Archive for the ‘pronunciation’ Category

A Cup of Coffee Please

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

One thing I need to get better at doing is unit planning, and planning out my semester so that it makes sense. If you look at my topics they’re all individually good (I hope) but the order in which I teach them makes no sense, and there’s no real connection from week to week.

Last week I taught PBFV pronunciation. I like to do pronunciation lessons in-between other writing or grammar intensive lessons, or right after tests because there are so many fun and interactive things you can do with pronunciation. After making the students write postcards for fifteen minutes, I figured that doing a pronunciation lesson would be a nice, if abrupt, change. I showed them mouth-shape diagrams, we practiced tongue twisters that I had to make up (there’s a sad dearth of FV tongue twisters):

A cup of coffee please (p versus f)
Please don’t feed the bees peas (p, f, b)
The vehicle fee is very fairly voluntary (v versus f)

This week we’re teaching articles, which has no connection whatsoever to pronunciation. I wanted to save this lesson for later in the year, but it’s a two-week unit and this is the only point on my schedule where I teach every single class two weeks in a row with no interruption. As articles are really difficult (there are no articles in Korean, not in the same sense anyway), and as I was teaching articles as a set of four rules, two rules per class, it was important that these classes were taught back-to-back.

The one of the rules that I’ve been teaching this week are “countable versus uncountable” (“a stick of coffee,” countable, versus “coffee,” uncountable). I’ve been demonstrating the difference by showing a stick of coffee, then opening it up and pouring it into a mug (which, for some reason, always gets kids gasping about. TEACHER WHAT ARE YOU DOINGGG? – it’s baffling, really) and showing the coffee powder and asking students to count that. As I walked in, BAD, being the smart alec he is, yelled out “could I have a cup of coffee please?” I response I pulled out my stick of coffee and ask if he really wants one. The look on his face just about made my day.

So, I guess, there are some ties between my lessons after all?

And now to brag a bit…

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

How fast can you read the following tongue twister taken from an episode of Pinky and the Brain (and shamelessly stolen from fellow ETA Ross “the boss”)?

Brain:  I must study the operation of the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kicker Factory in detail, Pinky.

Pinky:  But Brain, how will we, two small mice, convince the huge owner to let us inspect his enormous factory?

B:  We will introduce ourselves as the only thing guaranteed to gain the respect of any American businessman:  Japanese industrialists seeking to buy the company.

B: Now, remember, I am Mr. Kawasaki, and you are Mr. Hayasaka.

Kurt Sackett:  Welcome to the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kicker Factory.  I’m Kurt Sackett, senior supervisor.  Can I help you?

B:  Yes.  We are two tiny Japanese industrialists, seeking to buy this company.  I am Mr. Kawasaki….

P:  …And I am Mr. …uh… Turkey-Lurky.

B:  Turkey-Lurky?  Isn’t it Mr. Hayasaka?

P:  Where?  Poit!  Hmm, I must have missed him.

KS:  I am honored by your visit.  Let me show you our assembly line.  First, sheets of sheer synthetic sheepskin are slit into several Kicky-Sack shoe shapes in shapely shoe sizes by six sitting sheet slitters.

B:  I only see five sitting sheet slitters.

KS:  The sixth sitting sheet slitter’s sick.  His son Sammy’s subbing ’til the sick sixth sitting sheet slitter’s back, sitting pretty.

P:  You’re not the sheet slitter?

S:  No, I’m the sheet slitter’s son.

P:  Well…. You keep on slitting sheets until the sheet slitter comes.  Haheheheh!  Whooohaaah.

KS:  The Shoe Shaper then shapes the slit synthetic sheepskin sheets, and shoots out shoes through the chute.

KS:  Now, this is Mr. Plunkett, the new khaki sock plucker.  I had to fire our previous sock plucker.  He had a bit of an attitude.

B:  So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky-Sack sock plucker?

KS:  The second cocky khaki Kicky-Sack sock plucker I sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

KS:  Whoops!  Don’t worry; just an electrical problem.  One of the Kicky-Sack sack pickers will have to flick the plug.

P:  Not the khaki sock plucker?

KS:  Oh my, no!  The Kicky-Sack sack pickers flick the plug.  The khaki sock plucker can’t reach the socket over the latex child perambulator fenders we use to line the treadmill.

B:  It might make more sense to have the sixth sitting sheet slitter’s son flick the plug, if the sack pickers and the sock pluckers are behind the rubber baby buggy bumpers.

KS:  I never thought of that!

B:  Of course you didn’t.

B:  And what, pray tell, is this?

KS:  Oh, this is the toy boat I won in the sack race at the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kicker Khaki Sock Factory picnic in Secaucus.

KS:  And finally, the Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kickers are inflated by our genuine Parker Packard pewter pressure pump.

P:  Look, Brain!  I mean, Mr., um, Turkey-Lurky.  It’s purple!

I’m Kawasaki, Pinky.  You’re Turkey-Lurky.

P:  Well, I don’t think that’s a very nice thing to say about a person.

B:  I’ve seen all I need to see of the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kicker Factory.  [To Pinky:]  Pinky, we must take our leave, and sneak back under cover of nightfall.

B: Now, Pinky, here is the plan.  Remember, every step must be performed with precision!

B: You must slit the sixth sick sheet slitter’s son’s sheet, secure it next to the toy boat from the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kickers’picnic in Secaucus…

B: …stretch it past the sack pickers’ station and the sock plucker’s chute, and pick a sack, pluck a sock, and flick the plug…

B: …so I can put the pea in the plucked sock with the picked sack for ballast and bounce it off the rubber baby buggy bumper, into the Parker Packard purple pewter pressure pump.  Is that understood?

P:  Tra-lalala!

B:  Pinky, quiet!  I must be fooling myself.  This will never work.

P:  Oh, why not, Brain?  All I have to do is slit the sixth sick sheet slitter’s son’s sheet, and secure it next to the toy boat…

P: …from the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kickers’ picnic in Secaucus, speed it past the sack picker and the sock plucker, and pick a sack, pluck a sock, and flick a plug.

B:  Why, yes, Pinky!  That was perfect!

P:  Poit!  Yes, and I have no idea what it means!

I gave every student one or two of the lines, as well as the previous line as an auditory cue. When students heard the previous line they were supposed to say their line, and so on, until the entire tongue twister had been said. I also pit the classes against each other and timed them. So far the class with the best time was class 2.2 (second grade girls) and they were able to do it in three minutes and fifty-eight seconds. My students are brilliant.