Dear Amazing Teacher,
Supporting our students in talking and listening in a structured and thoughtful way can be difficult and especially so for language learners. Students learning a new language are experiencing what Dr. Stephen Krashen* calls the “affective filter” - you may not realize it but you have experienced it too: recall feeling nervous before a speech and forgetting what you were saying or being worried you will get the tense wrong in your Spanish 1 class and choking for fear your peers would laugh at you. This makes it difficult to listen to and produce speech in a language you are learning.
Likewise, the “silent period” (also discussed by Dr. Krashen) is a period of a few days up to a year when a students will still be learning language but will not be ready to produce it, speaking very little or not at all. For the purposes of these listening and speaking activities, support your language learners in making the classroom as low-stress and low-anxiety as possible so the affective filter is not felt as strongly and students feel more comfortable taking risks in listening and speaking. And if you have a student who is experiencing the silent period, let them participate in other ways and/or buddy them up with a bilingual peer if possible. Okay, now you know the theory to help you -let’s jump into the activities!
WHAT? Use one of the 3 listening and speaking activities to give your students the opportunity to use effective listening and speaking strategies to comprehend, collaborate, and present. You can use the activities over and over all year long with different content-they are great tools for review!
WHY? In many classrooms students get few opportunities to meaningfully interact utilizing grade specific language to share what they are learning, thinking, understanding, and feeling about grade level content and concepts.
Choose the topic/content that students will listen and speak about. For example, will it be the read aloud from this morning, the comparison of the book and film, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, the study of magnetism that students are experimenting with in science, or a conflict on the playground or in the community?
Once you have determined the topic/content, decide which of the 3 activities will best reach your learning goals and objectives: Shadow Play, Partner Charades, or Mime and Narrator(s)?
Work in small groups or whole class depending on how much time you have and your learning objectives.
Each of the activities below is aligned to the Common Core State Anchor Standards for Listening and Speaking, standards 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6.
Enjoy! - Trish
Drop me a line if you have any questions or suggestions: email@example.com
* Krashen, S. (1985). The Input Hypothesis. London & New York: Longman.
Sheltering Strategies for Language Learners
Common Core State Standards: Listening & Speaking Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Key Vocabulary shadow, puppet, silhouette, collaborate, script, charade, syllable, mime, narrator, shadow, puppet, collaborate, script, idea, communication, clear (communication), charade, guess, slip (of paper), syllable, sounds like, guess(ing), and content vocabulary from the topics that you choose for the activity.
Vocabulary Teaching Strategies Model the key words using gestures and body motions when introducing the activity and interacting with groups, provide picture dictionaries and vocabulary cards with pictures and words that are relevant to the topic; create personal dictionaries for individual students who may benefit on index cards with the word, a picture, definition, and the word used in a sentence; role-play difficult new concepts; use the vocabulary charts provided and keep them posted for reference during the activity.
Connecting to Prior Knowledge/Providing Background Information Once an academic topic previously or currently being studied has been chosen, the teacher, small group, and/or student will complete a planning chart chart to elicit prior knowledge, identify questions, and organize their presentation (either shadow puppet play, charade, or pantomime.)
Hands-On Materials Books and classroom materials students have read and studied, shadow box theaters, silhouette puppets, and props, as needed, pencil and paper.
Meaningful Practice These activities ask students to make sense of academic content through student-generated storytelling and communication. Students will talk and listen to their classmates in order to create a shadow puppet play about content they are studying and present it; listen and speak to guess a concept or an academic vocabulary word chosen by and acted out by a student; and use listening and speaking to plan and narrate a pantomime of academic content as well as reflect upon and critique their own and others presentations for clarity, organization, meaning, and planning effectiveness.
Open-Ended Questions When observing students work and/or for closure, ask the following questions to elicit higher-order thinking and understanding of the concepts that are embedded in the listening and speaking anchor standards.
1) How did you prepare for your presentation? What did you do and why?
2) Did you build on other’s ideas? Whose and how? Give an example.
3) How well did the presentation communicate the information? Give examples of the information presented and why it was effectively presented or not. Offer suggestions to make the presentation more persuasive.
4) Describe the organization of the presentation. Was it effective in fulfilling it’s purpose? Why? How might it be improved?
5) How was your/their speech adapted in the presentation? Why was it changed and was it affective?
Constant Assessment Ask open-ended questions related to the activity objectives (see questions above) when assessing students during the activity and provide constructive feedback whole class, in small groups, or individually on both content and language.