This should have been completed MUCH sooner. I apologize. No excuse for being lazy!
I hope you find this post helpful. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about classes that require you to watch that clock!
As a general rule, I believe pacing at 1 slide per minute is good to follow. However, there are some classes in which you just can’t do that. Some reasons for this include:
-Unfamiliar and/or difficult concepts/terms/grammar
-Too much content
-Combination of different subject matters
-Difficult/out of place reading passages, comprehension questions, or sentence patterns
Below are the classes that I still struggle with in terms of pacing to this day. I believe these lessons need to be adjusted at some point. Please keep note of these classes if you ever see them on your schedule.
Note: **I do not encourage teachers to do what I do. I simply list them as options if you are really short on time**
Unit 7 Lesson 4: It Is My Birthday (MC-L3-U7-LC1-4)
Number of slides: 27
Why this lesson can be difficult: Too much content, unfamiliar sentence patterns.
Pace Recommendation: More time needed for the second part of class.
This lesson covers:
(1) Math – Reviewing numbers 1-10, introducing numbers 11-20, and spelling numbers 11-20.
(2) Introducing sentence patterns associated with standard form and word form.
(3) Reviewing key vocabulary.
(4) Reviewing the present tense and the present continuous tense.
(5) Phonics – This can be very difficult for students.
(6) Math word problems.
I emphasize needing time towards the end of class due to (5) and (6). The majority of students really struggle with distinguishing the different /oo/ and /ou/ sounds. It’s very hard to notice the subtle differences between the sounds! In addition, the math word problems can sometimes be challenging for students to fully grasp, understand, and solve independently.
What I do:
I will sometimes skip spelling the larger numbers (slide 8) and ask students to work on this as practice. I almost always skip spelling activities and mention in the feedback why I skip them. I personally believe that any activities that take away verbal output is not what the parents paid for and that anything that can be done outside of class without the needs of a teacher can be practiced outside of class. I usually quickly go through introducing the sentence patterns associated with word form and standard form and ask students to practice outside of class. I personally dislike these sentence patterns and if I could have it my way, I would remove them from the lesson completely. If I’m short on time, I quickly go through reviewing the present tense, present continuous tense, and possessive adjectives. I spend a good percentage of time on slides 20-22. This is when students have to match the different /oo/ and /ou/ sounds. I believe this, along with the math word problem, eats up a lot of time. For the math word problems, the teacher directions (TD from this point forward) states that students should either spell out the words (word form) or write the words (standard form) written in ‘red.’ I skip this and just focus on the problems. There is usually not much time for students to do this.
Unit 7 Lesson 8: I Am Doing Well at School (MC-L3-U7-LC2-8)
Number of slides: 30 – (slides 22-27 go by really fast)
Why this lesson can be difficult: Too much content
Pace Recommendation: More time is needed towards the middle of class.
This lesson covers:
(1) Reviewing numbers in their standard form and word form.
(2) Spelling some of the larger numbers.
(3) Math riddles.
(4) Reviewing present continuous tense sentences.
(5) Reviewing possessive adjectives.
(6) Reviewing phonics and the sight words.
I find that the vast majority of students struggle with (1) and (2). A good percentage of students also struggle with (5). I personally have a difficult time completing this lesson within the time limit.
What I do:
I always ask just one question for students to answer using the sentence patterns associated with standard form and word form (slides 4-5). If you notice, the sentence pattern is different from the one in lesson 4. Most students do fairly well with reviewing the present continuous. If students really struggle with reviewing possessive adjectives, then sometimes I will either type out the pronouns with their related possessive adjectives or just say the sentences with the answers and have the students repeat. I believe “slide 18” is an error in the curriculum and should either be removed or placed before the possessive adjective slides. That slide sometimes throws students off.
Unit 11 Lesson 6: Assessment 1 (MC-L3-U11-LC1-6)
Pace Recommendation: More time may be needed for the grammar section.
I wasn’t planning on putting any assessments in any of these posts. The majority of assessments that I can think of are usually watered down considerably… meaning the assessments are generally easier than the actual lessons. There are a few exceptions that I can think of where the assessments can be sometimes more difficult or have more content in comparison with the lessons (e.g. Level 2 Unit 10 Lesson 12, Level 4 Unit 7 Lesson 6).
This particular assessment can sometimes be troubling. The grammar section (the last level) can often be difficult for some students for a couple of reasons.
-First, the grammar section has 4 questions. On the average assessment, the grammar section only has 2 – 3 questions. Most of the grammar questions are simple.
-Second, the questions are quite long. Some of the questions include a reading passage where the student must identify the correct past tense verbs and a crossword puzzle. The crossword puzzle is more difficult than it looks.
-Finally, it is really hard to gauge how students will do on the grammar section, especially if it is a first time student. I’ve taught students who are superb conversationalists and readers (for this level) only to get completely stumped by the time they come across to the grammar section. There is not much to go off of that will tell you how students will perform on the grammar section.
Other than the grammar section, this assessment isn’t too bad. Just be cautious!
Unit 12 Lesson 4: Brazil (MC-L3-U12-LC1-4)
Number of slides: 27
Why this lesson can be difficult: Too much content.
Pace Recommendation: Pray
This lesson is a review of Level 3 Unit 4. This lesson covers:
(1) Animals and their body parts.
(2) Animals and how they move.
(3) Conjugating verbs that follow he/she/it.
(4) Forward and backward skip counting.
(5) Grammar – Singular / Plural nouns & matching them to the correct verb conjugations.
(6) Sight words – Review and using them in a sentence.
(7) Reading – Rainforests
I don’t find the material to be overwhelmingly difficult. I find that students sometimes struggle with how much content is thrown into this lesson. This lesson is literally just sentence patterns piled among sentence patterns piled among sentence patterns. Students who have either started after Unit 4 or skipped Unit 4 may also struggle and get buried alive within the stacks of sentences patterns.
This parent feedback may provide some further indication of how much content is in this lesson:
This student did a fantastic job with the lesson. Despite this, I was unable to complete the last 3 slides AND went to the 28 minute mark.
What I do:
I quickly review all the animals and their body parts. Students usually know all of the animals but may need some guidance reviewing the body parts (e.g. hooves, horns, beak, fins). I only ask a few questions from the sentence patterns “What animal has _______?” and “How do _______ move?” There is literally no time to ask every question. N-O T-I-M-E! I promise. With the grammar section, I will sometimes help them if they are struggling. Students need to (1) identify the singular and plural nouns, (2) match them with their appropriate verb, and (3) say it out loud. For example: “five sharks swim.” Students are also presented with the verb “swims.” If students struggle with this, I may do it for them and have them repeat after me. For the sight words, I only have students pick 1 – 2 sight words to make sentences if I’m running low on time. I also split the reading duties from the reading passage if I’m really pressed for time.
Feel free to leave and questions or comments below!
Have a good day everyone!