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Unit 1: What’s in a Word?
Words Skills: Language and Activities
for Talking About Words
• Today’s class:
• (1) We will briefly discuss classroom English in
general.
• (2) We will look at classroom English needed
to negotiate the letters and spellings of words.
• (3) We will look at language used for posing
word riddles, giving hints and asking for
answers.
Classroom English
One of the goals of this course is to move
towards conducting our classes in English.
An important step in achieving this goal is
training our students to function in an English
classroom environment.
This means preparing lessons centered around
classroom English.
• Classroom English can be divided into two
primary functions:
(1)Language for managing the class.
(2)Language for conveying content and
negotiating the meaning of that content.
(1) Language for Managing the Class
• This includes commands like:
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Open your books.
Take out your pencils.
You need to find a partner.
Your homework is due on Friday.
• Although this classroom English is important,
we will not focus on it here. It will be covered
in the second half of this course under
classroom interactions.
(2) Language for Conveying Information
and Negotiating Its Meaning
• This includes things like:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
What does that mean?
Do you see what I’m saying?
Is that clear?
Ghost is spelt G-H-O-S-T.
It has four letters.
Could you speak up please? I can’t hear you.
It begins with B.
What I mean is . . .
It’s another word for windy.
• This kind of classroom English is a skill that
students should have so that they can get the
information they need when they don’t
understand.
• It is a skill that will help our students on the
road to becoming independent learners.
Classroom English: Words and Spelling
• One task teachers will constantly face is
discussing words, letters and spelling with
their students.
• Both students and teachers should be
comfortable talking about words.
• Let’s start with an example.
• Here are some of the ways we
can talk about a word:
BOTTLE
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle is a six-letter word.
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle is a six-letter word.
Bottle begins with B.
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle is a six-letter word.
Bottle begins with B.
The second letter is O
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle is a six-letter word.
Bottle begins with B.
The second letter is O
Bottle ends with/in E.
Bottle has six letters.
Bottle is a six-letter word.
Bottle begins with B.
The second letter is O
Bottle ends with/in E.
Bottle has two Ts and an L.
Imagination
• All of the expressions above are useful for
negotiating the spelling of a word.
• You use these expressions when:
(1) You see a student has misspelled a word.
(2) A student is asking about the spelling of a
word.
(3) Someone is looking for words that fit a
particular letter pattern (in a riddle or
crossword for example).
Activities for Teaching This Skill
• Since talking about words is a skill we want
our students to have, we need to come up
with activities that will help students acquire
these skills.
• Word riddles are an excellent way to
accomplish this.
I’m thinking of a bird that can begins begin
with O?
Can you guess it?
Is it owl?
No, that’s not it.
It has seven letters.
Hmm. I’m stumped.
Can you give me a hint?
In ends with H.
It has powerful legs, but it
can’t fly.
I know. It’s an . . .
OSTRICH
Language for Posing Riddles
Can you think of a three-letter word that begins
with O?
Do you know any three-letter words that begin
with O?
What is a three-letter word that begins with O?
Language for Offering Hints
Can I give you a hint?
Would you like a hint?
Do you need a hint?
Language for Asking for Hints
Can you give me a hint?
Can I have a hint?
I need a hint.
Language for Indicating You Give Up
I give up.
I'm stumped.
I can’t figure it out.
I can’t solve it.
You got me.
I don’t know