Sorry for the blog hiatus. We’ve been working on passive voice (i.e. “My wallet was stolen.”) for the last week and a half. I can’t use the textbook’s materials because this topic is scheduled for next semester, not this one. However, we needed it now, and they’ll need it again next semester. So I’ve been working extra hard with no text to lean on, and it’s been wonderful but tiring.
One thing that went well: Jigsaw reading. In my attempt to not over-use it, I’ve been under-using it. This time, I used two readings that were fairly long and hopefully high-interest. The students read independently and worked on comprehension questions. Then they got together into two same-story groups to discuss their stories: 1) main idea, 2) new words, and 3) what surprised them. Then they split into different-story partners and shared about their story using the same three questions. One or two groups finished early, so I had them compare and contrast the two stories. That proved quite interesting – I wish I’d had everyone talk about it! Two particular victories: I didn’t talk much, and it ended our class on an energetic and communicative note.
One thing to improve: Eliciting student opinions. I actually do it a lot – that’s not the problem. The problem is that I’m usually met with ringing silence. I’m clearly not framing it as well as I could, both leve-wise and culture-wise.
One surprise: I gave a quiz in passive voice today. I mostly left transitive vs. intransitive verbs off of the quiz – they’re important, but the class was simply not ready for a quiz on them. However, I wrote a bonus question asking them to write a passive sentence with the verb “sleep.” This is a trick queston because you can’t use “sleep” or other intransitive verbs in the passive voice. My happy surprise? Several students got it right! It was very exciting.