ESL Kids Classroom Supplies Tips
A Length of Rope. A cheap length of rope can be used in many fun ways. Held at a height kids can jump over or limbo under it to collect the correct flashcard or object (for little ones just lie the rope on the floor for them to jump over). To teach left/right lie the rope down the center of the room, have Ss stand over it legs either side. T shouts left and the Ss jump to the left, etc.
Beanbags. Hand-sized bean bags (such as the ones shown here) are a great classroom supply, especially for teaching action, body and color vocabulary. Instructions such as the following can be used: "Put a (green) beanbag on your head", "Put a (yellow) beanbag between your knees", "Jump over the (red) beanbag", "Pick up the (blue) beanbag", "Throw the (purple) beanbag to a friend", etc.
Blindfold Activities (1). A blindfold is a great teaching supply to have (a cotton scarf is fine) as kids love to be blindfolded. There are lots of activities you can do with a blindfold: for question practice have Ss stand in a circle with one S in the center wearing the blindfold. Spin him/her around a few times and have him ask the nearest S a question. When the S answers the blindfolded S must guess who it is. Blindfolds can be used for fun "Where are you?" "I'm here" games, and for giving directions: to find a hidden object give directions to the blindfolded S, such as "Go forward (3 steps); go back, turn left, turn right".
Blue Tack. Extremely useful. You can stick posters, pictures, colored paper, students' work, virtually anything on the walls of your classroom or use to stick pictures on your board. It's also good for the treasure hunt prepostions game.
Blindfold Activities (2). Blindfolds can be used in many fun ways - I use ones that airlines give out for sleeping. For younger kids have Ss stand in a circle with the blindfolded student in the center. Spin him/her around a few times and have him/her approach the nearest student to ask general questions in order to guess his/her identity. Also, have blindfold Ss guess objects by feeling or even food by tasting. Another use is to practice giving directions - the blindfolded S is directed around the classroom by his/her partner to reach a target.
Calendars. Have a big, colorful calendar on your classroom wall. At the beginning of each class have your Ss point out the correct date and tell you the day and date in English: "Today is Monday the 4th of August". Try doing this quick activity each class.
Classroom Posters. Posters on your classroom wall can be used for much more than making the room look colorful. For young students you can have them find different colors, letters and words on your posters. Play touch: T says "Everyone, touch red / the letter 'd' / the word "elephant" / etc"; students run to the posters find the correct color/letter/word to touch.
Egg Timer. Great for timed games, throwing around the classroom (see timebomb game) and setting time limits for tests, etc. I use my all the time (see photo).
Glitter. Kids just love using glitter with their drawings - it can really liven up a picture. By using a glue stick students can draw shapes and objects, sprinkle glitter over the glue and then lift up the picture so the unwanted glitter falls off. Some glitter usage examples: Weather pictures (yellow glitter sun, blue glitter rain, rainbow glitter!), stars and moon, Christmas pictures, glitter face pictures, glittery Easter eggs, glitter snow scenes (glue figures to the inside of a jar lid, put water and glitter into a jar, close the lid and shake), etc.
Origami Paper. Great for teaching colors and just for doing paper folding. You can get it quite easily in arts and crafts stores and stationery stores. There are lots of simple activities you can do:
- Give each S 2 pieces of different colored paper (origami paper is ideal for this). T calls a color (e.g. "Blue") and the Ss with that color hold it up. (submitted by Jo Ruoss).
- Give each S a different colored paper (or even 2 colors). T calls a color and an action (e.g. "Blue - Jump!"). Other actions can be stand up, spin around, run on the spot, sit down, hop, wiggle, star jump, etc.
- Place different colors around the room. T calls out colors and Ss go and touch or retreive the origami papers.
- Give each S a color and make sure at least 2 Ss have the same color. T says "Blues, high 5!" and the kids with blue paper have to find each other and High 5.
- Make a line of papers with the Rainbow Song - as the song is played Ss put the papers in the same order as the song. Or, the T puts the papers in the correct order and the Ss touch each paper as the song is sung.
Pin boards. Great for teaching the weather, days of the week, months and dates: have your Ss draw one set of weather picture cards for the classroom (rainy, windy, snowy, sunny, hot, warm, cold, etc.). Make sure they also write the word on the cards and color them in. They need to be as attractive as possible. Before the next class laminate the cards as you will need to use them every week. Prepare a small cork board with the words "Today the weather is ..." at the top and attach a plastic folder to the board (at the bottom) to keep the weather cards in. Each lesson, Ss have to take out the cards which best describe the weather and pin them to the board. In addition: the board could also have days of the week cards, months of the year cards, date cards, etc. which the Ss pin to the board each class. It's a really nice classroom reseource.
Play Doh Recipe. Play Doh (see picture here) is such a useful supply, especially for younger students. It can be used for making food and animals, teaching colors and even used to make alphabet shapes. You can buy it at most toy stores but it can be easily made - either before class or during class as an activity. Here is a worksheet recipe that can be used to make play doh in your class - click here.
Stop Watch Activities. A stop watch is a great classroom supply. It can be used to add an element of competition to activities (e.g. put the alphabet in order in less than 1 minute) and Ss can try and beat their previous best times in following weeks. It is also a good tool for teaching "How long does it take" - set up various activities for Ss to complete and time them (e.g. How long does it take you to count to 100, say the alphabet, run around the room 10 times, write your address, etc.).