Journal: A Mellow Day 4

Day 4 was all about practicing what we did Day 3.  It was so fun to see them improve their skills!

Also, not sure if I’ve mentioned it anywhere, but our classes are three hours long.

Students: 4
Countries of Origin: El Salvador, China

What surprised me:

  • One of my students is pretty quiet.  She seems to struggle more than the others to understand me and to practice the grammar accurately.  But during one of our breaks, she started asking us all questions (in English) about our lives.  Very cool!
  • Having four students was really, noticeably more of a slog than having eight.


(same as yesterday)

  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:

I’m pleased to report that it was not “The Emily Show!”

Today’s warm-up was the flyswatter game with sh/ch/ph/and th to choose from.  It was especially nice toward the end when I let the students take over saying the sound and correcting the folks at the board.

I feel good about the amount of practice they got with count and non-count nouns.  I broke it apart better than yesterday in terms of practicing only one sub-goal at a time (first just knowing to choose is or are, then putting to be first when asking a question, then doing both).  They practiced the same thing skill set in writing, a chain activity, and interviews.  They also gently corrected each other.  I got to watch them make fewer and fewer mistakes, and I got to tell them how much they improved!

I underestimated how difficult the listening task would be, but they met the challenge with plenty of repetition.  At least I don’t have to worry that it was too easy.  And my A/V set-up time was much better today.

What I’d like to improve upon:

Again, I wasn’t that thrilled with my vocabulary activity.  I wrote a bunch of different food vocab on small slips of paper and had students work in pairs to sort the foods into categories.  I’m happy with my modeling and with their sorting; I’m just not sure how much they actually got out of it.

Also, I generally rely on the people around me to set the energy level.  This works well in classes of about six or more, but with only four today I could have provided a bigger boost if I’d thought of it.  The activities where they got up and moved helped some, but we could’ve used some additional pep.

Thoughts for Monday:

Name review for sure.  A grid activity, probably |What’s your name?|What are 2 things in your refrigerator?|What are 2 things in your pantry?|.  Count and non-count review and practice for sure.  Then I think we can move on in the book to talk about our opinions on what foods are good/healthy/bad and why.  The book also gets into (in)definite articles, but I don’t think our current grammar point is solid enough yet.

Thoughts for the Future:

I think my morning warm-ups should continue to involve practice with:

  • letter names
  • bits of phonics and pronunciation
  • filling in grids
  • each other’s names

I’d also like a predictable routine of types of activities each week.  For example, on Wednesdays there will be a large segment of class spent on listening.  I have to think more about how to set up a logical structure.

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