Tutor Resources

We regularly upload lesson overviews and handouts for tutors to glance over what we’ll be going over each week. We highly encourage you to skim these for a minute or two so you know what to expect and can guide your tutee more confidently and effectively.

Future resources that will be made available:

  • Tutor training video (recorded from training session earlier this quarter)
  • Books and additional materials catalog (inventory of our books and other resources at El Centro that you can use with your tutee, including books on grammar, vocabulary, and idioms; audiotapes and CDs; dictionaries and reference materials; and worksheets and workbooks, all for various levels)
  • Any suggestions you have!

Week of 2012-2-27 – More Nouns, Irregular Nouns, Forming Different Words from Roots, and Measurements

Handout: Week of 2012-2-27 – Saying No to a Request

Handout: Week of 2012-2-27 – Mini Unit on Measurements

Last week we discussed the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc) and focused on nouns. There is an activity (p. 15)  in the most recent BSP handout for higher level students who can identify the root of a word and change it to a different part of speech (i.e. authorized –> authorization). It’s attached here – please focus on p.15. We’ve already completed some of the actitivities in previous handouts.

For lower level students, I want to focus on irregular plural nouns. Last week we discussed plural nouns, including words that have orthographic changes (i.e. wife –> wives) and irregular plural nouns (person –> people). The beginning level students can focus on regular plural nouns (encourage students to use the /z/ sound and the /s/ sound appropriately) and irregular plural nouns –  continue with the handout from Azar series from Wed/Thurs exercises 8-10. Tutors, please encourage students to spell the words (it’s good practice with letters and pronunciation as well as plural nouns). Please try to complete only one activity during the lesson, or have the student determine the pace of the activity – I’d rather they go slow and thorough than quickly and have unanswered questions.
Intermediate students can review irregular plural nouns (Azar, ex. 10) and segue to the concept of mass nouns or noncount nouns – these are nouns that don’t distinguish between singular and plural and are often quantified (i.e. rice and other cereals and grains are quantified as in a grain of rice, a cup of rice, a bushel of rice, etc). Tutors can check the concept of quantifiers by asking students to match noncount nouns with appropriate quantifiers (this will involve a page from the picture dictionary). I also have a BSP mini-unit on quantifiers since students often use these words in the workplace when using chemicals. The BSP measurements mini-unit is attached, and I will refer to it in later lessons (you can preview it now).
By the end of this week, I would like all students to be able to distinguigh nouns from other parts of speech and identify the noun in a sentence or given dialogue, and feel comfortable spelling and saying plural nouns (for example, in a given dialogue, A) have student identify the noun, then B) change it from singular to plural form, C) spell or write the plural form).
Next week we will continue with noncount and mass nouns (such as money) and using quantifiers. We will also return to customer service with a focus on saying no to a request (Q: Can I have some money? A: I can’t give you any money).
Week of 2012-2-13 – Valentine’s Activity, Dictation, and Alphabet
For tonight, we’ll have a brief Valentine’s Day activity (listening to a song) and we’ll segue into active listening activity (dictation practice). The Saying No to a Request pdf is on google docs, and I’ll use pps. 17-20 of the BSP materials for this week.
This material is going to engage lower level (beginner and literacy level) students who need more practice with writing and familiarity with the alphabet; you will dictate names (and phone numbers later this week). A lot of letters and numbers sound alike (16 and 60 for instance).
After practicing the dictation, I encourage you to switch roles – have students dictate names by spelling them to tutors (good pronunciation practice). Marked letters that are commonly mispronounced are the vowels, B and V are confused (close lips completely for B, leave mouth open for V), and G and J are also tricky. If a student consistently mispronounces a letter, use a rhyming word to guide them (high, Y).
Here’s a helpful pronunication guide for letters with multiple sounds (C and G): Generally, in English and in Spanish
C is soft (S sound) before I and E, and hard (K sound) before all other letters (including consonants) except for H (the CH sound).
G is soft (as in Germany) before I and E, and hard (as in garden) before all other letters (including consonants) except for H (the CH sound).
With regard to S: there are 3 sounds (/s/, /z/, and /sh/) – usually it’s the /s/ sound if it’s the beginning of the word (as in Sahara).
Later on, for a grammar point, we will start to discuss word classes (noun, verb, etc) and use suffixes to create morphemes (different forms of a word – for instance happy –> happiness is a shift from adjective to noun. -Ness is a noun ending). You can elicit examples in English (and in Spanish for students who are less comfortable with the concept; for example -dad endings in felicidad). This relates to an activity from the BSP curriculum (pg. 15).
Week of 2012-2-6 – Speaking and Listening Practice with Requests
Last week, we used the couplets created by students and the brief dialogue from the handout (BSP pps. 1-4) and adjusted the activity by 1) swapping papers and reading each other’s requests and responses, and 2) sitting back to back so that students could treat it almost like a phone drill; 3) some students adjusted this to a writing activity by reading “request notes” and writing responses to them – all great ideas!
Some students may frequently use walky-talkies, or cell phones and have to navigate phone menus, so it’s a very relevant skill to practice listening to recorded conversations or speaking with no visual prompt (i.e. standing on either side of a dry erase board). This also will help them when they listen to pre-recorded dialogues (from the Ventures book or in CASAS listening tests in the spring). Lastly, by having students stand or sit with an obstacle between him/her and his/her tutor, they also will have to project their voice (we have some quiet talkers who can be encouraged to speak up a little). Please tutors take advantage of the space available (i.e. conference room) if you need it. I will find you and check in during practice time.
For this week, we have more materials provided by BSP about saying no to a request (pps 9-14). We have a story that I hope students will read out loud (tutors can read it first) and later use to create their own testimonials (higher level students can read the story then write their own about a time they had to refuse a request and the reactions they got). Lower level students can focus on the story, vocab, pronunciation (especially word final “t” like in contractions i.e. “can’t”), and comprehension questions.
Tutors, when reading a story, if you have a low level student, take a methodical approach, and REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT. You can for instance, have students 1) listen as you read, 2) read along as you read out loud, 3) alternate with you taking turns reading a sentence (or they can “fill-in-the-blank” when you pause), then finally 4) read out loud to you.
Tutors with higher level students can use brief reading selections as a dication practice (don’t let the student see the story), but have them write it down as it’s dictated to them (5 sentence max, read slow, repeat up to 3 x), then have the student read their version of the story (they often self-correct when they read out loud). This is great writing practice, and helps with legibility, spelling, and “ear coordination” meaning did the student omit a word as they were writing? Was is because they were writing too fast, or did the student not hear it?
I’ll offer more suggestions tonight and demonstrate some of these ideas for using short reading selections in class.

Week of 2012-1-23 – Making and Politely Denying Requests

This week we’re getting into saying no to a request. Last week we introduced customer service and reviewed the tacit grammar (using modals like “CAN”). Students focused on making offers (i.e. May I help you? How could I be of service?) We will study the flipside of making offers (that means making requests). In this unit, we’ll also learn to respond to offers and requests.
Often UNICCO workers are asked to do things that are not janitorial responsibilities, such as moving furniture, and are placed in an awkward position of having to say “no” – let’s make it easier for them.
In this week’s lesson, we will start with a scripted dialogue (in a handout with a visual cue) and elicit common requests at work (i.e. Could you open this door? Can you move this copier?) – Encourage using modals CAN and COULD. Remember, as with making offers, use the question format (include wh- question words, like “WHERE is the bathroom?)

We’ll be working on making offers and requests.  The requests element is divided into making requests, responding to requests (including declining a request) and making requests to management (formal requests). We will start with offers, using “can”. You already know to limit using Spanish, but since there is a clear parallel, tutors can use “poder” as an equivalent speech structure in Spanish.

Have students practice these questions (asking, answering, describing signs and what the signs mean):

What should (or shouldn’t) you do when you see these signs?

Where can you find these signs?

Could you explain what the sign means?

On Wed. and Thurs. we’ll start using “should”. You already know to limit using Spanish, but since there is a clear parallel, tutors can use “deber” as an equivalent speech structure in Spanish. Some modals don’t have exact Spanish equivalents, so we’ll start with can and should, then expand to additional modals (ought to, must) in January. More advanced learners may already be familiar with using some of these modals, so you can start into conversations (use seed questions, such as “what would you do if…” “What should I do if….”).

Week of 2011-11-07

We’ll continue our unit on interpreting signs and directions (and safety manuals – that’s coming up soon).

We’ll have some dialogue exercises in the handouts and have students expand on a given dialogue so that you have 10 lines for a dialogue based on a sign, label, or safety instruction (the source material can come from a chemical bottle at work, campus sign, anything that your student finds relevant). You can use the signs given in the vocabulary pages or the matching dialogue activity from last week. Higher level students may have more than 10 lines of dialogue, and may have up to 3 different signs, labels, etc.

Week of 2011-10-31 – Sign Dialogue Match

Using this handout, we will be matching dialogue sets with signs. You can have students also create original dialogues with signs they see at work and any signs from the picture dictionary pages on traffic safety and job safety.

You can also use question sentences for discussion practice – “What did you do over the weekend?” in case anyone went to any pre-Hallloween parties or pumpkin festivals. This is good review of wh- question words and of using “DO” in questions. “Do you have any advice for a safe Halloween?” – this would be good practice for higher level students who are already familiar with modals in suggestions (“you could…, you should…., you ought to….).

Week of 2011-10-24 – Workplace Signs and Instructions

Review of Previous Topics /Introduce new topic (7 min) –  starting a unit on signs and manuals; review “no smoking” and “stop” signs on board. Share any new signs students suggest (homework from last week was to find signs)

Direct Instruction – Introduce and model target grammar (5 min) – Handout p1-3: Do you know these signs? Where do you see them? What do they mean?

Practice Period (5 min) (Instructor and coordinators monitor and assist pairs as needed) – Identify question words and Y/N question construction using “do” from dialogue on p1

Direct Instruction (7 min): Along with Y/N questions, we use “do” with negatives and for emphasis, for instance in rules (Do’s and Don’ts)
Focused Practice (30 min): Using the handout p3, A) interpret the meaning of each sign and write “do’s and don’ts”; for students who have already completed this step, write on the back of the page the opposite of the rule, then B) ask students to explain each situation (i.e. When do you turn your cell phone off? When don’t you turn your cell phone off?)
*Higher levels may also complete p. 3 for longer writing – intermediate students can complete “do and don’t” sentences, and C) the most advanced students can complete “if” sentences – tutors should explain the word “consequence” for not following rules