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TEFL Activities for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a great special occasion to have fun in the ESL classroom, but teachers must remember that it is important to meet the class objective and Valentine’s Day activities must succeed with teaching a language point or skill.

Here are some examples of Valentine’s Day activities for teaching English effectively:

Broken Hearts Matching: For this activity, the teacher can make paper hearts and cut them in half. One half will have part of a sentence and the other will have the other half. Students have to walk around the class to find their match. This activity is perfect for reviewing any conjunctions (for, because, if…) and developing speaking skills.

Nowadays, the whole world knows about the history of Valentine’s Day, so introducing the topic yourself may be boring and ineffective. Instead, find an interesting text on Valentine’s Day or poem to teach a reading comprehension class and follow up with activities that help your students practice the language point being taught for that day.

Using movies in the ESL classroom is a great way to teach any topic. Every year Hollywood produces a new movie for Valentine’s Day and famous movies like Valentine’s Day or I Hate Valentine’s Day can be used to teach listening skills, teach or review a grammar point, and spark discussions about how people feel on Valentine’s Day according to their relationship status.

Role-playing is very effective, especially with one-to-one students, for practicing speaking skills. Ordering in a restaurant or answering questions at a matchmaking agency are common ESL activities for Valentine’s Day.



TEFL Reviews – OnTESOL Graduate in South Korea

As for a summary of my experience with OnTESOL, I have to say that I was very pleased overall. The format of the course was very straightforward and easy to follow, which made understanding my position along the course very easy as well. I was also very pleased with the pdf files that were provided, covering everything from grammar to classroom management (which sometimes I think can be neglected, to the severe detriment of the teacher). Lastly, I was also very pleased, and surprised, of the level of availability that my grader and advisor. Aaron was always respectful, encouraging, and conscious of my efforts to improve as I progressed through the course. I feel that I learned quite a bit and am much more prepared to go abroad and teach. I will certainly recommend Ontesol if I hear that someone is thinking about acquiring a TESOL certification.

TEFL Certification Course Review: Use Songs in The Classroom

The TEFL certification courses at OnTESOL teach trainees how to use songs and other authentic material for creating effective and engaging lesson plans. This blog will show you some examples for using songs in your TEFL lessons plans.

Leo Selivan is prominent TEFL blogger who posted a lesson plan on Binomials. Click here to see how Leo uses the song ‘She’ by Elvis Costello to show students examples of binomials. Another blogger commented that the song ‘Hot and Cold’ by Katy Perry is also very effective for teaching Binomials.

Busy Teacher has a library of 1200 worksheets for using songs in the classroom. Check out their library here because it is likely that they have a worksheet for the song that you chose for your students. Remember that worksheets are mostly gap-filling and matching activities. Such worksheets are often repetitive and lack context, so teachers should follow up with activities that reinforce the language point in context. also has a library of complete lesson plans that use songs and these lesson plans are categorized for teaching different levels, themes, and tasks (functional, grammar, receptive and productive skills, and vocabulary). Although teachers need to pay a small subscription fee, the lesson plans on this website can save you plenty of of time!






Two TEFL Activities For Using Video

ESL teachers can use movies or TV shows at any stage of the lesson plan, and for any level and age group. This lesson plan for high intermediate students shows how you can use a TV show like Friends to teach integrated skills, grammar, and vocabulary. In this blog, we will look at two fun and creative activities that teachers can use in the classroom when teaching English using video.

The first activity is Back to the Screen. One group of student watches the movie or TV show in silence while the other students face their back to the screen. The group watching the screen explains what is happening. This activity is good for teaching a grammar topic like the present continuous and speaking skills.

The Film Festival activity is a great way to spark a class debate. For this activity it is best to watch a series of short movies. This You Tube channel has award winning shorts for ESL classes. The teacher can prepare short exercises for practicing different language points at the end of each short film. After watching all films, the students form a panel to discuss the movies and pick a winner.


Teaching Grammar with Games

Teaching grammar does not need to be boring! In this blog I will show you three games that you can use to teach grammar in a memorable way.

ESL Games Plus has dozens of online games that teachers can use in the ESL classroom. If your students don’t have internet access, you can replicate some of these games by drawing your own board and cards. My favourite one is the Rally Game, which is useful to teach the Present Progressive/Continuous. It can be difficult to teach this tense in context because people often use it to describe actions happening around them. In this game, ESL students have to look at the picture on the screen and select one of four multiple choice answers which best describes the action (ei:  the man is eating a burger).

Grammar Ninja is another fun game and it can be used to teach Parts of Speech. This game can only be played if the students have access to the internet because they need to “throw ninja stars” to select the right answer. The good thing about this game is that teachers can select the level of their students and this is a good game for adult students as well.

Behind The Wall is recommended for teaching prepositions. Teachers have to build a wall that separates the classroom and create groups. One group will be in charge of placing objects around their area and then members have to give instructions to the other group to replicate what they’ve done (ei: The car is inside the cup).

Always remember that there must be a reason for using games in the classroom! To learn or review how to teach English using CLT, visit Ontesol’s resource center and find free articles written by accredited teacher trainers.





Replacing the ESL Textbook with Newspapers

Do you like using textbooks in the ESL classroom? If so, you are not alone. Many new teachers like using ESL textbooks because they provide order when planning their lessons; however, textbooks are cost-prohivite in many parts of the world, so teachers need to use authentic material such as newspapers when planning their lessons.

Even when teachers face a class for which the Director of Studies has selected a textbook,  the teacher needs to use authentic material to present topics in a meaningful way and activities in a real-life context. Many  students find textbook material boring and drills repetitive, so teachers need to supplement the textbook with updated and interesting content.

Newspapers are a very valuable resource. They help spark debates with advanced levels and provide self-esteem to lower levels when they see for themselves that they can use such a common resource. Newspapers are cheap to obtain and photocopy. Since they come with many sections, you are sure to find something of interest for your students.

As with any reading material, newspapers are not just for teaching reading skills and TESOL certified teachers know how to integrate other skills within a lesson plan based on a newspaper article. This article by One Stop English shows the dos and don’ts as well as it provides some tips for using newspapers in an integrated skills classroom.

What other authentic material can you think of?





Using Games in the ESL Classroom

Games are fun! If you are a new teacher in front of a classroom with 30 or 40 rowdy students, games can be an easy but sometimes ineffective fix. The problem with games is that they are rarely used properly. As with any activity, games must meet the class objective.

Teachers have to consider the following before planning for a game. What is the language point used in the game? What skills will students be practicing? What follow-up activities can reinforce the lesson so the students are playing with a purpose?

Take a look at the following games and reflect on how ESL students can benefit from them and how you would integrate them in your lesson plans:

Big Town:   Q&A game with over 80 personalities.

Global Warming Game: Advanced level vocabulary gapfill exercise

Count Your Chickens: Count the pictures and choose the correct number.

Community Board Game: Review concepts related to a community (Places, people, and being a good neighbour).

Are you a new teacher? Teaching English requires proper planning. An internationally recognized TESOL or TEFL certification course will provide you the skills that you need to stand in front of a classroom.










Ontesol TEFL Review

I thoroughly had a good time while taking the OnTESOL program from Coventry House International. It allowed me to study while I was working. The online tutor was very helpful with specific feedback and comments on how I could improve my future lesson plans. The modules were well organized and I did not feel overwhelmed by the number of assignments. The flexibility of this course allowed me to keep up with my other responsibilities in my personal and work life. I would highly recommend this program to busy individuals who are self-motivated, interested and ready to learn about teaching English as a second language.


M. Shimizu – 250-hour TESOL Diploma graduate.

Using the Internet in TEFL

The internet allows ESL teachers to skip boring and outdated textbooks. Teachers can find  a wide variety of resources that are current, meaningful, and free. The internet has advanced so much that teachers can now find authentic material in text, audio, and video to teach integrated skills. Oftentimes, teachers can find all formats embedded in one news article!  This blog by Ontesol explains how ESL teachers can plan a class around a video, apply task-based learning, use class blogs, and maximize the use of the English language around internet activities.

Social media, in particular, is increasingly becoming an essential part of our daily life. As social media sites proliferate, companies that were once popular, like MySpace, are made obsolete by new ones, like Facebook.  Now Twitter is rapidly taking Facebook’s market share, especially among teenagers. This means that teachers have to constantly adapt to new sites and learn how to apply them in the ESL classroom. This article shows 60 ways to use Twitter in the ESL classroom.

Furthermore, the devices that we use to interact online are also evolving. Mobile devices and tablets are making it more affordable for teachers to apply technology in their classroom as students carry cellphones that can easily become WIFI hotspots and affordable tablets can be used to both access material and produce it. As a result, old methods that were previously discarded are being re-einforced and many others are being integrated into one lesson thanks to new technologies. For example,  iPads are an example of how teachers are using Project Based Learning (PBL) to teach English effectively. This article explains how using iPads in the ESL classroom motivates students to improve their language skills.