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2007年10月

Update on the Weekly Schedule

2007.10.17

With the move towards Self-Access Grammar Lessons and the move towards a more communicative approach to language development, I'll be revising my approach to the weekly schedule.

After the mid-term, the class will focus more on reading, writing, presentations and discussions. Each week will be built around a basic theme, and the themes will be varied in order to practice different language structures, vocabulary, levels of formality, formats, and so on.

Friday
The lesson cycle will begin on Friday. In our Friday lesson, students will be given the topic for the next week, along with background reading. The background reading will vary according to topic. Background reading may be in the form of news, letters, articles, essays, stories, poems or other forms of written communication. For more difficult reading materials, students may be given a choice, for example between a news article that has been edited to make it easier to read and understand, and an article that has not been edited.

Along with the topic for the week, students will be given essay topics. Students may then choose the 'easy', 'intermediate' or 'advanced' topic for their essay. These topics will all be on a similar theme, but will vary in the complexity, from essays that require only personal information, to topics that require research or analysis, to topic that require persuasive language or logical support.

In addition to the essay topics, students will also be given the Oral Communication topic and format. Again, this will vary from topic to topic and week to week, and may take the form of conversations or discussions, debates, skits, speeches or presentations. Like the essay topics, students will be given a choice in the complexity of their Oral Communication topics.

Monday.
In Oral Communication, we start with a listening quiz based on language that we studied the previous week. In the future, I would also like to set up a system, possibly on the computer, whereby students can take listening tests according to their level, standardized tests they are taking and so on. We will then have topic-based conversations of the 'What's new?" or "Show and Tell" variety, followed by skits, role-plays, improvisations, interviews or other oral communication activities, usually based around a function, a structure, or a language set that relates in some way to the weekly topic.

Then, in our reading class, we'll do a reading comprehension test and/or vocabulary test. The reading comprehension tests will be based on preparation for standardized tests. In the future, I might also try to set up a system by which students can choose reading tests based on their levels. Following the reading comprehension or vocabulary tests, we will do a comprehension check the background reading we received on Friday, do a vocabulary check, and so.

Our weekly assignment for Mondays is to bring two new, useful vocabulary words. Students choose vocabulary that they think is useful and that they believe will advance their vocabulary level. Students must write the word, an easy meaning for the word, and a sentence using the word. Vocabulary is compiled and given to students to study for exams. In addition to the vocabulary chosen by students, there will also be vocabulary words chosen by me from our reading and discussion.

Tuesday
Tuesday will be our Self-Access Grammar Day. Students will go to our Self-Access Grammar Library:

self-access library.JPG

... and choose worksheets. Students may also do oral exercises using Powerpoint. Students may also study using practice test materials for standardized tests they are studying for. Students may study alone or in small groups. Again, students will choose worksheets based on their performance on the assessment test, and based on feedback from me on their essays and class performance.

On Self-Access Grammar Day, I will be working with students on a more individual level, allowing them to work at their own pace, check their own work, and so on.

Wednesday
Wednesday is our In-Class Reading Day. On this day, students may read books in class, write book reports, talk about books with other students, give oral book reports to other students (telling them the story, why the book was good or bad, etc.), or (if they have finished their reading quota for the term) play reading-based games (text-adventure games) that require reading comprehension.

Thursday
In Grammar Class, students will start with quizzes based on standardized tests. Following the quiz, students will be given feedback on their writing assignments. We'll go over common errors, go over writing formats, and so on. During class, students will be given time to work on their writing assignments, and I will give more individualized instruction and assistance.

In our Oral Communication lesson, we will have either a discussion, debate or presentation based on our weekly theme. This will include feedback and instruction on format, style and language.

Friday
On Friday, we'll do further reading on the topic, including reading comprehension and discussion.

In our special projects lesson, we will be involved in a variety of different projects that may contribute to the weekly project, or may relate to a more long-term project.

Monday
Students will turn in their writing assignment.

In addition to the weekly schedule, there will also be a major theme for each term that will be used for the final project and presentation. Some weekly themes will contribute to the term theme, but some will not.

In Second Grade, we'll have a much briefer form of this cycle, since we only have four lessons together in Second Grade.

Again, students will receive their topics and background reading on Friday. They'll do reading comprehension on Monday, basic oral activities on Tuesday, reading on Wednesday, and discussions or presentations on Friday.

So the format of their cycle is more limited, but the outcome should be similar.

I think this cycle will prove to be quite strong, especially when applied with strong goals for each term and each year. I will keep you posted on this cycle as it develops.

投稿者:nelp

Self-Access Grammar

2007.10.17

Recently, some of my students have complained to me that the grammar that we've been studying in class is too easy. Can you imagine that? My students want me to give them more challenging stuff! My usual explanation up to now has been something along the lines of "Well, please understand that you're one student in a class of (x number of) students, and we've can't really have (x number of) classes all going on at once." Kind of a disappointing answer, isn't it?

Luckily, the NELP advisors at Seishin University have given me a lot of advice and encouragement, and so after the mid-term exam, we're going to change the way we approach grammar in the NELP class.

We're going to do Self-Access Grammar.

First, I gave everyone an assessment test based on our Progress in English 21, Book 1, textbook. The results of the test have clearly demonstrated to me that I should have done this a long time ago. The test had 67 questions, one question for each lesson and scene in the book (there are three to four 'scenes' for each 'lesson' (or chapter) in the book). Each question was designed to test the basic grammar structure introduced in that scene.

I'm happy to report that students did much better on Part 1 (Lessons 1 - 12), which we have covered so far in class, than they did on Part 2 (Lessons 13 - 20), which we have not covered in class. However, I can't really take all the credit: Part 1 is naturally easier.

Scores ranged from a whopping 82% to scores only slightly above 1/4th of that! That's a 60 point range of scores! This means that while obviously one or two of my students basically know the textbook, a few of my students need a lot of review and reteaching.

This is where Self-Access comes in. First, each student was given an assessment report.

assessment test.jpg

This assessment report shows the student's score and also what Lessons and Scenes the student needs to review.

Each Tuesday will become Grammar Self-Access Day. On this day, students will look at their assessment report, see what grammar sections the student needs to review, and then go to our Grammar Self-Access Corner. Here:

self-access library.JPG

They'll choose the binder for the lesson they need:

folder.JPG

And choose worksheets to practice.

inside.JPG

Besides worksheets, students will also be able to study grammar using the computer. There are powerpoint slideshows that will help the students review and learn grammar at their own pace.

powerpoint.jpg

In addition, students may choose (with my permission) to do grammar exercises using online resources. There are a number of sites we've used in the past that have grammar games and grammar quizzes.

My highest level students will finish book 1 and then move on to do book 2 and book 3 material. I will also give my students the opportunity to do practice for STEP and GTEC.

In addition to the assessment test, students will also be assessed on their regular work, including quizzes, essays, book reports, and oral activities such as presentations. I will then give recommendations to the students on what lessons they should do during Self-Access.

In this way, students will study only those topics that they need to study, and they will be able to study at their own pace.

One way to look at this, one analogy, might be that we are trying to build our 'English engines'. Usually, students come to junior high school without a lot of experience or development in English, in which case, we must build their 'English Engine' systematically from the beginning. We give them pieces of language and show the students how to assemble those pieces into a working mechanism for communication. However, my NELP students come to me with half-built 'English Engines', and each student is at a different level of development and is missing different 'pieces'. In order to accommodate this, the best way to approach language is a less systematic approach. Rather than giving the students pieces of language and having one or more students consistently tell me: 'Nope. Don't need that piece. I've already got it.' Instead, I assessment them to see what's missing, tell them where to find the piece, and let them put together their 'English Engine' on their own.

This makes our approach to grammar more individualized and more efficient. As well, in this way, all students will have more opportunities for progress. Students with less language development will no longer be 'left behind' quite so often, and hopefully students with more fully-developed English language ability will no longer feel quite so 'held back'.

I'm really excited about this new approach, and will keep all of you updated on our progress.

投稿者:nelp

Library Progress

2007.10.17

I have discovered a new way to keep my students motivated: a reading progress board.

reading board.JPG

On this board, students can see how many book reports they've given me, and the level of the book reports. This makes their reading progress very clear. This picture is kind of small, so I don't know how well you can see it, but my 2nd graders are doing really well with their reading. I'm hoping this will put a little pressure on my first graders and third graders to do their reading too.

投稿者:nelp