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Language: sheltered English
School and Cooperating Teacher: Sarah Schmidt de Carranza, Hazel Park MS Objectives (Students will…) Language Objectives
Students will write descriptive sentences in the present tense using vocabulary related to religion, geography, architecture, art and economics
Students will categorize aspects of Central Asian life according to the “elements of culture” Students will describe Central Asian culture Students will make inferences about elements of Central Asian culture based on photographic evidence Students will interpret physical and political map features
Other Objectives (Learning Strategy, Social, Metacognitive, etc.)
Students will stay on task while working at their own paces. Students will use a graphic organizer to take notes.
The current unit is a survey of Asia. Students have already done „case studies‟ of the culture of representative countries from each region (Japan from E. Asia, India from S. Asia, Vietnam from S.E. Asia, and Saudi Arabia from W. Asia). This is their first day looking at Central Asian culture; they previously examined the geography.
Photo cards Post-it notes Tape Writing utensils Graphic organizer handout Butcher paper
Procedures Time Frame
“Week of Warmups” activity 23 (note: this is a daily scripted activity, not specifically part of this particular lesson) Teacher provides a brief intro to Central Asia & instructions
During activities: Description
Students each receive photo cards depicting Central Asian life. Working in small groups, they write descriptions of the cards on post-it notes. On the wall are various “elements of culture” categories (religion, economics, architecture, clothing/style, art, recreation, nature, social class, food). Note: some elements of culture, such a government and language, will not be addressed in this lesson, as they don‟t photograph well. Students tape the photos w/post-its in the categories where they best fit.
Write descriptive sentences
Categorize according to elements of culture
Post Activities: Description
Students fill out a Central Asian Culture graphic organizer with sections for each element of culture. In each section, they write down what the pictures tell them about that aspect of Central Asian culture. Students who finish early can begin transferring their facts about Central Asia to the butcher paper poster that will be displayed in the classroom for use in future lessons.
Making inferences/writing descriptive sentences/describing culture/taking notes Taking notes
Formative assessment: the graphic organizers Summative assessment: later this week, students will be creating “graphic novels” where a character from one of the countries we‟ve studied visits another of the countries we‟ve studied
Procedure Plan: Giving Instructions Context: I chose to focus on giving instructions, because I find giving instructions to this particular group to be somewhat challenging. This class is academically strong, and all the students are extremely communicative. However, their English is quite limited. Thus, they tend to grasp concepts easily and be impatient with being “spoon-fed” information, but they also get out of their depth quickly, and some of them are easily frustrated by this. Also, given their varying degrees of comfort with written English, they tend to work at very different paces, which means that assignments for this class need to allow students to transition from one stage to the next in their own time, which means they need instructions that are clear and memorable enough that they can follow-through independently. They have already filled out a graphic organizer almost exactly like the one they‟ll be using today, and know how to form descriptive sentences and make inferences.
Planned Procedure: 1. Put a slide with a simply-written form of the instructions up on the SmartBoard. 2. After introducing the lesson topic, inform students that this activity is similar to one we‟ve already done, but there are slight changes, so they need to pay close attention to the instructions. 3. Holding up a picture card, tell the students that they will be writing descriptions of the photos on post-its. Ask a student to describe a photo. Write the description on the post it, then stick it on the photo.
4. Tell students that after they‟ve labeled their photos, they should tape them in the correct “element of culture” category on the wall. Say the elements of culture, and have the students point to them. Ask students what the more unfamiliar terms (such as “transportation” and “architecture” mean. Ask students which category our example photo belongs in – make sure to use an example photo that could go in multiple categories, to remind students that the categorization is subjective. 5. Show students the note-taking/inferences graphic organizer. Ask whether the students remember what to do. If they seem to recall, don‟t bother explaining in detail – just call on a student to briefly recap. Remind students that they need to make inferences, not just write what is happening in the photos. 6. Ask a student to recap the steps of the activity. 7. Tell students what time the assignment needs to be completed in full by. Remind students to work efficiently. 8. Distribute materials and send groups to their usual workspaces. Rationale & Additional Notes: I‟m providing a written version of the instructions on the SmartBoard so that students with better reading comprehension than listening comprehension have an alternative way of understanding the instructions, and I‟m leaving it up for the entire activity, as this activity requires a lot of self-direction. I make a point of acting out what I‟m saying and talking with my hands, to help students understand what I‟m saying. I don‟t intend to linger long on providing instructions for how to fill out the graphic organizer and make inferences, as they did well on a very similar activity recently. Plus,
since they‟ll be starting that step of the activity at staggered intervals, I can touch base individually with students about it as they get started, thus avoiding information overload at the start of the lesson. The class is small enough (12 students) that I can check in with everyone pretty easily. I intend to deliberately leave some aspects of the activity open-ended – for example, I didn‟t tell them how to divide up the work of labeling the pictures. This group of students is good about sharing responsibility, and generally works well cooperatively, so I don‟t like to micromanage their group work in most cases. If I did this activity with a different class, I would likely assign group roles, or at least go over group behavioral expectations. I am having them do the picture labeling in small groups so they can provide one another with language support for filling out the post-its, so that the post-its can provide language support for them when they‟re individually filling out the graphic organizers. These students are, for preadolescents, decent at time management, so telling them when they need to be finished by should promote their staying on task and moving efficiently from one step of the activity to the next. Steps 5 and 6 allow me both to check that they understood the directions, and re-iterate the instructions one last time to (hopefully) fix them in the students‟ memories.
Reflection on the Implementation of the Procedure Plan All in all, the lesson went smoothly. All but two students finished in the allotted time, and the two that did not quite complete it were very close to completion. There was very little downtime or off-task behavior. The students seemed challenged enough that they stayed engaged, without becoming frustrated.
I deviated from the plan in two ways. Firstly, I entirely forgot to mention the time frame when giving initial instructions. I made up for this later by giving them periodic updates on how much time they had left to complete the tasks. They did work efficiently, so this turned out fine, but I would have preferred to tell them the time frame up front and then let them manage their own time, as that is a skill learners should practice. The other deviation was deliberate. When I was giving the initial instructions, I felt like they were going a little long, and the videotape bore this out – it was going on five minutes when I dismissed them to their groups. Five minutes isn‟t ridiculously long-winded, but in a fifty minute period, that starts to get into lost instructional time territory. So I chose to skip steps 5 and 6. I replaced step 5 with going around to individual groups and checking in to make sure they‟d understood and were implementing the instructions, and I replaced step 6 with giving students the graphic organizer as they finished taping up the photos and briefly touching base with them about how to fill it out. I think this actually worked out better than my plan would have, and it had the nice side effect of requiring me to interact individually with each student. One positive indicator of the efficacy of my instructions was that the students‟ questions throughout the lesson were almost all about the content and language, not about what to do. It can be very exasperating when one has just gone through detailed instructions, releases the students to start the task, and then is immediately asked “What am I supposed to do?” Most of the questions were asking for help identifying what was happening in individual photos, with the occasional “What do you call this thing in English?” question. Being able to focus on the objectives allowed us to maximize the instructional time, I think. There were several questions about spelling, which is less than ideal, as the students should really be using strategies for that, but most of them came from a student who has an educational exceptionality that affects
reading/writing, so I‟m more glad that this student was choosing to continue making the effort to express himself in writing than worried that he was using instructors as a crutch. If I were his teacher for the entire year, I would make a point to gradually transition him to greater selfreliance, but student teaching is what it is. Another positive indicator was that students moved readily between the steps of the assignment. I only noticed one serious lapse in this area, which occurred when one group finished taping up photos before I‟d gotten a chance to give them the graphic organizer sheet. However, they were only fooling around for a minute or two, and got to work as soon as I gave them the sheet, so I‟m not overly concerned about it. If I had the lesson to do over, there is an aspect of my instruction-giving that I would change. At one point, one group started getting sloppy about where they were taping up their photos. I should have addressed this ahead of time in two ways – firstly, by letting students know that thoughtfully categorizing the photos was part of their assignment grade, and that I‟d know which groups did which photos by the color of the post-its, and secondly, by requiring students to explain their categorization choices. However, my mistake was not a total loss, as other groups caught some misplaced photos, discussed why they were wrong, and corrected the errors, which provided a few teachable moments. This lesson has reminded me that giving instructions is not only an important part of instruction, it‟s an important part of classroom management. As my students were able to easily follow the instructions, they stayed on task, which meant that they did not have time to engage in what my school calls “below the line behaviors,” such as teasing or damaging property. Thus, giving good instructions maximizes instructional time in two different ways: first, by allowing
students to complete tasks efficiently, and secondly, by helping the class avoid the distractions caused by negative behaviors.
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