The outline for MES-English's Speaking First Curriculum designed by Mark Cox.
I teach sea animals (animals 4) as a lead in to production from the students with "I have eaten .../I haven't eaten ..." I'll also have them add "one time/two times/many times." I mentioned back in unit 13, that this works well for me in my teaching situation. If it doesn't for you, the best suggestion I have is to find a group of words or actions that you'd get a fair balance of yes and no answers. If it's all yes, or all no, it is pretty boring and maybe not so clear.
I add prepositions of movement back to the forefront here just to make sure students can remember them. When I cover phrasal verbs, I show them how some of the verbs come together with prepositions of movement to make these "pair words" with singular meanings. Phrasal verbs 1 are pretty straight forward and the meaning of the 2 words generally make sense. There are a couple odd ones, like "look for" and "go to bed" for example. They are included because they are so common and this was the best place to indroduce them formally.
I use the fantasy set later on to start making stories. However, in phase 1 I will start talking about items. I might ask them to describe a king, "A king lives in a castle. He has a lot of money. He likes the queen." You can do that for almost all of the objects in the set, having the students describe them with a sentence or two.
Subjects and school: These are a bit of a pair. I use these to help students talk about their day, what they do and where they go. They've been working on past tense and since school is the biggest part of students' lives, I want to equip them to talk about that. They can talk about the classes they had that day and where they went.
Toward the end of the unit, I bring out the A Day at School game. With this we use the classroom 2 cards and play the game as described on the game page. I teach the target language "Mr XYZ needs .../Do you have one?" if the other person has it, They have to ask, "Can I borrow your ...?" In general, I try to get them to focus more on the asking to borrow something for phase 1. The other language parts are more passive for phase 1.
Looks is the first set of senses comments to appear in the curriculum. I start with the "looks monster" and show that he doesn't have a mouth, ears, hands, etc. He can only look at stuff. So, when he looks at it what does he think? "That looks good." Is it good? Well, he doesn't really know but just looking at it it seems like it's good. The set is straight forward vocabulary and tied to the sentence. I don't think you need to do much else with this other than explain when is a good time to use the language and encourage them to comment more often after this point.
Running content notes:
I may bring back TPR a bit here and start working passively with "I want you to (do something)." TPR is a great way to do this and you can even make it into a telephone game if you want students to practice production. You whisper to the first student, "I want Kenny to sit on his desk." and the student then relays the message to the next student and so on until the message reaches Kenny.
I'm going to ... and Are you going to ...? really should be in the running content section but I teach them as more main and for production at this point. So, you see them in the target language section. Verbs 2 is really the best set for practicing with this. I also have a game called "the Clip Game", yet to be released at the time of this posting, but keep an eye out on the games page. There are 2 versions one for future and another for past tense practice.
I continue to use the parks from unit 13 to practice asking for permission. I do it as a quick group game.
As explained above, I bring prepositions of movement back and make it more main again. These are very powerful concepts and quite difficult for many of my students. If your group has a firm grasp of these, then it's not so important, but always good to review.
Phase 2: I'll come back to phase 2 and phase 3 once I get all of phase 1 posted.
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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