I was talking with some ESL teachers recently, and they commented that they didn't really know grammar as well as they would like, an important professional matter since they are expected to teach it. I've been doing Professional Development workshops for some time now for primary teachers, so I thought it would be worthwhile to run one focussed on grammar for ESL teachers. For the average person, talking about grammar for a day would be the most boring day imaginable, but for me, the chance to help teachers understand our baffling but beautiful language is rather exciting.
So, if you are an ESL teacher and would like to dig a little deeper below the myriad grammatical rules and exceptions to uncover the foundational principles of how our language was originally built, come along to one of the two workshops on December 7 or January 11. Register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Store / ESL.
This was something I had looked forward to for some time, so I was delighted to step inside the pre primary at Swan View and see how the two teachers there had put Shoebox into practice. Not only were their two classes immaculately behaved and their rooms a visual treat, but all around the room were evidences that these little ones had started to engage with their language, which made me terribly excited. I was also treated to two performances, one of their Hat sentences and one of Adjective Battles! Both were fantastic and I was reduced to delighted smiles and loud applause at the end. (I was told that one of the children, after having learned adjectives, went home and helped his older brother, who didn't know what an adjective was!) This is the generation of Shoeboxers who will go through school with much better knowledge of their language.
Finally, let me express my amazed awe at the work of the two teachers, Nicole Lavender and Michelle Wenzel, who have made Shoebox their own. Bravissima!
I'm off to visit a school this coming Thursday after an email from the principal, who told me I would be astounded at the way that Shoebox has fitted into the school and that I would want to refer to it in future dialogues. I need no convincing, especially since the principal was referring to pre-schoolers.