Friday, October 9, 2009

Notes, notes and more notes!

Today I had my second foreign communication class. Before I started, I had arranged the desks with the help of the students, so that they would have space, and then I wrote the goals on the board. I also had a few new students, so I had them write their names and then I took their photos. I also gave them the syllabus, absentee slip and questionnaire to fill out and give me at a later time. Once that had been taken care of, I had them clear off their desks for the review quiz; I told them about last week that there would be a review test on the classroom English expressions. Besides the principal reason of review, I also have the review to help me keep attendance as I have them write down their name and number.

Next, we started the first of many activities focusing on word stress, sentence stress and intonation. Today I introduced word stress in two-syllable words. I wrote a one-syllable word on the board and then I hit the board once while saying the word. I then had students make a fist and knock on their desks while saying the word after me. I then wrote a two-syllable word on the board and repeated knocking twice. I also demonstrated the strong and week syllable of the word using some humor and gestures, presenting a strong syllable by pretending to flex and a weak one by acting really weak (this may of course be hard to picture, but I guess one way to think about it is to picture someone full of confidence followed by someone with no confidence at all, and that is pretty much what it was I was doing). I then had students pass out a worksheet with twenty words, most of which were taken from their book. I then gave them 10 minutes to complete the task, but many were finished before that. I then called on them individually to answer, asking them to clap loudly on the stressed syllable, and quietly on the unstressed syllable. I then had everyone repeat the answer after me. I noticed here that maybe I should have used fewer words because toward the end, some students looked a little tired. However, something like this, which students may not know very well, requires practice.

After the word stress activity, I started unit 1 of the textbook. It hasn't arrived yet, so I photocopied it for them. I first had them repeat the conversation after me and then I had them find a new partner and practice twice taking turns to read both roles. I also encouraged eye contact as much as possible. I then had them not look at the dialogue and repeat after me, which I have to say they did really well. After that, I talked about some of the expressions on the bottom of the page, expressions useful for starting up conversations. I used some Japanese, but said that if they were waiting in line or for a bus and they wanted to start a conversation with a foreigner, here were some ways they could do that. I also expressed that asking 'Are you American?' is not as appropriate as 'Where are you from?'.

Next, I had them do a fill in the blank activity in the book. They had to replace short one-word responses with something more substantial. After we had corrected this, I had them read it with their partner.

I then had them do a pair work dictation activity, which I have been using since the start of the year. I used many expressions from the textbook, which in pairs, one would have to read and the other would listen and write down the answer. I think this can be a great way to get them talking a little more and at the same time to encourage the use of classroom English, which I consider really important. I told them that once they had finished, they should check their answers, which they did. I also asked them as a class to tell me what certain words meant such as dormitory or convenience store. I will add here that this is what I did during the word stress activity, too, because there were many useful words that I felt many would not know.

Finally, I told them to review the conversation on page 2 and the expressions on page 3 for next week, as I will give them a review quiz on that material. I know that often many students would prefer to not have homework, but review is important, and while there are some students who don't need a reason to study, for many others, it is necessary.

Well, I think that is it for this post. If you'd like to leave a comment, by all means please do!


No comments:

Post a Comment