Computer Lab Stories

I am giving my intermediate and advanced classes a vocab test next Tuesday, so I dropped everybody by the computer lab to let them work on their vocab using Study Stack and play with the words a bit.

Sort of.  Before they get to play hangman or bug match or any other vocab game they like, I provide 8 words from the list of 25 I want to focus on.  Advanced students have to use them to write a story, intermediate students can give me one sentence per word.  After they turn that in using Moodle, off they may go.

With the stories from the advanced students, I looked through all of the them and retyped them with perfect grammar.  I don’t add anything that they aren’t already trying to do, but just polish up the writing a bit so that it is still very recognizable as their own.  Tomorrow in class we’ll go through and read all of the stories (perfect versions) so they can see what they’re coming up with, and we’ll play with those.  At the same time, though, I will be handing each student a printout of their original version next to the perfect version I redid for them.  I have them look through the differences and identify which things they need to work on: phrasing, vocab, word order, etc.  Personally, I hate correcting papers (pointing out the mistakes) and for me this is a way to provide positive feedback while still giving them useful ideas to work on grammar wise.  They’ve always enjoyed this activity in the past, and the advanced students are usually grateful for the feedback.  We’ll see how it runs tomorrow.

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2 responses to “Computer Lab Stories

  1. I’ll look forward to hearing how kids like that. I guess you said that advanced kids are usually grateful…hmm. I actually did sit down with one very advanced kid and walk through just the verb phrases with her, and she loved it. She knows enough that she nailed the verbs the next time we talked. I felt a little guilty about possibly raising her affect and making her bring out the monitor, but she’s fluent enough that it probably won’t affect her for long.

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  2. You know, even though activating the monitor may slow acquisition, I don’t have a problem with that on a semi-regular basis at the more advanced levels. I think I remember one of Anne Matava’s kids who had moved on to college describe grammar as a way to organize all the language they are getting. Building some filing cabinets occasionally isn’t always a bad thing.

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