Sep 19.

1. Lesson/task description before

Subject matter: help learners find the difference between using 3 verbs forms that refer to the past (DID, HAD DONE and WAS DOING).

  1. Give students a bigger picture of working with the system of grammar task (show the whole circle);
  2. Help students to formulate their learning aims for working with the system of tasks for the past;
  3. Introduce ENV for distinguishing between 3 verb forms that refer to the past.


Materials/tasks I am going to use

  • Part 3 and 4.1 of the system of tasks “Speaking about past 1’, taken from


2. Lesson/task description – after

Procedures (how we worked: time, organisation, etc.)

Taking into account the experience of the previous lessons I showed students a bigger picture of our work: we used the test to define their problems, we did sorting tasks to discover/remind ourselves about verb forms used to refer to the past, today we will sum up the information about the forms, formulate our goals and build the rule. Further on we’ll be checking the rule and improving it.
I asked students to name me the forms they found and put them on the board: Ved, WAS Ving, had Ved. I asked if they know any rule about these forms. Students gave few ideas and even had a short disagreement among themselves. So I said that we need to agree on rules and I suggest we use ENV model for it. To explain what is ENV I asked students to forget for a while about grammar and describe people in the classroom. I put down all the ideas on the board (e.g. girls, blue eyes, dark hair, etc.). Then I asked if, for example, ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ are names of features or values (I translated these into Russian). After some discussion we came up with distinguishing between names and values of features and could tell if all other elements we listed are names or values of feature. Then I asked how we can make different groups out of all people if we look on our names and values. Students gave some ideas that we tried to summaries and put as ENV (boys and girls - gender, teacher and student - roles, etc.). Then I asked to come back to grammar and said that we need to distinguish between different verb forms (which are people) by defining common names of feature and finding different values. Students hesitated and after making some trials I suggested a form of work that will help them in doing it.
Students were given 8 sentences and had to reply 4 questions about each sentence by organising it in a form of a table. One example was done together.
As the lesson finished, students home work was to finish the table at home.


Learners’ response and outputs (how they responded to the task and what they actually did in the lesson)
After I gave a more general picture students seemed to understand where we are going. The question was – why do we need to build rules if we have them already in books.
When discussing the difference between the verb forms (when to use which) students got involved in a discussion which I saw as a good point and in one group only (which is stronger) they seemed to understand ENV model and started working on the task.


Teacher’s role (what the teacher actually did and how)
The teacher was trying to show students that they are stuck with the rules they know so we need to work on it. The teacher also introduced ENV model and gave an analogy with tangible things to make students understand ENV and try to transfer it to a more abstract grammar topic.
The teacher also offered a form of a table to work with concept questions (question that will help to come up with the rule).


3. Overall reflection on the lesson / task

Aim aspect (to what extent did we reach the aims?)
The only aim that was achieved is drawing a more general picture and introduction of ENV. Some students started making first steps for building the rule, which is a good sign. At the same time, there were students who seemed not understand what’s going on and why and they did nothing.


Tasks & materials aspect (how did we work on the tasks to reach the aim? Please make specific references to the steps of the thinking task framework)
In general, this lesson seemed to work out at least for one group. Students were involved in the discussion. Were stuck (the challenge was there), were introduce with the tool to cope with the task (ENV and concept questions) and were give a template for the rule to build.


Questions / conclusions for the future
I believe the material given was appropriate for the aims. The only thing was that students had to write down all the sentences and questions and thus the task was time consuming (as it will be seen even more further on). So it would be beneficial to have that table printed out for every student.
The thing that I failed with was formulating learning goals, I just skipped that part though I told students we’ll do it. There were too many new things so I couldn’t control everything. Moreover, we spent too much time on sorting so I started accelerating pace and was trying to make students see the sense of what they do as fast as possible. That’s another mistake, which should be avoided. One has to be coherent in what he says and does.



# Alexander Sokol 2011-10-25 07:32
Renata, did I get you right that you you used Task 4.1 as part of Part 3? I am asking as normally it's used in Part 4 and the purpose there is different. While Part 3 is about summarising the previous experience and defining learning goals, Part 4 is about developing a draft rule.
I also wanted to specify about the table. I am afraid it may not be clear what you mean. Do you think it may be possible for you to include it under materials and put a link from this post?
# Renata Jonina 2011-10-27 01:14
In fact, I was thinking about working with Task 3 and then move on to Task 4. But due to the fact that we stopped for too long on sorting and students got impatient I also got worried and skipped Part 3 unintentionally (in one group I had the Head of the school coming for the first time to my lesson without even mentioning she would come, so I obviously didn't cope with the challenge - trying out new form of work and being monitored at the same time by the Head of my school). So I announced to students we will use Part 3 (we'll formulate goals) but my actions were not coherent with my words, we skipped Part 3.

Yes, sure, I will post the table as soon as I find out how to do it.
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