January 2013 E-News from Elizabeth Claire
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Contents of the January E-News:
Helping students set goals
New Year's resolutions, new beginnings....How do
students learn to set goals, to plan for the future, to consider how to
aim their efforts? We might think this comes naturally, but goal setting
is a concept that needs to be taught and practiced.
You might read a story with your class of someone who had a goal. Easy
English NEWS Heroes and History often tells the story of someone
with a goal: This month Martin Luther King, Jr.'s goal was to end segregation
Have students identify the hero's goal and see the obstacles to reaching
the goal. How was the goal measured? What steps happened along the way?
What was the time line?
Explain that goals can be long-range or short range. Some people worked
all their lives for a goal and didn't see it accomplished, but others
later carried it on (Susan B. Anthony did not live to see the 19th Amendment
giving women the right to vote.).
Discuss: Your goals or your family's goals in coming to the United States.
Discuss the goals for the country stated in President Obama's inaugural
speech. Have students notice that sometimes the goal is set for us by
others (go to school, do homework) and sometimes it becomes our own goal.
Elicit the goals the students already have. Ask how they measure the
progress towards their goal.
Show how to break a goal down into smaller steps that can be measured
and monitored. Measuring goals in small steps keeps up the motivation...a
goal like "learn English" is a huge ocean that is hard to swallow.
Smaller steps: "I'll read two stories a week. I'll learn 20 new words
a week. I'll have conversations in English with Americans two times a
week." Have students notice that having a time to complete a step
will help: "I'll read two stories each week by Friday at 9 pm."
As soon as we set on a goal, something happens: the obstacles show up:
There's not enough time; there's no one to teach us; there's no text book;
English is hard to pronounce; people laugh when we speak, we make mistakes
and are embarrassed...The obstacles have to be dealt with in accomplishing
It's easy to forget our goals! That's why it's important to write them
down. It helps to also write what benefit will come to us when we accomplish
our goals. Have students write their goals, and post them where they can
see them, not hide them in a notebook. Have them draw a picture for the
goal; hang it up or write it on the cover of their book.
Having a chart or graph helps with some kinds of goals such as saving
money, paying down debt, increasing grades on tests. Other goals might
be measured more in lists of words or names of stories read or steps accomplished.
Should students give themselves a reward for achieving a goal? Absolutely!
This is particularly helpful for a goal that requires sacrifice or unpleasant
work. Getting a good grade, getting acknowledged at school, or making
the honor roll can work well.
There can be group goals. Have the class brainstorm group goals for the
marking period or the term or year.
Goals without an action plan are just hopes or wishes. "I hope I
can speak English well next year." is nice, but not a goal. "I
will study, read, and practice, so I will be able to speak English with
friends on simple topics by the end of December, 2013."
Goals become firmer when they are spoken to someone who cares. Create
the sense of the class as a support system for students' goals. Let students
declare their goals after they have written them out. Have mini-conferences
with each student to help each fine tune their goals. Telling your goal
to the teacher is a powerful way to keep up the motivation.
Have students see "milestones" on the way to accomplish the
goal. What part of the goal do you plan to do in two weeks? That way they
can measure and see if more effort is needed or if the goal needs to be
Post motivational aphorisms around the room.:
If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably get there.
A goal is like a North Star to travel by.
Never give up.
Have students visualize the accomplishment of their goal. Close your
eyes. You have accomplished your goal. What is around you? How do you
feel? What do others think of you? What has changed in your life?
Draw a picture of you after you have accomplished your goal.
Every several weeks, have goal review time. Ask how students are doing
on their goals. Have students feel the pride in accomplishing their goals.
Teach forms of acknowledgement and compliments that a support system might
use. What is your goal? What is your action plan to get there? How
are you doing? What do you want acknowledgement for?
Contents of Easy English NEWS
for January 2013
Winter Driving Suitable
for anyone who drives or may drive in the future in a snowy environment.
in January covered in Easy English NEWS:
Dr. Ali: Your Health: How Are Your Heart
Muscle Cells? (A
must read for people who have had heart surgery or who want to avoid it)
- New Year's Day
- The Calendar: meanings of the names of months
and the days of the week
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Coming of Age Day (in Japan) Seijin no
- Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed (Eid
- National Religious Freedom Day
Ask a Speech Coach: Distinguishing
and pronouncing /b/ and /v/
the Beautiful: New
York City--"The Big Apple"
History: Martin Luther King, Jr and the Civil Rights Movement.
up after Superstorm Sandy
Plus our regular features:
This Is Your Page (readers' stories), Funny Stuff, Idioms, the
Crossword Puzzle, Let's Talk About It, and Word Help.
At the website: See the many FREE
teacher aid and support exercises at www.elizabethclaire.com:
The Teacher's Guide if you lost it or you didn't get it with your mailing
Cloze exercises for the current issue and previous issues
An Odd-Man-Out exercise: Which Word Does Not Belong
And six Short Answer Tests to help readers focus on the facts presented
in the current edition.
Also the FREE 24-page generic "How To" with 9 reproducible
My books on Kindle:
(They're selling quietly; I never get to see the names of who bought them.
It's different from selling directly. I'd love to get feedback!)
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part One ($0.99)
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Two ($0.99)
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Three ($0.99)
- Kristina, 1904, the Greenhorn Girl ($4)
- Voices of Our New Neighbors Volume One ($0.99)
Click here to go to the
Amazon Store at my website
- Voices of our New Neighbors Volume Two ($0.99)
- Voices of our new Neighbors Volume Three ($0.99)
- English Language Learners in the Mainstream
Class (from Classroom Teacher's ESL Survival Guide) ($3.99)
- What's So Funny? An International Student's
Introduction to American Humor. ($0.99)
- Phonics for English Language Learners? What
the ESL Teacher Needs to Know $0.99)
Carry on your good work!
© Elizabeth Claire 2013.