Language and Section: Russian Intermediate
Class theme/topics discussed: 3-stage relay race; University (2nd stage)
Goal of the class:
– To facilitate creation of a friendly environment by making students work in groups different from the previous lesson
– To test the level of the students
– To teach new vocabulary and correct mistakes while playing the games
– To practice reading Russian cursive
– To make students explore the lounge
– To develop the ability to explain one’s point of view in Russian
Structure of the class:
– Explanation of the relay race’s rules
– 1st stage: teams read the words and word combinations on the stickers and try to find the respective objects in the Russian lounge (some words are written in cursive which is often problematic to read for foreigners)
– 2nd stage: teams draw the mind maps on the whiteboard, the main word is “University”
– 3rd stage: teams compose word combinations using an adjective and a noun
– check: finding “wrong” stickers and placing them to the right objects; teams explain their mind maps by telling how this particular word is connected to the topic; teams explain what a particular combination of an adjective and a noun means (for example what does a professional hippo or a hard-working boot mean?)
– counting points, announcing the winner
What technology, media or props did you use? (satellite tv, internet resources, playmobiles, etc.)
– Vk.com (to play Russian music on the background)
What worked well in this class? What did not work?
Students were really enthusiastic about the relay race. One team was composed of male students while another one – of female students. Probably it made it even more interesting for the creation of a special spirit of competition.
On the 1st stage students had fun placing the stickers on the objects. If they didn’t know the meaning of the word, they tried to guess it discussing it with each other. However, I found out that they did not know pretty many everyday words (household appliances and kitchen utensils). It could be the topic for one of the next lessons. This was a good exercise to make students explore the lounge. They had to find specific books, table games etc. This way they learn what this lounge has to offer. Later they could use those items on their own or suggest to use them during the next lessons.
I noticed that on the 2nd stage students were correcting each other’s mistakes while drawing the mind maps. They also tried to explain them to their partners in Russian which is a really positive outcome of this exercise. Since there were only 2 students in each team they could contribute to their team mind maps at the same time. At this point I found it useful to have felt pens of different colors. As a teacher I could see what the personal contribution of each student. It allow to check the level of Russian of each student.
The 3rd stage allowed students to think creatively in a target language. They had a lot of fun imagining explanations to strange word combinations. However, I encountered the situation of one student having problems in finding the words to explain at least something. That’s why he let his partner explain all 4 pairs of word combinations. It didn’t look like a team work.
How could this class be improved/ modified?
First of all, I would set the exact amount of time students have for the race. One could even project the timer on the big screen. This would make students pay attention to time and to feel that it is indeed a race.
The 3rd stage could be improved the following way. Each combination is 1 point. Each student in a team has the same amount of the word combinations to explain as his team fellows. If he cannot find any explanation (even a trivial one), the team gets zero points. This way each student is motivated to talk.
If you have some time left, you could discuss strategies of each team (what did they do in order to be faster or what did they do if they didn’t know the word). Then you could also discuss the problems they had while playing these games.