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

HD wallpaper: Asian Girl, Checkered Shirt and Cap, Girls, City, Style,  People | Wallpaper Flare
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Two stylish arabian girls | High-Quality Beauty & Fashion Stock Photos ~  Creative Market

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.

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

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 …

Related image
Image result for angry asain lady

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.

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 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.

Kindergarten:Surfin’ Safari Level 1

2nd March 2019

Last week was my first meeting with this class, so I had to familiarise myself with what they studied so far, what they could and couldn’t do.

The TAs at my centre are amazing, and I am assigned two for each of these KG (Kindergarten) classes. They informed me that the children could speak but not write. In a nutshell, they knew basic colours, numbers and instructions (‘hands up’, ‘sit down’ and the like). Also, the ABC was still being learnt, so last week I began with a great video using characters created by Richard Scary. The ABC starts at 3:20, ending at 4:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nog9FBW9cTo&t=284s

I was given a book by Richard Scary back when I was four (I’m NOT saying what year that was !) and still have it. I made the class sing along, then do a ‘Run ‘n’ Write’ game, each student running to the board to write an assigned letter. It is a kinetic activity and involves all the students.

Some characters from Richard Scary.

The pattern for young learners is to do many different games and types of games, to maintain attention and interest. It’s the ‘montage of attraction’ I’ve referred to in previous blogs; basically how the separate parts all fit together as in engineering or film editing.

The advantages are that the students like routine and repetition, so the same games can be played most weeks, allowing for some variation. The objectives are to get the students producing English: speaking, writing, listening and eventually reading. Listening cannot be under-estimated. At this age, the students are like sponges – they absorb everything, so learning occurs at at much faster rate. This dwindles with age, hence I’ve been in Vietnam over three years and can barely form a sentence.

New vocabulary, expressions and pronunciation can be acquired just by listening to the teachers, so I ask my TAs to use key words repeatedly (e.g. ‘excellent’, ‘good work’, ‘well done’) thus expanding their lexical resources (sorry, I just didn’t want to repeat the word, ‘vocabulary’). Music too has a tremendous impact. An inane Europop song can be a wonderful learning opportunity as the lyrics are repeated AND are learnt in a fun way. As such, last week I used this song, which, I have no shame in admitting, I actually LOVE: Eiffel 65 with ‘Move Your Body’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nog9FBW9cTo&t=284s

Clip from the original video. Repetition of basic sentences is a great learning device.

And so … to tomorrow’s lesson:

It’s a basic class; the students know some vocabulary, colours and numbers, and we’re developing their sentence-forming skills by making them say their names (either ‘My name is …..’ or ‘I’m …… ‘ featuring the contraction of I am).

First, it’s good to do a quick and energetic warm up. We did Musical Statues (Freeze) last week, so today we’ll try Musical chairs. This class is not so large (about 11 or 12) so we’ll have the class in two groups walking around their table. The TA will make sure they understand the rules, but we are also drilling common classroom features such as chairs and tables. This seems a great video, as today we’re introducing the word ‘train’ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYhKyqQ3zXg

When the music stops, the students race for the chairs. Thos who are unlucky have to answer a question, then we continue. While the children are standing, we can do a ‘Teacher Says’ game, basically a ‘Simon Says’, but here used to drill simple expressions such as ‘clap your hands’, ‘sit down’, ‘stand up’ etc and then acting out animals (which is always fun).

Leading on from this, another game and a chance to learn new vocabulary. I’ll prepare a slide of new animals. The children form two teams and have to throw a sticky ball at the board, aiming for the names animal. The aim (ah-hem) is to get one team to tell the other at which animal to throw. Ideally they’ll be able to say, “Throw at the chicken,” but it may just be, “Chicken !” It’s a start. My new animals will be:

Water buffalo, common in Viet Nam
Panda to practise the plosive ‘p’ sound.
Shark to practise the ‘sh’ sound.
Chicken for the useful ‘ch’ sound.
A tiger, so they can learn different types of big cat (they already know lions).

Moving on, we come to the lesson and focus on numbers. Around the room, I’ll stick various flash cars depicting numbers. I’ll ask for two students to find me a number from one to four. They will run like little nutcases and grab the card. They then have to bring it to me and say, “Here you are,” and then write the number (just figure) on the board.

I like to make the students speak to each other in English as much as possible, and it’s fun to make one student ‘thay’ or teacher. That student will hold the flash card and ask the class to show him or her 1 or 2 etc and the class will hold up the right number of fingers.

The book work reinforces new vocabulary and numbers. To break the book work, they will colour a train picture I have prepared for them:

I also like to play a short video to show life outside of Vietnam. Here’s the London Tube at rush hour:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8LRlwCx4yY

There is no underground system in Viet Nam, so this should be an eye-opener. We can also see if the students are able to understand any of the instructions the guard say.

If time allows, we can watch the ABC video again, or just focus on some of the letters, giving the letter, the sound and an example:

B – bbb (sound) – ball.

At this age, we can’t overload them with work, so there could be some colouring, but still looking for any opportunity for the class to speak English.

And then, my weekend is over and I can go home … to prepare lessons for tomorrow, my last IELTS class before their oral test but that, as they say, is for another blog.

Classroom Games.

I’ll be using abbreviations throughout these blogs so for clarity, here’s a short run-down of the most common ones:

Back to Board (B2B). Any activity where a student can’t see what is behind them, but has to guess or deduce from clues by the other students. It could be the name of a famous person, or a small YouTube clip. I often show a funny film and drill students how to describe what they see using the subject – verb – object formula. 

Call My Bluff (CMB). Based on the British TV show, students are put into groups and given a list of higher-level words. Each word has three definitions, two false, one true. The students have to read out the word, maybe varying the pronunciation each time, state the type of word (noun, verb etc) and a definition. The other team has to guess the correct answer. This can be a fun way to introduce new vocabulary.

Family Fortunes (FF). This works well with larger classes. Students are put into small groups and given a board and marker. The teacher then asks for four answers to a general question. The students ‘win’ imaginary money for each answer that matches the teacher’s four. Example: I have been to four places in Viet Nam, not counting HCM City. What are those four places ? Other good questions are my four favourite Vietnamese dishes, four things I like (and dislike) in VN and favourite types of films or music.

Snakes and ladders (SNL). Based on the popular children’s board game, ideally, space permitting, I use the floor of the classroom. With markers (NOT permanent markers, mind you), the students mark out a board, a large square. On some squares there is a red dot meaning go back 2 spaces, or a blue square, go forward 1 or 2 squares. One square is ‘haha’ – the player has to return to their original place. In a big enough room, I use students who begin at opposite corners, and have to complete one circuit to win. I ask questions which any one in the team can answer – or you could ask students individually – and then they roll a die. In a smaller room, I just make the game on the whiteboard. This can be very exciting and it’s a good idea to establish the rules first i.e. is it first past the end square OR exact number to finish. This game can sometimes be too popular and become too boisterous.

Stop the bus (STB).  This is a simple question and answer games, used to warm up or wind down classes. The teacher asks a question, the students shout out the answer, but first have to shout, “Stop the bus !” If they answer without the STB, no points are awarded. The game can be slightly varied, using different nouns e.g. Stop the Taxi, Stop the Grabbike or even, with a lively class, make them get up and sing, “Stop in the name of love.”

Word Battleship (WB). I often use this as a warm-up exercise. On the board draw a 4×4 grid, labeled A – D and 1 – 4. Assign different scores to each square on a separate sheet. Ask sixteen questions (can be general knowledge or a review of recent lessons, grammar, vocabulary). If the student gets the answer right, they can choose a square and you write in the number. I usually have 5 as the lowest, then 10, 20, 50 and one 100-pointer. To engage all students, you could ask them questions individually.

Word cards. I got this from an IELTS website. Make a list of recently – learnt words and expressions. The number and complexity will depend on the level of the class, but at least five or six but no more than ten. Print out and cut into individual word units. Put them in a small container. The students are placed in small groups and given the container with words. Each student has to speak on a basic theme using as many words or cards, as possible, within a set time. They can spread the words in front of them and drop them back into the container once they have been uttered.