Think reflectively about the micro-teaching activity that you and your partner created and presented in class. Then, write a blog (250-300 words approx.) that responds to the following three key questions: why you found this activity interesting and strong for your class, what you would have done differently due to differentiating instruction reasons, and how you would have incorporated more culture into it.
In order to earn full credit for this blog, you must also leave at least two comments (50-100 words each) on your peers’ posts. Please take the time to read what they wrote – you’ll find that you often have similar reactions to the teaching experience, and can help one another a great deal through this first semester!
For personal blog: Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 11:59 p.m.
For two comments: Thursday, March 21, 2019, 11:59 p.m.
Little by little we are learning not to use the traditional way of teaching grammar. As you mentioned, that could be overwhelming for students when it comes to learning a language. Giving students examples and contextualizing depending on the type of grammar we want to teach, it will give them the opportunity to understand how the language works. While the traditional way, it will not have any relevance for students or they will not apply it effectively. On the other hand, your presentation was good and I liked that you incorporated a game in your presentation which was really fun. It just that it lack more culture, which is essential for our lessons.
Our second micro-teaching activity allowed my partner and me, to gain more exposure to a different aspect of designing a lesson, as well as, teaching the lesson. Our focus aimed to cover the language skill of reading. As a result, we formulated an activity around communication, specifically, in the framework of worldwide communication. Our micro-teaching operation was modelled after the discussions from the book, Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen. Our first activity consisted of presenting visuals to activate the previous knowledge of our students. The discussion on schemata presented by Lee & Van Patten in chapter 11 influenced our planning, since according to Lee & Van Patten, “… schemata must be activated and must be appropriate to the passage being read” (228).
Our primary goal consisted of examining the reading comprehension of our students. As a result, my partner and I decided that our activity needed to be familiar, authentic and meaningful for the students. Therefore, we designed an activity that consisted of a letter exchange between two friends, located in different continents. Also, it is important to mention that the letter was written in the present tense to maintain the fluidity in the classroom. However, this does not mean that we made the activity less challenging for the students. It is important to mention that the discussion on input presented by Lee & Van Patten in chapter 2 influenced our planning, since according to Lee & Van Patten, “… instructors tend to put learners into familiar situations (drawing a face, playing a card game) so that learners can make use of what they know about the real world in order to comprehend better” (34).
Nonetheless, after conducting a meticulous analysis of our lesson. I found some discrepancies. To be specific, our lesson lacked clear differentiation for our students. We did not provide accommodations for our students. As a result, I would have modified our main activity according to the needs of the students with IEPS. For instance, I would have provided more oral input, visuals and physical items to adjust to the needs of the students.
Also, the second discrepancy has to do with culture. In my opinion, we could have exploited the main activity more. To be specific, we could have created a comparison/discussion on the concept of written letters in different countries. As, in each country, written letters have different aims.
Lee, James F., and Bill VanPatten. Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen. McGraw-Hill, 2003
For the second micro-teaching activity, my partner Melinda and I prepared a lesson designed for native and non-native Spanish speaker in 9th grade. Our focus was to teach vocabulary to our class.
We tried to incorporate vocabulary in the most dynamic way without forgetting the main objectives of our lesson. For this reason, We showed The Simpsons’ family which connects students to the topic “La Familia”. According to Lee & VanPatten in chapter 11 states that, “[...] schemata-the personal knowledge and experiences that they relied on to represent and understand concepts” (218). We chose the Simpsons because students might know them and this could be very meaningful for them. Also, the visuals we have in our presentation was another helpful way to make direct connections while learning the family vocabulary. Additionally, we did not add any translations because that would not be a useful way to present vocabulary to our students in the target language. This is stated in chapter 2, the use of visual without any translations “As learners study vocabulary in this way, they are encouraged to make direct form-meaning connections similar to those that they would make if the vocabulary were presented within the context [...]" (38). We wanted students to actively participate with the vocabulary as they read. For example, we asked students to read the members and their relation. We were also helping students improve other skills like reading, writing (worksheet) and speaking (group work). What I would've done differently, to present a family that could be culturally related to students since the Simpson’s family are not well known to all students, maybe Coco’s family, which can serve as a more cultural example for our students. Another thing that we would have avoided, having incorporated the flags of the countries. That is to encourage patriotism among our students. However, we do not know if they feel identified with the specific values, culture and history of their countries.