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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    3: Delivering the Message

Put It Into Practice: Activity A

Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Library Video Chart
Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

Activity A: Designing a Presentational Writing Task

In this activity, you will design a realistic presentational writing task by first identifying the audience in order to focus the final product. You will also be asked to develop your lesson in a way that incorporates the stages of prewriting, drafting, revising, and publishing. You can design the activity for individual students or for groups.
  1. Unit/Lesson selection. Begin with a unit or lesson that you are planning to teach and for which a presentational task is appropriate. For example, it might be a weather unit in which students communicate about different kinds of weather events (such as rain, snow, or drought).
  1. Backward design. First, describe a product that you want students to develop for their presentation. For example, if the topic is weather, you could ask students to create a) an almanac that describes seasonal weather patterns in their town or in a country that speaks the target language, or b) daily weather reports with three-day forecasts. Next, determine who the audience would be and why they would be interested. Then decide whether students will be working individually or in groups. Finally, based on the description of product and audience, draft a rubric for assessing that product. Be sure to include your expectations for different aspects of the presentation, such as comprehensibility, language control, vocabulary usage, the product's impact on the audience, and cultural awareness.
Note: For more ideas on setting expectations for presentations, review the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) K-12 Performance Guidelines (see Resources). If you would like to learn more about writing and using rubrics, go to the Assessment Strategies lesson on the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 video library Web site. To check out a sample rubric, view the Video Project Rubric (PDF, 28 K) created by Yo Azama (Promoting Attractions of Japan) or the Rubric for Interpersonal Task (PDF, 20 K) created by Paris Granville (Assessment Strategies).
  1. Prewriting. Design a prewriting activity (with prompts) that engages students in the language and topic before they begin to develop the final product. Students can find inspiration and motivation, as well as review necessary vocabulary, through brainstorming, creating a web, doing free-writing, and more. For example, students can brainstorm about the different kinds of weather events that can occur, or do a free-writing exercise in the target language about the weather they experienced during the past week.
  1. Drafting. Prepare instructions for how students should write their first drafts. What resources may they use? How much time will they have? Will they be working on this in class with your assistance, or will they do some of it at home? Is there a model they could look at that can serve as a benchmark? For example, if students are creating an almanac entry on weather, you can have them read a sample entry first to understand the expected format and content. If students are creating daily reports, you can have them read one from a Web site or newspaper to see how precipitation, temperature, and other information are formatted.
  1. Editing/Feedback. Describe how students will get feedback on their first draft. For example, will they be peer editing, receiving feedback from you, or a combination of both? Will the feedback be given in the form of written edits to their draft, or will you have a discussion about their work? Also, how will the feedback balance issues of language accuracy and information?
  1. Revision and publication. Describe how you will expect students to revise and complete their presentation. For example, will they have additional opportunities to receive feedback? Also, because presentational tasks are intended for audiences beyond the classroom, they lend themselves to publication or display. Knowing that their work will be shown to a wider audience can encourage students to target their work more precisely to the intended audience and use language more accurately. Therefore, conclude by describing how you will expect students to publish (display) their work for the intended audience.

Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

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3: Delivering the Message > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
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