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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 1

Activate prior knowledge

  1. Brainstorm with students to find out what they already know about cancer in general and bowel cancer in particular. Ask students if they know about people getting cancer in their family/ country. For students who have studied the human digestive system at Level 1 some reference to a diagram could trigger some background information. Use a graphic organiser such as a spider map In ESOL online there are other ideas for activating prior knowledge.

Pre-teach vocabulary

  1. Cut up a sheet of keyvocab (Word 55KB) and get students to do word clusters. This activity helps students to access unknown vocabulary, clarify meanings and make connections with word groups by learning from others. It should be done at the beginning of a unit and also again at the end.
  2. Students work together in small groups arranging the words in groups and then giving the group a label.
  3. Students should be told that there is no one correct way of arranging the words and that there can be a 'don't know' category.
  4. When finished encourage each group to explain and justify their groupings.

Understanding text structure and content

  1. Read together the  Bowel Cancer New Zealand information on bowel cancer. The objective is to give the students content information about bowel cancer using some of the vocabulary already encountered. It is important to give students the opportunity to listen to the correct pronunciation (read at a slower rate for ESOL students) but also to have the opportunity to read themselves. Students could highlight key and unfamiliar vocabulary and later list it and look up the meanings for homework.
  2. Complete the ClozeExercise (Word 40KB) , which is designed to help students become familiar with vocabulary used in articles about Bowel Cancer.
  3. Complete the Three level Guide (Word 50KB) . This activity helps students to focus on what the text means at a factual level, to interpret what the writer means and then make generalisations by evaluating ideas and arguments. Students work through the guide on their own. Next, in pairs or small groups, they share and discuss their responses. Students need to be encouraged to explain their answers and justify their views.
  4. Complete the StructuredOverview-The Big C (RTF 1MB) , which helps students to think about relationships between terms used about bowel cancer. Information about structured overview as a teaching strategy can be found in the ESOL online website.
  5. Use this WritingFrame (Word 47KB) to help students to write their own report about factors that make it more likely that you will get bowel cancer. This sheet has two versions, one for more able students and another more scaffolded version for students who need more help. Students will need access to the structured overview completed above and also the information sheet on Bowel Cancer from above. The purpose of this exercise is to give students practice at reading text closely and expressing answers in the passive voice which is appropriate for this kind of report. It also gives students the opportunity to recognise factual descriptive language and technical or scientific terms which are language features they will encounter in 4 below. Teachers may prefer to do this exercise after looking at the language features.

Language features

  1. Introduce the Language Features required to analyse the texts.
  2. See LanguageFeatures (Word 39KB) . Cut out the rectangles and put them into envelopes then get students in small groups to put them together again under the headings:- word, definition, example, effect. They will need a copy of this sheet at the end of the lesson so that they can take it home to learn.
  3. To give further familiarisation with the terms teachers could use UniversalBingo (Word 37KB) . There is also useful material about language features online, eg.
    1. Simile and metaphor
    2. Direct speech
    3. Noun phrases
  4. Give out Recognising Language Features (Word 39KB) for students to see if they can recognise some of the features they have learnt about in [a] above.

Understanding the context of texts

  1. Run off several copies of the sheet contexts (Word 24KB) .
  2. Cut them out and put all the pieces into envelopes.
  3. In small groups the students should try to put the words and their meanings together correctly. They should use dictionaries to help if they don't know the meanings. The objective is to familiarise the students with terms used in the assessment.
  4. Teachers could use universal bingo again here.

Published on: 24 Jun 2009