Where the wild things are – book

For upper-intermediate to advance learners of English.

Have you ever tried learning or keeping up to a language by reading a children’s book and retelling the story? If not, you should.

Sue

Where the wild things are.

Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak.

"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him 'WILD THING!' and Max said 'I'LL EAT YOU UP!'
WebQuest
  1. Who is Maurice Sendak and why was his book Where the wild things are banned in 1963? Go navigate a bit and find the answer.

The Film x The Book

  1. Watch the film review and then say what the differences between film and book are according to the reviewer.

The book

  1. Listen to a read-aloud session of the book Where the wild things are and prepare to retell the story. Take any necessary notes.
Vocabulary
  • gnashed : gnash means to rub your teeth together really hard (ranger Pt/grincer Fr)
  • mischief: mischief is naughty behaviour. (travessura Pt/bêtise Fr)
  • rumpus: rumpus is a wild party or disturbance.(tumulto Pt/bagarre Fr)

Once upon a time…

2. Record yourself retelling the story. You can use vocaroo.com or any other way of self recording that you know (a podcast, maybe). Find a person to listen and give you feedback.

Action-project

  1. Tell the story to a group of kids learning English. It can be from the school where you are learning English or you can join kids from family. Be creative!

English exercises

Questions to ask the kids . Click here

Conclusion

Would you recommend this book to a child? What about the film? Why?

Sue

avecsue@suelenviana.fr

Quick tips

Feeling bored? What about boosting your vocabulary during these crazy times of covid19? My suggestions are three and they come from the Cambridge dictionary team. Short and simple. Just click the links and start learning.

Cambridge image dictionary quiz – you choose what vocabulary areas you want to revise and learn.

Create a word list while reading or during your online classes Avec Sue – it will make your brain work twice to retain the new word. Big chances are you won’t easily forget them. But if you do, they will be registered in your list of new words so you can check them whenever you need.

Grammar quizzes – some grammar topics deserve more practice. Choose one and start practising.

This it it!

Online or offline language courses?

Online courses

Are you considering studying online? What holds you back? Technology phobia? Lack of confidence in the modality? Love for physical contact with teachers and students? Many things may be moving us against the online teaching modality. But, think twice. It doesn’t change much. Online you still have a teacher. Online you still have things to do and study and read. Online you still have chances to meet new people. Online you can still control your time, your money and better yet, you are the one to choose where you are going to get your course; on your sofa, your office, while you’re waiting on a line… Online, you change but learning still takes place.

When you are not that confident in the online modality and if you think you will not learn much, choose a one-on-one online course. A one-on-one online course will be suitably designed for you. You will have a teacher that will be following your steps on learning and guiding your studies by providing you with activities and honest-punctual feedback. You will not be alone facing a screen and listening and reading things that were previously put there for you or anybody else. Your learning will be personalized and student-oriented. The human side is still there. You will have a person to talk to and from whom you will be learning a lot.

Offline courses

Your choice yet is for an Offline course? Great. That is also a good choice. If you have time to do so, go for it. Offline courses offer fantastic learning moments. Whether you are alone with a teacher or taking part in a group, that will help you in many different ways. Not to mention the joy of being able to share experiences. But consider that you will have to have transport and time to move from one place to another. Other than that, learning will also take place. It is up to you.

About certified teachers

Online and Offline courses must have both one objective only: help you achieve your goals. Do not worry much if you have a so-called ‘native’ speaker of English or a ‘non-native’ speaker of that language (or any other). Your worry must be about the professional who will help you achieve your goals. Native or non-native, they all must be real teachers. They must know what they are doing and how to help you learn how to learn that new language. A real teacher, a person who studied to be so, will most appropriately identify your needs and coach your learning actions. A professional in language teaching will do much more than showing you how good are his vocabulary and pronunciation in that language; he or she will teach you and motivate you to get to the top of your ambitions in an organized and honest way.

If learning from a person who was not born in an English Speaking country worries you, trust technology and teachers certification. These days authentic material is abundant on the internet. Certified teachers whether ‘native speakers’ or not, online or offline, should bring language from many different authentic sources such as films, songs, tv programs, journals, news… The world has become a village and you will speak in English with people from many different parts of the globe. Your teacher does not need not be your sole model. Learning from a native speaker should be the least of your worries.

Keep coming back. I love your visit.

Sue

Teaching kids

teaching kids

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Teaching kids is a professional task that should be carefully and seriously prepared. Kids are fun but they are also very challenging in a sense that they are delicate and surprising. Here are 5 important things to consider when you teach kids.

Attention

Are you attentive enough to their signs? Kids communicate with their eyes and actions much more than we may think. So when you step into any place to teach no matter how many kids: pay attention! Pay attention to what they are doing, saying, or to what they are not doing or not saying. Just look at their eyes and let them notice that you care.

Affection

Kids learn better from people they like. They will love you if they feel you can treat them well; if you are loyal to your principals; if you are consistent with your actions; if your no means no and your yes means yes; if you play and laugh with them.

Variety

You can teach kids if you have a variety of ways to offer them opportunities to learn. kids need routine, it is a fact, but they hate repetitive uninteresting learning. They need to be exposed to the same thing in many different ways. If they are to learn how to say goodbye in English, do not pass the whole class trying the same song or the same game.

Time

Time is crucial to teach kids. This is very connected to the item above. Variation and time are best friends. Depending on their ages, kids will need more or less time in an activity. Of course, it also depends on their interest in the activity proposed, but most of the time 3 to 5 minutes in the same activity is enough for kids up to 6.

Family

Kids have families who love (or at least should love) them. This is why you have probably received those kids. Families care about their kids. They did not decide to put their kids to learn something with you just because they wanted free time. It is most probably because they want their kids to be happier, to have better opportunities to grow and become great adults; their kids are their most precious treasure. Connect with their families. Respect their culture and decisions and show them that you know what you are doing and that what you are doing is good for their kids.

Sue

That’s not my dinosaur – English for kids.

Usborne has published a series of books called That’s not my … My daughter won That’s not my dinosaur and I have used it for our one-to-one English classes time. There is a lot we can do with it as teachers of English or simply as parents exposing English to kids through reading. I came up with some of the ideas below and tested with my three-year-old girl. She loves it.

That’s not my dinosaur!

Usborne has published a series of books called That’s not my … My daughter won That’s not my dinosaur and I have used it for our one-to-one English classes time. There is a lot we can do with it as teachers of English or simply as parents exposing English to kids through reading. I came up with some of the ideas below and tested with my three-year-old girl. She loves it.

If you are in France, you can buy it here.

There they go, the ideas. I adapted my one-to-one moments to possible groups (which I don’t have now, but I followed my previous experiences with kids groups). Hope it works for you. Have fun!

Age : 3 to 6 (select according to your group’s age and pace)

Theme: dinosaurs

Book: That’s not my dinosaur, Usborne edition (or any other book of dinosaur which language you may explore and adapt to class. Just use my ideas as guide)

SWBEST: students will be exposed to new vocabulary (adjectives and nouns) to make description and stimulated to use them in speaking, colouring, sorting activities and in games.

Target vocabulary: dinosaurs’s names; parts of dino’s body – tail, head, teeth, flippers, horns, spines; description adjectives – big, small, soft, rough, slippery, bumpy, and fuzzy.

Recycled vocabulary: big , small, number 1 to 10 and colors.

Time: meetings of one hour.

The Plan

Material: book, colouring papers, crayons, glue, modelling clay, music, some dinosaurs (of any kind and different sizes and material), smart board and internet connection in case you chose the connected activities.

Meeting 1 – name the dinosaurs

I’ll post the others in the following days. They are 6 in total.

Pre-reading: Put the dinosaurs in a  soft bag before coming in. Organize kids in a circle sitting on the floor (if possible). Ask [them to touch your bag and say what you have there. They may not put their hands inside. Let them guess. React to their guesses! After that, you let them put their hands in the bag and guess again. While they touch (one kid after another) ask them if the thing they touch is nice to touch or not. Ask students to close their eyes. Take the Dino out of the bag and put in the middle of the circle. Learners open their eyes. What was in the bag? – you ask. Learners say: a dinosaur. Then you praise those who first guessed, if any. 

Reading: Get the book and bring learners close to you. Tell them they are going to read the book with you. Read the book. Let them follow your fingers while listening to you. Let them touch the book to feel it (it is a touchy-feely book). Then, when you finish it, open the pages and ask them to answer some question about the book.

Post-reading: these questions are supposed to be asked and answered by the teacher together with learners. It is just perfect if any learner is able to answer without any help. But they are being asked to recycle language they already know (like colors, big, small) and to be exposed to language they may not know yet (the target language). So, there is no big problem if they do not say much at this point. Learners answer by pointing or touching or speaking. It is time for teacher to call attention to all details concerning the target language. It’s input time.

We just have to keep in mind that kids do not keep long in the same activity. 5 minutes is already too much.

Example of questions:

  1. Wow. Look at this dinosaur. Is it big? This dinosaur is really big. What color is it? Where is the tail of the dinosaur? 
  2. What color Is this dinosaur? Where’s its mouth? Where are tits teeth?
  3. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have legs? How many?
  4. What color is this dinosaur? Where is its head? What is on its head? 
  5. Does it have horns? How many?
  6. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have spines? What color are the spines? 

Follow-up ( FU)

The follow up activities may vary according to groups pace and age. And it is not a good idea to choose more than one target language group per meeting.

FU 1 – name the dinosaur (names are big and difficult even to us but it is fun having kids trying to say them. I use the first part of their names only to begin. Brachio, Ptero, Stego…

  • PPT to be used/adapted in smartboard: dinosaurs (send me an email and you will get it)
  • Puzzle : dinosaur (get a dino printed image. Cut it and give to kids so they can make the puzzle)
  • Sorting: circle the T-rex dinosaurs only

FU 2

Dancing chairs 

  • 1 – Put the picture of a dinosaur under each chair. Play the song. Stop the song. Kids sit down. Kids get the dino under the desk. They have to say the name of the dino. If they do not know the dino’s name they ask for help and the others try to help. When they have all finally said it the dance continues. The challenge is not the chair, it is to say the names with no help.
  • 2 – Put the dinos under their desk. Play the song. They walk and dance around the chairs. Stop the song. Kids sit. You call a dinosaur. They get the dino under their desk. The one who got the dino you called gets a stick to show he is a dinosaur expert. 

Dancing corners

Put one item related to the target language that was previously taught in different places at your teaching space (classroom, garden, hall, playroom). Put a song. Kids dance. Stop the song. You say: I see a T-rex somewhere. Kids run to the corner where there is a T-rex and they say ‘T-rex’. You praise and play the song again. Stop the song and keep it going on and on and stop the game when you notice they are getting too much of it.


 *I don’ use SWBAT because my experience says that teachers expose learners to new items and give them opportunities to use them in different situations. Learners do not usually leave our time together being able to do what we expected them to (despite our efforts). However, having been exposed and given the practice opportunities will give them some input to the target language to the point when – maybe some days after exposure – they will be able to use them naturally.  This is why I prefer to say that they ‘will be exposed and stimulated’ instead of ‘will be able to’. 

 **Sometimes mixing L1 (language 1) and L2 (language 2) is not a big problem as long as you keep it mostly in L2 and if L1 is used to make things quickly clear when trouble is big. This helps learners build confidence with the new language.

PS. Found grammar mistakes or typos? Please let me know. Thank you!