Tiering authentic text to meet the needs of all learners

As was discussed in my last post, “Tiering tasks for authentic text to meet the needs of all learners,” one way of differentiating tasks to meet the needs of all learners when interpreting authentic text, is to tier the task.  Another approach would be to tier the text.

Here are some simple steps to tiering authentic text:

  1. Look for multiple pieces of text at varying levels of difficulty or complexity on the same topic.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 7.48.30 PM

Here are three examples on the topic of Bullying in French.  Determine which text will be for the lowest, mid, and highest tiers.

tiertext1   tiertext2

tiertext3

 

2. Decide whether you will tier the tasks as demonstrated in the previous blog post or design a generic task that will work for all three tiers like the one below:

tiertext4

 

Example scenario for tiering authentic text:

Students have a graphic organizer and one of three infographics of varying challenge levels on the topic of the physical activity level of children in Canada during a unit on healthy lifestyles in an intermediate level French class.  Students are assigned an infographic based on their readiness level or may select an infographic.  Students record information gleaned from the text on their graphic organizers.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 6.29.46 PM

activity2       activity139dc71af4d0ed6e5022147ae98d76313

Afterward, students are placed in mixed readiness groups of 3 or 4.  In their small groups, students conduct an interpersonal conversation with their peers about what they learned from the text using their graphic organizers.  Ideas acquired from group members are added to individual students’ notes on the graphic organizers.

The teacher may provide helpful phrases and/or sentence stems in the target language to students as a resource for their conversations.

  • According to the infographic…
  • It is interesting that…
  • I am surprised that…
  • Typically…
  • Generally…
  • In my opinion,…
  • Both
  • On the contrary
  • On the one hand/on the other hand

As a follow-up, student create a presentational writing product comparing their family’s level of physical activity with information from the infographics.  The students are given a blank Venn diagram graphic organizer to plan their writing.

If you’d like to explore more examples of tiered text, visit: https://www.grahnforlang.com/tiering-tasks-and-text.html

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 8.19.08 PM

For more detailed information about tiering, download the Tiering Guide below:

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 11.52.32 AM

Tiering tasks for authentic text to meet the needs of all learners

Aligned with the ACTFL Core Practices for World Language Learning, language educators are encouraged to “guide learners through interpreting authentic resources.” Authentic resources are created by and for the target language users, either for information or entertainment.

We have heard the phrase “Adapt the task, not the text.”  The idea behind that quote is that once we alter an authentic resource in any way, it is no longer authentic.  So, teachers are challenged to offer language learners opportunities to interpret authentic resources at the correct challenge level.  One way to accomplish that goal is through tiering.

First, think about the wide diversity of language learners in your classroom.  In any one classroom, there are students who are at varying levels of

  •  language proficiency
  • motivation and engagement
  • and comfort with the target language classroom.

They are struggling learners, reluctant learners, disengaged learners, engaged learners, enthusiastic learners, and advanced learners and their needs are diverse and varied.  Often, we assign tasks to our learners that are too difficult for some and far less challenging for others.  This can cause frustration on the part of students and impact their level of commitment and engagement in tasks.

Next, we need to anchor ourselves in the ACTFL-NCSSFL Can-Do Statements and the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners.  These descriptors give guidance on what teachers can expect their students to be able to do with text based on their proficiency level.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 6.57.31 PM

Due to this wide diversity, teachers respond to their students’ needs on a continuum.  From low challenge and high support to high challenge and low support as illustrated by the graphic below.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 5.38.05 PM

 

What are supports?

Providing support to students in the form of  models, examples, sentence frames, and task-specific target language expressions which are subsequently removed as students become more confident and independent with their learning.”

One way to meet the needs of the variety of language learners in the classroom, is through tiering.  Tiering creates opportunities for students to practice language skills toward a proficiency goal at varying levels of challenge and support based on teacher or student-identified readiness.

Some examples of supports include:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fewer gaps in cloze activity
  • Word banks
  • Sentence starters
  • Sample responses
  • Graphic organizers
  • Question prompts

How do I create tiered tasks?

Step 1: Select the authentic text for your students to interpret.

Step 2: Create an “on level” task.

Step 3: Create a more scaffolded task for struggling learners.

Step 4: Create a more open-ended task for advanced learners.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.25.12 PM

How do I decide which tier each student should be given?

  • determine the students’ readiness level based on formative data (exit tickets, classwork, performances, etc.)
  • allow students to choose their level of challenge

For more detailed information about tiering, download the Tiering Guide below:

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 11.52.32 AM

Example of tiered tasks for authentic text:  

In an intermediate level Spanish class, students have been focused on the question, “What is family?”  The teacher selects a video called “¿Qué es una familia?” which is produced by the Subsecretaría de Niñez, Adolescencia y Familia – Jefatura de Gabinete de Ministros – Gobierno de La Provincia de Santiago del Estero, Argentina.

The teacher creates tiered tasks for the video.  She creates

  • an “on level” worksheet that provides a word bank at the bottom,
  • a version for struggling learners that provides a word bank for each question,
  • and a more open-ended version for advanced learners and heritage speakers that provides no word banks.

Students view the video and take notes on their worksheets.  After, students are placed in mixed-readiness groups and each group receives one of the questions from the worksheet written on a large piece of chart paper.  The group records their responses for the question on the chart paper.

When time is called, student groups rotate through the other questions, reading the responses written by previous groups and adding new ideas.

Once all groups have made the full rotation, the posters are displayed around the room.  Each student selects one question on which he/she would like to create an oral presentation which they will record next class.

Tier 1:

tier1

Tier 2:

tier2

Tier 3:

tier3

More examples of tiered tasks can be found at: https://www.grahnforlang.com/tiering-tasks-and-text.html

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 7.13.33 PM

How can I learn more about tiering?

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 5.00.54 PM

http://worldlanguagetiering.weebly.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Reading: Building students’ confidence in interpreting authentic texts

 

The thought of having novice language learners confidently interpreting authentic text is far-fetched for some.  With their limited vocabulary and facility with the language, unlocking an authentic text can feel daunting to beginning language learners.

It is magical to walk into a classroom and see students sitting in chairs and lying on the floor, fully engaged in reading books in the target language, both fiction and non-fiction, that they chose based on their interests.

How do we build students’ confidence with interpreting authentic texts?

One strategy is to provide students with regular opportunities to read independently in the target language.

What are the benefits of providing independent reading time to students?

  • It builds confidence with reading in target language
  • The texts are sources of comprehensible input and add to students’ vocabulary and understanding of structure and syntax
  • Choice is motivating and engaging
  • The experience increases fluency
  • Reading texts of choice adds to cultural knowledge
  • It allows students to read text at their challenge level

Here are some basic steps to start independent reading time in your language classroom:

  1. Provide access to students to target language books.

 

Many language teachers have a library of children’s books that they have collected over time from purveyors such as Amazon, book stores, and speciality foreign language book sellers.

In addition to buying hard copy books, many target language readers can be found online.  Click the image below to access a page on my website where you will find links to multiple sources for online books:

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 3.38.58 PM

On that same webpage, you will find a list of online target language magazines:

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 3.38.37 PM

2. Decide how independent reading will figure into your planning

Students will benefit the most from recurring opportunities to read a book of choice in the target language.  Will you provide class time every other week or on a weekly basis for students to read independently?

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 10.20.27 PM copy

Image credit: Heather Sherrow (hsherrow@hcpss.org)

One approach would be to have a designated day of the week for independent reading.  It may be the first or last fifteen minutes of a class.  Independent reading may also be an option for students who complete tasks early.

3. Hold students accountable during independent reading while keeping it low stress

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 6.21.02 PM

Because the purposes, among others, for independent reading time are for students to read freely in the target language and to maintain a low affective filter where students take risks during independent reading time, it is not advised that students are assessed on what they read.   The intent of independent reading time is not to check comprehension and have students complete worksheets.  Some examples of student accountability during independent reading time include: keeping reading logs, recording new words they learned through their reading in their personal dictionaries, and creating a short journal entry that summarizes what they read.

4. Ensure students, especially novices, feel confident enough to read in the target language independently

As shared in an earlier post, How do I build my students’ skills to prepare them to interpret authentic text?, I shared the poster below:

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 6.34.02 PM

This poster gives students a protocol to follow when they encounter a word they do not know while they are reading.  It is also important to make sure learners understand what a language learner at their current proficiency level is expected to be able to do with text.  Finally, learners need to be reassured that they do not need to understand every word they read and that they can use text features such as visuals, titles, and captions to unlock the meaning of the text.

5. Get started!

Using authentic text in guided activities

During the “guided instruction” phase of lessons, the teacher provides support and guidance through practice with new content or structures that move students toward independence with their language learning.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 10.49.37 AM

During this phase of a lesson, the students try out their new learning through tasks that are intentionally created or selected by the teacher that gradually release control to the student.

Guided activities can also serve as a context for teaching students routines or processes that will aid them in “owning” their new learning.   When interpreting authentic text, the goal of guided tasks is to increase student confidence in their ability to unlock meaning in authentic texts.

Some types of tasks a teacher may select for guided activities include:

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 10.55.32 AM Here are some examples of teachers using authentic text in guided activities:

Example 1: 

The teacher provides a copy of a poem entitled “La Vie” to students in an intermediate level French class and displays a copy on the document camera.  The teacher talks students through interpreting the text in the target language using a routine called “Text Mark Up.”  The students use colored pencils, markers or highlighters. The students mark all words in the text that they know in one color.  Then in a second color, mark all words they can guess because of their similarity to another word in the target language or as an English cognate.  Finally, students use a third color to mark words/phrases they can guess through context.

 .         la vie

The teacher uses target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce the meaning of unknown words.

The teacher asks students to work in pairs to guess the main idea of the text based on their highlighting and other text features.  The teacher records pairs’ ideas as they are shared.

Example 2: 

For an intermediate level Spanish class, the teacher selects a song by Romeo Santos called “Héroe Favorito” which demonstrates imperfect subjunctive and conditional “si” (if) clauses in context.

The teacher gives the students a copy of the lyrics.  He leads the students through unlocking the meaning of the song by having students identify words they know, words that they can guess that are cognates, and words they can guess through context.  The teacher uses target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce the meaning of unknown words.

The teacher then shows the music video for the song.

The teacher gives students a graphic organizer that lists all of the superheroes mentioned in the song.  The teacher models the first row with the class and writes the ideas on a copy of the organizer which is projected by the document camera.  The students then work in pairs to complete the organizer about each superhero based on the lyrics.  When time is called, each pair meets with another pair to share their ideas captured on their graphic organizers.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 12.40.27 PM

On the reverse side of the first organizer is one called “Somebody Wanted But So.”  The teacher chose to use this organizer as a guided activity because this is the first time students have seen this tool.  The teacher uses questioning strategies to deepen students’ comprehension of the song lyrics by collaboratively coming up with ideas for the prompts in each row.  The teacher models the process doing a “think aloud” by projecting the graphic organizer on the document camera and recording student ideas as they are offered.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 12.42.17 PM

Using the ideas gleaned on the organizer, students write a summary sentence about the song.

As a follow up activity, students create their own superhero using the prompt, “If I were a superhero, I would…” by telling what they would be called, what powers they would have, etc.

 

Basing learning centers on authentic text

Through learning centers, students have the opportunity to demonstrate independence in their language learning in all of the skills areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.   At each center, students interact with content in a variety of ways through a range of modalities.

Learning centers can also be a venue by which students interact with authentic text.  To start the process:

  1. collect authentic text (memes, quotes, infographics, comics, articles, commercials, videos, etc.) on the unit topic.
  2. decide which skill area each authentic resource logically would match (ex. a commercial for the listening station).
  3. design the task students will do at each center with the authentic text.

To vary the challenge level at each center, more than one resource or text may be available to students.  Advanced learners and heritage speakers might interact with a more challenging text and struggling learners might have a text that has more visuals or cognates.  Those choices are all based on students’ proficiency levels and their level of mastery of the content.

Here’s an example of what learning centers based on authentic text might look like:

In a novice Spanish class, the teacher has developed a set of learning centers for the students at the end of the unit around the Can-Do statement of “I can describe myself and others.”

Speaking center: Students select between two infographics about the characters in the TV show, The Big Bang Theory”, and the movie, “Monsters Inc.”  They select one character and give clues to their group members about the person.  Group members guess which character their classmate is describing.  The teacher provides a useful expressions card at the center which includes suggest sentence frames and vocabulary for students who need the support.

 

Reading center: Students read the transcript to the commercial, “Sin gol, no hay fútbol.” They list opposites they find in the transcript.  At the end, they are to tell what they think the commercial is about using their own words.  As an extension, the students watch the video.

 

sin gol wksht

(created by Heather Sherrow (hsherrow@hcpss.org)

Listening center:  Students watch the music video “Somos Uno” and complete a tiered cloze activity (multiple versions where fewer or more words are missing) for it.  The extension activity is for students to create a new verse of the song using the song as a model.

somos uno

(created by Heather Sherrow (hsherrow@hcpss.org)

Writing center:  Students choose to interpret one of two memes called “Soy única” and “Pequeñas Cosas.”   They use the meme as a guide to create a similar one about themselves.

 

If you are interested in learning more about implementing centers into your language classroom, a great site to visit is: http://worldlanguagecenters.weebly.com/

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 3.10.53 PM

On that site, you will find guidance on how to create, organize, manage, and implement learning centers in your classroom.

 

 

Teaching Grammar in Context Using Authentic Resources

 

 

In my last post, “How do I incorporate authentic text into my daily lesson plans? Part 1,  we considered incorporating authentic text into lesson plans beginning with introductory phase activities or tasks.

Now, let’s turn to using authentic resources to teach grammar in context.  ACTFL, in its Core Practices for World Language Learning, practice number 5 states “teach grammar as concept and use in context,” encouraging students to focus first on meaning and later on form.

ACTFL Core Practices

For teaching grammar as concepts in meaningful contexts, ACTFL recommends that:

*Grammar should be addressed within meaningful communicative contexts as one element of language proficiency.

*Instead of focusing on grammar rules and diagramming sentences, teachers should guide students towards an understanding of how grammar functions.

*Students learn how to use the form rather than memorized conjugations that may not be applicable across contexts.

Why?

*Research shows explicit teaching of grammar has little effect on language acquisition.

*Thinking of grammar in terms of concepts will broaden learners’ understanding and use of the target language

*Grammar should be learned implicitly through target language use and explicitly through the discovery of grammar rules through use of meaningful examples.

https://www.actfl.org/guiding-principles/teach-grammar-concepts-meaningful-contexts-language-learning

This “function over form” approach allows students to analyze language structures, make guesses, and draw conclusions though an inquiry-type process.  This new way of approaching the teaching of grammar moves us from the traditional lesson segment, most often taught in English, where students are given paradigms such as verb conjugation charts.  Instead, it empowers learners to use the big picture of their experiences with the language they have heard, viewed, and read as a basis for deriving meaning from discourse.

There are several approaches that can be implemented to assist students through the inquiry process:

Concept Attainment

Using an Inductive Approach

grammar inductively

Discovery Technique

1409013609_discovery-technique

The Flipped Model

49f4e3d6d590b8278490bc43b0e423b1

PACE Model

244286_orig

https://retellingelderstoriesdigitally.weebly.com/pace-model.html

Scenarios for teaching grammar in context

Scenario A   

The teacher of a novice level Italian class, during a unit on family, gives students a handout with a variety of lists generated from two infographics, “Quanti sono” and “Gli Animali da Compagnia.” [PRESENTATION]

In small groups, students make predictions for each set (most popular pet, how pets are acquired, identity of owners, etc.).  The teacher shows the infographics and students check their predictions against the data presented.  Each small group of students is given two sentence strips.  One has “We predicted that _______” and the other “We were surprised that ______” (in the target language).  Groups share their sentences with the class.

   gli animali

http://www.petsblog.it/post/29333/gli-animali-da-compagnia-in-italia-al-primo-posto-ci-sono-i-pesci

Next, the teacher asks students to find words in Infographics with which they are unfamiliar but can guess using the visuals or because they are cognates.  The teacher uses target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce their meaning:

  • millioni
  • spendono
  • veterinari
  • accessori

Students are provided a list of question frames about the infographics in Italian.  Students work in pairs asking and answering the questions.

  • How many _____ are there?
  • Are there are more _____ than _____?
  • Are there fewer _____ than _____?
  • Do you have ______ at home?
  • Who has _______?

If the teacher feels the students are ready, in lieu of providing question frames, students write their own questions that are answered in the visual using the teacher’s questions as models. The students then pair to ask and answer student questions with a partner.

After, the teacher leads the students through a discovery process such as concept attainment, using the resource to draw conclusions about how plurals are formed in Italian which was a concept that students struggled with in the previous class.  Students use a T chart to chart out their ideas showing singular forms in one column and plurals in the other.  The teacher asks students to extend their thinking to other vocabulary words they know. [ATTENTION, CO-CONSTRUCTION, EXTENSION]

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.18.35 PM

As an extension activity, small groups of students create one question for a combined survey about pets using Google Forms for their classmates:

  • What pets and how many they have
  • How they got their pets
  • Age of their pets
  • Who in the family takes care of the pet(s)

Once the data is collected, students compare the data with the data from the infographics.

Scenario B

For a novice level Spanish class’s homework assignment from the previous class, the teacher uses the flipped model by asking students to review an infographic and a video about the imperative (El Imperativo) and take notes on an organizer that has columns labeled “You do” and “You don’t do.”

imperativo

http://www.learnspanishtoday.net/learn-spanish-tips-and-tricks/

For the following class, the teacher shows the infographic, “Buenos Hábitos al Comer en un Restaurant” (Good habits for eating in a restaurant) as part of a unit of study on the theme of healthy eating habits.  The teacher leads the class through interpreting the infographic, using target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce the meaning of unknown words. [PRESENTATION]

buenos habitos

http://www.habitos.mx/buenos-habitos/buenos-habitos-al-comer-en-un-restaurant/

Students create a T-chart with the columns “Estoy de acuerdo (I agree)’ and “No estoy de acuerdo (I disagree).”  Students organize the tips on the infographic into the two columns.  The teacher then asks students to share their opinions with the class, providing sentence stems.  The teacher adds to the list in response to student need.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.25.52 PM

  • In my opinion…
  • When I go to the restaurant, I…
  • I agree/disagree with…
  • It is difficult to…
  • I agree because it is ______.

Next, the teacher draws students’ attention to the use of the imperative in the infographic.  The teacher and students collaboratively add to the chart from the homework that shows infinitive forms of verbs, “You do,” and “You don’t do” and then come up with a rule about how the imperative is formed. [ATTENTION, CO-CONSTRUCTION, EXTENSION]

As an extension during a subsequent class, the teacher guides students through creating an infographic about advice for eating in the school cafeteria.

Scenario C

For a novice level French class, the teacher shows examples of regular -ir verbs in context using authentic resources (memes, tweets, and other social media posts) in the form of a PowerPoint.

guinea pig      toi choisis       jaime

on hyberne balletScreen Shot 2018-03-01 at 9.03.07 PMScreen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.58.38 PM

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.56.47 PM

https://wamiz.com/tooniz/je-finis-mes-devoirs-48743.html

https://www.amazon.com/Cest-toi-qui-choisis/dp/2092545663

(idea credit:  Mary Belz, mbelz@hcpss.org)

The first time through the Powerpoint, the teacher asks questions about each image in the target language.

  • What is the guinea pig doing?
  • According to Ice Heart what happens in winter?
  • What did Yasmine’s mother tell her about eating salami?

Students are given a table that contains infinitive forms of the -ir verbs given in the context of the authentic resources.  The second time through the PowerPoint, students fill in their observations about the -ir verbs based on the visuals.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 9.11.06 PM

After, in small groups, students discuss what they think the rules are.  They then complete the second table based on their conclusions:

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 9.11.13 PM

As an extension activity, in small groups, students create a meme using an -ir verb.

For more resources on teaching grammar in context, visit https://www.grahnforlang.com/grammar-in-context.html

 

How do I incorporate authentic text into my daily lesson plans? Part 1

ACTFL, in its Core Practices for World Language Learning challenges language educators to “guide learners through interpreting authentic resources” and speaks to the implementation of tasks using authentic text that are interactive, are focused on comprehension, and include the appropriate scaffolds and support.

ACTFL Core Practices

https://www.actfl.org/guiding-principles

What do high quality lesson plans include? Activities that…

When thinking about how to embed authentic text into lesson plans, let’s first reflect on some examples of how to plan lesson activities that are high quality.  Lesson activities should…

  • be aligned with the learning goals and targets
  • have a common thread or connection
  • be engaging and relevant to students
  • provide practice in all three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, presentational).

Thinking about activity types in a lesson plan

How do authentic resources fit into my lesson plan?  Let’s begin with thinking about your lesson plan in terms of the activity types:

  1. Introductory activities

Introductory activities include warm-ups (bellringers, do now’s, etc.), lesson hooks, and introduction of new vocabulary or language structures.  It is important to note that not all introductory activities occur at the beginning of a lesson plan.  Some examples include activities or tasks that:

  • gain students’ attention
  • tap into students’ prior knowledge
  • connect new content with prior learning
  • provide input of vocabulary and structures
  • engage students in an inquiry process about new content

 Scenarios for using authentic text in introductory activities

Scenario #1:  Provide input of vocabulary

Early in a unit on the world of work and careers in a novice level French class, the teacher uses an infographic, “Les professions qui font rêver les Français,” as a lesson opener.  She chose this authentic resource due to its visual support and cognates.

The teacher asks some initial questions about the infographic.  Some sample teacher questions:

  • Who is a famous _____?
  • Who works with students? With animals?  With numbers?

The teacher asks the students to talk about the infographic with their partners.  Students are given sentence frames and conversational phrases to assist them with their partner conversations.

  • ____ percent think that a ____ is an ideal career.
  • I agree/disagree.
  • In my opinion, I think _____ is an ideal career.
  • I’d like to be a ______,
  • Really?
  • Not me.
  • My _______ is a ______.

Using the infographic, the teacher leads the class through charting the gender of the career words and drawing a symbol for each.  To extend their use of language, students practice using previously learned descriptive adjectives and school subject vocabulary with the career words.  This information is added to the charting activity.  The teacher gives the students sentence frames:

  • A _________ needs to be _____.
  • A _________ needs to be good at _______.

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 12.15.12 PMLater in the lesson, students will be introduced to additional vocabulary related to careers and will add them to their charts based on the patterns explored earlier in the lesson.

As a follow up, students create a guided writing product on a career of their choice with the help of sentence frames provided by the teacher.

Scenario #2: Gain students’ attention

The teacher of an intermediate level Spanish class selects the meme, “¡Quítamelo!” (Get off of me!) to gain students’ attention at the beginning of class.  Students are asked to do a free write about the story behind the photo.

scen intro 2

http://www.risasinmas.com/quitamelo/

The teacher gives the students guiding questions in the target language to assist them with their writing:

  • Who does the bird belong to?
  • Where did the bird come from?
  • Why is the bird on her head?
  • How does the girl feel?

Then, students are asked to share their ideas with their partners/small groups.  Small groups vote for the best description and those are shared with the whole class.

Next, students are asked to come up with alternative titles for the photo in a command form (affirmative or negative).  The teacher addresses any gaps that arise regarding placement of direct and indirect object pronouns in affirmative and negative commands which has been addressed in previous lessons.  If needed, the teacher responds by showing various examples to clarify the forms.  The teacher may also remind students of the diffrerence in placement of object pronouns in declarative statements.

As a follow-up assignment, students create their own meme using a positive or negative command form with direct and/or indirect object pronoun.

Scenario #3: Connect new content with prior learning

For a novice level Portuguese class, the teacher selects the infographic, “Pense Antes de Comer,” (Think Before You Eat) to connect prior learning of food vocabulary and numbers with the new content about healthy lifestyles and exercise.

The teacher begins by reviewing the food vocabulary from the infographic by asking questions such as:

  • Do you like ______? Who likes _______?
  • Do you eat /drink ______?

She then uses either/or questions to check for comprehension (ex. Which has more calories, a milkshake or 2 pieces of pizza?)  She asks students to act out what they think the various exercises suggested in the infographic are.

The teacher provides sentence frames to assist students working in pairs or small groups in interpreting the infographic through writing sentences in the target language:

  • ___________ have ______ calories.
  • If you want to eat ______, you have to do ______.

The teacher points out the use of the infinitives in Portuguese for “wanting to ___” and “having to ___” phrases in the target language.  The teacher asks students to apply the structure to other verbs they know.  Their ideas are recorded on the board/document camera.

The teacher challenges students to come up with a summary sentence about the infographic in the target language.  As an extension, students do research to add a row to the infographic.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series where we will explore ways to use authentic resources in guided practice activities.