Creating Worksheets for School

There are millions of teaching materials available on the Internet. I spend a good amount of time pinning worksheets and activities to my TEFL Pinterest board. The problem is, I don’t have an easy way to get things from my computer to the copier at my school. I either end up copying/drawing worksheets by hand, or going to the Peace Corps office in Pristina, printing a copy of something from the Internet, and taking it back to my school to make more copies for my students. (I recently learned I can use my school director’s computer to print directly from the Internet, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.)

A while back, my mom sent me some workbooks from the United States (thanks, mama!). I’ve been cutting them up and taping them to computer paper to create my own worksheets. This eliminates the cumbersome need to find a printer. Also, it’s kind of fun to make my own stuff. 🙂

Here are some examples of worksheets I’ve “created” recently:

fruits and vegetables classroom worksheet
Fruits and Vegetables worksheet
summerfun classroom worksheet
Summer fun worksheet
travel brochure classroom worksheet
Travel brochure for Kosovo

Here are some more links to materials and activities I’ve used in the classroom:

Lesson Plan: Teaching Adjectives

I recently created this lesson plan to teach adjectives to my English Club (about 15 students, ranging from grades 6-9). It required very little in the way of materials, and my students enjoyed it, so I thought I would share it.

(You can download this lesson plan hereLesson Plan Teaching Adjectives)

The Lesson

  1. Begin with a reminder/explanation of what adjectives are. Write an example on the board.
  2. Adjective Race: Give students a minute or two, and have them write all the adjectives they can think of on a piece of paper. Ask students to read from their lists, and write their words on the board.
  3. Expanding Sentences: Write simple sentences on the board. Have students copy the sentences into their notebooks, and “expand” them by adding adjectives.
    Example: The lamp is on the table. –> The metal lamp is on the small table.
    Have students read their sentences aloud.
  4. Explain Adjective Order: When using more than one adjective, list adjectives in the following order:
    1. Opinion
    2. Size
    3. Age
    4. Shape
    5. Color
    6. Origin
    7. Material
    8. (Noun)
  5. Activity: Create a list of adjectives and write each word on a set of index cards. (I made two sets of cards in anticipation of dividing my students into two groups. Make as many sets of cards as you think you’ll need.) Divide students into groups. Each group will receive an identical packet of cards and will race to put them in the correct adjective order. (You can do this several times, with several different sets of adjectives. Here is one of the sets I used):
    1. Beautiful
    2. Big
    3. Square
    4. Old
    5. Blue
    6. Turkish
    7. Metal
    8. Lamp (noun)
  6. Final Activity: Have students draw a card from a stack of cards with an adjective written on each one. Instruct them to find something in the classroom or school that the adjective could be used to describe.

The only materials I used for this entire lesson plan were index cards, a pen, a blackboard, and chalk.

Here are some other activities, materials, and lesson plans I have used in my classroom:

Teaching Activity: Telling Time

The other week, my counterpart asked me to think of ideas for ways to teach telling time. I did a Google search and found this fun activity using paper watches.

classroom activity telling time

Materials Needed:

Markers and paper
A copier (if you don’t have access to a copier, you could have students draw their own watches)
Tape

  1. Draw a watch (without a time) on a piece of paper and copy it.
  2. Give a watch to each student.
  3. Have students cut out their watch and draw a minute and hour hand for whatever time they choose.
  4. Tape the watch to the students’ wrists.
  5. Have the students take their notebook and walk around the room, asking their classmates, “What time is it?” In their notebook, they should record each person’s name and what time he/she says it is.
  6. (Optional) Ask for student volunteers to read their list of names and times aloud.
classroom game activity paper watches telling time
My counterpart took this photo.

Our students had a blast with this activity! It was easy to prep and a lot of fun. 🙂

You can see my other classroom ideas here:

Teaching: 15 Objects

The following is a simple exercise I created for my classes. I have named it “15 Objects” because it uses … 15 objects.

My teaching counterpart really liked this exercise. (I’m always proud when I come up with an idea she especially likes.) What I like about it is that it incorporates kinesthetic learning into the classroom, something I struggle to do. As a primarily visual learner myself, I tend to favor visual exercises.

I also like this exercise because it was easy to create, and free! I just used 15 things I found around the house and yard.

15-objects-classroom-game-kinesthetic-learning

You could use anything for this exercise. I used:

  • A piece of yarn
  • A tissue
  • A bottle cap
  • A post-it note
  • A candy wrapper
  • A Popsicle stick
  • A paper clip
  • A leaf
  • A stick
  • A rock
  • A plastic toothpick
  • A cotton ball
  • A craft googly eye
  • A button
  • A coin

I asked students to come up to the room 5 at a time and take one object from the bag I was holding. Then I asked the student to describe the object. Students answered questions like, What color is it? What shape is it? Is it big or small? Hard or soft? Thick or thin?

The kids had fun. 🙂

Teaching Activity: City Matching Game

I created the following easy matching game for my students.

matching-game-vocab-words-los-angeles-san-francisco

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Color printer
  • Paper cutter
  • Paper clips

Using an old textbook, I cut out two illustrations, one of Los Angeles and the other of San Francisco. Then, using markers, I made three matching cards for each city. I chose descriptive words and wrote them in a fun, illustrative way to help students memorize them.

I used a color printer to make copies of everything, and then cut into cards with a paper cutter. Then, I divided all the cards into individual packets, each containing the two city pictures and six matching words.

Students each received a packet and had to sort the words into the appropriate city. We talked about the new vocabulary words. When doing this activity with older students, I asked them to write sentences to describe each city, using the new words.

What I liked about this was that it was a simple, short activity that didn’t require much in terms of resources. I liked that it is adaptable depending on ability/grade level. I also like that it paired a little kinesthetic learning (sorting) with visual learning.

Other teaching resources:

TEFL/ESL Activities Using Little or No Resources, V3

I typed the following into a PDF that you can download here: tefl-esl-activities-using-little-to-no-resources-v3

First/Last
Have students write instructions on how to do something, using “first, then, later, next, last …” etc. Examples: How to tie your shoe, how to bake a cake

Introductions
Pass around a roll of toilet paper. Tell students to take as many squares as they want, without telling them why. Once all students have at least one piece, go around the room and have each student tell something about themselves (one fact per each square).

Just a Minute
Write a list of topics, spread across the blackboard. Have students take turns throwing a paper ball at the board. Have them talk for 30 seconds – 1 minute on whatever topic they choose.

Simon Says
Classic. Either the teacher or a student leads, saying “Simon says …” followed by a command (example: touch your head). Students are “out” if they perform a task that wasn’t precluded by “Simon says.”

Take Off/Touchdown
Either the teacher or a student can lead this. Begin with students seated. Give a statement and have students stand if that statement applies to them. Example: “Stand up if you have a sister.” Have students sit back down between each statement.

Number Jump
Write the words and numbers for 1-10 separately on pieces of 8×10 paper. Also include a piece of paper with “start” written on it. Line the papers upon the floor. Have a “jumping contest” to see which student can jump to the highest number. Have students repeat the number each classmate jumps to.

number-jump-tefl-esl-gross-motor-classroom-activity-kids
Number Jump

Rainstorm
(Note: This doesn’t use language, but is a good way to “warm up” the classroom, so I am including it here.)
Have students stand up.
Silently, have them follow along to create a “rainstorm,” using the following actions.
(To begin: Getting louder)
-Rub hands together
-Snap fingers
-Clap hands
-Slap thighs
-Stomp feet
(Now, getting softer)
-Slap thighs
-Clap hands
-Snap fingers
-Rub hands together

You can see TEFL/ESL Activities Using Little to No Resources version 1 and version 2 by clicking on the links.

Lesson Plan: Teaching Emotions

I’ve posted a number of ESL/TEFL activities using little or no resources (you can find those here and here). Recently, I did the following lesson with my English club (which I host twice per week at a local NGO). I liked it so much I thought I would post my whole lesson plan.

I was inspired by something similar on Pinterest, and asked my awesome friend Katie to include some paint chips in a care package she was sending (she did). This lesson plan doesn’t require much else in the way of materials. Here is what I used:

  • Paint chips in yellow, blue, purple, green, red, and gray
  • iPhone + Jam speaker
  • Index Cards
  • Paper

(I used the paint chips to list a range of emotions in English. On one the side of the chip, I listed the main vocabulary word in Albanian.)

paint-chip-teaching-emotions-esl-tefl

Yellow:

  1. Contented
  2. Glad
  3. Delighted
  4. Joyful

Blue:

  1. Unhappy
  2. Blue
  3. Heartbroken
  4. Depressed

Purple:

  1. Uneasy
  2. Tense
  3. Agitated
  4. Anxious

Green:

  1. Envious
  2. Covetous
  3. Jealous
  4. Possessive

Red:

  1. Irritated
  2. Mad
  3. Upset
  4. Furious

Gray:

  1. Dread
  2. Afraid
  3. Frightened
  4. Horrified

The Lesson:

For a warm up, I played the song “Happy” by Pharrell twice, using my iPhone + speaker. First, I asked students just to listen to the song, in order to become familiar with it. After that, I asked students to listen to the song again, and count (using tick marks on a sheet of paper), how many times the word “happy” appeared in the song. (For the record, three of my students counted 28 times, while my other two students had different numbers. The point wasn’t to accurately discover how many times the word was used, but rather to have students practice listening for a specific English word.)

[As a variation to this, you could print the lyrics to the song but delete certain words, and have students listen for/fill in those words.]

Next, I had a discussion with my students about emotions and what they mean. I passed around the paint chips and asked them to copy down the new vocabulary words. ( I had a small group of students. I think this lesson plan could work with a larger group, but you would probably need more copies of the paint chips to pass around.)

Then, I wrote this sentence on the board: “Today I feel _____ because ____.” We went around the circle and each student stated how he/she was feeling, and why.

Next, I asked each student to draw three index cards from the pile I made. Each index card listed a different scenario. Here is what I wrote:

  • Your mom yells at you.
  • You are watching your favorite television show.
  • You got a stain on your favorite shirt.
  • You are playing outside with your friends.
  • You have a big test at school.
  • You broke your arm.
  • You are eating dinner with your family.
  • Your friend got a new iPhone.
  • You lost your dog.
  • Your little sister broke your favorite toy.
  • Your best friend gets a puppy.
  • Your best friend is moving away.
  • Two of your friends go to lunch and don’t invite you.
  • You are lost in Pristina.
  • You are walking alone in the dark.
  • You got into a fight with your best friend.

Students then had to read their scenarios aloud, and identify which emotion(s) they might feel in that situation.

Then, I asked students to write one sentence for each category of emotion, and read them aloud.

We were close to running out of time by this (the group runs for 1 hour), but in the last few minutes of class, I asked students to choose one of the sentences they wrote and draw a picture to illustrate it.

What I like about this lesson plan: 1) It doesn’t require much in the way of material. 2) It incorporates audio learning, visual learning, speaking aloud, critical thinking, creativity, and kinesthetic learning.

I did this lesson with a group of middle and high school students. I think it’s too advanced for younger kids, but there are probably ways to modify it and make it easier.