Monday, 26 September 2011

Extend adapt use - making the most of your coursebook.


Read some of a text to the students at normal speed, they write down the key words then compare what they have written with their partner. Repeat. Then ask the students to try to reconstruct the text

Ask some students to read out what they have or go around and help / error correct.

Use: this can be used with the first paragraph of a long reading or listening to break it up. Have the students predict what comes next using the info from the completed paragraph.

Aim: this practises listening skills, listening for key words and reconstructing meaning from them. It also practises writing skills as students are trying to recreate a model.

Running Dictation

Put each sentence from a paragraph on a separate piece of paper and post them on the wall around the classroom.

Put the students into pairs. O)ne student goes to one of the sentneces, reads it and comes back and dictates it to their partner. The other student writes it down. They swap roles and the second student goes off to find a sentence.

Use: this can be used with the first paragraph of a long reading or listening to break it up. Have the students predict what comes next using the info from the completed paragraph. Once they have dictated all the sentences ask them to put the text ion the correct order.

Aim: this practises listening skills,.reading skills and writing skills as the students have to think about reconstructing the text.

Predicting from the questions

Ask the student to read the questions for a reading or listening and then discuss with a partner what they thing is happening in the text. This works really well with multiple choice questions. When they listen they not only answer the questions but see if their own version of events were right.

Use: can be iused as a prediction task before any reading or listening.

Aim: we often encourage students to read the questions this actually forces them to read them. It engages the students and personalises the activity.

Activity Listening

1 Give the students some information about the reading or listening text. Ask the students to write their own questions that they would like to find the answers for. Elicit some and put them on the board. Then ask the students to read or listen and answer their own questions.

Use: This works well if it is a personal anecdote or a person giving information about themselves.

Aim: this becomes more like real life because we listen or read things for information that we want to find out ourselves rather that information a course book writer thinks is relevant.

2 Allow the students to put their hand up if they want to pause the listening at any stage. Pause the recording and ask them to discuss what they have so far with their partners.

Use: with any listening especially a long one.

Aim: in real life we tend to interrupt if we are talking and we don’t understand what the other person is saying. When listening in the classroom the students can’t do that, if they get lost they are powerless and that just causes panic and causes them to miss more.

3. Ask the students to prepare questions for you about the listening after they have finished. Doing the task.

Aim: this reflects the idea of asking someone we are talking to to clarify their position. A classroom tape can’t do that, it is always the same. So this is a way for students to deal with that problem.

Complete the sentences

Put the same clause on the board 4 or 5 times but each time change the conjunction at the end of the sentence. Ask the students to complete the sentences in different ways depending on the conjunction.

Use: this can be used to check comprehension of a text.

Aim: this shows how important conjunctions are, it will help students to realise the meaning that the conjunctions carry and so will help their ability to decode a text as well as an ability to create a text.

None of us.

In order for speaking tasks to be real communication their needs to be a reason to communicate, to not only speak but to listen too. When doing speaking tasks it often seems that students are taking it in terms to deliver little monologues.

The simplest way to add a task is to create a ‘me too or me neither’ feeling. So students have to find things in common or differences with colleagues. The example we saw in the session was getting students in groups of four and ask them to find things that was true only about 1 person in that group, true about 2 people, true about 3 or true about all of them.

Paper Twitter

Twitter is a social network site where people post update using 140 characters or fewer. Then people comment on their updates. Whole rafts of communication can take place in spouts of 140 characters or fewer.

In the classroom set a writing question, and ask the students to try to answer it using 140 characters or fewer. Then ask them to pass their ‘tweet’ to another group, who reply using 140 characters or fewer, then they pass their reply back to the original tweeters, who also write a reply.

I have used this as a way of brainstorming ideas, and then asked the students to do the proper writing task for homework.

I have found that it helps students to focus their mind and to develop ideas.

Please let me know if you use these ideas and how they go.

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