Thursday, September 19, 2013

Basic English (For Letras Students) 19/9

Present Perfect

Pictured here are examples of the first situation in which we use the present perfect: when an action started in the past and continues today. I presented that to form the present perfect you need the verb "to have" in the present tense (helping verb) and a verb in the past participle form. I drew a timeline to illustrate that the action started in the past and continues today. I showed students that when we ask a question in the present perfect, the helping verb goes before the subject. Students told me how long they have been in Araguaina and I showed them that they will often see the words "for" and "since" used in present perfect sentences.

Pictured here is the second situation in which we use the present perfect: when an action happened in the past but we don't know when. 

We did a quick review of when to use have and when to use has.

Last we did an activity in which students had to put the following sentences in the correct order using the present perfect. In order to make the activity more accessible for everyone, I gave them a lot of scaffolding and walked them through it.

The sentence pieces they were given:
1. (you/ eat/ this morning/ your/ breakfast/?)
2. (her operation/ fight/ with her weight/ since/ she)
3. (for 15 years/ in a bank/ Mr. Lee/ work)
4. (listen to/ about my adventures/ they/ stories)
5. (diligently/ begin/ to work/ at UFT/ the students/ this week)
6. (study/ for 6 years/ romance languages/ she)
7. (fly/ I/ to my home/ many times/ from the U.S.)

For each sentence I asked them a series of questions:
1. What is the verb in the sentence? What is the past participle of that verb?
2. What is the subject of the sentence? Do we use has or have with that subject?
3. Is the phrase a statement or a question? Because of that, which goes first, the helping verb (has/have) or the subject?

And then they had enough information to tell me how to write the sentence correctly. By the end they were answering the questions much more quickly and seemed to really get it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

American Culture Workshop 18/9

Today we worked on our English-language travel guide, which is now up ( and will be added to in the weeks to come. We have groups writing on different aspects of Tocantins culture, such as food, arts and crafts, indigenous peoples, natural wonders, and cities.

First, we reviewed some cardinal rules for writing so that students can write the best blog entries possible. Here they are:

**Rules for Writing**
1. Every paragraph should have an introduction and conclusion sentence

  • Words for beginning a sentence: First, to Start
  • Words for adding information: For example, For instance, Similarly, Likewise, Also, In the same way, On the other hand, In contrast, Consequently, However, Although, Despite  
  • Words to conclude a sentence: Fianlly, In conclusion, To sum up, In summary

2. NEW idea = NEW sentence (commas are only for adding information to a sentence)
3. Subject-verb agreement, Parallelism (plural, maintain verb tense)
4. NEVER use "I" in academic writing
5. NEVER use the passive voice (I made a mistake vs. Mistakes were made)

Next week we will learn about American music. See you there!

Basic English (For Science and Tourism Students) 17/9

Simple Past

I used the same lesson plan in this class that I used on the 12th of September in Basic English for Letras students.  (See that blog entry for more details).

However, one thing that I modified was the activity. To cater to a more Basic level of English, we did the pair activity as a class. Instead of having the students come up with questions in pairs, which would have been too difficult for them at this point, I came up with the questions and had them practice by answering. This was challenging for them but I saw improvement throughout the activity. I would hold up a picture and ask the students a question about something that happened in the picture. Some of my questions had affirmative answers and some of them had negative answers in order to help the students practice how forming the past tense is different in the two scenarios.

When you answer a question affirmatively in the past you simply put the verb in the past tense in your response. However when you answer a question negatively in the past tense your response includes "did not + infinitive verb"

For example:

I ate dinner last night (Affirmative response)
I did not eat dinner last night (negative response)

They seemed to understand the concept because they struggled at the beginning of class but by the end were speaking correctly and able to explain the reason why the affirmative and negative sentences were different in the past.

We also reviewed the verb TO BE in the past and discussed that it is the only verb that changes with different people in the past tense (other verbs remain the same, no matter who you are talking about).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bible Study 16/9

Alive (Mary Magdalene) by Natalie Grant from the album Music Inspired by the Story

link to the song:

We began class by going over the new vocabulary.

Then students read a verse or two from the scripture passage. We had a small discussion about the passage. Students shared what stood out to them or what they had never noticed before about the passage.

John 20:1-18

New International Version (NIV)

The Empty Tomb

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white,seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”(which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

After that we listened to the song twice and students filled in the blanks. Then in pairs they compared their answers. We listened to the song a final time and I sang to help enunciate some parts that were difficult to hear and understand. Finally some students read the answers and translated the song line by line.

Alive (Mary Magdalene) by Natalie Grant from Music Inspired by the Story

Who but ________ could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and ________ of me
What kind of ________ is writing my story ‘til the end with mercy’s pen?
Only _________
What kind of __________, would choose to wear a _________ that bleeds and scars to win my heart
What kind of __________, tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay inside the grave?
You, is it you? Standing here before my _________
Every part of my _______ cries
Alive, ________
Look what mercy’s overcome
_________ has lost and __________ has won
________, Alive
Hallelujah risen LORD the only one I fall before
I am __________ because He is __________
Who could speak and send the demons back from where they came with just one Name
What other heart could let itself be ____________ every time ‘til he healed mine?
You, only you, can turn my darkness into dawn
Running right into your __________
___________, Alive
Look what mercy’s overcome
_________ has lost and ________ has won
Alive, ___________
Hallelujah risen LORD the only one I fall before
I am ______ because He is
The Promised _________
The __________ who made angels sing
Son of Man who ___________ with us
Healing breathing in our dust
The author of all __________
The __________ to all mysteries
The Lamb of God who rolled away the stone in front of every grave.
_________, Alive
Look what mercy’s overcome
__________ has lost and ___________ has won
I am _______ because He is _________

The blanks

At the end of class students pointed out their favorite parts of the song and explained why it was their favorite.

I also asked them about what it means to them to be alive. The shared some really beautiful and meaningful comments. Though this part of class was primarily in Portuguese it was important because it allowed all of us to grow a little closer and share a different part of our culture.

One student shared about how living can mean leaving a legacy even after we die. He shared an example of a friend of his who was killed in 2010. He told us that because of the way she lived her life, she is remembered and continues to be an inspiration today. One way that the lessons she learned and the person she was lives on is through the journals that she wrote about her faith and spiritual journey. He told us that they are going to be published soon.

Another student shared that the wants to make the most of his years, months, weeks, moments and seconds to be the best that he can be.

Another student shared that our lives touch so many other lives and that because of that when we live caring for others, being there for them, and helping them we make a significant difference that lasts beyond our lives.

Some other things that students mentioned in regard to what it means to live included: being present, being a part of the action (the verb), being remembered, "waking up to the Lord."

I am so thankful that my students and their willingness to go beyond the surface level in our class conversations. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Conversation Hour 13/9

Students who missed class on Tuesday heard about the activity that we did and requested that we do it again, so we did! This time I was able to get some pictures:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Basic English (For Letras Students)12/9

Simple Past

To present the Simple Past I asked the following questions:
What did you do yesterday? [students formed 2 columns: regular and irregular verbs]
When did all these things happen? [in the past]
Are they still happening now? [no]
When we talk about the past, what happens to regular verbs?  [+ ed]
And the irregular verbs?
How do you know which verbs are regular and which are irregular? [Practice]

Then I handed out this worksheet with irregular verbs as a reference tool.

Next I presented how to ask questions and write negative statements and contractions.

When the answer to a question about past events is negative, the verb stays the same (infinitive).

After the presentation, students did a small group activity in which they wrote 5 questions about what people did "yesterday" in a photo. Then they asked each other their questions and wrote their responses. The were instructed to write some questions that had affirmative answers and some that have negative answers.

Conversation Hour 10/9

Present Unreal Conditional

As a continuation of Thursday's Basic English class we did activities using the present unreal conditional in conversation hour today.

We did a quick review (see Basic English for Letras students 5/9 for more details) and then students shared their answers to the following questions, in pairs.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
What would you do if you won $1,000,000?
If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

The next activity was called "If I had this job..."

Students thought of a job and then their peers asked them questions like,
"If you had this job, would you be rich?"
"If you had this job, would you work in NY?"
"If you had this job would you be famous?"

They asked them questions until they discovered what the job was. The student who answered wrote their answers on the board (to practice writing and for the class to remember what was already spoken).

Leo was an astronaut. Patrick was a writer. Mariana was a singer. Arthur was a composer and Kellen was a Stylist.