I’ve been working on an assignment for the class I’m taking lately. The instructor doesn’t believe in non-authentic resources or TPRS, but she works to make input comprehensible to a certain extent.

My unit is St. Petersburg, for novice-high students. The students and I came up with the summative assessment together. They are to pick places that they would like to visit in St. Petersburg and we will all hear about them and vote on them.

As part of my planning, I was to come up with two lists students would need to complete the task: knowledge and skills.

On the knowledge side, I had the following vocabulary and culture: types of buildings/landmarks in a city, names of specific landmarks, transport forms, how to say where things are located, knowledge of historical figures connected to sites, adjectives for describing the places, ability to express opinions about sites, ability to tell where you’d like to visit, “I’d rather,” and to ask questions: who built, who founded, when, how much does it cost, why do you want to visit.

Under skills, I put in listening, comparing, researching, responding politely, reading/skimming for facts, creating google maps, reading maps of metro and bus lines, using google presentations, computing exchange rates.

Wow! That’s a lot! And every time I turn around, I end up adding to that list.

I started creating some vocabulary lists and some games on Quizlet and ClassTools, set up a demo of what I want out of the kids, and slowly realized that the students know much of the vocabulary already because of our looking at pictures and telling stories. Mostly they know how to use google, but because of creating these lists, I can tell what I need to do to get them to the summative project.

I’m going to do a bit of “flipping” of the classroom by asking them to do the Quizlet games on their own time, because most of the vocabulary is familiar. If they review it, they’ll feel empowered. Once back in the classroom, we’ll use stories to acquire the structures that they’ll need to get around a city (Hurrah!). I’ll give extra points to teams who manage to get the vocabulary from the Quizlet lists into our stories. Probably I’ll need to print out the lists for them or hang them on the wall.

That’s all for now. The big ah-hah is that I am figuring out additional ways to combine what I know to be the best practice for my kids (giving them comprehensible input and control over the classroom direction) with the need to demonstrate a lesson and teach specific content. Usually I do one or the other, and the second turns into a forced march, during which the kids beg for stories.

I’m off now. I’m obsessively watching the news in Ukraine and Russia.


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