Embedded Reading

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Now What? Activities

Activities!!  That is what I am asked about most often:  What other activities can I do with these readings?

I love this question because it means that the teachers asking it already realize that it is important to vary the activities as we read different versions of the text.  

Why?  Variety for one.  Addressing a variety of skills, appealing to a wide variety of students, the reasons are many!

So here goes!  Let’s look at some additional goals for those readings beyond getting from point A to point Z….and match them with activities.  The activities below are fairly straightforward and could be used as a class warm up, activity, homework, or even for assessment.

Remember, we usually do one activity per level unless there is a compelling reason to do more!

Here is the embedded reading example  in English from that we have been working with.  Below is a chart that can be used to identify ONE set of potential activities.  The activity examples are at the end on a Google document.

*Note 1:  This example is more for upper level students, however, the examples can be adapted for any level.  

*Note 2:  This is just a small set of potential activities.  Additional examples (particularly ones with more physical action) will come in a later post!

Base reading:

Students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue.   The movement has inspired events in a number of countries. One student in particular has received a lot of attention for her actions.  Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement.  

Version 2:

Around the world, students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue.   The movement has inspired events in a number of countries, including school walkouts. The global movement is a result of a United Nations report and other studies worldwide. One student in particular, Greta Thunberg of Sweden,  has received a lot of attention for her actions. Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement. Some feel strongly that the loss of class time is not appropriate. Others have expressed that if they were younger, they too would be leaving school in order to make a point. 

Version 3:  

Around the world, students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue.   Thanks to the power of social media, young people around the globe have decided to speak their minds to the press and to their respective governments.  This youth movement has inspired events in a number of countries, including protests and school walkouts. The global movement is a result of a United Nations report and other studies worldwide. One student in particular, Greta Thunberg of Sweden, is being seen as a leader for inspiring others.  As a result, she has received a lot of attention for her actions. Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement. LIke many adults, some feel strongly that the loss of class time is not appropriate. Others support the passion and interest of these young people and have expressed that if they were younger, they too would be missing school in order to make a point. 

Version 4

Around the world, students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue: climate change   Thanks to the power of social media, young people around the globe have decided to speak their minds to the press and to their respective governments about the future of the planet.  This youth movement has inspired events in a number of countries, from Europe to the U.S. to Australia. There have been numerous events, including protests and school walkouts. The global movement is a result of a United Nations report and other studies worldwide about potential and deadly results of climate change.. One student in particular, Greta Thunberg of Sweden, is being seen as a leader for inspiring others.  As a result, she has received a lot of attention for her actions. Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement. LIke many adults, some feel strongly that the loss of class time is not appropriate. They feel that students would better serve the cause by writing letters or emails. Others support the passion and interest of these young people and have expressed that if they were younger, they too would be missing school in order to make a point.   They too believe that we need to address this issue, and that the future belongs to all of us, especially young people. 

Possible activities:  These could be used with any of the versions above.

Here is a document with MANY ideas so remember to keep scrolling!!!!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Viio5kDKfs42Id4vc4DnnDz1TDDnhr8vs85vFzNyJgE/edit?usp=sharing

Now What? Base Reading and Activities

So you have an embedded reading, and you want to use it with students…Now What?!!!

Well, let’s first look at WHY you want to read this particular piece with students. If you haven’t read “Why Read The Last Version?”, please do! If you know where you are headed with an embedded reading, everything else is easier!

The best place to start when making Now What? decisions is to determine your goals:

1. The Base Reading

Let’s use this base reading in English as an example:

Students are uniting to draw attention to a very important issue. The movement has inspired events in a number of countries. One student in particular has received a lot of attention for her actions. Politicians are not sure how to respond to this movement.

1A. Your first goal for the base reading should always be complete and total comprehension. It’s the core of every other level and so we want to make sure that it is understood. The following can be very helpful:

  • Illustration: Using a blank storyboard, students illustrate each sentence of the base reading. You can then have them compare drawings and add necessary details, or use a picture you have taken of student work/use a document reader to project student work to discuss using the base reading.
  • Gestures: If there is a lot of “gesture-able” vocabulary in the text, students can gesture the meaning of sections of the text as you read it. (ie. uniting, inspired, has received, are not sure)
  • Acting: If the reading lends itself to this, you can use student actors to act out the text as you read/narrate. You can also have students get into pairs or groups, with each student “taking the part” of a character. The teacher reads/narrates and in small groups each student character acts out the sentence read. (For the reading above, after reading for meaning, give small groups 3 minutes to decide how to act it out as you read!)

Regardless of what you choose, the goal and focus of the activity is on understanding the meaning of the text as completely as possible!

1B. Your second goal for the base reading is for it to be interesting!! You are going to try to convince a group of students to read and reread text….there must be something compelling in the base reading that pulls them towards the next level.

Here are some suggestions:

  • This topic may be something students already know something about. Ask students to share (in the TL or in L1 and you restate/rewrite in the TL) what they already have heard/read/seen about the topic. Keep this list to compare to the following versions so students can see their own knowledge appear!
  • Because this reading is just the beginning, a great activity is to create questions about what students DON’T yet know! The first few times you do this, I suggest that you do it together with students as a class activity. Imagine that you are writing to the author/reporter of the base reading and form questions asking for specific information about what might be in the next reading!
    Ideas based on the base reading above:

         What is the important issue?
         Why is it important?
         What kind of events are taking place?
         In which countries are they taking place?
         Who is the student who is receiving a lot of attention and where is she from?
         How are politicians responding?

        Are students in the U.S. participating in this movement?

  • This is also a great place to brainstorm predictions!! Again, model this first by doing this as a class activity. Ideas:

         More and more countries will be involved.
         Politicians will criticize the students.
         Students from the U.S. will be interested and want to be included.

These activities will all work with simple texts and stories!!  There are more, but we will look at those in the next post!!

 

A few ideas..for any level…for any reading

Many of you, particularly Spanish teachers, are familiar with the song/video Camarero.  (If not, and you are in the mood for a fun trip back to the 80’s, check it out!)   We posted an Embedded Reading by MB to go along with the song/video not too long ago.    The timing was perfect, as I had been waiting for the right moment to do the song with my Spanish 3 students.

For three decades I have taught this song to freshmen.   It’s catchy, it’s goofy and it has a lot of very useful phrases:  Queremos beber (we want something to drink),  Dese prisa (Hurry up!),  Me muero de sed (I’m dying of thirst), not to mention the easiest way to get students to remember the word for waiter (camarero).    Here are some of the activities I’ve done with the song/video that could easily also be done with the readings:

  • Gestures :  The majority of the song is easy to gesture!
  • Mural :  The students are in small groups, each with a large piece of paper and draw a mural of as many things in the song/reading that they can fit on the paper.   We hang them up around the room and they point out each item as I (or a very confident student) read the song/story out loud.  Then they move to the next mural and repeat!!!!
  • Flash cards :  Key phrases are illustrated and put on flash cards. (Sometimes I draw and Xerox, sometimes students draw their own, or I “commission” an artist to draw them.)  Students put the flash cards out in random order on their desks and put in order as I (or a very confident student) read the song/story out loud.
  • “Readers’ Theater” :  In small groups, students identify which lines each will act out as the song/story is read.  Groups can perform for each other or for the entire class.
  • Rewrites (Advanced) : Students rewrite the song changing “Camarero” to a different profession/person and any other elements that then need revising.

Because I haven’t taught freshmen for several years now, neither my Spanish 2s nor my Spanish 3s were familiar with the song.   We could have done any of the activities above, but we had actually just finished a different song (Jueves by Oreja de Van Gogh) and had done several of those activities with it.

So….I used MB’s reading and here is what we did:

1.  I created a PP to use to ask questions of the class using new vocab and structures.   For example:  La playa no se ve.  I simply had two pictures, one of a beach covered with people and one that was empty of people.  I asked them, in the target language, in which picture the song probably took place, which type of beach they preferred to be at and why, which one represented our local lake spots in the summer/winter etc.   There were about 5 phrases that were new to them and I made sure that we had used each in personalized conversations with the class before handing out lyrics and listening to the song.

2.  The video has lyrics on it, so simply watching the video was worthwhile!!

3.  We also then did a “Movie Talk” lesson with the sound muted, discussing, in the target language, what else we saw in the video, naming different individuals, giving them backstories etc.

4.  The base reading of the story was done as a simple translation.  I wanted to see how much they understood from the very beginning.

5.  The second version looks like this:

Había un chico que se llamaba Enrique. A Enrique le gustaba bailar.  Bailaba mucho.  También a él le gustaba ir a la playa.  En la playa hay mucha gente y el sol está brillando.   A Enrique le gustaba bailar a la playa.

Un día, Enrique fue a la playa.  No llevó su traje de baño.  Él estaba bailando en la playa todo el día y tenía sed.  Enrique quería algo para beber.  Enrique vio a un camarero y le dijo, “Me muero de sed.  Por favor, dame algo para beber.  ¡Dese prisa Ud.!”

El camarero salió y regresó con un vaso de agua encima de una tortuga.  Enrique todavía tenía mucho calor.  Enrique le pidió “Llévame al agua” a su amigo.  Su amigo lo llevó y lo tiró en el océano.  Enrique estaba contento.

I typed up with a Side A and a Side B so it looked like this:

Side A:                                                                                             Side B:

Había un chico que se llamaba Enrique.                                 A Enrique le gustaba bailar.

Bailaba mucho.                                                                             También a él le gustaba ir a la playa.

En la playa hay mucha gente y el sol está brillando.            A Enrique le gustaba bailar a la playa.

Un día, Enrique fue a la playa.                                                  No llevó su traje de baño.

Él estaba bailando en la playa todo el día y tenía sed.         Enrique quería algo para beber.

You get the idea.   I cut the papers in half and half of the students received a Side A and the others a Side B.

Partner A started and read the first A sentence out loud.  Partner B read the first on his sheet.   They continued to read through the story.  Then, they switched papers, found a new partner and repeated the process.   When everyone was finished, they put their papers aside and I read the story with random errors ( Habia un presidente que se llamaba Timoteo.    No llevo sus sandalias.  etc.)  

For the third version of the story, I gave the students options.  (Remember, these are Level 3 and 4 students)

  • Create a stick figure story board with 25 boxes, each box including a sentence from the story.
  • Write 10 multiple choice questions (with 3 responses each) about the story in Spanish.
  • Add 10 sentences with interesting details that fit well with the story.  Write the sentence that precedes it or follows it from the story and then your new sentence.
  • Write a 15 sentence story in Spanish about Enrique’s dancing career, beginning with “So You Think You Can Dance”

Hope that these ideas can help you design activities to go along with other songs and Embedded Readings!

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2015 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Embedded Reading in Action PowerPoint

This PowerPoint shares ideas on how to use Embedded Readings with students.    It is here so that you can use it for yourself and so that you can share it with your colleagues who may be interested in learning more about Embedded Readings.  Please feel free to share your questions and comments!

Embedded Reading in Action 2013 Basic

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

These Are The Guidelines

A gifted new teacher tried out Embedded Reading for the first time this week with great success.  Andrea gave her students a chance to write an Epilogue to a novel they had read.   She didn’t ask them to write the entire thing, just a piece of it.  She then combined all of the ideas from one class period to create an Embedded Reading in three levels for her students.    She discovered, like most people do, that the students do not get bored reading the “same” story several times!!    Their feed back to her was that it was exciting to know that a) they were going to understand each piece   b)  something new was going to be in each piece and c) something they had written would show up somewhere!

Then…she was able to repeat the reading pieces by switching fourth period’s reading with ninth period’s reading and they got double the input!!

Then….she could lead discussion comparing the two versions.

Her first foray into Embedded Reading was successful because she is a caring and gifted teacher who has worked hard to establish positive relationships with her students.   She also followed several important guidelines:

1.  Less is more.

The base reading was clean, minimal and right on point for the level of her class.  Every student was able to understand it.

Then, she added just enough detail to each succeeding reading that students were interested to discover more without being discouraged by the length or difficulty.

She also kept the reading to three versions: perfect for the reading level and the amount of time that these second-year students can stay focused.

2.   Variety is the key.

Andrea added a variety of items to the new levels.   Some words and phrases were short and highly familiar.   Others were more complex or contained less familiar vocabulary.   Information/language was added to the beginning and middle of each level, as well as to the end.

She made sure that each student had contributed to the final piece by taking at least one word, phrase or idea from each student.  (This isn’t as challenging as it seems…..)

The students approached each level differently.   There were verbal questions for one, illustrations for another, discussion for the third.   This is KEY to keeping students from feeling like they are doing the same thing over and over again.

3.    Teach  For  Success

Because Andrea had already laid a foundation for success with steps 1 and 2 above, she could approach the lesson with an extremely positive outlook.   This attitude spilled over into her students.  Because she had worked hard to create an atmosphere of trust, they were willing to address material that was progressively more challenging.

It doesn’t mean that the readings didn’t require advanced skills.  It doesn’t mean that some pieces weren’t challenging.  It means that despite increasing difficulty, the scaffolding created the opportunity for students to be highly successful and they believed that they could be.

4.  Open Doors for Students to Connect with the Text.

Obviously, being able to comprehend the text is the first, best way to connect students with what they are reading.  Without that, nothing else happens!!

This particular exercise allowed students to contribute as authors.   That is the beauty of creating a “Bottom Up” reading.   As authors, they are infinitely more interested in reading.

Even if the students had not authored the text, they had numerous opportunities to interact with the text on a personal level.    The story was a continuation of one that they were already familiar with.   The location, some details, and more importantly, the characters were familiar.   By illustrating, they were able to create their own visualization of the story.

They also made a number of observations about the piece that Andrea allowed them to “own” for themselves.   Their discovery of a story within a story made them feel as if they had uncovered a surprise created for them by their teacher.   After that, every new detail was like a new little gift that she had arranged just for them to unwrap.

Four simple guidelines that, when followed, help all of us to create and use Embedded Readings successfully with our students.

 

All content of this website © Embedded Reading 2012-2014 or original authors.  Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited.   Examples and  links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

 

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