Have you felt that once you start teaching pronunciation, intonation and word stress in class, your own goes downhill? It feels stilted at times and suddenly, I am so conscious of my lips, teeth, tongue and how they all work that I trip over my words as well! It can be hilarious but darn painful when you are being observed! I think my observation went well with my 13-year-olds. Bless the boys! They were co-operative, well-behaved and did all the right things 🙂
We tried these out. I revisited the theme of ‘Nature is a friend, not a foe’.
1) Stress Moves – a game of selecting cut-out words that fall into different stress sound categories. For eg. friend- single stress, reuse – primary stress on 2nd syllable, modern – primary stress on the first syllable and disaster – primary stress on the middle syllable. Of course, I modelled this for them.
2) Word Stress in a sentence- “I love the sun”. I highlighted one word to be stressed in each sentence. I love the sun. I love the sun. I love the sun. Each pair read that aloud and I elicited the meaning of each sentence.
3) intonation – We listened to my daughter’s all-time favourite, Eeyore. They loved listening to his droning voice, and we talked about what intonation meant and how important is it. We went into what rising and falling sounded like and when we used them.
4) Dialogue – I gave out a short dialogue for pairs to practice their word stress and intonation. At the bottom of their card was a scenario that read, “talk to each other as a friend visiting another in hospital, as a policeman to a suspected criminal, as a teacher to a student,”. When the pairs read aloud their dialogues, the rest of the class had to guess the scenario and explain their reasons. Oh, we did discuss body language, too, as the boys seemed to depend on it more to express their ideas than using their voices.
5) Idiomatic language – Most of my ELLs struggle with this especially prepositional phrases. I reused vocabulary from our previous sessions. Each pair had a card with some phrases from previous readings. They had to write a paragraph using those phrases.
6) Accuracy – The next stage was to talk about how we can ensure accuracy in our work. Pairs exchanged their word for peer marking of Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GSP) as well as the use of the phrases.
7) Fluency – Having had their corrected work back, students had time to practice reading aloud their paragraphs before presenting it to the class.
The lesson flowed well and they had fun with the variety of activities.