Journal: A Good Week

This was a good week!

We began a new unit on Monday: Time and Events.  I’ve been really happy with our work.

Monday we began with some reading from the old unit, then congratulated ourselves on finishing the family unit and moved on to the time unit.  We reviewed clock-reading basics and made sure we were all talking about the same thing: hour hand, minute hand, etc.  Everyone already knew (at least roughly) how to read clocks, so that really helped the vocabulary stick!  We also moved into our more complicated English time phrases: some people say 5:15… and others say quarter after 5.  We began filling out times on worksheets for a jigsaw activity (in which Group A has answers 1-5 and Group B has answers 6-10, so the groups can communicate the answers to each other), but ran out of time.

Tuesday we got about as far as basic time review before Standardized Test Day kicked in.

Wednesday we resumed and completed the jigsaw.  It was really fun to watch students try the complicated time phrases, see their partner’s interpretation of what they said, and the negotiation of meaning until it was correct.  Those kinds of interactions are what help the language stick – when a phrase has real and distinct meaning.

We also happened upon a surprisingly rich conversation topic: “What time to you get up in the morning? Why?”  People’s schedules and breakfasts had a lot of very interesting variety!

Today I filled in a learning gap that I didn’t realize was there until I watched yesterday’s jigsaw activity: students didn’t really get what a “quarter” meant – many people said “quarter after 5” was 5:25, I think because the coin is worth $.25.  We did a little math lesson on “half” and “quarter.”  The concepts weren’t new to anyone, but for some it was good review and I think for all it was an important vocabulary clarifier.

For half, I told a story about two students (including our resident Subway enthusiast) splitting a five-dollar foot-long.  I projected a picture of one onto the white board so we all knew what we were talking about.  The students told me how much each would pay ($2.50), and we established that it was half.  Then I went to cut the sandwich by drawing a dry-erase line through it.  I drew it way off to one side and asked if that was half.  They knew it was not, that the sides had to be the same.  I wrote this information on the board: half = 2 parts the same size.

For quarter, I told a story about four students (the four closest to the front) splitting a pizza for $12.00.  I drew a circle on the board and made an arrow pointing to it that said “pizza.”  So much for art.  🙂  After a slightly hilarious interlude from a student who works at Sbarro telling us with pride that their pizzas are only $9.99, the class split the pizza bill into quarters, or $3 each.  At that point, I busted out four quarter-dollar-coins and a dollar bill to clear up the idea that a quarter only meant $.25.  No, it means four equal parts.  We then divided the pizza into quarters in the standard way, one vertical half and one horizontal half.

Then… I said, “Oh wow, that pizza looks like a clock!”  I changed the label from “pizza” to “clock.”  I filled in the clock numbers.  I pointed to the upper right quadrant and asked, How many minutes are in this quarter?  They got the answer right: 15.

I was pretty sure they understood but I wanted them to show me.  I separated them into four groups (we had 13 students, so I couldn’t do quarters!) and gave each group a different number of different objects. Group 1 had tea bags, Group 2 had chocolates, Group 3 had square buttons, and Group 4 had stars.  I had each group answer 3 questions: how many things, what number is half of your things, and what number is a quarter of your things.  I wish I’d done a better job of having them share their information with each other, but we were pressed for time.  Still, they showed me the right answers, so I could see some evidence of understanding.

It was a good week!  Looking forward to next week’s review of it and to our Thanksgiving lesson!

 

Journal: A Highly Specific Success Regarding Directions

I’m following up yesterday’s general, philosophical post with one about a highly specific success.

In one activity this morning, I wanted the students to write down how to get from their house to a place in their neighborhood.

Now, I have a history of introducing this type of writing activity in such a way that half the class has no idea what I want them to write about, but the other half knows exactly what to write about.  Today, I really wanted to make sure that everyone knew what to write about.

I realized that in the past, I haven’t treated the “think of a place in your neighborhood” piece as its own, separate step.  I should though.  “Think of something” is an abstract thing for students to do and there’s no embedded feedback if they’re just thinking alone.  How do they know if they’re on the right track?  It also doesn’t always make much sense without the accompanying assignment.  However, when I immediately pair it with the assignment, everybody misses something because it’s too much all at once.

Today, I modeled first by talking about my neighborhood.  I listed three places in my neighborhood near my home: a grocery store and two restaurants.  Then I asked students to tell me a place in their neighborhood.  After some difficulties regarding the exact definition of “neighborhood” (one student seemed to want a quantified radius) and something like ten minutes of discussion, we had heard at least eight students list a few places near their houses.

Block Tower by starbuck powersurge on Flickr
Block Tower by starbuck powersurge on Flickr

At that point, I asked students to pick one place each and write directions from their house to there.  I gave concrete examples (Student A will write how to get from her house to the 7-11 in her neighborhood.  Student B will write how to get from her house to the mall.) so everyone knew what they should write about.

 

 

And you know what?  Every single student knew that they should put something on paper about getting from their home to a place in their neighborhood.  They had varied degrees and methods of success, in part because my writing instructions were not as clear and well-modeled as could be.  But by gosh did everyone know the topic.

It’s a small success, but I can build on it.

Journal: Tech-Teaching Improvements

The computer-based lessons went much, much more smoothly yesterday and today. 

I talked with students after computer time both days, and they like it.  We decided together that we’ll do 30 minutes of computer time everyday.  I plan to keep checking in about it at least once a week, so it might change.

Now, a bit more about the journey that has been computer time:

First “Lesson:” Oops

In my first computer “lesson” I made a lot of mistakes.  They stemmed from my own experience (I’m in many ways a “digital native“) and from my lack of experience (my training is in running a communicative classroom, not in preparing a computer-based activity). 

I would like to add that the surprise technical difficulties I had were not in any way helpful. 

It was a painful hour of my life, but the learning curve was quick and eye-opening.

What I Improved:

  • I decided to log everyone into the computers myself during the break.  Typing in the nonsense logins and passwords with 100% accuracy was really too much for many students the first day.
  • Most students already had email addresses after the first day – phew!
  • I created a simple website, Teacher Emily’s Computer Class.  Students go to it (bit.ly/EmilyComp) and select their activities. 
  • I quick talked to individual students about their computer skills.  “Are you good with computers?”  Everyone was able to catch my meaning and tell me bood, bad, or so-so.  It was enough to figure out who I had to watch like a hawk, and was therefore super helpful.
  • Thanks to my website, I could quickly send students who struggle to even use a mouse over to a mouse practice program.

How I Want to Keep Improving:

  • seat all of the beginning computer users together (obvious, but hard to remember at the time!)
  • methodically help everyone be more self-sufficient on computers.  A maybe-logical sequence off the top of my head:
    1. learn to mouse
    2. learn to open the internet browser (Internet Explorer- gr…)
    3. learn to type in the address to my website
    4. learn to select an activity from the website and maximize the window
    5. learn to log in to the computer
    6. learn to type quickly
  • tweak my website in two ways:
    1. improve the organization and clarity, particularly for lower-level English readers
    2. add more resources, particularly for higher-level computer users

Why It’s Worth the Headache

It’s multilevel.  That’s my first and final answer.  The most important priority I have is to help students move forward from wherever they’re at with their learning. 

My multilevel class includes students at many, many levels.  Here are quick sketches of five actual students in my class today:

Student A: low-intermediate English skills and zero computer skills. 
Student B: beginning English skills and zero computer skills. 
Student C: high-beginning English skills and near-expert computer skills. 
Student D: high-beginning English skills, wants to learn how to type faster.  
Student E: new; will certainly test into Level 3 and leave our class by next week.  

There were also ten other individuals I didn’t mention.  All of them can learn at their level simultaneously during computer time. It’s amazing.

In my opinion, the resources we’re using during computer time are not adequate substitutes for classroom interactions.  They are, however, awesome suplements that let students take the lead in their education and function at exactly their own level.  A solid way to spend 30 minutes.

Journal: Context for Communication

(Sorry to have missed posting yesterday.  I’ll write a separate post soon about my weekly routine teaching split-shift classes.)

We’ve been working on grammar all week in the morning L1 multilevel class.   Asking questions with the right word order and using possessives properly were pretty major points.  I needed them to practice doing these things and I needed to take myself out of the middle, but they are often confused when working in small groups with dialogs.  I think this is because dialogs are so artificial that they’re actually quite abstract.

I Set the Context

Right Arm Cast by jeffreylcohen on Flickr
Right Arm Cast by jeffreylcohen on Flickr

I brought in a white dish towel.  In front of the whole class, I wrapped it around my right hand and wrist like a cast or ace bandage.  I told them that I hurt my hand.  “Where should I go?”  They told me to go to the hospital, doctor, clinic, etc.  I said OK.

I walked in place to the clinic.  I opened the invisible door to the clinic and told the invisible receptionist that I had hurt my hand and needed a doctor.  I walked in place to the invisible waiting room.  “Before you see the doctor, what do you always have to do?”  Blank stares.  I held up some forms.  They understood – paperwork.

“But I have a problem!” I told them.  “I hurt my hand.  I cannot write.”  I tried to hold a pen in my wrapped-up hand and dropped it.  “I need somebody to help me.  The secretary will help me.  She [yes, I said “she” for secretary…] will write my information.  I am the patient.”

Their Tasks

I then split students into pairs, one as the secretary and one with the hurt hand.  I gave the secretaries basic forms with lines for personal information (name, address, etc.).  They had to ask their patients “What is your [name/address/telephone]?” and write down the patients’ answers.

Benefits of Context

Every single student understood their role. I know this because I walked around and checked; not even one student was floundering in left field.  This was huge; I normally confuse at least one student.  🙂  The context seemed to work for everyone.  Many of the “patients” even got into the acting, cradling one hand in the other as though they were hurt.

It also made “enforcement” of the roles a game.  Instead of saying, “No, don’t write your own information!” I could say, “Remember, you hurt your hand!  He has to write for you!”

Having the students swap roles in order to keep practicing was also fun and clear.  I presented the new secretary with a form and congratulated him or her on his new secretary job.  Then I told the other student that they needed to be careful with their hands next time, no more accidents.  They understood that their roles had switched, and they were able to understand and chuckle at a bit of humor in English.

Having the context really made all the difference. No abstract explanations, no vaguely wondering if they were completing the task correctly.

Also, my only activity-specific prep was having enough copies of the forms (they were re-used from our last unit on personal information) and bringing in a dish towel.  Not bad.  🙂

Journal: Cheesy ESL Songs… Kind of Rock

During my planning this weekend, I realized that the students need to have some sort of memorized reference for forming questions and possessives. 

Based on the fact that I can’t remember all the days of the week in Russian but I can remember how to say in Russian, “Do you want me to blow up all the stars that disturb your sleep?” (from the song “Khochesh” by Zemfira), I decided that using a song this week would serve my purposes best.

Our text series actually comes with a whole book of pop-style songs, as well as both normal audio CDs and a karaoke CD.  There’s a song for each level in each unit, and seriously, I was so excited when I read the lyrics of the song.  They’re nothing profound, but they the exact vocabulary, phrases, and demonstrations of possessive nouns and adjectives (i.e. Emily’s and her) I was looking for.  Memorizing these lyrics will help them understand and use the language we’re working on.

Then I listened to it.  Ouch.  It was the dumbest sounding thing I’d ever heard.  It was seriously painful.  I was really hesitant to stand behind anything so trite and hopelessly cheesy. 

But they need what it had to offer English-wise, so we’ll be studying it every day this week.  This is not, after all, a music composition class.  Today I took a deep breath and dove in.  I confessed to the class that I was scared to use this style of music because I think it’s bad music.  I also told them that the lesson is very good, and that they’ll remember it forever. 

Regardless of my lukewarm introduction, they seemed to enjoy it.  Some students were even singing along, some tone deaf and some not.  🙂

So I’m glad I tried out this song thing.  I’m not quite as glad that it’s super catchy and will be in my head all day. 

PS – A better Zemfira song (in my opinion) is London.  She’s a pretty incredible singer.

Journal: A Larger Class than I’d Expected

Yesterday continued to be “meh.” I had 7 students, and I felt kind of lost in this big computer lab with them.  We had to do paperwork and yet another test, so I hardly got to interact with them at all.  What interaction there was was all about boring and/or abstract concepts, so I felt that they had no reason to actually come back today.

Well, they all came back.  Plus a few more.  And class was good.

Students: 17
(but some of the new folks will likely move to Level 2 next week)

Countries of Origin: El Salvador, South Korea, Puerto Rico, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, Iraq

What surprised me:

  • New students kept on coming in to register.  I was hoping we’d hit 20, but 17 was still fun.  🙂
  • The dictation relay went off without a hitch.
  • Just how much fun I had juggling a class of 7, 10 new registrants, and then a class of 17.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT name, hear, and ID the vowels + y correctly and quickly
  2. SWBAT ask and answer “What’s your name?” and “How do you spell that?”
  3. SWBAT use and understand specific language relating to dates: today, tomorrow, yesterday, days of the week, date, and two ways to say 2010.

What went well:

I watched my teacher talk pretty carefully, especially at first, and I really cut back on unnecessary and confusing narration.  I backed up my words with physical demonstrations.

The flyswatter game went well even though I forgot my flyswatters in the car.  I liked that I backed out of the activity so quickly, making being the Teacher a student job after just one round.

I had them do a mingle just as the number of new registrants in the room was getting ridiculous.  The timing was good, the questions were a good level, and it was a great activity for the new registrants to join in the middle of.

What I’d like to improve upon:

Confessions:

  • I wrote the dialog we studied for the last hour of class in the last few minutes of the second break.  I’m happy with its relevance and quality, just not with when I wrote it.
  • I still don’t know where the photocopier is.

Thoughts for tomorrow:

I’m looking forward to having them work on an introduction project (basically, to write profiles of themselves including first and last name, country, and job).  We also need some real fly-swatters to practice letter names.

Journal: Last Day!

The last day of class was on Thursday.  It went well!  We did some review (including the Flyswatter Game), we though about everything we studied this summer, and I handed them back their old writing.  After all of that, it was party time!

The students were in charge of the party, and I’m relieved to report that their jokes about throwing a “whiskey party” did not come to fruition.  They threw a genuinely great party.  Best of all, the de-facto party planner was a student who doesn’t share a common first language with any of the other students, so all of the planning had to happen in English.  A truly “authentic” project!

We had a ridiculous amount of food, including homemade tostadas with cheese and avocado, horchata, rotisserie chicken, pizza, pies, fresh peaches, a fruit tray, watermelon, soda, and potato chips.  The party planner even thought to pick up a tablecloth, so our little shindig looked more like a grand gala.  The students brought in some salsa music, and I’m not gonna lie – there was some dancing!  It was quite fun, especially when they got the nonprofit staff in on the festivities as well!

All of the students signed a Thank You card for me, and a few students even brought me small gifts of flowers and tea.  It was very sweet!

It’s a little flummoxing to find yourself in the middle of a sea of “thank you”s and tokens of appreciation just because you’ve done something you really enjoyed for a mere six weeks AND got paid for it.  I hope I did it well, and I hope what they learned is helpful to them.

I can’t wait for Fall semester to start!  Tuesday, September 7th, here I come!

Journal: Project Day

Yesterday’s class was OK.  I had freakishly great attendance (9 students!) so I changed my lesson plan at the last moment and conducted the standardized test I’d been planning to do today.  We worked on negating the Simple Present, and while it was nice and clear, it turned into The Emily Show.

Today I planned a poster project to help get me out of the spotlight and to really put their understanding to the test.  Objectives met!

Also, we only have two days left of summer classes!  We have a party planned for this Thursday (looks like it’s going to be epic), and then about a month off until the Fall semester.  I’ll be transferring to a different site and level.  I’m looking forward to it, but I’m going to miss this group SO much!

Students: 8

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

What surprised me:

  • How good it felt to have students stand up and be able to confidently identify the subject and verbs in a sentence on the board.  It’s not something they’ll do in their everyday life, but it will help them decipher some advanced grammar (i.e. passive voice) later on.
  • I ended up having four men and four women, so I made the groups for the poster project single-gender.  The ensuing competition and heckling was hilarious.
  • One of my students has been struggling with mixing up the SiPr and PrCo tenses.  As the poster project time was wrapping up, the student said with perfect grammar, “I am smoking marijuana today.”

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT negate SiPr
  2. SWBAT use SiPr and PrCo correctly and appropriately

What went well:

The morning’s conversation was very strong today, touching upon dreams and the maps on the classroom walls.  I also found that a good way to wrap up conversation time is to get the next activity up on the board.  Simple and obvious, but it seems to work.

Our SiPr negations went pretty well.  I definitely made a good choice by modeling first and then handing off the marker to let the students be the teachers.  I was also pleased with my solo two-person dialogs to demonstrate the nuance between “I like chocolate.” and “I do like chocolate.”

The poster project went better than I’d expected.  Far better.  I think they were well prepared for it, and my model on the board was clear and helpful. The questions they asked me and each other as they were making their posters showed me that the project was making them separate and compare the two tenses in terms of form and function.  I asked them to present to the class, and one of the students walked over to the cabinet and got out a flyswatter to use as a pointer!

For the last ten or so minutes we watched the old videos from the unit on mute.  In one video, a character is exercising in the office next to his coworkers while they are working.  (In other words, there’s a ton of PrCo.) In another, real people are being interviewed in Central Park about their exercise routines.  (In other words, there’s a ton of SiPr.)  The students were able to describe what was happening in correct PrCo and tell which tense the interviewees were using as they spoke (while it was on mute).  Those were pretty complex checks for understanding, and they were able to answer correctly and confidently!

This is one of those lessons that really left me with a positive feeling, and I’m guessing (or hoping?) that the other folks present feel similarly.

What I’d like to improve upon:

I’m sort of afraid that by telling the students that I’ll be moving to a different school for the Fall term, I made too big a deal of it.  Some of them are looking toward the Fall with trepidation, which was not my intent at all.  I’m not sure how to smooth that transition.  Maybe by having them make a portfolio of sorts to show to the Fall teacher?

Thoughts for tomorrow:

I think they’re prepared for the super-picky worksheet I have on SiPr vs PrCo.  I’d also like them to write dialogs about exercising, using at least one example of SiPr and at least one of PrCo.

Journal: Discussion

Alternate post title: I Went to an ESL Class and a Salsa Lesson Broke Out

Students: 6

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

What surprised me:

  • They responded very well to conversation time, and I think that the beginning discussion set a great tone for the rest of the class session.
  • One of my middle-aged male students started teaching an older male student to Salsa dance.  It was so fun to watch them cut a rug!  They stayed over 15 minutes late for the dance lesson, giving and receiving instructions in English (it’s their only language in common) and also talking about where they live.  I think the spins were my favorite.

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT ID, construct, and correct PrCo sentences and questions.
  2. SWBAT listen for details.

What went well:

It all started when seven minutes after the class’s start time, I only had 2 students.  I scrapped my warm-up activity and busted out a “sleeve” activity (as in something I had up my sleeve just in case).  I asked the question, “In your opinion, what is the most important thing for you to learn in English.  For example, reading?  Speaking?  What is most important for you?”

In the past, when I’ve asked a question like this at the beginning of a class, I’m met with lots of wide eyes and relative silence.  But today I ended up with a half-hour’s worth of discussion as students trickled in late.  I got lots of useful information for solidifying the plan for the last two weeks of class.  The class also really felt more like a team.  I think that feeling of being connected is what precipitated the dance lesson at the end of class.

I decided to review how grids work subtly today.  I asked them to remind me how to make a PrCo statement and wrote each element as a column heading on the board.  They gave me examples and I wrote each element of each example sentence under the column heading.  Later, I let them write sentences on their paper and then write them on the board, and every single student put the correct word in the correct place.

I designed a little “quiz” with six PrCo questions and directions to answer in PrCo.  All but the student who was struggling most wrote all of the PrCo grammar with at least 85% accuracy, some with 100% accuracy.  I worked more closely with the struggling student, and after leading him through the first two examples, he completed two more on his own that were mostly correct.  I was very happy to file away their work in their writing folders for them to see again when class ends in two weeks!

I was proud of myself for letting go of our final activity.  We started out with a clean whiteboard and I got the students to write the PrCo form and an example on the board.  It took a while to spell everything right (“subject,” “verb,” and some words in the example) and the whole class was just roaring with laughter.  Once the example was up I asked each student a few questions in PrCo and had them answer in PrCo, and then I let go of the conversation.  It naturally went toward dancing, everyone participated, and I actually had to interrupt them to tell them that class ended a few minutes ago.  Then the dance lesson commenced as I chatted with another student about how he came to America, and the last student left about 20 minutes after our scheduled end time.

What I’d like to improve upon:

Listening was fine but lackluster, as usual.  They were engaged and they showed improvement over the course of the activity.  I’m not sure if I feel like it’s a cop-out just because I always use the book’s exercises instead of my own (even though I think the book really excels in this area) or if there’s really something missing.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

I’m feeling ready to tackle this more free-form grid activity again.  I’d also like to keep up the conversation momentum.  A dialog will probably be in order, and I kind of want to write a PrCo test for them because I think they’ll be able to school it.

Journal: Repetition

As I was planning this week’s lessons, I started to get nervous that I’m not teaching a wide enough variety of lessons.  I was worried that it was lazy to not move on and incorporate more into this grammar point, or to move to a new one.

Today’s class restored my confidence.  They remembered what they’d been studying last week (Present Continuous).  They can all identify subject, to be, and the verb.  They’re much more accurate when they say simple sentences during chain drills (I’d say close to 80%, up from maybe 40%).  I noticed that even the students who struggle more than the others are significantly more accurate when they write or speak using this tense.  It’s awesome.

And to top off their success today, one of the students who has been in the class for at least a few semesters said that this used to be very hard for him, but the way I’m presenting it and doing a lot of examples, he understands it.  So they’re learning and they know it.  Yay!

Students: 7

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

What surprised me:

  • a student was telling about going fishing by the river this weekend, and that there were a lot of rehneh there.  I said I didn’t know what a rehneh was, and asked him to explain.  He said it’s white people who don’t like people from Latin America or China or anywhere else….  ooooooh, rednecks.
  • that learning PrCo questions didn’t confuse them even though who takes statement grammar instead of question grammar because it’s a subject.  (Seriously, they’re amazing.)

Today’s Objectives:

  1. SWBAT ID, construct, and correct PrCo sentences.
  2. SWBAT ID, construct, and correct PrCo questions.
  3. (we had a pronunciation objective, but flat-out didn’t get to it)

What went well:

I was really pleased that I stuck to a good order: introduction, a ton of examples as a big group, a very structured practice for comprehension and accuracy, and a less structured practice that was still mostly for accuracy but required they supply more of the knowledge.

I wrote our reading exercise.  It was about 10 sentences long and had 5 sentences in PrCo.  One of the other sentences was in future conditional – in other words, it was only very subtly different.  1. They proved to me that they knew what PrCo was by making a fine distinction, and 2. it spurred a few to realize what they already knew, that PrCo isn’t the only way to write a good English sentence, but that it’s just one way to express a couple of specific meanings.

We did two parallel lessons when it came to introducing PrCo questions.  First we reviewed PrCo statements with examples, scrambled sentences, and a chain drill.  Then I introduced PrCo questions and we did a bunch of examples, unscrambled questions, and did a chain drill.  By repeating the activities with different content, there wasn’t too much new information coming at them at once.

I was also proud of myself for correcting a mistake I made Thursday.  Thursday (when I didn’t post, sorry), I had given them a worksheet and completely missed the fact that they had to use PrCo statements and questions.  We simply hadn’t learned question grammar yet.  I let people who knew it try it, and steered people who didn’t know away from it.  Today, after we had worked together on both statements and questions, I gave them back their worksheets to correct, focusing on the question examples.  It was great practice for them – a couple who had been struggling pretty hard really showed improvement when going back to this worksheet.

What I’d like to improve upon:

I’m reverting to my old habit from TEFL class of fearing the fluency activity.  We need more fluency practice – accuracy isn’t enough.

I need to make sure that we’re not losing sight of what exactly PrCo means, i.e. that it’s not for habitual events, or the past, or to say “maybe.”

I could support spelling better.

It was sloppy to teach that you switch the helping verb and the subject for all questions because for who questions, you generally don’t (because who is the subject).  It happened because I didn’t double-check my assumptions carefully.  I think I handled it fine, and I checked for understanding and they got it, but it was preventable.

Thoughts for Tomorrow:

We need to identify questions vs statements (maybe with sentence fragments, like “Are we meeting at…….” ).  I’d also like to get to some phrases like “driving me crazy” (I think some still think it has to do with a car) and “it’s making a funny noise” and other complaints of gadgets not working.  This content and grammar will tie into the listening.  I need to make a decision about pronunciation as well.