• Analysing a Text

    During the second year of my participation in the TA project I was trying to integrate the TA approach to a text with our university requirements to the subject. Most of the time I felt a failure because I did not have a clear idea of what a linguistic text analysis should be like and I felt the same inexperienced about the TA.

    I felt I could not apply the steps of the thinking task framework (TTF) to text analysis tasks. However, I think I and my students have gained something from this experience.

    1)      They have tried to elaborate on their ENV text (system of linguistic text analysis: got their parameters into some order, added certain values).

    2)      We have deepened our understanding of a text as an open system; therefore, we have practised selecting specific parameters of ENV at a time and considering them more profoundly, rather than speaking superficially about all of them. Our gain: Focus on ONE aspect/specific skill at a time.

    3) I have given my students an opportunity to try their hand at teaching others: they had to choose a text according to the parameters set, work out a system of Text analysis and linguistic tasks, teaching their lessons and reflecting on them. Judging by their reflections, all the students have appreciated their experience and most of them would like to repeat it. One of them has set a challenge: to conduct a lesson for an unknown audience.  In spite of numerous reservations, I also consider this experience very valuable for them and myself. It has revealed our weak points in setting a specific aim and task achievement.

  • ENV in group working skill

    This is an example of using ENV model in the 4th grade for giving them a tool to find out the group working skills which needed developing.

    This is kind of like asking the students to develop a rubric to mark their own group work skills - they work out the parameters (variables) and values themselves. The group working skills needed to be identified and named in order to see where there was scope for development.

    The process had started from the values (V). The comments of the children during the group working process were taken down and here are some examples

    "I don’t want to do this."
    "I want red card."

    "Come here and work with us."

    "Could you help me." (link)

    The children were given a list of comments they had come out with while working together. They were asked to write down what the person did while saying a comment. They had to form a sentence telling what the person is doing starting with He/she is… (link). I had a vision that we needed to approach the skills from the real life action which took place in the class.

    The sentences were looked at and now the thinking model ENV was introduced to organize the information from the sentences. E stood for the group working skills. How could we transform the action (written in sentences) into group working skills? The pupils had to write a list of skills (N) that were based on the actions (verbs) in the sentences. Every comment had several sentences. The pupils were forming one parameter per a group of sentences. They had to give a name to each group of sentences. They needed to see what was common between the actions in the sentences. They were forming N of the ENV model. (link)

    Now there was a list of skills which could be used for marking and reflection. What is the skill I need to develop? What is my aim when I’m doing group working next time. The whole group could also choose an aim from the list. The group working skills had been made visible by using the ENV-model.

     

  • Grouping animals

    A group of 6 kids age 5- 5, 5.

    The aim of the task- identify animals, categorise them in to groups and explain the choose.

    The process of the game. I set up pictures of different animals on a table (I took different categories- fishes, birds, mammals, polar animals, domestic animals, toy animals and et cetera).Step 1.  The children picked up 2 pictures and explained their choice.

  • Plannig a trip

    Challenge: To write an invitation to whole school for the trip to the lake near us

    Thinking aim: What to take in consinderation to organize a trip

    Content aim: Text type invitation

    Social aim: Get to know better the new headmaster and the new teacher

     

    Step 1: Training game called the password

    First we pick up a pupil in front of the class. We write the word ‘Hiking trip’ behind the pupil for he/she can’t see the word but the rest of the class does. Teacher gives the limitations that the word is something we can do with the whole school (50 pupils). Then he/she starts making questions that can only be answered yes or no. Teacher is writing down asked questions for pupils to see. Finally the word will be discovered.

     

    Step 2: Finding the strong questions

    Then the class start to look at the questions more closely and try to find the questions which really helped to figure out the password. From the strong questions we try to build the parameters.

     

    Step 3: Building ENV model as a passport too

     

    E N V

    a trip

    location  
    distance from the school  
    ways to get there  
    equipments  
    activities  
    food and drink  

     

    Step 4: Finding the values

    Class is devided into groups and given to parameters to find the values. Time giving to the task is 10 to 15 minutes. After that we collect the values to fulfill the ENV model.

     

    Step 5: Making a passport of an invitation

    What thing need to be said in the invitation that the receivers know how to prepare for a hiking trip to a lake.

    time place equipments activities
           
           
           

     

    Step 6: How to organize a trip

  • Pre school children look for words

     

     

    Pre-school children look for words

    Aim: to develop awareness of mother language (Finnish), to make visible meta-cognitiv awareness of written words, connection between spoken and written words

    for : pre-school children age 6 (4-6 pupils in group)

    Beginning: Teachers usually start pre-school sessions by teaching letters. At school it is sometimes difficult for younger learners to separate words from each other (space between words) when they are writing sentences. That is a problem especially with the children who have difficulties in the mother tongue. That´s why I wanted to try to awake the awareness of whole words. Most of the pre-school pupils couldn`t read yet. We operated in three groups, 20 minutes per group and totally about 4-5 times. First we began with a fairy tale of a character who loves words and needed them to play with…where we could find them?

    1. Examining magazines:

    - What do we have in magazines? Pupils: "Pictures, letters, words…."

    - How do we find words in magazines - could you show me? Pupils: "Easier to find if the words are written in big letters or they are in titles…THERE ARE LETTERS IN WORDS." 

    - How do you know it´s a word? Pupils: "WORDS don´t go on forever. "

    - How do you know the word is ending? Pupils: "Tthere is nothing, a hole, space after the word..."

    2. Cutting off sentences or words in magazines

    Pupils have limited time to cut words from magazines by cutting them with scissors.

    They cut words and word-pairs (it wasn´t so easy to find single words). At the same time I found out their level to find written words.

    3. Now we have words for each group.

    We cut again them off the paper (where I have glued them). We discussed already a little what we could find from words and then pupils sorted them in two groups when finding parameters and again when someone suggested a new parameter. I made ENV-model of the parameters what pupils found. ENV-model presented with pictures and signs and was quite simple because learners were so young.

    -> Why do you sort them like that? Pupils: "Similar letters, colors, length..."

    - > ENV-model                

    E: words

                                N: length of words                           V: short, long

                                    space between words                 V: finger or pencil can be

                                                                                                                                  

                                    different letters                            V: alphabets

                                    style of letters                              V: capitals, small letters

                                    punctuation                                  V: full stop,

     (last parameter we found afterwards when we return to written sentences)

     

    4. We studed and found letters in text by circling them

    5. Afterwards we took one parameter and examined words by using it .

    Here I could individualize the tasks by giving different text or different kinds of words.

    This whole project was worth doing and easier than I thought before. Pupils were keen and we had opportunities to return to study words and to use word tasks. Then I had chance to remind pupils of ENV-model.

  • Work on preparation or how to parts to text (with video)

    This is the lesson I attended in Daugavpils Russian Lyceum in March 2011. The description is my vision of the lesson which may not coincide with the vision of the teacher. Irina, the teacher who ran the lesson, is welcome to share her comments as well. I am sure it will provide us with a better vision of the lesson.

    During the lesson the teacher focused on the so-called preparation or how to parts to text. When working with written tasks in the Text Technology, TA students are required not only develop the tasks themselves but also come up with their strategy or model for producing this type of text. This is referred to as a preparation or HOW TO part.

    In addition to my description of the lesson, you are also welcome to watch the video. 

     1. Lesson description before

    By the time of the lesson the students had already spent quite some time working on their preparation parts and each of them had their own model. During the lesson the teacher wanted to deal with the developed models as a group, thus helping the learners to notice something that might be missing in their individual models and expand on them. The lesson was also an opportunity to go up to a metacognitive level when students reflect not only on a model in relation to a  specific task but also on models as such.

    2. Lesson description - after

    The lesson started with learners sharing their ideas about preparation parts and the need for them as well as questions and concerns. This resulted in a list of issues to deal with summarised on the board. After that the teacher invited the learners to select the priorities for the lesson and define the learning aims. After some discussion, it was agreed that the aim would be to come from questions and concerns to the shared vision of advantages and disadvantages of the preparation parts. 

    Then students were asked to work in groups, share their models with each other and see if there was something they felt like adding to their own models or something they needed to clarify. Students were also asked to come up with a version of a collective model to be shared with the rest of the class.

    The last part of the lesson was dedicated to the exchange between the groups and clarification. This part can be very interesting to see in terms of understanding a typical TA classroom discourse. You can see that it's not just the teacher - students conversation. Students also talk to each other and often pose new questions and provide answers. It's also important to note that the teacher constantly keeps up the level of challenge in the classroom not giving students a chance to talk for talking sake. 

    3. Overall reflection

    It is probably difficult to judge the extent to which the aim was achieved looking at this lesson independently without knowing what happened later. But it seems that the students achieved quite a lot during the classroom time. The homework connected with putting the new ideas into practice was a good idea to check on the individual progress of each student. 

    The lesson is a very good illustration of the Thinking Task Framework. As I wrote above, the teacher always checked that the questions students were dealing with were challenging enough for them (not how many times the teacher ensure this during the lesson - you can see it by the flashing Step 1 icon in the video). Challenging questions set new requirements to the students' preparation parts and they had to make them more instrumental (Step 2). Here they were asked to be more specific about values of various parameters, decide on what the choice of this or that value depended on, how the choice of one values affected further choices, etc. The homework asking students to put it to practice was a tool for coming to further reflection on the preparation parts (Step 3).

  • Как выдвигать идеи? (How to generate ideas?)

    Дата: 28 февраля 2013 года
    Класс: 10
    Тема: «Как выдвигать идеи?»
    Урок английского языка
    Учитель: И. Бучинская
    Наблюдатель: Н.Ковылина

    1.    Цель:
    •    Предметная: повысить качество аргументации (обдумывание содержания текста)
    •    Мыслительная: использовать ЭИЗ для выдвижения/создания идей.
    •    Материалы/задания: цитата из текста, модель ЭИЗ (построение модели)

    2.    Описание урока
    •    Процедуры
    В начале урока учитель поинтересовалась у учеников, чему они научились, выполняя задания  к тексту Э.Сигал «История любви», какова была цель выполнения этих заданий. Ученики ответили, что, выполняя задания, они учились анализировать различные ситуации, учили слова, пробовали выдвигать идеи.
    Учитель определила цель урока: научиться выдвигать качественные идеи.
    Ученикам было предложено следующее высказывание: «Начало - самый лучший этап в отношениях» (The beginning is the best stage in the relationship)
    Задание: написать как можно больше идей, почему именно начало – самый лучший этап в отношениях. Время выполнения задания – 5 минут.
    Ученики не справились с заданием: кто-то написал одну идею, кто-то вообще ничего не написал.
    Учитель спросила, почему не удалось выполнить задание. Ученики отметили, что не было идей, не знали, что писать. Один ученик сказал, что для выполнения этого задания ему нужно больше времени.
    Учитель спросила, что нужно сделать, чтобы создать/выдвинуть идеи. Ученики назвали анализ ситуации. Учитель предложила проанализировать ситуацию: вспомнить начало любых отношений и подумать, почему именно этот этап был самым хорошим. Ученики стали отмечать различные чувства, которые они испытали.
    Учитель уточнила: что на самом деле надо анализировать? Отметили: «начало» и «самый лучший этап». Учитель поинтересовалась, как понять/доказать, что какой-то этап самый лучший. Ученики сказали, что надо этот этап сравнить с другими этапами.
    Учитель уточнила вопрос: как мы обычно что-то с чем-то сравниваем? Выбираем параметры для сравнения.
    Учитель: что будем сравнивать?
    Ученики: начало с другими этапами.
    Были названы следующие этапы: 0.ожидание – 1. начало – 2. развитие - 3.середина –
    4. кульминация – 5. конец. Вся информация фиксировала на доске (учитель)и на рабочих листах (ученики)
    Учитель: что поможет найти параметры?
    Ученики: признаки отношений (эмоции) и то, из чего состоят отношения (поведение, влияние, цели, конфликты).
    Учитель: что будем делать со всей информацией, которую  мы сейчас получили?
    Ученики: выбрать параметры, найти хорошее/плохое на разных этапах отношений, сравнить по параметрам.
    Учитель: это поможет более качественно выполнить задание?
    Ученики согласились.
    Учитель попросила учеников описать шаги, с помощью которых можно прийти к новым идеям (домашнее задание).

    •    Работа учеников
    Обычно ученики этого класса стараются отмалчиваться. На протяжении всего этого урока ученики работали увлеченно, все были включены в работу, обсуждение.
    •    Работа учителя
    Учитель умело направляла работу учеников, задавая вопросы.

    3. Общее впечатление об уроке
    • Цель на этом уроке была достигнута: ученики потренировались в использовании/применении ЭИЗ, который поможет прийти к новым для учеников идеям.
    • Задание (работа над заданием для достижения цели; шаг 1 – проблема, шаг 2 - построение ступенек, шаг 3 - рефлексия):
    Шаг 1 – проблема появилась тогда, когда ученики стали выполнять задание.
    Шаг 2 – построение ступенек – вопросы учителя, ответы учеников, фиксация ответов, построение модели ЭИЗ на уроке.
    Шаг 3. – домашнее задание. Снова меня не покидало ощущение, что вообще-то весь урок ученики рефлексировали, определяя целесообразность «своих шагов», хотя, может, я и ошибаюсь.
    • Вопросы/выводы на будущее:
    Мне понравился урок: мне даже показалось, что это что-то из ТА-классики: четко прослеживались все три шага на уроке. Удачно было выбрано высказывание (ученики действительно работали с интересом), четкое ведение учебного диалога, вовлечение в работу каждого ученика, понятная форма фиксации результата работы.
    Я увидела для себя перспективу использования подобного рода заданий: выполнение заданий из системы заданий к тексту (сайт ru.thinking-approach.org) на уроках русского языка - создание с учениками инструмента выполнения задания (выдвижение идей).

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