Class Diary 5ºCAL (B2)

Quinto is an Upper Intermediate EFL course. The Common European Framework of Reference for the Teaching and the Learning of Languages (CEFR for short) calls this level a B2 level. Upper Intermediate EOI students take a Final Exam at the end of the course (PUC, Prueba Unificada de Certificación), in June, which certifies they have reached the upper intermediate or B2 level in their use of the language. A peculiarity of our particular course in our School is that because the law establishes that students have two years to achieve their Upper Intermediate level, and considering we use an Upper Intermediate textbook in Cuarto, although the final exam is at the B2 level, the textbook we use in class is at the Advanced level, CEFR C1. The good news is that we will only do the first 4 units, because this course is mostly devoted to developing projects while using authentic (original, unabridged) materials. CAL students (Curso de Actualización Lingüística) are teachers who need to become competent English language users professionally speaking. Therefore, the projects they develop should take this career fact into account.

Last April week: Please, listen to all the unit 3 recordings and think about textual structure while practicing your selected Useful Language. Then, at the weekend, see which parts in unit 3 you would like to ask me about (I can post answers here, but we can also do some of those in class.)

Lesson Plans: April 25 and following lessons

Thurs. April 26: as we finished with the recordings in unit 3, we’ll use this lesson to work on your Useful Language for your Lessons Project. Movie. Book Day, too.

March 27 (Thurs.) and following week

Please, fail your Speaking Test!

How to work with your List of Mistakes (March reminder)

On your work in March with the textbook

Over the weekend: please read the Guide for students, on Certificate Exams, so you can bring your questions to class next week.

Tuesday Jan 14: Announcements: school name + fire drill.

  • New Plans for unit 2 and January Lesson Plans for every day in January (Please, check and tell me what you’ll be doing, the One Crazy Summer project or the Audiobook or both!!)

First week back: About our 2nd half of the course together. Timed (one-minute speaking). Unit 2: 1. strategies (reading/listening), 2. language: mastering the pasts, 3. preparing mons on childhood for next day. Hmwk: all the little exercises we skipped + Gr B 2A. Next day: D-Day (Articles) + continue with unit 2 and listen to you.

ONLINE ACTIVITY: Oral Drilling with Relative Clauses (first open Clauses 5 and do it orally, then check with my own translation).

Tuesday, Dec 17: Questions on writings?, orals?, Audiobook OPs, pending textbook activities?, documentary

  • The December Writing is an article (decide who for and include in task description) on any topic you choose (include that info too) in 225-250 words. Please, have a look first to the Writing pages at the end of unit 2. You can also check the last link on this page: Writing File.

Tues. Nov 26: people formed the OP groups, and gave me their Writings. We had one wonderful monologue on fortune tellers. I explained how people could work on the audiobook project and reminded people about the Useful Language Project (see post linked above). I also explained how we’ll work with timed dialogues and how you should work on this at home (or just gave the handout??).  I also gave out a handout on V-Day and Nov 25 and Hilma af Klint. We started 1C. We read the text, and your homework is do the rest of unit 1 except the listening with the two language students (3rd page in 1C) and the page on the video. Remember next Wed. is the DEADLINE for your Writing.

If you finished reading One Crazy Summer… Listen, if you have a glossary on this novel, please, share with us! We can publish it to help other readers!

Thursday, Nov 7: Listening Exam Strats. + did listening 1.4 (homework: ex. g) — not checked the answers yet. Checking the vocabulary on page 7 at Plenary and small groups (Speaking). Small Groups: check the Voc. Bank, Grammar Bank 1A. If time allows, pages 4 & 5 (reading out the stories if you didn’t do your homework; checking the exercises if you did).

November: Unit 1 (C1 textbook): LESSON PLANS (draft 1)

Thursday, October 31: we listened to monologues (one was on a difficult topic: espionage! or spying on people) and talked about grammar, did some oral drilling with relative clauses, and did the listening on Jersualem, but we didn’t manage to finish checking it, I think. Anyway, we’ll do that next week.

Tuesday, October 29: Deadline for the October writing. We had a wonderful lesson with mons at Plenary and feedback and language questions! Keep it up! Next day more!!

Thursday, October 24: I’ll be joining the General Strike in Defence of State-run/Public Education.

Tuesday, October 22: I had a few interesting questions and we managed to have one person do a mon at Plenary. Some people asked about your writing assignments. A lot of people came to class this day, and a lot of people were “lost”. There was a sense of frustration on everybody’s part, I sensed, so we had a special session, in Spanish — Group Therapy. I explained the key ideas for the course this year and requested people to please start enjoying their English and their work with English and stop being afraid and not listening and not speaking. Without personal work at home, finding 5, 10-minute periods in the day to listen to English every day a few times, it is much harder to learn to speak and to learn to understand people when they speak. I reminded people of this: your priority is listening and finding 5-minute periods in the day to practice speaking (based on the audio work). If you manage this, your written English will also improve, as well as your “grammar”. I explained you should forget about Evaluation, and use the writing and speaking activities to learn instead, even though we use the exam FORMAT. We don’t evaluate, we just use the format. Fear and complexes block learning, or make it much harder. But even if you miss lessons because of work (this is obviously an obstacle to developing a learning routine), you can learn and enjoy using your English if you follow my method. Many roads lead to Rome and this year you’re taking my road, OK? 🙂 Give it a try, please! Let’s do it! I cannot teach you anything if you don’t speak in class or do your writings. We need to communicate. Please, start with your schedule: listen to the audiobook; when you get some 30 minutes, sit and read as you listen; then once a month, the movie; once a week a same episode of a TV series, every day textbook audios, or podcast episodes, or whichever audios help you learn to speak and prepare a weekly mon. you can practice towards the end of the week. And then a Writing a month, which you will learn to write whenever you find bits of time to read similar texts to the one you should be writing.

I activated the Follow Blog widget so that people who want to follow the blog can sign up. I’ll remove it next Friday. You’ll get emails about new posts, but not about the Pages.

Thursday, Oct. 17: WHAT DID WE DO? (Your Questions. Analyzing tenses (handout). Oral Drilling with Relative clauses. Mons at Plenary. Speaking: List of what to think of while brainstorming for language before speaking. Preparing/Practicing new mons. in pairs.)

Tuesday, October 15: C told us about The Butler and I explained why this course included reading two black women who took part in two different social movements in the USA. We analyzed common mistakes in Speaking tests. The present/past problem. People practiced in pairs and then we had a plenary for language questions. We thought about brainstorming for language before speaking tests, discussed some language questions. From M’s mon. we learned about simplifying when we don’t have the language to match what we want to say. We listened to R and S, too, and analyzed their English and their structure and talked a bit about comm. strats. I asked if there were any questions on Writings and reminded people of the Rules for your Writings which are not in the handout, and I gave out more copies on the October Writing (same link) to people who missed the previous lesson.

Thursday, October 10: Announcements, including upcoming Course Plan, and Writings. Tips for OPs. Stereotypes: final session. Including your assessment. Homework: go through last year’s writings, to see what you know/need, work on your monolog on stereotypes! (and listen to audios in unit 2 on this matter). If you already did, start with unit 3 audios!

Tuesday, October 8: Your Info Sheets, please. Outing: Going to see The Full Monty. Conversations: How was yor weekend? / What was it like? Working on your LoM: comfortable/convenient, ON + day of week, -ing Subjects, Fun/funny, the same AS, tiring/tired, near A PLACE (no prep.) go + -ing; camping vs camping site, parking vs parking lot. Post on this. Small Groups brainstorm on stereotypes, to gather ideas for monologs. That’s your homework: listen to people speaking on stereotypes (textbook audios, youtube videos…) and work on your mon. on that.

Thursday, October 3: Announcements. Students’ Reps. Unit 1: Working on your monologs in the classroom. Plenary to see what happened / questions / re-telling of stories told by a classmate. Homework: Going through unit 2.

Tuesday, October 1: Unit 1 Review. People worked on Speed Dating and Talking about people’s personalities and hypothetical situations like What will your life be like in X number of years? Then we did some Oral Drilling on the Comparative Structure and then people created their own comparative sentences in small groups, with L&R. I posted a LoM, too. Then I was asked about my origin, and ended up telling people stories about travelling! I also spoke a bit about why Change is so good for people, and why people who travel tend to know while people who are always in safe surroundings don’t quite realize. Next day: the last session devoted to unit 1 of last year’s textbook, so make sure you have reviewed what you needed. At home this week you should work on a monologue on Speed Dating or on Health/Accidents/Life-Death situations in the past. Keep on listening to the recordings of your textbook, too. And start the audiobook whenever you get a chance!

Thursday, September 26: Unit 1 Review. How versus What…like? How’s your mum? How was your weekend? What’s your friend like? What’s [an experience] like? (e.g. What was the trip like? / What was that [event] like) Groups work on unit 1 for 30 minutes (Interviews). Next day: An hour and a half to finish reviewing the unit in groups, with speaking activities and question at Plenary.

Tuesday, September 24: We welcomed more people. Teresa asked about navigating the Internet, because she got lost, so we were surfing the Net while I explained some useful tips. Along the way, we talked about audio contributions to the website! I told you stories about nonviolent struggle by indigenous communities. People learned/learnt the Eenie Meenie Miney Moe rhyme. We did some communicative spelling! And then people got together to practice spelling! We checked everyone had all the handouts I’d given out and gave out two more: The Course Info Form (for me) and the Tips on Learning2Learn. I also announced the creation of two Pages here, the Speaking File and the Writing File but I did not explain it. The group got the Pink Classroom Diary but there was no time for them to write on it. Next day we’ll try to start reviewing the Upper Intermediate textbook: unit 1, so listen to the audios non-stop! I’ll probably ask you to tell us more thoughts and stories and to review unit 1 in the old textbook, what speed dating is or what you think about psychics!

Plans for next week: Do some story-telling / Useful Language sharing on your part (from your listening to audios) + bring last year’s textbook for group oral reviews! + Spelling/Numbers. Bring your Upper-Intermediate textbook if you have one! For more, see: Reviewing the Upper Intermediate Textbook.

September 19: The Welcome Handout – we managed to read page 1 😀 and talk about the Reading Project and the Movie Project. We talked a bit about the LoM while having a look at Tercero’s.

September 17: information about levels and certificates, and course materials including textbook, audios/audiovisuals, and books. Handout on One Crazy Summer (beginning of novel, 1 page, glossary, 1 page). Handout on Developing your Oral Skills (learning to listen and speak). Ficha para estadísticas del centro. Información sobre centro en web del centro. Homework: start listening to English every day, include 15 minutes of listening to audios at the Upper Intermediate level (e.g. use your past textbook and learn by ear as much as you can, this is, listen several times to a same audio, then listen and repeat, then listen and then re-tell.) Bring your previous textbook to class.

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