Mini offices in the EFL classes

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Continuing my literacy tools series for English classes, I’m now going to have a look at mini offices.

What is a mini office?

Mini offices are reference tools for students to use during individual work. It promotes autonomous – independent learning.

How can I get one?

You can make it yourself, or with the help of your students.

You need:

– a file folder

– photocopy of alphabet charts, colors… all the resources to create their own mini office

– glue

– laminating film and laminator or packaging tape

Mini offices for kindergarten level native speakers are made with two or more file folders attached together. For ESL students from 3 to 8 yr old I believe 1 file folder is more than enough. For older students you can make bigger and more elaborated ones with several file folders.

I use the one-file-folder style so that putting them together is quite easy. You just have to choose which charts you want to have in your mini office (some might need to be coloured by the students), arrange them and finally glue them.

How can I use it?

Use the first lessons to create them and then use them throughout the year. Some charts will be nicer if your students color them and this will help students to feel involved in the process. You can use many different charts. The most common ones in native speaker classrooms are: colors, alphabet, shapes, numbers, left and right, days and months, family words, coins, phonics, star words and earth-state-country. I’ve come up with a list of those that can be useful for an EFL class. I have divided it into basic items and other possible alternatives.

Basic charts:

– Alphabet:

ABC chart

ABC chart and star words

Letter chart

– Colors

Color words

Color words (half size)

– Numbers

Tally marks, fingers, numerals and numbers

– Days of the week and months

Days of the week and months of the year (full size)

Days of the week (half size)

Months of the year (half size)

Months of the year

– Family words

Family words

Family words (half size)

Family words (full size)

– Pets

Pets (adapted from http://www.teachingheart.net/minioffice.html)

Other possible charts

– Word walls

Word walls

I suggest having an empty page where students can record the new words of each unit.

– Phonics

Phonic chart

Vowel chart

Diagraphs

Short vowel

Long vowels

Vowels

Phonic chart

– Question words

Question words

– Clock

Clock face

You can find a mix of charts to use in mini offices

Kindergarten office

K mini office

Why should you use mini offices in your English class?

Mini offices are conceived to be used where individual work takes place. This way students can work independently and autonomously. Basic concepts which appear in every lesson such as colors and numbers can be reviewed. Teachers can have more time for students who need more help while the others have the means to answer their own questions instead of constantly asking the teacher “How do you write …?”

Web pages

To write this post I have used the following pages:

http://www.jmeacham.com/mini.offices.htm

http://www.reagankinderbears.com/printables.htm

http://www.teachingheart.net/minioffice.html

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