The new Sumo Cultural station activity was my attempt to step beyond language stations and use them to explore a cultural area in greater detail. It is also the first time that I planned ‘summative’ activities using what we learned. I thought I’d post, in a bit more detail, what we did.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – I drew up some discussion questions about the readings that we did. These were in the Target Language (TL) and designed to make them think beyond the ‘answers’ to the original questions they were asked. That is – they weren’t just about ‘information’ in the reading. Questions were things like “Do you think having 6 Sumo tournaments a year is too many, too few or just right? (and why?)” and “A sumo wrestler’s daily life is hard/easy? What do you think?”. Students first went over answers in pairs using the notes that they had. Then they discussed as a table. Finally we took this up with the whole class. This is the first time we have done something like this. Next time I will quote the ‘reading’ that I am drawing the question from to help them find the information/support their ideas better. I am going to work to polish this for next time.
INFOGRAPHIC DAY – I have done variations on this kind of day before and it worked well. The infographics were spread out on the desks – and I put a number (on a post-it) on each. Students worked with their table partner. I asked them to visit all the posters and take time to read the information on them. Yes some of the information repeated poster to poster but they understood/saw repetitions of a lot of new vocabulary (which was part of my purpose in doing this). When they were all done they were asked to see me. Each of them was then handed a response sheet. They had to go back to the posters, as individuals, to complete the task. They had 3 categories: “Best Use of Graphics/Statistics to Support Information”, “Best Use of Information Available” and “Most Overall Useful – Information/Graphics/Statistics”. I also asked them to make up their own 4th category “Best…..”. For each category they chose the poster that they thought best fit that criteria and had to provide detailed (point form) reasons why they selected that one. They couldn’t just say “nice layout” but had to tell me ‘why’ the layout worked so well for them. Amazingly almost every poster was cited in a “category” and the student-choice category included “Most Easy to Follow”, “Most Eye-catching”, “Most Unique” and “Best Use of Humour”.
It’s my goal to get at least one of these ‘in-depth’ cultural exploration station activities for each level…