Look at the following textbook sample. As you look at the activities, think about the ECRIF questions. What seems to be the aim of each activity? What gaps do you notice? What would you keep, reject, add or change?
How will students encounter the target language? In what context? How can I provide them with opportunities to activate their prior knowledge and fluency?
How will student clarify the form, meaning, and use of the target language?
How will students remember/internalize the target language?
What communicative tasks will provide students opportunities to fluently use the target language?
Note: We encourage you to do this activity yourself and then compare it to our commentary/analysis, which is below.
Our commentary is below.
Telling Tales (Mixed Past Tenses/Past Perfect) (American Headway 3. Oxford University Press) Overall the focus on the activities seems to be helping the students encounter and clarify the past tenses and then remember/internalize them with story.What strikes me, though, is that the students may not get enough time clarifying andremembering the tenses or fluently using them to communicate their own ideas. Below are some more specific observations and ideas. Fluency/Encountering. The initial activity with the three pictures provides some context (i.e. a story). Before showing this picture though, I might want to establish context on a more personal level by asking students to think of their own stories. For example, by having them talk about a good or bad day that they recently had, I could give them an opportunity for fluency and establish the context of stories. I could also assess the tenses they are already using
Clarifying. The activity in which students match the sentence to the picture will probably help many of the students clarify the basic difference in meaning between the sentences. I think, however, that the last question, “What is the difference in meaning?” might be hard to answer for some students. To help students further clarify the meaning of the sentences, I would ask their ideas but maybe also give some support language like, “When did _________ ? First? After? At the same time?” I would have students do this discussion in pairs so that they could all have a chance to actively think, talk and clarify the meaning. This will also give me a chance to assess which students are getting it and which are having trouble.
Clarifying. I would also draw some timelines on the board for each action and ask students to match the sentence to the timeline. I would then ask some concept check questions, like, “So, in this sentence….Did he make dinner before or after she got home?” “When we use the past perfect, how many actions are usually there? (=2).
Additional Clarifying/Remembering. I would add a few more sentences related to the couple that used the difference tenses (Ex. He cooked dinner but had never tried this recipe. OR She had eaten a late lunch so she wasn’t very hungry.”) I would then have students ask each other which actions came first and second. I would also point out that we often use the past perfect to give background in a story, show why something happened, or why somebody felt a certain way. I think this activity would help some students clarify (because they hadn’t gotten it yet) and other students remember/internalize the meanings as they explain them to their partners.
Remember/Internalize. I think the story is a great way to provide another context and help the students remember/internalize the language. By matching the sentences they need to think about the story and all of its images and the tenses. This link might help them internalize the tenses more. For some students who are still having trouble they can clarify by asking why one sentence did not fit.
Internalizing/Fluent Use. I would want to add more activities here that give students a chance to internalize and the language and clarify the grammar. For example, I could have the students finish tailless sentences related to good/bad days. (Ex. When I got home, I was surprised because …) Another activity might be to give them a simple story just with past tense and have them add more sentences using the tenses. I might also have them write out their good/bad days using the tenses, so I could error correction and help them clarify the meaning, use, and form of the tenses.
Fluent Use. I would have students then discuss their good/bad days with a partner, so that they could both use and hear the tenses in conversation. I could then take notes of common mistakes for students to correct before having them do the fluency task again.