Resources and ideas for English Language Assistants

I worked from September 2005 to July 2006 as a English Language Assistant (then called a "Foreign Language Assistant") at a school in Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany.

I enjoyed planning my own lessons (although it sometimes took a long time to get ideas) and created a couple of resources and lesson plans which might be useful for other people too (regardless of what the students' mother-tongue is, or what language you're teaching) and so have put them up here.

Words and definitions for Call My Bluff

The concept behind Call My Bluff is simple enough: First of all students are given a word plus its definition. The students shouldn't know any of the words already (so they can be obscure). The students then write three false but plausible-sounding definitions of their own for the word they've been given. Each student presents their word plus definitions to the rest of the class, who have to guess which is right. This works better with more advanced classes, though can be adapted for less-advanced classes by giving the translations for the words and having them write the correct definition too (so the style of them all is the same).

Words and definitions (laid out for easy cutting up) as Plain Text, PDF or WordPerfect document.

Simple words to describe

The basic idea here is even simpler: students are given a word which they have to describe (without saying, translating or spelling it, or saying what it rhymes with). The others then have to guess what the word is. This set of words comes from the 1000 most common words in English, and so is suitable for a lower-ability class. They are laid out to make it easy to cut them up and hand out.

Get the words as a PDF, WordPerfect or Microsoft Word document.

Prepositions with Where's Wally

The basic idea is to get hold of a Where's Wally book, photocopy it, and get the students in groups to write sentences describing where Wally is, and where lots of other things in the pictures are too (using the lists from the back of the book).

In more detail:

  1. Start off by brainstorming words and phrases to do with position e.g. "above", "next to" "inside" etc. You can add your own too if you want.
  2. Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5
  3. Give each group a copy of a scene from one of the Where's Wally books (I gave each group the same scene). An A3 sheet should be big enough to include the majority of the picture.
  4. Give every student a list of things to find (the back of the book has lists you can use). I annotated the lists a little with translations of some words. With the younger class I also discussed the list to make sure they understood it.
  5. The students must now work together to find all the things listed, and then write sentences to describe where they are. I asked every student to write all sentences, not just one set per group. The sentences should use the words & phrases gathered from the brainstorm.
  6. At the end, ask "where is..." and get them to tell you. If you have more time, you could describe where something is and get them to point to it.

I did this with a 7th and a 9th class (kids of approx 11-years old and 13/4 years-old). Both classes seemed to really get into the spirit of it and really enjoy themselves.