Young Learners, Level 2: Group work and review.

21st August for 25th August 2019. Everybody Up 2, U 7 L2

This is an early morning class, and quite typical; one or two very good girls, one, possibly two good boys. The rest range from those who cannot speak without shouting at the top of their voices (the Vietnamese, bless them, are not the quietest nation on Earth), those who pay attention to anything save the lesson, and those who are so inactive and immobile as to be positively catatonic.

One way to counter this negativity is to make the lessons more kinetic, more active, though the size of the class and the dimensions of the room are not conducive to much activity. It is also important to realise that these are children, ‘forced’ to come to extra school on their weekend, and their motivation levels plummet from, “Please teach me English,” to “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn … I REALLY don’t give a damn.”

We recently had a project activity, cutting out and colouring a room. This proved quite successful, and even those who are permanently seated, chin in hand, yawning thick and fast, were engaged and doing something. So, today, I’m going to mix things up a little. We’ll start by rearranging the chairs into islands of four, as opposed to the traditional horseshoe arrangement.

Warm Up: A quick game. I’ll give each island a board and marker and I’ll review the last lesson, ‘time’. I’ll call out a time and the students have to write it, in figures. This can be extended to cover other lessons, including basic maths (to practise the use of the words ‘plus’, ‘minus’, ‘times’ and ‘divided by’. Also, for general knowledge, do they know any countries where English is spoken (as first language) ? What countries are there in Asia … Africa … South America ? Then look at this picture for 30 seconds. Write down what you remember. I’ll be listening for adjectives as well as nouns, and encourage the use of full sentences, e.g. I see a big white mirror, I see a small green cupboard etc.

Image result for bedroom in anime film

Now I’ll go straight into bookwork, subject ‘meals’. Here, I’ll follow a standard school lesson plan:

Show the four flashcards and review as a class, especially pronunciation, then pass them one by one around. First student (make sure said student is a top cat, or the activity goes down like a lead Zeppelin) takes the card, says the word, then passes to the next … after the third student has spoken, introduce a new card to the first student and so on.

Next, a run ‘n’ write. Two students must run to the board and write one of the new words. For the top cats, they can write two words, or even all four.

There are four pictures, but I prefer to say the words myself rather than play the audio (which is often a monotone, transatlantic drone). Students shout out (this class like shouting, to a fault !) the words.

Grammar structure – focus on the key sentence – have students repeat.

Book work, page 66. Elicit information about the pictures, just try to get the students speaking English as much as … Encourage them to ask each other. Use a top cat to start e.g. “What do you see in picture 2 ?”, “What are they doing here ?”, “What time is it in picture 3 ?” etc.

This should take us up to break time, with drilling and substituting pronouns, noticing how the verb changes i.e. I eat breakfast at 7:00, He eats breakfast at 7:00.

After break, in their gangs of four or threes, I’ve prepared an activity sheet; some questions, some things to do, some information to gather, something that requires the students to listen:

Everybody Up 2  Activity sheet

1) Write five buildings that you find in a city

2) Write three words that begin with th … / ch … / sh … / wh ….

3) On a clock, show:  10.15 / 2.30 /     quarter to five

4) Draw a picture of your bedroom. What do you have in your room ?

5) Tell me three things you like to do after school.

6) Draw a girl wearing a yellow hat, pink coat, green pants and blue boots.

7) Draw a bald man playing guitar wearing an orange jumper and black pants.

8) What does Teacher Paul like ? Write two things ?

9) What are the five senses ?

10) A doctor works in a hospital.    Write a sentence.

Where does a teacher work ? / Where does a cook work ?

11) Look at the picture: Which flag is which country ?

Brazil / South Korea / Canada / Egypt

12) What do you eat for breakfast ?  When do you eat Breakfast ?

13) What did Mr Mark eat for breakfast ? Did he like it ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crPVJ3CXs1g&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=20&t=0s

What words did he use ?  Can you smile like him ?

And then … work books, work sheets and the bell … and only two more classes !

Young Learners, Level 5: Feelings (nothing more than feelings)

20th August for 25th August 2019. E Up 5 U1, L2 pp 6 – 7

A new class (for me) which I hope to be substituting, not taking full-time (this is an afternoon class and I already work all morning with young learners, and THAT is enough in spades). I will need to assess the levels of ability and motivation, as well as spot the trouble-makers, the big mouths and those who are committed to disrupting the lesson (believe me, there’s always at least one).

Last week they learnt some past tense, mostly irregular verbs. As our text books are published by the USA office of Oxford University, they favour American spelling i.e. learned as opposed to the more commonly used learnt in British English (both are correct). Furthermore, the books are printed in China, making this a real global enterprise, so that will form part of our activities.

Warm Up: A kinetic run ‘n’ write exercise. I will say a simple sentence in the present tense; students have to write the past tense. Class can be split into two or three, depending on size, each with a different colour marker.

You act in a play / I ride an elephant / She win a competition / He read a big book / We learn English / … and what happened here :

And yes … I DID ride an elephant:

With my friend in Thailand

Information gathering:

Last week, the students were introduced to the continents. Now I will develop that further by focusing on four different countries: Brazil, Canada, Egypt and South Korea. To give an example, I will use Vietnam:

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

95.54 million people live in Viet Nam. The population is 95.54 million.

The government of Viet Nam is in Ha Noi. The capital city is Ha Noi.

People speak Vietnamese. The language of Vietnam is Vietnamese.

Vietnam is very hot but also has a rainy season. The weather is very hot then very wet.

Ladies in Vietnam wear ao dai and non la. Ho Chi Minh is the most famous Vietnamese person.

Related image
Vietnam is famous for beautiful ladies in the traditional dress, the ao dai.

First, elicit comments about the four countries; where are they, in which continents ?

Image result for Brazil postcard
Canada
Image result for egypt pyramids
Egypt
Image result for South Korea
South Korea

The class will be split into four groups, each representing one country.

One member can draw the county’s flag, the others have to gather information. Around the room I will stick information sheets. One member has to run to the sheet, then tell his team the information. This practises reading, talking and writing skills and most importantly, allows the students to communicate with each other in English.

The drawing is also useful, as the students are still children, attending classes on weekend, so they need some diversion from book work.

As such, and as a way of introducing new vocabulary and expressions, I will show a children’s guide to London, my hometown and the UK’s capital city.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrJNIUp2izQ&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=24&t=0s

Image result for duck tours london
Duck Tours, London … a bus that turns into a boat – it’s brilliant.

I will play the video once, writing down new words. I will then make the students write them down and then, when I replay the video, they can shout out when they hear the new vocabulary spoken. These will include:

loads and loads / I reckon / really / very / amazing

And so .. to book work. The theme is ‘feelings’ and then using them in basic sentences.

With six flash cards, I will drill the pronunciation and meaning. One game is to pass the first card to a top student and let the student say the word out loud before passing on to the next student; when the third student has said the word, I pass the first student the second card and so on …

Additionally, there is (for Johnny Cash fans) ‘Walk the line’: I spread the six cards out on the floor, in a line. Two students, one at each end has to say the word then move on to the next. First to finish is the winner – or even have the whole class line up, in two teams, so everyone gets to join in.

Finally, once students are confident (one of the feelings) of meaning, we can have a game where I tell a student a feeling and said student must mime or act out for the class.

At this level, I’m hoping for good speaking abilities and students able to form basic sentences and read short passages.

As usual, I’ll be supplied with some additional worksheets about feelings for those who finish the workbook section quickly. These can easily be found online – the British Council have a great supply on their website: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/worksheets

Young Learners, Level 4: Sign of the times …

Friday 21 for Saturday 22nd June (Everybody Up 4, U 8 L 3)

Today we have a listening test which is scheduled to occupy fifteen minutes (five minutes of the actual test, ten minutes getting the students to find pens, sit down and shut up). This helps the teacher, as there is less of a lesson to plan, and so without further ado

We are on the penultimate lesson, so now we’re reviewing and going over recently-learnt vocabulary and grammar. They had a class featuring basic ‘Do Not’ signs … red-edged circles enclosing a black image, struck through by a diagonal red line.

After ascertaining the meaning of the signs in the book ( ‘no photography’ etc), I’ll show then a sign I saw in a bathroom in Indonesia. It contains some rather unusual prohibitions:

Of course, teaching students who are around 10 – 12 years means that I will have to hide the lower frame of the photo.

Then, an activity; the class is still young, and they enjoy drawing and being creative, basically anything that doesn’t involve a text book.

Activity: At our centre, we have a number of prohibitions. We can run through some of them and then the students, in small groups and equipped with a writing board and markers, must design a sign. The signs can be humorous as long as the humour is appropriate. For example, is this behaviour acceptable in class ?

Could they design a ‘no sleeping in class’ sign ?

We could then have a little talk about the meaning of signs in society and how prevalent they are … at shopping malls and stations, computers and phone apps.

Next up – grammar: What are you going to do ?

The class has covered, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up ?’ and, ‘What are you going to do next week ?’

Here, I will board some verbs and some actions. The students must match them. I’ve added two higher-level words, to boost their vocabulary:

EXAMPLE: This is my friend Pete. He wants to be a great musician. Next weeks he’s going to practise bass guitar.

Jane wants to work with animals. Next week she’s going to …

Martin wants to be an actor. Next week he’s going to …

Anna wants to swim in the ocean. Next week, she’s going to …

Tony wants to be a scientist. Next week he’s going to …

The verbs and actions:

purchase (buy) / experiments

visit / Shakespeare

conduct (do) / the zoo

read / snorkel and flippers

If there’s a few minutes before break, then a quick game of Pictionary can be fun. Two teams, each in turn, send one member to the front. I give them a subject to draw and their team has a minute to guess.

The subjects could be: An astronaut / gondola / a kangaroo / a monkey on a motorbike / sleeping student and then they could draw a member of the class.

The final activity before the book work (and if time allows; the great thing about over-planning lessons is that anything that isn’t used can be employed in the following class) reviews travelling and what is needed. I’ll show four English-speaking countries. The students, in four teams, will be assigned one country.

What will they need to bring with them ?

Why do they chose these items ?

What is unusual about these places, or different from Viet Nam ?

What would you do there ?

NEXT – the students have to identify the places:

And so … to book work, work books and … the bell !

Young Learners, Level 2: What a wonderful world

31st May for 1st June 2019

Any excuse to play Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE

Here, I’m using the lyric sheet version. I can stop the video at various points and ask the students if they understand. Any new words will be boarded and, at a given time, the students will be told to write the words down.

This is a musical introduction to today’s lesson, which aims to expand their knowledge and awareness of other countries and cultures. The four countries chosen are represented by these people:

I shall put these together on a Powerpoint or slide and the students have to line up and throw a sticky ball at the person representing a specific country. My class enjoy getting up, mooching around and throwing things, so may as well incorporate their behaviour into an activity. Kill two birds with one sticky ball.

The students will be put into small groups and their task is find information about their given country, which will be posted around the room. To avoid chaos (as far as possible, these are young Vietnamese students and chaos goes, as they say, with the territory), one person per group will be responsible for gathering one piece of information.

But first, a review of how to tell the time (using ‘quarter past’, ‘half-past’, ‘quarter to’.)

When it’s 16.30 or 4.30 pm in HCM, what time is it in Brasil ? (6.30 am)

At 16.15, what are people doing in Toronto, Canada ? (5.15 am)

At 16.45 in HCM, what will people in Egypt be doing ? (11.45 am)

When it’s 17.00 or 5.00 pm in HCM, people in South Korea will be … what (at 19.00 or 7.oo pm)

The task is to get information about their countries, such as capital city, population, type of food, why it is famous and the weather.

They will then, under supervision, be allowed to choose images online to enhance their presentation.

This helps with their writing and speaking skills, as well as helping them work together as a team, each person with a specific role.

Now, for some more fun, what country is this song about ? We could make it into a musical statues games, as well, but the students have to walk in a certain way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuk

We can also board the adjective form (Canada = Canadian, Korea = Korean etc)

To review rooms of the house, the students can tell me about these pictures: I’m looking for the country, what the subject is doing, what they look like … try to develop their story-telling skills.

Next up, a quick summary: Where would they most like to live and why ?

What is different from Vietnam ?

Can they guess where this food is from ?

Now, to learn a little about history, here’s a kids’ video about Ancient Egypt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hra0ge-m7uk

Again, this can be used to introduce new words (‘huge’ occurs twice) ‘Pharaoh’ and the expression ‘for that reason’.

And then … time for book work but before that, a quick game … looking at the world map … what country begins with …. ‘A’ ? Then ‘B’, etc