Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy New Years: Modified Task (Designing a holiday plan)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great time over the vacation. I would like to spend the next few entries discussing reports from lessons that I have tried. Here is the plan for my latest attempt at TBL.
For my Christmas lesson I got my students to complete a task of piecing a story together but I allowed them to do it talking Japanese.

I am still a little shy about TBL but I am determined to keep trying! Here is my latest lesson plan where I will try and get the students to complete the task using only English.

The Text

The text I used was Birdland and I drew from chapter nine of the text. The main dialog was two people talking about their vacation plans. I however wanted my task to be modeled on the "Lets Try" section on page 69. The listening dialogue (truncated and edited) is as follows.

T: Where would be the best place for our school trip? What is your opinion Ayaka?
A: I recommend that we visit Hokkaido. The main reason is because many of us haven't been there.
T: Okay
A: Secondly there are a lot of interesting things to see there. I personally want to visit Furano, which is the setting for a famous TV drama.
T: Thirdly, I think Ainu culture and history are worth studying. We can learn more about them in Hokkaido

Essentially, this is about people DECIDING a destination and giving reasons why. I made this the Task I want my students to achieve in this lesson. Students will be given a personal profile of a person, which states something of their interests and hobbies. They then must decide on four places in Wakayama prefecture where that person should visit.

Lesson Plan.
I decide to tackle this by a mixture of pair-work and group work.

Warm-up ( 3-5 mins)
I ask the students some questions about places they have been in Wakayama prefecture during the winter break. The students sit in pairs and I call out questions as follows "Have you been to Wakayama castle" If the students have been there, they point at the circle and if not they point at the square.
After the students must ask a follow up question i.e. "When did you go there" or something like that.

Listening (5 mins)

Listen to the dialogue from page 66 of Birdland. Get the students to COVER the conversation. Read with the Homeroom teacher. Ask the questions from the book. Then get the students to fill out the table on the work sheet. They must identify the "Good Point" and "Bad Point" of each place.

Introduce places in Wakayama (Quick Karuta game and Writing activity)

I created a set of flash cards, which contain images of famous places in
Wakayama. Please post me your mail address and I will email the PDF. It is too big to put on Google Docs.

I read sentences describing the places and the students must race to pick up the card.
After that, the students in their pairs, must pick three places and write "good points", "bad points" and "possible activities". They do this in the table provided on the worksheet. I also wrote the table on the black-board to explain how to fill it out.

After that they hand in their "pair work " work sheet.

Listening (Task Style Conversation from Birdland)

This time we move to the listening section on page 69 of bird land. This dialog has two people choosing a destination and giving reasons.  The dialog is the one at the beginning of this entry in yellow highlights.

The students listen to the conversation and then fill out a table listing Ayaka's recommendations and the reasons why she made them.

Setting up the Task

I will pin large paper cutouts with the main language used to complete the task.  This time. The phrases, which are pinned on, the board are as follows.

I recommend that.....
I think we should....

The main reason is..

I think so too
I agree

I don't think so..

I arranged the phrases on the board and wrote additions in chalk, lining them up to make the conversation.

Explaining the Task

Students will be sitting in groups of four. They will receive a final-task group worksheet. They must complete the information in it.

I will then distribute a personality card. These were taken from an ESL textbook. Here is a picture of some here. I cannot reproduce them all on this blog.

Elementary Communication Games, Hadfield,J.1984 George C Harrap and Co.

If you are an ALT in a Wakayama Highschool. Please email me privately and I will be able to fax copies of these sheets for "educational purposes"  in your lessons. I will only fax them to your school not to your private fax. Sorry.. but I don't want to be on the wrong side of the law.

Students in their groups read the personality and then design a vacation to suit that persons interests. The vacation must be in Wakayama .

  • Each student must give his or her opinion.
  • They can talk only in English.
  • They must complete the worksheet, which records each person’s opinion and the reasons why.
I will give the students about ten minutes to complete the task.


I will be attempting this and tweaking this all of next week. Wish me luck with this one.
I will report my progress next week,

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