Schools, Parents, and Children

Today’s post focuses on schools, parents, and parent/teacher conferences. The resources in this post address the following topics:

  • Types of schools in the USA
  • Places in the community (including transportation around town)
  • Wake County Public Schools Parent Academy
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences

VOA Special English on  This video gives an overview of the types of schools in the United States. It’s in a “read along” format, with each word highlighted so students get both the audio and visual of the word.

Many This site includes a drop down list of activities to use with the vocabulary list. You can practice these as a group or individually in a computer lab or with the i-pads.

Types of schools:  Also, for more practice about Community Buildings and Places: Schools, go to the Civics and Community Blog at is a great site for lower level teachers! It has complete lesson plans and worksheets. This link will take you to a lesson on places in the community and transportation. Check out the site for lots of lesson plans!

Parents and Their Children: Parent Teacher Conferences Students always seem to want information about how to have a successful parent/teacher conference! Here are a few resources to consider, which you can modify for NC.

Parent Toolkit. A comprehensive toolkit for any parent. An ESL teacher could use the information from the toolkit to help prep students for the conference, all the while working on new vocabulary and grammar, not to mention American culture. This document is rich with resources and possibilities. The material is presented by grade level, and includes checklists and questions to ask the teacher. It’s produced by Education Nation and NBC.

Color in Colorado. Relevant and informative. A complete lesson plan on parent-teacher conferences is included.

From Arlington public schools:

ESL  Listening practice: dialogue between parent and teacher. For higher level students.

Wake County Public Schools Parent Academy.  Although this isn’t a place in the community, per se, it’s full of info that our students are interested in.  There are workshops “to provide families with strategies that have a positive effect on the education of children”. Information on the site is in both English and Spanish. Super informative!

Emergencies and Community Places

Welcome back to the Teachers Resources blog. This week we are looking at emergencies:  who to call, what to do, and where to go.  You can also visit for information and practice for your students.

We are posting links to multiple lessons. You can just “click” and print! These are all time savers!

Accessing Community Services and Reporting Emergencies/Beginner Lesson

Multi-skills Practice for lower levels:

Simple vocabulary with pictures: 

Calling 911, and emergency vs. non-emergency:

Listening and Reading Practice:

Discussion Questions and Vocabulary for higher level students:

Be Prepared for Emergencies!

  • The American Red Cross has pictures of different types of emergencies on one page. Click on the picture and it takes you to an information page on how to prepare for the emergency. This information is excellent and can modified for most levels. Great pictures, safety checklists, and specific recommendations for how to prepare for and deal with all types of emergencies.
  • The United States government also has a comprehensive page on preparing for any kind of emergency. It also includes what to do if a disaster occurs, and how the government may be able to help.

Listening Practice and Activities

Like most things on the internet, the resources for listening practice are abundant. Of course, you can always use and only listen to the video. Or, you can access some of the websites that focus on listening skills.  Here are a few of them, and they cover almost every topic imaginable relevant to the ESL classroom.

Randall’s ESL Lab. Link:     Probably one of the more well known sites, Randall’s ESL Lab has three levels: easy, medium, difficult. In my experience, those labels don’t really correlate to our class levels here at Wake Tech. You’ll need to evaluate each video yourself for appropriate level, but there are lots of choices and follow up activities, such as:

Eslpod.  Link:     This site includes a subscription membership for enhanced activities, but the actual podcast is free. They offer a variety of topics relevant to the ESL classroom. Included in the paid subscription are:

  • An 8-10 page guide for every new podcast episode
  • Complete transcripts (ESL Podcast and English Cafe)
  • Definitions
  • Sample sentences
  • Comprehension questions
  • Additional explanations
  • Cultural notes
  • Podcast newsletter
  • Information on new products and services.

Listen a Minute.  Link:     This site has a variety of listening activities that are listed alphabetically.  It’s free, and includes a transcript for each podcast. Follow up activities are:

  • gap fill
  • word jumble
  • Discussion
  • Survey
  • Spelling
  • Homework suggestions.

VOA News. Link:     Voice of America has been around for a long time, sharing news throughout the world. And, they also have a site dedicated to incorporating news stories into English practice. There are tons of videos and audios. You can select between levels 1, 2, and 3, but these levels don’t correlate directly to Wake Tech class levels. For listening practice, there is an audio section, and they also have the following podcasts:

  • As It Is
  • American Mosaic
  • In the News
  • The Making of a Nation
  • Science in the News
  • This Is America
  • Words and Their Stories

In addition, this site is chock full of resources other than listening activities. Take a look at their Word Book, which is a dictionary of words used in their podcasts, organized by subject.

5 Minute English.  Link:     Listening activities and comprehension questions.