5 July 2009 English Class

 The last time I was in Bolga I bought a flip chart, 10 small notebook, and 10 pens. When I told the shopkeeper what I was doing he donated two colorful pencils with extra end erasers for the kids.

When I came home Elizabeth and Cantuace helped me unpack and asked what the things were for. When I told them they were very excited. Before I knew it many children were at my house asking about English classes so I scheduled them for Today, Sunday afternoon.

So today I began an English Class with the local children. Some are master’s children and some are from the nearby village. Ten children attended. Those who attended were as follows.

Tenny is the small girl who lives at the assistant headmaster’s in my compound

Cantuace who is my small girl and from the local village.

Asimbisa who is her brother, now Perpetua’s small boy, and the toy truck designer.

Dizzy, my Ghanaian granddaughter, she is the youngest there and did just fine.

Afisa is the oldest. She just finished JHS. Martha, who is Madam Paulina’s granddaughter.

Monica, who is the electrician’s daughter Matilda, who is her sister.

Agnes, who comes from the local village.

Gloria, who is a master’s child but I am not sure who is her father.

My classroom is in my summer hut. We are using cement blocks for seats and the small wall around the summer hut. I used piece of string stretched between two poles of the summer hut to hang the flip chart papers but that did not work so well. They kept blowing back so we could not see them. I will use my lesson plan to talk about the class. HE SHE:Lesson using the personal pronouns He and She

● I decided to start with the personal pronouns he and she. In most Ghanaian languages there is only one third person personal pronoun. In Buili it is wa, so when many Ghanaians speak English they mess up their third person personal pronouns. It reminds me of French where objects have gender. I still think the French are silly to give gender to inanimate objects and maybe Ghanaians think the English are silly for making such a fuss about the gender of the person they are talking about!

● My plan is to get feedback from the kids about what they want to do in class but I wanted to have one class prepared to show them what we can do and how we will do it. Welcome

● Class started ½ late; gee that’s almost on time here! I started with 4 students by the time I got through the welcome 3 more had arrived.

Class Rules – The Three Rs

1. Raise your hand when you want to speak and wait until I call on you.

2. Return your notebooks and pens at the end of each class.

3. Show respect for each other.

● After the welcome I gave them the class rules. I know some teachers suggest that the students be involved in creating the class rules but I feel I should make the rules. It sets the tone of me as the teacher/leader and let’s them know I have expectations of them. Intro Wa = he or she No male or female pronouns in most Ghanaian languages. Tell of my struggle with male and female objects, la and les, in French. Hand out notebooks. Have children pick numbers from a hat.

1. Song – Personal Pronoun Prescription from SLAP

He is a man

He is a boy

He is an uncle

a father or a brother

She is a woman

She is a girl

She is an auntie

a sister or a mother.

Sing a few times

 ● We did sing the song a few times. Then we had some visitors and the students enthusiastically agreed to sing it again for the visitors. One home work assignment was to create a dance to go with the song.

 ● By0 the end of the song all students for the day had arrived. I had 10 students ranging from K2 to JHS graduate. Have children write it in their notebooks

2. Describing a person with he or she. Give a student a photograph of a male or a female. Have students come to the front of the class and make one ‘he she’ statement about the photograph. (You could use students in the classroom as well for this. They could bring up the person on their right and make a he she statement about that person.)

 ● I forgot to have the children write the song in their notebooks we went right on to the next part of the lesson. Describing photos using the personal pronouns he and she.

 ● I gave a couple of examples of describing a photograph using he or she. Later I read in the text I am using that I could have described all the photographs and put the words I used on the flip chart. Then the students could have some vocabulary to describe the photos. Instead I helped some students quietly before they got to the front of th class.

● At first the children were a little reluctant to stand in front of the class. I figured all the more reason to have them do it. But then they got into it. They described physical characteristics. I think I will try describing photos and giving them some vocabulary so they will go beyond the physical and try to use some imagination. For example I could say of a woman leaning against a wall – “She looks like she is waiting for someone.” Or a young man and an older woman “He looks like he is happy to be with his mother again.” etc.

● After this exercise I remembered to have the children write the song in their books. If some students finished quickly I gave them a photograph and asked them to write three he she sentences about the photograph. All but Dizzy copied the song it was too much for her to write and she got confused on the last three lines.

3. Ball toss story Stand in a circle. Show photograph of young man and woman. Toss the ball to someone and have them start a story. Each sentence must begin with he or she. Then they will toss the ball to someone else. I will write the story on a paper. Students will then copy it in their notebooks.

● This did not work well at all. Again I will have to encourage them to think beyond the details of the photograph. Maybe I can tell stories about photographs in future classes to give them an idea about what I want them to do.

4. Assignment – Name our class

 ● I gave students the assignment to name our class. We will vote on the names to choose the one we like the best.

5. Review Cover the pronouns in the song.  Have students tape an appropriate noun in the sentence. They don’t necessarily have to be as the song was originally written. Then sing the song one last time.

● This didn’t happen. They were tired and restless so we ended. I will use this to review the next time we have class. We decided to meet Tuesday afternoon around 3:00 pm. That evening a few of the children came over and asked if we could do a play. What a great idea I said. So next lesson will be preparation for doing a play and brainstorming.

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