For two months (8 lessons) we’ve been using elements of TA activities like Sorting and Odd-One-Out and now I would like to reflect on the results.

I’ve been keeping record of my students’ progress, using evaluation form from the PASS universal cards activities. I evaluated the following skills: 1. Ability to notice different features of elements 2. Ability to group features under parameters.

My regular notes on each child’s progress helped me to see, that a certain dynamics in acquired skills existed: 4 students aged almost 6 or 6, who regularly attended classes and were  actively engaged into activities developed their ability to notice different features from “too difficult” at the first lesson to “I can do it” at the third lesson. Later on they showed their ability to notice features and group elements accordingly.

As to ability to group features under parameters, we still work on it, because it still occurs for them to make a poor sorting with different parameters and a Teacher has to correct them, by telling that we cannot group them using different parameters, please find the common one.

(Here I am in progress of making the Parameter Flash Cards, namely – Colour, Shape, Size, Covering, Food Habits, Fruits, Vegetables, Food, Habitat (Place of living), Taste, Clothes)


At the beginning of the school year I implemented elements of TA in all my groups, but after the first three lessons I excluded two groups (they are beginners in English and have to accept this language first , and they are mostly 4 year old students, so they are relatively young for TA). I left TA activities in the two groups (students there are older – 5-7 year olds and it is not their first year of learning English, so they have already accepted English in their minds and have a room for thinking in the language classes).


For the following two months I am going to introduce strong questions (YES-NO) and teach my students (in the first group, aged 6 or almost 6) the skill of narrowing the search field. With my second group I am going to practice the skills of noticing different features and grouping elements under a certain parameter.


I plan also to work more on the context: to learn the skill of wrapping the motivating and contextualised TA  tasks  into competitive games and activities.



# Alexander Sokol 2013-11-07 21:28
Diana, it's very useful that you are including general reflection posts in your diary. I am also glad to hear that evaluation and assessment are integral parts of your work. Perhaps it could also be useful to ask the parents to be involved in assessment as well. CAN DO approach to assessment, which is the approach in PASS cards as well, should be doable for the parents, especially if they use cards in their mother tongue. Then you would be able to compare the results and also establish a useful dialogue with the parents. What do you think?

I also wanted to ask about those two groups of younger children where you decided to postpone TA. Did I understand correctly that your current vision is that one shouldn't start with language and thinking at once? If so, can you probably share your reasons for that?

As one of the reasons for the opposite approach, I could mention the importance of establishing a certain classroom tradition. When thinking is there from the very beginning, pupils get used to it and accept it automatically. If we decide to introduce thinking at a later point, it might be more difficult as it's against the usual procedures in the classroom and may not be welcome at once.
# Diana Bolgare 2013-11-25 16:36
Dear Alexander, thank you for the comments. As to the fruitful dialogue between the parents and me regarding the children's success, needs to be tried. Now, when we are practising the yes-no game with each group, I could introduce it at the open lesson and then ask the parents to try such activity at home and recommend one more time the pass materials.
At the beginning I felt that I spent too much energy on thinking tasks, when introduced to younger children. Now, after trying TA for three months, I started to introduce elements of the most successdul activities in other groups (find pair looking at each other's clothes, yes-no with vegetables and fruits).
Of course, it would be nice to establish a certain thinking classroom tradition from the very beginning. Will try it.
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