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Focus on English

The Focus on English series is designed to provide an English language scaffold for new learners of English in New Zealand schools and supports the curriculum in mathematics, science and social studies for years 7 to 10. This popular print resource has been digitised for online use.

High-frequency vocabulary, technical terms and basic language features are taught in contexts that support learning in science, mathematics and social studies at curriculum levels 3–4.

Use the circles above to explore the six topics or find out more about the series:

Target vocabulary

Each topic in the series introduces 60–80 words from the list of first 1,000 high-frequency words. New vocabulary is introduced in groups of 20.

Teaching and learning strategies

The teaching and learning strategies provide teachers with models for developing learning materials for their students, which can be adapted and used in other contexts and curriculum areas.

Using the activities

There are six topics in the series:

  1. Animals – English for science
  2. Shapes – English for mathematics
  3. Plants – English for science
  4. Measurement – English for mathematics
  5. Weather – English for science
  6. Conservation – English for science

There are around 50 activities in each topic, broken into subtopics. All activities are designed to be used with teacher input. It is recommended that teachers follow the sequence of activities in a subtopic to teach the target vocabulary.

For each activity, there is a PDF download that contains:

  • a teacher guide that describes the activity (objectives, what you need, what to do, extension ideas)
  • a student worksheet.

There are also audio file(s) where available for student support.

Activities can be completed by one student working with a teacher. However, there is more benefit in completing tasks co-operatively in pairs or in small groups with teacher support. If there are not enough students who are new learners of English for shared tasks, students can complete tasks with a native-speaking peer.

English language learners working on this series should also be provided with plenty of opportunities for extensive reading and extensive writing and frequent regular revision. Regular revision is essential to successful language learning. This should be frequent when material is new and should be staged further apart as language becomes more familiar.

References and acknowledgements

See a list of useful references and acknowledgements for photographs and texts used in the student worksheets.

Published on: 08 Jan 2018