LANGUAGE LEARNING RESOURCES TASK DESIGN PROJECT ADRIANA MARIA VICTORIA MasterDegree in EnglishDidactics Surcolombiana and Caldas Universities September, 2009
TASK DESIGN PROJECT RATIONALE Students from kindergarten at San Juan Bosco School are having their first experience learning English as a foreign language and for most of them this is the initial encounter with formal education. In the syllabus has been included the use of folk tales once a month, and a series of short stories has been used to provide motivation for language learning while fostering the development of thinking skills. Ghosn (2002) states that “literature can act as a powerful change agent by developing pupils´ intercultural awareness while at the same time nurturing empathy, a tolerance for diversity, and emotional intelligence.”
I have identified that some learners struggle with pronunciation (they have not a complete master of their mother tongue either), hence the use of folk tales which has increased learners fluency while singing and facilitate vocabulary acquisition in meaningful ways. Furthermore, expand learners’ knowledge about daily life, reinforce values, and raise awareness about countries and cultures around the world while creating a habit of reading. The tasks presented in this blog are based on the third folk tale called I Am La Luna.
PROFILE OF LEARNER Kindergarten 001 is a group of 22 children (16 boys and 6 girls), whose ages range from five to seven years old. This is a mixed- ability class, with active and willing learners, but with different cognitive levels and grades of concentration. They have a very low affective filter, show pleasure for learning and like interacting in groups or doing pair work. Most of them are visual and kinesthetic learners and love tasks that involve singing, acting out and drawing.
Children are participants in a pilot program for the implementation of bilingual education in the public sector and the instruction around mother tongue is based on projects which were selected according to the students’ needs, interest and cognitive level. The bilingual emphasis applied in the group is the Preview-Review method and a reading component is included in the curriculum (topics studied in L1 are reinforced through the reading plan). There is a great availability of tales, and a stipulated program to follow.
OBJECTIVES OF TASKS Developing students’ intercultural awareness through literature. Increasing fluency and language natural acquisition through songs and small projects. TASKS INSTRUCTIONS The following tasks were adapted from English to a Beat from Hampton-Brown. And belong to the first part of the folktale I Am La Luna.
Build Background and vocabulary Start talking about the sky and elicit information from students related to the signs that appear during day–Sun and at night-Moon, stars. (Whole group). Show students pictures of these words, making them repeat their names after you, paste images around the classroom. Ask students to stand up, listen to the command and head for the place where the image is located-include action verbs. For example: Go to the Sun jumping. Go to the Moon dancing. (Model the activity).
Note: Students know and act out a great variety of verbs in present continuous tense.
Check for understanding, pointing to the pictures used until now, asking students to name them. T: What is it? St: Sun (Ask for choral production and individual participation)
Preview the story
Show students the image on the cover of the folktale and ask to predict what the story is about. Tell them the name of the tale “I Am La Luna”. Then introduce the characters (The Sun and The Moon) and have students tell what they know about the real Sun and Moon. Explain that I Am La Luna is a Mexican folktale, show a world map and locate Mexico. Paste a tiny Moon on the country. Tell students some special features about Mexico: Music and food.
Conduct a picture walk, so students access the overall idea of the story. Ask what they see in every page.
Read the story aloud
Read the first two pages of the story slowly, using facial expression, gestures, pantomime and making emphasis with the voice.
Oral production Sing the song “Night Dance” slowly, using gestures and pantomime, do it by lines. Ask students to listen carefully and repeat after you, acting out the lyric. Pay special attention to the words shiny and bright-open arms and wiggle fingers.
I am La Luna I am the Moon I´m so shiny and bright
I am La Luna I am the Moon I sing and I dance at night
Have students echo the lines of the song as a group. Play the CD for the first time so they can compare voices and get familiarized with the song. After many rehearsals, they can them chime in on the full rendition as you play the CD. When they are comfortable singing along with the vocal track, play the instrumental version. Have them to practice the songs in groups (only boys or girls, mixed groups.
Using the language
Have students form an inside-outside circle. Facing partners can talk to each other. Ask them to move a step to their right to meet another classmate. Model the sentence using the rhythm from the folktale (I Am La Luna). I am (Santiago). I am a boy. I´m so happy today. I am (Lucia). I am a girl. I’m so angry today. Note: Children already know vocabulary about feeling and emotions, and the definition boy and girl.
Distribute art supplies and invite students to draw the Moon on the sky and describe it orally to the class (Big, shiny, bright, up). Distribute old magazine and invite students to make collages that tell about themselves. Encourage students to include items relating to their age, where they´re from, and what they like to do. Socialize the project.
Note: Students are not able to create full structured utterances but they can express ideas through simple sentences or words they are familiarized with. L1 is allowed, but English is used along the tasks.
EVALUATION OF TASK IMPLEMENTATION What went well: Students were active listeners and followed directions without problem. Participated with enthusiasm, were concentrated on the tacks and provided interesting and funny insights. Loved singing and acting out the song, enjoyed group work and the projects. They were proud of their drawings and collages and socialized them with happiness, using words in English.
What went bad: Students had difficulty pronouncing the last part of the song (I sing and I dance at night), it was too long and complex for them to assimilate, so they hummed it. Some students could not deal with the inside-outside circle activity, they had to talk one by one to be heard, generate control and order. I noticed that some kids found the use of the language beyond their level and/or could not remember what to say. Some got confused with the lyric and mixture sentences.
What would be improved: I would pay special emphasis to the last part of the song, making students sing it several times. Another solution is to change it by saying …I ´m so shiny and bright. Related to the inside-outside circle activity I would divide the group in two, work with one group first while the other observes and vice versa. To avoid lack of language and oversights I would generate several examples using kids’ ´names.