The first day backJonathan Gelens
The first day of class
We have all experienced the dread, the dragging of heels, as we make our way to class to start a new cycle and meet our students. However, it needn’t be all that bad and I think it is an opportunity, especially on the first day, to review and practice some of the basics again. I always like to plan for at least three hours. Below is a quick outline, with examples and links to some of the material I use.
In the first hour I like to go back over word types. Basically, I cover nouns, adjectives and verbs. These are the basic building blocks most students will use when writing or speaking. For this I write a quick sentence on the board. I try to use as many different types of words as I can. For example, the sentence could be, “My father is a kind person”. From this you can point out the different word types. After this you could add more sentences and have the students find the different types of words in the sentences. After this, I have a bookwidget which focuses on the different word types. Below you will find the link.
I also found a very useful website. I use this website a lot and it has some great exercises to help students practice grammar. Below is a link to the website.
http://esl.fis.edu/index.htm – From this website you’ll be able to find exercises that cover a lot of the basic tenses as well as word recognition and word order.
In the next hour I like to go over sentence structure. I only want to work on simple sentences and my focus is on subject and verb agreement in the present simple tense. So, I begin with a power point presentation with some sentences that have been mixed up. Students work in groups and raise their hands and tell me their answers. Once we have finished I then focus their attention on subject and verbs. I have a simple worksheet that I use to practice word order. The students can work in groups and write the sentences in the correct order. Once they have done this I then use the website mentioned above. There is a very good game on the website that practices subjects and verbs in sentences. I have put the link below.
After this I have a quick game of Kahoot. This is just to reinforce subject and verb recognition.
By now I think most of my students have worked pretty hard and done well. So, I have some video lessons that I like to use, especially in afternoon classes. These give the students a change of pace and something they can spend some time by themselves or in pairs to work on. Below is a quick example of one of my video lessons. I usually try and have a quick discussion on the topic of the video and then have the students work through some vocabulary linked to the video. After this, the students are given a handout with questions to look at and check for key words. Once this has been done the students can then watch the video and answer the questions. I would also suggest that if you want to try and make your own video lesson, look at the Unlock book and try and tie the video into the theme of the unit for that week. This could be a good introduction to Unlock book and vocabulary.
Future Cities video link –
I hope this has helped, or at least given you some ideas to help with the first day back. We all have our own ways of approaching our classes. We do need to remember that our students are false beginners, but they do seem to forget some of the basics, and I think using the first day to go over some of these things, it not only gives us as teachers a good starting point, but it does help to reinforce and review these areas of language that can be taken for granted.