Speaking First Curriculum: Unit 15

Running Content and Additional Supporting Materials


Days of the Week

When ..., do you ...?

describing people: can, has, lives

previous units target language and running content

Supporting materials:

Days of the Week flashcards

Worksheets for ordinal numbers/dates: ordinal numbers worksheets

Unit 15: Target Language (by phase)

phase 1

What happened? He was ... (passive)

What day is it today?

On Tuesdays, I ...

When's your birthday?

He works at a hotel.

Phase 2

I have played ...for 2 years.

Past and Future: "2 weeks ago" and "in 2 weeks"

He was eaten by the flower.

He works as ... at ... (part-time jobs 2)

On March 17th, there was/I had.../I played ...

Phase 3

He should have ... (advice/regrets)

2nd conditional with "if"

Project: Mt Diamonte Adventure or Treasure Island Retold

Reactions/Rejoinders: That's great!, Oh yeah?, You're kidding. ...

Reduced relative clauses vs. full

Mark's Notes:

You may want to start days of the week earlier than this and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. For me, they just don't seem that important until we're ready to use them and for my groups it's around this time.

Phase 3, becomes a lot more project focused and working on putting everything together. Some of the suggestions here are just ways to do that.

Phase 1:

The passive tense is pretty straight forward. I don't teach "by..." because generally in English we use the passive tense with the agent is not important and when it's unknown. I don't bother with expanding into other less aggressive versions like "The telephone was invented in 18XX."It just doesn't seem very useful to increasing communicative competence. However, if you have problems with the more aggressive passive cards, try searching the web a bit. You may be able to find some other cards for the passive tense.

I teach months as is. We play some games like speed or to solidify the vocabulary. After that I begin ordinal numbers. I teach the numbers on the board and explain that the words change: one-->first, two-->second and then about adding the -th. We work with their birthdays, their family members birthday days and holidays. That's about it for phase 1.

You can teach the set questions, "What day is it today?" and "What's the date today?" but I personally don't feel like those are questions young children ever ask or care about. I do teach "What day is it today?" because it's such a part of other English curriculums that I felt I needed to add it in. Honestly, I usually don't do it. I just stick to talking about "On (a certain day of the week), something happened or something is going to happen."

Part-time jobs introduce the idea of a certain action happening at a place. These are good for teens that might be working but also good for younger students to talk about their parents and where they work.

Sounds. This is the second and maybe most useful set among the senses. It helps the students to respond more naturally to comments, stories and information. I start first with the "Sounds monster" and explain that he can't see; he can only hear. So, when he hears a story or hears some news, he can tell people what he thinks about it. He doesn't say "That looks ..." because he can't see it. He says, "That sounds ..." From there, it's important to show that the cards are the story the man on the bottom is telling to the woman over the phone. While we can see what's going on, the woman can't. So, she comments with "That sounds ..."

Running content notes:

Using the fantasy cards, I keep working with character descriptions and try to build to 2 to 3 sentences for each character. I focus on 3 main verbs "can", "has" and "lives".

"When you go to McDonalds, do you A or B?" - this is something I teach on the board (no cards.) I also do it very passively at first with students just choosing the "A item" or "B item". I make it a game for the group. I give each student foam letters or ABC cards. I ask one student a question and all of the other students guess the answer. Then the original student answers and everyone who guessed correctly gets a point. I then ask another student a question and continue. As they get used to the concept and question possibilities, I begin to let them ask each other questions and slowly build up answers to full sentences, "When I go to McDonalds, I order a Big Mac set."

Phase 2 and Phase 3: I'll come back to phase 2 and phase 3 once I get all of phase 1 posted.

With each phase I post a bit about some of the main things I do with my students to introduce and practice the language. Each group is different in size, age and level, so if you have questions about what might work best for your group or want to discuss how to modify an activity or share a successful activity you have, please join the forums and MES community. We'd love to discuss these things with you.

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