1.1 Going Grocery Shopping
2. The Lesson
2.1 Healthy Grocery Shopping
1.1 Going Grocery Shopping
The described lesson on hand is part of a whole unit dedicated to the topic Going Grocery Shopping which aims purposefully for applicability of foreign-language skills. Lüger (1995) stated, “Das betreffende lexikalische und grammatische Wissen ist […] eine notwendige, aber keineswegs hinreichende Voraussetzung, entscheidend ist darüber hinaus das Anwendenkönnen im Rahmen der jeweiligen gesprächskonstituierenden Aktivitäten” (Lüger, 1995, p. 34). For that reason, the unit addresses mainly communicative competencies like Verfügbarkeit von sprachlichen Mitteln (Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen), more specifically Wortschatz und Redemittel (Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen) by giving the children opportunities to not only express themselves but also interview classmates, work and reflect with them and presenting their results together. While doing this, authentic and true-to-life situations play an important part in catching the children’s interest and showing them the topic’s relevance to their life outside the classroom. In the case of the topic Going Grocery Shopping the relevance can be found in itself since every human being needs food and drinks and has to go grocery shopping or shopping at a market at one point in his life. For that reason, the unit can be assigned to the Erfahrungsfeld: jeden Tag und jedes Jahr (Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen).
The unit is subdivided into six sequences (Appendix 1) which help to structure the unit’s content and the time scale of lessons included in the unit. During the first sequence, the children are provided playfully with a few of the most common fruit and vegetables, which are limited to five vocabulary words each and completed by some others the children already know so that these words can naturally be included for the unit as well. The first sequence is also used to present the unit’s goal of creating a healthy cooking show which will be part of the upcoming school festival.
In order to memorize the new vocabulary, the second sequence is used to make helpful chunks and movements connected to the words available for the children. In addition, this sequence marks the first transition from isolated vocabulary words to communicative skills since the learners get the chance to express themselves and ask their classmates about their different tastes as they have to collect information for their class survey.
The following sequence is described in more detail in the paper on hand. Basically, the children get to know one of the many fields of application regarding their new vocabulary which would be writing a healthy shopping list or going grocery shopping for themselves. They will not only learn why different fruit and vegetables have certain colours and to what extend they should be included in their meals, but also what other components are important to create a balanced diet.
Afterwards, vitamins and the nutritional value are discussed in-depth so that the children memorize the function and benefits of certain food and get a chance to use the vocabulary in different contexts. Since children learn the most effectively if they develop an individual relevance to a topic, the aim of this sequence is to explain why one should eat healthy and how it could help oneself in different aspects of life like concentrating or doing sports.
In the following sequence, the results of the class survey are used as children who like the same or similar food get to work in groups for the purpose of drawing a poster that contains one healthy meal that the group would actually eat, its ingredients and benefits for the body. Later, the children display their results in a Gallery Walk so that they can reflect on their meals, get more ideas and see whether they have to change something.
The last sequence is dedicated to the development and practice of the cooking show that combines the knowledge and skills learnt during the unit. Every child gets involved in the show with their own skills whether it is drawing and writing posters in order to advertise their show and create a colourful scenery or to present the cooking show and to be part of the grocery shopping dialogue.
2. The Lesson
2.1 Healthy Grocery Shopping
Since the class discussed a healthy diet in science it seems to be just right to insert at least one lesson on the topic Healthy Grocery Shopping in the unit. For that reason, the students are going to repeat the food related vocabulary words they have learnt in the previous lesson but this time the focus will be on healthy food. Not only will be discussed healthy food in general but more specifically a healthy lunch and the ingredients it should contain.
The external conditions of the class like the fact that four refugees joined the class will not be considered as the lesson is taught in an L2 classroom in which the teacher speaks mainly English. But due to the English teacher’s illness, the whole class shows also a lack of vocabulary that is tried to be reduced by constant repetition and giving support of how to remember vocabulary more easily. Hence, the main lesson goal is to equip the students with ways of remembering vocabulary that again will help them to accomplish everyday situations in English. For this, they need to know more than a few food related words. Therefore, it will mainly be worked on their competence to communicate in English and express themselves as stated in the curriculum (cf. Ministerum für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen).
The lesson (Appendix 8) starts with the Good Morning Rhyme (Appendix 2) as a ritual that welcomes the students to the English lesson. Then, the children get to murmur in pairs about what they learnt in the previous lesson, in which they interviewed their classmates about their tastes and worked out appropriate movements connected to the new vocabulary words. Further, the greeting includes a short outlook for the particular lesson so that the students get a first impression and know what to expect. This transparency should also catch the children’s interest and draw attention to the current lesson sequence of the unit.
In order to get the students in a fully English mind-set and to renew the previous lesson contents, a total physical response (TPR) is requested. The teacher says one of the vocabulary words the children learnt before like banana and makes the appropriate movement which would be to pretend to peel a banana. The teacher asks the children to peel their banana and imitate him. This will be continued with the other vocabulary words, only the difference is that the children give the impulse henceforth. During this warm-up, the children can look at the blackboard where they find picture cards of the food in the right order that is used for the TPR. In case, they have finished all the vocabulary words and the teacher gets the impression that the children remember the words well, he could ask them for more ideas which they could try together. On the other hand, if the children seem to barely keep up with the TPR, the teacher should remind them to look on the blackboard as it might be necessary to repeat the vocabulary words and the movements one more time. The educators Legutke, Müller-Hartmann and Schocker-von Ditfurth (2014) claim that a new language should be combined with gesture, mime and action “as this supports understanding and involves learners physically” (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 54). Since the children show a lack of vocabulary and the refugees might have no knowledge of the English language at all, this TPR exercise also helps to “remember and store new words and takes account of different learner types” (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 54) such as auditory learners, visual learners and tactile learners at once. Moreover, the task format could reduce anxiety concerning the English language and its practice as all children are able to participate (cf. Bleyhl, 2000, p. 35) even though they usually might have difficulties in speaking in class. The linguist Asher (1969) also states that TPR exercises offer a playful way of learning that is based on the children’s natural method of knowledge acquisition which helps to accelerate the comprehension process (cf. Asher, 1969, p. 10). In addition, the imperative used during the exercise makes the first meeting with new words more tangible (cf. Bleyhl, 2000, p. 34). Besides that, it is a productive method of monitoring the children’s learning progress since the teacher gets a direct response from all children. For that reason,
it is generally easier to develop listening comprehension than speaking skills, simply because it is difficult to get a large group of learners to speak at the same time, whereas it is no problem to ask all of the learners to listen and demonstrate understanding (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 53).
Authentic communication in real live situations differ from classroom languages if it is only used in the imperative. That is why the TPR exercise should not be the only occasion learners get to speak English. Instead, the teacher should provide as much exposure to the English language as possible. Concerning this, the researchers Groot-Wilken, Engel and Thürmann (2007) observed that after two years of English, grades three and four in North Rhine–Westphalia demonstrate high listening competencies but “[w]hen addressed by a speaker […] to get actively involved in a dialogue they were less successful and just a minority managed to say things coherently” (Groot-Wilken et al., 2007, p. 32). In order to keep the competencies in balance, the TPR is followed by another ritual, the Finger Puppet Question Time, in which the students have to ask their classmates particular questions by using the appropriate chunks. For this lesson the chunks would be Do you like? - Yes, I do/No, I don’t. Five children get a finger puppet and start to ask a child that does not have a puppet and then it is his turn to ask someone else and give the puppet further. Since the children ask at the same time, no one is in focus so that again children with anxiety can participate without worrying. In this way, the children get the chance to express themselves in full sentences by using the chunks as a scaffold.
In order to transit from the Question Time to the lesson’s topic, the teacher asks what they answered and whether it is healthy food what they like. The teacher could also ask about the characteristics of healthy food. After that, the class collects all the healthy food they know whether it is in German or in English as it is translated in English anyways, and together they create a healthy lunch on the blackboard. In this way, the teacher can raise awareness of a healthy and balanced diet and slowly begin with the curricular teaching. In case that the children are not able to come up with healthy food whether it is in German or in English, the teacher could highlight connections to the topics discussed in science or give examples.
Afterwards, the working phase is introduced by the request to listen very carefully to the following song Eat your Rainbow (Kids Learning Tube, 2016) in order to see if the created lunch is perfect yet. Legutke et al. (2014) claim to this, instructors should offer “tasks that give learners a meaningful, varied and challenging purpose of why they should listen” (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 54). Hence, the teacher distributes flashcards with one particular food or drink to the learners so that while listening they are supposed to show their card as soon as they discover their word in the song. After listening to it for the first time, the children can ask questions and summarize what they understand so far in German or in English. In any case, the teacher should draw the connection between the vitamins and colours and explain that the more colours a meal contains the healthier and balanced it is. Concerning the song, it has to be taken into account that there are vocabulary words used in it that have not been discussed so far like different fruit, vegetables, vitamins and inner organs. As there are pictures shown in the music video and the context is stated very clear, the content might be understandable. However, it is not the aim to learn these new words but rather to explain the reason of why a healthy diet requires certain food as they have functions for the body. When the children listened to the song twice, they are asked whether the plate they created is missing something, now that they got new information on a healthy diet. In case they have to add or remove something from the plate on the blackboard, the children and the teacher complete the lunch and together they explain why they have to change the ingredients.
The song discusses only vitamins as a component of a healthy diet so that the instructor could stick with that or he adds others like a source of protein and carbohydrates. At this point at the latest, the teacher needs to be very sensitive and respectful to different diets. Even though there might not be a vegan or vegetarian learner in the class, the instructor has to inform and acknowledge human diversity, more specifically different cultures and individual attitudes towards life and food. In case the children show a deep admiration, the teacher should try to save time and postpone the discussion for the next lesson. Nevertheless, the instructor should appreciate the children’s interest. For instance, he could explain that the children should remember their questions and remarks or even to note them down as an optional homework so that they could discuss them right at the beginning of the following lesson. In order to stay on track regarding the lesson’s goal, the learners could even think of possibilities to include protein of a different source than meat or fish and create an optional plate for the next lesson. Further, the teacher should draw attention to the fact that the lunches they created are to no extend meant to be eaten exactly in this combination and everyday but that these are examples of how a healthy diet could look like. For the purpose of this particular understanding and to practice the vocabulary words in a communicative context, the teacher leads to the working phase.
In pairs, the learners get to play a game about healthy food shopping. For that, they need their mini flashcards (Appendix 3) which they cut out in the previous lesson so that each pair has one pile of cards that show pictures of the vocabulary and one with its written word in English. Like in Memory, they have to find matching pairs, only that in this game they have to match the word and the picture. Another amendment to the common Memory is that the learners are supposed to only take those pairs into their shopping carts (Appendix 5) that show healthy food. Moreover, they have to use phrases like …is/ are healthy/ unhealthy or I can put…in my cart/ on my list, I don’t put it in my cart/ on my list whenever it is their turn. As not everyone remembers the chunks, the children can look at the walls where they can find posters that show the chunks and helpful examples of how to use them. This way, the learners get the opportunity to practice their speaking skills and combine new and already learnt vocabulary within chunks. Consequently, not only speaking but also reading and listening comprehension is supported. Legutke et al. (2014) highlight the importance of the interactive learner support and that learners need a scaffold to “communicate something in English spontaneously “(p. 54). As a consequence, “[l]earners need models of language use that they can adapt to their communicative needs” (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 55). The phrases mentioned before offer the learners “various choices in what they could say and yet provide[…] the means of how they could say by using a model dialogue at the same time” (Legutke et al., 2014, p. 55). According to this, chunks provide a flexible scaffold for the children which they can use in different occasions by adapting only the words that can be filled in without changing the chunk’s form. In this way, one chunk can help the children to create several sentences or questions, so that they will not necessarily need a stimulus for every new sentence they want to form.
- Quote paper
- Anonymous, 2018, Healthy Grocery Shopping (English lesson, primary school), Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/520414