Journal: Creeping Back Into the Spotlight

Last night was probably the shortest amount of time I’ve spent planning a lesson this summer – less than an hour.  The result was a perfectly fine, targeted lesson… starring Emily.  Sigh.

Students: 8

Countries of Origin: El Salvador, China, South Korea, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Mexico

What surprised me:

  • One of my students brought in a big carafe of hot water and a Ziploc baggie of tea for me and the office manager.
  • I had twice as many students today as yesterday.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT ID and use 14 gadget nouns and indicate what they do
  2. SWBAT construct a Present Continuous sentence (talking about the future) with examples and supports present.
  3. SWBAT see, hear, and produce /th/ alone and in simple words.

What went well:

I was pleased with how the presentation of Present Continuous went.  I set the context with “What are you doing this weekend?,” collecting responses in base form (i.e. “work,” “play soccer”), and then changed them into Present Continuous (PrCo) using a color code (i.e. the verbs were all in blue).  We did a lot of examples together on the board.  I erased the examples and we boiled it down to the grammar formula (subject, helping verb, verb, other information).  We created a few more examples.  Each student then received a word from a cut-up sentence strip.  They had to stand in order to make a PrCo sentence.  Then pairs of students unscrambled a PrCo sentence, and we ID’d the subject, verb, etc.  It looked like all of the students understood it, so I made them prove it by writing a few sentences using it.  It was a breeze for a few, very difficult for a few, and a good level for the rest.

They also made a lot of progress on their pronunciation of /th/ today.  They seemed amused by our field trip down the hall to the mirror so they could see what it looked like when they stuck their tongue out to say /th/.  I was especially happy that they could very accurately identify when I made a /th/ sound and when I said something /f/ or /s/ instead.

What I’d like to improve upon:

While it was not an out-of-control Emily-centric lesson, I’d like to make sure I’m less in the spotlight tomorrow.

I wasn’t thrilled with either of my vocab activities.  They seem to be getting bored of the flyswatter game, though I think it was effective practice in word meanings.  Also, I should have turned a simple listing of differences between vocab words (i.e. printer, scanner, laptop, desktop) into Venn Diagrams, or at least listed both similarities and differences.  And maybe invaded the computer lab for some hands-on work with a scanner, printer, etc. to really show understanding of what they do.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

I’ll magically think of a great, fun warm-up.  After that I’d like to dive straight into grammar, first reviewing PrCo in the sense of the future.  I want to be sure they can ID a PrCo sentence compared to other tenses.  Then we can look at an example such as, “I am reading this weekend,” make double-sure we know what it means, and then remove the last two words.  This will lead into the meaning of “I am reading.”  Another interesting example might be, “My alarm is going off at 9:45,” and then at 9:45 really have my alarm go of so I can say, “My alarm is going off.”   The phrase going off might be too complicating a factor – we’ll see.  We can also get into the phrase “isn’t working.”

This grammar will lead nicely into the listening, a video segment in which the employees are frustrated with their very slow printer and use PrCo a lot.

Pronunciation will move to having students take a larger role pronouncing the /th/… and removing me from the pronunciation-teaching spotlight.

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