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.
In the past, I made detailed explanations. This time, I will simply highest the problem areas and a small recommendation in an attempt to not stretch out these posts.
I believe unit 1 is quite balanced. In my opinion, there are no problematic areas. I would like to mention that for “lessons 2 and 4,” students are introduced to 2D shapes. Students learned about 2D shapes in the level 2 unit 9 old curriculum. For students who started with VIPKID from level 2 unit 10 or later, these shapes are most likely unfamiliar to them. Aside from this, I believe this unit is fantastic!
MC-L4-U2-LC2-11: Aquatic/Semi-Aquatic Animals: Not enough content!
Reasons: You easily cover the first 7-8 slides in just a few minutes. The zebra story is brief and easy for students to read independently. It is also easy to summarize.
Suggestions: I’d try and extend as much as possible while the student is reading the zebra story. Extended questions are a must. You can also try and work on some of the “sight words,” but some of the sight words can be a bit difficult in terms of making example sentences. Pace accordingly!
MC-L4-U3-LC1-2: My Country: Difficult content!
Reasons: Students suddenly learn about all the different dynasties, emperors and empresses. I believe a lot of the content, particularly the first half of the lesson, is way over the students’ head. It’s even more challenging for some of the younger students. The math and grammar content, found in the second half of the lesson, is bearable.
MC-L4-U3-LC2-7: My Culture: (1) Difficult content! (2) Too much content!
Reasons: Overwhelming amount of new vocabulary that is introduced. For example, pagoda, watchtower, architecture, statue, and decorate. Most of these words are not visited again later on in this unit. Furthermore, the reading passage can be a bit challenging for students. Care to explain what “Fung Shui” is?
Suggestions: It’s quite difficult to have extended discussions on this particular lesson. For words such as ‘statue’ and ‘decorate,’ I generally skip reading the definition and show them examples with other pictures and images. The definitions shown would even give native speakers a bit of a headache. I split the reading duties with the student. If the student is advanced, it’s possible to have simple discussions about concepts such as Chinese New Year and statues.
I consider level 4 unit 4 to be equivalent to the level 3 unit 5 birds/mammals/fish/reptiles unit. While the phonics content and math content (for the most part) are not so much an issue, the amount of vocabulary, difficult reading passages, and grammar content tends to overwhelm the students. I also think this unit is lacking a bit of spark as well. I understand that the curriculum can be enhanced with our teaching personalities and props, but I personally struggle to make this unit exciting. It’s can be less tedious with students who have had traveling experiences or for advanced speakers, but for the average student, this unit can be a drag. I believe teachers should be cautious of every lesson in this unit. I would be writing a novel if I ended up talking about each lesson in this unit. These lessons will be listed as:
MC-L4-U4-LC1-x and MC-L4-U4-LC2-x.
MC-L4-U5-LC1-5: Indoor Hobbies: Not enough content!
Reasons: I believe this unit, excluding the final project slides, is only 19 slides. In addition, most of the sentence patterns here are continuously repeated over and over again. For anyone who has had regulars go through this unit, I’m sure you’ve asked them “What are your hobbies?” at least 75 times. This unit somewhat reminds me of the level 3 unit 10 lessons that include the “What do people celebrate in China?” and “What do people celebrate in America?” slides. There is a reading passage in here with a bit of a lengthy comprehension exercise, but that is really the only meat on this particular bone.
Suggestions: The sight words in this unit provide some fantastic extended discussion opportunities. I love the sight words in this unit. I would recommend using any additional time with making example sentences using the sight words and having the conversations lead you to wherever it may lead you.
MC-L4-U5-LC2-9: Outdoor Hobbies: (1) Who the **** made this lesson?!? (2) Difficult content! (3) Too much content!
Reasons: I believe the worst lesson in Level 3 is MC-L3-U2-LC2-8 (Clothes for the Seasons Lesson 8). This is coined as the ‘Pirate Lesson.’ You know if you taught the Pirate Lesson! I believe this lesson to be one of the worst in Level 4. If you have a regular who only sees you, you’ve probably asked them “What is your favorite hobby?” and “What are your hobbies?” about 40-50 times up to this point. Students are thrown into the Lion’s Den from the get-go. They are confronted with long reading passage after long read passage about snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and swimming. They learn the word ‘dive,’ and then they are thrown into yet another long-winded reading passage about scuba diving. For a unit that is a bit on the simple side, this lesson is without question an outlier and needs major modifications. There is also a ‘word search’ at the end of the lesson, probably around the time when you hit the 27-28 minute mark.
Suggestions: Depending on the pace of the first 3-4 mini reading passages, I sometimes don’t bother with the long-winded reading passage. I don’t suggest this, but often times, there is simply not enough time to cover everything. This reading passage is also not found anywhere on the lesson 12 assessment. I also skip the ‘word search.’ This lesson needs to be heavily modified.
MC-L4-U6-LC1-6: Learning Cycle 1: (1) Too much content!
Reasons: The story about More and Lore is a bit long (level 1). The comprehension questions can also be quite challenging as well. The questions ask for very specific details within the story. The tic-tac-toe looking grid with photos of key vocabulary that students have learned can also be challenging. I also want to note that on ‘question 12 #3,’ it asks whether or not buses have their own bus lanes in Beijing, but students have NEVER learned about this in the previous lessons.
Suggestions: This lesson is not as bad in comparison with the other lessons listed here. However, you want to pace yourself accordingly, especially since level 1 can be a bit long depending on the student’s reading ability and understanding of the reading passage. They may need some guidance with the reading comprehension questions as well as the math problem on level 2.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!
Have a good day everyone!