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Monday, August 15, 2011

Inaugural Keep Up ESL Post

  Welcome to the first ever Keep Up ESL blog post.  My name is Richard and I am the creator of this free fantastic software.  You can download FREE ESL resources for younger ESL (English as a Second Language) learners (pre-school to grade 4) via

  In today’s inaugural blog I will be giving you a few tips on how to make review time an interesting phase in your lessons.

  First…why do we review?  Well the answer to this is pretty simple.  When learning a new language repetition is necessary but repetition can get pretty boring very quickly.  Today I want to share with you some of the methods I use for reviewing content with my young students.  These techniques work best with vocabulary words and phonics (as opposed to grammar structures).  With these techniques you can turn the usual boring routine of review time into a fun and engaging experience your students will enjoy.

Most of these techniques require flashcards.  These should definitely become a staple in your classroom if they are not already.

Young Learners Review Techniques.  Note:  These methods are for quick review (not full games).

1.) High and low:  In this method your students should start off saying one word high, loud voice and then the next word in a low, soft voice.  From there it goes: high, low, high, low, high, low…and so on.  This method works very well with body parts (pointing to the parts as you go through them) and numbers/letters/phonics.
High and low also works well with alternating flashcards.

2.) Quick Shot:  With this method you need flashcards.  Begin by facing the back of a flashcard to your students.  Quickly show them the front and then switch it back to opposite side.  This works best with letters, numbers, colors, and any sort of picture that isn’t incredibly detailed (ie…a windy rainy day as opposed to just a rainy day).

3.) Slap:  Hold a card in front of the student and illicit the name of the card.  Students should slap the card when doing so.

4.) Body Slap:  Show the flashcard to a student.  Say a body part.  The student shown the card should react quickly by touching the card with the correct part.

5.) Good Listener: Say a number and then show a card.  Students should say the name of the card as many times as the number said.  This number should only be in the 1-5 range.  If a student says the name too many times (or not enough) then that student must stand up and perform a silly task.  I try to trip students up in this task by counting with my fingers as they go.  Maybe I will say 5 but I will only count to four with my fingers.  I might keep going past 5 (at which point they should stop at 5 and not continue on).  I might even count by showing just one finger each time.  For the first few times it’s not surprising for several students to be have to perform the silly task.

6.) Slow reveal:  In this activity you should have an extra piece of paper (or a flashcard) as big as or bigger than the current flashcards being reviewed.  The target card is covered with the extra card or piece of paper.  Slowly remove the card cover to reveal the target card underneath.

7.) Let’s Concentrate: Line up cards on the floor or on the board.  Go through the line of cards, having children repeat along the way.  Turn over one or two cards (so their back is facing up).  Go through the line of cards again.  Repeat these steps until all cards are face down.  You should also mix up the direction in which you advance through the cards (maybe from left to right or right to left).  By doing this the students aren’t just memorizing the order in which the names are said.

  I hope you enjoyed some of the ideas I have shared with you in this blog.  Follow me here on Tumblr if you would like to receive more tips and tricks concerning the ESL classroom.

  Also, go ahead and check out .  On my website you will find all sorts of free downloads made by me: interactive lessons, interactive stories, games, printable flashcards, talking flashcards, cartoons, storybooks, and more!

See you next time!

Richard Griffith
~Creator of Keep Up ESL