Using Twitter posts as authentic text

cellphones

https://www.bftv-docs.com/2016—igeneration.html

Our students from the iGeneration see social media as a way to access interesting content and as a form of entertainment.   And, it is easy to access social media posts from individuals from target language countries.  As you can imagine, our students would find posts from real people in real life contexts very engaging.

Tweets for Content:  Searching Twitter using your content theme can generate lots of publicly available tweets on a topic of interest to your students that will demonstrate vocabulary in context.  For example, the tweets below were generated by putting “mis pasatiempos” (my pastimes) into the search bar on Twitter (curated by the teacher):

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Here’s a series of tweets that were collected on the topic of vacations (in Spanish):

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For tweets about current events, you may want to follow news and information Twitter accounts:

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Tweets for grammar in context:  Social media posts can also serve as examples of language structures in context.  Imagine that during a previous class, while interpreting a text, a question came up about a particular language structure in the text.  As you plan the lesson for the next class, you decide to gather some posts from Twitter that demonstrate that language structure in context.  You type in key words into the search bar in Twitter and glean through the results for examples that best fit your purpose.

Some examples of phrases that might be typed into the search bar to generate tweets in context:

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Here are some examples of tweets generated in French when “si j’étais riche…” (If I was rich…) was inputted into the search bar that show sentences with the imperfect and conditional tenses in context:

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Here are some tweets that came up when I typed in “dudo que” (I doubt that…) to find tweets in context using the subjunctive:

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This set of tweets for Spanish came from searching for the phrase “Cuando era niño, creía que…” (When I was a child, I thought that…) which provided lots of examples of the imperfect tense in context.

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For those Spanish teachers who follow Zachary Jones, you know that he creates activities using tweets called “Twiccionario.”  You can check them out on his website: Zambombazo.

And, as with all authentic resources:

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Happy searching!

Teaching Grammar in Context Using Authentic Resources- Part 3

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This is my third blog post on the topic of “teaching grammar in context.”  Many language educators find this core practice the most challenging.

ACTFL Core Practices

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

Many ask, “if I’m no longer teaching grammar in isolation, how exactly is grammar addressed?”

I have some thoughts on that topic for you.  What we know is that

  • research shows us that teaching grammar in isolation has little impact on language acquisition
  • people we meet in our social lives report to us that the only things they remember from their language learning experiences are verb charts and conjugations
  • the shift to proficiency-based instruction has called us as educators to make communication the focus of language learning, not structure
  • the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do statements show us that students do have to have a strong understanding of grammar and structure in order to progress to higher levels of proficiency as illustrated by the visual below:

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https://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/ncssfl-actfl-can-do-statements

The most natural way for students to experience grammar patterns or language structures is in context.  Begin with unlocking the meaning of a text and then draw students’ attention to the language patterns within the text (much like the PACE model).

Here is a new model I’ve designed to help students unlock language patterns (downloadable by clicking on the image below):

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And here’s the student worksheet that goes with it (downloadable by clicking on the image below):

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One approach for putting together text that all demonstrates a particular pattern is to look for memes, quotes, or tweets that all show the language patterns in context.  There is one example at the top of this post which is a collection of memes that show the present tense of the verb “tener” in Spanish in context.

Here is an example below of a collection of memes that all show the present progressive tense in Spanish in context:

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Here’s an example of a collection of tweets that show the use of the imperfect and the conditional in French with the theme of “Si j’étais riche…”  Imagine how engaging it might be to students to interpret real world tweets to unlock the language patterns within.

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I invite you to visit my webpage on Grammar in Context for additional ideas and resources on the topic:

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https://www.grahnforlang.com/grammar-in-context.html