I remember a particular question posed to me when I was interviewing for new positions last Spring... "What aspect of your work do you think you need to improve?" I was surprised how easily I was able to answer that question in the moment. Of course there are LOTS of things that I need to improve in my work. But this particular thing had been on my mind, for a few years running, as THE thing that I felt I was dropping the ball on each year: Marketing.
Normally I would cringe at the work "marketing" when it comes to the realm of education. Actually, I still do. And maybe "marketing" is not the word I want to use. Maybe "promoting to the public" describes it better. And what easier way to "promote to the public" than to submit to the school newsletter? I understand that more seasoned...
A student asked me a couple weeks into the school year, "When are we going to learn the alphabet?". Fair question. (Although it seemed to be asked with a bit of resentment that we were not doing Spanish class as she had expected it to look.)
My response: We learn the alphabet daily over the course of the year. Perhaps not what she wanted to hear right then, but an answer that has yielded pleasing results.
Same goes for colors, numbers (ordinal and cardinal), weather expressions, articles of clothing, foods, modal verbs, circumlocution, different tenses, rooms in the house, etc etc etc. "Teach for June", as goes the TPRS adage popularized by Scott Benedict.
What does a mini-alphabet lesson look like in a typical class? Here are a few examples:
I've started playing Bingo with my classes lately. I was wanting something new to do with my students, and I remember someone telling me once that Joe Neilson plays Bingo in his classes. I consider that about as good as it gets for permission to do something.
We played once, but I didn't feel great about it. Yes, kids were thinking about the individual words and trying to match meaning. No doubt it was a net positive experience. But, too much time spent in English, because that's what I was speaking. Class time is precious and I want them processing strings of language as much as possible.
Well, I think I figured out a way to play Bingo, somewhat regularly even (once every week or two for 10-20 minutes) and not feel like I'm wasting our time doing it: Circuml...