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 http://eslblogs.waketech.edu/esl-civics/ 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 http://www.eastsideliteracy.org/tutorsupport/ESL/ESL_Emerg.htm

Multi-skills Practice for lower levels: http://www2.issbc.org/janis-esl/subtopicemergencies.html

Simple vocabulary with pictures: 

Calling 911, and emergency vs. non-emergency:

Listening and Reading Practice: http://www.reepworld.org/englishpractice/health/emergencies/index.htm

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.     http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/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.     https://www.usa.gov/prepare-for-disasters

Everyday Conversation: Going to the Post Office

Mailing_LettersElectronic communication is the default mode of communication for many, however “snail mail” is still widely used for lots of things. There are a variety of resources available for both students and teachers. Here are a few of them you can use in the classroom, or with lesson planning.

African American female US Postal Service employee selling stamps to teen girl in post office, Oakland, California

from Wikimedia/photo by Migdale


Conversations at the post office:

  • Video
  • Conversation Questions
  • Phrasal Verbs
  • Vocabulary:  nouns, adjectives, and verbs

Additionally, Youtube has some videos that model typical post office conversations.

For a student focused lesson on mailing a letter and using the post office, please go to Beth’s Civics and Community blog and read her “How to Send Mail” post! It’s super informative and has lots of good practice on it!


What are some ways you can use this material in your class?

Free Lesson Plans and Activities

If you are searching for lesson plans you might want to visit the ESL Virtual Library of Lesson Plans. It’s a collection of plans and learning activities created by teachers at North Carolina community colleges.


Who can use the site? Anyone who teaches ESL!

What can you find on the site?

  • Lesson plans
  • Civics lessons
  • North Carolina Curriculum Guide (includes lesson plans and activities)
  • Citizenship Preparation
  • In My Own Words (students’ stories about coming to live in the United States)
  • Links to Literature (student activities to link literature to American history and civics)
  • Participatory Learning in ESL
  • Living in America (addresses civics and culture)
  • Salud Latina (health lesson plans)
  • Technology (lesson plans focused on civics/incorporating technology)
  • The House I Live In (civics, housing, and the American Dream)

Can I use these materials in my class? Yes, of course! That’s exactly what the site is for! Use the materials for lesson planning and classroom activites. There are worksheets, activities, lesson plans, videos, audio collections, and games.

Who created this content?  Most of the lesson plans were created by instructors at North Carolina community colleges. Each lesson plan includes the creator’s name/community college.

What is best about this site? It’s full of lesson plans and activities. Once you choose a topic you’ll find multiple levels of information. You just have to start looking around!  It’s very easy to navigate.

What levels are the lessons intended for? The majority of the lessons are appropriate for beginner and intermediate level students. As with most lessons, you can simplify or expand the lesson to accommodate the students in your class.

What is challenging about the site? As a user, I want to know the credentials of the authors, and also the sources and reasons behind a post. At times it’s not clear to me the purpose of a post, or the source of the information. But, that wouldn’t stop me from using the site! It has tons of information!! Take a look!

Preparing for a parent/teacher conference

pic by Sean Drellinger

pic by Sean Drellinger

There are some good resources on the web to assist us and our students with this quest. Of course, if you have a homogenous class of students who are all parents, you could dedicate some significant class time to this topic. However, that’s not usually the case, so having these resources for home use, small group study, or reinforcement of introductory lessons, could be helpful. In this post we have:

  • Tips for Parents
  • Preparing for a parent/teacher conference, including a lesson plan
  • A listening activity about parent/teacher conferences
  • Vocabulary used in parent/teacher conferences
  • Suggestions from WCPSS on successful conferences
  • A video showing a short parent/teacher conference (good for lower level classes-very simple)
  • A link to We are New York, an English language learning video series that students can access from home. This on is not specifically about PT conferences, but is a good message about the importance of education, and how to advocate for your children and be an involved parent.

Successful Parent/Teacher Conference Tip Sheet. This is from Harvard Family Research Project. It includes information for both educators and parents. Parents’ information begins on page seven. http://www.hfrp.org/var/hfrp/storage/fckeditor/File/Parent-Teacher-ConferenceTipSheet-100610.pdf

Preparing for a parent/teacher conference.  This is a wonderful site with an actual lesson plan for ESL teachers and activities for students to learn and practice the English needed for a parent/teacher conference. http://www.apsva.us/cms/lib2/va01000586/centricity/domain/74/reepcurriculum/FamilyLiteracy/FL_lesson_plans/PT_Conferences_Lesson/PT_Conference_Lesson_Plan.htm

ESL Pod Listening Activity about a parent/teacher conference.  https://www.eslpod.com/website/show_podcast.php?issue_id=8720213

Vocabulary for a parent/teacher conference.http://www.laguardia.edu/immigrantparents/E_vocabulary_parents_teacher_conferences.html

Parent Teacher Conference Tips suggestions from WCPSS. wcpss.net/downloads/parent_teacher_conference_new.pptx

Video from WCPSS about parent/teacher conferences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AaBgQjDwEg

Example of a parent/teacher conference. VERY simple video appropriate for lower levels:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqYpgy7n9vI

We Are New York episode about helping students to stay in school.  http://www.nyc.gov/html/weareny/html/episodes/stay_in_school.shtml

How can you use this information?

  • Show a video and discuss it with the class
  • Introduce new vocabulary and practice using it in multiple ways
  • Work with students (the parents) to prepare for the conference (apsva.us  has some great materials, just click on the link under the Preparing for a parent/teacher conference by scrolling up the page)
  • Students create a parent/teacher dialog
  • Role play a parent/teacher conference
  • Discuss cultural norms and expectations by the educators during a parent/teacher conference.
  • Sequencing activities related to the conference.

How would you use this information?