Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Cuisenaire Rods in action with graded readers - an example in 'How to'.

"My" boys did me proud today, re-telling their homework book from Golden Week (OUP Story Tree, Green series #8, "The Castle Adventure")

They had been asked to read the book, listen to the accompanying CD, and colour code s or es endings on words eg frogs, witches). Why? To notice that one of them gets an extra syllable...So you can teach syllable awareness to elementary school kids in Japan and kill of katakana? You bet! (Just don't tell them!)

I do use a bit of Japanese in this video - I had my hands full with book/video. I try to minimise my teacher talk time (TTT) as much as possible with my body language/facial expression/hand not a great example of my teaching as I am asking them for nouns/verbs in L1. I hope you get the idea though . It also helped me suddenly realise (yet again - bell ringing moment) that my left-handed student had a glaring problem with word order. I'd never noticed, but we all did as we went along...and he got plenty of opportunity to correct himself. (I do have a few pet theories about south paws as language learners, non-scientific, but very related to my experiences with dylexia/or not, hearing impaired, and a considerable number of lefties I have taught and one I married).

Personally loved this Cuisenaire Rod exercise, as it was so competitive and really milked the workbook/homework aspect to death. How many times are they repeating the story (and getting more accurate because they want to)? How much are they listening to each other (a lot, and much more critically than in a usual Japanese EFL classroom I'd suggest)? How monotonous is their production? How much meaning are they putting into context/how much context are they interpreting in meaning?

I would love to get some feedback on this as an exercise. I would love to share feedback with the lads on their performances as well.