Do you have favourite online resources you use for your English as a Second Language (ESL) students? Isn’t it difficult, sometimes, to sort through all the English teaching resource sites and find something you love?
It’s like the internet is an ocean of resources, making it hard to choose! Well, today’s short, but sweet post is a list of my favourites. Now, these aren’t the only ones I use, but they are definitely the ones that come up most frequently with my ESL students.
5 Online Resources For Your ESL Class
1. Flo Joe
Well, you may have come across this site already, but in case you haven’t, check out Flo Joe. If you have students taking standardized exams like the Cambridge Advanced (CAE) or First Certificate (FCE), they will absolutely love the practice questions on this site. In fact, they even have free sample writing section questions, with essays, articles, reports and reviews to practice.
If you want to know more about helping students for the FCE, you can read my post on How To Study for the FCE.
2. English Central
So, this is a paid resource, but it’s a really great way to help students in ESL classes of all levels watch videos that can help them. English Central has short videos students can watch. Then, there are gap-fill exercises they can do to complete the sentences in (subtitled) video. Vocabulary lists are also available. Actually, there is a wide range of topics to choose from, so your students will stay focused.
You can check out 2 videos for free!
So, I suppose you’ve heard of Duolingo, but have you used it in your English classes? In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a free software you can use to learn multiple languages. Activities in the game include repeating a word correctly, or completing a sentence correctly and learning vocabulary. The more you answer correctly, the more points you get and levels you pass!
Sometimes, it can be a great way to end off a tough class, or start a class on a day when your students need a bit of energy.
Also, if your students have any difficulty matching the speaker’s voice, you can help them with pronunciation.
4. Online Scrabble – Man In Blue
Who doesn’t like to play games? (Yes, adult students do, too!). While I have carried a mini scrabble game like this one in my tutoring bag in the past, nowadays the online version seems to do the trick. Man In Blue has a free online scrabble board here. While it’s a simple set-up, it works well!
In particular, I use this site after reading a chapter of a novel study with a tutoring student, or as part of an online games day with an ESL class. You’ll be surprised how quick students are (especially kids and teens!) to use the words they’ve just learned.
Of course, if you need more games and flashcards, I’ve got a bunch in my free printables library. You have access, right? If not, click the button below to get the password today!
My most recent flashcards are for eaching Ellipsis and Reference to ESL students. I have a popular Phrasal Verbs game, too (and a new set of flashcards for Business Phrasal Verbs!).
Now, of course, I couldn’t leave out my favourite!
Why TED Talks? Well, they truly have thousands of talks, topics and speakers to choose from, so it’s versatile and fits any unit or theme. Also, I find it really engages ESL students in discussion with their classmates. It’s so great to see ESL students speaking a lot in class!
As you may know, I even wrote a whole e-book of 25 TED Talk Lesson Plans for your English class that is available here, if you’d like to check it out. It has pre-watching and follow-up activities, too, to keep your class busy!
3 Tips for Using Online Resources
Sometimes, it feels like there is as an ocean of resources out there, doesn’t it? How can you wade through them and find the great ones to help your ESL class or private tutoring students? Well, as much as I love the ocean and ocean metaphors (the photo below is from my trip to Cinque Terre last summer), we English teachers definitely need to get to the good stuff online quickly!
- Use Authentic News Sources – Reading the news is important! Use BBC News or sites like Breaking News English to help you use adapted, authentic sources that have current information.
- Have Students Pre-Watch Relevant Videos At Home – For lower-level and intermediate students, I find it’s best to assign the video for homework, and watch it again in class. In fact, this works really well for TED Talks, as students can jot down vocabulary they didn’t understand, try the video with subtitles, and even read the transcript beforehand if necessary. TED has current and well-known speakers, so their talks can always lead to further discussion on issues.
- Use Online Quiz Tools & Flashcards – Make sure the online tools you use are fun! Try using Quizlet or Google Forms to make surveys and quizzes that relate to your current unit. Using authentic sources, create questions that align with your current unit.
So, I hope my short list has helped some of you with ideas for your ESL class. Remember, if you need easy, engaging lesson plans, check out my 25 TED Talk Lesson Plans for Your English Class by clicking the banner below.
P.S. Photo lovers, the main image for today’s post is one I took in Cinque Terre, Italy in July 2016.
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