For Part 1, click here.
The teacher led activities are my chance to introduce new language or skills that the students will then go on to use independently. They vary depending on the class, but are generally an opportunity for me to scaffold the students and support them in expanding their vocabulary or reading and writing skills.
I often use the Dave and Amy games during this time. Bingo is especially popular. Students learn vocabulary on one side and practice single letter recognition or reading on the other side. My students get a real kick out of leveling up to the more difficult side of the bingo.
I also introduce the more difficult sets of the games that the students have already used. Once we have used them a few times during this part of the lesson the students are able to use them independently at the beginning of the lesson. It is an ongoing process of supported learning leading to independent learning. The students are always excited to “level up” and I find that using the same games but with increasing difficulty means less time spent explaining how to do the activities and allows the students to feel confident in approaching new vocabulary.
When using the texts in a larger class my approach differs depending on whether we are using MEB1+2 or MEB3+4.
When using MEB1+2, I firstly use the Dave and Amy flashcards to introduce the vocabulary and have the students touch the picture on the page that corresponds to the flashcard. I then go through the vocabulary again asking the students “what number is the ____?”. For those students that can write numbers I have them write the number of the picture next to the word. I model the activity on a large copy of the page on the board. For those who can’t write numbers yet just speaking is enough. Following that, I practice the phrase on the page by asking the students the question and prompting the answer. For example “Do you like ____?”, “Yes I do”/”No I don’t”. Finally I tell the students to color the pages while I go around each of them individually to quickly test them on the vocabulary and write the answer to any questions in the unit, (“What’s your favorite fruit?” etc ). As the students finish they can clean up and read books while they wait for the other students to finish.
When using MEB3 for the first time in the earlier lessons with the E1 class, (the first 3 weeks or so) I use a large photocopy of the pages on the board to model how I would like the text to be done. This includes saying the words aloud when writing, not checking back in the book (I use clips to try and prevent this because it’s not easy monitoring all of the students!), and asking for help from their friends if they don’t know the vocabulary. After modeling on the board I allow the students to work at their own pace and bring their book to me after they complete a page. When they come to me I test them quickly on the vocabulary. They must do each page as many times as it takes to get each word correct. Only then may they move to the next page. I ask the students not to write in their textbooks at home so that I can be sure that they are working independently.
After the first few supported lessons with E1 and in every lesson with my E2+3 class I simply tell the students to open their books to the page they were on at the last lesson and continue writing. Students work at their own pace and when they complete MEB3 they can move on to MEB4.
When using MEB4 it is difficult to ensure that the students are actually covering the words on the left of the page and writing them again on the right of the page, so again I use clips to ensure they cannot see the words and are writing only by looking at the pictures. I also have some test pages that I made myself to challenge them to spell the words without help.
It’s difficult to write a comprehensive explanation of how I use the Dave and Amy texts and games with large classes but I have tried to outline the basic idea here.
Unlike other texts which dictate how to teach your lessons, the MEB texts and associated games allow you to teach in a more flexible manner. You can choose what to use and at what level to address the strengths and weaknesses of your students. It takes some time and energy to print and make the games (for me the price of them made it worthwhile) but once you have done that you have an excellent set of resources to work with. You can skip around the texts to suit your lesson goals, or put the texts on hold while you use the games to strengthen the student’s vocabulary, and reading skills.
If you have any questions about anything I would be glad to answer them, so please comment below or email Dave and Amy and I will reply.
I became an ESL teacher because I wanted to help people (big and small) expand their world through language acquisition. I want my students to enjoy their learning and do it at their own pace. Dave and Amy’s resources have been instrumental in helping me establish lessons that I am proud of. Pease note! I wasn’t paid to write this blog. Teaching can be a difficult job and I wrote this in an effort to share ideas and support other teachers in their work.
Thank you for reading.