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Season 3 - the MES English curriculum for young learners 
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Post Season 3 - the MES English curriculum for young learners
Listen to the show.

This show discusses MES-English.com's curriculum for young learners. It's the first steps for teaching without a course book or for teachers who are thrown into a teaching situation where there is no set curriculum or textbook.

The curriculum covers core sections of each unit:

    * content - vocabulary
    * target language - set phrases, grammar, speech acts, classroom language ...
    * running content - more lengthy topics
    * TPR - vocabulary introduction
    * Phonics - phonics, reading, spelling ...

In part 1, Mark covers a Units 1-3, explaining what vocabulary he uses for the content section, why he chooses those and how they work to achieve the target language goals for each unit.

The materials for this curriculum are all available for free from MES.



We'd love to hear how you use you MES-English resources or your own curriculum ideas. Post them here at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show. You can also just pop-in and introduce yourself. We'd love to know who's listening.

Thanks for listening!


Game of the Week: Dubbing Movies

This is an activity for older students, possibly upper elementary school students, but good for young adults to adults. It's good practice for creating dialogs and natural conversation speed. If you have movie fans in your classroom, it should go over even better!

Happy teaching!

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:24 am
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Whew hew, season 3 has started, and what a great subject.

Mark, like Matt and I 'm sure many other teachers, I have often wondered how you went about teacing your material. I remember someone asking in the forums for a curiculum, but you replyed that you had some plans for it or something like that.

I see this is the begining of what you had in mind.

Anyway, it's perfect timing with the new school year less than a month away.

I use a text book for most my classes and have always used MES materials to suplement. Sometimes using stuff realted to what we are going over in the book and sometimes not. But I've never had a real game plan.

Your ideas and what you do have given me some insight. Cheers!

And for your new words "kinestheticstially" and "sesameish" I say go for it.

That's the beauty of the English langauge. You can say something and ask yourself is that a word?

The answer: Well it is now.

With English you can make almost anything into a new word or use a noun as a verb etc.

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:22 pm
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enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Whew hew, season 3 has started, and what a great subject.

Yeah, I'm pretty excited that Season 3 is underway. I go through phases where I love ETT and other times where it seems like work, but recently, it has been a lot of fun.

This episode actually won't be published for iTunes users or on the ETT site until Feb. 18th. We're going to try to post 1 show every two weeks, but I want to post the shows a little earlier here in the forums, just as a forum member privilage ... It's not much ... :roll:

I'm hoping by talking through my curriculum on ETT, I'll get a better idea about how to post it on the site. The reasoning and layering of the ideas behind it are quite complicated. With different ages and years studying, you get different variables that change things. I'm still not sure how I'm going to explain it. :P

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:13 pm
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Hi

Is there a curriculum handbook ?

Thanks ?

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Moon


Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:09 am
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moon wrote:
Is there a curriculum handbook ?

Right now, no.

I'm going to try to get something up on the site with links to all the different parts, but the problem is the (my) curriculum isn't for one group, it's sort of 3D is the best way I can explain it. It's designed to be used with any group of kids, 1 ~ ... and it can be tailored to any level up to intermediate. It overlaps and layered. It's not anything novel or exciting, it's just hard to explain how it works. I'm going to try, though.

It's only been recently (maybe over the last year) that there's enough on the web that you could just use MES, but there's still more to do to make the whole thing work for site visitors. Not that any will, but there's no use explaining how to use things you don't have ...

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Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:18 am
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Hey Mark I was wondering what is the youngest age group that you teach and if you use the outline presented on this thread with them?

Do you use the target lang. What's your name? How are you? What's she? Are you? etc. even with your youngest students? If so do you get them to answer in sentence form or jsut one owrd for the young ones?

Also you mentioned circle time; do you start off most of your classes with this activity or does that get borng for you and the kids?

Sometimes I am suprised at what they like and don't like. for example I have some 3rd/4th grades soon to be 4th/5th who love the flash game as they call it.

That is where I slowly reveal a flashcard and they have to raise their hand and say what it is our answer the question I asked as I revealed the card.

I would think they would get tired of it, but most of them start asking for it as soon as they walk in the door.

Do you do TPR during most classes and with the older (adult students)?

Finally why did you decide nothave the students not respond with "Yes it is." No I am not" etc.

I know that in normal conversation we don't really respond like that.

I guess I have always taught it and tried to get my students to respond tha way becasue A: all the books I've used do it and B: I like them to talk in sentences and not just one word responses.

I'm thinking of changing it a little this year. I still want sentces so might do something like this: If I as are they happy? instead of the saying "No, I'm not. I'm angry." to just answering. No, I am angry." But I am still unsure.

I'm looking forward to the next installment.

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Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:35 pm
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Oops! I forgot to proof read before sending. Lots of mistakes in their. Silly teacher.

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Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:37 pm
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Thanks for your reply Mark.

Yes, there is "no one size fits all curriculum". We all try to do the best we can given the circumstances.

I am glad people on this forum take the teaching seriously (lightly and fun too).

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Moon


Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:30 am
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enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Hey Mark I was wondering what is the youngest age group that you teach and if you use the outline presented on this thread with them?

Well, I haven't really gotten into how the curriculum 'folds' on itself, but yes. It's the same thing I use for 2 year olds. I just decerease the vocab down to 6-8 items. I generally just focus on vocabulary and the target language is passive at this point. I don't expect production but just yes/no answers to the questions or some response to the vocabulary.

If you get production, great!

enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Do you use the target lang. What's your name? How are you? What's she? Are you? etc. even with your youngest students? If so do you get them to answer in sentence form or jsut one owrd for the young ones?

I generally just focus on the vocabulary for really young learners, as stated above. I try to get them to answer yes/no questions and as time goes on, more.

But simple questions like, What's your name? How are you? What's she? Are you? , sure. I think they can be exposed to these and answer them. My students do.

Now, some of them may be just memorizing the exchange as such and have very little understanding of the language involved, but that's OK with 1-3 year olds, imo.

enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Also you mentioned circle time; do you start off most of your classes with this activity or does that get borng for you and the kids?

I start off every class with this. It'sds just been a habbit and for my students, they have come to expect it.

They will do a couple round of cards just for review or practice and then a round as a game which ends with some reward should they win. To be honest, they don't know any better and it works well for me, so I've stuck with it.

I guess it could be boring for them but the content changes lesson to lesson and generally it's something they need to review or practice so I never really see any rolling eyes or anything.

For me, it is routine and I guess if I think about it, it could be boring, but it's sort of my job. A lot of what I do is repetitious, it's the different people that make it unique and interesting, I guess.

enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Do you do TPR during most classes and with the older (adult students)?

I do TPR for a while with kids and then for me it sort of runs it course. We haven't gotten that far in the curriculum yet, but at some point, I'm not really moving forward with my use of TPR. From that point, I move away from TPR and focus more on reading and work with worksheets.

I don't do much with TPR beyond elementary school and lower students. I'd like to do more but I always seem to be in a situation where there's just not enough time to get all that I'd like to do, done. My younger students seem to do well with a little movement to break up the lesson. The older students are generally 'seasoned' (they've been with me for a few years) and want to do more active learning these days.


enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Finally why did you decide not have the students not respond with "Yes it is." No I am not" etc.

I know that in normal conversation we don't really respond like that.

Well, the whole 'short answer' thing really throws a monkey wrench into the equation. I think we could do a whole episode on this or at least, I could chew your ear off for a while :) Is it do, dis, am ,aren't, I it, he, is, can, have ... ????

I generally start with just yes/no. Then I build to 'long' answers:
Yes. I am hot.
No. I'm not hungry.

Yes. I can play the piano.
No. I didn't watch TV yesterday.

...

Anyway. I believe it's much easier to teach the whole thing and have then understand that. Then, show them how it reduces, rather than teach them the reduced form and have them just learn both. For me, it seems that students learn these 'short answers' as formulated responses and then spend what I see as unnecessary effort, an enormous amount of time, trying to perfect their execution of these formulated responses, when all they really want to say is 'yes' or 'no'.

If they can form the sentence, I can explain quite easily (later) how we eliminate the understood infomation. Then, they can see that the 'short answer', if needed, is just what they would say, but truncated to save time.

I do the same thing for realtive clauses as well. I teach my students the full relative clauses and then later show them how they can be reduced. First:
I know the girl that is swimming in the pool.

and much later, I explain that it can be reduced to

I know the girl swimming in the pool.

It seems to work well for me and for my students. They understand the reduction and not just memorize a pattern.

Here in Japan, I see a lot of pattern memorizing. It works well for answering the test questions, but when anything deviates just slightly from the memorized pattern, systems seem to shut down. So, with my students I focus heavily on understanding within English, not translation and while we do plenty of pattern practice, I try to alter it so much that it's language practice as opposed to just pattern practice.

Does that make sense?

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Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:24 am
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Yep it all makes since.

It's the same here in Korea with pattern memorization. Changing the wording slightly and you get the "Huh?" look or they turn to their friend and ask "What did he say?."

So I really work on teaching them a lot of different ways of asking and responding, as well as just talking about stuff. Doesn't alway work, but boy do I try.

Cheers for your respones and I am looking forward to the next instalment of TT.

Have a great weekend and enjoy playing with the 4 kids.

:D

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Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:06 am
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Quote:
enjoyinglifeinseoul wrote:
Also you mentioned circle time; do you start off most of your classes with this activity or does that get borng for you and the kids?

After recording this episode with Mark I started having a circle time in many of my classes. It's one of those things I wish I thought of long ago! It has really helped me and my students. I use a ball and pass it around and we say different things , "hello" "how are you? I'm good" "here you are. Thank you" etc. as we pass the ball. My students really enjoy it, and it seems to focus them. It is also great because when we use phrases like "here you are" later in the class the students say it so much better.

I am still working out how I will integrate this method, but I think it's really worth a try. Thanks Mark!

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Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:25 pm
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Hi there,

I too have introduced the circle time games into my classes and I must say they have worked really well. The children have really enjoyed passing an object and their pronunciation and retention of the language has been incredible. Previously during games they struggled in remembering to say "here" and "thanks" etc and now its so easy for them after only 2 weeks!!

My classes are quite big and so i use it as a kind of race to get to the end of the line the quickest. They do get penlised and sent to start over if they forget to say the language i ask in full and so they all try really hard to do it properly! They also enjoy racing against the clock as you suggest it really focusses them and sometimes my more excited and louder classes are in total silence, its been impressive.

Really enjoyed the rest of the show and listening to how you use the vocabulary to introduce set language its always helpful to get another persective especially being without a coursebook myself too.

Thanks, and looking forward to your next episodes.


Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:19 am
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hey mesmark!

Mostly I use your site for the flashcards, as they are a lot more fun and interesting then your standard boring flashcards. Great job!

I have also used some of the games, but I usually find myself needing to put a twist on them to fit with either the lesson structure or number of kids or something similar.

Overall, great job and thanks!


Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:27 am
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The curriculum and flashcards come in very handy. I teach in a combination 3-4 regular classroom but have ELL students in my class. I don't have much time to prepare separate lessons for these students. It is great to have some recommended and tried strategies and guides.


Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:20 am
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I just want to say that your podcasts are great and very helpful. The ones that I am most thankful for are about introducing and presenting new language (be, do, present continuous etc episodes). Your perspective is fresh and very interesting for me.
Thank you Mark.
Are you going to continue with the podcasts? I would really love to listen to more :))
Thanks once again.

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Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:59 pm
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