Teaching Resources

General Teaching Resources

Primary School

Secondary School

Adults

On this page I’ve provided a range of different teaching resources: lesson plans, themes, ideas, activities, games. These sites and sources were the same ones I referred to during my year as an ELA (English Language Assistant) to help me to create my own lessons.

Some resources will be more appropriate to certain ages, and so I’ve categorised them as so. If you have any specific questions regarding lesson plans, leading activities or a class, or about the overall job of an ELA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. You can also find more details about my experience as an ELA here.

I always prepared a PowerPoint presentation for my classes, as pupils nowadays tend to be very audio-visual learners. In this way, I could also make the lesson plan my own, adapting it to the length of the class and the level of the students. Note: Be careful with using advanced designs and effects in your PowerPoint slides as your school may use an older version of their operating system and will potentially render your PowerPoint presentation useless (this happened to me occasionally).

The resources and ideas below are by no means exhaustive and, if anything, they should inspire you to create your own ideas. If this is your first time working as an ELA, hopefully this page can help you to get started and give you the confidence you need to then design your own activities and lesson plans.

As your introductory presentation tends to be more focused on YOU, don’t forget to do an additional lesson on your country. Talk about your culture: food, music, traditions, festivals, etc. Show them songs and videos and typical expressions, or any other languages spoken in your country! What might be common knowledge to you could be completely alien to someone from another country.

Finally, for information on the education system in Spain, please look at the following pages:

https://www.expatica.com/es/education/children-education/education-in-spain-103110/

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistema_educativo_de_España

General Teaching Resources

Below are just the main sites I used to plan my lessons but there are many more available. Some sites you’ll find charge for their resources – I never paid for anything and found there was plenty available for free, so just be careful where you look.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/

https://english.lingolia.com/en/

https://en.islcollective.com/

https://agendaweb.org/

https://esldiscussions.com/

https://www.opportunity-china.com/blog/10-classroom-games-esl/

https://www.youtube.com/

It may seem obvious, but I just wanted to highlight the value of YouTube for teaching English. You can find a video about almost any topic you’ll do in class so be sure to check there regularly. Remember, any videos you use, try to download them in advance (there are many YouTube converters online) as your school might not have easy access to the Internet.

Primary School

https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zgkw2hv

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zv48q6f

https://www.eslkidstuff.com/Gamescontents.htm

More games

https://www.facebook.com/KidsEnglishTheatre/

I found out about Kids English Theatre on Facebook. Miranda is an excellent teacher with many great ideas for teaching children English using drama. She’s so enthusiastic about what she does and makes learning English fun!

Halloween

I read this text with the older years before watching a clip from the film. They then made Wanted Posters, warning the public on how to spot a witch.

How to spot a Witch (Roald Dahl The Witches)

For terceros and cuartos (8-10 years old) we discussed Halloween vocabulary and then read this story together. I then got them to go through the worksheet the British Council provides.

The Magic Spell story

For the younger years, we went over Halloween vocabulary and then looked at clips and images from the Room on the Broom film and discussed what we could see, thus using the vocab learnt. If you have access to the book or film itself, even better, as you could read the book to them or watch part of the film.

Room on the Broom and scenes from the film

Guy Fawkes Night

Follow the lesson plan here for full details:

Jobs

I used “Steve and Maggie” more than once with the kids – they loved them! They have quite a few videos on jobs and many more on other topics. I built this lesson plan around the job vocabulary that the children were learning in class, using flash cards and asking them what they wanted to be when they were older.

Family

I started the lesson by going over the vocabulary for family members (check whether they are learning “granddad” or “grandpa”, etc.) before introducing them to my family members with various pictures. I then asked them about their family members (how many brothers and sisters, etc.) and finished off with the videos below (the first two were more suited to pupils under the age of 8).

Sports

I shared some of the sports that exist in the UK and Ireland, explaining the rules and showing videos of them. I would then ask the children for their opinions on the sports. To finish the lesson, they all discussed what sports they do, what their favourite sports are and why, etc. Heads up: they loved hurling.

This last one was just a bit of a silly one, but in came in handy when I later talked about Pancake Day in February.

Christmas

I varied this class with the different age groups. With each group I did a short presentation on Christmas in the UK. Then, with the younger ones we sang an easy Christmas song with actions and made Christmas cards.

With the older ones, the Christmas presentation had slightly more information (to help them to answer the questions in the quizzes below). We discussed Christmas adverts, Christmas films and I even showed them a clip from Elf which they all loved.

Christmas Quizzes:

The first one was for terceros and cuartos (8-10 years old) and they did it individually; the latter was for quintos and sextos (10-12 years old) and they did it in groups. The long quiz required at least half of the lesson and while they worked I had Christmas songs playing in the background.

The Titanic

For this lesson, I made a PowerPoint with facts about the Titanic and a “True or False” style game. We then watched some clips and for the second half of the lesson, they could either pretend they were moving house and, on a sheet provided, draw and write what they would pack in their suitcase OR pretend they were on the Titanic (before it sank) and were writing a letter to a loved one about their experience.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/z8mpfg8/articles/zng8jty

Pancake Day

This class was just for the the younger ones, as for the others I did a bigger class talking about British Festivals, including Pancake Day. For this class, we kept to the simple idea of discussing pancakes, how you make them (you can show the Pancake race video in this class if the students haven’t seen it already) and they also designed their own pancakes.

Unusual British Festivals

I used an activity from the British Council for ideas and simplified them for the primary school learners. I also did this class with my secondary school students, of course making it more suited to their level. For these classes, I introduced the festivals, showed them videos and asked them for their opinion on it. At the end, we had a class quiz. Warning: they went crazy for cheese-rolling.

https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/listening/upper-intermediate-b2-listening/unusual-british-festivals

Secondary School

https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/

http://www.onestopenglish.com/teenagers/skills/games/

https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/teacherzone/elt-games-teenagers-love/

For the first years (and sometimes the second years) in the secondary school, I often did the same classes I had done with the older years in the primary school. The primary school was a bilingual school, so their level of English was relatively high. This wasn’t the case for the secondary school, so some students had a much lower level than children younger than them who I was teaching. As I mentioned in my post about being an ELA, it’s important to identify the level of each class in that introductory lesson and even make notes to remind you of certain aspects, particular students, etc. That way, you can plan your activities and lessons according to the abilities and interests of the class.

Halloween

I started the Halloween lesson by asking them to write down as many words as possible that they could associate with Halloween which I then asked them to share with the rest of the class. Afterwards, we watched a video which talked about the origins of Halloween and I gave them a worksheet to fill out. After we discussed the answers, we played a “Guess Who” game (all ages loved this). The class was split into two teams and a member from each team had to stand at the front with their backs facing the board. On the board there would be a well-known film villain which the others had to describe. The two people at the front had to try guess the character first to win a point for their team. Note: If you try this game, expect there to be a lot of shouting and excitement.

Guy Fawkes Night

Follow the lesson plan here for full details:

Sports

The British Council had a great lesson plan on Sports for secondary schools and adults, which you can find here:

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/sporting-traditions

I also added in a section on hurling on my PowerPoint (it’s not very well known and captured lots of people’s attention):

Unusual British Festivals

As in the primary school lesson plan (click here to see), I used a lot of the information from the British Council lesson plan. I added in a different video about the Burning of the Clavie and, instead of giving all the information about the festivals in a PowerPoint slide, the students watched the videos first. Afterwards, I asked them questions about what they saw to check their understanding.

Ireland, Irish History and the Troubles

I was really keen on teaching the students as much as possible about Northern Ireland and Ireland. I created a 3-part lesson (which was then to be followed by Saint Patrick’s Day, had the State of Emergency not taken place – see below) in which I first shared Irish/Northern Irish culture with them; then I discussed Ireland’s past, focusing on the Potato Famine and the separation of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and finally we looked at controversial topics happening today. This type of class is only suitable for older students who have a good knowledge of the English language and are able to discuss heavier topics in general.

After the lesson on Irish culture, I started the second lesson by checking their knowledge on how the UK and Ireland is divided and the flags of each country. Naturally, there was a lot of uncertainty around the Northern Irish flag, which helped to lead onto the topic surrounding the separation of Ireland.

For the Potato Famine, I transcribed the following video, simplified it and created a copy with certain words missing. I then read the text out in class and the students filled in the missing words. This was followed by a brief discussion on the famine.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Great-Famine-Irish-history

I then put them into groups and gave them slips of paper to put into order (earliest to latest) and afterwards we discussed each event. I chose to keep the dates in there to help learners who might have struggled with the vocabulary.

We then watched a video summarising the events of the Troubles:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-49299800/the-troubles-what-led-to-northern-ireland-s-conflict

Finally, we looked at the murals in the peace wall in Belfast, and I asked them to look into “The Twelfth” for the next lesson.

For this final lesson, I divided the class into 4 groups and gave each a newspaper article discussing some element of the Eleventh Night and The Twelfth celebrations in Northern Ireland. Collectively, the class was able to piece together what the event was about and why it’s considered controversial.

We then watched a short documentary that talks about this event and finished with a general discussion on what comparisons can be made between such an event and those that exist in their country.

Adults

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/

Games for adults

The adults I taught with went to the same Instituto that I worked at (it was a secondary school and sixth form college and also offered tourism and business classes for adults) so often I used the same lesson plans for the teenagers and adults. As I mentioned in my article about my experience as an ELA, age doesn’t always reflect level and this was very much the case in the Instituto, which is why I could use the same lesson plans more or less. What I tried to do with the older groups, however, was focus mainly on speaking, as this is what I felt I could help young adults more who would soon be going into the working world or potentially studying abroad.

A good way to lead conversation classes is to avoid giving all of the information yourself: ask questions at the start of the lesson, get the students thinking and discussing, and then go back to those same questions at the end of the lesson.

Most of my PowerPoint presentations with them consisted of discussion topics (the ESL discussions link at the top of the page has some great ideas if you need any) and occasionally we read texts or watched videos together to generate ideas.

Below are some additional classes that I only did with my older students (but they could have been adapted for younger ones in the secondary school):

Guy Fawkes Night

Follow the lesson plan here for full details:

Crumlin Road Gaol (Belfast)

We read a text about the jail, watched a video and then had a general discussion about it.

Superstitions

In this class, we watched two videos talking about superstitions and I gave them a question sheet to fill out. We discussed the videos, the answers, as well as any vocabulary from the videos they may not have known. We finished the class with a general discussion on superstitions.

During Quarantine

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Spain announced a State of Emergency on the 14th March. As a result, schools were closed for the foreseeable future and so teachers had to adapt their methods in order to continue student’s learning from home.

For my primary school, I was able to help by making short videos about various themes (which I would have done normal lessons about, had schools not been closed). Below, you can find a link to the videos I made for further ideas on these topics.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Guq7ZvAp0qmnK0qr0zQHnXtX5Li5y1bJ

I hope you were able to find something useful from this post and I wish you luck in your ELA journey!

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