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