miércoles, 16 de mayo de 2012

Beat the Teacher

or Finding Affordances, volume III.

I wanted to share a post-lesson plan with yous while it was fresh in my mind. This was with five ~B2 level adults.

We started off with a board game called Beat the Teacher: Teacher challenges the whole group to make a correct and coherent sentence by calling out words one by one round the class. The words go up in the order they are called out - no inserting or editing - and they can't suggest ideas to each other. It might go like this:

Abigail:         We
Brian:            went
Charlotte:       to
David:           the
Elisa:             my
Frank:           house
Gillian:          STOP

(Frank isn't allowed to call out a word and say STOP - it has to be the next person.)

In this case, it's a point for teacher, because in English you can't say "the my house".

I use this exercise a lot as a tail-ender, but today I wanted to use it at the start to see if we could generate any affordances. Regular readers of this blog will notice that affordances is the current bee in my bonnet.

(Hope you like my bonnet - Sandy Milliner made it for me ;)

Affordance One

They came up with up to lunchtime which not everybody was familiar with. I used the other board to brainstorm different uses of up. Up is a preposition of a thousand faces (OK, four or five...) so we just looked at the following -

a) the ordinary UP for higher/more: - get up, speak up

b) UP for approaching: - This guy comes up to me, a car pulls up

c) UP for totally: - clean up your room, wrap up warm

Affordance Two

We stumbled upon broken-hearted, so we took a look at this family of compound adjectives -

blue-eyed, left-footed, dark-skinned and so on.

Affordance Three

Somebody suggested since, and we clarified that it's actually two separate words:

a preposition/conjunction of time: - Since the war, Since my baby left me

and a conjunction of consequence: - Since you don't know I'll tell you.

And just to wrap up, we listened to Elvis singing Heartbreak Hotel on YouTube with lyrics, which contain the latter two affordances.

How do you go about generating affordances? Can you share any tips with us?

Beat the Teacher

a) Yes, I know - there are several games out there with the same name.

b) It's well worth tuning this game to the level of your students, since otherwise they simply stay in their comfort zone. You can push them by adding the rule that you the teacher will give them the first word. This allows you to start them off easily with pronouns or nouns, or give them something much more challenging. Try starting off intermediate students with a gerund, or a past participle, or a conjunction and see if they can cope.