Journal: Stepping Away from the Spotlight

For Day 3 I planned a ton of interactive activities, thus taking myself out of the spotlight for probably at least half the class time.  It went really well!

Students: 8
Countries of Origin: El Salvador, South Korea, China

What surprised me:

  • The air conditioning won’t be fixed until next week.  OK, I guess I’m not all that surprised.  🙂
  • Just how good I still feel because the final practice activity was spot-on (a challenge that they succeeded at) and that they laughed at my send-off joke!  It just felt like such a great way to finish up for the day.


  1. Students will name and categorize common foods
  2. Students will listen for details in the context of food and food preferences
  3. Students will practice asking and answering There is/are questions with count and non-count nouns

    What went well:

    Overall, class was much less Emily-centric than yesterday.  Wooo!

    I made the last-minute decision to simplify the grid activity slightly.  The three questions they asked each other (and me) were: What’s your Name?  Where are you from?  What are 3 foods you like?  If I’d gotten into foods they disliked, we would’ve ended up with additional grammar points that were not part of the day’s objectives and go over our time.  It was also a nice activity to be doing while students were coming in a bit late.

    The listening lesson went well once I got the projector and speakers hooked up and cooperating.  I’m especially excited that I recognized how good the exercises were that came with the DVD  and didn’t spend a ton of time making up my own activity.   The students also appreciated the hokey humor in the video, which was kind of a relief.

    I’m so proud of myself that I didn’t get too mired in examples of count vs. non-count nouns (i.e. chairs vs. water, peas vs. rice).  After we’d done several examples of both food and our classroom surroundings, I moved it to why and how to use it, more specifically to the grammar that has to surround them (i.e.  You would almost never say “There are waters/rices;”  it’s “There is water/rice.”).  The practice activity was an effective chance for them to work on accuracy and a bit of fluency on their count/non-count questions and answers; I actually heard them improve as they made their way through the exercise.

    What I’d like to improve upon:

    I need to do more A/V set-up before class starts and just be strategic about where the cords go.

    Also, I wish my food category jigsaw activity had had a more obvious point (I think it made sense in the context of the whole class session though).

    Content-wise I have two contradictory concerns:

    1. I’m a little worried that too much of what I’m teaching is too easy for too many of the students.
    2. I feel like our grammar point of the day was actually four grammar points.  We were working on count/non-count, questions, answers, and conjugating to be, along with food vocabulary all at the same time.  I prepped them for count/non-count and for some food vocab, but we didn’t review the other elements of our practice before we started.  It was complex.  That being said, I think they did well, improved their skills, and felt good about it.

    Thoughts for tomorrow:

    After name practice, I think I’d like to bring back the fly-swatter game, this time for some phonics including consonant blends (i.e. /ch/).  I’d like to do a quick, student-centered food vocab review and a longer, more intensive review of count and non-count.  Writing would be a good way to practice this, maybe followed by speaking, all without me in the spotlight.  I’d like to use the same video to do another listening activity that’s like a scaffolded dictation.  A lively discussion would be a fun way to end for the week, but I want to make sure it’s lively and that it’s content-rich.  I might chicken out and go for reading instead.

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