I wanted to accomplish two things with the chapter: I wanted to make the material comprehensible for all my students as well as to facilitate group work and collaboration. After reading chapter 3 on my own, I was sure it was going to be a challenge. The grammar was more advanced than anything that they had seen before (a lot of the past perfect) and the vocabulary was more sophisticated than what my advanced novice readers were accustomed to. So, how to make this comprehensible? I decided I’d be better off by dividing and conquering.
I divided the chapter into five different sections and put each class into groups of five (students were grouped according to their reading level). I then labeled each section according to its level of difficulty and assigned each group a selection that best matched the group reading levels. Next, I pulled out about ten words for each section and put them into a graphic organizer. Some of the words I let students look up in the glossary, others I had them define from context and, for other words, I simply gave them the definitions. It’s important to note here that these words (those on the graphic organizer) I did not necessarily want students to acquire. That is to say, these were words that would make the passage more comprehensible to students but they were not the high frequency structures that were the focus of this chapter. (The three structures I chose for this chapter were: se esconde / se escondió, amenaza / amenazó, and encuentra / encontró. They were pre-taught before we began the chapter in an entire lesson devoted to PQA and circling after which students used them to make a prediction about Chapter 3.)
In addition to helping with vocabulary, I also wanted the graphic organizers to help students organize information about what they were reading. Below are the organizers that correspond to each section of the chapter.
I liked my plans so far but the question remained: how was each group going to know what happened in the rest of the chapter? The answer: Jigsaw!
|Image Credit: http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/Jigsaw.htm|
Returning to my computer, I came up with five comprehension questions for each section of the chapter. Once students had finished reading the chapter and filling out the graphic organizer, I asked students to return to their individual desks and write a summary of what they had read. After they finished with their summaries, students were asked to go back to their reading groups. I handed out the comprehension questions and asked students to review the questions (for comprehension) that corresponded to their reading selection with one another. The next step was to have students share their summaries with the group. I wanted students to read their summaries out loud while the group listened to see how many of the comprehension questions each summary addressed. Finally, students were asked to choose the best summary (the one that answered all of the comprehension questions) or to create a new summary that answered all the questions by combining information from each student’s work.
Once the group had come up with a solid “resumen” of their assigned selection, I designated one student from each group “ambajador” to go around to the other groups, read their summary out loud. In this way, the students in other groups could answer the comp questions (I’m not posting the questions as some are taken and/or modified from the comprehension guide) for different sections of the chapter.
While this activity worked fairly well and students seemed to be engaged, I still wanted to review the entire chapter with the students before giving them an assessment. I turned, once again, to Martina Bex and her “¿Quién lo dijo?” activity. I translated to English about fifteen of the most important events from the chapter and put them in a slideshow. I then began to read the chapter out loud with the students reading along. Each time they heard the event being read, they raised their hands and shouted “¡Lo oí!” The students loved this and I think it was a great follow up review activity. The only thing I wanted to be sure of was that I was getting adequate repetitions of vocabulary into the lesson so, if an opportunity arose for circling or doing some PQA with the structures, I made sure I took advantage of it.
The last thing we did for chapter 3 was take a short multiple choice comprehension quiz with most of the questions taken directly from the teacher’s guide. Students scored pretty high on it and I felt comfortable moving on to the next chapter.