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Tic-Tac-Vocab!

  • Teacher: Ryan Full - Jackson Junior High Vienna, WV
  • Grade Level(s) 9th
  • Subject: Foreign Language
  • Topic/Title:
  • Unit Title: Positional Words and Colors
  • Time/Length: 1 class

  1. Student Objective(s):
    1. Specific Objectives: Given prior knowledge of vocabulary describing location and colors as well as a Treehouse stash students will narrate the moves of other players as well as give clear, accurate, and understandable instructions to a partner expressing positions and placement of various manipulatives.
  2. Essential Question(s): How well can you orally express to another person where to place a particular item without written cues? How well can you identify a particular item among a set of items (eg. what color and size pyramid you are talking about when given a large set of pyramids).
  3. Lesson Procedure:
    1. Lesson Introduction: Review the vocabulary needed to discuss the colors used in your Treehouse stashes as well as the vocabulary for beside, in front of, behind, to the left, to the right, etc.
    2. Lesson Development:
      1. Demonstrate Tic-Tac-Doh to the students with an explanation of all the rules. For a foreign language class this explanation could be done in the target language – for an autistic or ESL class then English would be appropriate. It is vital that the game be demonstrated as it is being explained. For best results play a game against a student while explaining it to the class. (note: the instructions for Tic-Tac-Doh can be found here) For ease of using this plan the page will be cut and pasted at the end of this document in the PDF form of this lesson plan.
      2. Students should then be paired up with a single partner and then those partners are placed with 1 other paired group so you have groups of four.
      3. Two students will play the game slowly while the two observers will describe the move their partner makes in the target language. For example the narration may go something like this: John places a large red pyramid. Samantha places a small green pyramid to the left of the large red pyramid. John places a small yellow pyramid on top of the large red pyramid. Samantha places a small green pyramid to the right of the large red pyramid with the small yellow pyramid. Samantha wins!
      4. Alternate between who is playing and who is narrating. Instructor should circulate among the students to keep an eye on grammar as well as making sure the groups are operating in the language being targeted.
      5. After each pair has gotten to play and narrate a time or two they should split into two separate groups so everyone is playing. Now the instructions will slightly change.
      6. The students will take turns playing the game but instead of placing a piece and narrating they will instead explain to their opponent where they would like their piece placed and their opponent will place it for them. This should activate the ability to give clear directions. Note: While playing this portion the student will never place their own piece, they will place the pieces for their opponent based upon their opponent’s instructions.
      7. Give the students adequate time and space to work out the instruction giving activity on their own. Be sure to not over-correct on the grammar. By allowing the students to make minor grammatical errors they will see their conversation naturally develop. If the error is too gross their opponent will not be able to place their piece appropriately and they will be forced to correct themselves. This also allows for their opponent to ask questions to clarify where they want their piece placed.
    3. Lesson Closure: To close the instructor should split the class in two and have them play against each other with the instructor placing the pieces. This then allows the instructor to ask leading and/or clarifying questions to determine exactly what the students are wanting for placement.
    4. Homework: none
  4. Student Assessment/Evaluation: Students should be assessed through observation of the games and discussion. For a formative assessment the instructor could provide written instructions for a board setup, provide the students with the pyramids needed, and have them assemble the board according to instructions on their desktop.
  5. Material and/or Resources:
    • 1 multicolored Treehouse stash for every 2 students
    • Optional: 1 stash per student to do the formative assessment
  6. Reflection/Modification: On reflection the project went very well. The students enjoyed playing the game and when it came time for them to play against one another with me placing the pieces their ability to communicate what they wanted had markedly improved. I did the formative assessment variation due to having a small class and enough pyramids and I provided the instructions to them orally. On future attempts at this activity I will instead provide written instructions so I can also test their reading comprehension skills as well as all the oral comprehension the exercise entails.
  7. Contact: If anyone has any questions, advice, feedback, comments, or wants clarification they are welcome to contact me at sr.full [at] gmail [dot] com. Bear in mind it is an email address I only check weekly so response may be slow. I can also be located on the Looney Labs site in the Teacher rabbit Warren.

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