Whether you have ESL children or not in your classroom, having a variety of word games to be played by pairs of students or small groups is ideal. Pocket charts are great for these types of games. The key is to do activities where all students can interact and move around.
Here is an example of a simple pocket chart activity that you can provide to help ESL children learn words in English. Be sure to use real-life pictures and identify each one with the children so you are sure they all know what each object is. Don’t assume every child has had an experience with every object you choose! This activity begins with oral language practice, and then moves to hands-on work with pictures, letters and words.
First have the children identify each picture. Hold it up or point to it and work with them to correctly say the name in English. If the child says the name in their home language, repeat it and then say the English word. It is a good thing if they say the name in their home language – the key is that they are identifying the picture!
Next, ask the children to match it with the first letter of the name of the object:
After the children have mastered the picture/letter match, it’s time to add the words:
Keep cycling new pictures in, and create games centered around themes, experiences and books you read with the class. You will have bilingual children in no time!