Vietnamese food: lunch in the hood

11th February 2021

Quán Lúa: Address: 537/3 Đường Nguyễn Duy Trinh, Phường Bình Trưng Tây, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

I visited this restaurant back in December just before Christmas and, along with my trusty sidekick, sampled some of the fish dishes:

Prawns with onions and peanuts; the best dish.

Canh Chua Cá (Sour Fish Soup). I’m not such a fan of this Viet dish. It was average, nothing special.

Baked fish with sticky rice.

Gettin’ ready to tuck in …

The service was very friendly and, as you see, they didn’t object to my sidekick in the outside area. Cost was reasonable while I would rank the food thus: the prawns were delicious, the baked fish satisfactory and the rice well-flavoured. The soup looks colourful, it’s just not my cup of tea. To be fair, as I went early some of my first choices were not available. I really went as a break from home-cooking, and to support a local restaurant. I’ll leave the last word to my trusty sidekick:

Young Learners, Level 5: What are you doing, how do you feel ?

18th November 2020

E Up Units 1 & 2 Review.

On stage | Reuters.com
What did the man do in the afternoon ? How did he feel ?

Objectives:

Ensure students have learnt the Unit adjectives (as well as new vocabulary from class)

Give students confidence to build longer, more interesting sentences

Give students sense of security to speak in class

Stress the importance of practice and practice and practice

A Warm up game:

Split class into teams. Read out a sentence in the present tense. Students have to write using the past tense. Depending on class size, students can run to the board, or work in small groups on a board in which case, make sure the writers are changed each turn.

EXAMPLE: I win a game. Yesterday …

I sleep all night. Last week I …

He rides a motorbike. He …

She acts in a school play. She ….

We read about Marco Polo. We …

They learn English at school. They …

I see a film. I …

We eat pizza. We …

Mr Paul drinks coffee. Mr Paul …

Now … pronunciation practice

From Twin Peaks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EsqvYBeyws

(play from 0:10 onwards)

“Damn good coffee … and hot !”

Points for the best performance

Now, sentence building

What were you doing // when were you doing it // How did you feel ?

Use the flashcards to help students form sentences

Past tense – Thay Paul's Notes

In the morning, I was riding an elephant and I felt very confident.

Adjectives are: relaxed // nervous // confident // sleepy // wide-awake // shy

Facts tell, but stories sell - Untapped Resources, Inc.

In the evening, they were telling stories and they felt very relaxed.

New vocabulary and Screen Test game

Vietnam’s famous cave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3zIhJrPHDQ

New vocabulary:

massive // discover (discovered) // breathtaking // even // skyscraper

Have students shout out the words as they hear them.

Questions:

1) Who discovered the cave ? 2) What kind of forest is in the cave ? 3) How long is it ? 4) How long would it take to walk ? 5) A skyscraper of how many stories (floors) could fit inside ? 6) How old is the cave ?

Vietnam beauty queen rocks Son Doong Cave - VnExpress International
In the afternoon she was exploring a cave and she felt very excited

Answers

1) a farmer 2) a rainforest 3) over 5 kms 4) a week 5) 40 stories (floors) 6) 2- 5 million years old

Vietnam on video Part 1

23rd October 2020

A compilation of videos about Viet Nam for use in class. Some clips are made by westerners, other by Vietnamese speaking English. The clips can be used for listening practice, learning vocabulary, pronunciation, or just to learn more about the country.

Contents:

Vietnamese beer review

Vietnamese culture

Vietnamese superstitions

Lights, camera, action !

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr6Cj-Xr9g&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=8&t=1s

This is an English man, a beer-lover, who uses lots of everyday language, slang and metaphors. Listen out for:

Let’s dive in / coming in at … / head (the white foam on top of beer) / oh, blimey, that’s awful ! /

Vietnamese culturehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAi_b__l_c

To what extent do you agree with her comments ?

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I’m not sure I totally agree // That has not been my experience // She is spot on ! // She is over-simplifying // There’s an element of truth in what she says // She’s talking nonsense !

Vietnamese superstitions:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmtyCvW9nbc

The speaker has a long introduction so you can listen to her American accent and try to imitate her, as well as learning new expressions.

Which superstitions have you heard of ? Do you believe in them ? Have you experienced any ?

What does she say about three people in a picture ?

About sleeping with your feet facing a mirror

About saying someone’s full name at night (04:15)

Wearing what colour brings good luck ? (06:00) How about, “Wearing white in your head ?” (07:24)

How about if you run over a cat ? (08:20)

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Tell me more – ideas for sentence building.

6th June 2020

Sentence building

The Approach of a Conversation

Last week, I showed my class how to speak, and think, in longer sentences. I chose a basic question as an example:

Where do you want to visit in Vietnam ?

I showed them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

However, Hoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)

reasons why an action is being done (because)

Now – your turn: Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.

SECOND EXAMPLE:

I like coffee

a-beautiful-thai-girl-drinking-coffee | Dude I Need A Truck

I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Work experience

I teach a brother and sister; the sister is a bit of a handful always chatting or texting during class. In complete contrast, the brother is a really good student as well as being a young gentleman. I feel he is an ideal student.

Now – your turn. Try these:

  • Living in Sai Gon or in your city
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent

Use

  • adverbs
  • adjectives
  • opinions phrases
  • linking words
  • new vocabulary

EXAMPLE: I like coffee

Ask

  1. how MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. interesting words, phrases, idioms
Emotional Intelligence in Love and Relationships - HelpGuide.org

I really enjoy hot milky coffee because it helps bring people together as well as making our minds become quite active and somewhat excited. Coffee, in my point of view, is essentially useful if we use it in moderation. On the other hand coffee can be a dreadful waste of money as well as having a detrimental effect on our health. Despite the negative aspects, coffee makes me feel over the moon!

Vietnamese party food

19th May 2020

Here’s another request blog; a friend, Pete (who has featured in some of my lessons) is planning a party this Friday. His daughter, who is turning 18, has requested some Vietnamese food.

My friend Pete: musician, online DJ and all round diamond geezer

However, Pete lives in the UK, which is still under lockdown (quarantine), so many restaurants are closed. Furthermore, he lives in the middle of the country, so had no access to really fresh sea food (the Vietnamese only say sea food is fresh IF it was swimming in the sea just ten minutes before).

Additionally, Pete won’t be able to get his hands on some vegetables or ingredients so we’ll have to take that into account. Having said that, here are some tips for making Vietnamese food in a western kitchen.

Beginners Guide to Vietnamese Cooking: 8 Glorious Recipes - YouTube

Banh xeo is like a pancake filled with beansprouts, shrimps, salad, grilled meat …

Grilled pork is ubiquitous – a street food stable served with rice and pickled vegetables.

Fried spring or summer rolls – can be a bit fiddly (difficult) to make, and require special material. Probably available in Asian supermarkets, but hard to get in small towns (or just order online like everyone else in 2020). Contains salad leaves and shrimp and vegetables).

Pho (pronounced ‘far’) is THE traditional food of Vietnam, and is normally eaten for breakfast. It’s basically noodle soup with meat of your choice. Shrimps (prawns) or just vegetables could be substituted. Another ubiquitous dish.

HA NOI

The best Vietnamese pho soup, pho Hanoi or pho Saigon?
If the locals are queuing for the food, if must be good and reasonably priced.

Sai Gon

Pho Ha, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Typical street scene in Ho Chi Minh City

And now, without further ado … how to cook Vietnamese:

First, one of the UK’s most loved, and sadly missed chefs, Keith Floyd. Keith came to Vietnam as part of an east Asian cooking show. In Sai Gon, he made this dish, beef cooked in sweet and spicy stock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8

The scene starts at 06.39

But, I hear you protest, how can a westerner make authentic Vietnamese food ?

Ok, so now let’s have pho bo (beef noodle soup) made by a Vietnamese lady: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCaGOQLpTt0

For fans of the fowl, connoisseurs of the chicken, I haven’t forgotten you. Here’s an interesting recipe, lemongrass chicken (lemongrass, which is ten-a-penny in Vietnam, that is, very cheap, can be so expensive in the UK. I once saw 5 lemongrass on sale for £1, that’s over 30 000 VND): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtMlTnqyw0

Seonkyoung Longest - Asian at Home - Authentic Asian Recipes by ...
Eating and etiquette: Top tips for joining a VN family meal - Life ...
Time to party
Hanoi Food Guide - The Best Hanoi Restaurants and Cafes ...
Goodbye from Viet Nam

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Travel talk

5th May 2020

This blog will help intermediate students develop sentence-building skills, based around the theme of travel and how to relate your experiences or wishes.

New adjectives

stunning // playful // family-friendly // authentic // world-class

New expressions

It takes your breathe away //

The ________ is breathtaking //

An unforgettable experience //

No trip to …. would be complete without …

New verbs

create // seem // include // remember // spend // demonstrate

To warm up … use the new vocabulary to express your feelings about the following photos:

Halong Bay (Ha Long Bay) - Everything you Need to Know about ...
The Insider's Guide to Organize Family Tours in Italy - Find Your ...
Nanning Dibai 7 Star Hotel | Nanning 2020 UPDATED DEALS $40, HD ...
Where to find the best Tudor sights in England - Telegraph

Make complex sentences using these words or phrases

Example: I recently stayed in a world class, seven-star hotel which was an unforgettable experience for example; the chef created such spectacular food.

Now … your turn

Tower Bridge, London
Machu Picchu travel | Peru - Lonely Planet
Micchu Picchu, Peru
Designer labels and luxury goods
Cloud 9 Cute Maid Cafe - Experience Anime in Pop Culture at ...
Cute Maid Cafe, Japan
The Ledge, Willis Tower | 10 views that will test your fear of ...
View from the Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago, USA
How to Eat Scary Insects, Worms, and Bugs in Thailand
Trying some of the local food in Thailand
Gallery: Dynamo Performs Bus Levitation Stunt On Westminster ...
The British magician Dynamo tries a new way to ride a bus.

Listening exercises: Top Gear Special … what can go wrong ?

28th April 2020

Movie] Top Gear - Vietnam Special - KLNetBB

Top Gear is a famous British show about cars, motoring, driving and crashing !

Here is an opportunity to hear British English being spoken at a natural pace, and to learn new expressions and colloquialisms (everyday spoken words, not usually found in student text books).

Top Gear Vietnam

Top Gear filming hour-long special in Vietnam | Autoblog

The chaps arrive in Vietnam are are given a challenge … to buy a car for 15 million Dong. That sounds a lot of money, but it is nowhere near enough to buy a car, not even an old, second-hand one. Instead they decide they can only afford motorbikes.

Now for the challenge.

This clip has subtitles. Watch it repeatedly, concentrating on the body language, the expressions on the faces and the way two of the men are excited while Jeremy (the very tall man in the Vietnam T-shirt) is less than happy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKg-jCV-YM0&list=PLPJI_c2ou1sQgmufw3aUzI1h5ZLQpZybv&index=2

[Note: some of the subtitles are WRONG !]

The challenge is to ride their motorbikes from Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City) to the North, past Ha Noi, near the Chinese border.

Don't do the Top Gear Vietnam Thing: Part 1 - Adventure Rider

Richard, the smallest man, tells Jeremy his scooter will be useless … why ?

What expression does Richard use to mean ‘out of control’ ?

How does James, the man in the white shirt, describe the challenge ?

What is Jeremy’s reaction ? Can you copy his expression and voice ?

Confession: I find myself rewatching the Vietnam special all the ...

What would be the problem riding a bike like this Vietnam ?

What is the longest or strangest or worst journey you have ever made ?

Tell the class about it, trying to use as many new expressions as you can, and with the appropriate stress and intonation.

Pronunciation

Try to sound like to the chaps – intonation and stress and phrases.

Top Gear Vietnam (07.00 – 8.46): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1zfuBgCUqY&t=48s

Worst car in the world

What are the problems ? Can you imitate Jeremy’s intonation ?

“…known in Vietnam as the ‘common car’ has an engine, but it’s hard to say what sort.”

watch the whole clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd5ka91fkDo

New Technology Information: Top Gear Season 12

Adult Mechanics: What can possibly go wrong ?

A boxed-set of lesson notes and exercises initially designed for professional engineers and mechanics. The levels vary from beginner to advanced.

Contents:

Listening: Far Flung Floyd BBC TV (advanced)

Listening: Robot dog (advanced)

Listening: World’s strongest robot (beginner to advanced)

Listening: Top Gear BBC TV program (advanced)

Speaking practice and vocabulary (advanced)

breaking the law / Coffee shop talk / going green / buying a motorbike /

Video clip: China’s high-speed train.

Vocabulary: Cars / Car manufacturers / Environmental concerns (advanced) / tools (beginner)

Listening

Keith Floyd (TV chef) ‘Far Flung Floyd’

Image result for keith floyd vietnam"

Floyd in Vietnam (12.53 – 15.29): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8

What ingredients does he use ?

What does he say as he starts cooking ?

How long does it simmer for ?

What does ‘moisten’ mean ?

Listening: robot dog (advanced) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op0bhZNUJFE

Image result for robot dog"

Do you understand any of the engineering terms / words in English ?

Newsinlevels.com (World’s strongest robot – choose your own level, 1,2 0r 3) https://www.newsinlevels.com/products/strongest-robot-in-the-world-level-2/

What country produced this robot ?

How much can it lift ? That is the same as … ?

Is it delicate or sturdy ? What word is used to describe this ?

Top Gear

Image result for top gear"

Break for the border part 1: (0 – 0.52)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0K8AXUEH8E

How much petrol do the chaps (men) have ? How many points for getting to the border ?

What is the phrasal verb for using all the petrol ? What is the punishment for this ?

What does Richard say about this ? Which country has the closest border ?

Break for the border part 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3StTHXS2Ic&t=3s

What word does James use to mean ‘the winner’ ?

What expression does Richard use to mean he will stop trying to beat James ?

What expression does James use to show he is in trouble ?

We hear the word ‘gloat’ twice … what does it mean ?

What is the phrasal verb for using up ALL the petrol ?

What is the ‘hard shoulder’ ?

What does Richard say when he sees Jeremy ?

Top Gear: £1500 Porsche challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jPaYnaKVDk&t=317s&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=16

Top Gear in Vietnam

Image result for top gear vietnam"

Full video on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/richardhammondtgt/videos/706329819546314/?v=706329819546314&external_log_id=45059a07d87e44e56f7250b63bf526de&q=top%20gear%20special%20episodes

Vietnam clip (39.00 – 43.00)

New Vocabulary / expressions

set about = to do something

pay someone back for something = to get revenge

cross = angry / furious = very angry

(people have) turned out = arrived

borrow = to get something from someone, then give back

hang on = wait a little

metaphor = phép ẩn dụ

What does Jeremy say is a metaphor for Vietnam ?

What phrasal verb does James use to mean he stops trying ?

What does the Viet lady do to the bikes in the car park ?

Speaking & vocabulary practice

Exercise 1: New vocabulary:

prosperity / represent / footage/ annoyed / superior / essentially

to sue / suing / law suit / (law) case / ruling / embezzle/ lawyers / judge

pocketing (UK slang) / cost of living (rent, food, travel etc) / can vary

therefore / out and about / basically / you see / obviously /though (although)

Dale Sorry I’m late. Hope you’re not annoyed, I’ve been out and about.

Gordon Not at all. It’s been very exciting here. Mr Smith was caught

embezzling company money. The boss is suing.

Dale What the hell !How much was he pocketing ? 

Gordon Who knows ? A lot, that’s for sure. Basically, he’s been stealing

for the last six months.

Dale I know the cost of living is increasing, but he was essentially a

great worker though he did always drink superior cognac.

Gordon And buy superior clothes, particularly designer shirts.

Mr Kim and Mr Chi also discuss this incident 3rdMarch 2018

Kim He was caught on CCTV footage. He’s had to engage a lawyer.

Chi If the ruling goes goes against him, it could mean a fine and prison.

Kim Yes, it can vary from two to twenty years. When’s the case ?

Chi The suit will be heard later this year. The company are shocked.

Kim Obviously. You see, they trusted him, he had been here for years.

Chi That’s awful. This year has started out terribly, therefore it can only

get better !

Kim Yes, it mustn’t get us down, we need to learn from this experience.

Exercise 2: Coffee shop talk / talking shop / the environment

Don, Joe & Tim are on break at work. Tim looks stressed. 

Don Hi guys, what’s happening ? What’s wrong with Tim ?

Joe The supervisor has been giving him a hard time because of his punctuality.

Tim Sorry, I’ve gotta lot of things on my mind … and tons of work.

Don In my experience, work’ll lighten up. Do you agree, Joe ?

Joe Spot on ! Although, less work, less money, obviously.

Tim Actually, it’s my girlfriend; she has a terrible habit.

Don Oh, what is it ?

Tim She has a habit of spending MY money !

Later, at lunch at Coffee House

Joe We should think more about the environment. Our company should go green.

Tim What’s on your mind ? What do you recommend ?

Don Yeah, aside from recycling what steps can we take ?

Joe Well, switching to unleaded petrol, saving water and making sure we turn off …

Tim Our brains ? No, I’m pulling your leg. In fact, those are brilliant ideas.

Don I agree totally. Anyway, what are you having to eat ?

Joe I’m not hungry, I had a snack earlier. I’ll just take a coffee.

Tim Ah, here comes our coffee. Things are looking up.

Joe WAIT ! … mmmmm, this is a damn fine cup of coffee !

NOTE: the colour green is associated with the environment

Exercise 3: buying a motorbike

Jim is talking with his buddy (friend) Kev about buying a motorbike. He asks for advice.

Jim Which do you suggest ? The Honda or the Yamaha ? I’m miserable without a bike.

Kev Buy both … no,I’m pulling your leg.In my opinion, Yamaha looks cool.

Jim Yeah, I agree totally. Blue and white. However, Yamahas are uncomfortable.

Kev Good point. In my experience, Hondas are very reliable. Good engineering.

Jim Maybe I should buy a German bike ? Sounds good ?

Kev Sure, buy a luxury BMW, really cool … but really, really expensive !

Jim Ok, so I’ll take the Honda. Wait … what is that awful sound ?

Kev Oh no ! The karaoke has started. All day, every day. I want to scream !

Video Clips

AC / DC current explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN9aR2wKv0U

High-speed trains in China: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JDoll8OEFE

Tech flops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4Rzd21U-1c

Vocabulary

Cars:

Car parts vocabulary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aazWo7OeJJY

Which of these cars would you like ? 

Land Rover / Toyota / Volva / Dacia 

Image result for land rover"
Land Rover
Image result for Toyata"
Toyata
Image result for volvo"
Volvo
Image result for darcia car"
Darcia

I choose the …

because it’s …. cool /economical /fast / beautiful / reliable

however, it’s also … expensive / ugly /unreliable /uneconomical /slow 

Vocabulary: Car parts

How many parts can you name ?

Automobile companies

1. Abarth16. Ford31. MG46. Smart
2. Alfa Romeo17. Honda32. Mini47. Ssangyong
3. Aston Martin18. Hyundai33. Mitsubishi48. Subaru
4. Audi19. Infiniti34. Morgan49. Suzuki
5. Bentley20. Jaguar35. Nissan50. Tesla
6. BMW21. Jeep36. Noble51. Toyota
7. Bugatti 22. Kia 37. Pagani52. Vauxhall
8. Cadillac23. Lamborghini38. Peugeot53. Volkswagen
9. Caterham24. Land Rover39. Porsche54. Volvo 
10. Chevrolet25. Lexus40. Radical55. Zenos
11. Chrysler26. Lotus41. Renault
12. Citroen27. Maserati42. Rolls-Royce
13. Dacia28. Mazda43. Saab
14. Ferrari29. Mclaren44. Seat
15. Fiat30. Mercedes-Benz45. Skoda

This is a list of the 15 largest manufacturers by production in 2016.[35]

RankGroupCountryVehicles
1ToyotaJapan10,213,486
2Volkswagen GroupGermany10,126,281
3HyundaiSouth Korea7,889,538
4General MotorsUnited States7,793,066
5FordUnited States6,429,485
6NissanJapan5,556,241
7HondaJapan4,999,266
8Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesItaly / United States4,681,457
9RenaultFrance3,373,278
10PSAFrance3,152,787
11SuzukiJapan2,945,295
12SAICChina2,566,793
13DaimlerGermany2,526,450
14BMWGermany2,359,756
15ChanganChina1,715,871

Tesla, Inc. (formerlyTesla Motors) is an American multinational corporation that specialises in electric vehicles, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing based in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2003, the company specialises in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and residential photovoltaic panels(through the subsidiary company SolarCity).The additional products Tesla sells include the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack batteries,solar panels and solar roof tiles.

CEO Elon Musk said that he envisions Tesla as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer.

Tesla Vs Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KEN-cxmGw8


Some famous UK car companies

Rolls-Royce and Bentley have been owned by VW since 1998

The Mini is owned by BMW

Jaguar and Land Rover are owned by Tata Motors (India)

Who owns the ‘British’ car companies ? https://www.borro.com/uk/borro-blog/british-car-brands-owners

The second biggest car manufacturer is VW. Why are they so big ?http://The second biggest car manufacturer is VW. Why are they so big ?

BMW = beemer

Cadillac = Cadi = gas guzzler (guzzler = drink a LOT!)

Environmental concerns / issues (advanced) http://shanghaiist.com/2017/06/15/polluting-companies.php

Does this news story surprise you ? Is China worse than Vietnam (in your opinion).

recent/ investigate / emission standards / specifically

ignore / strict / established


World’s biggest polluters

Which countries do you think are in the top ten worst ?https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/who-are-the-worlds-biggest-polluters-idUSRTXRKSI

Any surprises here ?

I’m surprised to see …. on the list / make the list

It doesn’t surprise me that …

Identify these tools. What are they used for ?

There is one black and red hammer. It is used …

Signs, symbols and icons: information and worksheet

21st August 2019

I actually prepared this for my top students in a Young Learners’ Level 3 (ages from 9 – 11) class; university-level semiotics. While most of the class just do the assigned work – no more, no less – others make no effort at all and are unable or unwilling to answer a question to which I have just given the answer. Then we have the top cats … I’m lucky to have two exceptional students in my class as well as two others who, with some effort, could also reach those Olympian heights.

The following is a very simplified, breakdown of everyday signs, symbols and the modern use of the word ‘icon’ as related to technology. The original categorisation into ‘icon, index & symbol’ was devised by Charles Sanders Peirce, and more information can be found on this Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotic_theory_of_Charles_Sanders_Peirce#II._Icon,_index,_symbol

The following I have printed out as a three-page activity worksheet for my top cats (who generally finish bookwork before others have even started).

A sign uses pictures to give information or to tell people what they can or can not do:

What do these signs mean ?     ///   The first sign means no smoking.

The second sign means … /// The third sign means … 

A symbol is a picture or things that represents a place, city or country.

The ao dai and non la are symbols that represent Viet Nam

What do these symbols represent ?

Icons are used on computers and smartphones. For example, this icon:

  represents a dictionary. How about these ?

Draw two more icons from a computer or smartphone.

Draw two signs that could be used in Vietnam

What do these signs from Singapore mean ?

What do you think of these signs ?

Do you agree ? Do you disagree ? Tell me why …

Young Teens: course review.

27th February 2019

This is my final class with this group as they have tests next week, conducted by the Vietnamese staff. Therefore it is a review lesson, going over recently-acquired words and practising listening skills.

It threatens to be quite passive (although this class is anything but passive) so I need to start with some energetic team games, focussing especially on speaking.

To begin, a STB game based on the previous unit (‘Special Places’). I’ll show various pictures of world landmarks and ask about them, for example where is this:

Bonus points for naming the mythological creature, and for asking the riddle with which it is associated. Other sites include the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, a lighthouse, and the recently-discovered Hang Soon Dong cave here in Vietnam.

Here we can review UNESCO and world heritage sites. Vietnam currently has eight sites on the UNESCO list – how many can the students name ? https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/vn

Next a ‘run ‘n’ write’ activity. I’ll board an incorrect sentence and the students must correct. I need about seven sentences to give everyone a chance to take part:

What London like

was the weather what like

We goes on a boot trap (in past tense)

It weres (ADVERB) interesting

£75 is ext … exp …

You should criss the rood careful

Dali were a really famous lawyer.

As a bonus, can they draw a Dali-esque clock ?

Next we can have small group work. I shall show various photos and they have to write a short piece using as many adjectives and adverbs as possible:

really / quite / very / not very /

expensive / popular / delicious / boring / exciting / scary

carefully / easily / quickly / noisily

psycho / palace / famous for / in common / gadget.

As usual, it helps to give a model to serve as an example. I shall use this photo:

‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)
James Bond escapes from some extremely scary alligators.

In this picture, the British spy James Bond is surrounded by some very scary alligators who are extremely hungry. He tries using his magnet gadget on his watch but it doesn’t work. Bond is famous for escaping from very dangerous situations. Quickly, he runs across the water stepping on the backs of the creatures. Bond films are incredibly popular because they are amazingly exciting. Do you find them interesting or boring ?

Now for the students:

Typical Vietnamese food
The magnificent Heath Ledger as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ 2009.
London’s Buckingham Palace, hone to the Queen.
Dali and friends.

To end the activity section, an opinion poll. This makes the students get up and ask classmates for their views, so listening and speaking skills are utilised – and no teacher-talking-time !

This survey will be based on Special Places. The students are offered a choice of four locations: The Pyramids of Giza, the Parthenon in Athens, The Taj Mahal in India and Buckingham Palace in England.

Which site do you want to visit most ?

Why ?

What is the weather like there (use adverbs) ?

What can you do there ?

What could be a problem ?

After this, it’s time for the book work and assigned lesson plan. As mentioned, there is a lot of listening and video watching, so that should occupy most of the remaining time.

To finish we need a high-energy game. ‘Family Fortunes’ is good as it makes the students work together, and can be a test of general knowledge. I could ask: name four countries in Europe, four typical dishes from USA, four famous singers etc.

A list of class games can be found in a previous post: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/17/note-explanations/

If the energy is just not there, I can always play a YouTube clip of funny animals, or a song (in English) that has been requested.

Let the students leave smiling … but also prepared for next week’s tests.