Warm-up Activity using For & Since

I use this activity as a warm-up when talking about the present perfect and using “for” and “since.”  This works well as a follow up review activity for lower level classes or a refresher for those who are more advanced.

Briefly explain why we use both “for” and “since” in the present perfect.

For:  a period of time in the past (5 days, 6 minutes, 20 years etc)
Since: a point in time in the past (2004, yesterday, last week, February etc)

Once they have a decent understanding of the rule write FOR and SINCE on the board. Above the word “FOR” write “STAND” and above “SINCE” write “SIT.”  Explain to them that you will call out either a period of time or a point in time and depending on what they hear they must either sit down or stand up. Go through a few practice rounds with them.

What you do from here is up to the specific class itself. If I have a lot of confident students who are good friends with each other I turn it into a race and the last person to stand or sit has to create a sentence using the period or point in time I gave.

I don’t do it this way if the class is mixed level because I don’t want to single out any one student who may not understand so I let them know that the first half of the class to sit or stand correctly is safe but anyone else could be called upon to make a sentence. That way I can control a little better who has to speak.

It’s fun to trick the students by sitting and standing with them for the first few and then doing the opposite of what they expect when I call out the period or point in time.

This activity is a lot of fun and is great as a warm up or closer activity to get the students moving around!

ESL Lesson Plan: Relative Pronouns (no preparation)

This is an activity I like to use when teaching relative pronouns. It can be adapted to any age group or level just by changing the difficulty of the examples and expectations of the students. The best part is it requires NO materials or preparation and is great when you need to come up with a lesson quickly.

TARGET LANGUAGE: WHO, WHERE, WHICH, THAT

Warmer:

I usually start this lesson by walking into the classroom looking confused. I say to the students, “I FORGOT!” then, “What’s that woman called who teaches math and has three daughters and is really nice?” at which time they’ll name the teacher. Then I’ll shout again, “I FORGOT!” What’s that place called where you can quickly go inside and buy snacks or drinks but it’s not a supermarket?” (mini mart) … again, “I FORGOT!” by the third time they should be shouting “I FORGOT” with you and laughing along at your silliness. Use as many examples as you’d like to get the students excited about the lesson.

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TESOL Certified! (TEFL International)

I completely forgot to update the blog with the news that I completed my TEFL course and received my certificate to teach English as a second or other language (TESOL). This is a big milestone in becoming an ESL teacher around the world.

TEFL International has been great. The head trainer was a Florida boy like myself and born in New York with Italian ancestry. He’s the same age as me but started out his teaching 5 years ago and has made amazing strides. His personality and delivery of lessons was engaging and definitely the best part of the course itself. The 120 hour course doesn’t necessarily provide you with the practical tools needed to be an ESL teacher. The trainer’s job is to get the trainees comfortable and compotent as English teachers and I feel that was accomplished in my eyes. It isn’t that a certification is required to teach all the time but it opens the door to more countries, higher pay and an edge on my resume with competitive jobs.

The other really great thing about the course was the friends that I made. Dave and Gareth, both from England were together most of the time on the course and really pushed each other to succeed. These are friends that I’ll have for a life time and we made it a point to make sure we stay in contact. Then there was Derek, the 77 yr old Englishman who fit right in with us. His stories were amazing and he is a true English gentleman. I’m going miss all 3 of them and look forward to a reunion somewhere in Asia.

Certified!

Certified!

If I had one complaint about the course it might be the facilities themselves. They were moving out of the building we were staying in and into a new location and as the last residents they probably weren’t too concerned with fixing pipes or broken appliances. That being said, most of us on the course just sucked it up and dealt with it.

Again, in a practical sense, not a whole lot can be taken away from this course. I wasn’t provided with specific directions on how to lesson plan or what day to day life as an ESL teacher will bring. That will only come with experience and research on my own. There were several quotes posted around the classroom and two stood out in particular for me.

“A good teacher always knows what to do.” and “Sort it out!”

To me, these quotes basically mean, no matter what the situation, whether it be a mistake made by someone else that you have to a fix, or a problem you create yourself, it is up to you to take care of it yourself. Sort it out! Ultimately, it will always be up to me to make sure something gets done, even if the fact is true that someone else dropped the ball or there are issues out of my control. These are quotes that can translate into almost any profession or part of life. Don’t blame other people. Sort it out. Figure out what you have to do.

So, the next step is landing back on the island of Sumatra on Tuesday and begin my life as an ESL teacher with a 2 month volunteer contract in the town of Bukit Lawang. Here we go!