Instructor: Melissa Madenski
College: Oregon Coast Community College
Class: ESL Multilevel Listening/Speaking
Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 – 11:00
Level: mainly beginners, a few intermediate students, a couple of advanced students
We have been working on these themes in October and November – Personal information and employment. We’ve used the first three episodes of Crossroads Café to support the following goals:
Able to identify self, immediate family members and classmates.
Able to spell own name
Able to say his/her birthday address, phone number and country of origin.
Able to introduce a friend
Able to ask questions about personal information
Able to use possessive forms in identification
Able to use adverbs of frequency
Able to fill out employment forms and personal information forms
I’ve been using the new wraparound version of Crossroads Café. This is particularly helpful this year as I have a majority of beginners. We spend the first few minutes of class with spelling and giving personal information. I’ve used different activities for this, sometimes simple drill. But the students particularly liked one game we played. I held one Hershey’s kiss and said, “My name is Melissa. I am from the United States.” Then I threw the candy to a student in the room who had to say, “Your name is Melissa. You are from the US.” The he/she said his/her own name and passed the candy on. The last person had to introduce everyone using “your, her, his, my.” I find often that my students don’t know each others’ names, and this is a good way to practice without getting bored! The last person gets to eat the candy!
I told students every week I would ask them the same personal information they would be using to fill out forms and applications. They became adept at studying and came prepared. I also told them I would be asking them to spell each others’ names. This encouraged studying the alphabet.
To prepare to watch the show, we did dictation exercises from “Hands on English.” The goal was to get the students to learn phrases that help in a situation where you need to slow a speaker down: “Could you repeat that,” etc.” These exercises are simple stories with templates for beginners, intermediate and advanced students so everyone can write from the same story.
I also had students interview each other with three questions for their partner. Then they had to paraphrase the answer from their partner. I paired intermediate and beginning students, and this worked well. I drew graphs on the board and asked them questions about each other.
After these activities, we viewed the first two episodes over two weeks. (Opening Day and Growing Pains) Some of the wraparound I skipped as it was repetitive of what we’d done, but I like the way she slows things down and gives a synopsis with the photo stories. I felt by the time the students watched the show, they had a good idea of narrative and could follow the story even when the language was hard.
I again used the interview technique after the first episode. The three questions were:
What jobs did you do in your native country?
What jobs have you done in this country?
What is a job/occupation that you would like?
We also did the exercise entitled “Find Someone Who” and the vocabulary builder on professions from Basic Vocabulary Builder.
Both beginning and intermediate students demonstrated that the goals were met through oral participation and filling out forms.
What I might do differently next time: I would use even more activities before viewing the episode. The more students feel comfortable with vocabulary, the more interesting the show is. I could see some of them get “lost” about ¾ of the way through the episode.
Student Responses: Students especially liked the interviews, but also evaluated the series highly. We used a familiar rating system for them of 1 - 5 with two focus questions.
Did you understand the vocabulary?
Did you like the show?
Most students rated the second question “5” with an average rating of “3” for the first question.