“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”
Choices are important in our lives. Sometimes there are times we regret, there are times we pray for what we’ve chosen.
I have a group of mixed-ability students in grade 11 studying mostly languages. Some of them are not happy because that was not what they actually wanted but that was the only option to take.
I had a very disappointing lesson the other day and when I arrived home I thought what I could do for them to realize or do something for themselves until the next fork appears on the road they had chosen. And I decided to go to the class with a poem. Yes, I chose The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost as I thought with a little help, they would be able to understand the poem and we’d be able to talk about our decisions. To sum up, it was a great lesson. We all enjoyed it and I think they also revised their decisions or their attitudes towards their choices.
Now I’d like to tell you how I planned the lesson. First of all I found some very valuable lesson ideas on the poem and took some inspiration from them and I prepared one suitable for my students.
First I asked what the word ‘road’ meant. Then I asked what it could be used as a metaphor. We looked at the picture I chose as a warm up. ( If you search Google/Yahoo images as “Two Roads”, you’ll get some pictures of the woods that come to a fork)
The students described the picture and then I asked them what they would do if they were in this picture, how they would feel, how they would decide. The best part of the lesson was actually here and I hadn’t predicted that while preparing it. They talked about how they would be both nervous and excited. We talked about what they could encounter on the road, where these roads might take them.
Then we brainstormed words/ideas related with roads. I chose a recording of the poem on YouTube and told students to listen and jot down any words or phrases they heard/caught/liked.
After listening to the poem twice, I gave them the handouts and told them to read the poem and find if the words they had heard were really in the poem. Then we discussed the poem. We talked about if the poet was happy with his choice, if the poem was sad or happy or hopeful. Now I’m waiting for their bookmarks on the poem. They’ll use the ideas from here.
Find a photo story, pictures that can be used as sequences or some pictures that can form a story. Make enough copies for your students.
Put students in groups.
Give each group the 1st picture
Tell them to brainstorm anything that comes into their minds first and then tell them to organize their thoughts in sentences as the first part of their story. Don’t forget to mention before that they will write a story collaboratively and they will use past tenses. You may also want to suggest some linking words that they can use to organize their paragraphs.
Tell them to pass their paper to the other groups clockwise and give them the 2nd picture of the story and tell them to continue writing their 2nd paragraph.
Continue the process until the pictures you have all distributed.
Ask students to exchange papers once more to edit. Tell them to read the stories carefully and make necessary changes or corrections.
Ask them to read the stories aloud. Put them on the walls. They can read all the stories in groups and choose the best one. You can collect all the stories on youblisher or issuu, you can ask them to create a glogster, using the pictures and adding the paragraphs or PowerPoint Presentations recording their voices or they can upload their presentation on brainshark and record their story.
We all have more motivated, fast thinking students in our classes. Often we feel guilty that they can’t advance more as they wait for their classmates to finish the tasks given. I got the idea of more tasks for fast finishers from Pinterest pins. Some teachers prepared posters for them, some had jars with reviewing activities. I liked the idea of the jar but as I move from class to class, it’s difficult for me to carry a jar along with my huge pencil case. Therefore I decided to have an envelope and fill in with creative writing ideas. I prepared colorful pieces of paper and index cards with topics to write. Even with younger learners, I started collecting wonderful paragraphs. Now I’m planning to have a fast finishers corner in the classrooms to showcase these good examples and praise their work.
We were working on narrative tenses and the writing task of the lesson was ‘writing a story’. My class is small and it’s a real mixed-ability class. although it’s small, it sometimes takes very ages for the students to master something. The book we’re using organized the activity very well – first making students to know and use the connectors to make them aware of the sequences in a story. We did the exercise on the book and wrote a paragraph using AtFirst, Then, After that, Eventually, Finallybut some of the students had problems writing their own paragraphs so I decided to continue.
photo credit @AClilToClimb #eltpics
I divided the group into two and told them they would write a story using At First, Then, After that, Eventually, Finally.
Each group now had a good students to help the others.
I changed one student from the groups and exchanged them with each other after they finished writing and reading their paragraphs aloud.
I left the good ones in the group, changing one students after writing a paragraph for four times.
In the fifth round, all the good ones were in one group but two groups managed to use the connectors and produced their own sentences.
Then they all went back to their seats and wrote their own paragraphs.
As a follow-up, they wrote another paragraph, creating a book with bookr.