Late last year, I wrote a post titled A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself 🙂. In it, I described, and included links to student examples, of how our Intermediate English students “wrote about how they were going to write” and autobiographical incident essay, and then recorded it on Fotobabble. I also shared that we were planning on using that model throughout the year and make it progressively more challenging to our students.

I thought readers might want to hear about how we (when I say we, I mean Katie Hull, my co-teacher and co-author of an upcoming book on teaching English Language Learners) have been doing in that progression.

This week, after showing students a model of a persuasive essay, we had them write a short paragraph about a time they had to persuade someone to do something. In their paragraph, we asked them to use some of the key vocabulary words we had been learning (persuade, convince, reason, support, facts, etc.). Unlike the time I wrote about it before, this week students had to do more than just fill-in-the-blanks — they had to full construct their own paragraph. It’s a dry run for a more extensive persuasive essay they’ll be writing. We also took photos of students writing their paragraph, which we uploaded.

You can see and hear Bee’s example here. You can listen to Bryan, Mai Pa, and Payia. You can listen to many more here on our class blog.

The day after students recorded their paragraphs, we listened to them in the classroom. On small pieces of paper, after each one minute passage was played, all students needed to write what they liked about the recording, or describe the picture it made them see in their mind, or make a connection by writing what it made them remember (reading strategies we use and which we are also applying to listening activities). A student would then collect them all and give them to the student who spoke. While that was going, we would give specific feedback to the student (we’ve been working on pronouncing clearly and reading with “feeling”).

At the end of the year, we’ll be having students assess themselves using an Improvement Rubric (I write more about this in my upcoming book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, and include samples).

It was a great lesson on many levels, and Fotobabble sure makes it easy.