ESL Monthly Themes Matrices


Themes are geared for English Language Learners (ELLs) so that they learn English and information about the world around them.

Activitiesare designed to motivate the student to learn the themes seen in each month, however when students come at other times in the school year, they are given adapted activities that blend the earlier themes with activities the other ELLs are learning at their grade and proficiency level. 

There are five different English Proficiency Levels.  They are: Entering, Beginning, Developing, Expanding and Bridging. The Bridging level is when a student is getting ready to exit ESL and can do the work a native English Speaker would do in the regular classroom. The WIDA Can DO Descriptors provide further information about the English proficiency levels and what you can expect an ELL to be able to do at each level. Below you will see some of the topics/activities/themes covered in our ESL classes listed by month. 
August/September:                          February:
Assessment of English Proficiency     Presidents
Getting to Know you                            Friendship
Life in the USA                                      Dental health
Conversation Skills                               Mammals
Alphabet/Numbers                              Holidays/Seasons
Holidays/Seasons                                Mammals
Back to School                                   *ACCESS Testing(K-12)

October:                                           March:
Survival Skills                                   Weather (K-12)
Environmental Print                        Our Community
Favorite Things                                Keeping Healthy
Parts of the Body                            Telling Time
Number Words                                 Fractions
Colors                                               World Geography/Immigration (6-12)Holidays/Seasons                            Heredity/Health/Migration 

November:                                       April:
Food                                                 Spring
Plants                                               Ecology
Thanksgiving                                   Recycling
Veterans' Day                                 Sharing Cultures
Seasons/Harvest                            Fractions
Government (6-12)                        Independent Research 
                                                            Project  (6-12)

December:                                      May:
Animals                                           Skills Review
Winter Holidays                             Manners
Customs around the World          Money/Economics
                                                          Restaurant Skills (6-12)
                                                         Post- Assessment           
January:                                         June:
Famous men and women             Summer Plans
Nutrition                                         Record Keeping
Habitats                                          and Reporting
Racial Issues (6-12)

Remember- when you are using the themes- this is a starting point.
Use the themes to give you ideas of topics and then develop your instruction from there to include your grammar and vocabulary concepts you need to teach. This allows you some versatility if you have the same ELLs year after year. You will choose different topics within that theme to use for instruction, spiraling the grammar and vocabulary concepts you need to teach.  If you do this, you will also be able to differentiate instruction within the lesson for ELLs at different English proficiency levels. When you have more than one proficiency level in your class, you will need to scaffold instruction for the less proficient ELL. At the same time this allows your more proficient ELL to help explain the concept in their own words to the less proficient ELL, strengthening the more proficient ELL's understanding of the concept.  You will thus instruct, reinforce, enhance and expand each ELL's understanding of English and the concepts you are teaching. Sometimes the themes are basic so that Beginning ELLs can concentrate of their acquisition of vocabulary, whether they are naming words and actions words for first grade English beginners or twelfth grade English beginners.