I open every class with an intro routine. I add one or two words per day, and by the end of the course, the kids have picked up about 90 expressions from just intro alone. Here’s how I do it
- I ask, class, what is the day? and class, what is the date? Then, I answer in the affirmative and ask a few questions: class, is it Tuesday or Wednesday? That’s right, it’s Wednesday. Class, is it the 28th or the 29th? That’s right: it’s not the 28th– it’s the 29th.This will teach kids days and numbers 1-31 with zero effort. Time: 1 minute
- I ask class, what is the weather like today? That’s right, class: it’s snowing. Class, was it snowing yesterday? That’s right: yesterday, it wasn’t snowing: it was sunny! If the weather where you are never changes, talk about weather elsewhere. Time: 1 minute.
- Next up is The Missing Kid: I ask, class, where is [a kid not in class]? Sometimes kids know (Johnny’s at the doctor, or Manjeet is in a soccer tourney). Then, I ask some y/n and either/or questions about that kid. Sometimes, we have no idea, so here we speculate: Class, is it possible that Baljit is playing soccer with Leonel Messi in Barcelona? For people with the subjunctive tense in their target language, this is a goldmine. Time: 5 minutes
- Finally, we do what did you do last night? First, I model it myself: I tell the kids about my evening, thus: Class, last night I drove my purple Ferrari home, and then I had a date with Angeline Jolie. That’s right, class: Ang is single so we had a date. Our date was fun and romantic. We went to McDonalds! Ang was very happy. I ask, Suzie, what did you do last night/yesterday? Yes, I do this with Day 2 beginners. I use the following “past tense PQA” chart. Initially, the kids just read off it. On Day 2, the question was what did you do last night? and they could only pick I went to…. and I played…
So I would ask a kid what did you do last night? and they would (in the first few days) read something like last night, I played GTA 5 or yesterday, I went to Wal Mart. I would ask questions about their answers, re-state in 3rd person, and then do compare and contrast questions. Here is a sample dialogue from today (we have had about 27 classes):
T: Manpreet, what did you do last night?
S: last night, I went to Wal-Mart.
T: class, did Manpreet go to Wal-Mart or to Safeway last night?
T: Manpreet, did you go to 7-11 last night?
S: I went to Wal-Mart.
Here we are getting 1st, 2nd and 3rd person reps on the basic past tense. I “allow” one new word per day, so after 8 days the kids at least recognise the basics (ie what is on the chart). Yes, you can do this with total beginners and it’s a not-bad idea…because the longer people hear _____, the more chances they have of picking it up. After they recognise everything on the chart, I add a new word or two on the board per day.
Time: 5 minutes.
5. Finally, we do soap operas, which grew organically out of me blatantly lying about my evening activities. Kids, were like, well if Sr can date Angelina Jolie, *I* can kiss Dave Franco. For soap opera details, read this. Soap operas have two parts: creating the story, and (once enough has been created to fill a page) printing it out and reading it.
Anyway, the aims with the intro routine are to
- keep all language 100% comprehensible
- introduce a variety of grammar and vocab incrementally
- tailor language to student interests
- recycle things daily
- avoid themes or topics
- unshelter grammar