MP3 track of the day: Old Macdonald had a farm
I was sat in the guesthouse restaurant at 7:45am. I had ordered my pancakes twenty minutes ago and they still hadn't arrived. I had to leave by 8:00am. Fortunately my breakfast arrived five minutes later and so I just had enough time to shuffle it all down (I certainly didn't savor each mouthful) and jump on the tuk-tuk. The scenery was starting to get familiar, however some idiotic scooter driver, going the wrong way with a bike full of eggs, would liven the trip up. Kim Lee said that starting next we he would replace the tuk-tuk with a mini-van. I hoped so. No only would this stop me breathing in dirt and fumes but hopefully the journey time would be cut and it should be cheaper (instead of $3 a day it should be $1).
We arrived at the school and some of the students came out, big smiles on their faces, saying hello. I went into my classroom, hit my head on the low door, and said good morning to my two students. The two students stood up, hands clasped in the prayer position, and said 'good morning teacher'. I opened my lesson plan and went to work.
Firstly we had a quick revision of the previous lesson before going through today's date and lesson title. I then started the lesson by walking up and down the classroom asking 'what am I doing?'. They looked puzzled. Next I opened their text books and pointed to a lady running; I asked them if I was running (as I continued walking up and down). The students answered 'no'. I then asked if I was walking and they said 'yes'. Eventually we made the above into the below sentences:
'is he running?' - 'No he isn't'
'is he walking?' - 'Yes he is'
Afterwards I asked the students for more examples of activities; I got 'swimming', 'fishing', 'playing', 'colouring', 'eating', 'reading' and 'sleeping'. I drilled different sentences and asked my students concept questions, pointing to a picture of a girl running and saying “...Is she colouring?..” hoping for the reply 'No she isn't'. Once this had been done for a while – and the students go it - I got the two students to draw a picture of themselves doing an action, keeping their picture secret. The students would then ask each other questions (for example 'Is she reading?') to try to identify what the other was doing. They had four goes at guessing the action (basically the game 'guess who?').
My students seemed to like this game and so we continued to play it after break. Once fed-up we moved back to drilling before playing a bit of 'beat the clock'. All went well in my first lesson and I couldn't believe how quickly the time went.
At lunch I ate biscuits, drank water and helped Kim produce a colourful chart of all the children's birthdays. The idea being when its one of the children's birthdays we would sing the 'birthday song' and present the child with a present consisting of a pencil case, pencil, pen, ruler, rubber etc. While producing this very colourful chart I chatted to Kim about the afternoon lesson. Within my rota I had to teach English for the first part and then, after break, it was supposed to be sport. It was really too hot for sport and so Kim suggested a singing lesson instead. We chatted over ideas and eventually 'Old Macdonald' won due to allowing the students to change the animal and learn new words.
As I was doing singing for the second part of the lesson I had to cram in as much English teaching into the first part. Fortunately the children picked up the 'Is he running?' Yes/no petty quickly. We were soon onto the drawing and I split my students into two teams. It was all going well until the last girl from team 'b' stood up. Team 'a' guessed the activity correctly making the score 5-4 in their favor. As team 'b' had one more person than team 'a', team 'a' had more chances to get more points … and that fact wasn't lost on one of the girls within team 'b'. Luckily it was break so they all went out to play; as the little girl – who had a frown on her face – went past me I said don't worry smiling. Don't think it helped. If it wasn't so close to break I would have drawn a picture to even the teams, however there just wasn't the time.
All was forgotten after break. The children came into the classroom, saw that a song was on the whiteboard, and sat down all excited. The two Cambodian teachers didn't know 'Old Macdonald' either and so they came in to learn it as well. I went through the song a couple of times, getting the children to repeat, until they could sing the whole thing. I then asked the children for different animals and we got quite a list. They sang the whole lesson and a couple of times I had to ask them to quieten their voices as they were disturbing other classes. They really enjoyed the lesson and all went out singing 'E-I-E-I-O'.
I looked at the timetable for Friday before I left. First thing was 'sanitation' (we try to teach the students good hygiene habits focusing on different topics. I certainly would like to cover rubbish and the importance of cleaning it up) followed by a 'test' and then 'sport'. I inquired into the 'test' and the upshot was just a simple test on all the stuff covered this week. On the tuk-tuk back to the guesthouse I decided that, instead of major lesson planning tonight, I would look at producing a small test with 'fill in the blanks' and maybe a 'word search'. Something light.
I made it back to the guesthouse for 4pm; I collected my washing, got changed, and then surfed the internet before breaking for an early tea. After tea I got to work on the test (see below) before having an early night. As I fell to sleep I thought that the test was actually a good idea, it would hopefully let me know if how I teach was right for the children.