Do You Know Your Creature?
Name of Teacher: Casey Jones
Class/Grade/Language Level: JHS 3rd Grade (can be adapted for other JHS grade levels)
Textbook and specific lesson: Sunshine 3, Unit 5
Goal: Convey, comprehend, and apply information about someone/something in the third-person using Unit 5 grammar (i.e. We call it~; X makes it Y; Do you know (what, how many, where, etc.)?)
Preparation: This takes rather little preparation apart from deciding on guiding questions for your students and making a worksheet.
Class time: Depending on how many questions you give them for describing their creature/character/etc. and how long you want to give them to draw, this can take about 30 minutes (though some students will have drawings to finish afterward, and adding color will naturally take longer) or an entire 50 minute class.
This activity makes extensive use of interrogatives embedded in sentences inquiring about whether or not one’s partner has certain knowledge about a thing. Almost all of the questions followed a pattern of: “Do you know [reordered embedded question]?” when I did it, but one could also incorporate “What do you call it?” and “What makes it happy/sad/etc.?” from Unit 5.
I gave the students a list of questions to answer about their own creation (it was Halloween, so we did monsters, but one could conceivably adapt this for characters, animals, plants, towns, or anything that can be drawn that touches on and goes a bit beyond familiar vocabulary), and model reply sentences on the front of a worksheet. As a way of practicing the different word orders for embedded questions and the answers they elicit, I had them use the back of the worksheet to then ask these questions of a partner, with neither allowed to see the other’s worksheet (back to back works in a pinch, but dividers are probably better for audibility and attention). Students then drew their partner’s creation using the information obtained in their “interview,” and show them to their partner to compare the drawn image with the mental image.
One could expand on this by telling students not to answer a number of questions of their choice (and to ultimately respond along the lines of “No, I don’t know~,” when asked about these aspects using the given questions above. Students could also be asked to present their partner’s creation alongside their illustration thereof, in pairs, small groups, or in front of the class.
I have attached my worksheet just as an example of what can be done and seems to be interesting and actually stimulate English use (of course, one should be circulating about the room to make sure students don’t resort to Japanese).