Adult Class, Level 3: Games without frontiers

27th November 2019 AEF 7A pp. 64 – 65

Tonight I’m covering a new class so I don’t know the ability of the class, their motivation, nor their willingness to talk English. There is a lot of book work but, to cover myself, I’ve prepared a list of activities to help get the students involved and producing English.

Hence, a compilation of adult activities:

First up – Family Fortunes

This seems to be a small class, maybe just seven students. Rather than ask them for introductions, we’ll jump straight into a game. Class divided into smaller groups and given a writing board and marker. I ask a question and then want four answers. Points for each answer that matches mine. Questions can include:

Not counting Sai Gon, I have been to four places in Viet Nam … which four ?

My four favourite things to eat in VN // Four things I LOVE about VN // Four things I HATE ! // Four instruments I can play (it’s a game, not the actual truth) // Four types of film that I like // Name four cities in Europe // Which four languages can I speak //

Moving on …

Mobile phone survey:

One of many online review posts

The students will be arranged in small groups. One member will be responsible for gathering the information, then reporting back to me.

Next up – a new persona.

Related image

Students are put into two or three groups, with each member given a card with some information about their new identity. They read the information to the group, who have to try to understand and write down details such as email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook accounts. Example:

Hello, my name is Tony

I’m 23 and I love shopping for shirts and ties.

I’m not into reading or books. I find them boring.

My mobile number is 0943 552 8207 

It’s highly probable the other students will need to hear some of the information again, so they can use the following:

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your phone number (email address etc)

Could you repeat that, please ?

Could you spell that, please ?

Would you mind speaking slower, please.

Putting students into small groups helps to take the pressure off the students, as they speak to a limited number of classmates, not alone and in front of the whole class. this is highly effective in motivating shy and quiet class.

No rest for the wicked … Call My Bluff

Image result for call my bluff

Class divided into small teams. Each team reads out a low-frequency word, followed by three definitions (hopefully, they will be able to embellish and add some of their own ideas). The opposing team has to review the three definitions, maybe ask for examples in a sentence, and then decide which definition is correct. Example:

jeopardy

  1. In danger, in danger of losing or failing (noun)
  2. A small car used by the army (noun)
  3. A bird in Australia that can speak fluent English (noun)

contestants

  1. People who order food in a restaurant but run away without paying (noun)
  2. A large vehicle for carrying heavy things (noun)
  3. People who enter (take part in) a competition (noun)

Others words include: maximum // in the form of //reduce // actual // smart // except the last one // obnoxious // broadsheet // charismatic // convinced // stain

Just a Minute

Students are put in pairs. They have to speak for one minute on a subject without hesitating, repeating or deviating (speaking about a different subject). This will test the students’ ability to speak fluently, as well as giving opportunities for using discourse markers and new vocabulary learnt so far. Subject are deliberately open, for example:

food // travel // work or study // life in Sai Gon // their family // their house.

Viet Nam presentation – where should I go on holiday ?

Three teams, representing Ha Noi, Hue and Nha Trang. 

Image result for ha noi
Image result for hue postcard
Image result for nha trang postcard

This exercise encourages team work and, furthermore, allows the students to develop their intonation skills; they will have to sound excited and optimistic.

To assist, here are some words and phrases to embellish their speech:

cultural centre // historical importance // breathe-taking scenery // tranquil // relaxing // hustle and bustle // mouth-watering food // never to be forgotten //unforgettable // once in a lifetime experience.

To give some help, I can perform a quick example:

Image result for london postcard

COME TO LONDON, UK’s magnificent capital city and one of the world’s GREAT cities.

SEE such iconic, historical sights such as:

Buckingham Palace, home of our Queen, Tower Bridge over the Thames river.

Visit the world-famous British Museum to see the wonders of the world, or watch a football match at Wembley Stadium, in the country that invented the sport.

There is something for everyone:

Shops; you can buy everything here, to suit all budgets, from street markets to high-end department stores. To relax, London has so many tranquil parks, right in the centre of the city. Maybe see famous movie stars at one of London’s many, beautiful theatres, or dine out at restaurants cooking traditional British food or anything from anywhere.

London – one of the world’s GREAT cities

A holiday of a lifetime ! Book early !

Mr Paul tours – visit our website mrpaultours@ukonline.co.vn for more information

🙂

Special discount 10% for my students 

Desert Survival

Image result for the desert

A plane crashes in the desert. No one is hurt, but they cannot stay by the plane. They need to be rescued and to stay alive. The plane has a lot of items but they can only select FIVE:

first aid kit // matches // rope // knife // compass // cigarettes // blankets // barrel of water // flare gun // torch (flashlight) // magnifying glass // Beatles CD // dried food // make-up set // Angry Birds game // air rifle // sun cream (sun block) // English grammar book

Image result for flare gun
Image result for first aid kit
Image result for beatles CD

Factors to consider: food, drink, heat, cold, attracting attention, wildlife

Class put into teams and each team must choose their five items. After, they must compare their selection with the other team(s) and argue their reasons. Here we can practice negotiation language:

I see your point, however I disagree because …

That’s interesting, however …

I respectfully disagree

I’m not sure about that

I don’t feel that is entirely right …

Class interact and practice agreeing, disagreeing and making convincing arguments.

Friends

Here I show five pictures of men or women. Students, just by appearance, have to guess the personality and occupation of my friends.

Image result for business man headshot
Image result for DJheadshot
Image result for angry bouncer
Related image
Image result for crazy man

This is a good way to teach new adjectives and jobs … and, in case you’re wondering, their jobs are: unemployed (looking for a job so is sending out CVs) // DJ // Actor // self-employed plumber and … doctor (photo taken on holiday).

Adult Class, level 3: A diva … moi ?

26th November 2019. AEF 3 Listening Part 2 & Units 5 & 6 review (p.63)

Tonight, the lesson is heavy on listening and review. I try to get as much student-talking time as possible, so I’m got some ideas up my sleeve to, hopefully, lighten and brighten the class.

The topic is celebrity interviews, especially interviewing famous people who may be:

arrogant // self-obsessed // pretentious // obnoxious // full of themselves

Which of those words would, in your opinion, apply to these people:

Use opinion phrases (In my opinion, For me, He seems to be, I get the impression she is …)

Image result for arrogant lawyer
a lawyer
Image result for ronaldo celebration
Ronaldo celebrates a goal … but is this too much ?
Image result for obnoxious bieber
Image result for prince philip quotes
and The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.

A celebrity is anyone famous, but most often it’s an actor, musician, TV personality or just a regular person who has made the news (had a story about them in the newspaper, online media etc). Sometimes they can be arrogant or full of themselves in interviews. However, occasionally the interviewer may upset the star. What do you think is happening here [start at 04:23] in this Robert Downey Jr interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUX-CCmQeOk

Now we have the same interviewer with film director Quentin Tarantino:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTE8FPgHeE4

Image result for im shutting your butt down
Quentin Tarantino

So now the class are prepared for the book work.

I have an assortment of activities for the speaking.

First up – small talk

I’ll hand out some papers with a short dialogue of small talk. This is basically learning how to keep a conversation going by using appropriate responses.

Students can use the following:

Really ? // I see // Are you ? // Right // That’s interesting // That’s a good point // Where is that exactly ? // Oh, me too // Do you enjoy it ? // Do you like it there ?

Then the students can pair up and ask each other questions such as:

Why are you studying English ?

Where do you live ?

Where would you like to visit ?

What do you do in your free time ?

What do you want to do in the future.

Students can change partners for each question.

Next up – Call My Bluff

Class put into two or three teams. Each team has a sheet with four words or phrases, followed by three definitions. A different member of the teams reads out a definition, embellishing the wording to make it more convincing. The opposing team have to guess the correct definition.

Finally, for a fun ending, the students can interview each other, but one pretends to be a difficult celebrity. They can use language from tonight’s lesson, or preferably, invent their own.

Adult Class, Level 3 (class 2): Happy talking, talking ….

29th August 2019

The lesson plans are set in stone, so I have to adhere to them; there will be a grammar review, a double page of listening, and then a handout for the students to practise speaking … but that’s not enough for the three hours, so I’ve decided to make as many speaking activities as possible.

Unfortunately, I’ll also have to show the presentation about classroom rules, as I’ve had some issues with ADULTS … yes, adults, disrupting the class, being disrespectful and basically trying the zen-like patience of the writer of this blog. Said writer has been working every day for nearly three weeks and my patience was never ‘zen-like’ at the best of times.

Image result for classroom rules no chatting

This problem is widespread in Vietnam; I’ve seen it at all centres, and all ages. It is quite hard for a teacher to accept the rudeness and disrespect engendered by such behaviour. So … what to do …

First, a quiet word with the student – to explain what is wrong and WHY.

Secondly, move the student to a new chair. If the student refuses, then it is time for the third move.

Last resort – abandon the lesson. Tell the school office that the student is violating THEIR rules, disrespecting the teacher and other (paying) students and that I will not be able to continue teaching with the student in the class. My feeling is that the Vietnamese will support each other, especially one who is a paying customer, so I will simply leave the room … and everyone will have wasted their time and money. To quote Brad Pitt in ‘Inglorious…’, I might get chewed out, but it won’t be the first time, sure as hell won’t be the last.

Image result for Brad Pitt inglorious

However, this happy pic does lead into a plethora of speaking activities I have planned – idea being, if they’re are speaking English, that won’t have time to speak Vietnamese (yeah, right !)

First Activity – a vocabulary building game. I give students a sheet with several new words and several definitions. They have to match them together, then make sentences from them.

Second Activity – Desert Survival. Two teams, both have a number of items to help them survive in the desert after a plane crash. From the list of 18, they have to choose just 5. They must learn and practice negotiation language such as:

I see your point

I respectfully disagree

That’s an interesting choice, however …

You’re argument is not without value, having said that …

Third Activity – eyewitness. Work in pairs. One student looks at a photo or picture of a man committing a crime. After two minutes, the other students plays the role of a police officer, trying to gather information, for example age-range, clothing, distinctive markings, behaviour etc.

Fourth Activity – small talk. A list of general topics and the students have to try to keep the conversation going as long as possible. As with all speaking exercises, give examples or models first:

What do you do ? // I’m a student . // Really ? Where do you study ? What do you study ? How do you find you class ? What do you like best about your university ? What are the biggest challenges ?

Fifth activity – Friends – I show five male friends and the students has to guess their personalities and occupations. Here I’ll board some new adjectives and jobs, as well as encouraging the students to use opinion phrases – after all, they don’t know my friends – they are basing their answers merely on looks.

To break up the speaking (which some will do, some will half-heartedly attempt, some will ostentatiously NOT do), we can use so real life listening. One popular clip is the foodie Mark Wiens eating eggs in HCM City:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crPVJ3CXs1g&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=20&t=1s

Or maybe a review of a local beer ?

Image result for horrible beer face

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr6Cj-Xr9g

Or how to stay safe in HCM – advise from locals (in English but with accents and some grammatical errors)

Image result for petty crime in hcm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j0FfVIKJnw

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

Adult Class, Level 3 (class 1): Stereotypes.

16th August for 19th August 2019. AEF 3B pp. 28 – 29

Review: comparatives and superaltives

Theme: stereotypes

Objectives: increase vocabulary and sentence building skills. Encourage more talking, especially between students, using target language.

Warm up: Just to get the student’s settled in (and to allow for students arriving up to an hour late) and to help them build longer sentences. Compare the following:

Image result for bus in singapore
Image result for bus in sai gon

We have two public transport vehicles, two buses. The first is from Singapore, the second from Sai Gon.

EXAMPLE: The bus from Singapore is cleaner than the Sai Gon bus.

To extend this, using a relative clause:

The first bus, which is from Singapore, is cleaner than the second bus, which is from HCM City.

To further extend, using relative clauses and discourse markers:

The first bus is from Singapore, which is known for its cleanliness, and is the most attractive as well as looking the most modern of the two. Having said that, buses in HCM City, despite being somewhat dirty, are remarkably cheap, just 2 000 VND for students, 6 000 for adults.

Try making complex sentences from these pairs of images:

Image result for winter in scotland
Winter in Scotland
Image result for street scenein hcm city
December on the streets of Sai Gon
Image result for playing chess
Playing chess
Image result for bungee jumping
Bungee jumping
Image result for Harrods food hall
Harrods food hall, London, UK
Image result for bread sold on street in vietnam
Street seller in Vietnam

Now compare these two songs: The former (first) is British from the 1980s. The band is The Specials, the song is called ‘Stereotypes’, the latter (last) is a modern pop song from Vietnam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGxSP98ymw8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz4FbACtfd0

And that leads us into tonight’s theme: stereotypes. This means having an idea what people will be like because of where they are from, how they look, how they speak etc.

EXAMPLE: what do you think of this man:

Image result for Bob dylan in hoodie

What do you think of him – how he looks, how he’s dressed. What job do you think he does – does he even have a job ? Where does he live ? Is he, in fact, homeless and sleeps on the street ?

The answer …

He is music legend and Noble-prize winning writer and poet Bob Dylan

Image result for Bob dylan lp covers

Discuss these stereotypes (noun) and stereotypical (adjective) images:

All Vietnamese men are lazy and constantly smoke
Image result for asian maths students
All Asian children are excellent at maths
Image result for women shopping
All woman are obsessed (absolutely love) shopping
Image result for fat eating americans
All People from USA are obese (too fat) and talk too much and too loudly
Image result for english people drinking tea
All English people drink tea … ALL the time

To what extent do you agree ?

I agree / I agree 100% / I agree to an extent / There may be some truth there /

I disagree / I totally disagree / That is very unfair / That is offensive /

That’s just a stereotype / I know for a fact that isn’t true !

Try to explain in full sentences giving reasons and using discourse markers.

Quick fire: In groups, discuss; what do you think of when I say:

Made in China

Thailand

People in Hanoi

Apple iPhones

What do you think of this image ? Does it represent the real Vietnam, or is it just to attract tourists ?

Related image
Related image

Young Learners, level 3: What’s the matter ?

12th August for Saturday 17th August. Everybody Up U3 L4

Lesson Plan:

Warm Up: Run ‘n’ write

Class into two teams, one has a red marker, the other a blue. One member from each team has to run to the board and write the name of a job, then the whole team has to say the complete sentence, e.g. Who fights fires ?

Students run to the board and write ‘fire fighter’, then their team has to say, “A fire fighter fights fires.”

Who … helps sick animals ? // makes food ? // sells things ? // flies planes ? // drives a bus ? //

Shop role play

To review recent vocabulary and to introduce some new words and expressions. Divide class into two, then sub-divide into three. Half of the class will be shoppers. They have to buy four items with a total cost of under $100. The other half will be

  1. A Department store
  2. A shop having a big sale
  3. A street market

To illustrate the difference:

Harrods of London. One of the most famous department stores in the world.
A Chinatown street market

The first students have to buy four items: a pair of shoes, a shirt, a dress and some sneakers or trainers. The prices in the three different outlets are:

Department store // On Sale // Street market

Shoes $75 // $25 // $15

Shirt $40 // $20 // $5

Dress $120 // $30 // $10

Sneakers $80 // $50 // $20

Some high-end items are:

The students take a board and go to the three outlets and ask the price of the items, “Excuse me, how much are the shoes, please ?” Upon being told they respond with, “Oh, no !”, “OK,” “Sorry, that’s too much,” or “Wow ! That’s a bargain.”

They return to the desks and report what they bought and where. Remember, they have to buy all four items and spend under $100.

Then the roles are reversed. The sellers become buyers, this time looking for:

Watch $5000 // $70 // $10

Backpack $70 // $30 // $15

Pen $120 // $20 // $1

Keyring $ 50 // $10 // $5

Target Language: What’s the matter ?

Here’s a linking song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olpHW1P43rg

How to be healthy – ask the students what people can do to stay healthy – such as eat healthy food, do exercise, not smoke, not eat junk food. Then show this famous clip. Ask what the man is doing and what will happen to him (start clip at 01.00 when he folds up the umbrella, and end around 01.46 on the Close-Up )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

What was the name of the song ?

What lyrics did they understand ?

It is now rainy season in Vietnam, so if we did this we would catch a cold.

What would happen if we … ?

were bitten by a mosquito ?
ate too much junk food ?
listen to loud and terrible karaoke !

The four illnesses are: cold // fever // stomachache // headache //

Choose four students and give them a a flashcard. They quickly show their card to the class, then the class have to say which student has which illness.

Then we can review language from a previous level. I will tell a student to act an injury. One student will say, “What’s the matter with him or her ?” Class has to shout out the answer.

The injuries can include hurt leg, hurt arm hurt foot or hurt hand.

Then book work, work books and work sheets. Then I check my street-market ‘Rolex’ watch, and the lesson should be over.

Young Learners, Levels 3 & 2: Lesson outlines

For Saturday 6th July 2019. Everybody Up 3 (U 1, L 3); Everybody Up 2 (U 1, L2)

LEVEL 3

Unscramble and find

To review recent vocabulary, board the following:

ocprpno / toopat shicp / repepp / bagbcae / traew

Around the room stick some flash cards. In twos, students have to unscramble the word, then find the flashcard and stick it on the board, saying the word loudly and clearly. For the last one, there is no card, so the students will have to find some ‘traew’.

Word snap

Students put into small groups and given a board and marker. They have to write five items from the first lessons. They then ask another group, “Do you need (onion, carrot etc) ?”. The answer must be a sentence, “Yes, we do,” or, “No, we don’t.” The first team to guess all five items is the winner. For my class of 15, we can have four teams.

Vocabulary Review

From last week: Give me a word or phrase that means:

A lot, very much or many

Great

Two adverbs (HCM is hot / HCM is ___ hot)

A person who watches to make sure nothing bad happens

Run and write relay

Students, in teams, have to run to the board and write these words, one word per student. First student runs, writes then runs to the second student who has to be seated.

Vegetable or snack ?

Select a top student; that person becomes teacher and reads out various food items. Class must put hands up and say whether it’s a vegetable or a snack.

E.g. chocolate / carrot / potato / potato chips / soda / tomato / popcorn / corn / banana etc

Can change student-teacher. This also helps to break the usual teacher – student dynamic, and allows the students to spend more time speaking to each other in English.

After, we have a lot of prepared work today including a listening test and extended book work. Hopefully, there will be activities left over, for me to use in the next lesson.

LEVEL 2

This is a new class so I don’t know if it’s going to be good or a nightmare. In my experience, levels 1 & 2 are at least 50% classroom management and trying to control the students; the teaching is incidental and slipped in between shouting at students to sit down, stop talking, stop fighting etc …

Board: He is = he’s / She is = She’s / It is = It’s

Key text – emotions – excited / bored / sick / tired

Warm up: Mingle – get the students to walk around and ask each other their names:

“What’s your name ?” “My name is …. ” or “I’m ……”

Review: Flashcards from previous lesson.

Show a card and ask the students if they are … happy, sad, hungry etc. Answer to be in a sentence (“Yes, I am”, “No, I’m not”).

Run ‘n’ write: Show a card and say, “I am …” Students, in teams, one against each other, must write on the board, then slap the board and say the word loudly.

Pre – teach: Yes, he is / No, she isn’t

Using the same Lesson 1 flashcards, ask question, eliciting either a positive or negative answer which has to be in the above form, not simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Book Work: Introduce new vocabulary

Sticky Ball

Quick, kinetic game. Put various flashcards on the board and the students, in two teams, have to aim for the correct picture, one team telling the other, thus encouraging more inter-student communication.

Charades. Select some top students. Show them an emotion flashcard, and they have to act it.

Book work, song and work book. Prepare handouts for fast finishers.

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 4: This is the best part of the trip …

14th June for Saturday 15th June. Everybody Up 4, Unit 8 Lessons 1 & 2

My manager is very supportive, and concerned over my welfare; she tells me not to expend too much energy in class, especially on a Saturday when I can have three young learner classes. Imagine 50 – 60 children committed to screaming their heads off for as long and as loudly as possible …. Welcome, as the saying goes, to my life.

Last week I prepared quite a bit of work for this class, including general knowledge based on but not in the text book. Unfortunately, it was a minor holiday in Vietnam, and a lot of the top cat students were away and … it became apparent that my multi-media presentation of classical music and classic film, and using the students to represent the movement of the heavenly bodies was … yeah … a waste of time and energy. Not entirely true … three girls were interested, the rest stared at the floor or the ceiling or the clock, while the boys had a contest, who could be the biggest ignoramus. It was a tight contest; they all won.

So, this week, after a debilitating fever, painfully sore throat and constant sneezing, I’m sticking to the book, and devising activities that will make the students use the target language and the target language only (OK, maybe a few new words for the top cats).

It’s a gross generalisation, but in my experience, so many Vietnamese want to do the work as quickly as possible and then do nothing. This covers students from all my centres, TAs, office staff, public servants, contractors, builders … This may explain why my new apartment has cracks inside and out and why so many tenants have had to retile their floor as the original tiles simply broke leaving inches of dust and debris … but, I digress … and so, without further ado, the lesson plan:

Warm Up: Last lesson the subject was future tense and activities. Therefore, I shall board some times – this afternoon / tomorrow / next Monday / next Thursday / next weekend / next month

Under these, I shall write some scrambled nonsense, e.g. ‘who as ees’. The students, placed in teams, have to elect one person to find the corresponding flash card somewhere in the room (‘see a show’) and then say a third-person sentence e.g. “He’s going to see a show this afternoon.’

Information gathering: Class into four groups. One member will be going away and the others in the team have to get information from him or her, then present to the class.

Team 1: Going to Phu Quoc island / is going next month / will be staying in a hotel near the beach / will be going swimming / is going with family

Team 2: Going to London / is going next week / is going to see a show / is staying with family / is going with older sister.

Team 3 : Going to Ha Noi / is going next Tuesday / is going on a bus tour / is going to stay in a big hotel / is going with school

Team 4: Going to Dak Lak Province / is going tomorrow / is going to ride an elephant / will stay in a tent / is going with VUS TAs

The selected member will stand at the front of the class with the information sheet. One teammate must run up, ask one question then tell the rest of the team, who will write the information down. Then a different teammate will run up and ask.

Planning a day out

I have a niece and nephew coming to Saigon. The teams have to plan a day for them including what to see and do, how to travel and what to eat. Of course, they need to but some souvenirs, so where are the best places ?

My ‘niece & nephew’.

We shall probably have to board many ideas first. Where do tourists go in HCM ? What is traditional food ? How can they travel ? Do the girls want to take the niece and the boys take the nephew only ?

Hopefully, this will encourage a lot of speaking and ideas and I can show a map of HCM to help.

And if the students are still drawing a blank (or being too lazy to think), this could inspire them: It’s spoken in English, with text, but with Viet accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0tncoIxT1s

As with all ‘real-world’ videos, the film should be stopped and new words or expressions boarded. The students are later made to write the words down (the majority will simply NOT do any kind of writing unless pressured), and then encouraged to use them where appropriate.

That should easily cover the first hour. After the break, we hit the books, do the workbooks and fast-finishers get an activity sheet, while I can spend at least some time checking the pronunciation and grammar.

Young Learners, Level 4: “Can you hear me, Major Tom ?”

6th June for Saturday 8th June 2019. Everybody Up 4. Unit 7

Today’s lesson is a cross-curicumlum class about space, astronauts and basic science. It is a mighty theme and so, to paraphrase Melville, we need a mighty beginning … for cinema fans, there really is no other choice … the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-QFj59PON4

So what do the students know about the solar system ? I’ll let them tell me, after boarding some key words:

solar system

planet (Earth, gas giant, rock)

moon (the Moon)

star

asteroid

vacuum

I’ll put a flash card of planet Earth on the board, towards the right-hand side. The students can them fill in the gaps … what planets do they know ? How big is the sun relative to the planets ? What exactly is the sun ? Where does light come from in space ? What exists in space ?

FUN FACTS:

The speed of sound is 343 metres per second (usually given as 330 m p s)

The speed of light is 299 792 458 metres per second or approximately 300 000 000 m p s or 300 000 km per second.

Sound cannot travel through a vacuum

To demonstrate the last point, show NOT tell; here’s a good example (start around the 0:24 second mark): An iPhone not making sound in a vacuum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrU9LouWY18&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=26&t=0s

Group work: Would you like to go to space ?

What would be the pros and cons ? In small groups, discuss the question, trying to use some of the recent vocabulary.

Song time: A British classic, and the first hit for David Bowie, an artist with a deep connection with space. This video has lyrics, but how many words can they recognise ? They can shout them out as they hear them.

‘Space Oddity’. Lyrics start around the 0:30 second mark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_M3uw29U1U

Board any new words or phrases such as ignition / made the grade / peculiar /

Runaround

This is based on the UK children’s show from the 1970. The class will be split into small groups. One member from each has to stand in front of the board. I will read a question and then give three answers. The students have to run to the correct number. They then have three seconds to change their minds.

Who was the first man on the moon ? Buzz Aldrin / Michael Collins / Neil Armstrong

What is the biggest planet ? Jupiter / Saturn / Mars

The sun is a: planet / star / moon

What is faster ? light / sound / Mr Phuc speaking (just give the name of any talkative students, and then elicit the adjective talkative).

In space, people are: heavier / lighter / weigh the same ?

The first animal in space was a: monkey / elephant / dog

(Last one could seem to be a trick question. The answer is Laika, the Russian dog. Monkeys were first put into rockets but they didn’t go high enough to officially enter space).

Bookwork. Today there is a fair amount of reading. I’ll use the passages to show a little grammar, introduce the students to adverbs.

The princess was very beautiful (very = adverb, beautiful is an adjective)

Here, the adverb ‘very‘ goes before the adjective. For concept checking (do the students understand and can use this formula ?) some quick questions:

Correct these sentences:

The very student was clever

Laika, the dog, was scared very

Very David talented is

During the reading, I’ll be asking the students to point out the adjectives and adverbs in the short pieces of text.

Then the students complete a workbook with more concept checking exercises. Those who are fast finishers, rising stars, will get a worksheet, a word-search and comprehension questions about space. Then it’s back down to Earth … and preparing myself mentally for the challenging afternoon class.