Several years ago, I realized the following about traditional interpretive activities like comprehension questions, cloze-listening, matching, fill-in-the-blanks, etc:
– Students were copying off of each other
– Students were just skimming for the answers, not really reading/listening
– It took me a long time to create them – Not an efficient use of my time
– I was deciding what was important – I’m doing all the thinking
– They were boring
– They don’t promote language growth based on proficiency
– They rank low on rigor/relevance scales and Bloom’s Taxonomy
– In real life, there are few times that these happen naturally
So that explains “why” I wanted to change. Then I was struggling with the “how” when I talked with Paul Sandrock a few years ago. It was a big ah-ha moment when he said to think about what is done in real life. When you read a news article, what do you do next? Hmm… Well, I might send the link to a friend and include a point that connects to something we had discussed. Or tell my husband about what I read during our walk to get his thoughts. Or write my opinion in the comment section. I promise, I am not a troll.
Another example: If you watched a music video, what might you do next in real life? Think about it before you read on…
Give your opinion. Critique it. Tell someone about it. Vote (thumbs up/thumbs down). I use to do a cloze-listening activity for a song, but now I see very little value in it. It’s ok, but there’s something better!
So this is where I’m at today. I am trying to make my interpretive tasks more authentic and increase higher order thinking. Especially for my novices, that was a planning challenge (simpler language but higher thinking). Sometimes it takes production to show what they understand, but I’m ok with that.
IDEAS for LESSONS
VOTING / EVALUATING
I can understand information about an eco-trip package.
Listen to your classmates’ presentations. Vote based on the categories.
This will show what they understand about what the trip has. It also gives them a reason to listen to each other.
I can say what fruits and vegetables I eat.
Read this “listicle” (list + article). Pick your top 5 and bottom 5.
This is also a good way to learn vocabulary since there are words/phrases with pictures.
I can talk about superstitions.
Read this “listicle.” Which ones do you believe in the most? The least?
I love using this site to find listicles in Spanish! http://listas.20minutos.es/categorias/
GIVING & DEFENDING OPINIONS / PERSUADING
I can dedicate a love song.
Listen to these love songs. Make a dedication to a someone special!
This will also show what they understood about the theme and main ideas in the lyrics. Click to read about the entire lesson.
I can nominate someone for “Athlete of the Year.”
Read through the nominated athletes on “Premios Univision Deportes.” Persuade someone to vote for your favorite.
I can give my opinion about the “Song of the Year.”
Now that the awards are over, watch the video that won “Song of the Year” at the Latin Grammys. Add your own comment about what you think about it. Should it have won?