Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Deep and rich activities for learners

I used Languages and Children: Making the Match*** by Curtain and Dahlberg in my certification program. Then in my first month of teaching, I attended a workshop at the KWLA conference with Helena Curtain. I was a stressed out first year teacher who had no clue how to get my students to listen to me in English let alone in the target language. I wanted to do 90% TL but I just didn't see how it was possible when I was crying in the bathroom after an hour with third grade. As the "lone ranger" I wasn't getting a lot of support. (Do any of us teaching elementary school get the support we need?) However, by the time I left that short workshop Helena had given me hope that I could do what needed to be done. She is truly one of the kindest, most encouraging teachers I have met.  So when I saw she was coming to our district to do a 2 day workshop I was pumped.

The main theme of our two days together was giving our learners what they need. And what do learners need? They need activities that are deep and rich. 

Helena gave us four guidelines to ask ourselves when planning our lessons.

Ask yourself is this activity....

1. Intrinsically motivating? Will the kids be excited by this? Does it establish a context for the new language?

2. Cognitively engaging? What other content/area/skills does this connect with? Can you connect it to math, science, arts & humanities, or economics?

3. Culturally connected? Does this connect to the target culture?

4. Communicatively purposeful? Does this encourage interpersonal communication and build proficiency among ALL students?

She stressed that not every activity needs to hit all four points - although they should hit at least two. Personally, I try to make sure that all of my activities are communicatively purposeful since I have so little time with my kiddos.

Did I get my textbook signed? Yes, yes I did. And a photo!!!

What do you think of these four guidelines? What do you try to keep in mind when planning your mlessons? Share in the comments below! And there's more to come from our two day workshop.

*** The 5th ed. is titled Languages and Learners: Making the Match. AND I'm honored to have a picture from Señora Speedy included!

No comments:

Post a Comment