Six Main Differences between Tests & Assessments

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A Lesson Plan to Teach the English Novel

Objectives:

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Read for fun skimming and guessing the meaning of difficult words.
  2. Read for scanning and answer some questions on details of the chapter.
  3. Answer the questions on the chapter on the textbook.
  4. Act the scenes included in the chapter.

Teaching aids:

Set-book, Class board, mind mapping, video film, …….. etc.

Learning strategies

Individual, pair and group work, Playing roles, Analysis, Summarizing, …

Warm up (Reviewing):

* Ask about the author and characters of the novel, and the location(s) where the events happened.

* Remind students with the main events of the previous chapter.

* Ask some questions on the main events of the previous chapter.

Presentation (Viewing):

* Target Vocabulary:

* Target Structure:

* Target Function:

Steps of Introducing the New chapter:

  1. 1. Before reading, ask students to guess (expect) what events are going to happen.
  2. Write one or two questions on the board on the main points of the chapter at hand and ask students to read silently and quickly the chapter to answer these questions and underline any difficult words.
  3. After answering the pre-questions on the board, give students a general idea of the chapter , presenting the new vocabulary through using synonyms, antonyms, mind mapping, full sentences, real situations and deal with target structures and functions if found.

Practice:

  1. Write more questions (different types) on the board on details or ask students to read the questions on the chapter on the textbook. Then ask students to read again the chapter but carefully this time to answer the questions they’ve read. Students can work in pairs to answer the questions.
  2. Elicit the answers from students.
  3. Show students the scenes of the chapter on a video film (if found).
  4. Divide students into groups and distribute the roles among them to present the scenes of the chapter.
  5. At the end, some students come to the front and present a summary for the whole chapter using, First, Secondly, Next, Then, Later, Finally, ……

Assessment:

* Ask: What have we learned today?

* Ask some questions to elicit the main events.

* Ask students to write a summary for the chapter as a homework assignment.

* Assign some more questions on the chapter for students to answer in writing at home.

* Ask some critical thinking questions on the chapter.

Previewing:

* Specify the next part (chapter) of the novel for students to read.

* Write one or two pre-questions (different types) on the next part or chapter and ask students to answer them after reading at home.

Self-Evaluation:

* Students enjoyed reading for fun, skimming and scanning. Or

* Techniques used were suitable and objectives were achieved. Or

* Students need revision and more practice on the chapter at hand.

A Lesson Plan to Teach Email Writing.

Email-writing aims ultimately at:

  1. Improving social skills ( saying “thank you”, sending an invitation, offering help or support, ………etc. )
  2. Asking for information informally.
  3. Exchanging ideas and opinions.
  4. Writing about some personal experience.

Here is a model for an email writing lesson plan

Objectives:

At the end of this lesson Ss should be able to:

  1. Compose a written text (an email) based on a familiar subject.
  2. Recognize the differences between writing a letter and writing an email.

Warm up:

  1. Discuss email-writing focusing on personal experience, reasons, advantages, feelings, form, expressions, ………
  2. Show the class a real model of an email (on a wall sheet, overhead projector or data show) and encourage Ss to talk about what they see.

Presentation (Introduce the rules of email-writing using the previous model of the email)

  1. Show Ss the box where we should write the email address of the receiver and how to write it.
  2. Show Ss the box where we should write the subject of the email.
  3. Point to the word “Dear” referring to the name of the receiver after it.
  4. Tell Ss what to write at the beginning of the email ( informal greeting and then tell what you are writing about )
  5. Ask Ss to read the body of the email and check their understanding.
  6. Tell Ss what to write at the end of the email (“Best regards”, …. and under it; the name of the sender )

Practice (Ss practise email-writing in pairs)

  1. Select with Ss a familiar subject to write an email about to a friend.
  2. Specify the email address and the name of the receiver and write them on the board.
  3. Elicit some suggested sentences to be impeded in the body of the email.
  4. Ask Ss to work in pairs and write the email (in a separate paper) as the model they saw before, go round to check and give help.
  5. Take some emails and show them to the class. Read out them and provide feedback.
  6. Each pair take their email to make the correction needed and then come to the front showing the class the final version and read the email aloud.

Finish the lesson:

  1. By reminding Ss with the rules of writing an email.
  2. By asking Ss to write another email at home after specifying the information needed for doing that.

Four Tips to Enforce Students to Follow Rules in Class

Do you allow students to chew gum or use mobiles in class? Why?! Simply because we have rules in our schools. As we have rules, we have to follow them. The first one who must follow these rules is YOU. If you don’t, you will lose respect for yourself and for your rules. The point is that you should be a model for your students. Once you tell them a rule, you have to stick with it. In addition, I learned from experience the effectiveness of the following tips for students to follow your rules in class.

1. Use a reminder:

If you see a student chatting a bit with a classmate, ask: “Do you have a question? Is there something you want to tell me about? Have you finished yet?” This serves as a reminder. The key point here is that you remind the student and the whole class with the rule agreed upon that was not followed by someone. This kind of situation may not need a consequence. Just a reminder for that student to stop and return to follow the rules.

2. A consequence has to follow:

Not all rules can be treated the same. For example, when you see a student using a mobile, you can’t just say: “I remind you not to use your mobile.” In this situation, students will not expect a reminder but a warning and then a consequence. You have to say then: “This is a warning and a consequence will follow.” And then, a consequence has to follow if the same student or any other one does not stick to this rule. All students watch and expect the consequence. If you just sigh or neglect what happens, students will not see any rule to follow in this situation.

3. Be transparent and fair:

Be respectful to all and set your rules nicely and clearly but don’t be selective in your reminders or warnings. Give the rules to the class collectively. As a result, a consequence for not sticking to a rule has to be the same for all students.

4. Talk more about objectives not rules:

Always put in your mind, the ultimate goal of your teaching in class is not enforcing students to follow rules but teaching effectively to help students achieve certain learning objectives. Don’t talk much about rules but spend most of your time talking about effective teaching and the objectives that you are charged to help students to achieve, and don’t forget that students from a time to another need to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Start the School Year with Teaching Students These Four Skills

I recommend teachers help their students develop the following four skills from the very beginning of the school year as they set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning.

  1. Researching

Tell your students that your main job nowadays is not to give them the information but it is to teach them how to find the information.

  1. Contribution

Encourage students to make meaningful contributions to their surrounding environment. Teach them how to do so. When they have the opportunities to make such contributions they will be motivated and working hard.

  1. Working on projects

Let and help students determine projects that they are passionate about to work on during a certain period of time. Teach them how to plan their projects and provide them with useful resources.

  1. Working together

Help your students build teams or groups. Teach them the rules of teamwork.

20 Tips to Develop Thinking in the Classroom

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If you want to increase your effectiveness at teaching, the first thing you should do is to encourage your students to think, and then develop their thinking skills. Here, I would like to share with you some actions to do in the classroom to encourage students’ thinking and develop their thinking skills.

  1. Act the role of a facilitator or a guide not a lecturer or a preacher.
  2. Show enthusiasm for challenges and complex tasks that require students to think.
  3. Present your lessons in a logical and organized sequence.
  4. Use the kind of language that invites students to think (e.g. compare, classify, predict, suppose that, etc)
  5. Ask open-ended questions, wh-questions, why do you think so?, what if? and other kinds of questions of higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy that require students to think.
  6. Create problematic situations and encourage students to find creative solutions for them.
  7. Encourage students to ask and answer each other’s questions that provoke thinking.
  8. Encourage students to apply their past knowledge and experience to new situations.
  9. Move around the class and encourage students’ mobility.
  10. Encourage students to interact and cooperate in doing certain projects.
  11. Organize your class in various and different ways for different activities (e.g. pairs, groups, individuals and whole class)
  12. Value thinking and show creative works of students around the class.
  13. Use a variety of visual media to facilitate learning and encourage thinking (e.g. charts, wall sheets, videos, maps, pictures, flash cards, body language, etc)
  14. Encourage students to respond in any way without fearing of making mistakes and give supportive comments on incorrect responses.
  15. Create various and different evaluation activities.
  16. Always ask students to clarify and justify their answers.
  17. Always ask for alternatives or different points of view.
  18. Ask students to expand their answers adding more points.
  19. Encourage students to reflect on their thoughts or points of view.
  20. Ask students for clear and realistic ideas and asking about how to apply them to everyday life.

20 Questions to Ask yourself Before Printing your Test

Ask and answer the following questions before printing any test. Improve the test, then go ahead to print it.

1. Is the purpose of the test clear?

Is it a unit, month or end of term test? Is it to test what?

2. Does the test match the test specifications?

Are number and types of questions, distribution of marks, length of the reading text and time allowed as in the specifications?

3. Does the test content match the syllabus content?

Are the vocabulary, structures, functions, reading and writing questions in the test included in the syllabus?

4. Do the test questions match the objectives of the syllabus?

Do the test items measure to what extent the objectives are achieved?

5. Do the test items cover the cognitive levels?

Do the test items encourage students to show understanding, apply what they’ve learned, analyze, combine and evaluate?

6. Is the total time allowed clearly mentioned?

7. Are the marks for each question clearly written beside the question?

8. Are instructions clear on what exactly students have to do?

9. Are instructions grammatically correct, spelled correctly and written  in simple, clear language?

10. Are the format and layout clear and easy to follow?

Regarding to format:

  • Are the pages and all the questions numbered?
  • Is the font familiar and easy to read?
  • Are the texts and spaces well distributed?
  • Are the pictures and tables clear?

Regarding to layout:

  • Are the instructions clearly distinguished from the questions?
  • Are all relevant questions on one page?
  • Is there enough space for students to write their answers?

11. Are the questions organized in appropriate order from easy to difficult?

12. Are questions independent of each other? (students should not answer one question depending on another)

13. Are the questions in the right level according to the students’ level?  

14. Is the answer key available in a separate paper, correct and complete?

15. Is there only one correct answer for each MCQ?

16. Are all acceptable answers included in the answer key?

17. Is there a clear rating scale for marking writing question?

18. Are the marks easy to compute?

19. Are all questions free of bias in any way?

20. Is the test as a whole free of any offensive language?