Welcome to our fith newsletter of the year! January is now done and we have started a new year on the path to English competence. This month we covered many interesting topics and the students seemed to progress well. The weekly topics were doctor/dentist, post office/library/supermarket, traditional tales, and America/Brazil. We also focused on conversing with full sentences and with good pronunciation. The students also tried to write much more independently and focused on what came to their minds, rather than sticking to a set of prescribed formulas.
Our first weekly theme was doctors and dentists. During the brainstorm, the students did a wonderful job of discussing specific encounters they had with many of the health hazards and doctors that we discussed. During role-play, we practiced acting as doctors and patients, and had to think about what to do and who to see in each situation. The students learned about all of the different types of doctors and their purposes. They also did great work during our science lesson when we practiced taking each other’s heart rates and discussed what they mean in terms of our health.
Our second weekly theme was post offices, libraries, and supermarkets. The lessons this week were focused mainly around the different public facilities we regularly use in our community as well as the activities we perform at these facilities. The children gained perspective on the mail system during our science lesson when we practiced containerization by trying to ship oblong and misshapen objects. We also practiced a trip to the supermarket during our role play. .
The third week of lessons focused on traditional tales. The students had a great time listening to many different stories and trying to grasp the important concepts needed to fully analyze them. I was very pleased with their ability to understand the morals, characters, settings, plots, and main ideas in each of the stories. They also acted as the three little pigs during our role-play lesson when we learned the value of preparation and working hard.
The final week of lessons was about America and Brazil. This was a very fun week for the children, especially during role play when we practiced having a mock election in class for classroom president. The students got a very good grasp on the concept of democracy. They also got to experiment with creating their own closed systems in reference to the rainforest and its water cycle during science. It was a wonderful week.
The writing samples included are from our work in our journal. We usually use our journal exercises to expand upon the material we learn during the weekly introduction and make it personally relevant. The topics covered in the samples were post office and America/Brazil. During the first I had the students try to write letters to their parents about all of the things that that they were thankful for and what they wanted to do with them. In the second sample I had the students think of ways in which America and Brazil are different or the same, and write them down.
I was very impressed with all of the hard work I have seen, and I hope that everyone has a wonderful Chinese New Year break.
John Joseph Miller