Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Black Hole

The Black Hole (An adapted dictogloss lesson using YouTube)
In this post, I would like to write about a lesson that I designed and implemented in my classes today. I introduce the lesson step by step, provide a link to the worksheet I used, and also provide some examples of students work. I finally give a critique of this activity.

Lesson outline
  • Language level: Any
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults
  • Time: 60~90 minutes
  • Main activity: Writing; Text construction; story writing
  • Topic: Greed; Office life
  • Language: Basic present or past tense verbs; story-writing; sequencing;
  • Materials: Video clip and worksheet

    The video is available on YouTube. The description provided is as follows:
    Phil and Olly / UK / 2008
    A sleep-deprived office worker accidentally discovers a black hole - and then greed gets the better of him...
    Lesson plan
    1. Print out the worksheet available here (direct download), here (mediafire) and here (pdf). You will need enough for each student and also one more to give to each group that the students make. (∴ if students usually make six groups, you will need six additional copies.)
    2. Briefly explain the contents of the lesson:
      1. Watch a video.
      2. Make a list of words from the video.
      3. Draw a storyboard of the video.
      4. Add an English sentence explaining each scene.
      5. compare storyboards with groups.
      6. Complete a "group storyboard" and hand in to the teacher.
    3. Show students the movie.
    4. Ask students to create a mind map of important words, or words that stand out from watching the movie.
    5. Ask students to check their mind map with the people in their groups.
    6. Draw a similar mind map on the board asking students for words to add.
    7. Hand out the worksheets and explain that you have added some "useful words" at the top. Students can work in groups to check the meaning of the words.
    8. Show the movie again, this time students draw a storyboard of the movie as they watch. Also, give time after the second viewing to complete their drawings. (Don't give them too much time though. This is not an art class!)
    9. Once they have completed their storyboards, instruct students to write in either the present or past tense. It is important to make sure the tense stays the same throughout the story. E.g. "The man kicked the copier" // "The man kicks the copier".
      1. Depending on students ability, they can be introduced to sequencing words such as At first, then, next, after that, finally, last etc. to include in their write-ups. 
    10. After writing their stories, students read this to a partner. I used Andy Boon's "Kaiten-zushi" method, which is outlined in the current edition of MET. It basically involves students standing up, forming two lines facing each other and one side reading their story to the other. They change partners so they get lots of speaking practice.
    11. Following this, the students make their groups. Give out one more worksheet to each group and tell them to make a final group version. This gives students the chance to improve the written story as a group, working collaboratively on errors. During this stage, the teacher should write down any common errors that they have noticed on the board.
    12. Finally, the groups hand in their completed worksheet. It is up to you here, but I like to keep these and display student work near to my office.
    Student work
    An example of a completed story

    Discussion / Critique
    + Drawing pictures is like investing in the activity. After drawing, they want to complete their "comics" by adding the English captions.
    + The story is quick, amusing and easy to transcribe into six scenes.
    - Some groups tended to sit around and delegate work to only a few members during the group activity. This can be combated by telling groups to make each person write something on the master paper (in a particular order if necessary).

    I hope you have enjoyed this post, please have a go, and of course, I would love to receive any feedback (good or bad).

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