Question for the Group

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12 thoughts on “Question for the Group”

  1. I liked how I worked with numbers in Chinese 1 last year: mostly through a date, time, day of the week report at the beginning of every class. (In Chinese all those include numbers; other languages might have to include more questions about the year and date of the month to hit numbers a lot?) It goes something like this:
    – At the beginning, the students don’t know any numbers at all. I start only with the date for several weeks. I show them the template that was something like this:
    ____Year ___Month ____Date
    (Chinese equivalents below the English)
    Then below that, a line with numbers 0-10 and the phonetic pronunciation of those numbers.
    And I say the date veerrryyy slowly, pausing and pointing at each syllable as I say it. For a while, I just look for nods that show they agree on what date it is.
    – After it seems like they’re getting comfortable hearing the date, I add questions to it. (“Is it 1015 or 2015? Is it the 9th month? Today is the 20th, right?”)
    – Later I start trying to fool them. “Today is 2010/1/1.” and wait to see what they catch, and go back & forth for a bit until we get to the actual date. This is when they’re starting to vocalize numbers. The template is still in view. (I don’t do that every time or it’d get annoying.)
    – I also start inviting students to say the date along with me. Later, I take volunteers to tell us the date. Eventually I start asking “What’s tomorrow’s date? What’s your birthdate?” etc. etc.
    So, I didn’t have to instruct directly about numbers at all. As a brain break, I had a sort of silly rap video that introduces 0-10 and I showed that after numbers were already getting familiar.
    Later on, like semester 2 last year, I also would occasionally spend a few minutes saying numbers and having students write them down and show me what they heard. I’d say 90% of them are really cruising on their numbers.

  2. I like what Diana said and I too do an opening day, date, etc. I have also done a number of the day a la Sesame Street. Today’s class is sponsored by the number 23. Numbers can always be worked into stories. Teaching numbers in order as a chant or straight counting exercise will, in my experience, guarantee that students will always have to start from one and count up in order until they arrive at the number they need. For French 1, I generally begin with 13 and or 14 since that is generally their age. I think Ben also does math problems as a brain break. Good luck.

  3. My kids loved playing “el bebé malo” to work on numbers. I stole the idea from Bryce Hedstrom, where he would hide a doll in the room (or have a kid do it) for one kid to look for and the kids would count louder or softer depending on if the searcher was closer or further from the doll. I had given them a sheet with the numbers and their pronunciations, so the first few times we used it, and then gradually weaned off of it.
    Here’s a link to a .pdf of his Preferred Activity Time suggestions:
    Those games saved my life with my middle school kids….

  4. One of our teachers keeps a running count of what day of school it is and how many days are left in the school year. He writes on the board:
    Today is the first day of school. There are 179 days left.
    Every day he changes it to be correct. Students get both ordinal and cardinal numbers. You can also ask questions:
    – Is today the first day of 2015?
    – Are there five days left in the semester?
    – Is today the fifth or sixth day of the quarter?
    – How many days are left in the semester?
    I think I will start doing that this year because, in addition to numbers, it will give me a lot of repetitions of “Es gibt” (There is/are). Using “es gibt” to introduce the characters in a story is simply bad German, so this gives me a correct way to use the term a lot.

  5. I don’t know what language you teach, but I’ve found that a lot of my Spanish students come in knowing at least the basic 1-10 or higher, even in level 1, just due to exposure.
    In addition to the calendar, math dictations, and including numbers in stories, my students like the “Countdown” activity that I found, if I recall correctly, in Martina Bex’s Brain Breaks document.
    I start with saying “one” (in TL, of course) and a student will stand up and say “two.” We see how high we can get before two students stand up at the same time (we all sit back down if that happens) or someone gets a number wrong. If it comes really easily, we count by 2s, 3s, even 7s. Students are forbidden to signal that they want to go next; they must wait for an opportune moment.

  6. leigh anne munoz

    Numbers are hard, in my opinion, and take a long time to really sink in.
    1) I like all of the above ideas… for some reason, my students take forever to internalize numbers
    So I…
    2) play guessing games with the daily temperature in places that students like to visit, the local mountains, gramma’s house, the local dessert and beaches, etc.
    3) play guessing games with the kids’ ages when it is their birthday, after singing the b-day song
    4) play guessing games with how many times I’ve managed to get repetitions on verb structures for stories
    Can’t think of anything else…. our classes have up to 45 kids per class, and somehow we manage to learn the numbers after a year of messing around with them on a regular basis…
    Good luck!

  7. Thank you, everyone, for your ideas and comments! This is great!!! I LOVE Leigh Anne’s guessing game ideas because they are learning numbers without really focusing on them-that’s ultimately what we try to do, right? Have them focus on the content instead of the language itself. I also love the routine that Diane and Robert mentioned for the beginning of each class. I will definitely use these as well!!!!

  8. On the first day you can give a Quick Quiz over the CWB stuff and start teaching them “write your name and the date” and “number your paper 1, 2, 3, 4, 5” in the TL. Those are the most common numbers anyways.

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