Monday, December 27, 2010

Expanding on the teaching time lesson to include reading, writing and speaking

From the basic lesson of how to tell time using a clock, I expanded the lesson into include a reading and writing assignment relatedto the daily activities of a novice.

In this activity, the novice were to read and write in their notebooks, the paragraph I'd written on the board.  Then they were to fill in the clock, with the time they did specific activities as a novice.

Grammar - Small and Smallest

Teaching grammar - part of the core curriculum in Thailand.

This was more of a challenge for me than it was for the students.  Trying to teach grammar, with novice who have limited English skills...... however, the students did get the concept.

Story Telling Lesson

"In my mother's kitchen"

This was the name of the short story I told to the novice at Wat Chetupon.

I had designed a model of the story, which I showed to the novice, as I talked about the three things I learned "In my mother's kitchen."

I showed the novice how to fold a sheet of paper, so there would be a total of six boxes.  One for the beginning, one for the end, and then four others, in which they could tell a story about themselves.

This story telling strategy comes right out of my English Language Learner training I received with Rialto Unified School District. 

Multiple skills are developed using this instructional strategy:  developing a story, sequencing of events in the story, drawing, some writing and eventually, using the picture graph to tell the story to the class.
The novice told stories about their lives.... here the novice is eating breakfast.

Learning meditation

The use of pictures or drawings (visual element) is a key component of teaching English Language Learners.  Allowing students to draw, then add the written and spoken components builds on the student's strengths and challenges them too.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Learning to Tell Time at Wat Chetupon

Direct instruction in telling  time.  After instructing in the hour and half hour, I moved the lesson into the quarter hour.

Some students got very creative with the clocks in the guided practice in their notebooks!

Checking for understanding after some independent practice in telling time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas from Wat Chetupon Temple School in Chiang Mai!

Wat Chetupon Temple School, where I've been teaching English to the novice, had their Christmas Day party and gift exchange today.

So welcome to the celebration!  I added a series of photos and videos to my blog, so that everyone could see how the Buddhist novice celebrated Christmas Day 2010!

Oh... by the way.... it's Happy 2554 according to the Thai calendar!

Gift Exchange on December 25th, 2010

Gift exchange.... everyone brought a wrapped gift... novice and school staff.  The gifts were all numbered and placed on tables.

The novice sat in lines according to the classrooms.  It was a time to have fun and take pictures too!

The novice picking a number out of a bowl, then going over to the tables in the back of the photo, to find the corresponding gift.

By class, novice were called to the front and could then draw a small piece of paper out of a bowl, with a number on it.  Since each gift had a number on it, they went off in search of the present with that number.

The gift exchange took about two hours and was so well organized.  I was very impressed with just how smoothly the whole celebration went.

Opening presents at Wat Chetupon's Gift Exchange

Gifts opened.... all smiles!

Lots of stuff animals were part of the gift exchange.
This pink rabbit was quite the hit!

"Sing-a-Song" on Christmas Day at temple school

Whether the song is Thai or English, the Thai love to "Sing-a-Song!"  The novice listened in.....

Yes..... I got into the mood too!  I sang "White Christmas" and "Jingle Bells."

Ring Toss on Christmas Day

The ever popular ring toss for a prize ..... novice at Wat Chetupon try their skill at the Christmas Day party.

Winner..... Winner.... Winner..... maybe!

Bingo on 12/25/10 at Wat Chetupon

It's time to play BINGO!

5 Bhat (about 15 cents) per Bingo card!
Very popular game at Wat Chetupon temple school's Christmas Day celebration!

Waiting for the next BINGO number...

How steady is your hand?

One of the games the novice could try their hand at during the 12/25/10 celebration..... testing how steady a hand you have.

A small metal loop, that one is suppose to move along an electrified piece of wire without touching it.  If the loop touches the wire, a buzz sounds.  Look at all the loops in that piece of electrified wire!  I tried it.... but did not get very far before the buzzing started....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Teaching a special class at Watt Chetupon

Seems like whenever an English teacher is needed at Watt Chetupon, I'm asked to step in.  It's a challenge to come up with a lesson plan, on the spot so to speak, but this challenge also helps to keep the brain alert!

Royal Reliquary in Chiang Mai

The cemetery of the Northern Thailand Royal Family, going back centuries, is located next to the Buddhist university where I've been teaching.

The construction of the huge gold Pagoda in the rear of the photo,  dates back to the late 1300s.

Anticipatory part of my lesson with the university monks

Before launching into the day's lesson, I like to start off with a fun, anticipatory set, that gets the students talking.

This anticipatory set asked the question...

"If you could be any animal, what would it be, and why would you want to be that animal?"

Drawing and English Vocabulary

Teaching vocabulary through drawing can be a very effective strategy to engage students.  Many of the novice at Wat Chetupon struggle with the academics, but when it comes to drawing..... they are fantastic!

Once I got the lesson started, Adam, an Autralian volunteer with Friends For Asia, stepped in and took over. Once again, I was in the mentor / coach role! 

Draw 5 mountains..... two rivers.... eight fish...

Ten houses, two cats.....

Eight ducks, five snakes.....

I thought I liked to "ham it up" as the teacher.... check out Adam in this video as he tell a story to go with the drawing!

The novice stepped in to help Adam and I with our drawing of animals....

Novice, like students in America, love to come to the board and teach the lesson.

When the novice took over the drawing of animals on the board, all the other students suddenly become totally engaged in this lesson.
  Here are just a few examples of the student drawings! 

One student decided, on his own, that Santa, his sleigh and the reindeer needed to make an appearance his drawing!  Oh... and check out the Christmas trees too!

Christmas Day gift exchange at Wat Chetupon

What to give at a gift exchange for staff and novice at a Buddhist temple school party on December 25th?

Books, food, candy, journal? ...... what, what, what to give?

Everyone loves a teddy bear!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Enthusiastic students!

The joy and enthusiasm I see on the faces of my students, re-energizes me, as well as my teaching..... each and every day!

Ajan T as a Guest Lecturer

Dr. Samrun (green shirt above) asked me to teach his International English Major class at the University.  Big class, over 40 students, and the period was nearly 3 hours long.

The topic.... Contrastive Study of Thai and English Stress and Intonation.

Much of the lesson involved the students practicing words and sentences in English, to learn where to place the stress on words, and how to place the correct intonation on sentences.  Little note taking in the process too.

Speaking with students during a guided practice exercise.

Checking for understanding.....
Checking independent practice....

Practicing some words and having fun too!

How to turn a three hour lesson on the stress and intonation of English words and sentences?  Break it up with a little fun reviewing on words, the student have trouble pronouncing!

Also gives me a chance to be "on stage" for a bit!



Guest Lecturer: Stress and Intonation in the English Language

It would seem, the opportunities for me to teach English in some form or another constantly pop up.

Dr. Samrun, the Director of the International English Program at the Buddhist University in Chiang Mai, asked me to cover one of his classes.  Over 40 students for nearly three hours..... title of the lecture:

Contrastive Study of Thai and English Stress and Intonation.

I dug deep into my bag of instructional strategies to keep the pace moving for nearly three hours on this topic!

Putting students in pairs, and having them practice the leson with each other, works well at the University.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Learning to tell time at the temple school

Learning to tell time is a multi-step process.  To be able to read the numbers in English, to learn that 6:00 a.m. and 6 o'clock mean the same..... then to learn how to write or say or read (on a clock) 6:15 as compared to 6:30 as compared to 6:45.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Modifying the Thai core curriculum and extending the lesson

I've been using the Thai core curriculum at Wat Chetupon Temple School in ways that turn a primarily grammar text into a conversational focus.

The text in this lesson was dealing with green house gas and where it comes from.

We read the text as a whole class, students read the same text to each other, I write questions on the board based on the text, the students copy and answer in their notebooks.

Then last step in the lesson, for students to come to the board, write their answers and then read the question and the answers.  This last step certainly has all the novice attention!

Monday, December 20, 2010

How was the meditation retreat?

Following the meditation retreat the monks attended, I asked the monks to come up with adjectives that described the retreat for them.

The monks were to complete the following sentence:

"The meditation retreat was _____________________."

As the monks gave their descriptive words, I wrote them on the board:  good amazing, interesting..... 

All of this was going very well, until.....

One monk commented that the meditation retreat was "entertaining!"  That answer caught me off guard, as well as the other monks!

Peaceful, quiet, calm.... maybe even exciting.  But.... a meditation retreat being..... entertaining?

Needless to say, that response got more than a few laughs!

More Chicken Soup for the Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul..... is a fantastic teaching resource!  The monks at the Buddhist university become very engaged, when I read and ask questions about the story.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Teaching adults at a vocational school

More chances for me to teach English come my way!  In additon to teaching monks at the Buddhist University, and teaching novice at a temple school, I've been spending my Sunday afternoons teaching English at a vocational school.

The school is held on the weekends in the library of a Buddhist temple.  Thai who are employed and who want to learn English, can come to these informal lessons.  The classes are a combination of grammar and conversation.  Depending on the day, anywhere between 30 and 50 very enthusiastic  students come to learn English at these classes

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Writing is a process

Learning to write an essay, in English, is a process.  A step-by-step process that takes time.  This is why I've been working with the monks, at the university, over time, helping them to understand the writing process.  

Writing has become part of each of my lessons with the monks at the university.  Lots of review, lots of working through the individual steps that form the building blocks of a good five paragraph essay.

A place for learning

The classrooms at Wat Chetupon Temple School are very basic.  Student tables, chairs and a chalk board.

The novice come here to learn. 
My lessons are fast paced, student centered, and engaging.