In this section, you will apply what you have learned to your own teaching. This five-part activity leads you through the development of an interpretive task that you can use in your classroom.
Designing an Interpretive Task
- Select an authentic text that you would like to use in an upcoming lesson. Describe the text you selected and your reason for choosing it. For example, you could select a Web site, literary text, audio recording, or film that relates to the theme of the lesson or focuses on cultural issues.
- Prepare a previewing activity for the text that engages students in thinking and using language to explore:
- their own background or prior knowledge;
- the social or cultural context of the text;
- their curiosity or anticipation of the message (content) of the text; or
- new language for familiar topics.
- Prepare a skimming/scanning exercise to introduce students to the text or part of it. For example, you might do several of the following:
- design a worksheet, chart, or graphic organizer in which students can record their findings from the skimming/scanning exercise;
- have students work in pairs to respond to skimming/scanning cues;
- review the results of the skimming/scanning activity with the class to make sure that everyone is on track before the next part of the activity; and
- use what you know about your students' proficiency levels, background knowledge, and interests to design skimming/scanning activities that are most likely to lead to successful interpretations.
- Design an activity in which you will lead students through a close or intensive reading/listening of the text. Consider how the information that students gathered during the skimming/scanning exercise would help them with the interpretation. For example, are there unfamiliar terms that they identified while skimming or scanning that they will need to define in order to do a close reading? Determine the degree of understanding you expect students to develop (it need not be complete), as well as whether and how you would use pairs or group work. Formulate the questions or prompts you will use to initiate the discussion and keep it moving.
Submit your interpretive task as an assignment.
- Optional: Once students have gained content and language from the interpretive tasks, design a follow-up activity 1) in the presentational mode, or 2) with an additional interpretive text.
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