Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ireland by Tim Vicary



            After Kings and Queens of Britain, this is another book by the same author, in the same series.  It’s a slightly more advanced level, but most of the same things I said about Kings and Queens of Britain are true of this book as well.  It confused my students more than anything, but if it at least made them aware that the island of Ireland existed, I’m happy with that for now.  If they continue to read widely in the future, hopefully gradually their picture of the world will become clearer.

Teaching Materials
[This book contained a glossary at the back for words that might be problematic for students.  On the first day, I had the class read through the glossary, then on subsequent days I made matching exercises for the words in the glossary.  I know this is all terribly boring and uncreative, but my theory was something was better than nothing when it came to the vocabulary.]

army/armies,  battle, farm, fought, government, history, leader, leather, monasteries, monks

___________ people who live and work in monasteries
___________ the story of things that happened a long time ago
___________ a big fight between two armies
___________ the skin of a cow. Most shoes are made of this
___________ the important people who say what can happen in the country
___________ milk and apples come from there, and animals live there
___________ a lot of men, called soldiers, who fight
___________ churches where men called monks live and work
___________ the past tense of "to fight"
___________ a person who tells other people what to do
*************************************************************************
parliament, peace, play, poetry, Pope, post office, president, prison, pub, set

__________ a bar
___________special writing in beautiful language
__________an important building where postmen work
__________a place where bad people have to live for a number of months or years
___________ the place where important people in the government talk
__________the most important man in the Catholic church
__________a story that is told by people in the theatre
__________the most important person in a government
___________when there is no fighting
___________I first ____ my eyes on: I could see her for the first time
****************************************************************
thought, took, vote, welcome


_______the past tense of "to take"
_______Hello, we are happy to see you
_______past tense of "to think"
_______to say who you want to be in the government

Link of the Day
Chomsky explains Cold War in 5 min
And from Tom Tomorrow: Year in Crazy part one and two

Monday, December 30, 2013

Worksheet for Comprehension of Past Perfect

    [A worksheet designed to teach comprehension of Past Perfect.  Some of these sentences I took from another grammar book (I don't remember which).]


11.        He had been a newspaper reporter before he became a business man.
(First he was a newspaper reporter and then he became a business man).

22.       I felt a little better after I had taken the medicine.

(First  ________________, and then  _______________________.)

33.       I was late.  The teacher had already given the quiz when I got to class.

(First __________________ and then _______________________.)

44.       The anthropologist left the village when she had collected enough data.

(First ____________________ and then __________________________).

55.       It was raining hard, but by the time class was over the rain had stopped.

(First  ________________, and then _______________________.)

66.       Class had already begun by the time I got there.

(First  ________________, and then _______________________.)

77.       When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home.

(First  ________________, and then  _______________________.)

88.       When we got home last night, we found that somebody had robbed our house.

(First  ________________, and then  _______________________.)

99.       Once I arrived at class, I realized I had forgotten my homework.

(First  ________________, and then  _______________________.)

110.   She had lost her job when I first met her.

(First  ________________, and then  _______________________.)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kings and Queens of Britain by Tim Vicary


            A co-worker noticed this book on my desk.  “Are you actually doing Kings and Queens of Britain?” he asked incredulously. 
            “I’ve got a young learners class that I really hate,” I answered.
            This produced the laugh I was hoping for.  “Okay, okay,” he said as he walked away laughing.  “I’ll let that go, because that’s the only reason why you should ever do a book like that in class.”

            Actually I don’t hate my students.  On the contrary, I was really fascinated by history as an adolescent, so I figure the same has to be true of at least a few of the students in my classes, right?  And if there going to be doing a lot of extensive reading in my classes anyway, why not try and improve their general knowledge at the same time?

            The book is written at an easy level in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
            And each chapter is very short (I’m estimating 250-300 words) so it’s very easy to sneak in a short history reading at the beginning of each class before we turn to another story.
            Nevertheless, for Cambodian students without any background in British or European history, they got very confused very easily.  How to explain King Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church and the Pope when my students have no idea what any of that is?  (This book was probably designed more for European ESL students who might have a better idea of who the Pope is.)
            But I think to a certain extent, when you learn history some confusion is inevitable.  As a child, we don’t learn history cleanly and chronologically—we start out with a fuzzy picture of history that we learn from old movies, bad historical novels, and general lies and oversimplifications.  Then, with each new book we read, we gradually develop a cleaner and clearer view of history.  (Not that this book contained lies, but just to say we all go through a process of confusion when learning history initially as children.)  

            At least that’s how I justify to myself using this book.

Teaching Materials
[This book contained a glossary at the back for words that might be problematic for students.  On the first day, I had the class read through the glossary, then on subsequent days I made matching exercises for the words in the glossary.  I know this is all terribly boring and uncreative, but my theory was something was better than nothing when it came to the vocabulary.]

baby,  began, bridge, burn, church, daughter, divorce, emperor, fight, great

________when people hit and try to kill each other
_______people go here to talk and listen to God
_______ past tense of "to begin"
_______ a very small young child
________ a girl child
________a king of many countries
________very good and very important
________ to make something very very hot
________ this carries a road over a river
_________when a husband and wife do this, they are not married any more

****************************************************************************
kept, kill, knew. marry, met, Parliament, prison, son, speak, spoke

______a place to keep bad people
_______when a man and a woman do this, he is her husband, and she is his wife
_______to make somebody die
_______to talk to people
______ past tense of "to know"
______ past tense of "to speak"
_______an important building in the middle of London; the people who say what must happen in a country work here
______ past tense of :"to meet"
______ a boy child
_______past tense of "to keep"
*****************************************************************************
stood, strong, took, world, wrote

_________where we all live
________past tense of "to write"
_________ these people can carry big things easily. They often fight well
__________ past tense of "to take"
__________ past tense of "to stand"

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky Replies on: (Bill Maher & Anderson Cooper on Islam, May 2010, CNN)

Also from the Phnom Penh Post: garment workers swelled turnout at the opposition’s ongoing demonstrations yesterday to what some estimated to be double the number seen at any previous rally
and the Cambodia Daily: Protesters Unite Around Demand For Hun Sen’s Resignation
(I got somewhat caught up in this march when I was walking home from the gym, and encountered the main road was just overflowing with marchers.  Whether or not they'll succeed in anything remains to be seen, but it was certainly a very impressive mass of people.)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Active Passive Find Your Partner Game (Present Simple and Present Continuous)

(TESOL Worksheet)
Google Docs version here.
[A standard find your partner game.  Cut up the boxes and distribute it to students.  The students then have to walk around the room to find a partner who has a sentence with the same meaning. The format of this sheet got a little bit lost posting to blogger, but ideally all of the cards should be of the same size. Some of these sentences are taken from the Headway activity book, others are my own.  Because I've found low level students can get very confused by this activity, I've added a worksheet at the bottom to review with the the students afterwards.]


The teacher teaches the student
The student is taught by the teacher.
The student teaches the teacher.
The teacher is taught by the student.
The teacher is teaching the student.
The student is being taught by the teacher.
The student is teaching the teacher.
The teacher is being taught by the student.
Big fish catch little fish.
Little fish are caught by big fish.
Little fish catch big fish.
Big fish are caught by little fish.
Big fish are catching little fish.
Little fish are being caught by big fish.
Little fish are catching big fish.
Big fish are being caught by little fish.
Cats eat mice.
Mice are eaten by cats.
Mice eat cats.
Cats are eaten by mice.
Cats are eating mice.
Mice are being eaten by cats.
Mice are eating cats.
Cats are being eaten by mice.
The dog bites the man.
The man is bitten by the dog.
The man bites the dog.
The dog is bitten by the man.
The dog is biting the man.
The man is being bitten by the dog.
The man is biting the dog.
The dog is being bitten by the man.
Mary wakes up John.
John is woken up by Mary.
John wakes up Mary.
Mary is woken up by John.
Mary is waking up John.
John is being woken up by Mary.
John is waking up Mary.
Mary is being woken up by John.
The mother holds the baby.
The baby is held by the mother.
The baby holds the mother.
The mother is held by the baby.
The mother is holding the baby.
The baby is being held by the mother.
The baby is holding the mother.
The mother is being held by the baby.




Which two sentences have the same meaning?

______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______
1.     The teacher teaches the student
2.     The student is teaching the teacher.
3.     The student is taught by the teacher.
4.     The teacher is teaching the student.
5.     The student is being taught by the teacher.
6.     The teacher is being taught by the student.
7.     The teacher is taught by the student.
8.    The student teaches the teacher.



Which two sentences have the same meaning?

______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______

1.           Big fish are catching little fish.
2.           Little fish are caught by big fish.
3.           Little fish are being caught by big fish.
4.           Big fish are being caught by little fish.
5.           Big fish catch little fish.
6.           Big fish are caught by little fish.
7.           Little fish are catching big fish.
8.           Little fish catch big fish.



Which two sentences have the same meaning?

______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______
______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______
1.           The dog bites the man.
2.           Mice eat cats.
3.           The man is biting the dog.
4.           Mice are being eaten by cats.
5.           The man is bitten by the dog.
6.           Cats eat mice.
7.           Mice are eaten by cats.
8.           Cats are eating mice.
9.           The man is being bitten by the dog.
10.  The dog is bitten by the man.
11.  Cats are being eaten by mice.
12.  The dog is biting the man.
13.  Cats are eaten by mice.
14.  The dog is being bitten by the man.
15.  The man bites the dog.
16.  Mice are eating cats.
Which two sentences have the same meaning?

______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______
______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______           ______=_______
1.           John is waking up Mary.
2.           The mother is holding the baby.
3.           The baby is held by the mother.
4.           The baby holds the mother.
5.           Mary wakes up John.
6.           The mother holds the baby.
7.           John is being woken up by Mary.
8.           The mother is held by the baby.
9.           The mother is being held by the baby.
10.  Mary is waking up John.
11.  Mary is being woken up by John.
12.  The baby is being held by the mother.
13.  John is woken up by Mary.
14.  The baby is holding the mother.
15.  John wakes up Mary.

16.  Mary is woken up by John.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Retold By Margaret Tarner


            Including this graded reader, I have now read several abridged versions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
            At some point, I need to just sit down and read the real thing, just to check it off my list.  But until now, I never have.
            Partly because as a kid I read the Fisher-Price Comic Book [LINK HERE]and listened to the accompanying cassette tape to the point of memorization, so I feel like I already know the story, and it feels less urgent to read the real book.

            And, partly because everyone I know who has read the original Frankenstein has given me a luke-warm report of it.  (I believe Frankenstein was actually required reading for History 102 back at Calvin, as an introduction to the type of thought popular for the romantic period, but I avoided that because I took History 101 instead.  But all my friends who took History 102 hated Frankenstein.  Apparently much of the book is just long boring speeches by the monster.)

Teaching Materials
[There was no glossary for this book, so I made up a list of vocab words for the first couple chapters, printed them on a paper, had the students discuss in groups which words they knew, and then later explained problematic words for the whole class.  Then the following class I gave a matching exercise on the same words.  However, as the students seemed to be understanding most of the story fine without vocab support, I stopped doing this after the first couple chapters.]

Monster
University
Geneva
Switzerland
Pupil
Examinations
Science
Germany
German
Heidelburg
**********************************************
examination, Germany, German, Geneva, Heidelburg, monster, pupil, university, science, Switzerland

_______a test of a student's knowledge or skill in a particular subject which results in a qualification if the student is successful
________any imaginary frightening creature, especially one which is large and strange
________The country is situated in western Europe,[note 4] where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
________(knowledge from) the  systematic  study of the structure and behaviour of the physical world, especially by watching, measuring and doing  experiments , and the development of theories to describe the results of these activities
________ a city in Germany
________a college or collection of colleges at which people study for a degree
________ a city in Switzerland
________a person, especially a child at school, who is being taught
________A country in Europe which is bordered by Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and The Netherlands
________ The language and people of Germany
*****************************************************************************
Chemistry
Medicine
Dust
Life
Laboratory
Graveyards
Wrinkled
Brain
Thunder
Lightening
Metal
Wires
Flash
Sparks
Breathing

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky & Howard Zinn "Is There Hope in This Desperate Time?"

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Human Bingo--Present Tense Versus Present Continuous

(TESOL Worksheets)
Google Docs Version Here
[Similar to Find Someone Who.  Students need to walk around the class and find someone who can answer yes to the questions.  If they can get a yes, they can cross out a box.  They need 5 in a row to win.  The idea for human bingo is not originally mine, but this worksheet was adopted by me so I'm including it here.  The 3rd question on the top was deliberately designed for my specific area, and would need to be changed for another city.  Also some of the formatting was lost with the transition to blogger.  Ideally all the boxes should be the same shape, and a landscape view might work better.  But you get the idea at least.]

Gets up at 7:00
Doesn’t Like chocolate
Is not from Phnom Penh
Is married
Has a dog
Lives in an apartment
Likes to go bowling
Favorite color is green
Favorite class is English
Has more brothers than sisters
Drinks coffee
Eats health food
FREE
Likes to swim
Is studying a subject besides English
Sometimes forgets to brush their teeth
Takes a shower in the morning
Is wearing black shoes
Wears contact lenses
Is dating someone from another country
Eats lunch at 12 noon
walks to school
Is studying at more than one schools
Has a pet
Drinks milk at breakfast