This blog is primarily concerned with Teaching Unplugged (TU) in writing classrooms, but I can’t help posting an Unplugged lesson my students and I participated in last week in my freshman vocabulary class. Learners produced written texts as homework and they turned out awesome. We had a great time in the classroom which is why I think these guys and gals put so much effort into collaborating on their texts. The texts students composed were travel brochures for a city of their choosing. Students had the choice of creating traditional paper travel brochures or could create digital brochures using the site prezi.com.
I’ll keep this lesson plan quite general. I think if I give y’all a more general lesson plan, it’ll make it easier to adapt to your own contexts. Places and amenities found in cities is the lexical focus of the lesson. I have learners take a few minutes to gather ideas as partners or in groups, then I have them come up to the board and write down all of the lexical items they generated. We go over the emergent language making corrections, additions, and I elicit more items from the class if I see anything important they may have left out such as accommodation.
The next step is to work with the class to categorize the vocab. The categories we came up with last week were: food & restaurants, shopping, transportation, outdoor activities, night life, accommodation, and tourist attractions. Government and financial institutions could have been a category among others, but I decided to stick with what was important to the students.
I explain to the class that we will be working in groups to create travel brochures. I explain what a travel brochure is and pass around brochures from my travels around Korea and overseas. We discuss the travel brochures and I answer any questions the learners have.
Next, students get into their groups. The groups ranged from two to five members. The groups chose which city they would like to represent and began brainstorming by creating a schema using the categories written on the board. After giving ample time to get a solid mind map going, I had the groups pass their schema to another group. They then added ideas and wrote questions for the other group to help them generate more ideas and lexical items. Groups passed the mind maps back and reviewed their own. They could then ask any questions and discuss the feedback with the group that gave it.
It was about time for the class to wind down so we discussed any lexical items that emerged during the brainstorming and collaboration session and I answered any questions about the travel brochure text they would be creating. The class is familiar with prezi.com, so I gave them the option of creating a digital text which most groups chose. For those that are less confident with technology, I gave them the option of creating a traditional travel brochure.
I offered the class several options on how they could collaborate on the project. The majority of the class decided to jigsaw the project which I feel is most effective. Each student in the group researched and created one section or category of the travel brochure. Then, as the group began putting together the final project, each member shared the information and lexical items learned when creating his or her part of the travel brochure.
Students presented their brochures the next class and we mingled as a class asking each other questions about the city represented in their texts.
Below are a couple of the ‘prezi’ travel brochures learners created. The traditional brochures are just as cool, but they are in my office, so I’ll have to wait a few days to take pics of them and post them here. All of the students gave me permission to post their work on this blog and were excited that others could enjoy their hard work.
Seoul Travel Brochure For some reason this prezi takes some time to load. Be patient. It’ll work.