5 Simple ESL Learning Centers That Get Your Classroom to Teach for You (2023)

5 Simple ESL Learning Centers That Get Your Classroom to Teach for You (1)

By 5 Simple ESL Learning Centers That Get Your Classroom to Teach for You (2)susanverner Last updated:

Do you have a special place you go every summer?

Someplace that—for you—means summer has begun?

For people around Pittsburgh, that’s going to Kennywood Park. When the gate opens and the rides start moving, that’s when summer is really here.

Kennywood has lots of things to do. If you go, be sure to stop by the carnival area, where you can try knocking down milk jars with a baseball and get some ideas for your ESL lessons.

Yes, that’s what I meant to say.

Your ESL classroom can be like a carnival in all the greatest ways. That is, if youuse independentlearning centers.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

(Video) Learning Centers | Teaching Strategies #8

What Are Learning Centers?

Independent learning centers(or stations) are various setups around the classroom where students can go to work independently or with a partner on a specific activity. When you use centers, your students will all be working and learning English, but they’ll be doing it in different ways—just like how everyone at thecarnivalgames is trying to win a plush unicorn, but playing different games to get it.

The key is that these are different activities with the same goal, different roads to the same destination.

If you haven’t already, you should consider setting up a native English learning center for your students with the FluentU program.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.

With this, they’ll be able to practice native English with some of their favorite content. They’ll love it and will also be getting in much needed native input!

When you set up your learning centers, you choose different areas around your room for the different activities your students will do. Kind of like the differentgames you might play at a carnival.

Instead of assigning students to one center or another, they’re free to choose which activity they want to do. Students work independently or with a partner depending on what the activity specifies.

It’s up to you how you use learning centers. You might assign extra credit work for students to complete at the centers, or you might require students to complete a certain number of centers in a given time period, such as a month. Or you just might have them ready for students who finishassignments before the rest of the class.

(Video) Setting Up Learning Centers in the Toddler and Preschool Classroom

No matter what your reasons for using learning centers are, here are some benefits you can expect to gain from learning centers.

Why Choose Learning Centers for ESL Classrooms?

Learning centers have a lot to offer your students. With centers, studentsbecome invested in their own learning. They take responsibility for what they do at the learning centers and how many different tasks they accomplish. Studentsfocus onthe areas they choose and have control over their learning, which creates an ownership of their own education. In education, just as in the business world, ownership equals effort.

Learning centers can also cater to different learning styles. You can choose or create learning centers tofocus oneach of the learning styles represented in your class. While it might be difficult to do some activities with your entire class, one or two people might be very successful at hands-on activities, musical activitiesor solitary activities when they’re available in a learning center.

Another benefit to using independent learning centers is that it gives you a chance to work one-on-one with students while the rest of the class isdoing productive work. You don’t have to giveyour students busywork just so you can talk one-on-one with certainlearnersin your class. Give them purposeful activities to complete at the learning centers, and then pull individual students aside as needed to do assessments or talk about performance.

1. Classroom Goodreads

Do you have an account on Goodreads? I love the app, which allows me to track the books I’ve read as well as how well I liked them. I have the freedom to write a review of every book I read or simply rate it on a scale of five stars. And my friends can see what I thought about each of these books, too.

Setting up this learning center in your classroom can accomplish similar things. Students have the opportunity to rate books they read and share their opinions with their classmates.

All you need to set it up is a classroom library (any books will do) and some sticky notes. Students choose a book to read during independent learning time or borrow a book to read at home. After completing the book, they write a short book review on a sticky note and place it in the front cover of the book. Studentscan share anything on their sticky note review, including why a fellow classmate should or shouldn’t read the book, and a rating of up to five stars.

When a student is ready to choose a new book, he or she can read the reviews their classmates have written and use those to make an informed decision about their book choice.

(Video) Station Rotation: Differentiating Instruction to Reach All Students

To really make this independent learning center attractive, include a comfortable reading nook where students can settle in and devour their book of choice.

2. Easiest Grammar Center Ever

I’m not kidding when I say this center is the easiest ever. It takes almost no effort on your part, other than a tiny bit of organization. The next time you have extra grammar worksheets from your class, put them in a folder at a spare desk. If possible, put an answer sheet in another folder labeled “answers.” Voila! That’s it.

Every time you have extra worksheets, continue putting them in the worksheet folder and an answer key in the answer folder. You can find some great ESL worksheets at busyteacher.org and usingenglish.com. When students use the center, they choose a worksheet to complete, work at the desk to complete it, and then check their own answers.

It may seem strange to give students work they’ve already done, but it actually benefits them. They get more practice with troublesome grammar areas. Studentsgain confidence when they successfully complete a worksheet, even if they’ve done it before. And odds are by the time they do one of these worksheets, they’ve forgotten what answers they gave the first time.

This center gives students a chance to practice skills they may be struggling with—without taking time from the rest of the class for unnecessary review.

3. Independent Listening Lab

If you have aCD playerand some headphones, you’re all ready to set up an independent listening lab. At this learning center, students work independently to improve their listening skills.

You couldset up a CDandtextbookyou that don’t plan to use in class, such as “Contemporary Topics 3” or “Person to Person.” Let students follow the directions in the book and complete the exercises independently.(Just warn them not to write in the book.)

They can write their answers on a separate piece of paper or on photocopies of the pages if you provide them. If you can set up a computer at the listening center, you might also try sending students to the ESL Cyber Listening Labor Talk English.

(Video) Learn 5 verbs Daily I 5 day I Easy verbs Learning I Learn English in Urdu/Hindi I I Academy Centre

4. Online Workshop

If you have a computer in your classroom, students can use it towork on just about any language skill you choose. That is, any skill your students choose, since they’ll be working independently at this learning center.

Set up your computer in a corner of your room, and make sure you have headphones your students can use. On the wall near the center, list several differentwebsites your students can go to for practice with grammar, reading, listening or where they can take online quizzes.If you really want to make the center accessible, set these websites up in your favorites list.

Some sites that would be great to bookmark include:

  • UsingEnglish.com — ESL grammar quizzes
  • FluentU — Real-world videos with personalized learning exercises
  • ESL Games— Vocabulary games
  • Starfall— Early literacy practice
  • eslvideo— Video quizzes
  • ESL Fast— Various resources for beginning and intermediate learners

Students who use the center choose a website, go to it and complete the activities there. It’s that simple.

5. Classroom Postal Service

This independent learning center targets writing, and it can be a lot of fun if your students use it the right way.

At the beginning of the year, have students decorate shoeboxes to serve as their mailboxes, or just assign them shelves in an organization unit. Review with students how to write letters, postcards and address envelopes.

During free learning periods, students can write postcards and letters to each other. After addressing them correctly, they can put the correspondence in the classroom mailbox. Assign one person each day to deliver the mail to the appropriate mailboxes.

Students will enjoy purposeful writing and the fun of finding a letter in their mailbox.

(Video) Daily Use Advance English Structure Part 1 । Advance English Structure ।

Independent learning centers really have a lot to offer ESL students. With a little upfront setup, they can have long-term payoffs. You can rotate centers in and out of use, too, to keep things interesting for your students and to target specific skills you might want to practice.

Your students will love them, and if you give them a chance, you will too. Enjoy the carnival!

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

FAQs

How are learning centers used in the encouraging classroom? ›

A learning center is a designated area in the classroom where students can practice skills that they've already been taught in class. Learning centers are filled with hands on activities that get students excited to learn about different areas of your curriculum.

How do you incorporate learning centers in the classroom? ›

Preparing the Centers
  1. Gather Student Materials.
  2. Write out Clear Directions With Visuals.
  3. Set Behavioral Goals and Expectations.
  4. Keep Groups to Five Students.
  5. Get Creative With the Setup.
  6. Keep Materials Organized.
  7. Provide Cleanup Time.
  8. Explain Your Expectations.
17 Oct 2019

What are the 6 learning areas? ›

The six areas of learning
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development. ...
  • Communication, Language and Literacy. ...
  • Mathematical Development. ...
  • Knowledge and Understanding of the World. ...
  • Physical Development. ...
  • Creative Development.

What is good learning stations? ›

Learning station is a method based on classroom organization and management in which teachers divide students into groups and organize activities so that students can take active role in solving given learning tasks at different places in the class and rotate the groups from station to station.

How do you engage ESL students in the classroom? ›

How can I support ELLs in my classroom?
  1. Provide a welcoming classroom environment. ...
  2. Know and include the student. ...
  3. Modify your speech. ...
  4. Provide opportunities for interaction. ...
  5. Support literacy development. ...
  6. Reading Instruction. ...
  7. Development of Writing Skills. ...
  8. Support ELLS in the content areas: Math, Social Studies, Science.

What are ESL teaching techniques? ›

In the contemporary classroom, there are five main teaching styles by ESL teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style, and The Hybrid.

How do ESL students learn best? ›

Differentiate—and Use Multiple Modalities

All kids learn better when they engage with material in multiple ways: Lessons that involve writing, speaking, drawing, and listening, for example, give students four opportunities to deepen their understanding of the work.

What is a learning activity center? ›

[It is an area of the classroom] with materials and activities that support various learning standards and educational goals, integrating multiple standards and goals within each center (Phillips & Scrinzi, 2013).

What are centers in a classroom? ›

What Are Centers In The Classroom? Centers are a designated space within your classroom for students to work semi-independently or with a small group to review information or a skill they have previously learned. Some ideas for centers in the classroom could include: Reading centers or listening to reading centers.

What makes up an active learning activity inside the classrooms? ›

Active learning methods ask students to engage in their learning by thinking, discussing, investigating, and creating. In class, students practice skills, solve problems, struggle with complex questions, make decisions, propose solutions, and explain ideas in their own words through writing and discussion.

How do you do the daily 5? ›

  1. Choice #1: Read to Self.
  2. Choice #2: Work on Writing.
  3. Choice #3: Read to Someone.
  4. Choice #4: Listen to Reading.
  5. Choice #5: Word Work.
22 Dec 2015

What are the different areas in the classroom? ›

8 Types of Learning Spaces to Consider Including in Your Elementary Classroom
  • A classroom meeting space. ...
  • A classroom library space. ...
  • A writing center space. ...
  • A safe space. ...
  • A friends & family board. ...
  • A collaboration space. ...
  • A creation space. ...
  • A space for math tools.
19 Jul 2021

What are the 5 learning areas in basic education? ›

Kindalin 5 Key Learning Areas
  • Language & Literacy. Children develop their expressive and receptive language skills, through their daily interactions with adults and other children. ...
  • Social Studies. ...
  • The Arts. ...
  • Mathematics. ...
  • Scientific Thinking.

What are the 8 learning areas? ›

The eight essential learning areas
  • English. ...
  • Mathematics. ...
  • Science. ...
  • Technology. ...
  • Social Sciences. ...
  • The arts. ...
  • Health and physical education. ...
  • Learning languages.

What are the 4 specific areas of learning and development? ›

The four Specific areas are:

Literacy. Mathematics. Understanding the world. Expressive arts and design.

What is the difference between a learning center and a learning station? ›

The main difference between learning stations and centers is that whereas stations are designed to promote teamwork and independent learning in subject themes, learning centers focus more on providing individualized instruction to students who are struggling with concepts and subject topics.

How are learning stations Centers good ways to differentiate instruction? ›

In a differentiated station, students work within multilevel resources, whereas traditional station resources are not differentiated. Differentiated stations have tiered assignments, which include varied student responses, whereas a traditional learning station only has one level of response for all.

Why is parallel teaching effective? ›

Co-teachers divide the class in half and instruct them on the same material; groups don't rotate. Parallel teaching allows the co-teachers to maximize participation and minimize behavior problems. This approach reduces the student-teacher ratio and increases instructional intensity.

What 5 factors make an educational environment welcoming? ›

What Are The Factors That Make A Positive Learning Environment?
  • Establish a supportive learning culture. Each member of the learning community should have the feeling of connectedness. ...
  • Address Learners' Needs. ...
  • Keep it Positive. ...
  • Provide Feedback. ...
  • Celebrate Success. ...
  • Safety. ...
  • Employ Interactive Games and Activities.
6 Apr 2018

What should an ESL classroom look like? ›

Classroom is well-organized, with different parts of the room serving different functions (library, writing center, computer area, etc.). Teacher employs a variety of teaching strategies including visuals, student conversation, explicit vocabulary instruction, and sentence starters.

How do you motivate students to speak English in class? ›

Ways to encourage more use of English in class
  1. Always present yourself as an English speaker, right from the start.
  2. Don't be tempted to lapse into the students' language to explain, regain control or reply to a question. ...
  3. Don't be tempted to slow down.

What are 5 popular ESL teaching methods? ›

5 ESL Teaching Methods That Totally Rock
  • Total Physical Response. ...
  • Introducing Items of Cultural and Personal Relevance. ...
  • Using Authentic Materials. ...
  • Displaying Visuals and Realia. ...
  • Remembering the Stages of Second Language Acquisition.
26 Jan 2021

What are the 4 teaching styles in language teaching? ›

In the contemporary classroom, five distinct teaching styles have emerged as the primary strategies adopted by modern teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style and The Hybrid Style.

How do you make ESL students feel welcome? ›

Classroom strategies: helping your ELLs adjust to new surroundings
  1. Learn their names. ...
  2. Offer one-on-one assistance when possible. ...
  3. Assign a peer partner. ...
  4. Post a visual daily schedule. ...
  5. Use an interpreter. ...
  6. Invite their culture into the classroom. ...
  7. Use materials related to your ELLs' cultures.

How do ESL teachers teach? ›

ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers specialize in helping non-native speakers of all ages and levels learn the formal grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation of spoken and written English, while giving them confidence in the common usage of the language in order to communicate clearly and comfortably with native ...

What is the learning center? ›

1. an educational technique in which skill-specific sets of activities are developed for students to work on independently at their own pace for a particular length of classroom time during each school day.

What are learning centers or stations? ›

Learning stations are physical locations in the classroom where students are asked to solve a problem and answer some questions using the materials provided. The students are allowed to work individually or with as many as three other people.

What do children learn in learning centers? ›

Learning Centers are areas/activities throughout your program that allow children to manipulate materials, explore ideas, discover consequences, build, create and express themselves through art mediums. Learning Centers give the child an opportunity to make decisions and choose the timing of her learning.

What is a learning activity center? ›

[It is an area of the classroom] with materials and activities that support various learning standards and educational goals, integrating multiple standards and goals within each center (Phillips & Scrinzi, 2013).

Why are learning centers effective? ›

Well-chosen centers activities accommodate different learning styles, and allow students to self-direct as they apply skills and strategies in fun, engaging ways. And finally, centers allow teachers to address the distinct needs of small groups of students.

What makes up an active learning activity inside the classrooms? ›

Active learning methods ask students to engage in their learning by thinking, discussing, investigating, and creating. In class, students practice skills, solve problems, struggle with complex questions, make decisions, propose solutions, and explain ideas in their own words through writing and discussion.

What are stations in the classroom? ›

Stations are learning centers located around the classroom where students spend time doing specific tasks. Each center has a different task or goal. Students may rotate through some or all of the stations during the lesson. Stations allow for student-centered and differentiated learning.

How can preschool teachers set up learning centers in the classroom? ›

When setting up learning centers in your classroom, it's important to group similar centers together. Your centers such as the writing center, listening center, and reading or library center are usually quieter than others. While your block center and dramatic play center are areas that are noisier by nature.

Why are learning centers important in early childhood? ›

Learning centers are designated areas where children enrich their learning. They work on academic skills by doing different activities during the school day that let them use items provided to create, explore, and to discover new ideas.

What centers should be in a 2 year old classroom? ›

Two-Year-Old Learning Environments

In our two-year-old classrooms you will see several different learning centers such as art, science, dramatic play, library, blocks, puzzles and more.

How do you create a learning station? ›

Here are six tips for designing meaningful learning stations:
  1. 1: Choose content wisely and hold students accountable for learning it. ...
  2. 2: Switch it up. ...
  3. 3: Incorporate technology. ...
  4. 4: Provide opportunities for both individual and group tasks. ...
  5. 5: Coordinate timing. ...
  6. 6: Help students bring it all together.
21 Oct 2016

Who is Centre of teaching/learning process? ›

THE CHILD IS THE CENTER OF THE TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS.

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