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

Learning task 1

Expected time frame: 3-4 lessons

Teaching and learning purposes

These learning activities are designed to activate the prior vocabulary knowledge of students and to build their understanding of topic-specific words. See activating prior knowledge for more information. Students also read a written text for specific information.

Ensuring learners know the content and language learning outcomes

  • Share the learning outcomes, including language learning outcomes, with your students, for example:
    • I know and understand some keywords about government
    • I can read to find information in a text
    • I know some basic facts about the NZ government
    • Ask students to complete the ‘start of the unit’ column in the learning grid (Word 36KB) .

Finding out about learners’ prior knowledge

1. Activating prior knowledge

  • Brainstorming: Give students one minute to write down as many words as they know about government (or democracy). Put the students into pairs - they say their words to each other. Each student writes down any new words and explains their words to their partner.

    Find out what students already know about the system of government in their own countries. 

Giving learners many opportunities to first notice then use new language

2. Pre-teaching key vocabulary

  • Ask students to draw the definition table (Word 34KB) . Students attempt to write their first definition and then confer with a partner to discuss and check meanings.
  • Read the words in scrambled order and ask the students to tick / number each word as they hear it. If the word is said twice the student ticks the word twice.
  • Ask students to read the text (Word 15KB) . Students highlight the words from the definition table that are in the text. Give the students time to revise some of their definitions.
  • Cut up the terms in the definition table and the definitions (Word 43KB) . In pairs or small groups students match the words with the definitions.
  • Bingo: Ask students make a bingo board with twelve squares. As you call out the definitions, students cross them off their boards. The first person with all words crossed out is the winner.
  • Ask students to finish revising their definitions.

3. Reading to learn about NZ’s system of government

  • True or false? Ask students to read the following statements and decide whether they are true or false. Note that this could also be done in pairs as a pre-reading task or anticipatory reading guide, with students reading the text to check their answers.
    • In NZ you must be 21 before you can vote.
    • Sometimes two parties join together to form a coalition.
    • Members of parliament represent an electorate.
    • A list MP represents an electorate.
    • In a democracy people vote.
    • The governing party in NZ runs the country for four years.
    • Each party is made up of a group of people with the same ideas.
  • Matching: Ask students to read the following statements and match them with the paragraphs in the text.
    • The leader of the governing party is the Prime Minister.
    • Sometimes two parties join together to form a coalition.
    • Members of parliament represent an electorate.
    • A List MP does not represent an electorate.
    • In a democracy people vote.

Grouping sentences: Cut the sentences (Word 31KB) into strips. The students sort the sentences into groups of related sentences and give each group a heading.

Planning the learning tasks so that all learners are actively involved

4. Reading to learn about NZs political parties

  • Ask students to draw up the chart (Word 28KB) of New Zealand's political parties.
  • Ask students in pairs to use the websites below to find information about the parties and their leaders and enter this information onto their charts. Students use the table to make simple statements about the parties and their leaders. Each pair then shares their findings with another pair of students. These sites should be bookmarked.

Use the information on the bar graph to draw a pie chart to show the different parties that make up our parliament.

Ask students to find out which of the political parties have coalition agreements with the governing party and the opposition party.

Help students achieve the same explicit learning outcomes with differentiated levels of support

Variations for extra support

  • Complete the chart and make statements for one party as a class.
  • Use the jigsaw reading strategy with expert groups working on one party each. Provide expert groups with teacher support, as required.

Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation

5. Reviewing student learning

  • Ask students fill in the structured overview On the Democracy Road (Word 672KB) to check their knowledge of key vocabulary. Students should fill in the words they know and then use notes and /or dictionaries to add those that they do not yet know. Provide a completed overview for students to check their answers.
  • Ask students to complete the Revision Quiz (Word 25KB) to check their knowledge of basic facts about the NZ government. Students should see what they remember and then use their notes to answer other questions. Note that students are asked to suggest where they could look to find out any facts they do not know.

6. Reflection

  • Ask students to complete the ‘middle of the unit’ column in the learning grid (Word 36KB) .
  • Ask students to write down answers to the questions below and share their responses with a partner:
    • How did I find information I needed in the texts and websites?
    • What problems did I have finding this information?
  • Collect students’ written answers to inform next steps for learning.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018