Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Designing activities in the classroom for "slow students"

During the last school year I did a quite complete unit of work about animals in grade 3 (8-9 years old).

We worked about animal kingdom classification, body characteristics, habitats, food, movements... The main objectives were to work the description, and to cover some grammar chunks like “They’ve got...” or “They haven’t got...”, They live in ...”, They can or they cannot”, “They eat...”, They are..., etc. 

Due to the diversity in the class I had to adapt lots of materials and activities, in order to cope with the different learning rhythms. While some of the children were quite confident in writing descriptions and speaking in front of the class, some other need help for completing the texts or just for understanding simple animal descriptions. 

So, I decided to work with the fast finishers (not always the best the students!), to develop two “listening activities” for their partners (slow students). 

The first activity was a matching activity, and the second one was a filling the gaps activity. Thinking about it and with two difficulty levels was a complex challenge for them!

Moreover, they had to write and design the activity with a word processor; they had to record their oral descriptions in a voice recorder; they had to look for clear images in Google, etc.

Finally, we edited the audio files with Audacity and recorded the activities in Mp3 format. 

And this was the result. I assure you, it was a complete success. We worked some key skills in a very motivating way, we "personalize and individualize" some tasks (always very interesting whe working with SEN or slow students) and we "climbed" some steps in the Bloom's taxonomy, making "things" more challenging. 

We are already thinking in how to develop new activities, not only for slower students but also for youngers in the school with our own voices, photos, videos or whatever.

Activity 1

Activity 2

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