Creating performance tasks and assessments using authentic text

IMG_1039                  download

In a proficiency-based classroom, students are assessed using real world tasks that allow them to demonstrate their language skills through performances.  Giving students real world tasks comes as close as possible to an actual situation language learners might encounter with a native speaker in the target language.

Within the task, students interact with authentic text to practice interpretive skills and to add ideas for students to use in their final product, whether it be through speaking or writing.

Performance vs. Proficiency

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 10.01.15 AM

When considering creating performance assessments for students, it is important to understand the difference between performance and proficiency.  In essence, students have been “frontloaded” with the language they need for a performance assessment.  The assessment is typically given after having explored a particular topic or theme which the students have been practicing.

Proficiency is measured when a student reacts to a prompt that may not be based on a recent topic covered in class.  Students access language they need from their previous experiences and what they know about how language works to complete the task.

Performance assessments can range from focused on a single mode or involving integrated modes.  Essential elements include: learning target (can-do statements), proficiency target, proficiency-based rubric, instructions to the student, and a scenario.

Performance toward proficiency is measured by using proficiency-based rubrics.  Those rubrics may have criteria on which the student performance or product is measured such as vocabulary, language control, comprehensibility, complexity, etc.  Here is an example below:

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 10.08.57 AM

You can find additional examples of rubrics at this link:

Selecting the authentic text

Find an authentic text that is aligned to the unit theme, at the appropriate level for students’ age and expected proficiency level, and is interesting to students.  The text might be in the form of a quote, an infographic, or a short video or audio clip.

Offering choices in the authentic text is learner-friendly and gives students a sense of control in the task.

I invite you to visit my Pinterest boards which are organized by themes to select authentic resources for your performance assessments:

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 11.52.43 AM

Developing a scenario

When creating scenarios for performance tasks, consider the following:

  • real life situations that connect with the authentic text
  • opened-ended
  • interesting to students
  • appropriate to students’ age and proficiency level

Here are some examples of possible performance task authentic texts and scenarios;

Novice Mid/Novice High:

Scenario: You’re on vacation with your family in Paris. After feeling a little off yesterday, you woke up feeling horrible. You think you have a cold, because you have a headache, a sore throat and you’ve been coughing non-stop. You need medicine!  You decide to go to a nearby pharmacy. The pharmacist asks you to explain how you feel and what you need. Describe how you feel to the pharmacist.  Use your notes from the infographics.

Authentic Text: Select one of the infographics below to take notes on what the symptoms of cold and flu are:

symptomes-grippe

resizepicture

When creating your speaking or writing product/performance, you should consider including:

  • That you are on vacation with your family
  • How you felt yesterday
  • How you feel today
  • Ask if the pharmacist has anything for the pain
  • Tell what you need (medicine, syrup/pill)
  • Ask how much the medicine is
  • Any other information that the pharmacist would find helpful.

Novice High/Intermediate Low

Scenario: You have been going through your closet and you know that you need to get rid of a few things.  The items are still in great condition, so you decide to put two outfits on eBay to sell. In order to reach more potential buyers, you have decided to create your post in Spanish.  You also want to include in your post reasons why buying second hand clothing is environmentally friendly.

Authentic text: Select one of the infographics below to take notes on why buying second hand clothing is earth-friendly.

Version 2

comprar-ropa-segunda-mano-sally-natur-683x1024

When creating your speaking or writing product/performance, consider including:

  • A greeting
  • Two outfits you want to sell
    • Description of the outfit
    • Brand, sizes, colors, fit of each item of clothing
    • Price you would like for the outfit
  • Method of payment you will accept
  • Reasons why buying second hand clothing is green

Feel free to include any other relevant information in Spanish.

Supporting students through performance tasks

Students may be very anxious and self-conscious about performance assessments.  Struggling learners may feel unprepared, unsure, are afraid to take risks, and do not feel skilled at the content.  One solution may be providing graphic organizers for student to use to take notes from the authentic text and to organize their thoughts and brainstorm language they want to use to express their ideas.

Here is a link to a Powerpoint with multiple generic graphic organizers to use for performance tasks.

Preparing students for performance assessments

Before having students complete performance assessments in a high stakes setting, here are some tips on preparing them for the experience:

  • Model the process using think alouds
  • Analyze models/samples
  • Plan sentence combining practice
  • Practice with authentic text
  • Practice using graphic organizers
  • Practice speaking and writing in low stakes settings using rubrics
  • Having students peer evaluate and self evaluate using rubrics

Gathering authentic resources for a thematic unit

xq99fo6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.imagenes-memes-fotos-frases-graciosas-chistosas-divertidas-risa-chida-español-whatsapp-facebook

We know that the ACTFL Core Practices encourage us to use authentic resources as much as possible in our teaching.

ACTFL Core Practices

We also know that for each thematic unit we teach, we would ideally like to have a toolbox full of authentic resources for each that consists of a variety of texts and media that will

  • be appealing to our learners
  • expose them to a variety of text types
  • work for guided and independent activities and assessments, and other aspects of our lessons.

How do we find and curate all of the authentic resources we’d like to use in our lessons for a thematic unit?

When you are gathering authentic resources for any thematic unit, there are several things to keep in mind.  In my blog post from September 16, 2017, “How do I select authentic resources for my language classroom?” I offered a tool for guiding your selection of authentic resources (which can be downloaded by clicking on the image below):

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 8.48.08 PM

Let’s begin by considering the variety of authentic resources that may exist around a particular theme.

Pinterest is a good place to start.  On Pinterest, you will find many language colleagues have built boards around themes.  As I shared in my post, “How do I find authentic resources for my language classroom?” (posted on 9/8/17 ), there are “Pinners” you can follow on Pinterest whose boards are arranged around themes you teach.  Some of my recommendations include:

Novice Level Spanish: Señora Sherrow

Novice Level Spanish: Señorita N. Rodriguez

Advanced Level Spanish: Sharon Birch

French resources: Meg Chance

French resources: Julee LaPorte

AATF Pinterest boards by theme

German Teacher Favorites

I have created over 100 Pinterest boards on a variety of topics for multiple languages.  I have attempted to curate all of the authentic resources so that they are appropriate to use with students, but the rule of thumb about using any new resource with your students is:

Preview!  Preview!  Preview!

Please feel free to peruse the boards that align to your units.  Click on the image below to go to my webpage where each of the themes is clickable:

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 11.19.20 AM

What if you want to collect your own set of authentic resources for a particular theme?

Let’s use the example of a thematic unit about school and the subtopic is school lunches.  Some examples of authentic resources gathered on that subtopic might be:

Poster (French):      c51ce176b6521cbf82d760c99f7d3289

Meme (Spanish):  xq99fo6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.imagenes-memes-fotos-frases-graciosas-chistosas-divertidas-risa-chida-español-whatsapp-facebook

Weekly menu (Italian):     ee29e1d92b54ddc0b2203efe419f2c54

Infographic (German):           5ddb504e23a814e79cbd10e80001d3c7 .

Infographic (Portuguese) .     0cac5c1580da7715280c6f6dcc4750cd

Brochure (Spanish):           23ea3893a183947389776c89c1ced137

Video (German):   efd37e407d5b192c6cb238ed520ecbc0

Cartoon (Italian):     tumblr_mlp2scTp901rd5karo1_1280

Animated cartoon (French):   Screen Shot 2018-08-24 at 9.38.47 PM

Photo (lunches from around the world)   1a33e879824638685f102dc2b17ce99f

Commercial (French):     Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 6.24.02 PM

For more authentic resources on the topic of school lunches for multiple languages, visit my Pinterest board:

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 8.47.21 PM

Once you have gathered lots of examples of authentic text for a particular theme or unit, consider how you will implement each of them.  Think of the list of questions below as categories under which you can sort the authentic resources you have gathered:

  1. Which authentic resources will you use as lesson hooks that are high interest to your students?
  2. Which authentic resources will support vocabulary input or reinforcement?
  3. Which authentic resources provide a context for teaching grammar in context?
  4. Which authentic resources will you group together of varying difficulty levels to provide challenge for all learners in the form of tiered text or tiered tasks?
  5. Which authentic resources will students use as a basis for interpersonal tasks? for presentational tasks?
  6. Which authentic resources will allow students to practice their listening and viewing skills?
  7. For which authentic resources will you create a graphic organizer to assist students in capturing what they learn from the text?
  8. Which authentic resources will be the context for performance tasks?
  9. Which authentic resources will be the basis of learning centers that allow students to work independently across the modes of communication?
  10. Which authentic resources will be the context for guided discussions?

Some of the types of activities might include:

Presentational:

  1. Comparing and contrasting school lunches in the US vs. a target language country.
  2. Creating a presentational speaking or writing product about an ideal school lunch menu
  3. Designing a new weekly menu for the school cafeteria
  4. Using authentic resources as a basis of a discussion or cultural comparison (scaffolded with expressions lists, etc. for struggling learners)

Interpersonal:

  1. Expressing opinions about school lunches in their own school (write a letter to the principal or district superintendent, etc.)
  2. Using authentic school menus as a context for an information gap activity

Interpretive skill building:

  1. Highlighting grammar points and language patterns in the text
  2. Demonstrating strategies for interpretation of authentic text through a guided activity and think aloud

Using authentic resources for vocabulary input and reinforcement

12708884488958c55b7c3bba6042d2e8

Because of the highly visual nature of many authentic resources, they can easily be used to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary because they provide a context for learning the words and phrases.  Using authentic resources for the input phase of the lesson adds interest for the learners and injects real world connections.

Infographics

Infographics that illustrate results from a survey often provide visuals for the theme of the survey and give the context of what peoples’ preferences are.  They offer the opportunity for students to make predictions about survey results and compare and contrast them with their own opinions.

Here is an example in Spanish about sports preferences around the world:

987708739740c04475add95f8d536b70

Here’s one for leisure time activities in French:

efe25282a8ef89258e8087ebb618e5b1

And one for favorite foods in German:

457b17d1c3ec25b0e09c8dc267817af9

And one for most ideal occupations in French:

eea18c299808e0f7aefc82ecca1f5d11

And one for most trusted occupations in German:

ac5b6e8353185856891e01285863cdf8

And one for Italian for which region of Italy offers the best job opportunities:

120950f4cd3624f5c48499a436ae9e38

Instead of learning about or practicing vocabulary related to body parts by looking at a drawing of a nondescript person,  think about how much more engaging it will be for students to talk about body parts in the context of a famous soccer player’s injuries.

0e532cad44ac97304abd1c1acd3c7b50      4f4edfe64da71b2893c6d52a7e184604

Some examples of strategies for introducing and reinforcing thematic vocabulary through infographics include:

  1. Initially covering up the labels on an infographic as the teacher introduces the new vocabulary and then revealing them while checking for understanding.
  2. Students have a version of the infographic with blanks where the vocabulary words are and a word bank with the new words.  As the teacher introduces the new vocabulary, students write the appropriate words and phrases into the blanks.
  3. Students are given a version of the infographic in pieces.  They assemble the “puzzle” as the vocabulary is introduced.

More examples:

A. School supplies in the context of shopping for back to school (Spanish):

6aa311b13ef5493b085f81d449edf07a

B. Food in the context of what your pet can and cannot eat (Spanish):

White wooden wall texture, old painted pine board.

C.  Clothing in the context of packing a suitcase (Spanish):

bd3332c468cc3723531b19db0a22a31f

D. Modes of transportation in the context of how people get to work (French and Spanish):

2c5ba83827d17bee96dbc2e0999b54c9       3b0b38f1a2d2bbbbd2a676a1c1c8a6ae

E. Rooms of the house in the context of saving energy in your home (French):

infog

I invite you to visit my Pinterest boards, many of which are organized by topic, to find infographics aligned to your vocabulary themes for introduction and for reinforcement:

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 12.12.26 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Using authentic text with young language learners

IMG_2387

Using authentic text with young language learners can present multiple challenges.  Students in Pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten and the primary grades are often not yet literate in their first language.  As a result, using authentic resources that are heavy in written text are not appropriate to use with most young learners.

Picture books

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 10.57.29 AM

Early language learners can benefit from being read to by the teacher.  Picture books provide visuals that support the students’ understanding.  Through picture books, teachers can model ways to derive meaning from text using reading strategies such as guessing meaning using pictures and guessing words that look or sound like their English equivalent.  In addition, young language learners can interact with websites and apps that offer picture books that, in some cases, can be read to students.  Some examples include:

Epic books (Spanish and Chinese)

Children’s Books Forever (multiple languages)

Songs, Rhymes, Finger Plays and Poems

ventana de la clase 2

Because songs, rhymes, and poems often have repetition and rhyming words, they are very user-friendly for young language learners.  Adding gestures to songs, rhymes, and poems will assist students in comprehension of the text.

One source for target language songs and rhymes for multiple languages is called Mama Lisa’s World:

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 9.25.38 PM

https://www.mamalisa.com/

On YouTube, you can find children’s songs in the target language (but can be difficult to verify as authentic) which contain a video component, like the following example:

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 9.29.13 PM

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2xjgvWb9cx5F637XjsUNxw

Cartoons 

At the very heart of the raison d’être of cartoons is to engage young children.  Cartoons in any language appeal to young language learners.  There are many target language cartoons available online through YouTube and can be aligned to thematic units such as family, celebrations, travel, and making friends.

Click the image below to visit my webpage where I have linked several cartoon series in various languages.

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 7.09.50 PM

Visuals for Speaking and Writing

Although not all visuals can be verified as “authentic text,” there are visuals available that have target language contexts.  The Pinterest board linked below offers a selection of visuals that can be used for practicing the interpretive mode, leading to both speaking and writing prompts.

Infographics

The best infographics to use with young language learners are those that are highly visual balanced with minimal written text.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board called “Authentic Text for Young Language Learners.

Fine Art

Interpreting pieces of art can be the basis for speaking and writing prompts for young language learners.  Not only are visuals a type of text, but by being fine art, a cultural context is added.  When students describe a painting, they can talk about the colors, the items in the picture, their location in relationship to one another (prepositions of location), the time of day, weather, describing the people in the painting, etc.

A great example is VanGogh’s Bedroom at Arles:

800px-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_De_slaapkamer_-_Google_Art_Project

Students can describe the colors they see, the items in the room, and their position in the room.

The student learning can be extended by then learning about the artist.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 11.50.24 AM

ob_57e702_van-gogh-bout2fee

To add to your resource toolbox, there are coloring pages online (free download) for famous artwork:

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 12.16.06 PM

For more examples of artwork relating to the bedroom (house) click the image below:

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 1.47.11 PM

Teaching Grammar in Context Using Authentic Resources- Part 2

grammar-389907_1920

This is a sequel to my first post on “Teaching Grammar in Context Using Authentic Resources” posted on April 13, 2018.

In that post, we explored several of the approaches for teaching grammar in context:

Many of the above mentioned strategies allow students to use an inductive approach to figure out the “why” and “how” of grammar in context.  Some have more structured protocols than others.  Which one you choose depends on your students, the particular grammar point you want to highlight, and what works best for your teaching.

As we know, ACTFL’s Core Practices for World Language Learning include “guide learners through interpreting authentic resources” and “teach grammar as a concept and use in context.”

ACTFL Core Practices

For this post, let’s turn our attention to examples of how authentic resources that might be used to teach grammar in context, thus combining two of the core practices.

The most natural way for students to gain an understanding of grammar in the target language is for them to see it being used in context.  Context carries meaning for students in lieu of learning “about” grammar in isolation, often in English.

In no way do the Core Practices imply that grammar or structure are no longer important to language learning.  Looking closely at the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, beginning at the Intermediate High proficiency level (in the case below for interpersonal communication), students must be able to exchange information and interact across various time frames.  At those levels, language learners must have structural understanding to be able to communicate in a variety of tenses.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 6.48.26 PM

Memes and quotes

395479f8aa8c333f87073c000ff34992

A great place to start with teaching grammar as a concept and using it in context through authentic resources is to use memes and quotes.

Memes (although they cannot always be verified as authentic) are examples of grammar in context mixed with humor.  Many of them involve cats, dogs, and characters from television and movies.

A series of memes that are examples of a particular grammar point can be shown to language learners to have them draw conclusions about how that particular structure works.

Here are some examples below for adjectives in French:

0fe0a1f5c6c317592e48acf60814327c

53d91ecf007221754c81639331eea78f

3117b8d66aef08b92efdf162eaa9f25f

59714d9588cf1fd4c17772caf08ccf37

63f9e211efe2f3fd07971aadb9a25e1f

One way to approach this task is to give small groups of students one meme.  Students analyze the meme first for meaning.  What is the meme trying to say?  Students use the visuals, cognates, words they already know, and words that may be related to ones they know to help them unlock the meaning.  The teacher circulates in the classroom and assists students with guessing the meaning of words with which they are unfamiliar using target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce their meaning.

Then, students’ attention is directed to the adjectives in each quote/saying and the students draw conclusions about:

  • the gender of the nouns being described
  • the position of the adjectives (before or after the noun)
  • the endings on the adjectives and what they say about the nouns they are describing.

The teacher might follow up with asking students to change the nouns in the memes. For example, in the meme with the giraffe, students can rework the quote to include a noun that is feminine, plural, etc.

The small groups of students may then be asked to create a meme of their own using ideas from the examples.

Visit my Pinterest page to see collections of memes and quotes for multiple languages or click on the images below for particular languages (French, German, Italian, and Spanish):

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 8.07.43 PM

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 8.07.53 PM

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 8.08.01 PM

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 8.08.09 PM

Tweets and other social media posts

The tweets below are authentic social media posts that all demonstrate the comparative in Spanish.  The teacher searched for them in Twitter by inputting phrases like “más que” and “menos que.”  Consider how a teacher might initially have students interact with the tweets as an interpretive task (deriving meaning from them) and then use the same tweets to examine how the comparative works in Spanish.  Students may be asked to highlight or circle the items/ideas being compared in each sentence and draw conclusions about what determined the ending of each adjective.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 12.35.39 PM

Poems and song lyrics

Poems and song lyrics are types of authentic text that are very friendly to teaching grammar as a concept in context.  Many of our language colleagues have aligned popular songs and famous poems in the target language to grammatical structures that they demonstrate in context and have generously shared those lists/databases with the rest of us.

French:

Clarisse Les chanteurs français et leurs chansons (crowd-sourced database)

German:

Ten Songs with Hidden German Grammar Lessons

Spanish:

El mundo de Birch Spanish amazing music database!!!

For more links for target language music aligned to grammar points, go to:

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 11.44.11 AM

An example of a poem that French teachers often use as a great example of grammar in context, is “Déjeuner du Matin” by Jacques Prévert

The entire poem is embedded with examples of the passé composé in context:

503576f7d7e8fe0f29ec81947ed21503

 

Example in practice:

In an intermediate German class, the teacher shows a meme “It’s enough for me that I know that I could if I wanted to” to gain students’ attention and to spark a review of the use of the subjunctive in German.  Students are asked to brainstorm descriptors of the frog (confident, lazy, smart, etc.).  The teacher asks the students to tell why they chose the various descriptors.  If necessary, the teacher models an example (I think he is _____ because _____.)

frog

The teacher draws the students’ attention to the verbs in the meme and their tenses.   She tells them that they will be listening to a song with a similar title and theme, “Wenn ich könnte wie ich wollte,” by Howard Carpendale.

The students are given a cloze activity with the lyrics to the song where all of the subjunctive forms (and other phrases) are removed and the students fill in the verb forms.  As they listen to the song, they check their answers and fill in other missing phrases.  The students share their answers in small groups and then listen a final time with all lyrics complete.

The teacher then provides a chart where the students fill in the present tense, imperfect tense, and the subjunctive verb forms (the verbs in bold all appear in the song):

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 7.54.49 PM

As an extension activity, students are led through a guided writing task where they plan, peer edit, and write the final draft of a journal entry entitled “If I could, I would…”

Teaching listening and viewing skills using authentic resources

Authentic resources are created by and for the target language users either for information or entertainment.  They are texts that students can read, listen to, or view in the target language.  Much attention is paid to written authentic text.

For this post, let’s turn our attention to building students’ interpretive skills with authentic text for listening and viewing.

As indicated by the infographic below,  listening has many benefits which include increasing literacy, fluency and motivation.

audio infographic

https://ebookfriendly.com/improve-reading-skills-infographics/how-audio-increases-literacy-infographic/

When considering having students listen or view authentic text, we must first anchor ourselves in the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements that describe what students can do in the Interpretive Mode at the various proficiency levels.

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 6.57.31 PM

Novices can: identify words and phrases, some isolated facts, and the topic or gist of an authentic text that is composed of simple sentences that is listened to or viewed.

Students at the intermediate level can: identify the main idea and some details from short straightforward authentic text and conversations.

Here are some examples of novice-level listening/viewing activities:

  1. Spanish- During a unit on the theme of school, students listen to and watch a 30 second commercial about back to school sales at Arrocha, a store in Panama:

During their listening/viewing, students are asked to:

  • circle all of the words/phrases they hear in the commercial based on a word cloud of words created on Wordle or Tagxedo
  • circle each vocabulary word/phrase they hear and draw a line to the backpack
  • complete a cloze activity with the commercial transcript.

2. French- During a unit on the theme of describing people and things, students listen to and watch a Coca Cola commercial called “Du bonheur pour tous.”

While they listen to and view the commercial, in addition to bullets one and three listed above (circling key words in a word cloud and doing a cloze activity using the transcript) an alternative activity might be:

  • Students are given two columns of adjectives/descriptors.  As they listen to/watch the commercial they connect the opposites.

For links to authentic commercials in the target language, go to:

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.43.53 AM

Or, go to my Pinterest boards that have target language commercials sorted by language:

French:      Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.45.21 AM

German:    Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.46.59 AM

 

Spanish:   Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.48.42 AM

Types of authentic text that might be listened to or viewed include:

  • commercials
  • podcasts
  • songs/music videos
  • video clips
  • movie trailers
  • news clip
  • live or recorded interviews
  • live or recorded performances
  • animated short films
  • fine art
  • photographs

The approach for teaching students how to listen to or view an authentic text (with audio) is very similar to that of teaching students how to read an authentic text.  Students listen/view for words they know, words that sound like words they know (cognates), and figure out meaning of words based on context.

Students’ comprehension can be bolstered before listening or viewing (with audio) by using typical before reading strategies:

  • Students make predictions about the authentic text
  • Students brainstorm connections with and ideas and questions about the topic of the authentic text
  • Students list what they already know about the topic of the authentic resource

Similarly, students can use during reading strategies for listening and viewing (with audio) as well.

  • Students take notes about authentic text as they listen/view
  • Students record new vocabulary gained from the authentic text
  • Students use a graphic organizer to record ideas while listening/viewing

What makes listening and viewing very different from reading as an interpretive skill, is that the text (unless the transcript is provided or there are subtitles) is not visible to the student.  To overcome this challenge (of not being able to see the words), students can be taught skills for capturing ideas they listen to through the use of a variety of strategies.

Supports and Scaffolds for Students During Listening and Viewing Tasks

Cloze activities

Cloze activities are those that use the script for a text with words or phrases omitted.  The task of the student is to listen to the text and fill in the missing words and phrases.  A great source for cloze activities for Spanish based on music is Zachary Jones’ website called Zambombazo.  He calls the activities “Clozeline.”

Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 1.55.39 PM

Here’s a cloze activity example in French for the song by Gerald DePalmas called “Mon Coeur Ne Bat Plus.”:

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 2.05.03 PM

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers assist students in capturing what they have heard/viewed and classify those ideas into topics/themes.  A great example is a 5W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and 1H (how) graphic organizer.  Here are some examples in Spanish below:

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.10.23 AMScreen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.22.18 AM

And here’s an example in French:

CurrentEvntsOrgnzr

Or, the organizer might be where students record events from the text in sequence.  Here is an example in French:


Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 6.02.18 PM

and one for Spanish:

00af0f51741e8633fc33eaadaf981707

For more examples of graphic organizers, click here

Visual Notetaking or “Sketchnoting”

Visual notetaking or Sketchnoting is a strategy whereby students draw symbols and pictures to indicate their understanding of a text.  The result is a visual version of the text that was listened to or viewed.

Here’s an example in Spanish:

niños siria

For more on how to teach listening skills, explore the slideshow below:

Viewing authentic resources without audio

Included in the examples of authentic text are visuals like photographs and fine art.

How do we teach students to interpret text like pictures?

Some strategies students can use when “reading a picture” are:

  • describe what they see (what is going on, who is doing what)
  • make connections with the visual
  • describe how the picture makes them feel
  • express an opinion

A great scaffold/support for students to practice how to interpret a picture is a “Picture Description Frame.”  Here’s an example below for Italian.  Students lay the “frame”(with the center cut out) over the picture and use the expressions around the perimeter of the frame to help them describe the visual either through speaking or writing.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 6.12.29 PM

Here’s an example for French:

During a unit on leisure activities, students view the painting called “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat.

default

The students overlay their “description frames” onto the image.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 12.13.19 PM

Then, the students use the prompts around the frame to assist them with describing the picture either orally or in written format.

This tool and ones for other languages can be found at the link below by scrolling down to the bottom of the webpage:

https://www.grahnforlang.com/scaffolds-and-supports.html

To find out more about viewing comprehension strategies, check out the resource below:

viewing strategies

Selecting high interest authentic resources to engage language learners

21st-century-kid

http://www.thinkfinity.org

What topics are of high interest to 21st century language learners?

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.49.28 PM

Current fads like fidget spinners?

Protecting the environment by recycling?

The impact of natural disasters?

Immigration?

Bullying?

Sports?

Women’s rights?

Homelessness?

Cellphones?

The best way to find out what your language learners are interested in…

is to ask!

Imagine that you are beginning a unit on the topic of school.  What interests your students about schools in the target language country/countries?

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.38.48 PM

The slide above shows some examples of authentic text you might select for your students based on what they are interested in learning about:

More questions students may have:

  • Do the students have to wear uniforms?
  • What do they have for lunch?
  • What supplies do they need for school?
  • Do they use cellphones/technology in their schools?
  • Are their backpacks heavy like ours?
  • Do they have after school activities?

These questions provide a rich context for the “school unit” as the teacher plans tasks and activities for the daily lessons.  In addition, students feel empowered that the teacher asks them about their interests and may be more engaged in class tasks because they feel that they have contributed to the plan.

FYI- For more authentic resources on the topic of “back to school” for French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, go to:

Implementing K-W-L Charts

K-W-L charts are a more graphic way to collect information from your students about their interests.  K-W-L is a strategy developed by Donna Ogle (1986).  It is set up in three columns:

  • “K”- What I know
  • “W”- What I’d like to learn
  • “L”- What I learned

What students write in the “K” column reveals what students already know about the topic.  It may include vocabulary words, phrases, beliefs, and misconceptions.  Teachers can use this information to recognize knowledge students bring to the topic and use that information as a starting point for the unit theme.

Student thinking recorded in the “W” (What I’d like to learn) column gives teachers information about how to craft lessons that will address students’ interests, and therefore should increase student motivation and engagement.

Here are some examples of K-W-L Graphic Organizers in Spanish, French, and German:

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.32.37 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.34.44 PM

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 5.36.32 PM

Using high interest authentic resources as lesson hooks

A lesson hook is another way of naming what Madeline Hunter referred to as the “anticipatory set.”  It is the first thing students see and do when the lesson begins.  The lesson hook has several purposes:

  • grab students’ attention
  • directly relate to the lesson objective/target
  • tap prior knowledge
  • reinforce previously learned material
  • connect or combine learning
  • extend or enrich learning
  • show grammar in context
  • add a cultural component

When selecting an authentic resource to act as a lesson hook with student interest in mind, consider using

  • humor/jokes
  • current events
  • novel visuals

The lesson hook authentic text can be used as a jumping off point to any number of learner-centered tasks like interpersonal exchanges or a free write.  They can also begin a conversation about grammar and syntax in context.

Some examples:

Meme (in French)    fish

 

Cartoon/comic strip (Spanish)   cell

 

Commercial (in German):   572c061963c68682b6239981ae8c1190

 

Art:    26585b0c91b49b034e5e608b852530a1

 

Quote (in Chinese):  8e698c49d851a389075224943d626935

 

Example classroom scenario:

In a novice high/intermediate low level Spanish class, during the unit on leisure activities, the teacher has discovered that many students in the class are fans of FIFA and/or play on the school soccer teams.  Guided by the interests of the students, the teacher shows two infographics from a Pinterest board called “Radiografías Mundialistas” to review with students how to express comparatives and superlatives in preparation for a performance assessment where students must compare and contrast two texts.

Picture1      Picture2

https://www.pinterest.es/notimex/radiografías-mundialistas

The teacher begins by asking yes/no and either/or questions about the infographics and then spirals up to who, what, when, where questions. Based on student performance, the teacher may elect to increase the rigor of questions by including how and why questions with students justifying their responses.  She uses comprehensible input strategies to review key words in the target language such as:

the same as                                        larger

as many ____ as                                 smaller

more _____ than                                the most

less _____ than                                   the least

better                                                  but

worse

Picture3

The teacher then puts students into pairs.  Each pair selects two countries’ soccer teams from the Pinterest board and read the information on the infographics for those teams (ex.Uruguay and Suiza).  They work together to glean the similarities and differences between the countries and teams.  The teacher provides them with a list of the expressions reviewed earlier in the lesson.

Each pair creates a quiz using Google Forms that consists of the two infographics, three true comparison statements about them, and two false ones.  Classmates take each pair’s “quiz” through the Google Forms.

 

Students participating in target language discussions about authentic text

As students move across the proficiency continuum, a great goal to work toward is to have students conduct discussions in the target language about the authentic texts they have interpreted.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 6.48.26 PM

As is described in the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, students work toward being able to participate in discussions once they reach the intermediate high proficiency level and beyond.  It is important that we begin to build students’ skills early on in their language learning experience, beginning with highly scaffolded, simple discussions to more in-depth, spontaneous ones.

In the interpretive mode, beginning at the intermediate high proficiency level, it is expected that language learners can “understand the main message and some supporting details across major time frames in conversations and discussions.”

In the interpersonal mode, beginning at the advanced level, speakers “can maintain spontaneous spoken, written, or signed conversations and discussions across various time frames on familiar, as well as unfamiliar, concrete topics, using series of connected sentences and probing questions.”

So, how do we put novice language learners on the pathway toward being able to participate confidently in discussions in the target language?

Building students’ discussion skills

From the novice level, students can participate in discussions in the target language about authentic texts they have interpreted if those experiences are:

  • well-modeled by the teacher
  • highly scaffolded

Types of discussions students might have include:

  • making decisions
  • solving problems
  • expressing opinions
  • creating a product

Scaffolds for discussion skills might include:

  • graphic organizers on which students have taken notes about the authentic text, ideally set up to assist them in the discussion.  For example, if the intent of the discussion is for students to compare and contrast two ideas, a Venn diagram might be the most appropriate graphic organizer to use.  Here’s an example of an organizer in Italian:

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 10.02.19 AM

  • expressions lists that support students’ conversations.  For example, if the purpose of the discussion is to express an opinion about the authentic text, sentence frames/starters would be provided.  An example in French is below:

and one for Spanish:

3d9c6253f25ae12bb958143dd0357110

http://marruecospanish.blogspot.com/2016/10/como-expresar-una-opinion-o-valorar-un.html

  • protocols for discussions: taking turns, using gambits or conversational fillers, building off of what group members have said, assigning group roles, etc.
  • a routine or strategy that serves as a framework for the discussion.  Click on the image below to explore a variety of discussion strategies.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 9.31.51 AM

Example classroom scenario:

In an intermediate level Spanish class, the teacher shows this quote by Pablo Neruda during a unit on Personal and Public Identities.  The teacher asks students to write a summary statement in the target language about the quote.

pablo-neruda-muere-lentamente-quien-no-viaja-quien-no-lee-quien-no-escucha-mc3basica-quien-no-halla-encanto-en-sc3ad-mismo

https://nadienosentiende.com/2016/09/09/lobos/pablo-neruda-muere-lentamente-quien-no-viaja-quien-no-lee-quien-no-escucha-musica-quien-no-halla-encanto-en-si-mismo/

Then, the teacher gives each small group one part of the quote:

  • Quien no viaja [someone who doesn’t travel]
  • Quien no lee [someone who doesn’t read]
  • Quien no escucha música [someone who doesn’t listen to music]

Students work in groups to discuss the benefits of traveling, reading, and listening to music and each student records their group’s ideas on a graphic organizer.  When ready, students move to mixed groups to share their group’s ideas. They conduct a conversation with their classmates using the “Bounce” strategy in the target language.   Additional ideas generated by the group are added to the graphic organizers.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 1.06.24 PM

As an extension, student groups are given the choice of:

  • Creating an infographic on the benefits of traveling, reading, listening to music, etc. using tech tools such as Piktochart
  • Creating their own version of the Neruda quote
  • Researching Pablo Neruda
  • Polling their classmates about the benefits

 

Using authentic text as a springboard to interpersonal tasks

white-male-1871455_1920

What we know about brain-friendly teaching, is that the brain likes experiences that connect to one another.  As we plan lessons for our language learners, we should keep this idea in mind.  How do the tasks or activities I’ve planned for students to practice the new content connect to one another?

As we consider the use of authentic resources in our classrooms, how can those interpretive tasks naturally connect to productive language experiences in the interpersonal mode?  The authentic text, whether it be a video, an infographic, or a poem, gives students a context for their interpersonal interactions, in lieu of inventing isolated, unrelated scenarios.

The interpersonal mode of communication

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 10.42.08 AM

In the interpersonal mode, students spontaneously share information and ideas with others.  Learners interact and negotiate meaning with clarity and cultural sensitivity.  Students are expected to begin, carry on, and end a conversation without a written script, relying on the knowledge of the language they have acquired and using skills to communicate even when they do not understand.

Scaffolds and supports for interpersonal tasks

To support students, especially struggling and reluctant learners, providing scaffolds and supports for them to persevere through an interpersonal task may be the key to building their confidence in their own communication skills.  Some examples of scaffolds and supports might be

  • modeling the interpersonal task before students try it themselves
  • providing suggested sentence starters and frames
  • pairing struggling students with students who are more confident in productive activities
  • circulating in the room and giving positive feedback to students, especially those who typically struggle, for their efforts

Examples of interpersonal activities

conversation-1262311_1280

There are many activities or strategies that teachers plan to give students interpersonal communication practice and experiences.  Strategies provide a structure or framework for interpersonal interactions.  Here are a few examples:

Information Gap Activities

Inside-Outside Circles

Password

Discussion Continuum

Think-Pair-Share-Square

Three Step Interview

People Bingo/Find Someone Who

Accountable Talk

Speed Dating

Fan-N-Pick

Sample Classroom Application:

For a novice level Spanish class, the teacher selects the infographic, “Qué significa cada emoticon” (What each emoticon means) to enrich the students’ language for describing how people are feeling.  Each student is given a copy of the infographic or access to it online.

 

The teacher leads the class through highlighting the adjectives in the infographic.  He encourages students to guess the meaning of words with which they are unfamiliar using target language examples, circumlocution, and visuals, etc. to reinforce their meaning.  The teacher makes connections between the highlighted descriptors and the work they have recently been doing with gender and number of adjectives.  He asks the students to draw conclusions about how the highlighted adjectives in the infographic change to describe various people.  The teacher does a guided charting activity with the students.

The teacher displays a list of simple situations in the target language on the document camera, using known vocabulary and lots of cognates. (You just won the lottery!, Your team lost the soccer match. You got a perfect score on your math test.).  Each student selects one situation and creates a web of feelings about that topic, using vocabulary from the infographic.

In small groups, students interview each other about how they would feel in each of the situations using the infographic and the web they created.  Group members may use an expressions list provided by the teacher as support for this interpersonal activity.

  • I would feel _____.
  • I agree.  I disagree.
  • Me too./Not me.
  • I don’t know.
  • How does that make you feel?
  • What do you think?
  • I think that…
  • I hate when that happens!
  • No way!
  • Of course!

 

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