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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:40 pm
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Exclamation Ideas for an intro conversation class

Hi there,

I am a brand-spanking new teacher and my school chose very unwisely to give me three conversation classes - no textbook or curriculum included - with introductory english students. These students are learning english still from a native speaker because they are at such a basic level that they cannot understand a foreign teacher. But the parents were promised that their children would have exposure to a foreign teacher, so they created my class! It's basically an extra class that they have to attend and all I have been told is that my class is for them to practice speaking. Now imagine how difficult it is to get a room full of students who can barely speak english to participate in a conversation class for two hours!

So, I need help big time! My students are all around 17 or 18 years old so the games can't be too childish. Luckily I don't have to evaluate them in any way and I have not been given a curriculum so I can pretty much do whatever I want. But being a new teacher, I don't have any experience or past resources to draw on. If any of you know of an activity or an idea for a 2-hour lesson that would be perfect for my situation, I would be so very grateful!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 24th, 2006, 04:03 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

There are lots of games you can play to promote conversation - for example - even if they only know there is/are you can play Kim's game : show students about fifteen objects one by one, check they know the name (choose objects which they should know), place them on the table and cover them with a tablecloth. The students in pairs have to remember what's there : There's a yellow scarf and a small, blue box ... If they also know prepositions of place you can take it on to a second stage. Ask them to remember where the objects are : The box is under the scarf ... etc.
Or if they know the present continuous do something similar with pictures : show ten pictures one at a time. At the end ask questions about the first picture to check that students know the necessary language and understand what they have to do. : How many people are there in the picture? Where are they? What are they doing? What are they wearing etc. then put students into pairs and ask them to remember what's in the pictures : There's a man. he's standing near the window and he's looking out. Outside there's a woman. She's washing the car. The man is wearing a blue sweater ...
As they do the activities, circulate and take notes of the mistakes they make. Put these on the board, and at the end ask the students to correct them.

Starting tomorrow I'm going to be running a series of articles on my site (link below) on using pictures to stimulate speaking in the classroom. You may find other activities you can use there.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 25th, 2006, 02:59 am
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

Thank you. That's very helpful. I've seen the activities where you hold up a picture and get them to tell you what it is but I just thought they would feel that it is too easy and childish for them. In one of the earlier units of the textbook they learn with their chinese teacher they learned the names of many household and personal objects as well as prepositions of place, so I could try this with them. Thanks for your help! I'll check your website for more resources.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 25th, 2006, 09:08 am
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

I always use a sponge ball and place the students in a circle throwing it from one to the other asking, "what's your name?" "My name is John. What's your name?" Also you can add some more easy questions and it builds up some confidence and insures a lively and fun time for the students!
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Unread Oct 25th, 2006, 11:40 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

Yeah I actually did that one on the first day and then the next week we played it again using names and then I also asked them to say "and I like to ____" and then one thing that they like to do. They seemed to enjoy it but were at first a little weirded out by getting up out of their seats - I gather that they don't really do that here (in China). I could play it again with other questions, you're right.

Thanks!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 7th, 2006, 02:07 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

We just played a version of 20 Questions, or What am I? A student writes down a word and says if they are a person, place or thing, or whatever categories you want to use. then the other students ask yes/no questions to figure out what they are. We have fun with it in my adult class.
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Unread Nov 8th, 2006, 07:09 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

I am new to this site, and very interested already on the tips and recommendations shared here.
You can practice different conversations with all the group, conversations of 2 or more students, from greetings to topics. Hello my name is ....What's your name?, My name is.......etc., you can model with them and then they practice the target conversation, when they finish they change teams to continue practicing soon you will have a conversation class.
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Unread Nov 15th, 2006, 09:52 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

Tessy2 I am new to this site, and very interested already on the tips and recommendations shared here.
You can practice different conversations with all the group, conversations of 2 or more students, from greetings to topics. Hello my name is ....What's your name?, My name is.......etc., you can model with them and then they practice the target conversation, when they finish they change teams to continue practicing soon you will have a conversation class.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 25th, 2008, 07:02 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

Here's what I did in that situation teaching in Thailand:

1. Make 9 picture-cards (draw/clip-art pictures on 9X11 and put in plastic sleeves) examples: body parts

2. Model simple 2-line, 4-line, or 6-line dialogue with all cards - don't worry if they're overwhelmed at this point (don't write on board yet) example: A: What's wrong? B: My (body part) hurts!

3. Now choose just one card and model the convo very slowly a bunch of times until they're all whispering it along with you...

4. Hold the card, have one student stand up and do A's part, and you do B

Repeat with 5-6 students...

5. Give card to a student, then do A's part, have them do B's part. Repeat with 5-6 students...

6. Then have two students stand up, one holding the card, and have them do both A and B's parts together

Repeat with 6-8 pairs of students

7. Then ellicit the dialogue onto the board, and let them copy it in their notebooks.

8. Put student's in lines facing each other, and have them practice (with just the one body part still) the conversation, and when you say switch, have one line rotate down - you can do this for 10 minutes or so...

9. Have them sit down again, and take some time to go over each of the other cards again until they know all the body parts...

10. Then do this walk-around activity: hold one of the cards, have one student do A, and you do B... Then give the student the card, and have him stand up and pick someone to do the 'A' part. So the student with the card will do B, and it's up to him/her who does A. When the 2 students finish, have the student holding the card hand-off the card to the other student, and then the other student becomes B and has to find another student for A. Let this continue for a while - they'll get a kick out of it... After a while, start in with another card using the same process, then another, then another, until all 9 cards are circulating throughout the room. Amazingly, the entire class will be practicing your conversation, whether they realize it or not.

11. Now you can play a game. Tic-tac-toe works well, but after a few weeks, it gets boring and you should try connect 4 or something. Put each body part (or whatever) into a square of the board, divide into 2 teams. Pick two students from a team and if they do the dialogue correctly, they get an X or O.



With this format, you should have a good foundation, at least.
You can alter the cards to do any number of conversations...

Divide cards into 2 sections:

Where did you go on vacaction?
I went to the (place - ex: beach).
What did you do there?
I (action - ex: swam).

etc.


I hope this helps - good luck!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 15th, 2011, 08:53 pm
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Default Re: Ideas for an intro conversation class

I am in a similar situation, I have no real experience and will soon be teaching a conversation class with high school age students with low English levels. I would like to hear more about what you did to help generate ideas and plan for possible contingencies.
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