So, What Exactly Do You Teach?

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Checking background knowledge on the first day of class

The school has very limited resources and utilizes a text book geared for first or second graders. This is advantageous for the little ones but means the older students are often left unchallenged, so I wrote a short story to practice reading in English. Right now, we are working with the verbs “to have” and “to need.” Student volunteers read the different roles aloud for the class and we decode the sentences together, assigning Total Physical Response (TPR) motions to new words or phrases. The older kids like the challenge of reading in front of the class and practicing more advanced skills and the younger students really seem to get a kick out of the funny voices and actions we use in TPR.


Yesterday we began learning the parts of the body. I did this monster project last year with my Spanish One students and decided to try it again here– we got to review numbers and practice both “I have” and the parts of the body. We’re not all the way there yet, but not bad progress for just a few tries!

While the little kids miss some of the coloring, the older students have really risen to the level I have been trying to encourage them to reach. A few have told me they’re glad that I’m not letting them color as much, even though it means class is a little harder– it’s really encouraging me to keep trying new strategies and activities. It’s been very surprising to see which activities are successful and which ones flop. The students love TPR, reading as a class and activities that use both writing and coloring (like the monster) but hate activities where they have to move around the classroom or practice talking to each other in English in small groups or one-on-one (which was really surprising because they love to talk and moving around the room is part of how these classrooms function).

There’s a circle strategy that I use in my classroom back home that I’d be really interested to try here (it builds the classroom as a community and helps encourage students to speak in front of the others, amongst a plethora of other things), but alas, I am too chicken to try and introduce it yet. Maybe next week?


2 thoughts on “So, What Exactly Do You Teach?

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