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.






# Alexander Sokol 2015-10-28 12:40
I like the logic of this class and the approach from the students. It seems you could have had an additional task to help them define the problem areas after Q4. Just to see that the Time of Action will not be enough to distinguish between the structures they know (it was not clear that all or even most of them saw it).

I'd also be interested in learning more about the discussion after students put down their answers to Task 5. I imagine that some 'features' were not clear to you and them. What did you do in this case? For example, I am not sure I understand 'form of the action'.

And please do share what happened after this lesson.
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