(reviewed Fall 2008)
Reviewer: Harumi Hirasawa
Everything ESL is a site for K-12 teachers, most of whom are teaching in New Jersey. It includes three main sections: lesson plans, teaching tips, and resource picks. There are 15 contributors who update their posts on this site, and a few teachers working overseas also post their lesson plans and teaching ideas. The main organizers are two ESL teachers in New Jersey. One facilitator is also the author and co-author of several textbooks for ESL teachers. An additional section is called ask Judie (an organizer of the site), and readers are able to ask any questions related to teaching ESL class or ESL/EFL teachers. Target ages of the class are preschoolers or primary pupils in elementary schools. The lesson plan section includes 41 lesson plans for beginning through intermediate students. The teaching tips section includes 52 ideas and strategies for ESL/ EFL teachers. The resource picks section has recommendations for books, Web sites, and CDs.
The site introduces several useful activities and gives good advice for ESL/ EFL teachers. For example, the Thanksgiving lesson plan gives clear instructions on how to teach the history and background of Thanksgiving. We are able to download many materials related to that event: projects about pilgrim, Native Americans stories etc. Teachers are easily able to print out these materials and use them in their classes. ESL teachers in elementary schools can also download various activity sheets in many formats.
The materials are mostly targeted at elementary school students, and some sections include American cultural information that is not specifically designed for ESL students. Thus, all elementary school teachers might use this Web site for their class activities. The title of the site is Everything ESL, but perhaps it should be called Everything Elementary School as it includes a lot of general class materials.
Also, the lesson plan page is not organized around any specific categories such as grammar points, listening, speaking, and writing. For example, the title, Bats are Everywhere, is introduced, but that lesson does not seem to be related to an ESL class. Indeed, the page explains that the lesson is focused on how to teach facts and myths about bats through reading many materials. The objectives of the lesson are science concepts including animal characteristics and cultural concepts (e.g., different myths and portrayals of bats in different countries). The flow of the lesson looks like a science class, not an ESL class in an elementary school.
Overall, this site has useful resources and tools for ESL instructors in preschool and elementary school, so I recommend the Web site for ESL teachers teaching K-4. However, many lesson plans and instructions overlap with teaching methods and materials in regular classes, so ESL teachers need to choose which activities are appropriate for their ESL students depending on their needs and language proficiency.
Subject Headings: ESL teachers, ESL materials, elementary education