Muzzy – Months and Seasons

Again, months and seasons might be a new concept to my students even in their own native language. I simply approach this subject as if I were teaching an American child months and seasons for the first time.

Russian seasons begin on the first of their respective months, which is easier to remember and oddly meteorologically accurate.

There’s no magic here. First we must define the season, then write out the months that go with them. Then help the student bring meaning to the months by identifying important times, such as their birthday and New Years. Luckily Russian month names correspond to English ones with little derivation.

However, months are long words with strange spellings. If the student is at an appropriate level, I will drill spelling. But not at first. I want them to be able to say the names of the months and seasons first. Here’s an example of a lesson with my trusted white board (Necessary Tools).

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I have written the months. They must identify the season it belongs to. The words for the seasons are entirely new, and therefore I give them a trick. They don’t have to write out the word, but draw a symbol for the season. Then I mark which ones were incorrect. I then give a list of the months in order and listed with their respective seasons. They have to correct themselves. Their eyes dart all over these boards, checking and verifying. This relatively simple exercise has fast meaningful results. By the next lesson, they are writing out the months and seasons on their own.

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Muzzy – I’m… Have a…

I’m often asked what’s the difference between British English and American English. In this exercise, you will see British English. They often use the phrasing “have + noun” for everyday tasks. In American English we might use “take + noun” or a completely different format all together.

This exercise is very easy to do by the pictures alone. This is a great time to practice reading and pronunciation. I read this with my student and make sure they go slow. Especially on words like hamburger which students often try to pronounce like the Russian гамбургер.

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Muzzy – Muzzy and Bob are friends

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This is a cute song. It’s easy to remember and I’m always shocked how fast the children learn it. The sentences are simple and have some basic vocabulary in them. This is a good time to introduce some basic pronouns. There is a grammar point of me vs. I but I wouldn’t worry about it.

 

Muzzy – Vowels

 

This actually sweet song is a great song for learning the names of the vowels. Teaching children English has its unique difficulty of how to teach the alphabet. The way I learned was by the ABC song. First I learned the names of the letters, then learned their sounds… which can be completely different. Another way to is to learn the alphabet by phonics through a program like Jolly Phonics or Hooked on Phonics, and then later teach the names of the letters. Either way presents its own benefits and pitfalls. I don’t know which way is better, but I do know, at some point you will have to bridge the learning. It becomes very difficult, especially with the vowels. There are the soft sounds, hard sounds, and diphthongs. Even if your child is learning to speak, not read, these sounds present pronunciation problems, being unique to English and not their native language.

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This song is a great introduction to the English vowels. The song is catchy and sweet. Among my few toys I have bought, I have a bucket of wooden cubes. Some are colored, some are natural. I use them for free play, for counting, for colors, and occasionally for creating dice. Here I wrote one vowel per block, both in lower case and capital form. The child rolls the dice and then has to say the name of each vowel in the order they were rolled.

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It’s easy to recite the muzzy song, even in its jumbled up order. However, recital is not learning. This exercise reinforces the learning and tests their ability to identify the different sounds. Later these blocks can be used to identify the sounds of the vowels, not just their names.

 

Muzzy – Love

Who doesn’t want to know how to say I love you in another language. I like sending my students home knowing how to tell their moms and dads, I LOVE YOU!

This is a great lesson for a conversation. I ask the student about all the things they love. Whether it’s a person, an action, or a thing.

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As always, if I need more practice, we can use Donna Young’s handwriting paper.

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