expats Indiana

Telling the Story of Thanksgiving Using a Story Map

 This is an example of a story map for Thanksgiving. Finding out what vocabulary the students know and introducing new vocabulary should be done before drawing the story map. Also, draw the map as you tell the story. This helps with comprehensible input. Drawing the entire map ahead of time may contribute to visual overwhelm and reduce comprehension of target vocabulary and ideas.

This is an example of a story map for Thanksgiving. Finding out what vocabulary the students know and introducing new vocabulary should be done before drawing the story map. Also, draw the map as you tell the story. This helps with comprehensible input. Drawing the entire map ahead of time may contribute to visual overwhelm and reduce comprehension of target vocabulary and ideas.

Today we learned about the first Thanksgiving and why the Pilgrims came to the New World. Before we began, I asked everyone what words came to mind when they heard the word, “Thanksgiving.” The words “turkey,” “family,” and “dinner” were called out by our students. I wrote these on the board.

As I told the story of the history of Thanksgiving, I drew pictures on the dry erase board to help illustrate key points I wanted our students to know and remember. In this case, I started with England on the right side of the dry erase board and moved westward, to the New World. New vocabulary was introduced and explained as we progressed through the story. We also paused for a three-minute video about Thanksgiving that included captions.

After sitting for a while, I asked everyone to stand up in a small group. Speaking doesn’t just happen when sitting in a classroom setting, after all. The students took turns sharing a sentence or two about the picture to tell the story in chronological order. I then challenged each student to tell the entire story independently.

Later, the students were given time to write their stories in their notebooks and have their teacher check them. Interestingly, the students repeated common errors when reading their stories aloud despite reading their own (corrected) writing; however, progress was still made. At first, when I asked what came to mind when they heard the word, “Thanksgiving,” only three words came to mind. Now they are able to talk about the history of Thanksgiving. One of the students commented that the story map was helpful for being able to talk about and write about this topic. Overall, I would consider this lesson to be a success!

Field Trips and Experiential English in Columbus, Indiana

Field Trips and Experiential English in Columbus, Indiana

Experiential learning gives ESL students the opportunity to learn what they have learned in class to help them become independent members of their community.

New ESL Classes

Here is an introduction to some of our new classes that are available at our Indianapolis office.

Beginner/Basic Communication:
This class is for students that already have very basic communication skills. If you can speak in a simple way about routines and already know some frequently used expressions, this course will be beneficial. The focus will be on perfecting grammar and increasing vocabulary.  (CEFRL A1-A2)

Intermediate:
This class is for students who would like to practice conversation and improve their grammar. We will learn to speak about a variety of topics using various verb tenses in past, present and future. Some topics include hobbies, goals and plans for life. (CEFRL B1-B2)

Casual Conversation (MeetUp Style group):
This group is to give non-native English speakers an understanding of daily conversation, which can include anything from get-to-know you conversations, cultural differences, or current events. There will be a range of abilities in order for students to be able to hear and learn from others. Topics will be provided for discussion, but ultimately it is up to the students to determine where their interests lie and what they want to discuss. (Intermediate to Advanced, CEFRL B1-C1)


Monday

9:00 AM-10:00 AM - Beginner

10:00 AM-11:00 AM - Beginner

11:00 AM-12:00 PM - Intermediate

1:00-2:00 PM - Intermediate

2:15-3:15 PM - Casual Conversation

3:30-4:30 PM -Casual Conversation

5:00-6:00 PM - Beginner

6:15-7:15 PM - Intermediate


Tuesday

3:30 - 4:30 PM Beginner

5:00 - 6:00 PM Beginner

6:00 - 7:00 PM Intermediate

7:00 - 8:00 PM Conversation


Wednesday

3:30 - 4:30 PM Intermediate

5:00 - 6:00 PM Intermediate

6:00 - 7:00 PM Conversation

7:00 - 8:00 PM Intermediate


Thursday

9:00 AM-10:00 AM - Beginner

10:00 AM-11:00 AM - Beginner

11:00 AM-12:00 PM - Intermediate

1:00-2:00 PM - Intermediate

2:15-3:15 PM - Casual Conversation

3:30-4:30 PM -Casual Conversation

5:00-6:00 PM - Beginner

6:15-7:15 PM - Intermediate

Letter to Newcomers from a Current Student

One of our students, Akiko, will be be returning to Japan very soon. After teaching a class about phrases used to offer advice and suggestions, I asked the students to write to a letter to people who would be moving to the United States. This gave an opportunity for Akiko to use her English skills while leaving a legacy here for newcomers who might look for advice about things to do while living in Indiana. Here is her revised letter.

Dear New Friend,

My name is Akiko and I’m from Japan. I’ve been in Columbus, [Indiana] for three years. I would recommend going to watch sports such as baseball, basketball, and football. There are many professional sports teams in the U.S.A. Live games are exciting.

My favorite game is basketball. Any team is fine, but I like the Indiana Pacers. You should check the Pacers home page [so] that you can get information about where you can watch the games, get tickets, and ticket prices.

You should take an English class or workshop. Don’t stay in your house alone. I would recommend Midwest Language Services.

Best regards,

Akiko S.