The following didactic unit will be planned to fulfill the special needs of our students. We teach a class of 28 students of 4th of ESO in a town near Valencia. Among our students we can find 2 gifted kids, 2 students with ADHD and three that are repeating their grade.
In order for the learning experience to be as meaningful and effective as possible we will pay special attention to: the creativity of the activities we will carry out, in order to motivate all students, but specially the ones that are repeating the grade; include as many dynamic and moving activities as the context allows, to foster the learning process in our ADHD students and kinestetic, visual and auditory learners; put an effort to offer community learning activities and individual ones to allow gifted students and individual learners to improve and feel they have a challenge, but also pay attention to the social learners at the same time contributing to the unity of the class as a whole.
We will put special effort in creating a positive atmosphere in class. The students will be grouped in round tables to foster communication, debate and sharing of ideas. In every single lesson we will leave the last ten minutes to possible worries, questions, complaints and to the creation of little group dynamics to foster cohesion .
The activities will be planned to complement the book, which we consider insufficient to fulfill our inclusion aims. For that matter we will use some of the ideas in the book (e.g. the reading text) but we will go beyond it, proposing new and creative exercises that help us create the best learning experience possible.
Warm- up activity: Auction
This will be the first activity of our didactic unit. It’s focused on activating previous knowledge and checking the previous knowledge that our students have. It’s important to bear in mind that this will the second session of the year – right after the introductory session – and thus it will be the first unit of the academic year. Therefore it’s crucial to check the level of our students and set the main goals we want to achieve in the following sessions in order to avoid confusion.
One way to check our student level without creating the stressful feeling of a level test is through a warm up activity aimed to motivate them and make them learn through games.
We have taken into account that our class has special needs. The following activity is suitable for both gifted and ADHD students. Everyone can answer at their own pace and decide if they want to answer or not they are not forced into it. It’s a very dynamic activity which will be particularly interesting for kinestetic, visual and auditory learners; and finally it follows a community learning methodology as well as a communicative approach of which we are fond believers of.
The vocabulary and content we will use for the questions will be aimed to check what the students remember from the last year and help us identify which possible obstacles we are going to face along our unit.
E.g. Is the following sentence correct? If it’s not correct which are the mistakes?
“I like go to the beach”
The class will be divided in groups mixing the students purposely to not be in their regular positions in class. The teacher will provide fake money bills to each of the groups and will project a Power Point specially created for the matter.
The teacher will then project a question in the digital board and then the auction will start. The students will have to think about the answer and whe they think they know it they wil have to make an offer. The highest offer will have to answer. If they answer corretlty they will get a smartie or other reward or class likes, if they answer incorrectly the teacher will take the money they bet.
Reading: Running dictation
We have decided to use this activity in the class since we think it is a good way to learn how to focus on the writing style and the order of the nouns, adjectives, prepositions, etc. in a sentence. Moreover, it has a writing aspect too, since one of the partners will be writing.
We will divide the class into pairs. Therefore one of them has the role of running and memorizing the sentences. We will put on the wall extracts of the reading that appears in the course book. One will run and read the sentences of the extract and run back to the table to tell his or her partner what he or she has read. The partner will write the sentences in the paper. For this activity they have 15 minutes. The activity has everything writing, speaking, listening and reading. This exercise promotes the teamwork because they need to work together to achieve the goal. Gifted students will also obtain remarkable benefits since they have to memorize the sentences. ADHD students will have to move in this activity so they will feel active and productive. This activity will be challenging for them and they will exercise their minds.
Vocabulary: Role play
We have decided to carry out a role-play activity which includes some specific requirements. This way, students can develop their oral skills and at the same time, they also foster the vocabulary included in this unit.
We have replaced the activity from the book in order to adapt to the students’ specific needs, because we agree that such activity in the book does not focus on the students’ diversity.
The reason why we have chosen this exercise is because it has multiple benefits for our students. Gifted students can benefit from the fact of promoting the improvisation ability and they can use their creativity, and ADHD can benefit from the need of being active all the time in order to meet the activity requirements which will be explained later. Besides, it promotes collaborative working since the teams need to agree on their interventions.
In pairs, the students will maintain a free conversation about different topics (dealing with conflicts, a job interview, and stereotypes). Moreover, each participant will have a team that will be telling him gestures and feelings that they have represent while speaking in the dialogue.
The gestures and feelings they have to represent are:
– Bite your nails
– Raise eyebrows
– Scratch your head
– Shake hands
We have created a kahoot to practice present simple and present continuous tense: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/7989cff7-6952-43ec-be2d-19bd9823c1dc
This way of presenting the grammar practice is more engaging and it caters for the diversity in the class. Kahoot! flips the classroom with a pedagogy based on encouraging a loop from ‘learner to leader’ within the learning space, which maximizes the precious learning time spent in the classroom and empowers learners to lead. It also allows us to adjust the time allotted for questions, increase or decrease volume and show questions and answers visually.
This classroom activity is great for children with ADHD because it is visual and grabs their attention, for gifted students because it is challenging and competitive, and it will motivate the three students that repeat the course. It provides them the opportunity to lead and prove themselves in a revolutionary way.
Furthermore, Kahoot! helps educators adopt a competency oriented approach. Kahoot! promotes this approach in the aspect that you can track which students get certain answers wrong, thus having the ability to work with students on the grammar competence in a different way.
We have decided not to carry out the writing activity proposed in the book, which follows a very traditional approach and change it for the writing roulette activity. This gives us the chance to include all our students’ necessities in sole complete and challenging exercise. Moreover, in this activity the students will not only work the writing skills, it also involves reading, listening and speaking.
This activity will fit: the gifted students as it does not limit their creativity, the ADHD students as it involves movement and action and the 3 students who are repeating as this will be providing them with an engaging and new opportunity to learn English. On top of that, the rest of the class will be motivated as well because the writing roulette appears as a new perspective to practice and improve their writing skills.
The students will carry out the activity in their table groups. They will only need a blank page and two colour pens: blue and green. During two minutes, each of them starts a news story writing some sentences which must include the word projected on the screen. Meanwhile, a song will be played. When the song stops, they have to pass their story to their classmate on their right who will continue writing the story using the new word that has appeared on the screen. Additionally, while reading their classmates sentences, they will also have to correct anything they consider incorrect. The students will have an extra minute per turn so as to give them enough time to fulfil these tasks: therefore, the first one will only have 2 minutes, but the second one will have 3 minutes, the third, 4 minutes etc. Writing will be carried out in blue, correcting will be carried out in green.
Once the first part is finished, they will pass their stories to the group next to them who will try to correct any additional mistakes. These compositions will be given back to the group who will try to select the best one to represent them. For this purpose, they will have to read aloud their stories.
In the following lesson, the teacher will announce the winners and possibly bring will them a small reward, for instance, candies or chocolate bars. The decision will be made taking into account not only the mistakes made, but also the creativity and cohesion of the story. Moreover, during this lesson the compositions will be given back to each of the groups too and the teacher will give some general feedback to the class.
The only materials the teacher will need are:
-The computer, the projector and a good sound system
-The Powerpoint presentation with the words included: in this case: vocabulary related to body language and connectors of sequence
We have decided to play a video called “Improve your intercultural competence: How to avoid intercultural conflicts” in order to work on listening skills.
We have chosen a listening activity different from the ones included in the book since we think this one is more dynamic and original, and implies other skills.
The reason why we have chosen this exercise is because gifted students can benefit from their memory capacities since they will have to retain as many details as possible and ADHD students will be able to feel active by being responsible for conveying the message to their partners. Furthermore, students will work collaboratively because they will work in pairs.
In pairs, one member of each pair will watch the selected video and the other member will stay outside the class. Those who watch the video will take notes of what they are seeing and listening. To this end, they will have to select the main ideas and note the key words that will help them remember the idea. When the video is finished, they will have to reproduce the message of the video to their partners. Once they have done it, the teacher will make some questions about the video to the people who have not watched the video.
In order to review and put into practice the contents of the unit, we have decided to carry out group projects related to the topic we have dealt with. This will benefit gifted students in the sense that they will have the freedom to perform whatever they feel like and so, they will be motivated to carry out the task. As for the ADHD students, they will have to act and record their voices, which will make them feel responsible for the final result of the project.
So as to make them work cooperatively, during the last session, we will ask them to start carrying out a group work project which will be finished at home. Following the proposal in page 11, the students will have to record a video in which they use their speaking skills to explain the differences in body languages among countries in the world. The video will not have to last long, between 5 and 7 minutes. We will provide them with a tutorial of the Moviemaker program but they are the ones who have to research the information they will include. It is compulsory to include the verb tenses seen in the units as well as the vocabulary. Therefore, the more they include, the better mark they will get. On top of that, their creativity will also be assessed. Finally, if appropriate, their final products will be shown in class to the rest of the classmates and this will give the activity a more realistic approach, something that gifted students really appreciate.