Sunday, September 16, 2018

Higher Order Thinking Skills in the WL Classroom

Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) are activities in which learning requires augmented levels of cognitive processing.  On a Bloom's Taxonomy scale these activities would fall under the category of analysis, evaluation, or synthesis.  Chances are that if you're still in the classroom you've heard this terminology a lot.  How can we add these activities in the language classroom?

One way to incorporate HOTS is by providing students with more activities that require problem solving.  Think of conversations where students are only given half of the information and then must complete the missing parts logically to finish it.  This activity could be completed by providing students with blank spaces where the other half of the conversation would be found.  They could work individually to brainstorm possible responses and then after a specified amount of time students could partner up with each other.  Next, they would share their thoughts from their brainstorming session.  Then, students would decide who is Partner A and who is Partner B.  The teacher would provide Partner A with one half of the completed conversation and Partner B with the other half.  Students would take turns reading their role and filling in the page with what they hear from their partner.  Finally, students could create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting their initial ideas of the logical completion of the conversation with the full conversation they worked on with their partner.  As a follow up activity students could develop their own conversation on the same concepts for a class work or homework assignment.

Check out these ready to go activities for the French classroom:


Les Passe-Temps
La Jeunesse
Greetings and Salutations

How do you incorporate HOTS activities into your WL classroom?  We'd love to hear some other ideas!  Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Timed Writing

A great way to show student progress in the language is to use timed writings. A timed writing is when you give students a specific amount of time, for example, 5 minutes, to write as much as they can in the target language. The idea is that the more language a student has internalized the more they will be able to write. This is a technique that is used by many teachers who teach with CI strategies such as Storytelling, Story-asking, TPRS, or other CI methods.

First, find a prompt. Some teachers will use timed writing at the end of a particular lesson/unit to measure what the students acquired from a particular story. These end up being re-tells of the story.

What I like to do is to take a picture sequence that I haven't told as a story and have my students write about that. That lets me see what structures they have acquired and can APPLY without just regurgating the same language that I have just provided.

If you are looking to show growth, you essentially need a pre-test. That means you should have your students do a timed-writing early on in the year, during the first few weeks of school. Expect this number to be low. After several weeks of comprehensible language, your students will be able to produce a little more. If you have them do the same prompt every month, you will see students get better every month.

This download includes 2 picture prompts as well as a spreadsheet and google gradebook for tracking the data. The google gradebook is also capable of automatically producing an individual grade report that you can use to communicate student progress with parents.

Let us know what questions you have about Timed Writings and we will post a Q+A, FAQ post nex time!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

6 Ways to Use I have...who has? in the WL Classroom

I have...who has is a great game to use in World Language classes to help students hone in on their speaking, listening, and pronunciation skills.  Have you ever wondered what else can be done with this game?  Here is a list of 6 different ways you can get more out of this simple game with your students.

1.  Turn It Into a Class Competition
Distribute the cards to students making sure that all cards have been passed out.  Set a timer and record the time it takes for the class to move through every card.  Write this time on the board.  Collect and redistribute the cards.  Play the game again and see if the class can finish this round faster than the previous time on the board.  This can also be done as a competition between different classes if you teach the same course multiple times throughout the school day.  

2.  Play In Small Groups
Instead of playing I have...who has as a whole class game divide your students into two or more groups.  Provide each group with a set of cards.  Students will have more than one card if you choose to play this way.  On the plus side, they will receive more practice.  This can also be a great way for teams to compete.  See which group can finish first!

3.  Extra Individual Practice
Have individual students grab a set of cards and place them in order from start to finish to practice the concept individually.  The student can choose to place the cards in rows in order or play it on the ground in a wide open space to create a giant circle from start to finish.

4.  Presentational Practice
Combine two to three sets of the same game and redistribute the cards to students.  Have them use the answer part to create complete sentences with the information on the cards.  They can then turn these statements in to receive a homework or classwork grade.

5.  Put The Cards In Order
Use a dry erase marker and write a number on the top corner of the card.  Be sure to use random numbers and to not write them in order.  Then, place the cards in order and write down on a post-it note or other piece of paper the correct order of the cards from start to finish.  Keep this piece of paper with you.  Distribute one set of cards to small groups of students and have them work together to place the cards in order and to write down the numbers from the cards.  The students should then pick a representative from their group to bring their list of numbers to you to check.  The first group with the correct order wins!

6.  Review for Upper Levels
Play the same sets you play with lower levels with your upper level students, but require the students to respond in complete sentences as opposed to just giving the answers.  Advanced students will not only have to produce the correct answer and a logical sentence, but they will also have to listen closely to distinguish the portion that would appear at the top of another card.

These are just a few tips for getting the most out of your I have...who has? sets for class.  See below for some already created sets that you can use right away with your students.  How have you incorporated this unique game in your own classes?