1st day as an English Teacher aids young English Teachers. It provides teaching material as well as tips to young instructors. The blog constitutes a communication platform which facilitates the exchange of teaching experiences among teachers of English language.

Monday, 25 May 2015

It’s All about Tenses: Time to ‘Chocolate’


Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

If you think the sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” makes no sense, you’re right. It was devised by Chomsky to prove that syntax and semantics are two very distinct things. However, despite a seeming absence of any meaning, it still communicates a certain message. We know the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something, we can describe it, and we know what it does and how it does it. And, by looking at the tense form, we know that it does it regularly.

We can use the same approach to get our students to practise tense forms.
We can use “chocolate” to consolidate tenses and focus, primarily, on tense forms.

(Note: Chocolate is versatile. It may be used as a noun, an adjective, a nature’s way of making up for Mondays, or a life saver, but it is not used as a verb).

3 Ways to ‘Chocolate’ 
1. Sing a ‘chocolate’ song
Pair up or split students into small teams and hand out the lyrics of Pink’s song (“Who Knew”) with the verbs replaced with ‘chocolate’. Ask students to guess the verbs (make sure they use them in the right forms). 

2. Guessing Game

Ask each student to think of one sentence describing what they did yesterday, or are doing at the moment, or will do tomorrow (depending on the tense you’d like to focus on). Ask them to replace the verb in the sentence with “chocolate” in the right form. The other students should guess the verb. Encourage students to ask questions to get some details or clues. Award one point for each correct guess. You may also split students into small teams and have them compete against each other. The team that gets more points wins (NB. Make sure you have some chocolates for the winners – after all, it’s all about chocolate, isn’t it?) 

3. Story writing

Pair up or split students into small teams and ask them to write a short story with ‘On Christmas Eve, you hear a strange noise on the roof…’ You may also use different story starters for teams. Here’s a wonderful resource of fun boosts for creative students and busy teachers – http://journalbuddies.com/creative-writing-2/creative-writing-story-starters/ After they have finished writing their stories, ask students to replace verbs with ‘chocolate’ in the right form. Ask them to tell their stories while the other teams should retell them with ‘meaningful’ verbs. Alternatively, you may organize a ‘consecutive translation’ session. The story teller should pause after each sentence, while the ‘interpreter’ should interpret and replace ‘chocolate’ with the verb he/she thinks should be used.

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