Journal: The Comfortable Classroom

This morning there were pretty big storms in my part of Maryland.  The sky was practically black as I drove toward the highway, and rain pelted down between flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder.

And I still had four students come to class!

I’m glad they like it, and that they’re comfortable, and that they feel that they’re learning.  And that being said, they’re so comfortable that I’m getting less and less done per day because they keep talking.  But am I really prepared to complain that my ESL students won’t stop speaking in English?

Students: 4

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

What surprised me:

  • Engrossing topics of conversation for adult ESL students: traffic tickets and stories about being robbed.
  • I did a practice listening test with them (I modified one of the textbook exercises to mimic the format of the “real” listening test) and they schooled it.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT use SiPr and PrCo correctly and in appropriate situations.
  2. SWBAT listen for details.
  3. SWBAT navigate a structured listening exam.

What went well:

I had them write the forms of SiPr and PrCo on the board (subject, to be, verb, etc.) and also write examples.  Everybody did a lot correctly, and the rest of the class helped the writers make corrections down to the last dot on the last “i.”

I played the video on mute first so they could try to predict what the characters were saying… and in what tense.  I was impressed with how useful the video was.  One of the characters was exercising in the office (running in place, jumping jacks, squats, you name it) and the other characters were all asking him what on earth he was doing, why, and then to go away.  What a great demonstration of his exercising right now, as opposed to his normal routine (which is the subject of scene 2).

What I’d like to improve upon:

One of the students said, “Simple Present, I almost understand.  Not yet.  I don’t know why.  But almost.”  And that’s awesome!  I’m just frankly unsure of how to get him there.  I think he’s having trouble with both the form (he really wants the -s endings on third-person singular verbs to make sense the way that s on plural nouns makes sense, but it doesn’t) and the nuance of the meaning.

Thoughts for Next Week:

I need to give them their standardized listening test on Monday or Tuesday (I’m leaning toward Tuesday), and I really want to keep on hitting the form and meaning of these two tenses.  Even though it’s confusing and not easy, I think that they have the tools to understand the differences between the two tenses, and I think they’re really close to feeling a significant amount of comfort with it.

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