Today we dove into a unit on families. We started out with students shouting out every family word they could think of and putting on a giant list on the board. We were definitely not starting from square one at the beginning of this lesson! They know a lot of this vocabulary already.
We started out the unit by studying President Obama’s family, using them as models of the vocabulary (husband, father, son, grandson, step-son, etc.) and pretexts for grammar practice (“Who’s she?” “She’s President Obama’s daughter.”).
It’s really helping them sort out the meaning of possessive sentences. With a sentence like, He is her husband , it’s pretty easy to get confused about whether the subject is the man or the woman. Talking about well-known, interesting people helped make it less abstract.
After class one of the students stayed just a minute late. He asked me, “You like mathematics?” I said so-so, and asked why. He handed me a scrap of paper and said, “What after?” The paper said 2, 6, 42, 1806. As I read it, he refined his question, “What is next in sequence?” He had stayed after to give me a math puzzle!
I have no idea what his motivation was for doing this, but it made me happy. I think it because I felt that I was (whether this was his intention or not) being recognized as a whole person with varied interests, not just a teacher-robot of basic English. I wonder if that’s how students feel when we break free of the grammar and textbooks and delve into what’s interesting to them.
Have you completed the math sequence yet?