Teaching Thoughts and Snow Surprises

The first class with Carlton opened my eyes to a couple of things when teaching children in person. While you need a lot of the same tools that you would need for teaching kids online, the use of those tools is extremely different. I find it an hour is just long enough for Carlton to get very very bored. I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate movement in the lesson, but have noticed that he seems to enjoy watching videos. Particularly very short ones. A while back I had been given a link to some videos of an animal-oriented comic strip called “Naughty Norton.” It is published by the Oxford University Press for young learners in English and stars a tucan and some precocious youngsters. While Carlton is probably a little too advanced in his abilities, he seemed to find the stories enjoyable when I played them for him this past Friday and the previous one.

The fickleness of children is apparent much more in the in-person classroom than in the online classroom. In the trial lesson, we did not get to read a book that I brought for him to practice his reading because he thought that it was boring. This past Friday marked a turnaround when he commented “maybe I would like this book. But I don’t remember what it’s about. Is it about winter?” In the title of the book is Winterhouse, and is of the mystery/ Magic/puzzle variety. So Carlton’s mind was making the connection just in a roundabout way. That gives me a reason to keep bringing books. It was a nice development.

My classes with Felix are a joy to teach. They are also very easy to prepare for thanks to the ISL collective website. It is a site for teachers and by teachers and if you haven’t seen it, it is a treasure. I go and I find the materials that I’m teaching and print out corresponding exercise worksheets for him. It takes us about an hour and a half to go through the actual grammar piece and two of the worksheets. We end the lesson by talking about different things in our lives using the tenses and terms that we have learned that day. He is a receptive student and I’m very happy that there’s no dog and pony show like there is for kids. Well, kids online anyway. I don’t need as much of a dog and pony show with Carlton, and on Friday he was excited by my Manycam and so I think I’m going to find a way to incorporate that into our lessons as well. Especially since I take the computer along. For those of you unfamiliar with Manycam, it is a camera that allows you to show different effects on the screen so that your student online can see it as well.

I also reconnected with my other adult student in France who I will call Susan. Susan has decided to meet with me once a week for an hour. But she may be a little bit more sporadic as she is going through a lot of stuff at home. As I understand all of this completely I’m not going to hold her to a cancellation policy. We will see how long she is able to keep coming to class.

Last Tuesday evening marked the first time that I have seen snow in Amsterdam. It’s why I was not able to get out to Carlton. I left the house and started walking to the city center which takes about 40 minutes to try and catch the metro but fell a couple of times as it was quite slippery. I contacted his mother and we decided to cancel the lesson. Snow in Amsterdam is like the snow is in DC. Difficult enough to cause a problem but not enough to have any fun. Although I did see quite a few attempts at a snowman. I do I love that Dutch spirit of ingenuity and sticktoitiveness.

Writing this week took a backseat to teaching, as well as illness. Jasper spent the week with me extremely ill. I was fine Sunday through Thursday but on Thursday starting to crash. So instead of going to the writers’ group,  I crawled into bed and tried to get rid of a cold. It was mostly successful, though it still remains a bit difficult to breathe. I hope to be back at Writers Group next Thursday. I need to make myself a promise to write a certain number of words there. Not sure what that is but I have time to think about it.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment.  But stay tuned.  As always, there is more to come.

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