How can novices do anything without the proper scaffolding?
Since the new semester has started I have been working to find more and more ways to keep what we do in class at the 90% Spanish mark, but even more than that I want my students to do more of the speaking than I do in class. So for a recent lesson I designed what I like to call The Conversation Guide.
The idea behind this was to give my students the support they need to stay in Spanish for most of the class period, also to prepare them for making cultural comparisons between their homes and homes in Spanish-speaking countries.
There are 3 main elements to this guide:
- The Focus Question (title) - This question should work like (or could be) an essential question for a unit of study. It should be something overarching and I suggest that it is tied to whatever cultural comparisons you want your students to make during the course of your unit.
- Association (Part A) - This part of the conversation guide is to get students warmed up for the conversation. It gives them an opportunity to figure out what vocabulary they need to function and stay in the language for the conversation. The writing aspect is a sneaky way to help them create a cheat sheet to refer to as they speak while also producing evidence of their initial conversation for me.
- Application (Part B) - This part of the conversation will require a stimulus and images, authentic resources or realia are great for this. Ideally, the stimulus should challenge our students thoughts on the original question and illicit emotion from them that will motivate them to communicate. Also, the stimulus should include the cultural comparison you want to make or get them ready for. The questions are their for scaffolding to help them stay in the TL, but are also serving as models of questions I want them to be able to ask on their own. The repetition of the questions through the series of images will help establish patterns they can use later when they are more confident at building their own questions. Plus, a few of the questions are just questions I want them to learn how to ask.
So, I hope you will give the Conversation Guide a try. Create your own and share back with me.
Happy Coaching, friends!