* KIDDIES & KIDS
Children hate routine. Teachers spend hours on end trying to devise artifacts to engage their attention. And that's precisely what these shows do.
The kids love them, they don't even notice they are practising and learning, the feedback we've got from teachers testing it is that they are very addictive, they trigger a healthy sense of competitiveness, that 'I know!' drive that all teachers work for. Hope it works that way for your kids too.
All these activities, just as the rest of the material in this collection, are meant to be assisted by a teacher who can provide pronounciation, clear up doubts, create new appropriate associations for the words and any other activity you can think up.
* GRAMMAR REVIEW
The Grammar shows are identified with a suffix 'e' [for elementary] or an 'i' [for intermediate] in their filenames. This serves only as a rough indication of what the students may have already seen of each topic at that particular level.
The approach in all cases is to present a sort of compendium of all the existing rules and special cases. Not because they will remember them all, but because they should at least know that these things exist.
I firmly believe that information is best organized in your mind when you have the whole picture. Like when putting together a jigsaw puzzle: it's much easier with the whole picture in sight.
I created these shows to give my students a quick revision of past topics, to consolidate their understanding or to do remedial work in the case of the intermediate/advanced level.
Once again, these slide presentations are NO GOOD for teaching. They move too fast, they take a lot of things for granted. But they are excellent when revising before a test, for instance. Or to give false beginners or people who resume their study after some years a fast brush-up of all they once knew.
The topics in this volume are a scattering of points that I created as I needed them. I am currently working on several others: the other verb tenses, more about prepositions [there is never enough about prepositions], etc.
In all cases, some practice has been included. And there is one show [VERB PACTICE] that is only excercises to contrast the Past and Present Perfect.
* ELEMENTARY VOCABULARY
All the activities [topic repertories, games] follow the same guidelines:
1] About 50% of the words are well known to the students.
2] Some 30% are harder but transparent, words the students don't know that they know [like 'toilet paper', or 'lolly pop']
3] And I have included a 20 % of more challenging terms, so that there will be some learning too.
WORD BUILDING shows attempt to expose the students to an organized view of how to enlarge their vocabulary. The rules of formation are well explained and there is plenty of practice.
The VOCABULARY GAMES focus on creating associated glossaries, to avoid the problem of isolated terms and facilitate retrieval. But the language is presented out of context, it activates the memory traces of previous contact with the word.
The TOPIC GLOSSARIES are all pictionaries, to produce visual-aural associations. You must provide the pronounciation and reinforcement, by having them say the words aloud.
* INTERMEDIATE VOCABULARY
All the activities [topic repertories, games] follow the guidelines mentioned before.
The word building shows attempt to expose the students to an organized view of how to enlarge their vocabulary. There are several at this level, the second part of NEGATIVE PREFIXES, VERB FORMATION and FORM & FUNCTION.
There are also 3 shows on commonly confused words: WHAT'S WHAT, MAKE & DO, and JUST SO, that deals with collocations.
The VOCABULARY GAMES focus on creating associated glossaries, to avoid the problem of isolated terms and facilitate retrieval. But the language is presented out of context, it activates the memory traces of previous contact with the word. The students love the games and there are several at this level.
The TOPIC GLOSSARIES are all pictionaries, to produce visual-aural associations. You must provide the pronounciation and reinforcement, by having them say the words aloud. Included here are JOBS, VEGETABLES & FRUIT, ICONS, CLICHES, APPAREL, and ADJECTIVES 2. All of them contain large repertories, for revision and learning.
* TEST PRACTICE
All the practice shows in this volume are meant either for the First Certificate Examination or for TOEFL. They focus on vocabulary [and by implication, Reading Comprehension] and structure and grammar. All of them are Multiple Choice.
When working with them, the presence of the teacher grants that all doubts are ironed out, even though each question provides an immediate correct answer following the student's choice.
In the case of the three SPOT THE MISTAKE shows, the right answer is given, together with a telegraphic explanation, because these are preparation activities, not tests. And because this is not software, there is no calculation of the number of correct answers. I keep track of that myself on paper, when necessary.
There are a LOT of questions! Some shows have 60 questions, and take longer to go through. They may be perhaps used by the students practising on their own. Or, as I have found, provide opportunity for everybody in larger classes to give more than one answer.
I have set 4 basic levels for all the activities:
1] KIDDIES - [the filename has a prefix Ki] from 5 to 9 years of age
2] KIDS - [the filename has a prefix K] from 9 to 14
3] ELEMENTARY - [the filename has a suffix 'e'] These are activities for teens and adults with at least 1 or 2 years of learning.
4] INTERMEDIATE - [the filename has a suffix 'i'] All who have more learning experience.
However, these are only rough indicators. When testing the material, we found that kids enjoyed the simpler activities too.
And all the intermediate and advanced students benefited from the elementary shows.
As a rule of thumb, you should not expose your students to material that is too hard for them, but everybody likes the easier stuff.
BRITISH OR AMERICAN?
In my opinion, our students will have to deal with both forms of English along their lives, and therefore, I have chosen a rather ecclectic approach:
* The spelling is American [except in the materials for British tests]
* When two different words exist for a common item [like pants/trousers], I have included both.
* When there are grammar differences, they are clearly explained [have vs. Have got / in the street / on the street]