Thursday, 11 July 2013

What is Language?

So we crash into the time of year when we are entertaining students who are ready for the summer holiday meltdown, and I am trying to save my energy and time by manipulating resources that already exist.

As I was teaching a French group the German alphabet (end of term treat!), an old friend (a resource...!) came into my mind, and I thought it would be the perfect time to resurrect it. It is and has been on the TES for a while, but I whipped it down to size for the sake of what I wanted it for. 

The starter task was the hieroglyphics slide, with questions on it for them to consider. The second think bubble is the next step, once you have gone through the answers and discussed their ideas about language. In the feedback from the starter, I would expect students to use words like communication, symbols, story, and we then talk about languages across the world, different types of language and how human beings communicate.

They then write a definition of "Language", which they then feedback on. We then look at the dictionary definition of "Language", and discuss any thoughts that are raised.

After that, we discussed what languages have in common (also a slide for this) and then we set about the fun part of the lesson.

  • Students were asked to write down the alphabet, one letter per line, and then they were asked to create their own alphabet using symbols and shapes.
  • Once they had done that, they had to create a sound for the letter and write it down, a bit like they did when learning the German or French alphabet pronunciations, e.g. A = (ah).
  • They then wrote their name using their new symbols, wrote out the pronunciation and practised saying it.
  • They also used their new alphabet to write secret messages to each other.
  • We also offered them the lyrics to a song for them to write bits out in their new alphabet.

What was noticeable is that the EAL students thrived in the task, using some of the sounds of their mother tongue in their sounds. Students liked the creativity of the task, and it was great wandering around the room watching their alphabets develop, and the excitement they had when trying to pronounce their names in their new language!

I will definitely be making this the very first lesson that Year 7s do in September, because it gives reason and purpose to language learning, and it is a great foundation to students understanding of language learning.

In the meantime, I have a collection of new alphabets on a large piece of sugar paper that is going to form some of the display for September. Lovely.

And now which choon? Body Language by Queen, of course!

No comments:

Post a Comment