A brief guide to what is offered on the website and how to access it
I’d like to share something with you. It’s not only the result of a labour of love through many years of exploration and fine-tuning. It is something that is useful and accessible to those in the field of education, in particular, English language instructors, although some of the materials can easily be applied in the public school system.
It has passed the test of other people using it and finding it a solid source of ideas and materials covering a wide range of levels, approaches and content. There is no registration required and it is free to use and re-use (although the resources, texts and images are protected through international copyright).
Since my early days in the profession I have often been inspired by seeing how students learn effectively and what hurdles they may have to overcome. This has given rise to a great many materials and approaches that help students with their motivation and their confidence as they make real progress in acquiring the language and the skills that surround it.
What is being offered is not so different from what most dedicated and accomplished teachers have discovered over their long careers. What I am excited about is sharing those ideas and lesson plans with other teachers and schools. When students and teachers alike feel good about having a successful class using my materials, I feel good too.
HOW TO USE THIS SITE
I invite you to have a look at this site. There is a lot to it, and it is still in its early stages with more coming on the horizon. If it is your first time on the site I recommend having a quick look at the homepage and click on a few buttons here and there, just to get a taste. This article you are reading will get you acquainted with some of categories and there is a little orientation presentation in the grey box below here as well.
If this is your first time visiting the site, you may want to click here to check out this introduction to how Max’s English Corner works.
●Setting the scene
It’s difficult to get a handle on something new. This website isn’t all that complicated, and with a little familiarity its contents can be better appreciated and accessed. Let me try to introduce it in the following way.
My mother is a retired kindergarten teacher and one day I was trying to explain what the website contains and the intentions behind it. One primary focus of the website is to supply teachers with lesson plans. This includes ideas and materials and to have it all nicely packaged so it would be practical and convenient. One of the challenges was to present them in a way that covers the important elements but not to get too bogged down with details. I wanted to show my mother how a lesson plan would fit into the website and for simplicity’s sake we decided to focus on a lesson plan for a single activity rather than encompassing one for the whole class. In fact, that is how the website is designed, providing lesson plans for individual activities. How the teachers connect them (or not) to other elements of their full class plan is up to them. To help walk my mother through it I asked her to imagine that she had to write such a lesson plan for a substitute teacher who would be doing a class for her in the following week.
As you may know, it’s not all that easy writing out a plan for an unknown person. In this case, my mother wouldn’t know that teacher’s level of experience, which could be very high, or perhaps it would be someone just fresh out of a month-long certification course. That teacher could be somebody local, maybe already acquainted with the school system, or recently arrived from a far-away country.
My mother decided that the activity she’d want the substitute to cover would be her Duck Song. It was a simple activity and if this imaginary class was to be done midway in the year, the young students would know where to get the book off the shelves and how all the accompanying gestures would work into the song. If it was in the first month of the course the subbing teacher would have to get the students better acquainted with the material (pictures, gestures & words/melody to sing) and the methodology (what to do with the material). There were also the objectives to consider, why my mother wanted the substitute teacher to do this particular activity in the first place.
So, with these and other considerations, how would she write up a brief yet comprehensible lesson plan? And how could one access it on this website?
●Finding a lesson plan
In Max’s English Corner there is an ongoing inventory of lesson plans found in the top menu bar under LESSONS, as well as on the home page in ALREADY HERE. (It’s the same thing, having the same links.) There you can choose lesson plans from 3 possible categories:
APPETIZERS: simpler, easy-to-use activities
MAIN COURSE: focuses on speaking, vocabulary or grammar themes that require greater development
DESSERT: usually activities which promote vocabulary work, listening and discussion from video sources such as YouTube
Assuming the Duck Song is a short and simple activity which doesn’t require a lot of preparation, it would be found in the category of APPETIZERS. The principle objective of the Duck Song is to help the children learn their numbers so scrolling down the list of activities (lesson plans) in APPETIZERS you would hypothetically find
Numbers 1 to 5 – Further Practice: Duck Song
●Orange orientation box and Quickpage
Clicking on the ‘visit’ brings you to the big orange section which provides the class plan’s objectives, intended level of students, estimated activity time, a listing of materials needed &/or supplied for the activity and a quick account of what will be done (Step Summary).
Directly below the orange orientation box is the Quickpage. This is intended more for experienced teachers or those already familiar with what they could do. It is a brief guide with concise explanations for each part of the lesson plan, all presented on a single page. The teacher can download or print the Quickpage to serve as a reminder or guide during the class or while preparing for it.
●The lesson plan
After the Quickpage comes a more detailed lesson plan which is designed to provide a step by step procedure on how to approach each part of the activity. There are references to any handouts before the instructions and sometimes videos or audios after those same instructions. If there is a video, it’s there to better inform the teacher on how that part of the activity could be executed but it’s not intended to be used in class. In the example of the Duck Song, it’s much easier to see how the teacher introduces the activity, leads and supports the students, and how the activity is done in general.
If there is an audio, it’s there as an option if the teacher wants another source (other than her or him directly) for the students to listen to.
Sometimes there are special considerations like complexities in the language to deal with or other options on how to approach the activity. These issues are more frequently addressed in SPECIAL NOTES, not in the general lesson plan itself. SPECIAL NOTES can complement a particular lesson plan or a theme of lesson plans (like counting) but not all lesson plans require these notes.
At the very end of the lesson plan is a section where you can find all the materials that you can download or print (handouts, a copy of the Quickpage and SPECIAL NOTES if there are any that accompany the lesson plan).
Separate from the lesson plans themselves but found in the top menu under LESSONS is the section of TEACHING IDEAS. Apart from providing free lesson plans and materials, I wanted to look at issues in approaching teaching. These could include having a look at methodology (some of the ideas behind Integrated Learning), classroom management and more. The entries in TEACHING IDEAS will appear every second issue and typically reference lesson plans already presented on the website.
This, then, is the major thrust of Max’s English Corner, to present ideas on how to approach teaching English to your students and to back them up with lesson plans and materials. There are a few other elements you can check out as you become more familiar with the site.
Note: Max’s English Corner is intended to be a resource for people teaching English to adult students, although teachers of teens or kids or of other languages are welcome to use and modify the materials and approaches as they like. The example of the Duck Song for a kindergarten class was used to illustrate how a lesson plan might be presented on this website but the actual Duck Song won’t be found here. Sorry.
If you have any questions or comments about using this website, the top menu bar has a section called CONTACT just for that purpose. I’d like to hear from you.
Max Neil Maximchuk
A FEW OF THE THINGS
TO BE FOUND ON THIS SITE
(found in the top menu bar under MORE LESSONS)
These are speaking activities for intermediate and advanced levels, designed to get your students talking and using new vocabulary. Students are given a theme (a text written on a card) and some common or colloquial expressions to use while discussing the topic of the day. On each theme page there are 3 separate topics with corresponding lesson plans to choose from.
(also found in MORE LESSONS)
Easy one-page lesson plans offered with all the preparation and materials supplied. Great for last minute substitution or another way to present a specific grammar point, lexical theme or function.
(also found in MORE LESSONS)
For each set, there are two groups of photographs which provide clues. Students have to determine what the object / theme is as well as which group corresponds to which of two cities. Speculation and fun is encouraged..
The LESSONS group of categories are where you can find the ‘main meals’ in this top menu bar. TEACHING IDEAS is dedicated to having a practical look at different aspects of teaching such as in lesson planning, classroom management & skills development. APPETIZERS are activities that are easy to use and are more aimed at the lower levels although later there will be additions more directed to the advanced levels. MAIN COURSE activities often deal with grammar and vocabulary and frequently require a series of class plans which progressively lead the students to a better understanding and use of the target language. There are also some functional approaches mixed in with the grammar and vocabulary themes, such as shopping for clothes or describing food. DESSERT activities are for the moment dedicated to various themes of videos found on the internet (mostly YouTube), and also come with lesson plans and materials.
Here are some specific examples to give you a better idea:
LESSONS / TEACHING IDEAS
#5 – LESSON PLANNING 101
This is directed towards new(er) teachers in the field, providing them some ideas with how to approach planning their classes.
LESSONS / APPETIZERS
THE ALPHABET – FURTHER PRACTICE (APP 1-2)
This particular lesson plan is for a beginners’ group, learning the pronunciation of the alphabet
LESSONS / MAIN COURSE
SMOOTH N STICKY – WHAT’S THERE (MC 2)
Here you can see a summary of the handouts given and an overview of the lesson plans covering a 3-class presentation on the theme of descriptive vocabulary. MAIN COURSE lesson plans attack the more challenging areas like Phrasal Verbs, Prepositions and more. It’s not limited to grammar, though. Vocabulary, functions and some games will be appearing in this category as well.
LESSONS / DESSERT
CANCER CAREFREE (DST 1-3)
In DESSERT there are different lesson plans built around specific themes found on YouTube videos. This one centers around people wanting to take a break from the heavy issues and routines that come with having cancer.
How the lesson plans are presented on this website depends a little on where you find them. In ONE-PAGERS simplicity was one of the key factors and the lesson plans presented there reflect this. The layout of the lesson plan depends on the objectives and what will be done in the activities. You can find other examples in such places as TODAY’S THEME or in HST NARRATIVES where the format is different for these reasons. In LESSONS there is a greater amount of detail as there is room for the activities to be explored further, particularly those found in MAIN COURSE. In APPETIZERS, MAIN COURSE and DESSERT you will find two lesson plans for each presentation. There is the more detailed version which takes you through each step and offers suggestions on how to approach that phase. At the beginning of the presentation following the Orange box orientation you can find the QUICKPAGE which provides a quick one-page look at what you could do. The left column provides a visual reference for any handouts you might be using and the right one gives a brief summary of the more important steps that are recommended.
|THE HARVEY SKIDOO TREE SERIES
Selected Stories for English Language Study
These are short stories & anecdotes you can use in class. First seven come with vocabulary, grammar & speaking activities. Better for Level B2 (upper intermediate) and up
Here are two examples to take a peek at: Mrs Warrington and Laughing Haircut. They are of the group that have prepared activities and materials. There is another group which simply are of stories, located below the first group on the HST Narratives general page. Here’s one example: The Greeks. It’s another of my favourites, dealing with acceptance and tolerance and multiculturalism. (NOTE: It now has a lesson plan and prepared activities too, found in S’MORE, also located after the first group of stories on the same page.)
And there’s more. Browse around at your own pace, try a few things out. New ideas, lesson plans and ideas to the site are always being added. I would love to hear your experiences and perspectives so drop me a line either here in the comments section or in CONTACT on the site itself.
Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy what the website has to offer.
Have a good one!
-Max Neil Maximchuk