there is simply not enough time and I often choose resources once I learn more about the students who I will be teaching in a particular semester.  Many of the materials that I use are "regular" curricular resources and I adapt my instruction for students.  For example, I draw from the iTeach classes for my EAL Science and also use resources developed by content teachers to prepare students for academic classes.

I should also mention that I also teach an EAL math class and have been using the Math Makes Sense program with manipulatives quite successfully.  We focus on the vocabulary words in each unit and my students have mastered the math vocabulary and the math concepts in general just by taking extra time to reinforce vocabulary through games and lots of repetition. 

Of course, I also use several online resources and various programs and have posted a few in recent posts.  I'll try to get around to writing another post with more of those and hopefully the new ones that I discover as there are several that I would still like to try out.