Day One Lesson Context - Bad Behavior or Conduct
1. Open the lesson by introducing the context and using 2 or 3 words that mean conduct, behavior, choices and consequences.
2. Group students and have the brainstorm words and phrases in English for bad conduct or choices. This has to be English because they don't know any of these yet. (4 minute activity)
3. Use the target language to ask students what they came up with and then write on the board the TL for the items that are appropriate for your learning targets and/or "can do" statements.
4. After you feel the students have provided an adequate number of words to work with, then tell them they are going to personalize the information by making a chart to outline their good and bad behaviors. Model this process by drawing a chart on the board and filling it in with things that represent your good behaviors and bad behaviors. The students will get a kick out of this!
5. After their charts are complete, then have them question each other, but only respond with "true" or "false". The questioner should respond with a flavoring expression that represents whether or not they believe their partner. Their conversations should sound like this:
- Student A: Do you tell lies?
- Student B: False!
- Student A: I don't believe you!
6. Since I am teaching the Imperfect tense, I then changed the focus from my present behavior to my behavior in the past. I instructed my students to draw another T chart in their notes and follow my example as I outline my behavior when I was younger. (Side note: for several students this made the difference between present and imperfect make more sense than previously). Then I have them complete their charts with their own past behaviors. To have a little fun, I walked around the room and used the TL to make fake comments about what they were writing like, "Oh my goodness! You robbed banks in middle school??? or You beat up old people???"
7. After their new charts are complete, they get to play "True or False" again, but now asking about the past.
8. Lastly, I then quickly fired questions at my students asking them about their past behavior based on the words they generated. I cracked jokes about their answers and all in all we had a great time!
Here's the powerpoint I used to organize the day:
Since my students were grabbing onto the new vocabulary they generated quickly, it was time to increase the complexity of what we were talking about. Sometimes to stay in the target language all it takes is simple task for you and your students to collaborate on. Truthfully, the second day didn't start off as well as the first, but by 2nd period I settled into the lesson with a Google Doc we completed together.
The idea is simple: I created a three column table with "Choices, Consequences and Alternatives" as the names of the columns. I then talked through filling in the table with my students by writing into each column the choice, consequence or alternative they suggested. This was great for getting them to tap into previously learned vocabulary, but also good for exposing the gaps they have that we need to fill to meet the learning targets and prepare for their assessments.
Here's an example of one of the Google Docs we completed: 4th Period Choice/Consequence Table
Some other ideas for vocabulary generation:
- Communicative Scenarios - Ask them to brainstorm what they would need to communicate in that situation.
- Justify Yourself - Have students make a list of things they need for a purpose, but include the reason why they need those items. New vocabulary will come out of the justifications they want to make.
- Tone Tinkering - Give the students the task of talking about people or things, but tinker with the tone of their message. Rather than describe, have them flirt, complain, brag, insult or use some other tone you think of. New words are needed each time the tone changes, so the description becomes much richer.
- Game Show Categories - Steal ideas from game shows to help students generate useful vocabulary for new situations or learning targets. The more you can make the category interesting to them, the more likely they will learn the words quickly.
- Language Lenses - A language lens is an idea I am borrowing or maybe even modifying from Toni Theissen. Basically it is a focus for your language context. In my view you can do this in different ways. One idea is to take your learning target and post it where students can see it. For example, one of my learning targets is, "I can describe people, places, objects and events." So, I envision a slide show with the learning target at the top and the lesson theme or part of the them in the center of the slide serving as my language lens. I would then ask my students to brainstorm a list of people connected to the them "Choices and Consequences." After they have done that I would ask them to repeat the process, but now brainstorm places. We would continue the activity in that way, or maybe do one brainstorm a day at different intervals of the lesson. This is great for getting students to see that vocabulary should not be compartmentalized, but reused and recycled whenever it is relevant to their communicative task.
- Graphic Organizers - These babies always help me think of new ways to get students to generate new vocabulary because each organizer changes the purpose of the words, so the words that come out of the generating session vary. Venn diagrams lend well to synonyms and antonyms while webbing organizers help students recognize the characteristics, functions and purposes of things, so as you can see the tool you pick dictates the type of words your students inquire about and need.
These are just a few tricks I use to lead my students to inquire about new target language vocabulary. I hope they inspire you to share your tricks as well!