subject matter - developing the skill of describing

thinking - raising awareness of the ENV model advantages by applying it to a new task (to their choice)


for Task A (describe any of the texts to your choice using the tool you have created): the texts mentioned in reflection on Lesson 1 (17.02.2011), the text ENV tool (or the list of parameters describing a text) devised at the previous lesson. 

for Task  B (1and 2) (Content Generation Tasks (pre-text) (1.2 and 1.3) to the text 'Weekend' by Fay Weldon.


The students were given a choice: A to describe one of the texts using the text ENV (the list of parameters) they have  created

or B to do two new tasks connected with the new text 'Weekend' they are going to read

Two students out of seven chose Task A, the mode of working together and the text 'I Would Not Have the Guts to Do It' by J.D.Salinger

They worked for almost 40 minutes and produced a grid which included the list of parameters (created before), sub-parameters (e.g. vocabulary, grammar - for language as a parameter), examples from the text and the explanation/interpretation of the examples. They said they had enjoyed working together. (One of the students was the one who had the TA-based lessons for three years with Irina Bucinska). Having done their task they watched the other group doing Task 2. At the end of the lesson they shared the results of their work with the whole class.

The rest (five) were divided into two groups to work on the pre-text tasks. In Task 1 they had to describe a typical weekend of two different groups of people. They  teenagers and retired people. Step 1: in groups they listed the features (values) of weekend for teenagers and retired people; step 2 - all together we compared the values and indicated parameters. We have observed the gaps in a description (where a value for one of the target groups was missing) and filled them. Time for task A - 25 minutes.

Task 2 was also connected with describing a weekend. This time - a good weekend for you 10 years before, you now and you in 10 years. It was to be done individually. It took them 10 - 12 minutes to do it. In giving them Task 2 I wanted to see if they will apply to the list of parameters characterising a weekend devised in task 1. They did not. They took it as a separate task and mainly operated with one or two parameters.

My role: for the group working on the text analysis - to encourage and give help (almost none was needed). For the groups working on pre-text tasks - to collect their responses and help them to devise a list of parameters of a typical weekend.

At home Group 1 were asked to reflect on how the text tool worked and elaborate a procedure (a series of steps) to describe a text

Group 2 - to reflect on how to describe an object and elaborate a procedure on how to do it in steps.

Aim achievement: partial -  little awareness of the advantages of using the tool for doing a similar task.

Re; Thinking Task Framework: the 'text' group - Step 3; the 'weekend' group -  1 and 2.



# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-01 11:00
Larisa, thanks a lot for the detailed comment.

One technical request. When including a link to a material on another site, can you please put a direct link so that people can find the material? I've now edited your post and done it - can you please take a look and do it yourself next time?

Now re the actual tasks. Is it possible to see what the group doing the ENV of the text produced? Did you somwhow deal with evaluating the task? Why (not)?

Re the task from the pre-reading part. Did you have any specific aims when asking the students to do these tasks? Which ones? Did you manage to reach them?

It'd also be interesting to have your comments on how both of the tasks were connected with the Thinking Task Framework? What could have been done better if you had a chance to do it again?
# Larisa Sardiko 2011-03-03 19:37
Alexander, thank you for your comment.
Re: technical - could you tell me how to do it?

Re: actual tasks - I have sent it to you.I have not dealt with evaluated yet (end of class) and I do not actually know how.

Re: aims of pre-reading tasks:
Task 1: to get them to produce the description of a weekend on the level of parameters through comparing. (they have got it)

Task 2: to see if Task 1 made any sense to them (i.e. if they would use the parameters of a weekend from Task 1).

I did not manage to reach the aim.
Re: thinking task framework: I think we stuck on step 1.

I thought I should get them to reflect on how they did Task 1 and make conclusions on how to do a similar task.

Today I did it with other groups and failed again:they did not much sense in doing what one of them referred to as all known things.

My difficulties are: I have not enough skills to create a challenge for them, to make them interested in the procedure of reflecting and evaluating the task. I do not actually understand how we come to a unified procedure of steps - through discussion only? How could I proceed by not getting them and myself discouraged?
# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-08 15:27

- to insert a hyperlink, to to the destination page you want to refer people to, copy the URL from the browser address bar, go back to the Word Processor at, select the text you want to act as a hyperlink, click on 'link' icon in the Word Processor and insert the link by pressing 'paste'.
- re evaluation. I think how we do it depends on the aims. One of the aims may be connected with creating a challenge. In this case, we should find faults with the task / create the challenge by seeing whether the appropriate parameters have been defined and whether the number of enough.
I will answer the rest of the questions later.
# Alexander Sokol 2011-03-09 10:28
Re further questions.
Normally, students not seeing the point is an indicator that they've not accepted the challenge we've tried to create (don't see it as a challenge). We can either try again with the same challenge or just pick up another resource for creating the challenge that will help us reach the aim we set. In fact, it doesn't matter which resource (task, students' idea, etc.) we use for creating the challenge as long as we are still on the way to the aim. Personally, I often had to give up the initial plan as it merely didn't work. There's no problem here.

If you don't feel comfotable at this stage to start with challenges, another typical solution is to introduce a model in context (eg ENV as a tool for describing texts or synonyms or whatever seems appropriate with a given group) and then invite the students to apply it when they come acrosss a new task. However, here again I'd recommend that you challenge them, so that they see the need for using the model.
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