A little late on this post.  I’ve had quite the busy week.  My apologies.

blog 240 1

blog 240 2

*July 17-23: Friend’s wedding   *July 24-30: Testing my internet in my new place

 

For this post, I wanted to think of some classes (regular classes, not Unit Assessment classes) that allow for extended discussion opportunities due to the lack of content.  I will list the classes that come to mind.  Although this could vary based on students’ overall performance, I believe even students who go at a moderate pace may complete these lessons quickly.  A lot of these classes will be Lesson 5 and Lesson 11 classes… when the final projects are introduced and listed as a reminder:

Level 2 Unit 2 Lesson 5 (MC-L2-U2-LC1-5): My VIPKID classroom 

-There are not many slides in this lesson.  I usually can manage 25 minutes easily if students are struggling, but for most students, extension is necessary.  Most of the extended discussions here require structure.  Examples could be showing the key vocabulary (e.g. “This is a desk”, “These are headphones”) from the Unit, followed by showing other things nearby (e.g. “This is a book”, “This is an apple”, “These are cards”).

 

Level 2 Unit 4 Lesson 1 (MC-L2-U4-LC1-1): People in my Family

-The introduction to the basic sentence patterns along with the introduction to the letter sounds for /c/, /f/, /d/, and /h/.  There is not much content here, especially if the student can follow quickly.  I usually look to extend through using the sight word “see” and making example sentences for the student.  I will sometimes also blend the /op/ sound to form CVC words and make mistakes to see if the student can catch my mistakes (if they can understand what I am doing).

 

Level 2 Unit 5 Lesson 11 (MC-L2-U5-LC2-11): My Toys

-There is not a whole lot of content here.  Most students can blend sounds and independently read the key sentence patterns without any problems.  Extension may be necessary with this particular lesson.  Sight words (my, big, one) are helpful for extension.  Using the sentence pattern “What do you do on the playground?” and changing it to “What do you do at home?” could provide extension opportunities if the student is advanced.

 

Level 2 Unit 6 Lesson 2, 4, 8, 10 (MC-L2-U5-LC1-2/4, LC2-8/10): Food I Eat, Meals of the Day

-I included these only because the shape and letter patterns can get extremely repetitive and easy for students.  Sight words (e.g. blue, red, where) provide extension opportunities.  Usually you will be fine if the students struggle with the key sentence patterns, especially with Lessons 8 and 10.

 

Level 2 Unit 8 Lesson 1, 5, and 11 (MC-L2-U8-LC1-1/5, L2-11): I See Colors, Colors are Everywhere

-Students can finish Lesson 1 in a heartbeat, especially if they are familiar with the colors that are introduced.  Using the sight words “two” and “three” that are introduced will provide extension opportunities.  Asking students to show things that are “red”, “blue”, and “yellow” can also help.  The key sentence patterns that are introduced are very simple.  Having students show things near them and asking “Is this red?” or “Is this yellow?” are also possible options.

-Like Lesson 1, Lesson 5 also does not have much content.  Lesson 11 has the story about Green unable to find his car, but if students can easily read on their own and answer the reading comprehension questions without any problems, the other key sentence patterns provided are quite basic and simple.

 

Level 2 Unit 10 Lesson 1 (MC-L2-U10-LC1-1): Animals I Know

-If the student is advanced or has no problems with the /ell/ /all/ /ill/ sounds that are introduced, there isn’t much content that the lesson provides other than the introduction of nouns.  The sight words do not provide much extension opportunities in this Unit.  Plan accordingly, especially if the student is advanced.

 

Level 2 Unit 11 Lesson 11 (MC-L2-U11-LC2-11): Seasons in a Year

-A lot of the content is review for the students.  Some students may struggle with the sentence pattern “What season follows ______?”.  Most of the students that I’ve seen on this lesson have no problems with the dialogues in this lesson.

 

Level 2 Unit 12 Lesson 1 (MC-L2-U12-LC1-1): America

-A review of Level 2 Unit 1, a lot of the dialogues are as simple as they get.  Extension opportunities can involve asking students what they do in the morning, afternoon, or evening.  You can also ask the students what time they do certain things.  On the alphabet slide, you can extend by asking the students “Can you think of a word that starts with the letter ___?”.

 

Level 3 Unit 3 Lesson 1-2, 4 (MC-L3-U3-LC1-1/2/4): My Body Parts

-Lesson 1 is piss easy.  I’m sure a lot of the sentence patterns may have the students thinking “What the hell is this?!?!”.  You can extend during the grammar part of the lesson: singular/plural nouns (and I mean exteeeeeeeeend).

-I included Lessons 2 and 4 because most students that I have seen have no problems with skip counting.  A lot of the slides include skip counting.  Plan accordingly.

 

Level 3 Unit 10 Lesson 1, 7-11 (MC-L3-U10-LC1-1, LC2-7/8/9/10/11): A Chinese in America, An American in China

-For Lesson 1, frequency adverbs are a must for extension opportunities.

-I included Lessons 7-11 because of the repetitiveness of these lessons.  I remember having a few regulars during the spring that only booked me with these lessons.  I’m sure we collectively said the sentences “Culture is art”, “Culture is music”, and “Culture is celebrations” at least 1,000 times.  The math portions in Lessons 8 and 10 don’t make things any easier.  You can definitely ask the students what they do at certain times of the day and also how often they do it (incorporating frequency adverbs as review).


I’m sure there are more but these are the ones I can think of on the top of my head.  There are also some Level 4 lessons in which there is not a lot of content to work with.  I will work on these and include them in the next update.  Have a good evening everyone!

Screenshot_20170912-015950

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally have this update in sync with a Youtube update!  Yay!

Video Here

I thought I would use this update to extend on examples of what you can say on student feedback in regards to preparing students for the upcoming Unit.  These would be used either on the previous Unit Assessment (e.g. If the student just finished MC-L2-U2-LC2-12, this would be a message preparing students for Level 2 Unit 3) or the first lesson of the unit (e.g. MC-L2-U5-LC1-1 Level 2 Unit 5).  You are welcome to use these examples in addition to adding your own message requesting 5 apples if you wish!

Level 2 Units 2 – 11 (I usually don’t leave comments about what students will see in Unit 12).

Level 2 Unit 2:

________ will begin learning letter sounds and the grammar structure “This is/These are” throughout Unit 2.  I would highly encourage ________ to practice the letter sounds for /b/ and /b/ beforehand if possible.  I would also encourage _______ to familiarize himself/herself with the sentence pattern “This is a _______” and “These are ________s”.  ________ To practice, _______ can find simple things in his/her room and practice.  For example, “This is a pen” and “These are pencils“.

Level 2 Unit 3:

________ will begin learning about class phrases and school rules throughout Unit 3.  Some of these sentence structures are often difficult for young learners.  I would encourage _______ to practice these sentence patterns if possible.  _______ can break these sentences into pieces and then gradually try to say them at once.

Level 2 Unit 4:

*If the student started at Level 2 Unit 4 (relatively new VIPKID student):

_______ will learn about family members and furniture that we can find in our homes throughout Unit 4.  I would highly encourage ______ to focus on the grammar structure “This is/These are”.  To practice, _______ can find simple things in his/her room and practice.  For example, “This is a pen” and “These are pencils”.

*If the student started at Level 2 Unit 1

_______ will learn about family members and furniture that we can find in our homes throughout Unit 4.  _______ will have more opportunities to practice and strengthen his/her understanding of the sentence pattern “This is a _________” and “These are _______s”.

Level 2 Unit 5:

_______ will learn how to practice saying math equations in English in Unit 5 lessons 2, 4, 8, and 10 .  I would highly encourage _______ to (1) practice saying the math symbols out loud and to (2) practice spelling the numbers 1 – 10 in their “word form” (e.g. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten).

Level 2 Unit 6:

_______ will learn about foods and different types of meals that we eat throughout Unit 6.

*I don’t think there is anything special worth noting in this Unit.

Level 2 Unit 7:

_______ will learn about facial parts and emotions throughout Unit 7.  I would like _______ to begin noticing the sentence patterns throughout this Unit.  I would especially like _______ to notice that we put an “-s” at the end of verbs that follow the pronouns “He/She/It” (e.g. She feels).  (**If the student is not a new VIPKID student). _______ will revisit the sentence patterns “This is/These are” once again. **

Level 2 Unit 8:

_______ will learn about colors throughout Unit 8.  _______ will also learn some comparative (“bigger/smaller”) and superlative (“the biggest/the smallest”) expressions.  When _______ begins learning about superlatives, I would like _______ to remember that we put “the” before the words “biggest” and “smallest”.

Level 2 Unit 9:

*If the class is MC-L2-U8-LC2-12 (Level 2 Lesson 12 Unit Assessment 2)

_______ will learn about things we can find in our neighborhood throughout Unit 9.  Lesson 1 has quite a bit of new and most likely unfamiliar vocabulary.  I would highly recommend _______ to review the neighborhood vocabulary before class if possible.

*If the class is MC-L2-U9-LC1-1 (Level 2 Unit 9 Lesson 1) and the student struggled

_______ will continue to see vocabulary associated with what we can find in our neighborhood (e.g. street, sidewalk, corner, building).  To strengthen _______’s understanding, _______ could draw a neighborhood, label the parts of a neighborhood, and say “This is a _______” out loud.

 

Level 2 Unit 10:

_______ will learn about farm animals throughout Unit 10.  I would highly encourage _______ to practice the sounds /ell/, /ill/, and /all/ outside of class if possible.  Many students struggle with these sounds and especially confuse /ell/ and /ill/.

 

Level 2 Unit 11:

_______ will learn about weather and seasons throughout Unit 11.  _______ will also be exposed to the future tense “will”.  I would encourage _______ to pay close attention to the sentence patterns that _______ will learn involving the future tense “will”.

 

Level 3 Units 1 – 11 (I usually don’t leave comments about what students will see in Unit 12).

Level 3 Unit 1:

_______ will learn about days and months throughout Unit 11.  I would encourage _______ to pay close attention to the long /a/ “bossy e” rule throughout this Unit.

Level 3 Unit 2:

_______ will learn about clothes and the types of clothes we wear throughout Unit 2.  I would highly encourage ______ to focus on the grammar point of this Unit (present tense vs. present continuous).

Level 3 Unit 3:

_______ will learn about body parts and what we do with our body parts throughout Unit 3.

*I don’t think there is anything special worth noting in this Unit.

Level 3 Unit 4:

_______ will learn about animals, their body parts, and how they move throughout Unit 4.

*I don’t think there is anything special worth noting in this Unit.

Level 3 Unit 5:

Good luck!

Level 3 Unit 6:

_______ will learn about our five senses throughout Unit 6.

*I don’t think there is anything special worth noting in this Unit.

Level 3 Unit 7:

_______ will learn about birthday celebrations and school academics throughout Unit 7.  I would highly recommend that _______ pays attention to the phonics content in this Unit.  _______ will learn the /oo/, /ou/, and /ow/ sounds.  These sounds can often be confusing for many students.

Level 3 Unit 8:

_______ will learn about life on the farm and life in the city throughout Unit 8.  I would encourage _______ to focus on the beginning double consonant blend sounds throughout this Unit (e.g. /bl/, /fl/, /cl/, /gl/, etc.).

Level 3 Unit 9:

_______ will learn about movements and vocabulary associated with what we can find in amusement parks throughout Unit 9.  I would encourage _______ to focus on the beginning double consonant blend sounds throughout this Unit (e.g. /cr/, /dr/, /pr/, etc.).

Level 3 Unit 10:

*If the student only books with me or maybe one other teacher 

_______ will learn about culture and celebrations throughout Unit 10.  _______ will also learn about frequency adverbs (always, usually, often, sometimes, and never).  There will be a lot of opportunity for extended and off topic discussions throughout this Unit.  This will give _______ an opportunity to really extend and show what he/she knows beyond just the lesson.

*I mention this because a lot of the content in Level 3 Unit 10 is extremely repetitive and simple.  Extended conversation is a necessity in my eyes!*

Level 3 Unit 11:

*If the class is MC-L3-U10-LC2-12 (Level 3 Lesson 10 Unit Assessment 2)

_______ will learn about famous English and Chinese folktales throughout Unit 11.  Lesson 1 will contain a lot of content, new vocabulary, and reading.  I would highly recommend that _______ previews the story of “The Three Little Pigs” if possible.  _______ will also learn a lot of new past tense verbs.  There will be a lot of opportunity for extended discussions and practice using verbs in the past tense.

*If the class is MC-L3-U11-LC1-1 (Level 3 Unit 11 Lesson 1) and the student struggled

_______ will continue to learn about the past tense and other new verbs.  I would highly encourage _______ to review the story of “The Three Little Pigs” and identify the past tense verbs.  There will also be a lot of opportunity for extended discussions and practice using verbs in the past tense.

 

So I got a bit lazy and skipped over Day 120 so I will pick up from where I last left off.  I finally decided to change my profile picture!

My schedule for the last 80 days:

April 10th-16th:             109 students (77 boys / 32 girls)
April 17th-23rd:             110 students (71 boys / 39 girls)
April 24th -28th:             87 students (56 boys / 31 girls)
May 1st-May 7th:           115 students (76 boys / 39 girls) 84% repeats
May 8th – May 14th:      110 students (73 boys / 37 girls) 76% repeats
May 15th – May 21st:     108 students (75 boys / 33 girls) 83% repeats
May 22nd – May 28th:   109 students ( 72 boys / 37 girls) 88% repeats
May 29th – June 4th:      109 students (80 boys / 29 girls) 95% repeats
June 5th – June 11th:     106 students (80 boys / 26 girls) 92% repeats
June 12th – June 18th:     85 students (57 boys / 28 girls) 92% repeats
June 19th – June 25th:     30 students (24 boys / 6 girls)   77% repeats  – Busy

I will also be moving back to South Korea near the end of July to continue doing this full time!  I can’t do anymore of this 7:30am-2pm sleep schedule anymore!  I also miss the busy and perpetual lifestyle of the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’.


I will leave this update with a few tips that I believe has continued to help me teach with a stress-free and optimistic mindset while at the same time finding time to improve myself.

Video Addressing Repetitive and Unnecessary Complaints.

(1) Student Feedback!  Really dig deep and personalize each and every feedback!  Every student brings something different to the table and we should read between the lines to scope out what students offer and how they demonstrate their understanding of the material.  To this day I still personalize each and every feedback.  I don’t have a word document of common, generic sentences that I simply copy and paste into student feedback.  In every class, I always include something that I feel like that particular student did that stood out.  There’s always something!  Find something personal to discuss besides that said student completing X Y and Z.

 

 

(2) Stop whining, moaning, and complaining about apples. The number of teachers who complain about getting their first four apple rating as if it dictates their life like a puppeteer is appalling.   I honestly believe, and this applies to every teacher, that we get an ego boost from all these five apple ratings that when we get that 4 apple rating, we zoom in on it to the point that we are completely oblivious, visually impaired, and unaware of the hundreds of other parents that we have pleased.  Furthermore, it skews our sense of reality and what we believe the standard should be.  I personally feel that I taught more 5/5 apple classes that were not worthy of 5/5 apple ratings (in my view) than vise-versa.

When I first started at VIPKID, parent feedback was unavailable.  After it was visible to teachers, my first 40 feedback included 2 “four apple ratings” and a “dissatisfactory rating”.  I thought to myself “that’s pretty good! I’m surprised 37 parents thought my classes were worthy of 5/5 apples”.  Now you go on Facebook and you see teachers with dozens and dozens of five apple ratings cry wolf the moment they get a four apple rating, reacting with words such as “heart shattering” and “devastating”.  Soldiers who fight for our country, get blown up or survive and have to get their limbs amputated is “heart shattering” and “devastating”.  To this day, I have 778 “five apple ratings”, 7 “four apple ratings”, and that lone dissatisfactory.  I have a 40% parent feedback rate, but I never ask for feedback.  This is not me trying to brag about how good I am as a teacher.  Use feedback for it’s purpose: feedback.  There aren’t always going to be handouts that direct us on how to improve.  We need to find out for ourselves.  Out of those 778 five apple ratings, I truly believe a good percentage of those were not five apple performances.  This is just a subjective opinion, however, as many parents obviously saw otherwise.  I also believe I deserved all of those four apple ratings and that dissatisfactory.

We are not perfect.  Use feedback to improve yourself.  Learn about what things you can do to make your delivery and teaching methods stronger.  Stop crying about what 1 parent thought about your teaching performance to the social media world.  Move on and continue to improve.  Remember, parents are paying roughly $1 per minute for these classes.  There is so much pressure in China for students to perform at the highest levels.  What would your expectations be, as a parent, if you were paying $1 per minute for your child to learn a language that would play a large part in determining their social, economic, and financial future?

Screenshot_2017-06-23-09-47-19


If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!

My schedule from the first classes until now:

Jan 20th – Jan 22nd:     13 students (13 boys / 0 girls)
Jan 23rd – Jan 29th:      35 students (29 boys / 6 girls)
Jan 30th – Feb  5th:     47 students (37 boys / 10 girls)
Feb  6th – Feb 12th:    85 students (61 boys / 24 girls)
Feb 13th – Feb 19th: 105 students (68 boys / 37 girls)
Feb 20th – Feb 26th: 105 students (72 boys / 33 girls)

Feb 27th – Mar 5th:   102 students (67 boys / 35 girls)
Mar 6th – Mar 12th:    94 students (71 boys / 23 girls)
Mar 13th – Mar 19th: 102 students (75 boys / 27 girls)
Mar 20th – Mar 26th: 108 students (83 boys / 25 girls)
Mar 27th – Apr 2nd:  105 students (77 boys / 28 girls)
Apr 3rd – Apr 9th:     109 students (69 boys / 40 girls)

Still keeping the same schedule.  Daylight savings hasn’t really bothered me.  I’d say about 90% of my schedule now consists of regulars.  I don’t do many trials… maybe around 10 per month.

Screenshot_2017-04-04-21-03-39


Working with VIPKID has been a fun ride so far.  Despite the hours I’m putting in, time really flies by and it doesn’t feel like work.  I guess that’s what we look for right?  Living to work rather than working to live.  As someone who was looking to run away from the ESL/EFL scene, thus why I came back to the states, I’m considering transitioning back to the other side of the planet for a few months to continue my passion for cycling around different parts of the world.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!