Comparison is an abstract concept. The sentence structure is rather simple, but there are different forms. I chose ten pictures showing contrasting concept and asked students to practice with different structures. It gave me an idea of how well they have learned about this grammar.
I did a lot of oral practice in the class first. I chose the adjective they have learned in prior lessons, and used them as keywords when I searched for pictures. I showed all the pictures in the class, and asked them about how many different ways then can compare. Then they did it as homework. I reviewed everyone’s comments with them in the next day, and pointed out the goods and mistakes.
My students are from grades 9 to 12, divided by their language level and not grades. All these students have studied more than one year of Chinese and they have good vocabulary. This year we try to learn more constructive grammar. Practicing grammar is not much fun, but with VoiceThread I can learn more about my students. The goal of this project is to let my students practice the comparison sentence.
I was really surprised that some of my students didn’t enjoy doing this oral project at all. Some of them didn’t have microphones, some of them couldn’t get Internet, some of them recorded but there was no sound. After all, I think the main reason they didn’t like it was because they never did it before, and some of them felt embarrassed that their imperfect Chinese had been recorded. I have to say, being embarrassed is part of the learning process. Everyone makes mistakes! All my students are smart and hard working, they do a good job with homework and quizzes. But there is not much chance for them to practice Chinese at all. A 50 minute class period obviously is too short for them to do anything. VoiceThread is a perfect tool for them to open their mouths and speak the language. I gave them 3 oral assignments on VoiceThread in a week, they were moaning, but their work are great!
I got a lot of ideas from other teachers’ projects with VoiceThread.
Students are very different, so you really need to make some adjustments which suit your students’ levels and interests.