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Kritické čtení - inspirace pro rozvoj čtenářské gramotnosti v hodinách anglického jazyka III. – Aktivita pro 3. stupeň – Cinderella by Roald Dahl

Praktický příspěvek
inspirace

Introduction

This article is the third and the last of a series dealing with the development of reading literacy, or critical reading respectively. The first article focused on some theoretical concepts associated with reading skills; the second article then presented an example of a critical reading activity for a lower-secondary English class. What follows is a detailed lesson plan intended for an upper-secondary English class (intermediate and above).

Cinderella lesson plan

  • target level: intermediate and above
  • source text: Roald Dahl – Cinderella (from The Revolting Rhymes)
  • focus: critical analysis of an „updated“ version of a traditional fairy tale – characters, plot
  • timing: 90 mins
  • materials needed:     

Stage 1 – Pre-reading activities

  • Step 1 (10 mins)
    • Begin by asking students whether they like fairy tales. Do they prefer reading or watching them on T.V.? Do they read and / or watch them regularly or only at particular times? Which fairy tale is their favourite?
    • Brainstorm words associated with fairy tales and write them on the board.
    • Discuss characteristics of fairy tales and of the hero and heroine.
  • Step 2 (5 mins)
    • Divide the class in pairs. Explain that you are going to read a famous fairy tale. Distribute the pictures – one set per pair. Ask students which fairy tale the pictures come from. Ask them to justify their answers.
  • Step 3 (5 mins)
    • Ask students to arrange the pictures in the correct order and retell the story, using them as prompts. When they have finished, ask one pair to retell the story. Ask the class about any differences from the Czech version of the fairy tale.
  • Step 4 (5 mins)
    • Ask the class to come up with adjectives describing Cinderella’s character and write them on the board.
  • Step 5 (10 mins)
    • Explain that you are going to read a modernised version of Cinderella written by Roald Dahl. Ask students whether they know anything about him (which nationality he was, famous books, etc.).
    • Ask students to work in pairs and discuss what changes in the plot they would expect in the modern version and also how might Cinderella’s character change. Allow about 5 minutes for that, then get feedback from the class.
    • Consider pre-teaching the following words: gory, wand, pulp, to gasp, to rip, crate, to bounce, slut

Stage 2 – While-reading activities

  • Step 6 (8 mins)
    • Distribute the texts. Explain that there are some words missing from the text but that there are their synonyms at the end of the line. Ask students to read the story.
  • Step 7 (7 mins)
    • After they have finished the first reading, ask a student to start retelling the story and go on by asking each student to say one sentence.
  • Step 8 (10 mins)
    • Ask students to read the story once again and fill in the gaps with a suitable word. Discuss how to decide about which word fits the gap (-> meaning AND rhyme). After few minutes, distribute the word charts and encourage students to choose the suitable words to fill in the empty gaps and / or check whether they were correct. Check the answers with the whole class.
    • Answers: 1 – happy, 2 – night, 3 – cellar, 4 – shout, 5 – Ball, 6 – chest, 7 – neck, 8 – toe, 9 – town, 10 – fear, 11 – loo, 12 – sicker, 13 – shoe, 14 – sticky, 15 – vow, 16 – ground, 17 – fun, 18 – wary, 19 – marmalade

Stage 3 – After-reading activities

  • Step 9 (15 – 20 mins)
    • Distribute one Discussion Questions sheet per student. (If you have double-sided copies, ask them to turn over the word chart.) Ask students to read it through and think about the questions. Encourage them to take notes.
    • After about 5 minutes, rearrange the class into groups of 4 and choose a discussion leader who will be responsible for the discussion (e.g. making sure everybody has a chance to speak). Ask them to discuss the questions.
  • Step 10 (10 mins)
    • Discuss the questions with the whole class.
    • Ask students how they enjoyed reading the story and if it encouraged them to read anything else by Roald Dahl.
    • Discuss the written HW.
  • Follow-up written HW
    • Ask students to choose one of the following topics. They should write a text about 250-300 words long.
      • Write a completely new version of Cinderella or of any other famous fairy tale.
      • Write an essay on the following topic: In what ways and why did Roald Dahl change the original fairy tales?
      • Write an essay on the following topic: Do you think that Roald Dahl’s version can become as popular as the original one? Will parents want to read it to their children?

 

Comments on the lesson plan and on the individual lesson stages

The lesson plan draws on the theoretical concepts introduced in the first article. Many of the activities that the students are involved in during the Cinderella lesson also draw on the constructivist approach to learning (both cognitive and social), according to which students create “concepts built on existing knowledge that are relevant and meaningful” (Powell, Kalina, 2009: 241). The three main stages of the lesson correspond to the top-down reading theory (Scrivener, 2005: 187). Let us now examine the activities and lesson stages separately.

In the first stage, the topic of fairy tales is introduced. Students are asked to brainstorm vocabulary (thus focusing also on developing a language system – lexis), but also for a personalised response to the topic. They are also encouraged to provide a definition or characterisation of the genre (see Smith, 1994), including fairy tale heroes and heroines, which on its own requires thinking and conceptualising; this step is also important for the follow-up stage where students get to compare and analyse the genre and the heroes from the traditional and contemporary perspectives respectively.

The set of pictures serves as a visual aid which again calls for activating previous knowledge. Moreover, this previous knowledge will probably differ from the visuals because of different versions of the fairy tale.

As has been mentioned earlier, predicting is one of the methods that can successfully be used for developing reading literacy. The key aspect in predicting, as with other critical reading activities is for students to justify their answers; they can do so by e.g. the following: reference to reading experience with the genre, reference to another text, reference to other work by the same author, etc. (Košťálová, 2010: 26).

Pre-teaching unknown vocabulary is also worth considering at this stage as, after all, the main aim of the whole activity is skills development. Therefore, students struggling with individual words might slow down the reading process.

The second stage has two main steps which focus primarily on reading comprehension – therefore, it is necessary to retell the story and make sure students understood it. The stage also focuses on work with rhyme and rhythm, a key characteristic of the “rhyme” genre. Obviously, step 8 includes system (lexis) development with focus on synonyms.

NB: If you have only separate 45-minute-lessons, then finish the activity with step 6 and start the new lesson with step 7 (in that case, don’t forget to copy down the mind map / list on the board and write it there again prior to the second lesson).

The third stage specifically focuses on the development of critical thinking skills and productive language skills. Again, the key demand is that students use the text and their prior knowledge to respond to the text and justify their answers/opinions. They are encouraged to compare their prior knowledge with the newly gained knowledge and possibly re-construct their mental maps of the individual concepts discussed (assimilation, accommodation; Powell, Kalina, 2009: 243). By critically responding to the questions, students get a chance to develop higher thinking skills (analysing and evaluating, level 4 and 5 of Anderson and Krathwohl’s taxonomy; Krathwohl, 2002: 215). Again, the questions ask for personalisation. The follow-up writing homework exemplifies creating (a level 6, i.e. the highest, cognitive process; Krathwohl, ibid). The fact that students work in groups with a discussion leader also provides a chance for empowering them (see Nichols, 2006).


Further reading

  • COLLINS, Norma D. Teaching Critical Reading through Literature [online]. ERIC Digest. 1993. [cit. 2012-11-04]. Available from: http://www.ericdigests.org/1994/literature.htm
  • FLYNN, Linda L. Developing critical reading skills through cooperative problem solving. The Reading Teacher. 1989, 42(9), pp. 664-668.
  • GALLAGHER, Kelly. Reversing Readicide [online]. Reading to Learn. 2010, 67(6). [cit. 2012-11-04]. Available from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar10/vol67/num06/Reversing-Readicide.aspx
  • KOŠŤÁLOVÁ, Hana et al. Čtenářská gramotnost jako vzdělávací cíl pro každého žáka. Praha: Česká školní inspekce, 2010.
  • KRATHWOHL, David R. A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy: An Overview. Theory into Practice. 2002, 41(4), pp. 212-218.
  • NICHOLS, Joe D. Empowerment and relationships: A classroom model to enhance student motivation. Learning Environ Res. 2006, 9, pp. 149–161.
  • PARDEDE, Parlindungan. Developing Critical Reading in the EFL Classroom [online]. FKIP-UKI English Department Bimonthly Collegiate Forum. August 2007. [cit. 2012-11-04]. Available from: http://parlindunganpardede.wordpress.com/articles/language-teaching/developing-critical-reading-in-the-efl-classroom/
  • POWELL, Katherine C.; KALINA, Cody J. Cognitive and developmental constructivism: Developing tools for an effective classroom. Education. 2009, 130(2), pp. 241-250.
  • SCRIVENER, Jim. Learning Teaching. Oxford: Macmillan, 2005.
  • TOMASEK, Terry. Critical Reading: Using Reading Prompts to Promote Active Engagement with Text. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 2009, 21(1), pp. 127-132.
  • SMITH, Carl B. Helping Children Understand Literary Genres [online]. ERIC Digest. 1994. [cit. 2012-11-10]. Available from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED366985.pdf
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