Animal Sorting in the Context

Context: ¦Private classes of English; ¦A group of 6 children aged 5-6, ¦Children attend the lessons once a week for 1h

1. Lesson / task description - before

TA aims :

  1. To let the ss name parameters (features)      for animals
  2. To let the ss practice sorting animals

In terms of subject matter:

1. To use animal vocabulary

Materials I am going to use:

  1. Prepared sets of animals cards and plastic      figures

Tasks I am going to use:

  1. How can we get to a remote island to save      my Birdie ? An evil witch captured him. A magician decided to help us, but      he has only these animals at his disposal (cards with animals). Which ones      will you choose to get to the island? (those who can fly or swim) How do      we call those who can fly (birds) Why do we say they are birds? (beak,      wings, legs, eggs, feathers)
  2. We got to the remote island, but we can’t      find our Birdie. We know for sure, that it has feathers. We have to      separate the animals to find those who have feathers and to befriend the      rest of the animals (using the same parameter – covering).
  3. We found our Birdie among the birds, and he      says that all the animals are starving. They haven’t been eating since the      Witch knew that you were coming to save Birdie. Please feed them! But we      have only two containers with food and sadly it is under the spell. If you      guess the names of those containers (meaty food. Herbal food) they will      open by themselves. And there will be animals, which can eat from both.
  4. (re animal homes). Ok, the animals are full      and happy, but they are very sleepy now. Can you find the best home for      them? Unfortunately, we have only four homes at our disposal – can you      name them and let the animals live there?

2. Lesson / task description


First I told the children a sad story about our Birdie. And asked to help. Enthusiastically they started to search for animals which can help. Some chose a lion, a tiger, but failed to say how could they help us to reach the remote island, surrounded by water. Then they corrected their choice, choosing a bird, a snake (it can swim – I accepted this answer, for I didn’t expect anyone to guess that one can swim to reach a remote island and for this reason as a bonus I accepted this choice). Then we concentrated on birds, named their features and started to sort  animals according to coverings. I clearly saw, that most of my students didn’t remember the words to name the coverings. It was sad, for we worked on them before (2 lessons). These tasks were more of a test to check what my SS have learnt. It appeared that they learn little. There was also a sad experience for me, when the boys started to mock on the tasks, were naughty and behaved badly. I was at a loss, because I thought that I made a good job, wrapping “TA tasks” in a context (finally). I led one more activity with guessing the names of the food containers. Fortunately, they coped, but the activity with animal homes we missed at all, for it was impossible to lead the lesson in this way. I switched to our language routine.


3. Overall reflection on the lesson / task

Aim aspect:

The TA aims were partly reached, because SS still named the features (mostly using their mother language) and did the grouping.

But, as I felt, there were activities for the activities sake. I still didn’t put a bigger idea behind them, I failed to find an appropriate context, that would motivate the boys. I also was rigid to stick to my script and lacked flexibility. May be that was why I failed to lead these activities properly and my SS behaved badly.

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