Saturday, December 21, 2013

Online Authentic Videos for meaningful ESL learning

One of the most difficult issues to work without published English course books is to find good videos (and listenings) adapted for the ESL class at any level. Even if you work with published materials, videos are not as authentic as children deserve for their learning.

With the help of my colleague Patricia Meneses, an awesome Art CLIL teacher and teacher trainer, we did a research in Internet on web pages, You Tube channels or Vimeo channels with videos, short films or commercials suitable to be used in the class with elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate students.

And here you are the result. Hope you find the right one! Safe videos for kids, organized by age. KidsTube is like YouTube for kids, where ages 3-13 upload and share their own videos in a monitored, safe environment that's 100% family-friendly. They also have social networking for kids to prepare them for teen sites like FaceBook. Delicious recipes for kids, written recipe and video. In order to find what you are looking for you need to choose, so kids have to start making decisions right from the beginning. You'll love this website!

Film English. By Kieran Donaghy. Lots of short video films including lesson plans to go with them. Some of them are silent films you can paractice dubbing or subtitling activities

Makemegenius, A You Tube channel with science videos for Primary students. A bit difficult for esl learners, but maybe useful with some scaffolding.

Bookbox, which has a lot of short stories less than ten minutes, all with subtitles, designed for teaching children. You can watch some favorite stories a whole new way through the eyes (and fingers) of kids. Amazing! This is a great site for children to watch videos of celebrities reading popular children's books aloud. Free educational videos organized by age, subject, topic, common core. Lots of amazing animals, nature, science and history videos for your CLIL or science classes. Videos dealing with all subjects. Children can discover the world through the museum of science, art, and human perception with tons of programmes... Film trailers, books reviews,  video clips, … It can be a  great resource to start a project, a lesson or whatever, it will arise your students interest! This is a video sharing platform, specifically designed for students and educators with best videos from schools and students everywhere.

Filminute With 25 different films all chiming in at a minute! You can use them as listening activities, attention getters, things for students to describe, or inspiration for your students' own events!

Geico commercials. Commercials provide wonderful conversation prompts and clear, easy to follow audio and text that reflect natural speech. This is a good one to start with. A site with a lot of great ideas for teaching. There are links to video and accompanying lesson plans that are easy to adapt to your class.

YouTube Pixar Channel Just a classic!

Ringling College of Art Design channel in Vimeo. HQ videos for reflection and starting discussions about personal topics. Watch here the latest!


But if you are not still happy with this list, you can have a look to the following stacks:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Big Book Of Fears

While celebrating Halloween in the school, we could notice that some young children were scared of some decorations, masks and stuff.

I found a beautiful opportunity to talk about children’s fears seriously in the ESL class, learning some new vocabulary and, at the same time, helping them learn to cope with their fears.

“There is nothing to be scared of”.

Fears are an integral part of the normal development process of children. Fear reflects the insecurity the child experiences in a frightening world, whose rules he does not yet understand. Fear is also an opportunity to understand your younger students better -- a process from which you will emerge both stronger and encouraged.

“That ghost decoration looks scary to you? If you look underneath the sheet, you can see it’s just plastic. It is not real.”

Pretend play can provide children with excellent opportunities to work through their fears. Providing props and costumes that are related to children’s fears can give them the space and time to work through those scary feelings and ideas in a safe and developmentally appropriate manner.

But another great way to help children work through fears is through children’s literature.  Reading about a character in a book who is facing their fears can give kids strategies to deal with their own.

There are many books on the market that deal with fears and other emotions. Find one or two in your bookshop, and read them with your young students. As you read, talk with them about the story. If they bring up their own fears or emotions, this is an opportunity for you to talk with them, to learn some new vocabulary, structures and grammar and, above all, to face directly with their fears and reassure them.
Reading the story will allow your students to identify with the characters and learn how they coped with their fears.

Some book recommendations:

  • There's a Nightmare in my Closet, by Mercer Mayer
  • There's an Alligator under my Bed, by Mercer Mayer
  • The Berenstein Bears and the Bad Dream, by Stan Berenstein
  • Chester the Brave, by Audrey Penn
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson
  • The Little Old Lady Who is Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
  • Tickle Monster by Josie Bisett

We read Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett. After reading and understanding any single fear, talking about personal fears and learning how to ask and answer about them, we made Our Big Books of Fears.

Have a look!

Sources: and

Monday, December 09, 2013

Teaching English to the Little Ones

I'm not very used to bring activities, songs or videos for the youngest in the school; these are not my ages. But I'm really convinced that if one day I had to teach English to 3-4-5 years old my days as English teacher will change dramatically!

And this is the reason sometimes I like to surf on the net and find some resources and stuff for the teachers who deals with them.

Today I like to share one of my precious findings: "Teaching English to the Little Ones", a blog managed by Sara, a kindergarten English teacher who never gets tired of finding and sharing new materials.

I'm completely sure you will like it a lot!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Where do People Speak English in the World?

Many students do not realize the importance of English language in the world until someone shows them some empirical data.

English is not only the most spoken language in the world, but also, the one that has been “adopted” by many countries as one of their official languages.

Doing this short project students discovered how many English speakers are in the world, how many and which countries speak English as an official language and what continent has more English speaking countries.

In addition, students read about the reasons why English has become so popular and has become the international language. They also discussed different reasons to learn English and why it is so important nowadays.

As an extension they also recognized which of the so-called "emerging countries", use English as an official language and which countries were the ones who “originated” the English language.

At the end, it is important to make a visual infographics to present the results of their research to other students in the school or to parents (display, Power Point, blog ...)