Survival Tips for Teaching Kids English: 40+ Resources #GAETC13

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.52.05 AMFrom the What Works for Language Learners Category

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.” ― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

This week I am in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia, presenting at the GAETC conference. It is one of the most organized and interesting conferences I’ve been to and they’ve had some incredible presenters/keynotes.

I had six sessions which you can read about here, Here are the resources for the Survival Tips for Teaching Kids English session in case you missed it. At GAETC, I tried collaborative note-taking with the 400 audience. We all took notes on one Google Doc. Scary, I know! However, it ended up being a great experience and many helped create notes and stories. Check out the document here, Thank you to Jennifer Burke @jdkburke, Paige Odell @odie2teach, Amy Pietrowski @amylpie, and others who helped with the collaborative note-taking experience.


Download these slides!

Some of the Survival Tips

  1. Channel in your inner child! Have the ability to act silly! I often dress-up when reading books, play charades, make silly voices and faces, and sing and dance!
  2. Wear the right gear! Don’t dress to impress! Dress for a mess!
  3. Use a variety of techniques to animate readings.
  4. Children love to play pretend games!
  5. Have lively music that is easy for the children to understand and that you will enjoy singing very loudly to!
  6. TPR- Total physical response is a must for every lesson. Find out more by reading this post.
  7. Puppets are great for children, especially when you incorporate the puppet in every lesson.
  8. Play board games, physical games, and online games- We play Twister, bingo,English Raven’s games, and more!
  9. Include stories from great children’s authors and make the reading time fun. Check out my class wiki for various books and the themes they support.
  10. Use colorful flashcards and play games with the flash cards.
  11. Color with a purpose! Give children a task to see if they can follow directions, such as telling a child to draw a circle and color it yellow. Without direction, I’ve had children color on the wall and on me!
  12. Build your survival kit. Add masking tape, a ball, playdoh, a timer, etc.
  13. Incorporate drama activities such as mime and improvisation games.
  14. Felt boards are great for having children piece together what happened in a story or to learn new vocabulary.
  15. Finger plays like the Itsy Bitsy Spider work wonders. Read this post on how todigitalize your finger plays using Blabberize.
  16. Trust kids with technology! My five year-old students complete online activities each week which I put in a wiki. Kids love technology and will repeat what they learn.
  17. Explore the outdoors.
  18. Use realia- My students play Bingo with pennies from the USA. Introduce real world objects to students from an English speaking culture. Play Show-and-Tell!
  19. When all else fails, have fun!

More Resources

These are more resources to help you teach young learners.

My Slide Presentations

A list of YL blogs and Sites


Use one of these resources or ideas and share with me how the experience went with your learners.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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