Adult Class, Level 3: business icons.

4th November for 5th November 2019 AEF 10A, pp. 94 – 95

Tonight we’ll discuss modern icons, titans of the business world, in both USA and Vietnam. It’ll be no surprise that Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, who are both from the USA, are included although Vietnam also has a number of wealthy, super-rich who may not be as well known on the global stage. However tonight, which is a special day in the UK, we’ll warm up with the story of Guy Fawkes whose image is now iconic. He is part of the history of London where I was born. If you don’t know the name, maybe you’ll recognise these:

Image result for guy fawkes mask
Image result for anonymous guy fawkes mask
Image result for v for vendetta film poster

In 1605, a group of people wanted to blow up (like a bomb) Parliament (where the government meet) during a visit from the King. The group were caught; Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellar of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. All the conspirators were executed for treason.

A good history, with notes for English-language learners, can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soe8Z_Ej4Ck

This event is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks:

Image result for guy fawkes night

Here’s an example of what happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OttNo41ab0

Now, without further ado, tonight’s lesson: modern icons and, for grammar, relative clauses, hence the bold font earlier on the words who, where, which and whose.

I’ll be honest with you – this can be a little complicated, although it should be easy:

Relative pronouns

Who // for a person. Mark, who is from Chicago, is working in Ha Noi

Where // for a place. Ha Noi, where Mark works, is in north Vietnam.

Which // for a thing. The guitar, which is Japanese, was a bargain at £35.

Whose // possessive. The man whose guitar was stolen was very upset.

So far so good BUT … check this out:

London, where I was born, is the capital of the UK

London, which is in the south of England, is my hometown.

In a practice, we have an example similar to this:

London where I was born is the place which I love the most.

I’ve tried to think of a way to explain this in clear simple English … here goes !

In the first clause (London where I was born) we can ask “Where were you born ?” The answer is London. However, in the second clause (the place which I love the most) try the same pattern … “Where do you love the most ?” Here, the answer is “The place.” That is not a suitable answer – it is not a real location, so it becomes a thing – therefore we use which.

Oi troi oi ! English grammar !

Image result for confused student

Now, let’s put it into practise.

Mark Zuckerberg: born 1984 in NY, USA. Studied at Harvard. Co-founded Facebook. Net worth estimated at 70.3 billion USD (wow !).

Mark Zuckerberg, who was born in 1984, grew up in NY state which is in the USA. Harvard, where he studied, is the oldest university in the States (USA). Zuckerberg, whose net worth is estimated at over 70 billion dollars co-founded Facebook which is used all over the world.

Speaking of Facebook, one of my favourite films is ‘The Social Network’ about how the company was founded. The film, which was made in 2010, is scripted by Aaron Sorkin who is, in my opinion, a fantastic and highly talented writer.

Image result for social network caribbean night

Now try with Steve Jobs: born San Francisco // was a college drop out // first worked at Atari, a video games company // Apple computers were the first to utilise a mouse // co-founded Pixar in 1986 (what is Pixar ?) // died 2011, aged 56.

Now … team work. Class in two teams and they have to make a presentation about two Vietnamese business icons: Pham Nhat Vuong & Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

Students may use the internet and their own knowledge to tell me about these icons.

https://www.citypassguide.com/blog/vietnams-richest-business-people

Give me the facts (where and when were they born, how did they get rich, what is their area of business ?) and use relative clauses to produce longer, complex sentences.

richest business people
richest business people

Students may, indeed I would encourage them to, use the internet and projector to bring their presentation alive. All members of the team must speak.

Team discussion:

Last week we covered negotiation language, phrases such as, “I see your point, but …” “I’m not sure I entirely agree with you,” “That’s interesting, however have you considered.

Today, the topics will be:

  1. Do people spend too much time on Facebook ? Is it a good or bad thing ?
  2. I need a new laptop; what should I buy, an Apple or Windows ?

I want to hear different points of view and people playing Devil’s advocate (arguing or making a point, even if you don’t personally believe it … just to encourage the opponent to develop their idea).

Image result for apple macbook pro
15-inch Macbook Pro at $2 399
Image result for windows 10 laptop
HP Intel Pentium 15.6 inch screen. $299 Windows 10

To encourage students, and to give them lexical resources, elicit some answers and ideas first, and board them, as well as introducing new concepts. What are the pros and cons ? The decisive factors ? What points should I consider.

With Facebook – is the answer binary (yes OR no ?) … it’s more interesting to discuss the middle ground, and illustrate it with personal examples.

I recently went on a short break to a nearby beach resort where I took many photos. I need to upload them to Facebook … or do I ? Does anybody REALLY care ? Can I really afford to spend the time doing it ? Or is it relaxing and pleasurable ? Does it enable my European friends to see a little more of my life here in Vietnam … what do YOU think … ?

Young Learners, Level 5: Around the world (in eighty minutes)

26th October for 27th October 2019. E Up 5 U 7 L 1 Countries pp. 64 – 65

Today’s theme is travel, and we will focus on six countries from five different continents. As a warm up, the students can be put in teams (this is a large class in a small room so activities have to carefully planned to prevent chaos and injury). Each team is given a small board and has to write:

Four ways to travel – vehicles.

BONUS QUESTION: unscramble this

tho ria ololban

Start the clip around 0:52 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjiCO8k6Jhg

Thay paul has been to many countries – write four countries in Asia where I’ve been.

Clue 1) Kimchi 2) Sawass dee Krap 3) Petronas Tower 4) Merlion

Now, in Vietnam – write four places to which I’ve been.

No photo description available.
No photo description available.
Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water
Image may contain: sky, ocean, tree, outdoor and water

When we travel, we can:

Try to elicit long and detailed sentences. Encourage the use of at least one adjective.

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No photo description available.

I have been to Thailand but I haven’t been to China

I’ve been to Thailand. I’ve never been to China.

Student talking time – in small groups, ask, “Where have you been ?”

Then ask, “Have you been to Ha Noi or Hue or Phan Thiet ?”

Ask one of the top students to tell me where they’ve been and never been.

Finally, ask the students to tell me about the others in their group e.g.

“He’s been to Dalat but he’s never been to Ha Noi.”

Today we focus on six countries:

UK, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, India and Kenya.

We studied how the Greek hero Theseus killed the Minotaur. Which countries are these ? Tell me as much about the country as you can (capital city, language, weather)

Image result for st george killing the dragon
Image result for indian god elephant
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Now, a quick music quiz; where do these pieces of music come from ?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVS72L8VsFk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4Sdxr1Likg;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdbZl2w_R7g

Students ask each – what music do they like best and why

Language to learn: fun // rhythmic // mysterious // melodic

Which country would they like to visit … and why ?

Finally, bring a globe to class and … in small groups, ask the students to find the six countries.

Endgame – have a student describe a flag, and the class have to guess which country.

What sport is this ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOuycLaJ-_s

Image result for all blacks haka]

Adult speaking class, Level 1: Review – adjectives, contractions and sentence building.

25th October 2019

I want my students to know present and past tense of common verbs, a range of adjectives (both positive and negative) and a good selection of nouns. Additionally, I’d like them to be able to put them together in long sentences, and start to use English contractions.

And so, to kick off (to start), a past tense exercise.

Ask your neighbour, “What did you do today ?”

I will give present tense verbs – students must use the past tense.

Example:

This morning, I go out and drink coffee: This morning I went out and drank coffee.

Later, I meet an old friend and we have lunch together and talk and laugh.

In the afternoon, I sit in the park, play guitar and sing songs.

Adverbs – these make your English more interesting and give more information.

Sai Gon is hot. Sai Gon is so // very // extremely // incredibly hot.

Sai Gon has delicious food – Sai Gon has extremely delicious food and it’s so cheap.

NOW – sentence building:

I love Sai Gon because it’s so hot. Additionally, the food is incredibly delicious and very cheap. However, it can be extremely noisy, dirty and polluted.

Tell me about Nha Trang: Speak about hotels / food / how to get there / things to do

Image result for nha trang

Tell me about these clothes and the people:

Language to use:

beautiful / stunning / eye-catching

cotton / silk / leather / straw / denim (jeans)

short hair / medium-length hair / shoulder-length hair / long hair

straight hair / curly hair / wavy hair

interesting / boring / delicious / bland / healthy / polluted / huge

teenager / young / in his 20s / middle-aged / elderly / old

Image result for check shirt for girls
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Contractions: when we speak quickly, we contract (shorten words) to make a new sound.

Example: I am = I’m / you are = you’re / he is = he’s / she is = she’s

I am happy =

You are sad

He is angry

She is very eye-catching

I will = I’ll (sounds like ‘eye – all’)

Tomorrow, I will go to work = Tomorrow, I’ll go to work

I’ll send you an email tonight

Call me after 5pm, I’ll be free then.

Try this Beatles song:

‘I’ll Be Back’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQw2psyjm5w

I want to = I wanna I want to hold your hand

I am going to = I’m gonna I am going to buy a new iPhone

I have go to = I gotta I can’t go to the cinema, I have got to go to work

Conversation Practice:

I want to speak to my sweet lovely student Ms Tram. However, she is at work.

Caller: Hello, may I speak with Ms Tram, please ?

Receiver: Certainly. Who’s calling, please ?

Caller: My name is ……….

Receiver: I’m sorry, could you repeat that ?

Caller: No problem. My name’s ……..

Receiver: Could you spell that, please ?

Caller: Surely (of course) . . . . . . . .

Receiver: Thank you. Hold the line, please. I’ll connect you.

Caller: Absolutely. I’ll hold.

Receiver: I’m afraid Ms Tram has just gone to lunch.

Caller: Again ? She’s always eating hahaha.

Receiver: I’ll transfer you to her office, then you can leave a message.

Caller: Great idea. Thanks a bunch !

Receiver: You’re welcome

Finally – where did Ms Tram go for lunch ? What did she order ? Did she like the food ?

Image result for British cafe food

Adjectives for food:

delicious / bland / spicy / filling / appetising / healthy / unhealthy / vegetarian / traditional

protein / carbohydrates / fat / fibre / vitamins /

fried / deep-fried / baked / boiled

Young Learners, Level 4: Daaaaaaaallliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii ……

24th October for Saturday 26th October 2019. E Up U 6, L 4 pp. 58 – 59

Warm up: Student description

In a previous lesson, the class learnt about basic adjectives to describe appearance. I will therefore choose a student and describe the physical characteristics, e.g. this student has long straight hair, is not very tall, and wears black glasses. The students must guess the student I am describing.

To make it more fun and engaging, it’s a good idea to put the class into teams for a bit of competitive spirit.

This is my friend, Ms Quynh. She has long straight black hair.

We can extend their vocabulary by including clothes: Ms Quynh is wearing a white top and a colourful skirt.

I will choose some students and give them a student to describe, while promoting the value ‘be polite‘. They can describe their hair, whether or not they wear glasses, and if that isn’t enough, they can identify them by their clothes.

To continue the theme of Art and creativity, I think it’s time they met Dali !

Dali normally gets a reaction (especially when we have fun elongating his name as long as possible). It’s also a chance to learn a few new words:

creative / genius / unusual / surreal

The last word maybe a little advanced, but it’s a good way to introduce new words; inside the word is ‘real’ so surreal has something to do with reality … but what ? Here’s a clue:

This is a mixture of reality and fantasy. The students can say which is which … and why does Dali give the elephants tuba faces … is there a reason or is it just crazy ?

I will then expect the student to form basic sentences using these new words, and not forgetting new vocabulary from previous lessons, for example,

“Dali’s paintings are very unusual.”

Next up, is a scene from the popular Children’s classic, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

What is happening ?

Again, a mix of reality and fantasy. How would the students describe this ? It could be turned into a game … students put into small groups and given boards and markers. Points for the best vocabulary.

Key words: tea-party / young girl / bow tie / sleeping / garden

Now, to continue the theme and introduce some listening and reading skills, a video. This is the singer-songwriter Don McLean with ‘Vincent’, about the artist Vincent Van Gogh:  This can be played in the background as the students do a writing project today.

This version also has the lyrics, as well as various paintings by the artist.

A useful lesson will be the subjectivity of art – it is a chance for the student to think and to give their views, and to try to develop the English skills to express their thoughts. Clearly, this is a perfect opportunity to introduce some fixed expressions to express opinions:

In my opinion …

I feel that …

For me …

And even an idiom – it’s not my cup of tea !

What kind of art are these and what do they think of them ?

Image result for giacometti artist
Alberto Giacometti
Image result for roman mosaic minotaur
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Henri Cartier Bresson – 1908 – 2004
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Vietnamese silk painting

Then, with time against us, and a lot to get through, we’ll turn to the book work. They will watch a video which also shows sculpture, mosaic and photographs. The book also mentions Van Gogh, and a sculpture based on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from ‘Alice’.

Finally, to wrap up after the project, a little bit of fun. Who better than Dali (or at least a great actor playing Dali) ? 

Adult Class, Level 3: If he had known it was International Woman’s Day …

21st October for 22nd October 2019. AEF 9A pp 84 – 85

Warm up: Hit the ground running (or at least talking).

As always a model is a good idea; hence my Thai friend is coming to Vietnam:

Image result for two thai ladies

Ms Namsum is young and energetic. She’s into (really enjoy) clubs, sightseeing and shopping.

I suggest she starts the day with a traditional bowl of pho then goes to Sai Gon centre. She can walk there from her hotel in District 1 or take a taxi (Vinasun or Malin ONLY). She will be out of the heat and has a lot of shopping choices and places to eat or grab a coffee. She could rest at her hotel in the afternoon, then go to Nguyen Hue walking street when it gets cooler in the evening. She has many restaurants in this area. Furthermore, there are many English-language menus. Finally, she can go to Bui Vien street where there are many clubs and bars, as well as many tourists speaking English.

What do they students think ? Is that a good plan ? Have I missed something important ?

Language to use:

I see your point

That’s a good idea but …

If I may make a suggestion …

I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

For example – That’s a good idea but you haven’t thought about sightseeing.

Or

Bui Vien can be very noisy so I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for a young lady on her own.

Two of my friends are coming to Sai Gon; the students, in two groups, have to arrange a fun day including sightseeing, shopping, eating and transportation. Then they have to compare their itineraries and exchange views and opinions. The students learn how to politely disagree with each and put forward their ideas and support their choices.

Image result for two english men
Tom and David

PLAN A DAY FOR TOM & DAVID

Where can they eat ?

What could they see or visit ?

How can they travel around ?

What can they buy as souvenirs ?

Where could they go at night ?

What safety advice would you give ?

What you need to know:

Both are 45-years old. They have good jobs and a good income. They like history and culture. They really enjoy good food and wine. Neither speaks any Vietnamese. They are too old for very loud clubs but they don’t mind having a few beers and maybe seeing some live music.

The students can make a presentation, and use the computer for images or maps to illustrate their plan. Then the other team can explain what they have organised, and the reasons why. I will decide which team has made the best choice.

Tonight’s main focus is the third conditional

This means speaking from hindsight.

We talk about something that happened to us in the past and how we would have changed it IF we had known some information.

A basic example: A visit a friend and it is her birthday, but I didn’t know. If I had known it was her birthday, I would have bought her a present.

Yesterday was Woman’s Day but …

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Alan didn’t know it was Woman’s Day subsequently his girlfriend, Ms Nhi, was extremely upset !

If he had known it was Woman’s Day, he would have bought her a present, some flowers and taken her out to eat.

However, it is too late NOW ! He’s in the doghouse (in trouble).

Notice all the past tense verbs. Furthermore, would is commonly used in conditional sentences.

Now, this example is based on a true story that my history teacher told me back in London.

My teacher was a somewhat dishevelled gentleman in his mid-30s. Let’s call him Mr Bowditch:

Mr Bowditch, history teacher at an east London school

Mr Bowditch lived in a bedsit, which is basically renting one room in a large house and sharing the kitchen and bathroom with other tenants. His room was not particularly comfortable:

One night, Mr Bowditch was in his room and began to feel a little hungry. He wanted some chocolate so decided to go to the off-license and buy some sweets (an off-licence is a shop that sells basic food and sweets but also alcohol and cigarettes. It used to be open until 11.00pm when most shops would close around 6.00 pm). He decided to buy, among other items, some ‘Fry’s Turkish Delight’ a sort of jelly covered in chocolate:

OK, so far so good. However, Mr Bowditch lived in a rather bad part of London, it wasn’t always safe to walk alone at night. Unfortunately, on the way home, Mr Bowditch meet the following young men:

They called out to Mr Bowditch and stopped him walking. They demanded:

Mr Bowditch had none, as he had just spent his money on sweets (candy). They didn’t believe him and began to search him. He showed them:

That was all he had … a few pounds, about 100 000 VND. The men became very angry and aggressive. Suddenly, they heard a police car siren. The men tried to drag Mr Bowditch into the tunnel, away from the road but he is very tall and stopped them. As the police car got closer, the men ran away. Mr Bowditch has never eaten ‘Fry’s Turkish Delight’ again.

There are several instances of the third conditional in the above story.

If Mr Bowditch had bought sweets on his way home, he wouldn’t have gone out later and been mugged (mugged means being robbed, often with violence or the threat of violence).

If Mr Bowditch had gone to a different shop, he wouldn’t have meet the muggers.

If the police car hadn’t been passing, Mr Bowditch might have been seriously hurt.

If Mr Bowditch hadn’t been so tall, he would have been dragged into the tunnel and maybe beaten or worse.

The structure is the first clause starts with ‘If’ then using a comma before completing the sentence. The first verb can be positive or negative (in the examples, I use ‘had’ and ‘hadn’t’).

We use this to talk about things that DIDN’T happen. 

And so to book work and communication activities.

Adding adjectives, increasing interest.

14th October 2019

How would you describe this lady ? Where is she ? What is the day like ?
How adjectives add information and colour to speech and writing.

Making lemonade out of lemons – this is an expression which means making something good happen out of something bad. Allow me to elaborate – I was taking a Level 1 adult-talking class. The work is all prepared for me, with powerpoint slides and recordings, as well as print-outs. However, the theme was quite advanced for this level. The subject was economics, vocabulary included such gems as ‘manufacturing’ and ‘exports’. All very interesting, but far above the resources of a beginners’ class. And then the students arrived … after a few introductory questions, it became clear that I would have to abandon the lesson and somehow improvise a class at beginner level.

As the class consisted of young ladies, I chose hair and clothes … and how to use adjectives to build up setences.

It is understandable that students focus more on learning nouns and verbs, with just a smattering of common adjectives. However, I think it’s a good idea that students learn and be encouraged to use two or three adjectives from an early stage, so it becomes a natural part of their English (as well as boosting their scores in oral tests).

So, back to my class; three young ladies with very limited English but, fortuitously, also with three different hairstyles.

Image result for asain girl, long brown hair

Let’s start very simply; Ms Kim (this is a Google image, not my real student) has long hair. OK, but we can add more … what colour is it … is it straight or wavy ? Finally, let’s be polite and complimentary … Ms Kim has beautiful long wavy brown hair.

The students may have to learn hairstyles or shapes (wavy, pony-tail, bangs, pleated), and students should learn a small number of new words every lesson. It helps if they can see them in the class and then use them in controlled speaking.

So, without much effort, their sentence length had doubled. Next to Ms Kim was Ms My

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Once the students had a word bank and some practice, they were able to describe Ms My as having a beautiful long black ponytail, or beautiful long black straight hair, tied into a ponytail. Fortunately Ms Anh has a different style.

Image result for asain girl, medium hair

But now, it was clear my students were comfortable with ‘beautiful’ so time for some synonyms – stunning, gorgeous, eye-catching. Ms Anh has medium-length hair or, as I insist on a full sentence:

Ms Anh has gorgeous medium-length brown hair. But we can go further – let’s compare Ms Anh’s hair with Ms Kim – both have brown hair, yet different shades. Thus we introduce dark and light:

Ms Anh has eye-catching medium-length dark-brown hair.

It’s also very rewarding to hear students start building sentences after struggling to say three or four words just five minutes earlier. And so, we continue … let’s turn to jewellery using the students themselves as examples; someone will have earrings (studs or long), another will have a neckless, a bracelet, rings etc. I ask Ms Anh to show her ring … it is gold, while Ms My has a silver one. Or, at least silver-coloured !

Then we turn to clothes, and first elicit different types of material and patterns:

silk // cotton // denim // leather //

plain // floral // striped // checked

Image result for asian girl in check shirt

So now, when they see a picture like this, the students will be able to describe the lady’s hair, jewellery and clothes and by extension, the room in which she is situated.

In terms of grammar, there is an order of adjectives, though I would not introduce this too early on. Instead, I would stress the opinion word is first, while size is before colour (eye-catching short light-blue skirt).

The website for the above chart is:

https://www.hip-books.com/teachers/writing-about-reading/adjectives/

Now, let’s return to the first picture, a young friend of mine whom we shall call Ms Ngoc. Students can work together and give me as much information as they can. This includes her hair, clothes but also what she looks like, where she is and what time of day. Furthermore, how does the weather look ? How does she look ?

Finally, a good activity is to board some common adjectives and have the students give the opposites or antonyms:

expensive // genuine // cheerful // delicious // interesting // honest // generous

This is continued in subsequent lessons, so students become used to incorporating two or maybe three adjectives in sentences. And them or course … we have adverbs … but that is another story !

Adult Class, Level 3 (class 2): She said, she said.

7th October for 8th October 2019. AEF 8A (1, 5 & 6), pp. 74-75, 77

Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent

Use

  • adverbs
  • adjectives
  • opinion phrases
  • linking words and discourse markers
  • new vocabulary

Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.

Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”

Tips:

Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:

Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …

Then

Ask

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Tap Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.

Image result for damn fine coffee

Before the exercise, elicit and board as many relevant words and phrases as required. The students have a discourse marker list, so I could insist that they use certain words (moreover, therefore, consequently etc). Additionally, I’ll need to explain vernacular phrases such as ‘kick back’ and ‘put my feet up’.

IF a student doesn’t like coffee, then they can say where they go and what they drink. IF they don’t go anywhere or like anything (yes, I have had that in a class), then they can explain WHY NOT!

Key vocabulary: ambience // aroma //atmosphere

Now, their turn; after this model, they must tell me about their favourite app on their phone. Give them five minutes to write a short piece.

Image result for iphone apps

After, the students can read to each other, and we can incorporate their answers into tonight’s grammar: reported speech.

For example, Ms Jane is speaking with Mr Tony:

Jane, “I really love the iTunes app.”

Tony, “Oh, for me, I prefer YouTube because I can watch music videos. I will send you a link to The Beatles.”

This is called direct speech. If I want to repeat what they said, I use indirect or reported speech. Look what happens to the subject and the verb:

Jane said that she really loved the iTunes app. (or She said she really loved …)

The subject changes from 1st person (I) to third person (she), while the verb alters from simple present to simple past.

What happens with Tony ? Look for the verb(s) then put them into simple past. Change pronouns to the 3rd person.

Now – changing reported speech back to direct speech.

He said the egg was perfect

(Change the past simple verb to simple present)

Now, here’s the actual quote (around the 2:28 mark):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crPVJ3CXs1g

This is one of my favourite clips about Sai Gon: Mark Weins eating a fairly typical Viet breakfast … but enjoying it SO MUCH !

Image result for mark wiens face

Student Survey

Student must ask three people, what they usually eat for breakfast, and drink, as well as where they eat; do they go out, or cook at home ? Following that, they have to report to the class on their findings, using reported speech e.g.

She said (that) she usually cooked at home, but occasionally ate out when she felt too tired.

Then we have the book work and grammar practice. To end, we can have an eyewitness game. Students work in pairs, one having their backs to the board. On the screen, I show a man or lady. The first student has to describe, in as much detail, what is happening and how the person looks. Give them a minute or two. Then, the second student must report to me what they have learnt. Finally, they are allowed to see the picture, to compare the reported speech with the actuality. Photos could include:

Image result for Hari won singing
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Young Learners, Level 5: Welcome to Athens.

3rd October for 6th October 2019. E Up U6 L1.

An Introduction to Greece: location, history, lifestyle.

Image result for greek flag
The flag of Greece
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I shall also bring a globe to the class, as this is more visceral than internet images. The students, in small groups (or else the globe will be destroyed) have to find Greece. Now, to review recent vocabulary, what do the students think of these lifestyles ?

First, the food: Does it look healthy ? What other adjectives can the students add ?

Image result for greek food

Some typical Greek food: olives, cheese,vegetables, fish, meat and bread. Also, we have some sweet food:

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Next, lifestyles – what about these photos:

Image result for jogging up the acropolis
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How about this Greek dance ? Maybe some of the more active students would like to try !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_kele6tedo

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Now, Greek history and myth. On the island of Crete, there lived the Minotaur, half-man, half-bull. He lived underground in a big maze called the labyrinth. Every year, the King of Athens had to send 14 children for the Minotaur to eat.

Image result for greek minotaur

The king had a son called Theseus. He was a hero. He decided to go and kill the Minotaur.

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The King of Crete had a daughter called Ariadne. When she saw Theseus, she decided to help him. She gave Theseus a big ball of string. He tied it to the door of the labyrinth, then used it so he wouldn’t get lost (it would be a good idea to get some string and tie it to the door handle, or at least act out the motion).

Image result for labyrinth
Image result for Theseus with ariadne's string

Theseus found the Minotaur and killed him. Then he sailed back to Athens with Ariadne (I’m being economical with the legend here; the students are aged ten and eleven).

The students will be learning about the Parthenon in the next lessons, so this is a way of introducing them to Greece and its history. I’ll board words such as ‘bull’, ‘labyrinth’, ‘sailed’, ‘hero’ and ‘decided’. Then, after the students have written them down, they can watch this Lego version and tell me what is happening- start at 0:23.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zWkDElTyc

Many children will know superheroes such as Spiderman, Iron Man etc. How does Theseus compare ? Whom do they like best ?

Then, onto the lesson. Today it’s about measurements, so although its important, it will not be as exciting as Theseus and the Minotaur.

The class is rather large, (twenty-one students) the room is rather small, which limits the scope for kinetic activities. Remember, these are still young children, some of whom will not really want to be in class on a weekend, so anything to vary the lesson and maintain their interest is worth trying.

I often put the class into small groups and then hand out a board and marker. The teams race to be first to write a sentence or key words from the lesson.

Another activity is to put two sets of flash cards on the floor and choose two students. They have to walk or hop from card to card, saying the phrase on the card. To make it more challenging, they have to hop with both hands on their heads (or some such variation). Quickly, two more students

Finally, to make the lesson more inter-active, one student per team can ask another student from another team to say what is on a flash-card and the answer has to be within five seconds. Points should be awarded to encourage the competition.

And what better way to end the lesson than with the theme from the film ‘Zorba the Greek’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkXmPAStp8Y

IELTS 5- 6.5: All you need is love … and relative pronouns

25th September 2019

Tonight I want to focus on forming complex sentences in order to boost the speaking prowess of my students. Being able to speak in long sentences, with subordinate clauses and relative pronouns, linked by appropriate discourse markers, will improve their scores in the speaking tests, along with use of stress, intonation, chunking, and a liberal smattering of expressions and vernacular, thereby demonstrating a familiarity with different uses of English.

So, without further ado … complex sentences. Let’s kick off with some basic information about my friend Pete:

Pete (left) with drummer Kenny Jones of The Small Faces & The Who

Pete’s family are Irish. He was born in Kent, south England. He loves music especially Jazz and he can play saxophone, keyboards, guitar and bass. He is 40 years old. He is bald, and wears glasses. Currently he plays bass in a band called ‘The Deep Six’. They have a video on YouTube. In the photo, Pete is with the famous 60s drummer Kenny Jones. He was in The Small Faces. Later he joined The Who after their original drummer died.

Example:

Pete, who was born in Kent in the south of England, is of Irish heritage. Although he is just forty, Pete looks older, probably due to the fact that he is bald, as well as having to wear glasses. His great passion in life is music, especially Jazz, but his interest is not merely passive; he plays several instruments. In addition to saxophone and keyboards, Pete is proficient on guitar. Having said that, he actually plays bass now in a band named The Deep Six, who have a video on YouTube. Pete is seen here with the legendary drummer Kenny Jones who rose to fame in the 60s as drummer for chart-topping band The Small Faces before joining The Who following the death of their original drummer.

And here is said video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-_u-W_3jWk&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=6&t=0s

I am sure if you watch the video, give it a ‘thumbs up’ and ‘like’, Pete will be tickled pink.

Now, a quick practice:

This is Wei Minzhi. She was born near Beijing. She was chosen to be in a Chinese film called ‘Not One Less’. She was 13. She played a substitute teacher but had no experience teaching (and no experience acting). The area is very poor. Some of the children have to leave school to work. The film was shown all over Europe, even at special film festivals. She was famous. She did no more acting. She studied in USA. She lives in Hawaii. Wei is married and has two children.

Students have five minutes to reorganise this information into a style more suited to an IELTS student.

Now – a Socratic activity; students are arranged in small groups, selected by choosing a card (Ace, 2 or 3), given a task and have to collate information and present it to the class, utilising the resources available, namely internet for facts, images or videos. Let’s revisit some old friends; first one of my favourite authors, Dr Franz Kafka:

Image result for kafka

Born: 1883 Prague, Czech Republic (at the time, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) // Died 1924 in Austria. Never married, engaged twice. Had three sisters. Was vegetarian. Difficult relationship with his father. Famous for writing, but only produced three novels, all of which were published after his death. Most famous of these is ‘The Trial’ which has a famous opening line, “Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.” This book is seen as a warning about totalitarian governments. He lived in Prague which is Czech and Protestant, but he spoke and wrote in German, and he was Jewish. He is one of the most influential writers of the Twentieth Century, and his name has become an adjective, ‘Kafkaesque’ meaning impenetrable, convoluted, mysterious and unsolvable. More information can easily be found online, for example:

https://www.dw.com/en/franz-kafka-the-trial/a-45774582

Now let’s turn to John Lennon, seen here with his Japanese wife, Yoko Ono (also an artist, but more avant-garde).

Image result for john lennon

John was born in Liverpool, during World War II, in 1940. Liverpool was a port, so was a target for German bombers. He grew up very poor. At school he was rebellious, but liked art. When he first heard Rock ‘n’ Roll, he knew he had to be a singer. He formed The Beatles. His guitar playing was enthusiastic but basic. He wrote many songs which have become classics. When The Beatles split up in 1970 he went solo. His most famous solo work is the ‘Imagine’ LP. The title track has the lyric, “Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too.” He protested against the war in Vietnam. He was shot in 1980 outside of his New York apartment. He has two sons, Julian by his first wife, and Sean from Yoko.

The third group will get NO help from me – they shouldn’t need it. Their subject is “the father of the Indo-Chinese people, and his name is Ho Chi Minh.”

Image result for Uncle Ho

This task involves the students working together, assigning tasks, then producing and presenting their report. All members of the team have to speak. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to use English during the preparation stage, only resorting to Vietnamese for clarification or translation of new words.

Quick end game: After the book work, which I have to teach, my hands are tied, we can unwind with some speaking practice.

Using discourse markers: I give teams two words which they have to incorporate into a sentence, for example ‘therefore‘ and ‘subsequently‘.

having said that & furthermore

moreover & consequently

initially & eventually

likewise & specifically

meanwhile & notwithstanding

on the whole & instead

What Difference Does It Make ? : I give students a paper with two words or phrases that are related but different. They have to clarify the distinction, for example

teacher / headmaster

educate / bring up

take an exam / retake an exam

do homework / do housework

quite common / ubiquitous

required subject / optional subject

similarity with / disparity between

skim / extrapolate

And to play us out, let’s go back to John Lennon and his iconic song, ‘Imagine’. The music starts around 0:40:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8

Nothing to kill or die for … Peace xx

Adult Class, Level 3 (mixed): You practice what I preach.

17th September for 23rd September. AEF 3 pp. 50 – 51

Last week, we covered past tense – simple, continuous and perfect. However, that is a lot to take in, especially for students who are not so confident. Looking at charts and learning the jargon can be daunting and far too theoretical.

This problem has long been identified and addressed; grammar, as theory, reduced to a minimal. Grammar, used in writing and more importantly speaking, maximised.

Therefore, my policy in this block of lessons (four per block) is to reduce book work, simplify the theory and try to allocate at least half the lesson to student-talking time.

Last night’s lesson seemed to work well; the Socratic approach which makes the students collect information and then collate it into a presentation. This was followed by students reading to each other in small groups, with some useful expressions to use … and repeat and repeat and …yeah, you get the idea.

Let’s go to work !

Image result for go to work

But first, back to basics. Some students are not fluent in the three forms of basic verbs:

Grammar – verb practice

Here’s the 15 most common:

infinite \ present // past // past participle (verb 3)

1to bewas werebeen
2to havehadhad
3to dodiddone
4to saysaidsaid
5to gowentgone
6to getgotgot/gotten
7to makemademade
8to knowknewknown
9to thinkthoughtthought
10to taketooktaken
11to seesawseen
12to comecamecome
13to wantwantedwanted
14to useusedused
15to findfoundfound

Regular verbs, just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.

NOTE: ‘to be’ is different: I am hungry You are hungry She is hungry.

Now, practice: In groups of three or four, they have to ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Lets’s start simply with the simple past:

What did you do today ? PAST SIMPLE

Each student takes turns describing their day. Always give ideas, as some students spent too much time thinking of what to say, whereas the purpose is to speak.

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I will also board: buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

To make it more interactive, the students can ask follow-up questions, such as, “What did you eat for lunch ?”, “What time did you start school ?”, “How did you get to work or school ?” etc. Groups can monitor each other to make sure past tense is being used properly.

NEXT: Past Continuous. Subject was doing something in the past ….

Example: Last night I was listening to T-ara:

Image result for T-ar

However, we usually use past continuous to say we were doing something WHEN something new happened.

EXAMPLE: I was listening to T-ara when someone knocked on my door.

The structure is Subject + was or were + verbing, followed by past simple

Try this: dream // alarm clock ring

He was dreaming when the alarm clock rang.

Now – practice: Make a sentence from these pairs of photos:

Image result for reading
Image result for telephone ring
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Image result for rain
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Image result for pulp fiction jules eating
Image result for pulp fiction honey bunny

Finally, the past perfect. Two things happened in the past, one before the other.

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Image result for Berlin 1920

The students ‘met’ Dr Kafka last week.

Dr Franz Kafka had lived all his life in Prague until he moved to Berlin in the 1920s.

Subject + has or had + verb 3 then use past simple.

Try these:

John Lennon – in The Beatles / goes solo in 1970

Image result for john lennon beatles
Image result for john lennon imagine

Dali – paint over 1 500 paintings / dies 1989

Image result for dali
Image result for dali tomb

Bringing it closer to home, Bac Ho (Uncle Ho Chi Minh) – work London / meet these young Germans.

Image result for uncle ho in Paris
Image result for uncle ho in russia

Finally, for presentation, the students can be arranged in four groups (draw playing cards so students work with new partners). I will give them ten minutes to work together and make a short presentation, with all members speaking, about the above four historical figures. Those who draw Ho Chi Minh should have an advantage, so I will be expecting more from them.

Presentations should include:

Date and place of birth.

Why there are famous

Give examples of their most famous works or activities

Where they lived

When and how they died.

ALSO – why we should remember them.

Then, I will turn to the books and hand-outs, before returning to some speaking practice before the end.