Journal: Ice Breakers Impress

The students were really impressed with my vocabulary review activity this morning and kept telling me how smart I was.  🙂

Students: 8

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

What surprised me:

  • The A/C is not only on, but also cooling the building!
  • Introducing the fact that Present Continuous can also be talking about right now did not seem to throw them for a loop.  Phew!

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT describe what some common home/office gadgets do.
  2. SWBAT ID if a Present Continuous (PrCo) sentence is future or present.
  3. SWBAT hear /th/ and demo /th/ so that other Ss understand it.

What went well:

My magical warm-up activity was to tape a gadget vocab word to all of the students’ backs.  They had to get other students to tell them what their gadget does and use those hints to figure out what was on their backs.  It really made them have to use and understand the language, and I literally backed right out of the room so they could work it out themselves.

PrCo review went smoothly.  I liked my authentic lead-in, “What are you doing after class today?”  I was pleased with the little PowerPoint I made that had one-sentence slides of PrCo mixed in with non-ProCo (they had to determine which ones were PrCo).  We changed the non-PrCo into PrCo.  I kept asking, “Why,” and “How do you know?” … and they kept having to answer me.

The transition from PrCo talking about future into PrCo talking about the present was smooth.  The charades game was fun and really showed me they understood that it meant right now.  Plus one of my students had the verb “flying” and the flapping was funny for all.

Pronunciation was a change from yesterday with students working in pairs, helping each other.  Not The Emily Show!

The listening tied in neatly with the PrCo because the textbook is good that way, and we really stretched it out, locating PrCo sentences in the listening worksheet after the listening activity was over.

What I’d like to improve upon:

Again, my a/v time was longer than I’d anticipated.  This is not hard to prevent, I just didn’t do everything I should have in order to prevent it.

I wish I’d checked for understanding better at the end of pronunciation.  I know they practiced, but except for the little bits I observed while floating, I don’t know how well they did.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

I really want to tie the vocabulary into the grammar since they’ve seemed oddly separate all week.  I’ll save the second piece of listening for next week.  It’s already Wednesday and we haven’t really done reading.  Pronunciation should continue, especially with small group work.  Maybe we’re ready to succeed at the first exercise the textbook suggests as a lead-in for this unit!

Also, I’d very much like to end the week with a decidedly interactive lesson.

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Journal: A Good, Long Day

Quick update on today’s lesson: I decided to go backwards a unit because it just seemed too crazy to go forward.

I’ve decided that one of my weaknesses is teaching vocabulary. I mean, I can do it, but I never really get the intangible sense or the tangible proof that they’ve made vocab progress. Today’s vocab lesson had context, an introduction, and several kinds of practice with the words. It still just didn’t feel like a fantastic piece of the lesson.

After teaching, I began volunteering at a hospital in the ER. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, and it was really fun and tiring. I’m now officially copping out on the rest of today’s blog journal to plan for tomorrow and go to bed.

Journal: Class Clown

Today one of the older gentlemen in my class stated that he understood that women in America get offended when they’re asked their weight.  He then proceeded to (jokingly) ask the women in the class how much they weighed.  They seemed to get that it was a joke and they laughed, but it’s just not something I’m comfortable having happen.

When I talked to him about it after class he said something to the effect of, “Yes, I know I can’t say it out there to strangers.  But here I like to joke with my friends.”  I’m actually thrilled that the class is that kind of a comfortable environment for him.  I’m just not thrilled with the inappropriate joking.  I think he understood that I think he’s a nice man but that I don’t want to hear this type of joke anymore.  We’ll see how much follow-up it takes!

Students: 7

Countries of Origin: El Salvador, China, South Korea

What surprised me:

  • I forgot to unlock one of the doors to the building when I arrived, and I accidentally defined a word with an extra “not” up on the board.  I guess the mornings are catching up with me!
  • How much they got into our discussions of agreeing and disagreeing.
  • How challenging the vocabulary was to them even after reviewing it in multiple ways.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT understand and use yesterday’s vocab through listening and speaking.
  2. SWBAT use Is/are there questions and statements correctly with regards to count and non-count nouns.
  3. SWBAT listen for details.
  4. SWBAT agree or disagree with a food-related statement and give at least one supporting reason.

What went well:

The vocabulary reviews were varied and made them know the word’s definition as well as how it’s used in context, both passively and actively.  We got up and out of our seats a lot, and did both small group and large group work.

I was also pleased with the listening activity (yay book!) and the segue into (dis)agreeing.  Also, I was right that they wouldn’t necessarily know what agree and disagree meant and using the video as context and a simple picture on the board really helped explain it.  Vote With Your Feet really forced them to practice their old vocab as well as what agree and disagree mean.

We had an awkward amount of time left at the end, so I had them do a small quiz on count and non-count to help inform what I need to do to improve upon my grammar point.

What I’d like to improve upon:

I was definitely guilty of a grammatical side-note today.  I know perfectly well you can’t “just mention” something, for example that “How many” is count and “How much” is non-count.  It doesn’t prepare them for when they see it in a formal lesson; it’s just confusing.  I’ve done a good job of limiting this type of aside, and I need to limit it more.

The chain drilling of count and non-count questions and answers first thing this morning was interesting.  They still have a hard time deciding what’s count or not (even when they pulled the noun out of a hat and all the count nouns had “s” at the end), probably because it makes very little logical sense.  They also aren’t making the connection that if I ask “Are there any chickens?” the answer uses are, not is. It was definitely good to get more practice in, but we’re now in a situation where a handful of students get it but a handful doesn’t get it.

Based on their count/non-count quizzes, I think I’ll assign one group of students a more open-ended writing prompt and work more on count/non-count with the couple of students who are still struggling.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

Start with flyswatter practice on th, ch, sh, and ph.  Repeat today’s count/non-count chain drill.    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!).  Think of something (maybe more writing) for some students to do while I do some one-to-one count and non-count with others…

And unfortunately, I’m just not having the thinkiest time right now, so I’ll have to finish planning this evening!  Maybe I can plan Thursday’s review session while I’m at!

Blog Hiatus

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I spend my time because there just never seems to be enough of it.  Although I enjoy writing on this little blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to put energy into other projects for a while.

Thank you so much for reading, and for your comments (especially MJ, my star commenter). There’s a good chance I’ll be back at some point.

That Hiatus That Happened

Um, hi!

A couple of you have wondered what on Earth happened. Well, the second half of December was completely insane but absolutely wonderful. Then I took a one-month intensive TEFL certification course. Now it’s February. Not very exciting, but that’s what happened.

This week I’ll be finishing up my NP Career and Money series. Beyond that, we’ll see. I really enjoy blogging. However, it’s not in my top five priorities, so I don’t always give it the attention it needs.

I’m reevaluating my writing topics, my posting schedule, and whether I should keep blogging at all. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the series starting tomorrow. 🙂

The Last Month of the Decade

Listening to The Current on my way home from work, I heard the DJ remark that we have just begun the last month of the decade.

I started reflecting a bit on just how much my life has changed in the past ten years. It’s amazing to think of where I was in late 1999 and then look at where I am now. It’s a difference of 1,260 miles, a diploma, a degree, several jobs, and surprising number of relationships I can’t imagine living without.

And I realized that I’m proud of where I’m at and who I am.  I’m not perfect, and there are a few aspects of my current situation that aren’t quite optimal, but the fundamentals are right where I have always wanted them to be.  Many of the details would have probably surprised the Emily of 1999, but everything makes sense in retrospect.

It all makes me very curious about December 2019.