Saturday, February 10, 2018

Grammar Gal

My friend Lucy taught me the saying, "A change is as good as a rest." This week is proving to me the truth of that expression.

Two weeks ago the makeup of my morning (seniors) class changed rather dramatically. This change couldn't have come at a better time. I was feeling stagnated with that group, as I've had some of the same students for three years. I do my best to mix it up, but the truth is that we've been together so long that in some ways it doesn't feel healthy. They push their luck with me, and I sometimes feel that they receive my rockstar lessons and my mediocre lessons with equal satisfaction.  Being pushed to do my best feels good. I don't feel good about myself when I am lazy in my prep. I've felt like taking a break from it, like asking another teacher to trade classes with me for a term.

Then along came three students who are accustomed to a very different sort of class: one with more structure and discipline, for one thing. Since their first week with me was during our needs assessment, I got a lot of requests that I haven't had in a long time. They want me to teach them the English articles system. C-V linking. Gerunds.

These requests have put some fresh wind in my sails. For one thing, I MISS teaching grammar. I've studied ten languages as diverse as Japanese and Latin, German and ASL, and minored in linguistics.  Teaching grammar makes me happy because I get comments from the learners like, "Nobody ever explained it like that before. I get it now."

So this week was devoted to gerunds. I used a combination of the Azar blue book and materials I'd made in the past. The week went something like this:
  • Warm up by talking about our hobbies
  • Pull up city's Activity Guide, go over some of the classes offered (swimming, dancing, etc.)
  • Small group discussion about these activities
  • Grammar lesson on the white board with students practicing orally
  • Gerund as Subject lesson (worksheet on website)
  • Azar blue book - sentences 1 through 16, but not the table of preposition combinations
  • Take up first half of homework (class time was provided)
  • Now the big reveal: provide the table of verbs and the prepositions with which they colligate
  • Oral practice
  • Hand out page with the rest of the gapped sentences, 17 through 25
  • Take up.
  • Chat using gerunds with question prompts for A/B pairs (change partners every 6 min and repeat)
  • Gerunds and prepositions board game

That's it. That was the week. All the materials mentioned above, with the exception of the Azar grammar pages, are available for free download from my website under FREE - GRAMMAR.

I sure had fun digging into long-forgotten folders on my flash drive. I feel alive again. A change really is as good as a rest.

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