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

Learning task 1

Think pair share

This is an exploratory activity to ascertain language and content knowledge.

Think - each student dredges their memory for background knowledge. Explain to students that we all need time to recall what we know about a topic. The 'wait' or 'think' time has been demonstrated to be a powerful factor in improving student responses to questions.

Pair/share - gives repeated opportunities for academic talk in authentic contexts.

The talk generated in steps 2 and 3 is vital because it gets learners communicating and sharing scientific talk which is how classroom language and concepts are learned. Move around the groups during step 2 and listen to student talk closely to get an idea of what they know and what language they can use to express their ideas about the topic.


Step 1: Think

Give each pair of students a magnet and a range of small objects such as paper clips, thread, paper, iron nails. Mix native speakers and English language learners. Give the students five minutes for a hands-on experience, then ask them to individually draw or write down: "What does a magnet do?"

Step 2: Pair

The students share their thoughts with each other. The pairs report to another pair. One member of the group records the findings.

Step 3: Share

The groups of four report to the whole class. After the first group has reported, ask the other groups to mention only points not already covered, or points of difference or disagreement. These points of difference are noted as questions, but not resolved.

Step 4: Summarise

Write a summary of the group reports. Students' responses could be recorded on a large mind map on the classroom wall that is added to throughout the unit. As you do this you develop the groups' answers raising queries that stretch the students' language and conceptual thinking just beyond what they already know.

Principle 1

Published on: 19 Feb 2018