ELS Highlights (Learning in Action!)

Ms Vanessa UELS (June 2021)


Who Wants to Be an Author


The students from UELS.3 have been working on expanding their writing skills. The students have been following a series of stages teaching them how to write their own children’s book. The stages are - Research, Brainstorming, Drafting, Editing, Revising and Publishing. The exercise began with finding the best research idea which included going to the library to find an age-appropriate book for the target audience of 3-5 years old. Once we found age appropriate books, we read it aloud in front of the class to understand the differences in already published books. The students talked about the characters, plot and setting as the most important elements of a story. The students sat in small groups to brainstorm their topic ideas to create story lines that could be used in the individual stories. The students were given the opportunity to plan and work on a written draft using clear and concise language, ensuring the correct use of grammar, and being as accurate as possible. The teachers edited each story to ensure correct grammar and punctuation was used before writing the final copy. Once the students revised and completed the final draft, they could publish their story by writing neatly and drawing illustrations. The students were then encouraged to read their published books to our UELS.1 and UELS.2 classes for approval.

Mr Mark LELS.3 (June 2021)


Where’s the ball? Prepositions


Welcome to our LELS.3 classroom. An ELS (English Language Support) classroom has a limited amount of students hence we try to maximize this advantage to meet student’s needs. For the topic of prepositions we organize the classroom to maximize student’s ability to learn preposition words. At the end of this topic students should know preposition words such as; in; on; under; next to; behind; in front of; near; above etc. Firstly students are shown a power point on prepositions. Next students are placed into small groups. The first group is on the carpet walking and reciting the preposition words.  Meanwhile other students are teaching prepositions words on the carpet.  Then group in pairs and play a game called ‘Where’s the ball?’ Students have 3 guesses about where’s the ball. They are expected to use the target language in full sentences. For example the ball is under the basket. Students have fun with this game and now play it together during break times.

Finally students present their weekly talk to the class about prepositions. This is an opportunity for the students to be more expansive with the language they’ve learned. Students attempt to tell a story about the picture for 3-4 minutes using the target language.

Mr. Ryan UELS  (March 2021)

Phonics for language learning!

Phonics for language learning is a method of teaching our students to read by developing their phonemic awareness and an understanding of the links between the sounds and how we use the letters of the alphabet to represent them. Essentially to not only read well, but to bridge the gap between reading and writing. In our class we focus on the letter and sound correspondences to enable students to break written words down into their component sounds, before later recombining them to read the whole word. This process is known as segmenting and blending. For example, when faced with the word cat a student might run their finger under the first letter and make the initial /c/ sound, then /a/, and, finally, /t/. Once they have successfully segmented these individual sounds, they then blend them together to say the word /cat/. We played a game called ‘Hidden names” to teach the students in an interactive and fun way. The students were placed in pairs and with the teachers assistance they had to first identify a common sound in a group of words. The teacher would say the word and the students would have to repeat it to ensure they pronounced it correctly and elicit the common sound. From the common sounds in four or five different columns they had to then guess the name of a character. The students would come up to select the correct character name on the board based on the common sound for each column of words. Students were rewarded for correct answers. It was a fun way to practice the sounds of letters and identify them in different words!

Mr Junior UELS (January 2021)


Countable and Uncountable Nouns


Look around you. Everything you see is a noun. A noun is a word that names things, people, animals, and places. Nouns also name concepts, ideas, or feelings. It's important to distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns in English. By not distinguishing both you are likely to make basic grammar mistakes.

The class was given a brief Introduction to uncountable and countable nouns. Students are already familiar with most nouns, however this year we are focusing on the different kinds of nouns and the proper way to use them. We first looked at what exactly are countable and uncountable nouns and the differences between them. We discussed how countable nouns have a singular and plural form, and uncountable nouns have only one form (no plural) and always use a singular verb. Students also learned that uncountable nouns cannot use a, an, or a number before them. Students were shown physical samples of countable and uncountable items to get a better understanding. We used some fruits, and a bag of sugar, and a jar of coffee as physical samples.

Next, the students were introduced to quantifiable words and how we use them to express a quantity of an uncountable noun. Some examples of quantifiable words: a lot of, much, a bit of, a great deal of. We can also use an exact measurement like a cup of, a bag of, 1kg of, 1L of, a handful of, a pinch of, an hour of, a day of. If you want to ask about the quantity of an uncountable noun, you ask "How much?" and for the quantity of a countable noun "How many?". Students learned that some nouns can be both countable and uncountable. We learned several examples of those nouns. After the students learned different nouns and their characteristics they took turns in front of the class and practiced with different lists of examples. Finally, the students engaged in two class activities. They completed two worksheets where they were able to put into practice what they learned in class.

 Mr T LELS (January 2021)


Speaking and Listening


Speaking and Listening are 2 essential skills that all ELS students should try to master. In order to speak effectively one must have a clear voice and speak at an appropriate volume so that others can hear you.

Too often in our class students have very small voices but we work on speaking in a strong voice!

Students should also be active listeners so they can learn about what is being said and clarify anything they don’t understand by asking follow-up questions.

In the LELS classroom students practice speaking by doing a reading exercise each week in front of the class.

Students are encouraged to speak in a big strong voice so that others can hear them even if they are sitting at the back of the room.

To be a good listener, student should sit quietly and pay attention to the speaker. This means they should be looking at the person who is speaking.

It can be challenging for students to speak loud enough, and they often are very shy. But with practice they become more comfortable with this speaking exercise.

Over time students will be encouraged to memorize their speeches so that they can do it from memory. They will also be asked to use their own ideas so they can talk about things which are interesting for them.

This activity is something which the students enjoy very much and it is always good to see happy students speaking English in the classroom – so the teacher is happy too!

Great work LELS!

Mr. Drew LELS.1  (October, 2020)


Phonics and blending: Pink, Yellow, Green


Learning to decode new words is an important part of learning a language, and foundational skills, such as phonics can be difficult at first, not to mention a bit boring for children. But here at Clifford School we aim to not only build these skills, but also to have fun while doing it. A game we like to play in our LELS 1 class is called ‘pink, yellow, green,’ and can be played at home as an excellent review game.

Before we play, we will introduce a new letter or phonetic sound, and practice saying it as a class, along with previously learned letters. Next, students name and identify words have that sound in them. Then, we blend these letters as a class on whiteboards.

Once the letters are then written on small pink, yellow and green pieces of paper. Pink and green cards have consonants on them, and yellow cards have vowels. They are then mixed with others and scattered around the room. Students are asked to bring one of each to the teacher at a time, and form a simple consonant, vowel, consonant blend, read it to the teacher, and then repeat the process.

Although simple, this game is highly adaptable, and very effective in many aspects of phonics, from letter recognition, to blending, to experimental spelling of words. Try it at home!

Mr. Mark's ELS Class (January 2020)


Word Study Fun!


Learning new vocabulary is important for ELS students. We give the students 15 word study words each week to learn and use in the classroom. We like to have students use word study words in their writing, weekly talks, small groups, break times and have fun while using the words.

Firstly on Monday students write the word study words in their books and use the words to make sentences. Secondly we play a word study game called Pacman. In this game students spread out in the classroom. The teacher says a word study word, the student with a hand up says a sentence with the word study word in the sentence. The student can then step towards another student. The goal is to tap the other student out of the game. The last student standing wins! The students like this game!

We then play word study circle. We throw the ball to each other while saying the words and making sentences with the words. In addition students play various games on the carpet with word study cards and with a ball. Next, students say word study words during their break time. If they make a good sentence they will receive a word study card. 10 cards = 1 candy. Students can also use the word study words during class time to receive a card. As well, on Monday the students will do writing and on Friday they will have a weekly talk where they are expected to use the words in their writing books and during their talks. Finally it’s a pleasure to see the students build up their English vocabulary while having fun in the classroom!

Mr. T's ELS Class   (December 2019)


Stretching a sentence


There are many benefits to writing a full sentence. It helps students to express and complete ideas, and provides a basis for proper understanding of the English language. Students who are able to write complete, complex sentences sound more educated and are better able to articulate their thoughts and feelings.


One way students write a full sentence is adding more details by answering who, what, when, where, why, questions. We start the simple sentence by answering “Who?” question.  Example: A turtle. Students immediately recognize a noun in this short sentence. Our next W question is “doing What?” Example: A turtle is learning new things. Students identify the action verb “learning” and understand that it needs a helping verb “is” in order to make sense. By adding next question “Where?” students start thinking of different places and review their vocabulary of various prepositions. Example: A turtle is learning new things at school. Our next step of stretching a sentence is answering the question "When?” Examples of defining the question include: in the morning, last week, in winter etc. Our classroom sentence stretches again Example: In the morning, a turtle is learning new things at school. Students complete the sentence by answering the question "Why?" and noticed how they sentence got even longer. Example: In the morning, a turtle is learning new things at school because it wants to be an astronaut.


Our final step of stretching a sentence involves adding an adjective before each noun in the sentence. Adding an adjective makes a sentence more colorful and interesting to read. Example: In a sunny morning, the green and clever turtle is learning new things at Clifford School because it wants to be a strong and brave astronaut. To conclude the lesson, students write their own sentences using 5Ws and adding adjectives before each noun. From a very small start, the students have been able to write a long, interesting and descriptive sentence!


Mr. Mark’s ELS Class (May 2019)


Talking about Time


The main focus we have in our class is to accelerate the students’ progress in English. To achieve this, we like to see the student at the centre of the learning process. Children have different learning styles, so we try to accommodate their needs in the ELS classroom.


In this lesson, we are learning and talking about time. Firstly we view a short video about how to say the time. We then incorporate our language skills to talk about time. We use clock cards, computer visuals and games to learn and speak about time. Students make present continuous sentences about time while we are doing all the activities. For example: “At 12 o’clock, I am eating my lunch.”


Students work in small groups. As they are shown the clock card, students say the time and then make a sentence. Students are active in writing the hands on the clocks as they listen to a present continuous sentence. “At half past five, I’m playing football.” Students will then write this time.


The next week to help our kinesthetic learners, who like to move around the classroom, we play “Carpet Clock”. Four small whiteboards are placed on the carpet with numbers to represent a clock. Two students then use their bodies to represent the hands of the clock to make the time. Students ask/answer questions about what they do at the particular time. For example: “At quarter past three what do you do?”, “At quarter past three I am learning English.”


Moreover, we have students help other students learn the time and make sentences and we play a bingo game to solidify the students understanding of time. Finally, students do a weekly talk story about time to both consolidate and expand their speaking about time.  Our time activities help all of the students learn in different ways to consolidate their learning. The students had a good time talking about time!

Mr. G's ELS Class (April 2019)


Synonyms and Antonyms      


During our language study, students learned about synonyms and antonyms. What are synonyms and antonyms? In simple language, synonym = same, and antonym = opposite. Knowing synonyms and antonyms can help students to express themselves with more variety and color. Introducing synonyms and antonyms to second language learners is a perfect way to expand their vocabulary and in turn improve and enhance their writing.


To build the vocabulary of different synonyms and antonyms, students used cards to display matching words on the bulletin board.  The bulletin board will provide a visual tool for students to replace some of the common words they use with new and exciting ones.  To practice learned words, students used the classroom resources and played a card game.  The games included two levels of matching synonyms & antonym words. For the beginners, level 1 cards had images as an additional recognition aid. 


Finally, students had fun trying to find five synonyms for the word beautiful. Some students chose words that they already know, and some used classroom dictionaries. Using a variety of words can be fun and rewarding. The trick is in knowing how to choose the right word. So you need to be familiar with many words, and know how and when to use each one. This is best achieved by reading, so that’s why we encourage students to spend each day reading English books!

Ms. S's ELS Class (March 2019)


All About Me


All About Me worksheets and books are usually used in classrooms during the first week of school. It is a great way for teachers and students to learn more about each other. The students learn valuable vocabulary to talk about themselves and their interests. In our classroom, we started with an example and explained what was in each square of our “iPhone”.  Every student then got a worksheet that has spaces to write their name, favorite color, favorite food, their age, their favorite animal, and what they like or dislike. 


The students then got to work on their own phone. They started off in pencil and added color later. Every student was given the option of having their picture taken to have printed and glue onto their All About Me worksheet. The students were given sentences to say orally about what they were doing while they were working. When students were finished, they checked with the teacher and practiced how they were going to present themselves to the class. The class had a good time listening to each other’s All About Me presentations!

Ms. G's ELS Class (January 2019)


Language Lab: Balloon Rockets


Being creative, solving problems, and having fun is the best way to engage all parts of the brain in language learning, and one way we do that is through the hands-on activities of Language Labs. For this week’s Language Lab, we made Balloon Rockets. We began with an introduction of the purpose, materials, and new vocabulary words. Next, students copied detailed instructions. With instructions in hand, students then collected materials and got to work!


The first language challenge was to learn the new words and read, write, and understand the instructions. As they built their rockets, students used their new vocabulary words and phrases, as well as all the English they already knew, to communicate with each other. As they figured out how to make the rockets work, they used spontaneous language creation to help each other solve problemsThey also came up with creative new ways to test the rockets: Could they make them go faster or slower? What happens when you use more than one balloon? Can the balloons travel vertically as well as horizontally? How many meters can a balloon rocket travel?


After twenty minutes of building and experimentation, it was time for the final language challenge: writing a summary and reflection. Students used their new vocabulary to describe how they built the rockets, what problems came up and how they solved those problems, what was difficult, what was fun, and what they learned. Working together to make and learn something new while communicating exclusively in  English keeps the kids thinking, learning, and practicing new vocabulary words over and over—simultaneously working hard and having fun!

Mr. T's ELS Class (January 2019)


Using a Writing Checklist


Writing is an important aspect of a student’s English education. Students should work hard to establish good habits so their writing will be strong and informative. The following Checklist can help students to always ensure their work is the best that it can be.


1.  My name and date are on the paper.

This helps to make students accountable for what they create. The teacher, student and parents know when the writing was made. Students show how to properly write their name and date.

2.  Each sentence starts with a Capital letter.

It is important to start sentences with a capital letter.  Ex. Once upon a time…  When I was young…  The boys ran away…… Students show how to start a sentence with a Capital letter.

3.  I used punctuation correctly.

Students should familiarize themselves with punctuation such as periods, commas, exclamation marks, question marks, quotation marks and the many other ways we use punctuation in English. Students show some common punctuation marks.

4.  I checked my spelling.

To make a piece of writing more concise and more robust it is important to review spelling.  This can be done by consulting a teacher, a classmate or by using a dictionary. Students show common spelling mistakes and the correct spellings.

5.  My work is neat and easy to read.

Students should show pride in their writing. They should make a strong effort so that their writing is beautiful. Remember it is not a race, so show good work and take your time. Students show neat writing that is easy to read.

6.  I read my work and it makes sense.

Students should get into the habit of reading and reviewing their work.  Students may find grammar mistakes, or other things they want to change to make their writing stronger.  Also students can check whether they want to add more to their writing or perhaps remove something.  Students are reviewing their writing to make sure it makes sense.

7.  I did my best!

Getting into the habit of always trying their best will set students up for future success in school and in life. Students writing will improve if they get into the habit of following this checklist.

Mr. Nathan's ELS Class (October 2018)


Writing for Success - Halloween Edition!


In the ELS department our goal is to encourage students to express themselves  and to write in more details in their writing. First, we begin by picking a topic. This month’s topic is Halloween, which we will celebrate at the end of the month. The teacher will elicit the words that the students already know and write them on the board. Next, the teacher will write some related vocabulary on the board that is relevant to the topic and that the students might need in their writing.


When a student is confused about a word they are encouraged to find the word in the dictionary, which will teach them how to find information on their own, for when there is neither a parent nor teacher around to help them. The teacher will begin by giving the students sample sentences with examples to show the amount of detail needed in the writing and to show them what is expected.


Next the students can use the example sentences to write in what their thoughts are. Then, they continue writing with their thoughts as much as they can. They are encouraged to add details and to make more complex sentences. The teacher will look over their work and make corrections as necessary. Then the students will write their final draft on a nice paper. For our theme students chose pumpkin, cat, ghost, and haunted house shapes. Finally, the students work is laminated and placed up on the display board for everyone to see! I hope you get a chance to see the wonderful work that the class has done!!

Mr. G's ELS Class (May 2018)


Apples to Apples Game


Apples to Apples is a simple yet fun card game in which players try to match noun cards to adjective cards. The game makes it perfect opportunity to reinforce grammar and speaking in the ESL classroom.


To play, each player is dealt six red cards which are made up of nouns and verb phrases. Then one player takes a green card, an adjective, and reads it to the other players. The player who drew the green card is the “judge” for this turn and each of the other players select a red card which they think matches the adjective on the judge’s green card and play their card face down.


I encourage using a dictionary for those who struggle understand the meaning. That way a student make mental connections between the new words they encounter and the words they already have as part of their vocabulary. The judge reads the red cards aloud and picks a winner based on what he or she thinks best matches the adjective for that round. Teacher may ask the judge to explain the reasoning. 


The winning player gets a green card to show they scored a point. The next round begins with a new judge, as the role of judge changes each turn, moving clockwise around the table. The student with the most green cards is a winner!!!

Mr. Nathan's ELS Class (March 2018)


Phonics Rocks!


Phonics is very important in ELS and all levels as it is the foundation of our reading, writing, and even pronunciation for speaking. By learning phonics we can pronounce and read new words we have never seen or write a word that we don’t know how to spell. To begin we practice learning the phonics sound. We practice listening to it and saying it over and over. Flashcards help us to practice recognizing the letters and then we say the sounds. Next, we try to find reading material that has many words with the phonics that we are learning so the students can see words with the same sounds over and over. We then read and say the words out loud. 


Finally we try to find fun activities like games and songs that we can play and use the sounds. We love to sing songs, play card games, and we even act out plays using our phonics. One game we play is a matching game. Each child gets a card with a phonics word that we studied. They then wander around the room saying their word to others to find out who else has a word with that sound. By the end they will end up in groups of three. When we act out a play everyone gets a part to say and we all have fun! The more that we use phonics the more that everyone remembers the sounds that the letters make.

Mr. Mark's ELS Class (Dec 2017)


One-on-One English Learning


The main focus we have in our class is to accelerate the students’ progress in English. To achieve this we like to see the student at the centre of the learning process. In this one-on-one English lesson students help other students with particular learning needs. In the ELS program we make use of the smaller class sizes and individualize the program. Individualizing the class program benefits all students and is a great way for students to interact with each other. Where one student might need extra focus on their reading another student might need more attention on speaking English or learning new words. The teacher to student ratio is small in the ELS therefore we can maximize student attention and help them with their individual English needs. 


We set up the classroom and focus on different skills that the students need to learn.  The teacher and TA (Teaching Assistant) help organize the pairs and assist where needed, depending on the activities. This lesson is a short 20 minute lesson and helps students practice what they need to learn.


This one on one lesson also helps with different learning styles that the students may possess.  We instruct learners to treat their student mentor with respect as they are assisting them with their English needs. In this session students are helping/learning phonetic sounds with word cards, word study bingo, reviewing completed grammar exercises, learning word study words, months of the year, prepositions, practicing their weekly talk and learning new vocabulary relating to clothes.


At the end of the lesson we bring all the students together and ask them to report on what they learned in the lesson. We really like having one on one English lessons! 

Ms. G's ELS Class (Dec 2017)


Compound Sentences


In our class, we have been learning about the building blocks of sentences. Subjects and predicates, compound subjects and compound predicates. For this lesson, we defined and practiced compound sentences. Compound sentences are like sandwich cookies.  A sandwich cookie is made of two cookies put together with sweet icing in the middle. A compound sentence is made of two simple sentences put together with a comma, semicolon, and/or conjunction in the middle. To make this lesson memorable, we practiced making compound sentence sandwich cookies. First, we had to learn about compound sentences. We watched the School House rock video “Conjunction Junction” for a reminder on what a conjunction is. 


We also sang along to “Baby” by Justin Bieber, with students raising their hands every time they identified a comma or conjunction.  This helped them to recognize the many compound sentences in the lyrics of the song. Then it was time to make our compound sentence cookies. Students cut out paper cookies with example sentences on them, and figured out which simple sentences could be combined into meaningful compound sentences, using which conjunctions. Students took turns demonstrating how sentences could be combined.  Next, students composed their own sentences, corrected them, and copied them onto compound-sentence cookies. Of course, at the end, we enjoyed some real sandwich cookies. Their sweet taste will help students always remember compound sentences.

Mr. T's ELS Class (Dec 2017)


Speaking and Listening Interviews


Speaking and Listening are two essential skills that all students should try to master.  In order to speak effectively one must have a clear voice and speak at an appropriate volume so that others can hear you.  Often in our class students have very small voices but we work on speaking in a strong voice!  Students should also be active listeners so they can learn about what is being said and clarify anything they don’t understand by asking follow-up questions. 


In our class, students practice both speaking and listening by conducting interviews. First students must think of a list of questions that could be asked to another person. Next they can then practice reading those out loud to see if they make sense. "Ask yourself: Can you answer all of the questions?" Then the students need to find someone to interview - a classmate, a teacher, or a friend. We used a whiteboard marker as a microphone prop. When asking the questions students should write down the answers given. Then they can write a report about the interview or can speak about the interview with the rest of the class. In this way students actively practice speaking and listening skills by asking and answering questions.  They also have to use their writing skills when writing down the answers and creating their reports. This activity is something which the students enjoy very much and they also have fun with interviews!  

Ms. S’s ELS Class (Nov 2017)


Reader's Theater!


In our class we have started doing a modified version of Readers Theater. This activity includes reading, listening, writing, and speaking. First, we watch one of our favorite English cartoons “Gogo’s Adventures with English” and write down the script. In writing down the script, the students get the chance to write down good sentences and practice capitalization and using periods.


The “Gogo” series is an English cartoon so they can hear English pronunciation as well. The Gogo series is ideal because it focuses on everyday conversations. To give the students an idea of how they are going to perform, the teachers act out a small part of the dialogue. The students practice pronunciation as a whole class with the teacher.


Then, working in small groups, the parts are divided among the readers. The students read from their scripts and practice beforehand in class. They draw a mask for their character and use it during the performance. (The mask helps make them a little bit less nervous and self-conscious.) The students had fun drawing their favorite characters Gogo, Jenny, and Tony. The students also learn how to be a good audience by listening and clapping at the end in support of our English performers.


All in all, our performers have a good time learning and acting out English!