• A grammar game (testing & using models) (with video)

    Below you can see a description of the lesson conducted in March 2012 in Daugavpils Russian Lyceum. I was a guest teacher and it was my first time with these learners. The learners are 13-14 years old and they have worked with the Thinking Approach for two and a half years. It was an open lesson and one of our intentions was to show a possible way with the Creative Grammar Technology of the TA.  In addition to my reflection, you are also welcome to watch the video of the lesson.


    1. Lesson description - before

    The idea of the lesson was to get the learners to test their models for choosing an appropriate structure to refer to the past in English with the purpose of further improving them later on. All the students had their models with them. An example of a student's model can be seen here. 

    In the previous lesson, the learners were offered a bank of sentences to be used for testing the model and asked to read it. This was necessary to ensure that there are no problems with understanding the sentences during the lesson. 

    In terms of competences to be developed, the lesson aims can be defined as follows:

    • find examples to support the model
    • find examples to contradict the model
    • present a model via parameters and values
    • define limitations in the developed models
    • understand different models of the same phenomenon and switch between them

    The following worksheet was developed to be given to learners during the lesson. 

    2. Lesson description - after

    The procedures for the lesson are described in the worksheet. The lesson itself was a game, where different groups of learners competed with each other in filling in the worksheet. This was pretty well as motivation to do the task well.

    Part 2 of the task was the key stage for the lesson, as it was here where most learning actually took place. The learners had to switch from the abstract model to specific examples in the text and find correspondences. The factor which made it even more difficult was the need to understand the model of fellow students as the task was set on the basis of someone else's rather than their own model. 

    The lesson was pretty dynamic and the students seemed to be enjoying that. The role of the teacher was to ensure that all groups understood the tasks and kept an eye of the task. The procedures themselves were defined by the task, so in this respect it was fairly easy for the teacher. It was more challenging to organise fellow teachers present in the lesson as they outnumbered the learners and it was essential that they are also involved in the work.

    3. Overall reflection

    The lesson definitely provided learners with enough data to reflect on their models and improve them later on. They could also experience what was more difficult for them and make conclusions for further learning. It was also useful for the teacher as it was easy to see which structures students notice better and understand and where they actually fall behind (fail to find examples or even fail to identify). 

    In terms of references to the Thinking Task Framework, the three tasks offered to the learners actually corresponded to the steps of the framework. It should be noted though that it is also possible to speak about the framework from the perspective of the multi-screen model of powerful thinking. In this case, one can speak about the three steps within each of the tasks offered to learners. For example, if some learners found it challenging to find examples, one can start thinking about developing a strategy for finding examples (Step 2) and then testing it and seeing if it works (Step 3). 

  • A Talk between the Old Tree and the Benches in the School Yard

    Form 7

    Task . Look at the tree in the middle of our school yard. It is talking to the new benches around it.  It likes all the changes that have happened since summer in our school yard.

    Write a text. Your tree is very intelligent, patient, a philosopher or artistic, romantic, active, and sporty.

    Choose one option, add any other features to the tree if you consider necessary (you will get additional 2 points) to make the description more precise.


    What to speak about: - what was the yard last year; - what it is like now. You can write it as a monologue or a dialogue.


    Fragments from the pupils’ written works



    -          Oh! How nice is here! But the next morning will be more amazing, because I am going to ask birds and squirrels for skiing and skating on me!

         I know that you, benches, have been here for not long. Now I am going to tell you a story about our yard. Before the changes it was very empty and I stayed there alone, without friends. But now I have got you!, the big brown tree kissed all branches.



    2.  Tree: How about talking a little?

         Benches:  Ok, what about?

         Tree: You know that I’m romantic so can we talk about romantic things?

         Benches: sure, do you remember your most romantic moment?

         Tree: Yes, this year since you were made many pairs have sat here on you and have talked about most interesting things. One day one pair talked about where they were going to marry. The man offered to fly to Cyprus and to live there.


      Benches:Nice, but we need to stop, I need to go, Bye.



    3. “Hello everybody! Today is a very nice day! How are you, benches?”, said a big tree.


        “We are fine”, answered the benches.


    “Today in school there is a very big sport competition. There are two football teams that I like very much. After reconstruction in the school yard is a big place for children to play tennis, football, volleyball, etc.



    4. - Oh, Mr. bench, I am really sorry, my leaf is on you, but in fact it’s very bad for me because a leaf saved is a leaf gained. 

    -Hei tree, don’t worry! Be happy! Your leaves are very nice.

    - Mr. Bench (do you)  I remember that in 2005 Artem Nikulin went to this school and now he is writing a story about us and ….

    - Really? I will be a star!

    - Oh, about stars …. Do you know that I was a leaf football star and I I won over a Fir tree from the park…….  Are you here. ( he hears - - -).

  • Acquiring an understanding of proportion and its applications Part 1

    PART 1

    This task was developed because I realised students could not progress in their 'scientific method strategies' without independent analysis skills. Both myself and the maths teacher want the students to acquire a working understanding of proportion and how it's used in maths, sciences and in general. To develop the language and visuals (diagrams etc) for describing proportional relationships. To extend/connect this understanding to fractions, ratios and percentages. To extend/connect and extend this understanding to straight line graphs which go through the origin.

    In this task at the final stage, looking at any one variable (parameter) will not work no matter how many variables you check out. They will ultimately need to look at the relationship between 2 variables.

  • Acquiring an understanding of proportion and its applications Part 2

    PART 2 (find PART 1HERE)


  • Acquiring an understanding of proportion and its applications Part 3

    PART 3 (find PART 1HERE)

    Writing a strategy for understanding proportion.

    Now I will ask the students to write out their understanding of proportion and where they think they may find it useful.


  • An Interesting Biography

    Lesson: Feb 08


    (student) improve their texts (biographies).

    (teacher) able to provide help with finding features that would make students’ biographies more interesting.

    Task (hometask):

    Finish rewriting the biographies


    Previously the students were asked to write biographies of their grandmothers/grandfathers. They were told that the best biography will be chosen for the school newspaper. At the lesson on February 8 students got their first biography drafts corrected by me. At the beginning of the lesson I told them that I had encountered a problem: I couldn’t choose the best one. I asked the students why I had had such a problem.

    The S’s answers to the question:

    -biographies are long;

    -you didn’t understand them;

    -biographies are similar.

    My response: That’s right. The biographies are too similar. What shall we do?

    Students: We need to make them interesting.

    Teacher: How to make a biography interesting? I give you five minutes to think about features of an interesting biography and of an uninteresting biography.

    I reminded the students that their aim was to write a biography so that I choose it for the newspaper. I assured them that I won’t take into account their accuracy so that not to discourage the weaker students. Students were asked to draw two columns in their “Tips on writing” notes and to write down features of an interesting biography and features of an uninteresting biography, respectively.

    The student’s ideas were the following:

    Features of an Interesting Biography:

    -       not too long or too short;

    -       interesting facts;

    -       funny moments;

    -       written in verse;

    -       beautiful font type;

    -       different colour;

    -       photo;

    -       many adjectives.

    Features of an Uninteresting Biography:

    -       too long;

    -       not clear;

    -       too simple;

    -       too many dates;

    -       too impersonal.

    My reaction: I wanted them to add some more features of an interesting biography so I asked students to match the features of the interesting and uninteresting biographies

    As it was planned, there appeared several gaps. Due to this model the following points were added to the features of an interesting biography:

    -       clear;

    -       not too many dates;

    -       interesting structure/ style;

    -       some personal facts.

    My reply: Ok. Now look at your biographies and think what of the above mentioned features you can apply to your biography.

    The students started rewriting the biographies. For the rest of the lesson I monitored and helped.

    Some more reflections:

    It was difficult for me to decide whether the number of the parameters the students suggested is enough. I am also not sure whether we “named” the parameters correctly or whether we matched them appropriately.

    The outcome: since I have four groups of 5 formers I chose four biographies.

    One biography was chosen for the use of zeugma (in zeugma, the single word does not fit grammatically or idiomatically with one member of the pair): “She is responsible because she takes care of rabbits, cows and Grandpa”.

    In another biography a lullaby was used: “When I was small, she sang a song when I went to bed:

    Sleep, baby, sleep,
    Our cottage vale is deep;
    A little lamb is on the green,
    With woolly fleece so soft and clean — Sleep, baby, sleep”.

    In biography 3 the explanation of the grandmother’s name was given.

    In biography 4 a story was described: “ In 1970 she went to a very beautiful town-Palanga. She swam in the sea when she heard somebody shouting. It was a man. My grandmother saved him and they fell in love (it was my grandfather). Some time ago they got married.”

    These “gems” were added to the column “Features of an Interesting Biography”.

  • Books and films, Finnish, lesson 3

    Books and films, lesson 3, yr 6, Finnish. For the overall aims, making an extract from a book into a scene in a film, see Books and Films, Matilda and Holes, English and Finnish For the first two lessons see Books and films, English, lesson 1 and Books and films, English, lesson 2. We had read the book and watched the film of Holes.

     Content aim: to find the defining features of films and books, how and why they are different, by looking in particular at the differences between the book and the film, ‘Holes’ by Louis Sacher.

    Thinking aim: To organise the differences in such a way that they could be clearly understood and could be used later as a tool.

    - I elicited the differences the pupils had found between the book and the film. In doing this we referred to what had been discussed in Books and films, English, lesson 2 and they had a lot of ideas.

     - We made these into a mind map, first together on the blackboard, and then they all wrote it out in their notebooks. I could have made an ENV, but this was very similar. In the next lesson Books and films, Finnish, lessons 4 - 6 I'll give them their challenge.

  • Books and films, Finnish, lessons 4 - 6

    This lesson refers to the series of lessons,Books and Films, Matilda and Holes, English and Finnish.

    We had looked at the differences between books and films in both the English and the previous Finnish classes Books and films, Finnish, lesson 3, so in this lesson I gave the class their challenge.

    Content aim:to familiarize the pupils with portayal of character through different media.

    Thinking aim:to give a challenge which will force the pupils to look at things in a new way, practice in making ENV.

    Material:The book Matilda, by Roald Dahl, in Finnish.

    - In groups of four the pupils read the first few pages of Matilda, enough to get an idea of what Matilda and her parents are like.

    - I then set the task: Write the script for the first two minutes of a film of Matilda in such a way that you show the nature of the parents and of Matilda in that time.

    - For the first time I felt that I probably had really given them a challenge, because they were completely stumped and didn't know what to do , saying it was too difficult and asking for help.

    - We the considered together what we would need to know to get started and we decided we'd need to find out exactly what we know about the parents, and how we know it. To do this I introduced the idea of an ENV of the portrayal of the parents in the book.

    - the Element was the portrayal of the parents; the Names of the parameters were their characteristics, for example, self-centered, narrow-minded, stupid, uncaring etc. ; the Values were examples of how this was shown in the book.

    - We built this up together in the class through discussion and they then wrote it in their notebooks. By the time we had done this the lesson was over.

    LESSON 5, a continuation of lesson 4

    - We reflected on the ENV we had made in the previous lesson and thought about which characteristics might be the most/ least important to protray in a film, and how they would be able to get the idea across.

    - The pupils then wrote the scripts in groups. By this time they seemed to have a better idea of how to get started and worked hard and enthusiastically.

    LESSON 6

    - The groups read their scripts aloud to the rest of the class. The whole calss reflected on the scripts and if they achieved the aim of portaying the nature of the parents and Matilda. How could they be improved? 

    - As most of the pupils hadn't actually read the rest of the book yet, they either imagined something they though was going to happen, or looked ahead in the book and made a scene from sopmething which happens later, as a means of starting the film. We could have done a lot of work on improving their writing, but unfortunately we didn't have time.

    LESSON 7, the last lesson on this topic, was in the English class. See Books and films, English, lesson 7

    My reflections on these lessons:I hadn't done anything like this before and it was very interesting to try out and see what a real challenge might look like. It would have been great if we'd have the time to go on and improve their work, make instructions for how to write such a scene, and then try them out by portraying another character from another part of the book in a film scene. Although I know their scripts could have been much improved, it would be interesting to know how I should have gone about showing them their weaknesses in a thinking way.

  • Bruegel - Hunters in the Snow

    The image of Bruegel`s hunters in the snow can be found here.

    Below are the questions used to encourage thinking in the responses.

    Pieter Bruegel the elder – Hunters in the snow


    1. What are some of the ways that the artist shows us this is a cold day?

    2. This painting has a sense of stillness about it, but the artist also shows that some things are moving. Can you name them and describe how we know they are moving?

    3. The fact that some things in this painting seem near and some things seem far away gives the painting a sense of depth. How does the artist show that some things are far away?

    4. What is the mood of this painting? How does the artist use colour to create this mood?

    5. How does the artist show texture in the fur on the dogs?

  • Chemistry & Bonding

    The idea here is that grade 6 and grade 7/8 are both looking at two big questions/mysteries.

    1. Why is the periodic table organised the way it is (it's a rather odd shape)?

    2. Why do atoms combine in the numbers/combinations they do?

    Both of these are good candidates for application of ENV as the answer to both lies in a number (1 - 8) which is a characteristic of each atom.

    This variable is not obvious.

    The material is very abstract there is really nothing in the students' experience to attach it to.

  • Creating a written thinking task in Art

    Lesson aim and thinking aim

    I could see that some students had difficulty in writing about pieces of art, and that the information and guidance I had given them was still not enough. I wanted to see if I could use step one of the framework to design a task that would allow for thinking to take place.


    I started by thinking about what I wanted the students to learn and where they were having difficulties (sub-step one). I want them to be able to analyze pieces of art and to be able to do this they need to understand how the artist has used the elements of art to achieve certain effects. I them moved onto sub-step two (think of a task and list the possible answers) I decided on the painting "Hunters in the snow" by Bruegal, and listed what the students were liable to say if I asked them to write about this work. They would most likely produce biographical information on the artist, or go onto the internet and cut and paste existing information. So moving onto sub-step three (change the task so that typical answers are no longer acceptable) I devised a set of questions where the students would have to look at the picture carefully in order to be able to answer them.


    I was pleased with the final task as there was no way the answers would be easily attainable to the students. Partially this was because most questions didn`t just have one right answer. I started with some questions from the book "Come play with me" which looks at children in art and then developed more than focused purely on how the elements of art had been used.

    I have never thought about just using step one alone before and have always tried to use the whole framework to devise units of work rather than individual tasks. I am not sure if the students need a thinking tool to solve this task, but I think I need to look at different models than just ENV. Or maybe it is ENV they need as they have to identify the different elements and explain how they have been used i.e what values have they been assigned, in order to answer the questions.

  • Dalyvis

    Atlikdami namų darbus, mokiniai išsiaiškina, kad vieną žodžių grupę sudaro neasmenuojamoji veiksmažodžio forma. Perskaitę 2 sakinius, jie gali pasakyti pamokos temą. Skirstydami dalyvius į 2 grupes nustato dalyvio rūšį ir jo gramatinius požymius. Pradėję sudaryti dalyvio pasą, sistemina žinias apie veiksmažodžio neasmenuojamąją formą.

  • Finnish grammar, types and parts of sentences

    Finnish grammar class: revision of sentences and clauses.
    AIMS:  CONTENT: To revise sentences and clauses, making sure that pupils can define the words, understand the concepts and are able to use them. There is no completely new information
    THINKING: Introducing the multi-screen model to help them to gain an overall picture of the sentence, to reoganise the information they already have and to see how it all fits together.

  • Form 8 Grammar-Conditionals Reflection 3

    Date: 06.03.2013

    Form 8 Grammar  - Conditionals, Reflection 3

    Language aim – Conditionals clauses, introduction of a mixed conditional clause

    Thinking aim – Stage 2 of the TTF; building the tool – the model for Conditionals.

    Before the lesson

    During the previous lesson (which was two weeks ago, as last Wednesday they wrote a test) the students started to make a draft model for conditionals, using two parameters Time and Factuality/probability. Students finished the task at a different stage, some did more, some did less, some understood more, some understood less. So one of my aims for the coming lesson was to stop and reflect what they remember, understand. I usually do this through their questions.

    Another thing which I wanted to deal with was an example of a mixed conditional they had in their home exercise to introduce the idea that parts of conditionals can refer to different time, thus having a new, unfamiliar for them verb structure. On the other hand it might be helpful to learn the structures in a more flexible way, not these rigid 0, 1,2, 3 conditionals; though this introduction might be too early, as they still have a very vague idea about  the time of the action in conditionals; and I am afraid about factuality as well Smile .

    Here are the 4 sentences for their home task.

    1.  "I am a chemist.  If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you.  Being only a chemist hampers me."

    2. If Harris's eyes fill with tears, you can bet it is because Harris has been eating raw onions, or has put too much Worcester over his chop.

    3.  If Peter was a more skillful player, he would have scored more points in that match.

    4. I believe that if you met Harris up in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely), he would immediately greet you with: "So glad you've come, old fellow; I've found a nice place round the corner here, where you can get some really first-class nectar."

    During the lesson.   

    Students: I. Reflecting on the previous lesson and their home task. The reflection is in the form of questions. 

    Here come their questions.

    1. In which part of the sentence do I have to search time?

    2. In which part of the sentence do I have to search factuality? ( I did it according to the first part) 3. If in the sentences isn’t “if’ is it a conditional? What can be instead of “If”?

    4. how to measure factuality            

         -can be; can’t be            

         -%  /   <50%>            

        - Low, middle, high

    5. How many forms of conditionals are there?

    6. Can be the same verb forms in two parts of conditional?

    7. What verb forms can be in conditionals? (other than we already have?)

    8. Does MV depend on conditional verb form?

    9. How can we group conditionals to make a model more general/smaller and more clear?

    10. How to make values precise?

    My comment to the above:  Reflection on what we do or have done is a part of TTF and there can be different ways how to do it. At the moment I use this way of reflection - putting questions and using them for identifying the aims for the lessons and the way of dealing with the theme. My question here is what other forms of reflection would be appropriate here.

    According to their questions and having my aim in mind, I chose to work with questions 1, 2, and 4.

    Speaking about question 3, oops, it was my fault, there was a mistake in the task and there wasn’t any conditional in one of the sentences. But it was good they had noticed that.    

    Before working with their questions I again put mine about the parameters for Conditionals to make sure they remember and are aware ( especially those who still haven’t  understood this)  of the meaning of the parameters ( Time  and Probability)

    - What parameters should we speak when we describe Conditionals? Why exactly these?

    Their answers: - Time – because we speak about actions - Probability because – ‘if ‘ is probability

    II. So, we started working with their questions

    Q1 - If we speak about the time of the conditionals what part of the conditional do we speak?

    During the discussion there were variants -  in the first part, in the second part. Here I draw their attention to the fact that we might be interpreting “first/second” part differently and invited them to come to unanimous terms for these parts, so we agreed to have  ‘if-part” ( some pupils keep  to ‘reason’, though I don’t think it is a good variant) and “not –if part/without  ‘if’ part ( others correspondingly keep to ‘result’ part). Terms are not perfect, but we at least understand each other better, but we have to come to more comprehensive terms later.

    In my understanding we don’t look at the parts but at the context, that was the ideas I wanted to bring them to, and another important for me thing was to help them understand that both parts refer to the same time.

    So we turned to the examples from the home exercise – sentences 1, 2, 4. After a discussion we came to the conclusion I wanted, I tried hard not to interfere much, but I might have, though.  So we agreed that for time identification we analyse the whole context not just parts of the ‘if’-sentence and that the time reference in both parts is the same.   

    What was still difficult for them to understand was why time reference was general or future but the form past. Here I used comparison with Russian, which I usually don’t do, but I didn’t know how to show this better.  In Russian we have a  similar shift of verb structures.

    Then we came to the example of a mixed conditional – sentence 3 in the home exercise.

    Conclusions after a frontal group discussion.

    1. There can be situations when the parts can have different time reference.

    My question  what happens with ‘times’?-

    - They are mixed ( the students gave the Russian term and I translated it) so these conditionals are called Mixed conditionals

    My question – What is the difference between an ordinary Conditional sentence and a Mixed Conditional sentence? - in ordinary both parts are about one time reference but in mixed about different.

     My after lesson comment:  I am not sure that all students have understood that, so a task for me is to control the process to ensure that everybody understands.

    Q2 - In which part of the sentence do I have to search factuality?

    As I think the question is about finding factuality of the ‘if’ part of the sentence or ‘not if’ part of the sentence. We spoke about this at the previous lesson, but as I supposed they didn’t remember this, so we had to discuss it again. I gave them a couple of very simple examples like “If the weather is good tomorrow, I will go for a walk”; “ If I were at home now I would be very happy”. We discussed and agreed that we focus and analyse factuality or degree of probability of the ‘if part’.

    My comment: I am not sure that at this stage all of them have understood this, But this is ok, they will understand it with further work, probably. Or would it be better to stop and do more practice here to make sure everybody has understood? 

    Q3 How to measure factuality ?  This question appeared last lesson and appeared again, so I just asked their ideas about possible ways of measuring.

    Here are their answers: a. can be; can’t be      b. %  /   <50%>      c. Low, middle, high     d. …?

    I didn’t discuss this much, just decided to give them an opportunity to use any and to find the most appropriate for them form.

    3.  After the discussion the students turned to their models and worked with it, adding and checking, using their banks and samples from the home exercise being discussed.

    My comment:  here I noticed that the students have problems with the bank. It happened that I  hadn’t properly checked their bank and especially the sorting of the bank, many children stopped half way and drop the sorting unfinished and now when you need to use it to identify the values of the parameters the banks are not properly organised and completed – so, again, I was in a hurry skipping some important parts of working with bank and now it doesn’t help as good as they should be. So, the bank should be an instrument for collecting forms, an instrument for finding features, an instrument for checking the model. And to fulfil each function the teacher should work with it at every stage/level/ function. And the skill of using the bank as an instrument for a continuous work should be developed, and the students should be aware of that instrument ( students’ awareness).

    4. During the last part of the lesson I gave the students one more exercise with samples of sentences with conditionals to check their models. We managed to do and check only 2 sentences before the bell, and the answers were in most cases correct.

    Student  1  still asked

    Why in the 2 sentences I have similar Time and Factuality but the forms are different?

    Other students answered in sentence 2 factuality is low, in first high, so the forms are different.

    My comment: This question again showed that Student 1 (by the way a good one) still can’t identify the factuality, which means that I again did something too quick and didn’t give enough time and practice for students.

    By the end of the lesson I understood that the students have the following problems to work on:

    1. We have to work  with their banks to add sentences to the sorted bank, to have more context to check the models 2. We have to work with the structures and to systematize them, as now the students have a mess in their heads, I think . 3. We have to work with the idea of Factuality/ probability.

    So, this is a plan for my next lesson or lessons. Smile 



  • Grade 8 ENV model Part 2


    The class progress so far: The students are working on the task of identifying common salt out of many salts. They have explored "physical properties" of the given salts, like colour, solubility etc. They have been dealing with one parameter (physical property) and changing the value of it from colour, smell, solubility and shape (of the crystals under the microscope). They also have become aware of the fact that each of these values is what in an experiment is called "variable".

  • Grade 8 ENV model Part 3

    In continuation of the part two, the students carried out the same exercise for NaCl (adding acid and testing for the gas). they identified Chlorine gas (they were actually ecstatic doing this). They then declared they had identified (finally) the common salt. (I have given them the task of writing out a lab report of their finding. I will be looking out for their inputs under "hypothesis". This is because, in a lab report, this is the area least understood by students.

  • Grammar, types and parts of sentences. Finnish Class 6

    We wrote this out as a proper table and this is the information which was at each level.

  • Holes: ENV of scene, handout A (in Finnish)

    See diary posting: Louis Sachar's 'Holes' - making a short film. This is how one group filled in Handout A, which was basically an ENV of what was needed to portray a scene in the film. They found it hard to fit what they wanted to say into the space but it forced them to think about the main things.

  • Holes: Opinions and Differences between book and film

     HOLES               This is connected to the diary posting:  Louis Sachar's 'Holes' - making a short film

    Class 6 opinions on the book and the film:

  • Information technology. Software.

    Программное обеспечение.

    Вызов. Родители купили компьютер, принтер, сканер, колонки и т.д. Подключили все устройства к компьютеру и к электросети. Но… ничего не работает. Что нужно сделать, чтобы «оживить» компьютер? Как это сделать наилучшим образом?

    Ответ на первый вопрос приходит сразу. Нужны программы.

    А чтобы ответить на второй вопрос, необходимо разобраться в многообразии компьютерных программ.

    1. Предлагаю ученикам собрать банк программ, записывая их ответы на доске (карточки или др.)
    2. Для определения основного признака, по которому отличаются программы, предлагаю разделить все записанные программы на 2 группы. Выполняя сортировку и исследуя, для чего нужна та или иная программа, ученики приходят к определению основного признака – функция по отношению к компьютеру («управляют работой», «решают конкретные задачи»).
    3. Используя значения основного признака, выводят определение системного программного обеспечения и прикладного.
    4. Для ответа на второй вопрос полезно составить паспорт программы, определив, кроме основного признака, те, которые являются наиболее существенными для решения задачи.
    Элемент Признак Значение   признака
    Компьютерная программа Функция …….
      Размер (объём памяти) …….
      Результативность …….
      Стоимость ……..

    Используя паспорт, каждый подбирает программы для своего компьютера.

    Сравниваем и обсуждаем результаты. Выбираем лучший.

  • Learner based work with videos - Salman Khan's TED video

    This post will describe two lessons I conducted with my colleagues' students in Daugavpils Russian Lyceum. My personal aim as a developer was to test some ideas related to the new TA technology I am working on now. This technology should provide teachers with a framework for developing tasks to any type of text they would like to work with (fictional and non-fictional texts, videos, film excerpts, etc.). It's still far away before it's shaped into something tangible but I would be really grateful for all possible comments from the colleagues reading it as it will help me understand some of the aspects I might be missing. So, please feel free to ask, comments, argue and react in any way you feel like.

    1. Lessons description - before

    I asked Irina (the English teacher of the group of learners I was going to work with) to offer five different videos to her learners and get them to choose one they like best. Most students opted for Salman Khan's 'Let's use video to reinvent education'. The learners were asked to watch the video once again before the lesson and were also given the text of the presentation to read and clarify whatever might not be clear in terms of language.

    My idea was to get the class to think what kind of questions this video poses and if there any questions they would find interesting and useful to focus on and dig into. It is these questions I wanted to use for organising further work with the text. The questions could be different for various learners. 

    As soon as the question was chosen, learners would plan their work on investigating them (either individually or in groups). This would turn into a kind of mini-research project, where each learner identifies the problem to deal with, develops a plan for collecting necessary information and doing the analysis needed, implementing what has been planned and presenting the results. Then, depending on how the process unfolds, we could either focus on some of the problems we have faced and / or evaluate what we have produced, compare with peers and see what can be improved about learners' model for conducting a mini-research.

    In terms of the technology to be created, the sequence looks as follows:

    getting to know the text --> activating one's knowledge to be ready to interact with the text (prototype: content generation tasks in the Text Technology) --> deciding on the problem to deal with / an inquiry question to investigate --> conducting mini-research --> sharing the results / responding to the text

    All of the above refers to the analytical part of the technology. There is also a synthetical part (see below) but I was not planning to deal with it during the lessons.

    The following worksheet was prepared for the first lesson. I've also prepared six possible inquiry questions as a back up plan to make sure we don't get stuck at this stage.

    2. Lesson description - after

    The structure of the class can be seen from the worksheet above. The thing that immediately became clear is that pupils had only superficial knowledge of the text. It had been anticipated but it happened so that we didn't have time for activating their knowledge part described above. The superficial reading was also reflected in the questions they chose for investigation. I shared mine but most of them were not clear to learners (again a failure at activation part) and I didn't insist on them.

    After selecting an inquiry question, students were asked to divide it into sub-questions to ensure that they would not miss important aspects to focus on when conducting their mini-research. During this process, it became obvious that dividing into parts is difficult for some students. Instead they just came up with possible additional questions (this is something to focus on with this group in terms of the list of thinking skills).

    All the students worked with their own questions. There were three groups and three students worked individually. The first lesson ended with each group / student having an Action plan to follow. This was homework which they were asked to submit by email, so that we could work with it during the following lesson.

    Before the second lesson, I decided that the outcome I'd like to bring them to was a list of drawbacks in their model for conducting an inquiry, so that they could be more prepared the next time they do it. As an input I decided to provide them with samples of their homework and I also added my example (I basically did the same task I asked them to do) to provide them with more parameters to pay attention to when analysing works (see the handouts with homework for analysis). I also prepared a worksheet to follow during the lesson

    3. Overall reflection

    When students starting evaluating works, it became clear that they are choosing parameters without thinking about the function. The parameters were either randomly chosen (whatever came first to their mind) or these were the parameters usually used for the evaluation of written works (like task achievement, clarity, etc.). The right thing to do would have been to stop and compare the same homework samples to arrive at new parameters (I consciously chose not to do that as I was not sure Irina would be interested to continue the line of lessons, therefore I wanted to reach some logical end by the end of the class). Therefore we just had a discussion where I pushed them towards the need for a function in order to be able to evaluate something. By that time they had already generated quite a few parameters, therefore they could consider if all of them were relevant to the purpose / function of an inquiry, the quality of which they were meant to evaluate. There homework was to look at the parameters, select the relevant ones and produce the second version of their model for conducting an inquiry.

    In terms of the technology to be developed, it is apparent that there are still plenty of gaps and things to specify. As I wrote above, I am sure it's necessary to spend some time (and to have certain types of tasks) for activating learners to be able to respond to the text at a deeper level. Types of tasks here might include responding from a particular role (eg you are a student or a mother of the student who is in the pilot group that will be starting mathematics on the basis of Khan Academy during the coming semester. You have just seen the video and have mixed feelings about the idea. You've decided to talk to the class teacher. What are you going to say?).

    Then, of course,  these tasks would need to be tested in terms of the extent they allow learners to define possible inquiry questions. The next group of tasks should deal with shaping the chosen question to ensure it's not superficial.

    After that there are tasks that get the learners to conduct their mini-research. This mini-research / inquiry can probably be of two types: a) requiring additional resources to answer the question (reading, experimenting, etc.) and b) those that can be done here and now (using own resources or classmates). 

    The final group of tasks in the first part is connected with sharing the outcomes and making changes / drawing conclusions for the future. 

    The synthetical part is currently seen similar to transformation in the Text Technology. Here learners could be asked to transform the text they have worked with in some way. It could either be an adaptation for a particular context (eg making Salman Khan's presentation for the mathematics department in students' school), telling it from another point of view or making into a different medium.

    Possible project tasks (larger scale inquiries or tasks that require more time) can also appear as a response to the text. For example, one can see the development of Khan Academy over the past years in terms of problems they have solved, compare Khan Academy with a similar project in own country (eg www.macibuvideo.lv in Latvia) and make suggestions for improvement to either one or the other or make a translation assessment tasks comparing the translation of the EN version of the presentation into other languages the student in fluent in.

    I realise that it's probably difficult to say much on the basis of this fragmented description I've shared but I'd be grateful for the comments and suggestions. All kinds of questions are welcome as well.

  • Little Red Riding Hood from the point of view of the Wolf

    Curricular Aims: to practise writing a story from a different point of view and to consider different types of narrators
    ( first person narrator, third person narrator).
    Thinking Aims: Limiting the framework of the story – the wolf must survive and
    his purpose in telling the story is to teach others right from wrong through his experiences.
    Encouraging the pupils to find the important parameters to the story which can’t be changed.
    The question is, what would the wolf say?

  • Louis Sachar's 'Holes' - making a short film

    I used ‘Holes’ by Louis Sacher (Paahde) with class 6 in the Finnish lessons. I originally planned it with the English teacher, but it hasn't been used in English yet. We posted our plans (see Plan for using 'Holes') and then revised them after reading Alexander's comments. Now I've done the following:

  • Math lesson. Grade 6. "Odd and even numbers"

    The students: 6 graders, 12 years old

    Math lesson (45 min.)

    Lesson aim: To explore even and odd numbers

    Materials: cards with numbers

    At the beginning of math lesson each student notice cards with numbers. They started ask: "What we are going to do?"

    Therefore, I explained the task: "Your task is to sort numbers in groups".

    Numbers were: 124; 12, 33, 48, 69, 55, 41, 66, 16, 200, 15, 72, 8.

  • Mosaics with grade six

    This lesson was the first in a trying to get the class to produce a descriptive algorithm that would later be developed into a creative algorithm.

    The class was divided into groups of three and each group was given the same image to work with. This is the image I selected

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/mosaics_gallery_04.shtml This part of the lesson went well and the students were engaged and keen.

    Each group had to list as many ways to describe it as possible, I gave them about 10 minutes to complete this task. They then all had to stand up and one group at a time to read out one description, until all the descriptions were used up. Once the groups had no more descriptions left they had to sit down. The last group left standing was the winner. This is wher things started to go horribly wrong...

    This is a class that find group work challenging, and are not good at being respectful towards each other when it is not their turn. So instead of using 10 minutes on this second part we used almost 30 minutes. They found it hard to sit and listen, they were accusing each other of cheating, sitting when they were meant to stand and so on. In retrospect this was probably not the best class to work with for this project.

    At the end of the lesson we ended up with a list of 54 descriptions, and had a short talk about which ones could be grouped together and why. Already at this point I began to feel unsure as to which of the descriptions were parameters and which were values.

  • Mosaics with grade six

    The last two lessons the class have been busy creating their final mosaics. I typed up our creation algorithm and distributed it to the class. I asked them to check that what they had done so far fitted with this and make any alterations. I have decided to use it for evaluation of the final work, and to try Edgar`s suggestion of getting then to create a mosaic from an image using our algorithm. There isn`t class next week so it will be at least two weeks before I can progress further with this.

  • Passports

    Pamokos tema. Vaiko pasaulėvokos tema 20-ojo amžiaus pradžios ir pabaigos literatūroje (pagal Šatrijos Raganos ir Jurgos Ivanauskaitės kūrybą)


    Kaip šios nuotraukos susijusios su pamokos tema?

    IrenaLT 1        IrenaLT 2a                             

    Pamokos uždavinys.Naudodamiesi sudarytu literatūrinio veikėjo pasu pavartos 3-7 požymio reikšmes ir remdamiesi skaitytais kūriniais užrašys 3-4 vaiko pasaulėvokos susvetimėjimo ir pasimetimo priežastis 20-ojo amžiaus pradžios ir 20- ojo amžiaus pabaigos literatūroje.

    Mokinių veikla.

    Skaitydami ir analizuodami tekstus „Irkos tragedija“ ir „Kaip užsiauginti baimę“ mokiniai sudaro pagrindinių veikėjų pasus pagal požymius ir nustato požymių reikšmes.

    Elementas Požymio vardas   (klausimai) Požymio   reikšmė (atsakymai)
    Kūrinio personažas Vardas Irka
      Autorius Šatrijos   Ragana
      Kur   ieškoti? Novelė   „Irkos tragedija“
      Išvaizda 7metai,   tvarkinga, švari
      Gyvena Dvaras
      Charakteris Jautri,   užsispyrusi
      Santykiai   su aplinka Myli   gamtą, žavisi jos grožiu
      Santykiai   su tėvais Myli,   bet nepatenkinta mama, idealizuoja tėvą
      Santykiai   su aplinkiniais Gerbia   auklą, myli šuniuką Džimį, nemėgsta mamos draugo Gurskio
    Elementas Požymio vardas   (klausimai) Požymio   reikšmė (atsakymai)
    Kūrinio personažas Vardas Kamilė
      Autorius Jurga   Ivanauskaitė
      Kur   ieškoti? Novelė   „Kaip užsiauginti baimę?“
      Išvaizda 8   metai, galvoja, kad yra negraži
      Gyvena 1   kambario bute, jis nejaukus, netvarkingas    
      Charakteris Jautri,   rami, nepasitikinti savimi ir aplinkiniais
      Santykiai   su aplinka Bijo   tamsos
      Santykiai   su tėvais Nepasitiki   mama, galvoja, jog tai nėra tikroji jos mama
      Santykiai   su aplinkiniais Nepasitiki   mamos drauge Nora, nemėgsta mamos draugo.

    Naudodamiesi požymių reikšmėmis, mokiniai nustatys, kas daro įtaką vaikų pasaulėvokos formavimuisi, t. y. pasas padės jiems lengviau „išspręsti“ pamokos uždavinį.

  • Percents, decimals and fractions activity (cont'd)

    This is part 2 (find part 1 here)

  • Plan for using 'Holes'

    I am reading the novel 'Holes' (Paahde, in Finnish) by Louis Sacher in the yr 6 Finnish (mother tongue) class this autumn. When we've finished reading the book, we'll watch the film of the novel. It will probably be January before I can carry out the plan roughly described below, and I'll have 6 lessons at the most to spend on it.

  • Propaganda part 2

    Teaching aim - to teach students how to identify what has to be present for a poster to be a propaganda poster

    Thinking aim - To identify what parameters are constant in posters and what the variables for a regular poster and propaganda poster would look like. To create the initial steps for a descriptive algorithm.

    These two aims are closely entwined, actually I think the thinking aim is the tool I will use to achieve the teaching aim.

    Lesson outline


    We started by spreading out the circular sheets we had created last time and in twos or threes, students decided which parameters (or even which of the values) were constant, and wrote these on a list.

  • Reflection on Mosaic unit

    Overall aim:To see if I could use thinking tools to help students to plan and create a roman mosaic

    Thinking Aim:Totry and identify the parameters that make up a mosaic and specifically a Roman mosaic. To then decide on the values of these parameters and produce an algorithm that would help students understand the steps necessary to create a successful mosaic.

  • Roman mosaics and global warming

    I am just about to embark on new units of work with all my classes, and am wondering how to use the ENV routine. In response to your question last time Alexander, I don`t think that I did focus on this clearly enough last time and so am trying to think about how to incorporate it better this time.

    As with the last unit of work, in the first couple of lessons I want the students to understand what are the characteristics are of mosaics (g6) and to find out what they know about global warming (g7) at the start of the units of work.

  • Roman mosaics and global warming (version 2)

    In the first version of this I wrote that technology seemed to be against me this week (no colour printers working, dvd`s not being recognised) and now I managed to saved that version without categorizing it, so it has gone off to live somewhere in cyber-space, and here I am re-writing my reflection.

  • Rūšiavimas dėl požymių išryškinimo ir veikėjų pasų taikymas.

    Tema: Jono Biliūnonovelė “Kliudžiau”.Pagrindinio veikėjo poelgio vertinimas

    Pamokos uždavinys:analizuodami J.Biliūno novelę “Kliudžiau”, išrašys 3-5 žodžių junginius, apibūdinančius veikėjus ir sukurs 3-4 sakinių pastraipą, kurioje įvertins berniuko elgesį.

    Pamokoje panaudas rūšiavimas.

    Jo tikslas padėti mokiniams pasirinkti tinkamus žodžius, įvardijant jausmus, kuriuos sukėlė perskaityta novelė.Pirmiausia mokiniai žodžius suskirsto į 3 grupes, t. y. jie randa tinkamus parametrus. Sekantis žingsnis - kiekvienas pasirenka tuos žodžius, kurie padeda perteikti emocijas.

    Rūšiavimo pavyzdys:

    Suskirstykite šiuos žodžius į3grupes pagal jų reikšmę:

    Abejonės, abejingumas, šauksmas, dažymas, baimė, džiaugsmas, gailestis, išgąstis, gėda, valymas, juokas, šypsena, laimė, meilė, neapykanta, nerimas, bėgimas, pyktis, skausmas, matymas, užuojauta.

    Sudarykite žodžių grupę, kuri labiausiai atitiktų jūsų išgyvenimus, patirtus skaitant novelę.

    Paso sudarymas ir pritaikymas.

    Mokiniai, dirbdami su tekstu, sudaro pagrindinių veikėjų pasus.

    Elementas Požymis Požymio reikšmė
    Katytė Išvaizda  
    Elementas Požymis Požymio reikšmė
    Pasakotojas Išvaizda  

    Pasai padeda geriau atsakyti į pamokos uždavinį, t. y. charakterizuoti pagrindinį veikėją : pabandyti jį išteisinti ar pasmerkti.

    Darbo rezultatas yra 3-4 sakinių pastraipa, vertinanti berniuko elgesį.

  • Scientific Method Algorithm (Method from Chaos)

    This activity is ongoing and hopefully will lead the students towards a more organised approach to any investigation and analysis and a deeper understanding of their own thought processes.

    The idea is that rather than teach, in a traditional manner, the 7 step scientific method, it can be allowed to evolve as students go through several science investigations.

    Began with pre-assessment.

    Asked students to write out all the steps involved in a science investigation. They were reminded that there are no wrong answers (you need to do this a lot) and that the idea is to understand how our individual minds work when approaching a problem.

    The result was that each student produced a map or list of steps they would see themselves following in a science experiment. These were very different, as individual as the students themselves. I was surprised and pleased to have such variety in a class of 12. There were instruction lists, linear step-by-step models, expanding options list, centralised mind-maps and a cartoon map (I will try to upload scanned versions at some point).

  • Sorting Mosaics


    We did our sorting task this week. The students worked in groups of three, and each group had 10 images. First they were to sort the images into two groups, using any reasoning they wanted. We shared the categories they had selected as a whole class. We then had a mini competition to see which group could come up with the most categories for dividing the images. The group with the most came up with 15 different ways to sort the pile into two. The different categories were very interesting although were all at the level of has and doesn`t have. ie has a snake body or doesn`t, is a hybrid or isn`t, my favourite category was " has angry eyes".

    Once we had finished this I then asked the students to exclude one image in turn from the group. They struggled a little with understanding the instructions, some excluded one image then a second from the group and so on until they only had one remaining. This was towards the end of the lesson, and they are not the most concentrated group of kids, although of course I may not have been very clear in my instructions....


    By doing the different possible categories before the "odd man out", it gave the students a variety of ideas for how they could define the parameter for exclusion. It was also very interesting to observe how the students contributed to the groups. Some of the students who I would define as the "brightest" really struggled beyond one or two categories and some of the ones that I wasn`t expecting too much of really surprised me and came up with many and varied categories. I wonder if it is linked in any way to language. Next time with this group I might see if there is a difference between those who have three or more languages and the others.

  • Speaking about actions

     Age : 13-14 ( Form 7)

    Language theme: Speaking about actions – to revise the students’ knowledge of the area and to develop a more systemic vision of the ways of speaking about actions in the English language;

    Thinking themes: ENV, classification, noticing features of an element, reflecting on the process.

    The students’ background knowledge: they know the following verb grammar tense forms – Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect, Past Simple, Past Continuous, Future Simple and the use of these forms. They have an idea of the time of the action references. But I don’t think they can make proper comparisons of the meaning of different grammar tense forms or verb structures with the aim of choosing the most appropriate verb structure to deliver their communicative message.

    The students got a work sheet with seven tasks given in the form of questions.

    Q1. How do we speak about actions in English?

    The students got some time - 2 min, to answer the question individually. I usually follow this pattern when students first work individually and then discuss with the whole group, otherwise many pupils wait that  'somebody else'  will answer., the other reason for this procedure is taht later on we can refer back to their initial formulation or difficulty.  For many students this question caused difficulties, which I think was because of not very clear formulation of the question. In fact I expected them to answer that we use verbs to speak about actions in English, by the way the same as in their mother tongue :). Some pupils managed to understand what I meant and gave the answer. Thus we agreed that we are going  to discuss using verbs in English to speak about actions.

    Q2.What verb forms and verb structures do you know? 

    The students were given also 2 min to put down all verb forms they know. and then we discussed them together and I got  V; V1/s; V2; V3. Ving;  and possible verb structures with these forms - V1; V2; is/am/are +Ving; have/has + V3; will +V

    Then I asked a question  Why are there so many verb structures? The students answered that they show different time of the action. So I asked them to put down the differences between the verb structures which was Q3 of the work sheet. We didn't discuss their answers, I planned  to collect the students' works and analyse them, because I used this task as a kind of diagnostic of  their present knowledge.

    As a result of the after the lesson analysis I can say now that they didn't have problems with differentiating between will+V- as referring to an action in the future, is/am/are + Ving as referring to the action happening now/at present. But  V2; was/were +Ving; have/has  +V3 - all refer to the action in the past. In fact that is a sign that they really need a more specific and full system to make proper comparisons of the meaning of different grammar tense forms or verb structures with the aim of choosing the most appropriate verb structure to deliver their communicative message, as they operate within only one parameter , the time of teh action and there is a necessity to find more parameters, which gives me as a teacher the context for discussing a system of features for describing an action.

    Q4. In this task I asked them to reflect on their work and identify what difficulties they faced or what question appeared after this part of the lesson. I think it is important to introduce regular reflection parts to get the pupils used to analysing their work, identifying difficulties and later on learn to build the tools to deal with these difficulties.

    After the lesson: Mnay students didn't write anything but here are some questions/conclusions the students made( I keep to the original writing without correction of mistakes):

    - Should to know the grammar tense and how I should to use it

    - I don't understand inn who forms do writting structures

    - I don't know differences in the meaning of these structures

    - I forgot about V1; V2; V3

    - Present or Simple? was/were + Ving, this is Past continuous?

    - When do we need to use be+V3  ( they didn't study passive, but this form somehow appeared during the discussion)

    - For what describing actions?

    - V2 and V3 are using with past

    - How many differences in the meaning is in English?

    - One verb form we can use in different structures

    - Some structures can mean actions in the past but can be finished, they can be not finished or can be like a fact?

    - It was difficult to understand a diference between Past Simple and Present Perfect

     I think that this exercise or task is useful in terms of developing a habit to reflect on 'difficulties' to know what to focus the further work on and to put questions for further work.

    After this task I offered them to try to deal with the difficulties tehy mentioned for themselves ( we didn't discussthe results all together, I had them for my reflections)


    In the next task (Task 5) I asked them to think what features 'an action' can have. Again the task was not clear for some students and  i invited them to look back at Q3 and start with this feature, so we together putdown such feature as "Time of teh Action" and then I offered them to think about more features. After they had worked individually I asked them to name the features they found.

    Here is the full list we have so far

    Time of the action

    Person of the action ( I offered them "doer of the action")

    Result of the action

    Place of the action

    Length of the action

    Speed of the action

    'Finishness' of the action ( I offered them "completenes" of the action)

    Form of the action

    Task 6.Here they had to write the names of the features in a table and think about possible values of these features. We didn't have enough time to finish the table, which we are going to do during the next lesson. 

    Task 7.Again there was not much time but I still asked them to reflect on their work during the lesson in terms of what conclusions or what questions they have. 

    Here are some answers:

    - What is completeness?

    - What different in time of the action, Doer of the action

    - I have problems with doer of the action

    -I don't know about length of the action and completeness

    - values in completeness and length of the actions.

    - What values can doer have?

    -Which result can be?

    - Can anything object, for example a book be a doer of the action?

    Well  the questions are pretty general and my task as I see it is to help students to learn how to use come to more specific, aim oriented and helpful questions which should with time become research questions or hypothesis questions. But at the moment I am quite happy that they have started putting questions and agreed with me that the questions will hopefully help us build our way in learning how to speak about actions in English.





  • Speaking about objects

    Age -13years old

    Language aim: Speaking about objects - to develop a more systemic vision of the ways of naming and speaking about object in the English language

    Thinking theme: ENV, classification, noticing features of an element.

    Background. I have just started to work with the students, they didn’t study with Thinking Approach during the previous. years.

    Previous knowledge (students’ background knowledge): they have an idea of countable/uncountable nouns; plural/singular, articles, pronouns, adjectives.

    Previous activities: at the first lesson we got acquainted with each other and the students told me about their classmates, they described their classmates, the text The Hobbit (http://thinking-approach.org/text-technology1/the-hobbit-by-j-r-r-tolkien) was given to the students as a home task to read and to translate the words they don’t know.


    Re-read the text „The Hobbit” and

                       - Find and underline nouns

                     -   Underline words which are used to describe the objects/ to speak about the objects

    Teacher’s after lesson reflection: Now I think that I should have given the task to underline words that name objects, not ‘underline nouns’. When preparing the task I had a big problem how to distinguish between ‘noun’ and ‘object’. I always tend to get into grammar aspect more than refer and describe ‘real objects’. I think that many teachers who try to work with thinking approach face this problem.

    The following is an example of what I had expected from my students to do.

    The Hobbit

    In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins.
    What is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) little people, about half of our height, and smaller than then the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quickly and quietly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like large stupid folk which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colors (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow naturally leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). Now you know enough to go on with.  

    (J R R Tolkien, The Hobbit)


    We work in the classroom where every students has a PC, so the students did the task electronically. They started working with just underlining nouns, then I offered them to highlight similar cases, which some of them did. Working with the topic ‘speaking about objects’ turned out to be pretty difficult as there a large amount of material to deal with, at least at the moment it seems like that. And my questions here is: Is it better to work with a large amount of information or to focus first on some limited amount of information, e.g. articles ( sorry for again speaking about grammar)I personally prefer to work with a large amount of information, but in this case there is a great probability to get into a mess. How to avoid this?


    Task 2.Divide all the words you have found into groups. Give names to the groups.

    This is a variant of a table with different ways of speaking about objects which we got after discussing what students did individually.


    Article ‘a’ Article ‘the’ No article pronoun ?
    a hole the ground Baggins This hobbit some description
    a hobbit the Big People hobbits his name no beards.
    a hobbit the bearded   Dwarves little people our height no magic
    a noise the ordinary   everyday sort Hobbits their feet no shoes
    a mile the stomach large stupid folk their heads
    a very   well-to-do hobbit large stupid folk
    bright colors
    leathery soles
    thick warm brown   hair
    long clever brown   fingers
    good-natured   faces
    deep fruity   laughs

    I am afraid that I somehow helped students to come to this table, but I think that at the very beginning of working with in this case 7 Formers (12-13 y.o.) we can give them some hints. But my major question is:

    Does this result is the one we should go to or not? If not what should be changed?

    In fact, now I am thinking about the parameters any object might have and it’s pretty difficult but interesting. Can I have some advice on this?

    Task 3. What conclusions can you make about the ways we speak about objects in English.using this table? What questions do you have?

    A summary of the students’ conclusions

    1. We use articles   a; the; without articles

    a – with singular nouns; the – with singular and plural nouns; without articles – plural nouns; uncountable nouns, proper nouns.

    2. pronouns – ‘this ‘with singular; their - with plural; his – with singular, our –with singular; some with singular, no – with plural and with uncountable;

    Task 2. Read the text   “Does Money Really Make You Happy?” from your course book ( Opportunities Pre-intermediate) and add examples of phrases with nouns to your table.

    They added pronouns – few, those, any, many; a lot of;

    And here are additional conclusions they made:

    -       ''Not any' and 'no' are used when we speak about negative.

    -      Any  - about people

    -      no -  about things.

    -      Many, some, a lot of , a few - about more than 1 object, When we don’t know how many

    -      Many -  with people

    -      A lot of  - with both people and objects

    And their question was : When do we use ‘some’ and when ‘a few’?

    Teacher’s after lesson reflection. The students came with ideas about speaking about nouns not about objects, which I think is wrong. And now I am thinking how to come back to the objects. At the same time they tried to group things, and many of them did it choosing one parameter, though not all. They tried to make observations and conclusions, they put down questions which I took as direction for our further work.

    Home task Read the following sentences find and highlight the pronouns and add the sentences to the groups you made at the lesson.

    1. There aren't any car parks in the centre of Oxford.

    2. Eating out is expensive here. There aren't many cheap restaurants.

    3. Liverpool has a lot of great nightclubs.

    4. Hurry up! We only have a little time before the coach leaves.

    5. We saw some beautiful scenery when we went to Austria.

    6. There are a few shops near the university.

    7. It's very quiet. There aren't many people here today.

    8. There is little money in the wallet.

    9.  I’ve got a few books.

    10.I can’t wait for you. I’ve got little time.

  • TA Action Plan

    Teacher: Aurelija Dauginė (Vilnius International School math teacher/coordinator)

    Group: Grade 6 (12 year old)

    Subject: Math (6 lessons/a week, each lesson 45 min)

    Plan: Creativity in Number Unit

    Subject plan:

    Students understand and apply divisibility rules (by 2 and 4; 3 and 9; 5and 10; 6 and 8).

    Students can explain which numbers are odd and which are even. Students can provide examples of prime numbers and composite numbers.


  • Teaching nine-graders about different kinds of materials

    The target group of my exercise was a group of nine-graders who were about fifteen years old. During my teacher training in Uotilanrinne comprehensive school I carried out the following exercise with my students.

    My aim was to deepen the pupils’ awareness of different materials and their features. The knowledge of different materials and how they behave helps the pupils to work with them and to use them as building materials.

    The materials we dealt with were metal, wood and plastic. All the materials used in this exercise were to be found in the classroom where the working normally takes place. In this exercise the object could be e.g. a piece of metal, wood or a tool or anything else the pupils could find in the classroom.

    To begin with, I divided the pupils into three groups (about five pupils in each group). Each group had all three materials to deal with and the task was to collect as many objects of each material as possible in five minutes. After they had their objects in one place I gave them a new task. The new task was to arrange their objects by categories which were:

    1. weak

    2. strong

    3. easy to form (mould)

    4. sharp

    5. conductive

    They had ten minutes to do this task.

    The subtask was to answer the question “Why is this object made particularly of this material?”

    The first task was clearly easier for the pupils than the second one. Pupils gathered all kinds of objects on tables and were very busy. After I had told them how to proceed after the first task the pupils were a bit confused. I had to explain them quite a few times how they should carry out the subtask. Finally they managed to group their objects and we began a discussion on how each group had arranged their objects.

    The results varied a little but generally the task was understood quite well. They for example realised that a saw is made of metal because it is stronger than wood or plastic and the handle of the saw is made of wood or plastic because it is easier to form than metal and it feels better in your hand than metal. We also managed to go a little deeper in the material knowledgement when we discussed for example the blade of a hacksaw.

    The idea of this exercise was to get the pupils to understand different features of different materials and how each feature effects its use when we are building or making something. It is clear that we use a hammer to hit nails into wood or that we heat plastic to form it or why electric wires are covered with plastic etc. It is not always clear why we use a certain tool or method to do so. This is what I was trying to teach the pupils.{jcomments on}

  • Thinking about TA...

    I've been teaching Chinese since 2006. It may sound banal, but I'm convinced that it's more important to teach technologies of learning a language than to teach a language itself! At least, what I want to develop in my students is the ability not to lose their confidence when coming across unknown things and just deal with them...

    Look at me :)  I know there's a good approach called TA. And I even use some of its elements. Such as sorting tasks, grammar banks, guessing activities... But I'm still far from conscious application of this method at every lesson. So what do I do? I try to understand what makes TA different from other approaches and gradually apply my conclusions at work. I'll explain.

  • Thinking approach to symmetry

    Background: Students who have been studying and working with axial symmetry had to come up with a list of instructions, which allow another person (without maths background/training) to determine the number of lines of symmetry in any given shape. A quick test was done before starting, of students ability to determine the number of lines of symmertry in a shape (starting with regular shapes only).

    Started with simple instruction to students: Ok, now that you know about this kind of symmetry, how would you go about explaining it to another person? The plan is that the students should attempt to solve the problem. Get stuck. Then I pull out ENV tool, explain it, and let students use it and see if it helps. Gradually allow them some success, then remove certain parameters (e.g. use irregular shapes - which should render their instructions useless/unworkable) and have them go through the problem again from the beginning.

  • Understanding Proportion - interchangeable fractions, decimals and percents

    In this activity the aim is for the students to be fully aware of the equality of various fractions, decimals and percents. They are aware to some extent but only for certain specific fractions (rather than as a concept of them really being the same amount). 2 x 45 mins lessons.

    A sorting exercise was used. Materials are here.

  • Vienādojumu sistēmas atrisināšanas saskaitīšanas paņēmiens

    Matemātikas stunda 9.klasē

    Stundas tēma:Vienādojumu sistēmas atrisināšanas saskaitīšanas paņēmiens.

    Skolotāja: Olga Mikulova

    Stundas mērķis: sastādīt vienādojumu sistēmas atrisināšanas saskaitīšanas paņēmiena algoritmu.

    Stundas gaita:

    1.uzdevums.Atrisināt teksta uzdevumu, izmantojot vienādojumu sistēmu.

    2.uzdevums. Saskaitīt dotās sistēmas vienādojumus un uzrakstīt vienādojumu sistēmas atrisināšanas saskaitīšanas paņēmiena algoritmu.

    3.uzdevums.Atrisināt vienādojumu sistēmas ar saskaitīšanas paņēmienu.

    4.uzdevums.Noteikt ar kādu paņēmienu izdevīgāk atrisināt katru vienādojumu sistēmu. Pamatot paņēmiena izvēli!

    5.uzdevums.Atrisināt teksta uzdevumu, izmantojot vienādojumusistēmas atrisināšanas saskaitīšanas paņēmienu.

  • Vienlieli trijstūri

    Matemātikas stunda 8.klasē

    Stundas tēma: Vienlieli trijstūri

    Skolotāja: Olga Mikulova

    Stundas mērķis: formulēt vienlielu trijstūru definīciju.

    Stundas gaita:

    1.uzdevums.Neveicot aprēķinus, salīdzināt trijstūru laukumus.

    2.uzdevums. Izveidot vienlielus trijstūrus.

    3.uzdevums. Sadalīt figūru vienlielos trijstūros.

    4.uzdevums. Aprēķināt trijstūra laukumu.

    5.uzdevums.Formulēt vienlielu trijstūru definīciju.

  • Visual Art - Propaganda Grade 8

    This is the first time I had seen this class in a month, so I have had to modify my aims for this unit of work on propaganda quite considerably.

    My overall aim is to create a descriptive algorithm and a creative algorithm for Propaganda posters.

    My aim for this first lesson was for them to identify values that the Propaganda posters had through a sorting task, and then identify the parameter to which these belonged.

    I had selected images form second world war propaganda from a variety of counties, which in groups of three they were to sort in as many different ways as possible. Each group then had to read out their categories until all the categories had been called out and their was a winning group. We then wrote out the values and grouped them together on circles, which were our different parameters.

    This was so much more successful than my attempts to work with the younger age group. This is partially due to the maturity of the group but also because they have worked with ENV in science and are open to discussions about whether something is a parameter or a value. From the list of values I could see that they had identified all the main aspects that I had hoped they would see, for example exaggeration, contrast, manipulation, as well as the more obvious things like use of flags and weapons

  • Vocabulary learning problems


    Teacher: Irina Bučinska

    Observer: Larisa Sardiko

    Form 7



    Thinking:  learning to see the problem situation and to formulate the problem

    Subject-specific: working out the effective selecting vocabulary system

    Abbreviations: T (teacher), P (pupils), POV – point of view, *vocabulary provided by the teacher, O (observer), TTF (thinking task framework)

    Vocabulary problem 1: how to select the words – pupils share your ideas – 15 min

    P.1. think where we want to use words

    P2. Do not learn difficult rarely used words

    P3. Think about words you can use everywhere, talk or write about them.

    4. use translations or read books on the theme you are interested

    5. Make a list of words and  learn words you have written out

    6. divide words into parts of speech

    7. if somebody is a gamer s/he may play only English games and learn the titles

    8. watch films with subtitles ??? because in films we can hear how to T. pronounce? P. yes

    T. reminds of the problem: how to select

    9. make two columns – for lesson and for life but learn all. T. why do we learn them for a lesson???

    10. learn the words basing on your hobbies but in various areas; it can be on any aim

    11. read books and learn words that are in dialogues of heroes because we first need words for speaking T. Why? P. our aim is to speak in English T. focuses on the AIM here

    12. you should think about the words you used most in Russian and translate them into English

    15 min passed

    T. draws attention to the best experience: Pupil N uses n12 technique and then uses words in compositions (through self-study) and chooses the topic on the words she learns and writes the composition

    Home task: read the text, choose 6 words and evaluate why and how you selected the word

    Teacher's comments: this lesson was meant to make pupils reflect on their vocabulary learning, see the problems and start looking for effective strategies to solve problems. Further steps:next time in class we will make the list more systematic and create an ENV model proceeding from the list

  • What the numbers on the PT tell us...

    what the pt numbers mean

    What the numbers on the periodic table tell us about the atom:

    Number of electrons/protons/neutrons and certain other rules tell us where they can be found.

    So now we can build a model of the atom.{jcomments on}

  • Why do atoms combine in the numbers/combinations they do?

    This is part 2 of 2 big questions the students were focusing on.

    Question 1 was... Why is the periodic table organised the way it is (it's a rather odd shape)? HERE

  • Yes / No Game

    20.9  YES / NO GAME

    I showed a list of all the names of pupils present on the screen. One pupil sat in front of the class and thought of one pupil in the class.  The others had to find out who the pupil had chosen. They had to ask YES / NO questions, eg, ‘Is the person a girl?’

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