Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

Chinese: Communicating About Sports
Analyze the Video

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • What are some benefits of using a thematic approach in your teaching? How can a unit be organized around a given theme?
  • What opportunities do you provide beginning students to communicate using new learning?
  • How do you challenge all students in a class that includes native speakers? How might you differentiate instruction for the two groups? What are the challenges and benefits of differentiated instruction?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Communicating About Sports," take notes on Ms. Gao's instructional strategies, particularly how she provides all students with opportunities to learn and communicate. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.

Reflect on the Video
Review your notes, and then respond to the following questions:

  • What activities does Ms. Gao use to focus student learning? How does she structure the lesson to move from one activity to another?
  • How does Ms. Gao use TPR to teach vocabulary?
  • What opportunities do students have to use new material in interpersonal communication? How does this build their interpersonal skills?
  • How does Ms. Gao encourage student expression beyond the narrow vocabulary taught?
  • How does Ms. Gao develop students' ability to interpret and write Mandarin characters?
  • How does Ms. Gao differentiate instruction for native speakers and beginning learners? When do the two groups of students pursue different tasks, and when do they work together as a class?

Look Closer
Take a second look at Ms. Gao's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment: Learning Characters

You'll find this segment approximately 11 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes.

Students learn to identify and draw select Chinese characters as they acquire new vocabulary.

  • Why does Ms. Gao use English in this part of the lesson?
  • How does she help students to discern common elements among the characters?
  • How does Ms. Gao teach students to write characters? How does she use visuals to reinforce her teaching and help students learn new vocabulary and written characters?
Video Segment: Pairs Activity

You'll find this segment approximately 16 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students work in pairs to practice expressing their sports likes and dislikes.

  • What is the purpose of the worksheet used during the pairs activity?
  • How does Ms. Gao interact with the student pairs?
  • What evidence do you see that students are really communicating in this activity? How do you know they are "telling the truth"?
Video Segment: Preparing and Performing Skits

You'll find this segment approximately 20 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes.

Student groups prepare skits that incorporate their new sports vocabulary.

  • How do students use the prompts (role-play cards) during their skits?
  • How do the skits recycle material from earlier units and incorporate new material?
  • During the skit practice time, what do you observe about individual students in their groups? How effective is Ms. Gao's grouping strategy?
  • During the presentation phase, what do you observe about student participation?

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