Context:  1.Private classes of English;  ¦A group of 6 children aged 5 - 6,  

2. A group of 6 children aged 4-6

Children attend the lessons once a week for 1h


1. Lesson / task description - before

TA aim :

  1. To teach the ss identifying elements
  2. To teach ss sorting (seeing and identifying features)
  3. Asking strong questions (to narrow the search field)


In terms of subject matter:

  1. Teach/ repeat shapes, clothes, colours, food, animals
  2. New vocabulary: drink/eat, cutlery
  3. To asks questions : “Is it…?”


Materials I am going to use:

  1. Prepared sets of mixed vegetables, fruits, clothes, animals, letters, numbers, maths signs, shapes



Tasks I am going to use:

  1. While working with shapes: “Give me a small blue triangle”. When working with groups: “A girl in a white skirt, please come to me”. “Please, bring me from the other room something as small (big) as this block; smth of the similar colour; smth  of the same shape”
  2. For 5 y.o.: separate fruits from vegetables, group what you can eat from what you can drink, then further grouping inside the groups; find 5 wild and 5 domestic animals, then further grouping inside the groups; how can you group these shapes? (by colour, shape, size)
  3. To play yes-no with spontaneous materials. This time we had plastic letters, maths signs, numbers


2. Lesson / task description




After the routine of greeting each other and finding the pairs by the common features, we set off for adventures. We do the language tasks (in a competitive form, when two teams are struggling to win the most points for the correct name for a given colour, for a correct amount of “golden” beans for a given card with  a number…then each student is given an individual task (but to get this task s/he has to listen carefully, because only a “girl, wearing a white skirt” (green sandals…) can come to me now : to separate fruits from vegetables, what to drink from what to eat, find 5 domestic and wild animals, to group the given shapes. When a child  finishes, s/he says: “I am ready” and I come and check the grouping and give the further task, if the child succeeds. After the children are tired of this, we switch to a different activity.

Then we play the mysterious game: I whisper to a child what s/he should bring from another room (Please, bring me from the other room something as small (big) as this block; smth of the similar colour; smth  of the same shape).  Then we reveal the founding and compare whether they are chosen correctly or not.

With the older students we continue to play a Yes-No game (this time there were letters, signs, numbers) with evident removal of unneeded items.


3. Overall reflection on the lesson / task


  1. Children start to identify the elements of clothes, their features (because I make them hear me and analyse their clothes)
  2. When doing the sorting tasks, I saw that I had to give a hint for 5 year olds, like fruits and vegetables, but it was a poor hint, for it appeared that they do not know what a vegetable is and how to sort it from a fruit. I gave this task for 5 year olds without preparation; I relied on the background knowledge, forgetting that it is my task to build this knowledge. I really should have given the children the reduced amount of cards (say 6) and ask them for grouping without my hints. When the first grouping was done, I asked for the further grouping inside the groups, like “Can you divide these drinks into two groups, because the Birdie will come with his friend”. A girl (6 y.o) noticed, that coffee and tea were in cups, the rest were in glasses. When grouping vegetables, I noticed that a 5 y.o. girl hid the celery root, because it was white and didn’t fit to her grouping. At the moment I couldn’t think of a different grouping that would include this uncomfortable celery and accepted the grouping.
  3. With a 6 y.o. boy we had a chance to play a yes-no game, for he was alone in the group that time and we played with letters, signs, numbers. After excluding the odd, we notice the features within groups, like colour, number of elements.


# Alexander Sokol 2013-12-30 08:57
Diana, I still feel you are having issues with thinking vs. knowledge based tasks. For example, when you expect your learners to distinguish between fruit and vegetables, where exactly does the development of thinking come in? I think you will agree that it can feature as a thinking task only if your learners don't know the difference. Given this, what I'd like to see in your reflection (and I am sure it will be interesting for other colleagues as well) is how you proceed when your learners get stuck. This is where we can really see how the TA is being used and what can be improved about it. Please focus more on these aspects and try to establish connections with the steps of the Thinking Task Framework. Then we will be able to provide you with better feedback. Thanks.
# Diana Bolgare 2014-02-02 15:37
Dear Alexander, thank you for the comment. IT is true, that I have issues with thinking vs. knowledge. Here is where I am stuck. HAving realised this, I switched the strategy - now I teach my students from all my groups to experience the following parameters: material, shape, size and colour. My next article is about how am I doing it. My expectation is that when they are aware of different features of objects, it will be easier to teach them more sofisticated features and grouping, like the ones between fruits and vegetables.
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