Wrote about the reasons why they love their school

In my last post, I said I believed my students could write better sentences about their school. And I’ve done exactly what I said: I took their sentences, wrote them on paper slips and asked further questions to help them develop their ideas and wrote them myself on the paper.

Why did I write it myself? Mostly due to time constraints. I still have course books to follow and a deadline to do the test with them. And also because I am always late. As I keep bringing extra stuff for my students, I tend to end up having to rush things towards the end of the semester/year.

Regarding the activity and my expectations, I think my students did a good job. They answered the questions right away, reflecting and giving interesting reasons for liking a particular thing about their school. They mentioned games they played in the playground, the forest that surrounds the school and the fresh air they can breathe. It was a nice moment of meaningful input for them and assessment for me.

I really wanted to have them record a video for the school’s website, because in the end, the project was also a nice way to promote the school. But we shall see the arrangements for that.

Next class we are going to go back to using the course book. The main goal will be to describe people’s appearance by using parts of the body vocabulary.

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Made a list of what they love about their school

When we start a new year, it is always important to reflect about the school and why it is important to go there and learn things. After reviewing school subjects, telling the time and school materials, it was time to go beyond language learning and get to a deeper reflection. As I love making lists, I asked my students to list 10 reasons why they liked their school. We had a few example sentences on the board and they went home to create their sentences.

Today, I boarded one sentence from each student and they helped me correct them. Then they did some self and peer correction to go through the other sentences. So far so good, focusing on the language is always important.

However, when I sat down after the lesson to reflect on their production, I realized they only wrote about concrete things. Here are a few examples:

  • I like my school because there is a soccer field.
  • I like my school because we watch films.
  • I like my school because it has a big playground.
  • I like my school because we have got music lessons.

The language is fine for their level, they are beginners. What bothers me is the content of the sentences. because, even though they are nine years old, I believe they should be able to say more. For instance, to say that they learn things, that they can play with their friends in the big playground and that in the music lessons they listen to songs in English.

I believe there are two reasons why they failed to do what I expected. First, I did not scaffold enough and should have asked them more questions to help them think deeper. So I blame myself, of course. Second, maybe they are not able to understand why they are at school, what they are doing there. In other words, they are not conscious of their roles as citizens of the world.

I want these sentences to become a poster with the “10 reasons why I love my school” to be displayed in the hallway. If the students were excited about the project, they could even film it to put on the school’s website.

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Anyway, I believe my students can do better than what they have produced. Therefore, next class I will bring their sentences back on slips of paper, and reflect on each idea. For example, what do you do at the soccer field? What kinds of things can you learn when watching a film? What games do you play in the playground? I will write their answers on the slips and leave some space for them to try to improve the sentences. There will be a few examples because they need language input.

I hope they can produce better sentences with that activity. We shall see that on Monday 🙂