This topic is heavy on my mind today as I am in the early days of a new lesson in my classes. We are studying "Choices & Consequences" and have lessons for each type of choices that we make in our lives: social, academic, health, etc. In order to start the input stage of the lesson I have done a couple of things. Here's a look at my strategies so far:
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:
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:
Day Two Lesson Context - Choices, Consequences and Alternatives
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:
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!
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