Setting: Camp Hokulea, English immersion camp in Hawaii for 7-12 year-old Korean children. This ESL class is for 10-12 year olds who have had two or three years of English instruction in Korea. Their resulting speaking and listening skills are low- to med-intermediate. They can write simple sentences, but their reading skills are up until now unassessed.
Lesson Context: Monday/Tuesday during Week 2 of a 5-week program. Classes meet for 45 minutes each day, Monday-Friday.
The class is working on creating a web-based camp newsletter, produced exclusively by the ESL students, but read and commented on by both Korean- and English-speaking students. The ESL students are responsible for collecting the materials in the forms of interviews videos, photos, and written reports to appear in the newsletter. Each student must contribute a minimum of two contributions to the class journal in the Seesaw class app. These are then reviewed and approved by the teacher, at which point the teacher provides feedback for revision. After the students have revised their work, students and teacher collaboratively choose one work per student to publish on the class’s password-protected blog through Seesaw. The newsletter will be presented at the weekly Family Night/Awards Ceremony and serve as an archive of students’ language improvement from week to week.
Local kids tell about something from Hawaii. Korean kids tell about something from Korea or something they did at camp (when Hawaii kids were not at camp) Other possibility: Hobbies
In yesterday’s lesson, the students talked about their likes and dislikes. The concept of Subject-AUX inversion was introduced as a way to form information WH-questions, e. g. What is your favorite movie? Students have been practicing using personal pronouns in place of names for subjects, objects, and possession. Students brainstormed a list of questions and interviewed each other about their likes and dislikes. This basic interview serves as a building off point for today’s real interview.
The focus of today’s lesson is on getting more information about students’ hobbies, likes, and dislikes than just a simple My favorite movie is Frozen. Students also learn to report the information learned in yesterday’s interview so that they can create reflections in the Seesaw app. The language of reporting zones in on using personal pronouns and embedded clauses as in He said that his favorite TV show is Scooby-Doo because…. Students record their interviews with each other and create drawings or take photos to illustrate the concepts from the interview. They also individually write a summary of three main ideas from the interview. Then they edit each other’s summaries and publish them to the class Seesaw journal for teacher review.
- Ask for more details about information obtained in an interview using why.
- Use embedded clauses to report information obtained in an interview because and that.
- Sun-Ah’s favorite movie is ______.
- Her favorite movie is ______.
- Sun-Ah said that her favorite movie is ____. / She said that her favorite movie is _____.
- Why is _____ your favorite ______ _______?
- Sun-Ah’s favorite movie is ____ because _____.
- Her favorite movie is ______ because ______ .
- Sun-Ah said that her favorite movie is ______ because ______.
Before the Next Lesson:
Read what your partner reported about your hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Read what one other classmate reported and comment about something interested you learned from the new post. Mentally prepare yourself to interview an English-speaking camper or counselor about their team project.
I wanted to use an app that would be safe for 10-12 year-olds to use. Legislation such as COPPA and FERPA govern the use of technology that collects information such as names and email addresses from persons under 13 years of age. Seesaw is a learning management system that abides by both sets of legislation. For example, students can log in through a class QR code, obviating the need for an email address. Students can use pseudonyms in place of names and avatars instead of profile pictures. Seesaw’s affordances also mimic most social networking sites with the ability to take pictures, record audio and video, add captions and publish these not only to a class journal but also to a blog. Teachers can make the blog password-protected so that families and students from other classes can comment on entries, without making the work completely public.
The class journal allows students to see and comment on each others’ work and teachers need to approve entries before students can publish work to the blog, which means that there is opportunity for direct expert and peer feedback. While captions can be edited, the raw video and photos cannot, which is one downside to this app.
The four MALL types (content, tutorial, creation, and communication) work best when integrated (Pegrum, 2014). I therefore wanted to use Socrative’s Space Race function to review student’s use of pronouns as tutorial MALL and as a scaffold into the overarching creation and content MALL involved in the recording and reporting of the interview on Seesaw. Though Socrative is not explicitly “safe” for those under 13, the teacher/program director can obtain parental consent to use Socrative as an educational tool. Socrative is, after all, designed for the K-12 context.
While the learners in this particular lesson are not themselves mobile, in the next lesson the plan is for them to go out and interview native English-speaking campers and counselors about team projects, which are groups of camper-counselor teams that are free to create a project on a very loose theme. This next installment of the newsletter therefore will create an even wider information gap and more opportunity for negotiation for meaning.
By creating a newsletter about students and happenings at the camp (the password-protected blog accessible to camp staff and student families), the ESL students are involved in communication MALL. By being the sole producers of the newsletter, they are empowered in their use of English, both in spoken (in recordings) and written abilities. Such a newsletter acts as a catalyst for communication between Korean L1 and English L1 students, and through peer collaboration not only promotes teamwork, a major tenet of the camp, but also facilitates a social constructivist approach to learning not often encountered in Korean school systems. Using Seesaw as one approach to incorporating MALL in this class therefore supports the foundations of the camp’s philosophy: Health, Imagination, and Teamwork.
Pegrum, M. (2014). Mobile learning: Languages, literacies, and cultures. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.