A Student-Centered Learning Approach for Developing Depth of Understanding for Key Terms of Vocabulary or Concepts
The Natural Approach is all about using language in meaningful communication.This happens easily when you give students tasks to complete if those tasks require them to communicate with others in order to complete the task.
OBJECTIVES: The students will - Discuss the meanings of teacher-selected key terms of vocabulary or concepts for a unit or cumulative review Analyze and discuss what the selected terms have in common, allowing them to deepen their understanding of the terms and concepts
AGE RANGE: very adaptable
SUBJECT / COURSE: very adaptable to any subject material or any ESL level (beyond absolute beginner)
MATERIALS NEEDED: blank cards (paper or cardstock)
PREPARATIONChoose the terms you want students to analyze.
Ideas for beginners: foods, clothing, occupations, etc.Ideas for advanced: literary elements (metaphors, similes, foreshadowing, personification, etc.), characters from a story, genres of writing
Choose terms to which your students have already been introduced.In this activity, you want to increase their comfort level with the terms and increase their depth of understanding of the terms.
We want to push students just a little beyond their comfort level (+1) to help them grow linguistically.
Remember the +1 principle.
You may write the selected terms on the cards, or you may have students write the terms.Bread
PROCEDUREPut students in groups of 3-5. Have them arrange themselves so they can work together. Give each group one set of cards
Option 1: Teacher-assigned topic categoriesYou then tell students to group the cards into categories which YOU have selected in advance. For example. . .PeasBananasGrapesPotatoesGreen BeansWatermelonOrangesApplesLettuceTomatoesPastaBreadRice
Will students in the group all agree? Probably not. Is that okay? YES! It will encourage discussion!PeasBananasGrapesPotatoesGreen BeansWatermelonOrangesApplesLettuceTomatoesPastaBreadRiceMake one group of foods that are best COOKED and one group of foods that are best RAW.
MEANINGFUL discussion is the BEST thing that happens in this activity.TomatoesNo, tomatoes are a LOT better raw!
But have you ever TRIED cooked apples? Theyre really good!Ew yuck!
Best COOKED Best RAWPeasBananasGrapesPotatoesGreen BeansWatermelonOrangesApplesLettuceTomatoesPastaBreadRice
Some of this is opinion. How do I know if they the students did it correctly?http://superspark.wordpress.com/2007/02/16/Tomatoeshttp://www.kitchenconnaisseur.com/recipe_result.php?&rid=85Appleshttp://www.roadfood.com/recipephotos/mini_29.jpgMS clip artBananashttp://www.ladylunchalot.com/wp-content/banana%20fritters.jpgMS clip art
You visit each group and ask them to explain their decisions to you.
Remember: The goals are analytical thinking and authentic language use. So if they can justify their answers, they are correct!
Option 2: Student-chosen categoriesTeacherDoctorStone MasonEngineerStore OwnerLawyerBakerFarmerCarpenterPainterBarberMovie ActorExporterIn this option, you let students decide categories into which they can divide the cards.
TeacherFarmerDoctorBakerEngineerExporterStone MasonStore OwnerMovie ActorPainterBarber Look over your set of cards. Then decide 2 (or 3 or 4) categories into which you can place almost all of your cards. Put them in groups and be prepared to explain how you divided your cards. LawyerCarpenter
The students may come up with categories like:TeacherDoctorStone MasonEngineerStore OwnerLawyerBakerFarmerCarpenterPainterBarberMovie ActorExporter high salary medium salary low salary lots of training some training very little training
Now lets practice!