|Elephants never forget! And younger
Here's a Tip for the Younger
Learner teacher from a colleague, Samantha. She's carrying
out a 'Sponsored Spelling Test', with her ten & eleven
year old students, & linking it to the theme of animal
welfare. The money from this is to go to the World Wildlife
Fund. If you e-mail the WWF, they'll
send you a pack of information that includes a WWF info
book, sponsorship forms, WWF stickers etc. To contact them
to request a pack, click on the e-mail link on the front
To get started, explain what
you're going to do to the students so that they can get
some sponsorship together - family & friends - who will
give so much per word that they spell correctly in the test.
The amount for each word spelt correctly will be small so
the more sponsors the better. Careful not to make a thing
of this as some children might find it more difficult than
others to get sponsors. Samantha is using 50 words from
the last month's work - the test could focus on any area.
Set a day for the Test - the students could test each other
in class beforehand to help prepare & to make more of
the whole sponsored event. In the build up to the test
carry out a project on the WWF, using the materials they
send you so they get to know the worthy cause. The money collected as a result
of the test is then sent off to the WWF. Any money raised
is useful, & as they say in the WWF covering letter:
'It's amazing but true - 10
pounds will supply two patrols in Indonesia with food &
transport for a month so they can get out there & save
rhinos. Just 4 pounds could buy an anti-poaching ranger's
rations for a day. And a mere one pound can buy a seedling
to replant a forest. Here are some reasons why
we urgently need your help: Black rhinos have gone
from 60000 to just 2500 in 20 years.
There are only 1000 cute & cuddly wild panda
left in the entire world.
Those wise & gentle beasts - the Asian elephants
- are threatened by loss of forests & trade in ivory
Scary but amazing - the tiger is also endangered
- 100.000 down to just 5000 today.
Hairy & orange but oh so cute - there might not
be any orang-utans left in 10 year's time if we don't help
them now.' This focusses on ten/eleven
year olds & the WWF but there are lots of different
sponsored projects with other age groups & other worthy
to the contents
A few weeks ago I mentioned
the value of spot the difference activities in helping to
develop an awareness of corrective prominence. See the Tip
'More than Meets the Eye'
Here are two more ideas:
When you have dealt with the
overall understanding of a text, tell the students that
you are going to recap the story & they must correct
you if you get it wrong. For example;
|Teacher: So, Nacho
goes along to the restaurant.
Student: No, he goes along to the BAR.
Teacher: Oh yes, that's right. There he meets Josh.
Student: No, he meets BEN!
And so on. The students could then take
over. It makes a good student-student check on the comprehension
of a text as well as practice of corrective stress. Once
you start this with students you can always slip the odd
mistake into the classes which you know the students will
pick up on - lots of fun.
The other idea is to give
out sentence stems & as you read the stem out the students
then choose from three possibilities. The choice depends
on which word you have stressed. For example;
|Ben went to the party
|- not the museum
|- no Josh
|- not last Friday
|BEN went to the party
yesterday .... not Josh.
|Ben went to the PARTY
yesterday ..... not the museum.
|Ben went to the party
YESTERDAY .... not last Friday.
Again, do a few with the students
& then, in pairs, one reads the stem & the other
says the continuation. You could then ask them to write
some new stems & continuations which they hand to other
pairs to practise with.
Back to the contents
If there's time....
On with the Tip - A skilful
part of planning lessons is in
anticipating how long the different stages will take. I'm
sure you've found yourself at the end of lessons with either
too much or too little time. I have a tendency to overcompensate
& plan far too much so I'm not caught short but I don't
really think this is the right way round. Instead of just
adding on other activities, a better way is to think about
how the well-planned activities & stages can be further
exploited. As the you move from stage to stage you might
decide to exploit an activity more or less depending on
time & how the students are finding it.
Here are just a few ideas
on exploiting stages to get you thinking:
- when presenting a language
area, have an extra written task to hand.
- with new language you could
ask the students to write a dialogue with the target language
in it. They think of the context, making it a further test
that they are on top of it.
- with listening texts have
the tapescripts for some noticing activities. If you already
have them planned for this already, think of another noticing
activity - any tapescript can be used for some area of phonological
analysis. See the 'Sounds
in Combination' phonology page.
- the same with reading texts,
some more noticing tasks to hand. Also think about what
extra follow-up activities you could do with texts - an
extra role play or discussion.
- with speaking activities,
you could ask the students to repeat the activity with a
different partner. If it is a controlled practice activity,
then take away the prompts & get them doing it again
in a freer mode. Have an extra controlled oral activity
ready in case the students are finding it difficult. And
don't forget about the feedback & analysis of their
output - easily extendable.
- reflection tasks are always
a good idea but sometimes we don't have time for them -
after an activity get them talking to their partners about
how they found it, the difficulties they had & any strategies
they could share. Good for activities that take you by surprise
ie. the students found it difficult when you didn't expect
it to be.
It's all about material &
activity exploitation & by having extensions like these
up your sleeve you are more able to go with the students
rather than ploughing on with the lesson plan relentlessly.
The more you can anticipate the better but not all of us
have the amount of experience to be able to do that. Even
then things are not always plain sailing. If we could programme
our lessons then it might be time to give up.
the Past Teaching Tips