Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss

(Graded Reader)

Because I've been doing these books as I find them, I've not done a very good job of arranging them in level of difficulty.  I just got done with Strega Nona, which had very complex sentences for an ESL class.  And now I'm doing Hop on Pop, which is incredibly easy and simple.

If I ever go through these materials again, I'll try to sequence them better.  For the time being, however, I figured a little bit of jumping around in difficulty wasn't the end of the world.  It was good to challenge the students with something above their level every once in a while, and then it was also good to give them something easy to build up their confidence.

If you only have vague memories of this book from childhood, I'll recount it briefly:

This book was designed to teach young children how to read, so it only features very short words.

It was designed for native-speaking children, and some aspects are not ideal for the ESL classroom.  For example the word "pop" as a synonym for "dad" is very easy to spell and to pronounce, but low-frequency enough that it probably isn't of much use to a beginning ESL student.
Other words like "still" are also easy to spell, but have a meaning that is difficult to explain to beginning students.
And sometimes Dr Seuss tries to force rhymes with words that are spelled similar, but actually pronounced with different vowels (e.g. "wet" and "get") which could cause confusion to ESL students still learning pronunciation.

All those caveats aside, however, I have to say that this book worked well in my class.  Although it was slightly below the level of my students, they still enjoyed at it, laughed at the pictures, and hopefully got something out of it.

In my class, I also used this youtube video to supplement the book.



Here are some supplementary teaching materials I made when teaching this book in my classes.  These materials don't really work too well independently of the actual book, so you'll need to get a copy of the book to use these.

Google Slides: Part 1 (slides, pub) 2 (slides, pub)

Worksheets: Part 1 (docs, pub) 2 (docs, pub)

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky on NATO 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Human Bingo With Feel

(TESOL Worksheets--Vocabulary)

Google: drive, docs, pub
This is a Human Bingo game designed to practice 4 different meanings of the word "feel".  (to give an opinion, to talk about an emotion, to talk about physical illness, to talk about wanting to do something)  It was used to supplement Life Pre-Intermediate Textbook lesson 1C Health and Happiness p.14-15



feel sick
feel like getting coffee after class
feel like not going to work/school tomorrow
feel that Facebook is a waste of time
feel heartbroken
feel like going to bed right now
feel that there is too much traffic in this city
feel that dogs make better pets than cats
feel that there is too much homework in this class
feel like watching a movie tonight
feel that pollution is a big problem
feel hungry
free
feel like partying all night long
feel like eating pizza right now
feel in love
feel like going on a vacation
feel thirsty
feel angry
feel that this city is too noisy
feel tired
feel happy
feel sleepy
feel that they spend too much time working/studying
feel sad


Monday, November 28, 2016

Life Pre-Intermediate Textbook: 1C Health and Happiness p.14-15

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Pre-Intermediate)


Lead-in: docs, pub (taken from here)

Are you a happy person?
What is happiness for you?
What do you think is the color for happiness?
Do you think that happiness lies within you? Or does it depend upon other people and external things?
Can money buy happiness?
Is happiness a state of mind?
What makes you feel happy?
What are the three most important things for you to be happy?
Is happiness relative, that is, does it have a different meaning for each person?
Are single people happy?
Would you be happier with a soul mate or single?
Does having an animal/pet make you happy?
What is the effect that animals/pets have on people to make them feel happy?
What makes you happy?
When was the happiest time of your childhood?
Can you be happy if you are rich?
Can you be happy is you are poor?
How can you become happy again when you are sad?
Is happiness a goal?
How often do you feel really happy?
Are the people in your country generally very happy?
Are you very happy most of the time?
What makes you unhappy?
What's the most miserable you've been?
How happy are you compared with your friends?
Do you wake up happy every morning?
Do you agree that older people are less happy?
What is there to be happy about in the world today?
What affects your levels of happiness?
Does your happiness change during different times of the day, week, month or year?
What is or was the happiest time of your life?
Do you need money to be happy?
What do you think of the idea of a government Happiness Minister who is responsible for the happiness of the population?
Do you think some nations are happier than others?
What is missing in your life that would make you very happy?
Why are teenagers some of the happiest people in the world?
What was the happiest time in your entire life?
Do you feel that you have to work hard and be miserable now in order to be happy later?


TEFLology Episode 52: Transformation, Interviewing, and JALT2016

(TEFLology Podcast)

New episode of TEFLology is online here.

I mentioned in my original review of TEFLology that although I believed the series as a whole was was excellent for professional development, judged on an episode by episode basis the result was mixed.

And, let's face it, this is to be expected.  These guys have been doing a bi-weekly podcast for about 2 years now.  Each podcast contains 3 segments.
If I were in their shoes, I think I could talk about maybe 3 TESOL related topics before all my areas of expertise were exhausted.
They're at episode 52 and still going strong.  Plus their doing this in addition to full time jobs, completing a PHD program, and managing families.  It puts me to shame!

But, yeah, all that being said, this wasn't the best episode.  I got very little out of it for my own professional development.

The first section was the TEFLologists reflecting on their own development as interviewers.  I can't imagine this is of any interest to anyone besides the TEFLologists themselves.

...Actually, I take that back.  It's slightly interesting.  After all, if you've been listening to the whole podcast (and I have) then you've listened to 24 interview episodes--some of them with some of the biggest names in the field.  So after all that, it is, I guess, kind of interesting to hear about the how the TEFLologists themselves view the interviewing process.
The interviews come off as seeming so smooth and effortless that as a listener I never really stopped to think that there was actually a lot of thought put into the selection of the questions.

But I say that as someone who's listened to the whole podcast.  I can't imagine anyone who's coming into TEFLology for the first time would get anything out of this episode.

Sidenote: The TEFLologists are slightly self-critical of their interview technique, but for my money, they've never done a bad interview.  All 24 interview episodes have been really interesting to listen to.

The next section of the podcast was on transformation.  The emphasis here again was on the personal stories of the TEFLologists, but it at least got the listener thinking about the subject.

The 3rd section was a preview of JALT 2016.
This offered a brief preview of some of the speakers who will be featured in later interviews.
Brief though it was I find these quick summaries useful.  For someone like me who doesn't keep up very well with the literature in the field, this kind of name dropping on TEFLology at least keeps me somewhat in the loop.

So I guess I did get something out of this episode after all.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Life Intermediate: 2B Dance Across America p.24-25

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Intermediate)


Lead-in: docspub (Lead-in questions taken from here).

Do you like dancing?

How important is dancing in your culture?

How often do you dance?

What kinds of dancing can we see in your country?

Do you like dancing in discos?

Do you have any early memories of dancing?

Why do people like to dance?

Do you ever go to see dance performances?

What dances from other countries do you like?

Are you good at dancing?

Is there a national dance in your country?

Are there any famous dancing groups in your country?

Do you think being a professional dancer would be a good job?

Do you like movies about dancing?

What kind of music do you think is good to dance to?

Do you prefer dancing alone or with other people?

What do you think of ballet?

Do you ever dance in the streets at festivals?

Have you seen or taken part in dances that tell a story?

What is the difference between a good dancer and a bad dancer?


Saturday, November 26, 2016


I remember seeing this political cartoon in the newspapers way back in the 90s.   And it stuck with me because it showed just exactly how many Presidents Fidel Castro had outlasted (and since this cartoon was originally published, we can add two- more to that list), and it reminded me just how confident all of these Presidents were that Castro was always on the brink of being overthrown by his own people.

I don't want to defend Castro too much. His legacy was on the whole a negative one.  But it's worth remembering that the US government was always trying to exaggerate how unpopular he was.

But then, that doesn't make him a good guy either:




(Digital form of this cartoon was found using a Google Image search, and came from this webpage here.)

Trumbo (2015)

(Movie Review)

Positives
* I love these movies that can inform and entertain me at the same time.  And it was a very interesting little piece of American and Hollywood history here.

* Bryan Cranston is, as always, wonderful.

Negatives
* The historical stuff in this movie was really interesting, but by the time we get to the "genuis struggles to balance his work and family life" storyline, then we've officially reached Biopic Cliches 101.  At this point, the arguments he has with his wife and kids could have been switched in from just about any other Biopic, and no one would know the difference.

* A lot of the celebrity impressions in this movie were really bad, and had a "made-for-TV movie" quality to them.  Bryan Cranston was really good, of course, but the actors playing John Wayne, Edward G Robinson, and  Kirk Douglas were all pretty awful.

Review
This film moves at a pretty slow pace, so you have to be in the right mood before you settle down to watch it.  But if you're in a relaxed mood and you feel like a good biopic and some interesting history, then this is worth checking out.

Rating
8 out of 10 Stars

Link of the Day
ALJAZEERA ENGLISH-Noam Chomsky on the new Trump era (november 2016)

Market Leader: Intermediate Unit 2 Travel page 16-17 Reading

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--Market Leader Intermediate)


Vocabulary Cards: drive, docs, pub  (These cards can be used for various games--e.g. grab the card, describe the card to your partner, et cetera.)


peak travel
check in
frequent-flyer points
upgrade
lounge
boarding pass
ground staff





peak travel
check in
frequent-flyer points
upgrade
lounge
boarding pass
ground staff




Friday, November 25, 2016

Present Simple versus Present Continuous

(TESOL Worksheets--Present Simple, Present Continuous)
Google: docs, pub
(This is basically an exact copy of a worksheet that I previously made up for a business English class, but I redesigned it for pre-intermediate general English class.  I used this worksheet to supplement Life Pre-Intermediate lesson 1B The Secrets of Long Life p.12-13. )

Look at these example sentences.
Then discuss with a partner: In which situations do we use the present simple?
In which situations do we use the present continuous?


Present Simple
Present Continuous
I eat an apple every day.
Lions eat meat.
I sometimes watch football on TV.
I’m always very happy.
At the weekend they visit their grandparents.
He’s watching the news on TV at the moment.
Vicky’s travelling to several African countries this year.
Fewer people are buying cars this year.


For each situation, write in either present simple or present continuous.


1. We use the ________________to talk about habits and routines.


2. We use the ________________to talk about things happening now.


3. We use the ________________to talk about things that are always true.


4. We often use adverbs of frequency (always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never) with the ________________to talk about how often we do something.


5. We use the ________________to talk about things happening around now, but not necessarily at the moment.


6. We use the ________________ to talk about current trends and changing situations.


7. We don’t usually use stative verbs (be, have, like, love, hate, want) in the ________________ .


Answers:


1. We use the present simple to talk about habits and routines.
example: I eat an apple every day.


2. We use the present continuous to talk about things happening now.
example: He’s watching the news on TV at the moment.


3. We use the present simple to talk about things that are always true.
example: Lions eat meat.


4. We often use adverbs of frequency (always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never) with the present simple to talk about how often we do something.
examples: I sometimes watch football on TV.
I am always very happy.


5. We use the present continuous to talk about things happening around now, but not necessarily at the moment.
examples: Vicky’s travelling to several African countries this year.


6. We use the present continuous to talk about current trends and changing situations.
examples: Fewer people are buying cars this year.


7. We don’t usually use stative verbs (be, have, like, love, hate, want) in the present continuous.