Шлома Наталья Николаевна МБОУ СОШ 30 г. Хабаровск
A Tale about a Wise Armenian Tsar
This lesson emphasizes listening, writing, speaking, and reading and is designed so that each step leads naturally to the next one. In particular, students generate information at the end of the listening activity, that they can use in the writing, reading and speaking activities. Moreover they discuss the story with partners and in class, retell it to families and friends, write action log comments on the story as well as read these action logs in class.
This lesson has been developed for elementary (3-d level) learners of English.
Purpose: Students will demonstrate listening comprehension of language in context, talk about the suggested theme, write their own and other people’s opinions about it.
Objectives : 1) to increase students’ vocabulary and language forms,
2) to enhance comprehension through questioning,
3) to recycle the material meaningfully,
4) to reach deep within and change students’ beliefs, attitudes, behaviour ,
5) to help students make sense of the world.
Materials: whiteboard/blackboard, listening passage, charts to perform optional activities.
Optional Activities A,B,C :Pre-teaching of the difficult vocabulary time:10 min
Activity 4: Listening. Part II
time: 2 min
Activity 1: Listening .Part I
time: 5 min
Activity2: Summarizing/Answering Questions
Students’ answer: “No’
Activity3: Writing (Retelling the Story + Finishing the Story)
Activity 3: Writing(Retelling the Story + Finishing the Story)
Students’ answer: “Yes”
Activity 1: A Tale about a Wise Armenian Tsar (Part I) Before reading the text I bring all kinds of props and prepared visuals. I pre-teach difficult/ meaningful vocabulary: tsar, seed, soil, sprout, worm, raven, sky, threat, chain, murder, etc.(Optional Activity A). I suggest revising adjectives: wise, authoritarian, gorgeous, nice, happy, disappointed, quick, last, next, alive (Optional Activity B). For elementary students the revision of prepositions: round, within, out of, ahead of, down, off is very helpful (Optional Activity C).
While reading the text I do my best to get myself into the story. This is the easiest way to get students to respond emotionally. I always remind students to shadow silently (repeat language after me in their internal voice). To stop the story at a crucial point helps a lot to build suspense and curiosity.
Have you heard one about a very authoritarian but wise tsar from Armenia.
Once upon a time the tsar travelled round the world and saw a gorgeous flower in one of the faraway lands. He began dreaming of having such a flower in his own garden. He brought home three seeds of this flower, gave them to his gardener and ordered him to grow a gorgeous flower within three years. Otherwise he promised to cut off the gardener’s head.
The first spring came and the gardener cultivated the soil, put one of the seeds in it, watered it thoroughly. Soon a nice sprout appeared. The gardener was very happy. But then he saw a worm get out of the soil and eat the sprout. The gardener wanted to kill the worm, but it quickly disappeared. The gardener was disappointed. However he had two more seeds and two years ahead of him.
Next spring he cultivated the soil, put the second seed into it and started waiting. The sprout appeared. The worm got out and ate the sprout. The gardener wanted to kill the worm, but he was not quick enough. The raven fell from the sky and ate the worm. The gardener wanted to kill the raven, but the raven managed to escape into the sky. The gardener was very disappointed that time. But he had a hope: one more seed was left and he had one more year ahead of him.
The third spring came. The gardener cultivated the soil, put the last seed into it, watered the soil thoroughly and waited for the sprout to appear. The sprout was very nice. But soon the worm got out and ate it. Then the raven ate the worm. The gardener was quick enough, caught and killed the raven. Then he went to the tsar with the raven in his hand and told him everything.
Do you think the tsar carried his threat and cut off the gardener’s head? Explain your reason.
Activity 2: Summarizing / Answering the Questions.
Answering the questions helps everyone understand the story. More advanced students like to retell the text by themselves. This activity is designed to check students’ listening comprehension. If there are some difficulties with any of the questions it is possible to reread the relevant portions of the text. Suggested questions: 1) What did the tsar want to have in his garden? 2) How many seeds did he bring home? 3) Whom did he order to grow the flower? 4) How many years were ahead of the gardener? 5) What misfortune happened during the first spring / the second spring/ the third spring?
Activity 3: Writing.
After stopping the story at a crucial point and checking comprehension the students may retell the text in a written form and imagine what happened in the story next. They may work with their partners or in groups exchanging their opinions. Their answers may be “Yes” or “No”. Their views on the subject may be different.
Activity 4: A Tale about a Wise Armenian Tsar (Part II).
Actually the tsar didn’t carry out his threat, because he was wise. He understood that there was a chain of murders: first – the sprout, then - the worm, after that – the raven. If the gardener had been killed after the raven who would have been the next? He did not want to be the next in the chain and that was why he left the gardener alive.
Suggested advice: Be wise, control yourself in any situation and try to escape all kinds of chain reactions.
I finish reading the story and give the students homework to retell the story to others and write action log comments. At the next lesson they share their endings, read action logs,discuss the comments, expressing their own opinions, demonstrating the change of their views and beliefs.
Activity 5: Home Assignment.
Give a handout of the story
Retell the story to others and write down their comments. Be ready to share them in class.
Express your own attitude and beliefs towards the subject.
Listening + Shadowing Summarizing Writing Retelling Reading Comments
This flow of activities recycles the material meaningfully with different partners in class and at home and allows deeper learning to take place, not just mere retelling the story, but commenting metacognitively on it.
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