Multilingual Activities for Fast Finishers

A couple of months ago I came across a gem of an online downloadable resource book called '100 Activities for Fast Finishers' by Rachael Harris . "A hundred different activities which students can undertake autonomously within the language classroom". Most of the activities on my blog are tweaked versions of well-known existing ESL activities. By 'multilingualising' …

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How similar are these words?

Cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language and are particularly common in content areas such as Maths, Science, and Social Studies. However, many English words might also be related through other word forms or word associations. To introduce new content-related academic vocabulary,  ask your students to group them in three categories: Cognate, Somehow …

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The Class’s Translator

As a lesson starter or activity consider using a video clip in one of the many home languages of your learners. That student should then come to the front of the class, play the video and ask the other students what they thought was said. Many students will recognise words and with help of the images the …

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Multilingual Sequencing of Events

Activity: When you have an exercise in which students have to order certain events or tasks, consider writing a few sentences in some of the home languages of that class. As a result the multilingual EAL learners will be needed to complete the exercise as they will have to translate it to their peers. A strong international minded …

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My favourite home language quotes – Part 3

My name is Joris and depending in which etymological name dictionary you look it up, it means either farmer or dragon killer. I kind of prefer the latter. The long o sound in Joris doesn't really exist in English amongst other languages and has proven quite tricky for family, friends and people I work with. They usually call me …

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My favourite home language quotes – Part 2

Spanish grannies and Flemish elevators In 2005 I moved to Valencia in Spain and taught ESL for 5 years in a private language academy. My two children were born in sunny Valencia and I can confirm that the Spanish absolutely adore children. People will give up their seat on the bus for young children. Children of all ages are welcomed and will be handed a …

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Portraying Proverbs

A fun translanguaging activity with the more advanced language learners is to explore different proverbs in different languages. A great introduction to this is the painting of Pieter Bruegel the Elder called “Netherlandish Proverbs" in which approximately 112 identifiable proverbs and idioms are hidden in the scene. This easily generates discussion and proverb exchanges for a whole lesson and …

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The Multilingual Odd One Out

Activity: Give your learners three or four target words in some of the languages that are spoken in the classroom. First ask the students who don't speak that language whether they recognize the languages and perhaps the meaning of the words. If not, ask the students who do speak that language to clarify. At this moment, if time allows, get …

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