ESL Teachers Board: ESL jobs, ESL resumes and free ESL resources

 

Return to home page

 

 

Back to Lessons & games for ESL teachers

 

 

Courtesy of

KHALID AL SEGHAYER, PhD

alseghayer@yahoo.com

 

A Literature-Based Lesson

Khalid Al Seghayer holds the PhD in Foreign Language Education/Applied Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include computer-assisted language learning and second language reading. He has published in TESOL Quarterly, Language Learning and Technology, CALL Journal, Internet TESL Journal, CALICO Journal, CALL-EJ Online, and the APA News. He chaired the EFL Interest Section in TESOL from 2002 to 2003, and is currently the editor of TESOLís NNEST Newsletter and CALL Media Software editor of the Reading Matrix Journal.  alseghayer@yahoo.com

 

TopicYour Dad was just like you (a story by Dolores Johnson, 1993)

Target language: English as a Second/Foreign Language

Target Students Level:  Young Intermediate High ESL/EFL learners

Time: 150 minutes. (50 for each class)

 

Introduction

A literature-based approach in the second language (L2) classroom offers a variety of benefits. It encourages sense-making or meaning-making of a whole text (story, poem, etc). Fountas and Hannigan (1989) contend that once students understand the general meaning of the whole text, they are better prepared to deal with the analysis of the parts. A literature-based approach also promotes active engagement and collaborative work so that learners contribute to class activities through direct interaction with either the instructor or with peers. They also participate through sharing information, asking questions, and reflecting on their understanding, as well as working together to make sense of the text under study. Another advantage of this instructional approach is its incorporation of a human component so that learners can identify with characters who face common human conflicts and problems, such as fear, hate, love, etc. Learners have the opportunity to reflect on the charactersí actions and choices and then discuss whether they agree or disagree with the charactersí decisions (Adair-Hauck, 1996). Furthermore, a literature-based approach supports integrated as opposed to segregated skills and, as a result, its associated activities usually target in one lesson all the skills involved in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

The purpose of this lesson is to put into practice some of these benefits. To carry out this intention, a short story entitled Your dad was just like you by Dolores Johnson (1993) was chosen. This story tells about a boy named Peter who has been battling with his father over school work and various aspects of his life. One day while Peter was playing, he broke a trophy showcase belonging to his father which had been given to him by his own father when he was a little boy. Peter, out of fear of his fatherís anger, went to his grandfather seeking protection from his dad.

This story was selected based on five components suggested by McWiliams (1993):

1. Time and setting

2. Characters with personality

3. A major problem

4. Includes a problem and attempts to solve it

5. Has a quick resolution and ending.

The lesson will be organized around three phases: pre-storytelling, storytelling, and post-storytelling

 

A- Objectives

Functional

Students will be able to predict what might happen in the story, identify vocabulary related to some social practice in American culture, and compare and contrast similarities and differences between American social relationships among family members and their own. They will also demonstrate comprehension by describing characters and events, recounting part of the story, and discussing Peterís behavior.

Performance

Students will practice top-down strategies: listening for global understanding and guessing meaning from context. They will listen to and comprehend a short story in English, entitled Your dad was just like you, and demonstrate understanding through signals and actions. They will describe orally the main events and characters of the story. Finally, each student will assume the role of one of the main characters and write what he would do if put in that characterís situation.

Grammatical

The grammatical feature suggested by the story is the past tense, especially simple past and past progressive. Instead of initially teaching these grammatical features, the emphasis will be placed on practicing and reinforcing their use. This will be done indirectly within the comprehension phase. Students will be directed to apply these skills when making oral presentations and when writing their compositions to discuss the characters and events in the story.

Culture

After listening to the story, students will compare and contrast the similarities and differences between American social relationships among family members and their own.

Some social practices in American culture will be highlighted, such as giving the child the chance to express his or her feelings, the importance of communication as the best means to solve family crises, child abuse, the phenomenon of running away from home, etc. This will enable students to engage in cross-cultural exchanges.

 

B- Equipment and Materials

- Over-sized depictions/drawings of important vocabulary

- Picture of the story episodes

- Transparencies

- Story map

- Discussion web

- Character chart

 

C- Procedures

Day One (Pre-Storytelling)

Anticipatory Set (5 Min.)

The teacher will start the class by talking briefly about the concept or the genera of the story, more precisely, its presentation of aspects of human life. Students will be asked to discuss the cultural values that can be derived from reading a story, as well as how, if at all, a story helps in improving oneís language learning skills.

Warm-Up activity (10 Min.)

The class will proceed with an activity that will lead students to relate a story they know from their own experience; therefore, two warm-up activities will be employed. In order to generate a general discussion and engage studentsí anticipation about the content of the story, they will be shown the title and the main picture of the story (See Appendix A). Then students will be asked to recall a story they have read or known regarding relationships among family members.

Presentation (35 Min.)

At this stage, two activities will be undertaken. First, students will be told the name of the story and its setting. They also will be shown an illustration of the main picture. Students will then exercise ďthink bankĒ where they are asked to brainstorm about vocabulary or ideas which might be used to tell the story. After that, students will be encouraged to see if the vocabulary predicted does appear in the story. This brings us to the second activity. Students will examine their prediction by means of Total Physical Response[s] (TPR) activities. They will be engaged in signaling activities such as pointing, touching, drawing, acting, etc. The aim of so doing is to introduce key vocabulary words, namely grandfather, father, dresser, jump, break, smiles, yell, run, walk, park, race, wind, rain, and trophy (See Appendix B).

 

Day Two (Story telling)

Anticipatory Set (5 Min.)

The first five minutes of the class will be spent on:

- Asking  students to recall the title of the story;

- Telling the students that the story, Your dad was jus like you, will be told.  

 

Warm-Up activity (10 Min.)

After showing the students some pictures of the story that were used in the previous class, they will be asked to name the vocabulary associated with each of the displayed pictures. Whoever mentions the correct word will be asked to write it next to the displayed picture.  

Presentation (35 Min.)

Time to tell the story. To best convey the meaning of the story during the sense-making phase, the teacher will tell the story using large illustrations, voices for different characters, and facial expressions to convey meaning. To ensure that the students are following the story and to hold their attention while it is being told, the following activities will be undertaken.

- First, to engage the students in the storytelling process, they will be asked to raise their objects (which have been distributed in advance) whenever they are mentioned in the story, as well as say the word belonging to the picture or naming the character.

 

- Second, to help the students focus on its critical components and to reflect on the story they have just been introduced to, a cubing activity will be used. Students will be put into groups of two or three and asked to fill in who, where, when and what happens in each box. They will be given transparencies to fill out for the cubing activity (See Appendix C).

 

Day Three (Post-Story telling)

Anticipatory Set (2 Min.)

The instructor will start by announcing the agenda for the dayís class and sharing with the students the rationale for utilizing these activities.

Warm-Up activity (5 Min.)

Students will be asked to relate what they remember from the first telling of the story. The visual illustrations used in the previous classes to recall names or events will be available to the students if they wish to use them. In pairs, students will reconstruct the meaning of the story on a story map.

Presentation (43 Min.)

In this final phase, in order to encourage collaboration in a meaningful context, to help students organize their thoughts or ideas, and to move from comprehension activities to those that stimulate their critical thinking skills, several activities will be used, including Story Mapping and Discussion Webbing. In pairs, students will reconstruct the meaning of the story on a story map and the whole class will engage in a story mapping discussion where groups of students agree or disagree with each other (See Appendix D). Then the class will move to another activity, Discussion Webbing, in which they analyze the events of the story to reach a conclusion about why they took place. The web discussion will revolve around the question of whether or not Peter should run away from home. After having the chance to express their positive or negative answers, students will reach a consensual agreement on whether or not Peter should stay home and fix what he broke (See Appendix E).

Assessment

During these activities, the instructor will circulate throughout the classroom and use a checklist to assess whether students are on task and actively participating.

Extension

This activity can be extended further by providing an opportunity for independent practice. Students may choose to take the role of one of the main characters and write what they would do if they were put in their situations; or they may write a reflective essay presenting what they have learned about American family relationships. Other possible activities would be asking students to individually create a different ending for the story or create their own stories.

Adaptability

The activities described can be used with any age group and proficiency level. They are, however, highly recommended for younger intermediate ESL learners who are assumed to enjoy being active during the storytelling phases; that is, signaling, moving around, completing sentences, etc.

Cited Works

Adair-Hauck, B. (1996). Practical whole language strategies for secondary and university level students. Foreign Language Annuals, 9 (2), 253-270.

Fountas, I. and Hannigan, I. (1989).  Making sense of whole language: the pursuit of informed teaching. Childhood Education, 65(3) 133-137.

McWilliams, Betsy. (1993). Storytelling Techniques. Unpublished handout. World Language Conference,  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.   

 

Appendix A: The Title and Main Picture of the Story

 

Appendix B: Key Vocabulary

Grandfather Father Dresser

 

Jump Smile Yell

 

Run Walk Park

 

Race Wind Rain

 

 
Trophy Break  

 

Appendix C: Cubing Activity

 

Appendix D: Story Mapping Activity

 

Title:  Your Dad Was Just Like You

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The setting:

 

This story took place in America and talks about the conflict between a father and his son.

 

 

Characters:

Grandfather

Father

Peter (the son)

 

The Problem:

 

While Peter was playing around, he broke a trophy showcase belonging to his father

and then went to his grandfather to seek his protection from his Dad.

 

 

Event # 1   Peter broke the trophy showcase belonging to his father.

Event # 2   Peter ran away from his fatherís house to his grandfather's.

Event # 3   Peter explained how badly his father has been treating him lately.

Event # 4   Both Peter and his grandpa took a walk where his grandpa told him about his fatherís childhood life.

 

The Solution:

 

After talking with his grandpa, Peter went back home,

gathered the broken trophy, fixed it, and then gave it to his Dad.

 

 

Appendix E: Discussion Webbing

 

Peter should stay home and fix what he broke

 

 

 

Yes

 

No

1. His father was right when he got angry at him

1. Peter was right when decided to move out to his grandfatherís house.

 

2. Peter might join unwanted group when he ran away from home

 

2.  If he stayed home, his father would abuse him

 

3. His grandpa gave him a wise advice.

 

3.   Peter should seek help from somebody else other than his grandpa

 

 

Consensus

 

Best Reason Why:

 

 

How to Teach English As A Foreign Language To Children  by: braniac
1 It is important to have a general understanding of children and of child development so you can plan your lessons accordingly. 2 It is a good idea to have at least a basic knowledge of the language..
Reading-Comprehension Skills, Part I - ESL Teacher Freda Glatt Lesson  by: Freda J. Glatt, MS
If you can read every word on a page, are you really reading? Well, maybe and maybe not! One definition of 'read' is "to utter aloud written matter;" if using this definition alone, of course you are..
How to Make Classroom Board Games & Activities  by: games
Kids love games, and since it's hard for them to sit still, you need activities for them to get rid of some of that pent-up energy too. Here's a really big board game the kids will enjoy, and it's..
ONE UP ONE DOWN - Short Lesson  by: re
The teacher starts by stating, One up, one down . Only the teacher knows that that refers to the position of the teacher s arms: one is holding his/her chin, the other is crossed against his/her..
How to Write a Lesson Plan for Speaking English One-to-One  by: Sophie Southern
When you are teaching English as a foreign or second language, often referred to as EFL and ESL, you may come across situations where you need to give private classes to one client or student...
Sequencing - Short Lesson  by: js
In sequencing activities, students must put jumbled pieces of information into a logical order. Unlike jigsaw activities, all students in the group are allowed to see all the pieces of information...
Effective Listening Activities for ESL Students  by: Chris Cotter
Most ESL students will say that listening is difficult, if not actually admit that this is their weakest skill. The difficulty comes down to two main points. The first point results from the pace,..
ESL speaking activity - ESL lesson  by: Said-Ali
Trends, Internet… my life Type of activity: group work Level: pre intermediate up to advanced Aim: To talk about trends and discuss the importance of internet in our life in groups Preparation:..
ESL Punctuation Exercises  by: Chris Ciolli
Teach ESL students the correct uses of punctuation in the English Language. Remember, depending on students' native language, they may or may not be familiar with some punctuation, and the use of..
Grammar Fitness - A Student-Friendly Activity  by: Dr. Robert W. F. Taylor
Let me begin by saying that this activity is really called "Dictation Race". However, students spend so much energy running up to the board and back to their partners that I have taken to calling it..
Black History Games & Activities for ESL Students  by: Emily Potter
The history of black Americans is one that is sometimes painful and sometimes rich, but always an important part of the history of the United States. Students who are learning English as a second..
ESL GAME: Attention  by: Sabia
Call out commands such as: Attention Salute March in place... Stop Sit down Stand up Walk in a circle Clap your hands... Stop Run in place... Stop Jumping jacks... Stop Swim in place.... Stop At..
Thomas Edison teaching Tip - ESL Teacher Freda Glatt Lesson  by: Freda J. Glatt, MS
Do you know who invented the talking doll? How about the electric vote-recorder? Would you be surprised to learn it was the same man who invented the phonograph and the electric incandescent light..
Unscrambling - Short Lesson  by: jin
Play a game of "Unscrambling" to enrich vocabulary in particular categories, such as animals, transportation, fashion, sports, or media. For example, list four short, scrambled animal names,..
Computer Games - Short Lesson  by: sam
Make sure you have a variety of games. It's pretty easy to find a video rental place that will rent them out. If you have two youngsters to entertain, try getting two Game Boys and two Pokémon..
Grammar Lessons for ESL in Middle School  by: Joel Barnard
Teaching English grammar is an integral part of any ESL, or English as a second language, course. It is particularly important when teaching a middle school ESL course as it is these grammatical..
Games to Teach English to Kids  by: Nina Makofsky
There are several games that educators and parents can use to help non-English-speaking kids learn the language. In general, children are quick learners. If they are in English-immersion settings,..
Christmas in England Crafts for Kids  by: Mason Howard
Christmas has a long and complex history, and the holiday as we know it today is a blend of historic traditions. Christmas is celebrated throughout the world with slight variances from one country to..
Kids Learn English Language through Interactivity and Colorful Design  by: Vladimir Chen
One of the most crucial methods in determining and mastering the English Language is to read, read, and read. It is told that a good reader is likewise a effective writer and a good speaker. One’s..
Halloween Activities for Young Children  by: Jamie Jefferson
Celebrate the annual Fright Night with these seventeen fun (and not so scary) ideas, especially for young children. 1. Try your hand at face painting, or allow your children to paint each other's..
How to Teach US History Using Backwards Lesson Plans  by: Breann Kanobi
The backwards lesson plan is both a technique and teaching method that can be applied to most subjects. In order to teach United States (US) history using backwards lesson plans, you must determine..
Curriculum/Teaching Objectives for ESL Conversation Classes  by: Dawn Sutton
English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors teach reading and writing in English; however, teaching effective communication skills is also an important objective. Teaching students to carry out..
Games to teach kids about going green and saving the environment (video)   by: td
Start with: Save water, introduction to recycling, how to use recycling containers, paking things in cloth bag, don't litter, show the video below ... Video author: Shanthi Balraj Baboo - Website:..
ESL Last Day Games  by: Joel Barnard
Students of English as a second language, or ESL, are unlikely to be particularly receptive to a traditional lesson structure on the last day of class. Instead, provide a lesson that gives you and..
Game - Ultimate Frisbee - Short Lesson  by: sam
For this, you need one decent frisbee and a relatively flat piece of land. There are two teams, and the least on each team you can have is two, unless you plan on catching what you throw. Each team..
Building Vocabulary - 5 Ideas for Increasing Your Child's Vocabulary While Running Errands  by: Celia Webb
Want to help your child learn more words? Do you also want to keep them occupied while traveling to the grocery store, around town on errands, or even on vacation? Here are five word-related..
Teaching Space and the Solar System  by: Robert McKenzie
Outer space and the solar system is one of the most interesting topics discussed in school because of the countless colorful heavenly bodies occupying the universe and the idea that there is actually..
The Kevin Bacon Game - Short Lesson  by: sam
Slightly older children might wish to take part in the Kevin Bacon Game. The theory is that every living actor in Hollywood can be linked to Kevin Bacon in just five steps - plus some of the dead..
Classroom Games - Math Relay and Super Word  by: Lucas Kent
Here are a couple of great games for your daily lessons! Math Hurdles This is a great game to review number facts and to get some exercise. 1) Tell students to find a partner that is about the same..
Question Formation Quiz  by: jt
Choose the suitable words. 1. ___ yesterday? a. Whose called b. Who called 2. ___ talk to? a. Who did you b. Who you did c. Who you 3. ___ you born? a. Where was b. Where are c. Where were 4. ___ to..
ESL Games for Very Young Learners  by: Patrice Lesco
English as a Second Language, or ESL, games for young learners provide a fun and informative method of learning English language skills. Role playing and puppet theatres are two games that strengthen..
Game for students to know each other: Scavenger hunt - Short Lesson  by: sam
Give everyone a list of items and make them ask other classmates if they have something that fits the list. The list could either be innocuous items, e.g. who has a student id or wearing a casio..
Harry Potter's Geography and Mapping Lesson Plans: Add a Little Magic to your Lesson Plans  by: Valerie Giles
Lesson plans for mapping and geography can be inspired from the Harry Potter series of books. Harry Potter was very lucky when Ron's twin brothers gave him a magical map. This map showed him all the..
Lesson 3 - Weather Forecast  by: jt
The Story While we were sailing, my friend tuned in to listen to the weather forecast on a local radio station. Over the airwaves, there was a pause and an audible shuffling of papers, followed by a..
Ultimate Airplane Themed Games & Activities for your (any) Child's Birthday Party  by: Geoff Schurman
Are you looking for the Ultimate Airplane Themed Party Games and Activities? Well stop looking because they are right here... Good Luck and happy reading... "Paper Airplane Contest" Have each child..
My Game Plan  by: Hedda Tan
I have been teaching teenagers for almost 5 years now, and I find this group of students both challenging and rewarding to work with. The kids are challenging because they are at the beginning of..
Astronomy: Prepositions  by: jt
Astronomers study the planets ___ our solar system. a. among b. below c. in Answer-c Stars are balls of gas that give ___ light. a. away b. in c. out Answer-c A galaxy is a system ___ stars. a. of b...
How to Teach English Food Cooking Vocabulary  by: Michael J
Teaching English cooking and food vocabulary can be very exciting and rewarding. Teaching and also learning about cooking and food in a foreign language are difficult at first glance; however,..
ESL Game #1 - Tic Tac Toe  by: Joe Tosczak
To play Tic Tac Toe in class is very easy. But to be able to play Tic Tac Toe in class and still be teaching English at the same time is the tricky part. Any and every new ESL teacher will eventually..
Teaching English as a Second Language Games  by: Eric Benac
Teaching English as a second language can be a difficult job. People's minds wrap around their native language and it can be difficult to break their paradigm. It can also be difficult to keep..