Journal: Gotta Love Flyswatters

Today was a very nice Monday!  I definitely recommend high-speed flyswatting to kick off your week of 8AM classes.  I’m finding myself thinking farther ahead than I was last week, which I think is a good step in my teaching.

Also, I’m noticing that this blog is super useful to me for thinking out loud and planning. But is there anything my handful of readers would like to see more of or are particularly enjoying?

Students: 7
Countries of Origin: El Salvador, China, South Korea

What surprised me:

  • How much fun the flyswatter game was this morning!
  • How amused I was by two student errors:  “ice crime” listed as a food in a refrigerator, and a student asking “What are two things you have in your pantry?” without pronouncing the r in pantry quite clearly enough.
  • My lesson plan had exactly the right amount of material for our three hour class.  I’m rarely spot-on with it!

Today’s Objectives:

  1. Students will review English letter names in a fast-paced environment
  2. Students will practice There is/are questions and statements in the context of food
  3. Students will use these vocabulary words to express their opinion in the context of food: fatty, calories, moderation, cut down on, healthy, frequently.

What went well:

The flyswatter game with letter names was an energetic way to start off the class once I emphasized that they should swat the letters on the board as quickly as they could.

The grid exercise is becoming much more familiar to them and elicited a lot of genuine English conversation amongst all of the students.  I was pleased that we used the information they collected for a later activity.

I was really impressed by their writing.  It was a very concrete exercise, much more grammatical than creative.  I hope to move to more free-form subjects later on.  I liked that I asked them why their sentence was correct (i.e. is the noun count or non-count?), and that I slipped more complicated writing tasks to the students who are highest in the class.  I also collected their work and started a folder of each student’s writing that I’ll give back to them the last week of class.

I think that the vocab activity had a point.  They had opportunities to use the vocab in small groups and in the large group, and I told them that tomorrow we’ll use the video and we’ll hear those same vocab words.

What I’d like to improve upon:

I’m a little worried that my pacing of the grammar point is too slow.  That being said, they still need prompting to remember it and many students still make many errors, especially in context.  Still, boring them to death won’t necessarily help them acquire the grammar point.  I’m hoping that as our content changes a bit tomorrow it will add enough variety to class that the continued count/non-count review and practice won’t be too mind-numbing.

I didn’t do the best job of modeling today.  I wasn’t explicit about which information should go where or what the groups should talk about.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

I think we’ll start out by quickly reviewing and then chain drilling names and then some Are there/Is there questions.  We’ll review the vocabulary from today with a simple definition-matching activity.  We’ll practice by making two lists: “What are foods you eat in moderation?” and “What are some foods you’d like to cut down on?”  Then we’ll watch the video, checking next to a vocab word when they hear it.  Then we can use the book’s listening activities as we listen several more times.  We’ll address agree and disagree in the context of the video, and then we’ll practice (dis)agreeing with “Vote with Your Feet” (I’ll make a relevant statement; if they agree, they’ll walk to one side of the room, and if they disagree they’ll walk to the other).  I think this will leave us with plenty of time for a reading activity.

Initial Thoughts for Wednesday:

Start with flyswatter practice on th, ch, sh, and ph.  Chain drill names and any vocab or agree/disagree issue that came up Tuesday.  We’ll use the video interviews to practice listening comprehension and then do some writing practice agreeing and disagreeing (the book’s prompts look good!).

Initial Thoughts for Thursday:

This will be review of everything we’ve covered so far in class: count and non-count nouns (questions and statements), names and categories of foods, adjectives describing food, agreeing and disagreeing.  I’m thinking about having this be a big project where students run the review, but I’ll definitely need to think on it more.  I’m also considering a small quiz!

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