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Red Ribbon Week, ESL Kickoff and Some Halloween Fun!

As October rolls in, we are gearing up for Red Ribbon Week on the counseling front to highlight drug and alcohol awareness.  On the ESL/EFL front, we are starting our English classes, so we have some tips and photos for teaching the not-so-beginning beginner English students!  As always, we've included a lot of helpful resources- just click on the green links which will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use after you leave a comment below







Red Ribbon Week occurs at the end of October to honor the life and work of DEA agent, Kiki Camarena, who fought against the drug cartels in Central America and was killed when they targeted him during a lunch date.  At my school. we celebrate this week with students by sharing info with students about Kiki Camarena and his fight against the drug trade.  We also share some info about drug and alcohol awareness from the sources below, depending on the age group.  And finally, we show the incredible, breathtaking animated short, Nuggets, to our older students who can grasp it's meaning.  After showing the video, we use the questions at this link to guide a lively discussion with our classes.

Here are a few other other wonderful drug and alcohol prevention resources to use with your students and clients:



My latest round of ESL classes started up about three weeks ago.  I have 12 students of varying adolescent ages and beginning levels.  They are enthusiastic, wonderful, and full of energy despite the later afternoon hour (our class doesn't start until 4pm and it seems that as I am winding down for the evening, they are just getting more wound up!) 

For this group, I am using my ESL for Beginners Volume Three lessons guide since many of these students have a basic knowledge of English and started their own public school ESL classes 2 months ago.  Currently, we are learning past tense to be verb structures while reviewing present tense verbs.  During the first week, we spent  a lot of time going over the classroom rules and consequences to set the tone- this was after I gave them our daily snack and 15 minutes of playtime outside so they were ready to focus.  Aside from rules and consequences, we mostly just had a lot of fun the first week!  I think it is important to start off on a positive and engaging note to give them a super-positive first impression of the class so they are excited to come to future classes each day.  At the same time, it is crucial to be consistent, clear, and firm with rules, procedures, and consequences.  In order to build English speaking and listening skills, we have been doing the following activities in these first few weeks: feelings vocabulary card games with prizes for winners, sing-alongs with ESL-themed songs, chants with hand claps, read alouds of engaging picture books, pronunciation of numbers to 50, Create Your Own Dialogues, and Word Wall Games.   Next week, we'll continue with instruction on past continuous verb structures, video clip activities, teacher-student oral practice, active listening for pronunciation, and so much more.  Stay tuned for more news on all this good stuff!  Below are pics of my ESL classroom...

My Tiny Classroom-in-a-Closet

My tiny classroom-in-a-closet   

Our Class Songs, Rules, and Daily Agenda on Chart Paper

Class Rules and Consequences

Read Aloud  Book and Grammar Structure Games

Video Clip Activity

Some Students Watching the Video Clip




Whether you are a counselor or teacher, here are some ideas you can use to celebrate the scarier-themed fall festival holidays with your students!  We've had lots of fun reading "In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories," which is full of repetitive scary stories with easy vocab and perfect for the Halloween season.  Along with this book, we also teach students the scary song, "Have You Seen the Ghost of John?", also with easy vocab and lots of repetition perfect for ESL learners or anyone trying to adapt to the US culture.  They love it and we've sang it throughout past Octobers with super-simple guitar accompaniment of just four 'anyone-can-learn-in-an-afternoon' guitar chords (just google them for finger placement).  Additionally, here's a link to Bilingual Learner's own fun Halloween passage to teach about this popular American holiday . 

 And here's a few more Halloween/fall goodies we want to pass on...

  • Spooky Halloween fun from the holiday
  • Buzzfeed's Best Teacher Costumes
  • And, in the spirit of fall and all things slightly scary, you've GOT to see this Youtube viral video- it is hilarious: Spiderdog 


That brings us to the end of this month's post.  Catch up with us again the first Saturday in November for our next post on "Staying in Your Lane: How to Gracefully Decline Non- Counseling or Non-Teaching Job Duties."  As always, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page or Pinterest Page.


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