Friday, January 31, 2020

In the New Semester

This week we bid farewell and good luck to exiting students and new Canadian citizens Nabil and Raja. We hope they will meet us in public when we go on field trips! Meanwhile, as soon as she finishes her virus quarantine, another student recently returned from China will be re-joining our class after a very long absence. We are also getting a new student Monday.

Monday was Y Olympics, and my room became the quiet room for table games while the rest of the student body and teachers got boisterous in the gym with hilarious competitions like stacking beanbags on one's forehead.
SET! (rules went out the window)

Quarto won Mensa game of the year when it came out!

Saadallah said he has the same exact magnetic travel game as mine at his home.

Thursday you had your conferences with me, and everyone gave me useful feedback. Here are some suggestions and comments from you:

Another school promoted me too quickly from level one to three to five, skipping levels. I have never learned the common level two words. My goal is to learn level 2 vocabulary solidly.

I want common everyday spoken English so I can understand a group of native speakers chatting around the water cooler at break time where I volunteer.

Please give us short, interesting stories.

My reading and writing abilities are strong. I need more speaking and listening. I know my listening skills are poor. I want a conversation partner who talks a lot, not a quiet one.

If you drop the level of this class in February, please give me extra material to read. (Two students said this.) Teach the same topic to both groups, the advanced and lower groups, but use a more difficult, richer version for the advanced group.

We benefit from giving presentations and doing role plays and skits because it forces us to practice a lot until we remember the phrases in English. Making our brains work hard staves off dementia, you said.

It is hard for me to focus when so much is going on back home (violence, war).

All of you expressed appreciation for the CONTENT of our modules and said you really benefited from learning about Uber, air travel, hearing and hearing loss, falling and falls prevention, the LIHN, and the new dental health program for seniors in Ontario.

Okay! That was a lot of great feedback! Here are some answers I have to your feedback:

Yes, we are going to drop the level of the class to a high 2, low 3 in February. I will need a lot of help and support doing this in a multilevel class. I will do my best to give higher level students their own version of materials, but this is only possible with some resource packages that I have access to. Many times, I will simply ask those of you who want a challenge to do something extra with the same material. We'll see how that pans out!

I wish I could give you short, interesting stories, but I have spent hours and hours and hours searching for them. The only good sources I've found are five or six very old, tattered books in the teachers' library here at school. Those stories are so tired; we've read them again and again. The pig that called 911! The baby born on the subway platform! I'll see if I can find a newer edition of one that my manager can order us.

This past week we used the book Pronunciation Pairs, which has silly (not true) stories designed to make us practice a certain pair of consonant or vowel sounds in English. Let's start using that book more often. Saiying said it was useful.

As for the request for the basic vocabulary taught at the lower levels, I am going to give everyone a copy of the new General Service List of the first 2000 words needed to speak and understand everyday spoken English. We will highlight any that you don't already know well and use them in common phrases and in our chats.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy Year of the Rat

Happy Chinese New Year! Perhaps Saiying will enjoy this little film about a two-stringed instrument. Is it the same one she and her husband know how to play?

This week we looked at evocative photos that elicited interesting language. One category of word or phrase that came up was interjections and exclamations. Here is a little lesson on some of them.

Here is a short tour of Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, the one Huarong visited with his family. It is fascinating!

Tour of Monument Valley is below. Turn on Closed Captioning / subtitles.

Click HERE to visit the Plan Your Trip page of ViaRail's website to see where they go and how much fares are. Explore destinations in Ontario and Quebec.

Enjoy your new year's celebrations, Chinese students.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Falls Prevention and Injury Minimization

Hello, students of the seniors' class!

Click HERE to practice sentences and spelling.

Just as we were getting into our unit on falls prevention and how to fall to minimize injury, one of you took a tumble and ended up with a broken nose. We are all so happy that our classmate is okay.

Here are some videos to help you practice the concepts and vocabulary around this topic. On the 15th, Amanda from the U of Windsor's kinesiology department will come talk to us about preventing falls and what to do if you have already tripped and know you are going down.

Here is another short but helpful video.