Notice all the discourse markers– expressions that don’t add any information, but allow him to think while he keeps talking (examples: all right, yeah,) and expressions (it hit the $300 mark – means the price was $300).
Present perfect, past continuous and questions. Listen for adverbs
Mark: Have you been to Germany ?
Amy: No, not yet. Have you ?
Mary: Yes, twice. I have (I’ve) visited Berlin and Munich.
Amy: Which did you like best ?
Mary:Well, Munich is very clean, elegant and stylish, but quite expensive.
Amy: And Berlin, the capital ?
Mary: I was working there for six months. It was really cool.
They continue after eating a big piece of pie.
Amy: Sounds like you had lots of fun !
Mary: Oh, yes ! The food was cheap and the people were incredibly friendly.
Amy: How about the weather ? I have heard it can be cold.
Mary: It was terrible ! Every day it rained cats and dogs.
Amy: You must have been so glad to get back to Vietnam. (glad = happy)
Mary: Yes, but I miss the German trains and buses; they were so reliable.
How different is England to Germany ?
This is an interesting question because, despite both being Northern European countries with similar climates and a shared language root, both nations have very strong national identities.
Historically, there is an obvious difference; the two World Wars. This originated from economic conflicts to actual conflicts which consequently altered the map of Europe.
There are many cultural differences, the English see the Germans as very efficient, hard-working, punctual albeit lacking any sense of humour.
Putting myself in their shoes, and based on my experiences of Germany, we Brits are seen as aloof and isolated, preferring tea-breaks to solid work.
These factors notwithstanding, the two countries have a lot in common; protestant religion, not Catholic (mostly), a love of both football and beer. Even our Royal Family has German blood.
Now with Brexit, it will be interesting to see what develops over the next generation. We can only speculate whether the nations move closer together or further apart.
16th November for 17th November 2019 E Up 5 U 8 L2 pp. 74 – 75
Geeks, nerds and dorks – these are words for people who really understand computers, or play computer games all day. Maybe most of their life is spent online.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ? DO YOU SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON COMPUTERS ?
What are computers good for ? Why could they be bad ?
Here we could board the pros and cons, just to get the students talking.
Then an unscramble game: What are these websites and what are they for ?
espyk // nsgtarmia // oftsypi // uubotye
I always play music in my class. If I like a song I will ………………… the volume
When I finish checking my emails, I ……………… from Google
If my manager thinks the song is too loud, I have to ……….. the volume
At the end of class, I always …………………. the computer.
Let’s compare – the past and now:
Can you crack a code ?
I will write an animal in code … can you tell me what the animal is ?
What animal is this ?
Look at the first letter – ‘d’. what is the next letter in the alphabet ? … e. The next letter after b is c, and after u comes v … so we have ecv – but that is not a word. Instead, go back a letter each time. Before d is c, before b is a and before u is t. Therefore, we have ‘cat‘.
In groups, students make their own coded animals. Using the same pattern (the letter before), put these animals into code:
goat // dog // elephant // Godzilla
But what happens if the code has no pattern … and it is changed every day ? That is exactly what happened during World War II, and the German Enigma machine.
Germany was winning the war in 1940 and 1941 … only the UK were fighting them
The Germans were sending secret messages in code. This video explains the Enigma machine:
Some of the greatest scientists and mathematicians tried to break or crack the code. Remember … they only had one day because the code was changed at midnight. The scientists worked outside of London at Bletchley Park
Many people worked there but the most famous person today is Alan Turing
Can you crack a complex code ? I have made a random code which I will give to the groups. They have to break my code and read my message. The coded message is:
LWM QM IWV
If that is easy, then try this:
VE MAEWJQVK QV YURMM
To review recent vocabulary, I can ask the students if they have finished yet ?
Finally, before the book work, students can ask each other what they use computers, smartphones or tablets for. Personally, I upload photos, post them on Instagram and Facebook, listen to music on Spotify, chat on Skype and Viber as well as using Grabbike to book my ride home. Moreover, I write these blogs.
This type of class is very divisive among teachers who either love them or hate them. I am firmly in the former camp, so please allow me to set the scene.
The class size is relatively small (a dozen – twelve – or so students), the room has three brightly coloured tables and a variety of coloured chairs. There are vibrant murals on the walls, somewhat reminiscent of the Beach Boys’ ‘Smiley Smile’ LP cover
My teaching props include Polly – a puppet parrot of a psychedelic green hue, and Mike the mischievous yet well-meaning Monkey. Yes – I get to play with puppets AND get paid for it. Sometimes life ain’t so bad.
The students are around four or five in age, and love Mike and Polly – they tolerate my presence as a necessary evil.
I am admirable assisted by two very sweet young ladies, TAs, whom I ‘love to bits,’ (expression indicating a strong liking – in English we use ‘love’ quite liberally – we love coffee, love TV shows, love a shirt etc. This is not the same in other languages – in Swedish, for example, love is ONLY used for personal relationships.)
My class this Saturday is at level 3, so they are able to count, are familiar with the alphabet, can sing basic songs, follow instructions, ask basic questions, know colours, and are continuing to expand their vocabulary.
I want to push them further because they are motivated and, at this age, can absorb a new language easily. I am rather older, and find it a Herculean task to learn even one or two new words (and as for pronunciation – forget it !). As such, I’ve banned the use of the word ‘fine’ as in, “How are you ?” “I’m fine.” (see my earlier blog ‘Don’t say, “I’m fine.” https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/19/dont-say-im-fine/
Instead: I’m good, great, very well, thank you … I’ve also started to make the students use the terms ‘Activity Book’ or ‘Pupil Book’.
Also, we can impart language in a more natural way; we can use various words / expressions repeatedly so the students acquire language as opposed to being taught the vocabulary. For example, a student’s work can be described as ‘excellent’, or being told ‘well done.’ Apart from the new words, they are hearing longer, multi-syllable words, and basic collocations – words that go together to form one unit of meaning. Another ‘trick’ I have is to sing to myself the Kraftwerk song ‘We are the robots.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_8Pma1vHmw
I sing, under my breathe, the chorus and then mime the four notes played on synthesiser. Just four simple words, but so effective for English learners, especially Asian countries where plurals are formed in a different style.
For are start we have some basic grammar – subject + verb ‘to be’. Vietnamese verbs do not alter according to subject. Students may start to learn ‘I am’ but here are introduced to ‘We are.’ The noun is robots – can’t go wrong there – everyone loves robots ! From a pedagogic view, the plural sound in introduced and drilled, repeatedly. By copying the song, they automatically repeat the -s plural sound AND apply it here after a difficult ‘t’ sound – the ‘ts.’ Lastly, we employ the notorious English ‘the’ ðə sound. The students are having an English lesson without even knowing it !
With younger classes I use a ‘montage of attractions’, a term I came across in a book on the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein, and itself adapted from engineering. It means placing different elements together to form a unified whole, as in cutting a film, or attaching pipes. We need to keep interest and motivation / energy levels up, and this is achieved by varying the games and activities, changing after five or so minutes, before boredom and apathy set it. Thus, after musical statues (in which I am ably assisted by Mike the Monkey to see which of the students are really NOT MOVING), we’ll have ‘student as teacher’ session. One student will mime some action from last week and the class have to shout out the correct expression (sit down / open a book / put the bag on the table etc). They can then continue this at their tables, changing the ‘teacher’ so all students are active.
Next, I’ll repeat the ‘on/in/under’ song – quite simply, the three words sung with accompanying gestures and then a four-beat hand clap. It’s a fun way to introduce the students to prepositions. We could then put Mike around the room and ask where is he ? “Under the table,” “On the chair,” and then extend their speaking skills by asking for an adjective (usually a colour) + noun construction: “Mike’s on the yellow chair.”
After, I’ll distribute some writing boards and marker pens, and start saying the alphabet … when I stop, the students, as a team, have to write the next letter, both capital and lower-case, i.e. “A, B, C ….. ?”
Following, there will be a CD song, re-inforcing prepositions and adjective + noun sentences.
For a new activity, we turn to phonics – sound production / pronunciation. Today I’ll focus on the letters ‘R’ & ‘T’. I’ll prepare a slide of various words beginning with the two letters. The class will them form two lines and are given a sticky ball to throw. One side shouts out a word and one member from the opposing side must throw at said picture. Points awarded for direct hits, sound effects for total misses !
Then time for a fun song to practice the ‘R’ sound. What better than this famous British song:
‘Run, rabbit, run’ – sung quite slowly and clearly enunciated.
This should bring us to the book work and the introduction of continuous verbs. The subject is ‘What am I doing ?’ followed by five illustrations. The students will listen to a CD, then repeat.
Lessons usually end with a colouring session, allowing them to choose a picture and encouraging values such as sharing, being polite and being fair.
Then it’s High-Fives all around (to Mike; they don’t care a fig about me !) and good bye, see you next week … By this time, it’s lunch. I need a break, I need a coffee, I need a fresh shirt and I need to know how I can be as popular as Mike the Monkey. Somehow, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. To quote Kurt Cobain, “Oh well, whatever, never mind.”