This year, I finally updated the Self-Access Grammar Worksheets. There are 200 worksheets covering all of Progress in English 21 Book 1.
Here are the pictures from the third grade NELP class. They are studying grammar!
Here are some pictures from my self-access grammar class for first grade.
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.
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:
They'll choose the binder for the lesson they need:
And choose worksheets to practice.
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.
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.