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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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