Yuwei Xie’s lesson

Lesson Plan  

Setting: This class takes place at a private high school in northern California. It is a beginner -level Chinese class and the students are in their second year of study. They are in their sophomore or junior year of high school. There are about 12 students in the class. For the majority of the class, their L1 is English whereas a few are bilingual in Spanish and English. None of them qualifies as a heritage speaker or has had significant exposure to the language through relatives or travel. Each student owns a smartphone which is occasionally used in class.

Lesson context: The students just went over the vocabulary on daily routines such as “ 起床” , “吃早饭”, “上学”, “运动”, “睡觉”, etc. They have also previously learned vocabulary regarding places such as “在家”, “在学校”, “在健身房”, etc as well as time expressions such as “上午九点”, “ 中午十二点”, “晚上十点”, etc. In addition, they have learned the grammatical structure of placing adverbial phrases before verbs.

Language objectives:

During the class, the students will be able to

  • reinforce the vocabulary on daily routines that they have previously learned.
  • practice the grammatical structure of placing the adverbial phrases (time and place) before verbs
  • articulate their daily routines
  • expand on their existing vocabulary on daily routine.

Previous lesson’s HW: Students had to create a custom deck with all the vocabulary on daily routines they had just learned, on the app “charades” that they had previously downloaded onto their phones. (The class has been using this app regularly in class so the students are familiar with its features.)

Time Students’ steps Teacher’s steps Materials What this activity accomplishes
5 min Look at the list of vocabulary and say them out aloud.





Based on the list, students check each other’s deck of cards to make sure the list is error free.

Shows a list of vocabulary covered in the previous class and asks the students to quickly say each item.


Pairs the students up to check each other’s deck of cards.

Walks around to ensure students are checking each other’s assignment.



smart phone

-allows students to review the vocabulary learned through reading the list and checking their partner’s homework.


5 min Play the game Charades in pairs.


Each student get to act and guess for at least one round.

Explains the rules of the game and demonstrate for 30 seconds.


Walks around to ensure the students are completing the task.

smart phone -allows students to strengthen the vocabulary.

-gives students positive affect



View the video three times guided by the teacher.


Distributes a handout of new vocabulary and shows the video “When will my life begin” from “Tangled” in Mandarin.


Shows the video again and pauses at certain moments to say a word on their handout then a sentence incorporating the time or place of the action. Asks the students to repeat after her.


Shows the video a third time. When pausing, asks a student to volunteer answers or the whole class can answer in unison.





YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR492DBhuaQ






-captures students’ interest with the video


-allows students to guess the meaning of words based on the image and context.



Listen to the teacher’s example and then engage in the inner circle outer circle activity.


Each student will have a partner in the outer circle, facing each other. The inner circle students will share their routine first, followed by the outer circle. When the exchange is done, the teacher signals for the students in the outer circle to move to the left by one so each student has a different partner. This will continue for a few rounds.

Asks the students to think about their own daily routines.


Demonstrates by talking about her own routine (3 to 4 sentences).


Allow students time to think and to jot down notes.


Asks the class to stand in two concentric circles and   monitors the game inner circle outer circle.


open space -allows students to stand up for a change from sitting.


-allows students the opportunity to practice the same structure multiple times



Share their daily routine with the class (a few students)


Take notes on the homework.

Asks for volunteers to share their daily routine.


Explains the homework of having the student tweet out what they are doing at various times of the day.


Shows an example tweet.

smart phone – makes the writing activity more “situated” and “connected” through Twitter





The reasons for the homework from the previous lesson are twofold. First and foremost, the students are able to review the vocabulary through the practical experience of typing it on their cellphone. In this mobile era, people are spending an increasing amount of time composing texts on their mobile devices, which makes it a critical skill to have for a foreign language learner. Second, this assignment allows the students to reinforce their knowledge of the vocabulary in class through checking their partner’s homework as well as playing the game itself.

Although Charades can be played with a deck of paper cards, using a smartphone makes this activity more exciting and engaging due to the multimodal nature of the app which allows sound to add to the excitement of the game. In addition, the physical motion of placing the phone in front of one’s forehead and moving it accordingly helps make the participants more focused. The built-in timer also makes it easier for students to carry out the game in pairs. The use of MALL here therefore is mainly based on the technological affordances of mobile devices used for gaming. Balance (2013) argues in favor of using games as learning activities, commenting that a gaming app “could potentially be considered as somewhere between killing time and a learning activity, bridging the gap between what one ought to do and what one is willing to do” (p. 43). It is likely that the Charades app increases students’ willingness to participate because they may also use this app for entertainment in their down time. According to Puentedura (2011)’s SAMR model, using the Charades app would qualify as an augmentation from the traditional way of playing Charades because of the extra engagement and audio component.

The rest of the class mostly involves CALL to show the video as well as the inner outer circle activity which requires students to get out of their seats. These sections are incorporated so the class will involve a variety of activities, with and without technology.

For the homework for this lesson, the students are required to use Twitter to share their activities at three different times at distinct locations, using the same hashtag. Students are required to enrich at least one of the tweets by adding images, further details of the activities, as well as their feelings about them. They are highly encouraged to use new vocabulary words not yet reviewed in class. Ideally tweeting should be done in real time, unless there are technical difficulties. There are a number of reasons supporting the design of this particular homework using social networking platform Twitter versus the traditional pen and paper or typing sentences on a computer.

Compared with writing with pen and paper or even with typing on a computer, using mobile devices offers unique advantages, including the opportunity for situated learning and other merits of portable devices such as “social interactivity, context sensitivity and connectivity” (Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins, 2002). Beatty (2013) summarizes the benefits of “situated learning “as being “more effective than studying similar content in the classroom” (p. 3). Similarly, Dunleavy and Dede (in press) further explain the theoretical framework of “situated learning” and “constructivist learning” that mobile learning offers learners. Dunleavy and Dede argue that situated learning facilitates the transfer of knowledge, the ability to apply the learned knowledge from one situation to another, ideally a real-life one, which is first introduced in Mestre (2002). Dunleavy and Dede also summarize the conductive conditions to learning based on the constructivist learning theory, one of which is “embed learning within relevant environments” (p. 7 of 31).

In terms of this assignment in particular, not all students will be learning something new because some of them might just do the bare minimum by using only the vocabulary items already covered in class or they might not be truthful about their activities. Most of the students will hopefully learn some new vocabulary by looking up the words related to their activities on their phones. All of the students should be practicing the grammar structure of placing the adverbial phrases before the verb in their chosen location. This will require the students to transfer what they have reviewed in a classroom setting to hopefully a real-life context through the use of mobile phones and Twitter. This makes the assignment qualify as a “learning activity” which Ballance (2013) defines as “any task the learner engages in which is purported to improve the likelihood of the learner acquiring a new skill or level of understanding” (p. 37). Through this activity, the students will likely gain a deeper understanding of the grammar structure and in some cases, acquire new vocabulary. Despite the fact that the posting won’t happen in an immersive environment in the target language, students will be transferring their classroom knowledge to a real-life context, an example of situated learning.

Another advantage of tweeting is the ability to instantly share the tweets with the rest of the class. Students can look up each other’s tweets through searching using the common hashtag, one of the advantages that Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins (2002) call “social interactivity” which offers learners the ability to “exchange data and collaborate” (p. 2). An idea for the next assignment for the students could be to view and respond to a certain number of tweets by their classmates. Their responses could include comments on the content or the linguistic aspect. Thanks to the “situatedness” and connectivity of tweeting, this assignment would qualify as modification in the SAMR model because the task has been significantly transformed from the traditional pen and paper format.

A potential problem that might arise during the lesson would be students’ failure to complete previous homework. However, since each pair only needs one phone at a time. It is reasonable to expect at least half of the class will have created the deck of cards by class time. The tweeting assignment might present its own problems. Students might experience difficulties with Wi-Fi connection or data coverage when tweeting at certain locations. This could be solved by posting the content on Twitter later, even though it would result in the loss of “situated learning”.




Ballance, O.J. (2013). MALL—Somewhere between the tower, the field, the classroom and the market: A reply to Professor Stockwell’s response. Language Learning & Technology, 17(1), 37-46. Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2013/ballance.pdf

 Beatty, K. (2013). Beyond the classroom: Mobile learning the wider world. Monterey, CA:The International Research Foundation for English Language Education. Retrieved from http://www.tirfonline.org/english-in-the-workforce/mobileassisted-language-learning/

Dunleavy, M., & Dede, C. (in press). Augmented reality teaching and learning. In J.M. Spector, M.D Merrill, J. Elen, & M.J. Bishop (Eds.), The handbook of research for educational communications and technology (4th ed.). New York: Springer.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2011). Mobile apps for language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 15(2), 2–11. Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2011/emerging.pdf

Klopfer, E., K. Squire & H. Jenkins (2002). Environmental detectives PDAs as a window into a virtual simulated world. Paper presented at International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education. Retrieved from www.academia.edu/374758/Environmental_Detectives_PDAs_As_a_Window_Into_a_V irtual_Simulated_World_A_Work_In_Progress_

Mestre, J. (2002). Transfer of learning: Issues and a research agenda. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation

Puentedura, R (2011). SAMR TPCK in action. Retrieved from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2011/10/28/SAMR_TPCK_In_Action.pdf