English Lessons What Works for English Language Learners

Great Site for Teaching Kids English

When I first began teaching English to children at the beginner level of English proficiency in Germany, I had quite a challenge. You can read about my tips for surviving teaching EFL children in this guest post I recently did on Barbara Sakamoto’s Teaching Village blog. In the US I had taught English to mostly adults, college students, and high school students. After my first trying days, I searched frantically for resources for teaching very young beginners English. This year I was fortunate to come across Jason Renshaw on Twitter who is the creator of English Raven. When I checked out his website I was amazed by the various resources available to teachers and had to share hoping to help other teachers looking for an effective curriculum for young English language learners. Moreover, Jason provides videos and explains the methodology behind the materials.

Flash Card Games

Every English kid’s teacher knows the value of using Flash cards. Several flash cards are available on the website. English Raven takes this method a step further by adding several games children will enjoy playing with the cards. Our favorite game is the Noah Ark’s game. Below you can see a pair of my older students helping me find the animal pairs. My students were not familiar with Noah’s Ark but still loved the game and spoke the words aloud! We drew and decorated a large boat together in the shape of the arc. I drew the lines for the rooms then told my five year-old students to help me find the wife or husband of the animal to live on the board. I began by saying, “Here is Mr. Bear? Where is Mrs. Bear?” The cards are color coordinated with a blue animal card for the males and a pink card for the girls. The children were super excited and began finding pairs on their own saying, “Here is Mrs. Bear!” Then I mixed the cards up again and they helped each other find the pairs naming the animals aloud. For the older children, they collaborated on which animals should live together and which animals could not live together.

My students playing the Noah's Ark game

Podcasts and More!

English Raven provides numerous listening quizzes, word searches, and phonics sheets. However, my favorite materials for my older students are the short podcasts. My 8 to 10 year-old students easily listen and read along to different stories about whales, cars, world news, and more! I have never seen podcasts included for young learners before. In addition, you can use these podcasts as a basis to have the children try to make their own podcasts. This is a project I am currently working on and will include in a future post!

Why I’m a Member

I have researched and paid quite a lot for English resources for my young English language learners, which is why I wrote this post. Teachers do not make a lot of money and if I would have known about this resource ahead of time, I would have saved a lot of money. At English Raven, you actually get a great bargain, because Jason allows you to pay what you can for a year membership! That is extremely generous! With this membership, you get a collection of quality materials and advice from Jason. I have dmed him on Twitter several times with questions or advice on teaching a theme and he has always been very helpful! Below is a video on how you can become a member.

Check out some of English Raven’s free materials for Halloween! Recently, the older kids and I played the guess the costume game.

If you liked this post, you may want to check out my glogster, EFL’s Teacher’s Kit for Surviving Kids.

You may want to subscribe to receive regular updates, leave a quick comment of how English Raven helped you, tweet this, or share this series through your RSS reader or Delicious account.


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  • November 13, 2009 - 01:12 | Permalink


    Thanks Shelly – great review and always nice to get a little extra publicity!


  • March 5, 2010 - 05:10 | Permalink

    Educational videos, online tutoring and online text books seem to be increasing in popularity. It’s cheaper and you can also focus to a particular subject to study rather than taking the whole curriculum. The concept is viable.. By the way if you are planning to make your own educational videos and earn from it at the same time, don’t miss this great opportunity – Teach Online.

    Thanks Shelly!

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