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Choral Speaking

Speaking and listening, reading Bands A,B,C,C What is it? Choral Speaking enables groups to present oral presentations of poems and other texts. What is its purpose? Students enjoy working collaboratively to: understand the way texts are constructed perform texts broaden understanding of themes, rhythms and ideas

How do I do it? Choose a poem or poems that students will find enjoyable Model reading it with expression. Encourage students in a joint reading. Talk about conveying meaning by: emphasising particular lines/phrases/words, using a range of voices, eg. one or two voices, assigning different sections to different speakers, varying pace, voices, volume, including possible gestures or actions

Have whole class participate in reading. Choose another poem and have class make suggestions on ways of presenting it. Provide a range of poems suitable for small group presentation. Divide class into groups who work on small group presentations including possible variations on voice, actions and props. The groups present their poems to a range of audiences. How can I adapt it? Students learn words off by heart. Students select their own texts, such as song lyrics, raps and other texts. Big books or charts containing suitable texts can be used. How can I use it to evaluate students' language learning? Many aspects of co-operative learning and speaking and listening components of language learning may be assessed during a choral speaking activity:

Participates appropriately in small group situations Displays confidence in speaking and listening in small group situations Delivery of presentation- spoke clearly, projected voice, spoke confidently, gave eye contact, varied tone, and gained interest of the audience Content of presentation- appropriate interpretation of meaning

Where can I find out more? Hancock, J. & Leaver, C., ( 1994) Major Strategies for Teaching English, Australian Reading Association, Victoria McFarlane, P and Harris, R (1988) A Book to Perform Poems By, AATE, Adelaide. Local and visiting performance poets such as May Carroll, Geoff Goodfellow and Komninos provide great models for students.

Academic Controversy
Speaking and listening Bands B,C,D What is it? A co-operative learning form of debate in which students consider alternative sides of an issue before reaching consensus. What is its purpose? To involve all students in co-operatively speaking, listening and thinking about an issue. To focus on social skill development such as active listening, disagreeing agreeably, turn taking. For students to consider more than one perspective on an issue, before adopting a position on that issue. As an excellent activity to prepare students for writing arguments.

How do I do it? Form class into groups of two pairs ( AA, BB) All groups are given the topic phrased as a statement such as 'No advertising should be allowed on television', 'John Marsden's Tomorrow series shows a world without hope', 'Jane Austen is a better writer than Stephen King,' AA team takes the positive position, BB takes the negative position. Each pair has a set time ( 5-10 minutes) to construct an argument for their position. AA presents their argument to BB who listen but may not interrupt or question. BB presents their argument to AA who listen but may not interrupt or question.. Each pair adopts the opposing position and has a set time to prepare new arguments for that position. ( they may not use arguments already contributed by the other pair.) AA presents as before, followed by BB. Working together AA and BB review the arguments and achieve a consensus position in relation to the topic. How can I adapt it? Where the class does not divide evenly into multiples of four, some students might take on roles such as timekeeper, encourager, peer assessor, etc. Students could keep notes for a related written task. Useful for exploring themes, aspects of character in literature texts.

Students reflect on the discussion and construct a text which puts their personal point of view on the issue. How can it be used to evaluate students' language learning? Using a checklist or proforma with a pre-organised set of criteria, students could conduct self and peer assessments in relation to cooperation, speaking and listening, social skills. Where can I find out more? Bennett, B., Rolheiser, C., Stevahn, L. (1991) Co-operative Learning, Where Heart Meets Mind, Educational Connections, Ontario.

Speaking and listening, reading and viewing, writing Bands A, B, C, D What is it? The teacher prepares a text for cloze by deleting some carefully selected words. Students, usually working together, read the text and supply appropriate words to fill the gaps. What is its purpose? Cloze is useful for drawing attention to particular features of texts in order to help students to understand how texts can be interpreted or constructed. How do I do it? Select a passage text of appropriate level that is relevant to the topic/unit of work on which students are working. This text can be reproduced in written form so that students have their own copies, or it can be a common text in the form of, for example, a big book or an overhead. Choose the particular language feature(s) you wish to focus on, and delete words accordingly. Either individually or in groups, students choose words to fill in these gaps so that the text makes sense. How can I adapt it? Cloze can be used to teach and assess a range of skills and understandings. For example, teachers can use cloze to decide the extent to which students: understand the structure of the text; understand language features including grammar; identify and use context cues; use a range of listening strategies; use a range of reading strategies; and use a range of spelling strategies.

Cloze can be used in poetry and prose to highlight the author's word choices. Deleting title, adjectives or verbs for students to replace can lead to intense and valuable discussions about layers of meaning, and the connotations of particular words. How can it be used to evaluate students' language learning?

During the task, teachers can conduct informal discussions with students about word choice and writing strategies as well as observe the strategies students use to spell words and check structure of text. If students are doing written cloze, the work samples can be analysed after the task is completed. Where can I find out more? Assessing As You Go: Primary English, (1997) Curriculum Corporation, Victoria.

Speaking and listening, reading and viewing, writing Bands A,B,C,D What is it? Jigsaw is a co-operative learning structure that promotes the sharing and understanding of ideas or texts. What is its purpose? Jigsaw facilitates learning in two areas; the social skills of positive interdependence and equal participation and the academic skill of acquiring knowledge and understanding. Expert group members share that information with home team members so that each member of that team puts a piece of the jigsaw together, forming the basis of holistic understanding of a topic. How do I do it? Organise the class into co-operative home groups of, say, three and hand out three different sets of information which relate to a particular topic for example, rules for language usage, structure of a novel (page one, two and three) Organise the class into co-operative expert groups by teaming up students with like materials. For example, all page one students in the class together, page two, and so on. This group reads the materials and discusses the best methods of sharing their acquired knowledge and understanding with their co-operative home group. Organise the expert groups to return to their home groups. Each student presents their understanding of their part of the topic and the home group must then demonstrate understanding of the whole topic. For example how the conventions of a capital letter, a full stop and a comma is used in a sentence, or how the setting, plot and characters, work together in the structure of a novel. The demonstration of that understanding may be a written or an oral activity

How can I adapt it? There are limitless ways of adapting the jigsaw structure in terms of the size of the groups, the range of topics and the demonstration of mastery of those topics. How can it be used to evaluate students language learning?

Assign each group with a proforma that identifies criteria for assessment and ask them to conduct peer and self assessment. Where can I find out more? Bennett B., Rolheiser, C., Stevahn, L. (1991) Cooperative Learning: Where Heart Meets Mind, Educational Connections, Ontario. Jigsaw (Part of the Kagan web site, this section explains the origin of jigsaw and gives a range of variations on it.)

Writing Bands A,B,C,D What are they? Journals come in many forms and teachers should choose their own way of using them in the classroom. In journals, students undertake an important form of writing in the English classroom - writing to learn. When they write to learn, students attempt to make personal sense of their experience as well as build connections between what they know and new ideas they encounter. This type of writing helps students to construct their own knowledge, develop their thinking and reflect on their learning. It is part of the process by which understanding can be communicated to others in a range of written and oral genres. Journals range from informal personal journals in which students express their private thoughts to structured learning logs in which students record thoughts, questions and comments about their learning and make plans for future work. What is their purpose? This depends on the type of journal the student is using. However, teachers find that using journals are useful in that they encourage students to think and articulate their thoughts make their learning personal support self-exploration and self-discovery focus student attention on values, attitudes and ethical issues support the key learning processes of negotiation, collaboration and reflection improve writing

Journals are useful in assessing student progress against the TLOS for writing and addressing particular writing criteria in TASSAB syllabuses. If journals are to work in your classroom, you must be clear about your educational purposes for using them. Be sure to share these intentions with your students. All writers need to see a value and purpose for writing. Broadly speaking, there are five types of journal used in English. Often, teachers incorporate features of these different types into one journal that suits their needs and those of their students. 1. Personal journals: Students write regularly on whatever they wish, sometimes in response to a prompt or topic suggested by the teacher. Students record events in their lives, explore ideas, questions, fears, concerns and other thoughts, often not related to school. Entries can include sketches, diagrams, doodles, cartoons, etc. These journals are usually shared only with the teacher and close friends. If you are using journals for the first time, the personal journal is probably the easiest to begin

with. However, because they tend to be unstructured and open-ended, personal journals do not appeal to all students. 2. Dialogue journals (Written conversations): These can be similar to personal journal; however, in dialogue journals, the teacher writes a response to what students have written. Over a period of time, the student and teacher carry on a written conversation, most often related to school work, but sometimes related to personal thoughts and feelings. The dialogue journal is a good place for compliments on student behaviour and performance. The dialogue journal is an excellent way of scaffolding students' learning. You can model correct usage, correct spelling and different ways of responding; you can use your responses to develop students' thinking. Dialogue journals help develop reading skills because students are usually motivated to communicate with you. Dialogue journals are an excellent way for you to come to know your students in different ways, especially those quiet and reserved students who are often not prepared to ask questions and participate in discussion in class. It is very important in dialogue journals that you respond directly to what students say and avoid generalised statements such as "well done" or "very interesting to read". Sometimes, a question at the end of your response will help students to make a new entry, but avoid asking too many questions. It is more important for students to ask questions. Where possible, avoid writing more than your students do and try to make your response interesting to read. A problem with dialogue journals is that they can take up an enormous amount of time. Even writing a few words in response to a student is time consuming, especially in secondary schools where the teacher may have a number of English classes. Therefore, it is important to have strategies to cope with the demands of dialogue journals. Some of these are: collect a small number of journals each day in which to respond; write responses during journal writing time; ask students to star entries to which they would particularly like you to respond incorporate a dialogue journal into a learning log and respond at important times two or three times per term (for example near the beginning or towards the end of a unit of work); make the dialogue journal optional; use dialogue journals with small groups of students over a limited period of time (6 weeks for example) ensuring that every student keeps one at some stage during the year.

3. Learning Logs: These are a form of journal that focuses on work that students are doing in the classroom and generally does not include comments about personal matters. Learning logs work best if teachers respond regularly to what students write, but they require fewer responses than dialogue journals. You should negotiate agreed protocols and structures for the dialogue journal. Insist that students bring the learning log to every lesson and let them know that you will be using their logs as an important method of assessment. Learning logs can be used at various times during lesson or unit of work. For example, you could show the opening credits of a film and ask students make predictions in their learning logs about the events that will occur. At different times during the screening of the film, you could stop and ask

students to reflect on what they have viewed and predict future action. At the end, you could ask them to evaluate the film. At various stages during a unit, you could ask students to discuss key questions, reflect on their learning and negotiate new goals. From time to time, you can ask students to swap their learning logs and comment on each others' reflections. The notes students make in their logs can form the basis of an essay they write. Learning logs are an excellent support for class and group discussion. By asking students to reflect on a key question in writing before engaging in discussion, you give all students the opportunity to think carefully before making a response. In this way, more students become involved in the discussion and the discussion tends to be richer. Encourage students to use their learning logs to explore questions other than those you have set. Again, if they know that you will be using the learning log as an assessment tool, they will often be more likely to take it seriously. Encourage students, especially struggling writers, to use mind maps, sketches and diagrams as well as narrative. High school teachers often find it is possible to collect and respond to learning logs two or three times per term. When they do this, the learning log becomes an adapted form of the dialogue journal. Some teachers prefer to use a double page learning log. Students use the left hand page of the journal to make notes and record their observations, analysis, predictions and reflections, often on texts they are studying. They use the right hand side of the page to reflect upon and evaluate their learning and to ask questions. Teachers usually make their comments on the right hand page. Teachers who use learning logs find they provide excellent insight into their students' thinking and learning. As with other types of journals, you need to prepare students by modelling a range of entries. Often, you can use entries made by students from the previous year. It is good idea to keep a learning log yourself and demonstrate how you make your entries.