It is very sunny on the first day back to Smith’s School or English for me after Golden Week. My first class for the evening is a pink student who I know to be very friendly, but shy in speaking. With a relatively relaxed atmosphere I ask her what she did during Golden Week. She thinks for a while until she did nothing, just sleep. You didn’t do anything at all? I ask her. She thinks for a while, before answering that she went to the zoo with her sister’s family. I ask her a few more questions about her visit to the zoo, and she tells me what animals she and her sister]s children saw.
As her Golden week had been so sleepy, I then brought out the one point from last time. I told her that I stayed home a lot during Golden Week also. On one hand I like watching anime, I said, but on the other hand I like being outside. She remembered the metaphorical hands weighing up two points, and started saying on one hand she likes to sleep, but on the other hand… She couldn’t think of a negative side of sleeping a lot. And why should there be? We laughed and moved onto an item.
Routine 9 – Finnegan’s Bar – from Smith’s school of English Routine Series
Although this was a pink level student, I thought it could be fun to go through the questions from routine 9, as they are about meeting people and doing things, something topical after Golden Week. Talking about recent real life things seemed like something natural and appropriate at this time. It is also immediately useful spoken English, if only for the moment to the other English teachers asking her about Golden Week.
I wrote up half of the routine on the board, as I figured it would take longer to go through for a pink level student of her level, and I am mainly using it to illustrate the pattern of the story. We go through the story, listening and repeating slowly. Where she has difficulty in the idiom we stop and look at another way of saying the same thing, then keep going.
At the end I ask her a question – did you meet anyone in Golden Week? She repeated my question to herself, and said yes, her sister’s family. By writing “I” as a prompt on the board, she answered again in a full sentence. I then asked her where they met, and then what they did. As she answered, I wrote the sentences out on the board. Since we had already talked about the zoo, I tried to guide the questions in a way that she could confidently answer, necessarily moving away from the routine. By the end we had a story made of good grammatical sentences up on the board that she had come up with by herself, with a few prompting questions, for example, “how did you get there?” followed by “did you by car?”, and rethinking definite and indefinite particles.
At last I ask her, what did you do during Golden week? And she tells me using the sentences we came up with, smiling all the while, and it is a much more expansive version than at the beginning of the lesson.
One-point – B.7 – From Smith’s School of English One Point Series
With only a little time left, I write the one-point on the board and use an example of it myself. When I indicate for her for to think of an example, she quickly says “Today I feel lucky because I am only one student!”