Giving directions – “How to draw a Chibi”

I’ve been wanting to document some of my better attempts at teaching by providing the basic lesson plans in this space. Some of my more elaborate plans are still in the writing stages, but I had a sort of impromptu lesson that turned out very well that I thought I would share the details of:

 Chapter 9 Lesson Plan

Fun Cartoons – giving/hearing directions

grade level 1 (7th graders)

Class Background:

Students have been in chapter 9 for about a week. The first lessons were focused on giving spatial directions via egocentric vocabulary (left, right, ahead, behind). Students performed listening comprehension tasks via Drill Downs, production tasks by giving directions to various locations in the school. Students were introduced to how to draw cartoons in a previous lesson that was provided by the book.

Materials Needed:
Internet, projector, whiteboards (sufficient for groups of 4), markers, erasers

Performance Objectives:
SWBAT follow the directions of a cartoon-drawing tutorial found on YouTube. They will both hear and see the drawing and will follow along, drawing the cartoon themselves with the video.

SWBAT produce oral directions for drawing the cartoon using language useful for directions (First, next, and then). Students will work in groups of 4 to organize a complete set of instructions for drawing the cartoon by writing down their instructions on a whiteboard.

Before Class:
Have the projector ready, youtube loaded and whiteboards are easy access.

Warm-up: (5 min)
Because this was a somewhat impromptu class, I did not have a well-planned out “warm-up” that would have helped the students perform the tasks. If I were to add a warm-up, it would look something like performing a short drill down, in which the students themselves do the directing or some such activity. Haven’t really thought this one through yet!

Presentation: (10 min)
Objectives: Students will be prepared to hear directions by introducing language useful in “how to” direction-giving exercises. This includes language like, “next, and then, finally”. This will be accomplished by assisting the video that will be used throughout the lesson.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Class lecture

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual

C. Task Description:
Explain first to the students that they will be watching a “how to” video that will show them how to draw a simple Manga character called a “chibi”. (protip: don’t talk about ‘manga’ with the Korean kids as they might go off on a “booo Japan!” rant). Explain that you will write down the directions together for the first part (the drawing of the head). Perform a quick comprehension check asking, “What are going to watch? What are we going to do while we watch?”

As you stop the video to write down directions, introduce the language, “first, next, and then, finally”. Draw students attention to this introductory words. As you progress, leave draw a line and ask the students to fill it in. By the end of this section (the drawing of the head) the students should be able to give the last couple of instructions in their entirety.

Practice: (20 min)
Objectives: Students will be able draw and complete their instruction list by watching the video (from the beginning to the end). In groups, the students will collaborate to finalize a list which will be synthesized in a class comprehension check at the end.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Small group work

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual, textile

C. Task Description:
Explain that we will watch the video from the beginning again. The students are invited to finish their lists if they want, or to follow along drawing the chibi on their own papers. Stop the video when it begins the drawing of the body. Tell the students they should focus on writing directions for the body and that after they will get into groups to talk about a final list of instructions for the body. Perform a comprehension check to ensure understanding. Walk around during the activity to reinforce comprehension, in the case the students get distracted, or forget the goal.

After the video finishes, have the students get into their groups with their whiteboards to write up a list of instructions, making explicit the use of “first, second, next, and then, finally’ to link their instructions together. Circulate to reinforce directives and keep students on track. At the end, bring the students together and ask the class to provide their answers. They will diverge from step to step, make this explicit that there is more than one way to direct the drawing (some features can be draw before others and vice versa). Reinforce the idea of “no one all-perfect correct way”. Evaluate the students ability to use the new vocabulary, but do not interrupt fluency to correct or draw attention to it. Let the students speak and speak to them authentically. Use the evaluation to understand how much more the students need to direct instruction.

I actually did this activity along with the students, drawing and writing down directions as I circulated.  I cheated and practiced beforehand, but I wanted the students to feel like they had an example of the “correct” way of doing the activity, in case they still didn’t understand and were too afraid to say anything.

Evaluation: (5 min)
Objectives: Students will be given a new “how to” to perform as homework.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Individual work

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual, textile

C. Task Description:
Using QR readers, the students will be given a new assignment to watch a How To video about how to fold a paper airplane. Students will follow the directions to fold an airplane and then write down all the instructions, like the lesson. Students will bring both their instructions and airplane to class for the next lesson.

I have no application for this lesson in particular. But the driving goal for the multi-lesson task is to have the students present a self-directed “how to” either in writing, video, audio or class demonstration.

— What I really liked about this particular lesson, even though it doesn’t adequately cover the methodological bases that should move the students towards acquisition, is that it focused the students, unbeknownst to them, on language.  While following along with the video, the students would ask questions like, “what is a half circle?” “what do you call this (eyebrows, blush, etc..).  This is gives me an opportunity to engage the students in reflective questioning.  They asked me, the “expert” and then I would reflect the question back to the class.  Inevitably, the class has almost all the answers that I, the “expert”, would have.  The only thing the class seems to lack there is the confidence to know this is the case.

In addition to this, I got an opportunity to teach a bit of spelling.  Spelling is not my favorite aspect of language.  I don’t feel the same affinity for written language as I do for spoken language.  But in teaching, I’ve found that my students are extremely fearful of making errors.  That’s not a good thing for education in general, but particularly in language learning, taking risks and making errors needs to be a celebrated part of learning.  With the fear of mistakes fully engrained in their heads, whenever I give a task that requires writing (as a secondary task to the main, communicative, task), I usually get inundated with, “teacher! How do you spell ____??” for 20 minutes.

I taught the kids the concept of “guessing”, but more in the style of hypothesizing.  And everytime they ask me to spell something, I tell them, “guess.”  They usually scowl at this, but they don’t protest anymore.  During this lesson, one student asked how to spell “eyebrow”.  Their struggle  was particularly with the “brow” part of the word, and in that part, the struggle was with the vowel-glide, ‘ow’.  I told her to guess and then after I finished with the main task (getting the class consensus for how to draw the character), I told the class that there was a spelling question.  The dialogue is pretty lengthy, but the essential idea is that I ask the students all the possible ways to spell ‘eyebrow’.  They gave me ‘eyebrow’, ‘eyebrou’, and ‘eyebrau’.  So they were pretty close, and those three spellings can overlap in some pronunciations, or at least come so close that an ESL learner would not perceive the difference.  I asked the students to give me other words that use ‘au’, ‘ou’, and ‘ow’.  They came up with, “mouse, wow, now, our”.  They had a hard time with ‘au’ so I gave them ‘caught’ (and showed them it was the past tense of catch, “I caught the ball, yesterday.”).  And added ‘ought’ to make the ‘ou’ more obvious.

I then had the students say the words in order, adding ‘brow’ after each spelling.  ‘mouse, our, brow’, ‘wow, now, brow’, ‘caught, brow’.  This was done without *my* speech being the focus.  They said the words themselves and I would repeat it back after them.  They quickly realized that ‘au’ didn’t seem to work, but they were a little conflicted on ‘ou’.  This is where I introduced, ‘ought’.  With that word, they knew pretty quickly the correct spelling, but more importantly, they spent time trying to discern between vowels and glides that they may not spend much time thinking about.  Which in my opinion is the real linguistic benefit of the exercise.  In addition, they are given a tool for figuring out spelling on their own, a flawed tool, to be sure (comparing ‘caught’ and ‘ought’ for some dialects, like mine, would make it hard to tell why there is a spelling difference), but one that can at least make them feel more comfortable guessing.  We’ll see if it catches on.

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