Journal: Possessives and Puzzles

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.

Family of Barack Obama on Wikimedia Commons
Family of Barack Obama on Wikimedia Commons

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?

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