World Issues & Prefixes (2 class periods)

WORLD ISSUES & PREFIXES      Take your students around the World, teaching them all about issues and different prefixes, and how they are related!

Take your students on a journey around the world, learning about World Issues and prefixes, and how they are related to eachother!

Prefixes can be confusing to some students, but a lot of ESL settings simply pound grammar rules into students minds without giving an explanation on why words can have a completely new meaning, just by changing the fist two letters of the word for example. “Cycling” and “Recycling” are two completely different words that really have nothing to do with eachother.  Students who feel confident knowing that the prefix re- always means “again” or “to repeat”, may feel they can add re- to any word to give them their desired meaning, as in this example, not exactly the case.

I decided to make a Prezi on some of the most common prefixes used in the English language, with an example for each one. This may be challenging for the lower level students, but will really expand their vocabulary. Students will find it actually a lot easier when communicating certain words; saying “Irresponsible” instead of “not being responsible”, or what I’ve actually heard my students say personally: “Not good on time with homework, I play on computer too much”,  can be greatly condensed to, “I was being irresponsible and didn’t do my homework”.

Water shortage is a huge problem, especially in the Middle East. The word, misuse, will explain to students why this is happening.

Water shortage is a huge problem, especially in the Middle East. The word, misuse, will explain to students why this is happening.

Prefixes make English easier to communicate, and gives ESL learners heaps of confidence when they begin to understand and recognize them instead  of just memorizing different words. I really empathize for my students who just will learn 5 or 6 different versions of a single root word, such as use, and have to learn the different meanings to  misuse, over-use, re-use, dis-use and maybe even pre-used. Sounds confusing, huh? Imagine you are learning a new language and you have no idea these words have remotely no connection to eachother, just the meanings of the individual words.

Just like mentioned previously though, some prefixes can be a little misleading. These are learned over time, and the complex ones are avoided by early learners until the confidence catches up with them. This lesson is a nice introduction for mid-to high level learners on how prefixes can change and expand their whole understanding of the long, confusing English vocabulary. Some students may be completely surprised to know that words such as “illegal”, which I think almost all of my students are familiar with, has an “ir” prefix, and that this prefix means “wrong”. I’ve been surprised to know in the English classrooms this is completely avoided.

If you can’t tell by now, this is sort of something that irks me. My students understanding and just general confidence could be greatly expanded with this knowledge, so I find myself to be a little passionate about teaching this to them, and don’t feel it goes over their heads. With this lesson, if you really stress the importance of prefixes then I feel it can be a very successful and helpful lesson for your students as well. The slide showing all of the prefixes is by far the most important one on the Prezi, it should be stressed and attention on this particular should be heightened. On the worksheets, students will be challenged to use their English deductive reasoning skills. Please make sure the prefix slide is shown first before trying to have them answer the questions on the worksheet. I definitely encourage group work for this one. (One particular question, the one with “regular” and “irregular” will be one that might have your level students really struggling on).

Students will learn about preserves, like this one in Australia!

Students will learn about preserves, like this one in Australia!

The World Issues aspect of this lesson will hopefully broaden some student’s mindsets and awareness on a variety of topics all over the world. It’s possible that even in your classroom, some of these topics will be an issue personally affecting some of your students, so their interest levels might be even more peaked. I understand their are issues on this lesson crying for far greater attention and understanding, so please understand this was not done in any kind of hierarchical order of issue importance. I really hope your students enjoy it and approach the final question, number 6 with understanding and a guided approach.

Overall, I loved this lesson personally. It was a combination of one of my passionate areas of interest of teaching English, and I didn’t feel confined to one topic as I showed issues all around the world. IT should be interesting to learn what some of your students say about these issues! Maybe you can even learn from them! Feel free to contact me for any questions related to this lesson as well @

Link once more to Prezi:

(Worksheet: Ecoesl-prefix )


Rainforests and the use of “because” to connect two sentences


This post is meant to target a specific problem I’ve encountered for a large number of students who have trouble providing reasons for their arguments or general statements. “Because”, or rather the use of the word, will make their writing so much easier.

Suppose we have two sentences, such as “I want to eat healthier food in the future” and “I am trying to lose weight”. We can generalize here and assume that it’s because of this person wanting to lose weight that they will eat healthier food in the future, of course. But not all sentences are so clear, some a re much more vague. Placing a “because” as a conjunction in sentences such as this one will make it a lot easier for their readers to understand what the distinction is from Sentence 1 and Sentence 2.

There are products available to buy that are more environmentally friendly and decrease our impact on the rainforests

The lesson on rainforests is one of the most pressing, timely issues today. Rainforests are disappearing at an unsustainable rate, and have been for decades now. The little progress that has been made to conserve these areas has been thwarted by recent developments such  as the Belo Monte Project in Brasil (, and other projects that call for land-clearing and old growth forest removal. It is truly a sad time, as this could be one for incredible discoveries and progress coming from these mysterious areas, but rather we see ecosystems disappearing, endangered species being lost, and tribal peoples being left victims on their natural homeland.

The idea behind what the students are to do on their English notebook (I hope your classroom incorporates the use of one) is simple.


HOW we can protect the rainforests (LEFT SIDE)

WHY we should protect the rainforests (RIGHT SIDE)

Buying foods and other items that are sustainable                                                           ???                          because this means less pollution from our vehicles in the air, which is……..

Try walking or riding your bike instead of driving or taking a taxi                            ???      because you can teach others what you know about the rainforest and inspire others…..

Try using recycled paper instead of normal paper from trees                                     ???      because you will be healthier and less land will be used for farming and raising ………..

Stay educated on the latest developments on rain forests around the world        ???   because less trees in the rainforest will be cut down, these trees stabilize our climate……

Eat less red meat and more healthier, natural foods                                                         ???   because we will be supporting companies that are trying to do their part to…………

The students need to draw a line to the correct matching sentence. Hopefully you know what they are as well, I’m assuming we can as teachers. 

Next, after all students have showed they are able to connect the sentences, have them read the combined sentences together out loud.

The keywords will then be presented, and students should write down each word so they can refer to them later in the last exercise.

We will then move onto the group assignment.

Tribal people in rainforests around the world are feeling the effects of rainforest clearings

Group the students into teams of 3 or 4.

As displayed on the presentation, each group will have to make up their own sentence about the rainforest. It can be ANYTHING, just make sure they use a keyword and of course, it’s all in English. This is a chance for the students to express their beliefs and have fun with the exercise. Some students will be very passive, and some very excited and passionate. It’s interesting to see who does what. You can encourage their progress by coming around to each table and giving encouragement, as I do.

Lastly, after their sentence is read outloud together to the class, they will tell us about the keyword they picked. One of the students in the group will do their best to tell us what the word means.

This is a challenging assignment for your students but mid to high level students can handle the challenge!

Further note:

While this lesson is limited in it’s scope of raising awareness and providing solutions for PRO rainforest supporters, it does get the spark started for those who may have never known about such actions being taken against nature in remote parts of the world. I hope this lesson reaches out to your students and you teach it with the same passion it deserves!

Good Luck!

Link once more:

Oceans- Intermediate to High Level


A growing concern of mine personally, and for  others in the scientific community, is the current health of oceans. Oceans play a vital role in the regulation of our climate, the balance of life on Earth, providing habitats, and of course, the Water Cycle. It is very important that students understand the critical role these oceans play in the world today. Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth and provide us with 97% of water. Without oceans, there would not be people, simply said.

Help teach students about protecting our oceans & valuable English material!

As well as the teaching of our oceans, there are keywords and sentences to be taught with this lesson that will certainly benefit students. The worksheet is very comprehensive  material and tests all skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. It emphasizes teamwork as well, as each team is to collaborate and come up with ideas together.




I highlight that because when I sat down and really tried to make my instructions for the worksheet as clear as possible, my students succeeded. When they might have been a little vague, the results were not as clearly connected to what was instructed to them. The more the students became familiar with the keywords, the easier it was for them to follow along with the material as well.

Overall, this lesson was very successful. The students absolutely loved the graphics and the video, and I feel they really became conscious of their oceans. Even though becoming involved in protecting the oceans is more indirect, rather than hands-on, they still felt they could make contributions. Ultimately, the protection of oceans lays in the hands of corporations, governments, and private entities mostly.

I really encourage all of you ESL teachers looking for an Environmentally-related lesson to use this! It worked very well! As always, please contact for any ideas or tips to help you along the way!

Link to lesson once more:

Link to Worksheet: Oceans




Lesson on Waste/Reduce,Reuse Recycle

I originally wanted to do make this lesson primarily on Recycling, but decided against it. Students should get an idea of  waste and the The R’s. Recycling is obviously important, and is one of the most elementary lessons we learn in our native language for most of you I’m sure, but there is far more to waste management that  I believe could easily be included on any-level lesson plan.

Students need to fully understand the meanings of each word to undersstand the message

By introducing waste, including other names for waste, what happens to waste, and giving students a clear understanding of what waste is, students understand from the beginning what we are talking about. Waste is all around us, it’s everywhere and everyone produces waste.


I left this presentation open to the discretion of the instructor on how he or she wants to administer a game, project or task for the students. For example, a class project could be to make a “garden” out of used water bottles. The teacher could provide the soil and seeds and the bottles would be used for a container to hold the plant in. That’s just one idea. I’ve incorporated a similar idea in my classroom but instead of all students, we just have a classroom plant. I didn’t feel it would be very practical to include a worksheet on this lesson, as I try to stay away from using them in mass quantities. There are several ways to come up with the “Production” part of the lesson, the teacher should use their creativity to guide their decision on this. This is an excellent framework to build your lesson around however.

I want to share with you some feedback on how this lesson went. Firstly, it was shown to a moderate-high level. They fully understood the whole lesson I believe and participated throughout. They show continuing interest in the “classroom plant”, making me believe that some ideas really did stick with them after this lesson. One of my students even told me he wants to learn more about the environment now after school, which was especially rewarding! Even though it’s a single lesson I really think it has made my students appreciate things maybe a little bit more, and they understand the significance.

Hope you enjoy it and best of luck to you! 


Here is the link to the presentation once more:

Population-7 Billion People (Mid-to-Intermediate level)

Population-7 Billion People (Mid-to-Intermediate level)

The 3 countries with the highest populations

The topic of “Population”, will be presented here. This is a great lesson that has the students engaged, not only through the flair of the Prezi graphics and videos embedded within, but also through the effective teaching and use of keywords.

Before the lesson begins, the students should be introduced to keywords. These words will make them familiar with the rest of the lesson, they will understand the relevance of the words being used throughout the lesson, I recommend writing the words on the board or having them magnified on MS Word before you begin the Prezi. Here are the words:

Million and Billion (Ss should understand the difference)

Population (what does it mean? How many “billions” are in the ‘Earth’s” population?”)

“average”, “common”, “typical” (Ss should be aware these terms can all be used interchangeably)

“consume”- Use this word to show Ss that consuming means to “use” a resource.

“life expectancy”- It helps to use the translated word in the Ss first language on this one. Tell Ss it means how long a person will usually live.

The Earth recently hit the 7 billion mile marker….

Those words are all important. Before presenting, I recommend going through all the slides and coming up with your own way of how you want to devise the images, videos, and questions in your classroom. I came up with ways that were constantly requiring attention of each student, because the success of the group was dependent on how well they all did.

I broke the class up into groups of 4 after showing the keywords. I explained to them to pay attention closely, and to watch for the keywords and participate if they wanted their group to win at the end of the lesson. Before showing all of the slides, the group was given a single worksheet with the following questions:

  1. What is the Earth’s population? ______ billion people. 
  2. Does the average person own a bank account (translation of bank account)? Yes/No
  3. How much money does the most common person earn a year while working? _______________ 
  4. Is the most common person on Earth a man or woman? ________
  5. Does the most typical person on Earth own a cell phone? Yes/No
  6. What country is the most average person on Earth from? _________ How old is the most average person? ______ years old. 

We went over all of these questions slowly and carefully. And they realized that they had to guess on them, it still generated a lot of discussion among the group as they tried

Students love seeing this, they are amazed that it is a Chinese man!

to collaborate with each other on what was the best answer. Very motivating for them. This kept them attune throughout the class since they were waiting in anticipation on whether their questions were correct. No group answered every question correctly, but some were close.

Towards the end of the lesson, we went through all the correct answers. Then I showed them the few slides on water consumption, leading into why it is important to not waste water or food. There are alot of people in the world who do not have running water or a guaranteed meal every day. Not all of the students showed interest in this topic, but there were certainly ones who understood the message clearly.

Here is the link once more:

Welcome to ECOESL! The very first ESL Blog devoted entirely to Environmentally-based lessons!

Educating young minds about the protection of our planet and ESL

Hello everyone!

I am excited to share with other teachers, and maybe even those just looking for an idea or two, my lessons I use for my ESL Classrooms. I use these lessons primarily for teaching my students not only important English conversational & writing skills, but also the importance of recognizing some of the many aspects of key environmental issues and topics today.

Some of these issues and topics will include:

  • World Population
  • Pollution                                                                                                                                                                         
  • Deforestation
  • Climate Change
  • Importance of buying local, organic food                                                                    
  • Sustainability & Conservation
  • Endangered Animals
  • And many others!

I am looking to make 1 or 2 lessons per week to share with my subscribers. These lessons can be downloaded, or viewed depending on the format. I tend to use Prezi the most, as I like the interactive features. Powerpoint is also used, as well as a combination of the two and sometime other formats.

Let me add that as an ESL teacher, I am completely aware of the development of my students English ability. That is my first and foremost duty. The message of environmental aspects are supplemental and contribute to the overall classroom.

I am completely open to any question you may have about my lessons, and am definitely open to suggestions/feedback.

Hope you enjoy!