Thursday, June 7, 2007

Adapting Family Album USA

By Ruth McAllister

I was "forced" to use Family Album USA with students at a private language school in Changsha. It was a group of about 50 students ranging in age from 10 to 50, with most of them in the 20-30 age group. They loved the book. So much for taste!?!

What I did with it was tell them about what the topic was and write the key new vocab on the board. They scribbled these down with glee. Oooh, new words to learn!!! (sighhh!) Then I showed them the video. After that I would read it out loud, and the whole crowd would recite it after me. I'd walk around and listen to their pronunciation. Then I'd put them in groups of however many characters in the skit for the day and they'd read it to each other.

We'd then go over said key vocabulary.

For the rest of the 2 hour (with 10 minute break in the middle) lesson, I'd take the topic of the skit of the day and expand upon it. I got them to speak to the whole group as well as in their own groups. I tried to find discussion questions to get them talking in their groups and keep moving about to facilitate. For example, in the wedding, I talked about my own wedding, how there are different weddings for different religious groups, got them contributing about their own weddings and then they talked in their groups about marriage in general. We also had a quick wedding improv skit which was actually quite hilarious.

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