My Website              Contact Dr. Wei


Some useful documents for EDCI 5547 Assignments:

National TESOL Standards for Prek-12 ESOL Students

WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards

Maryland Content Standards for Adult ESL/ESOL (When Missouri one is off)

English as a Second Language Content Standards for Adult Education


Jenilee Green

EDCI 5547

Dr. Wei


September 4, 2009



Common issues in Second Language Acquisition:

a.  Learners:  Students from around the world, however more than half are Americans who live here but do not speak English.

b.  Teachers: Anyone who can speak English can be teaching in shape or form.  Of course, “teachers” are always found in the school and must have certification to teach ESL or pass the Praxis II or I.  The requirements vary across states. 


What must be taught to the learner?

1.                  Pragmatics:  The ability to know when and how to say something in the appropriate context

2.                  Communication

3.                  Language is culture.  Culture must be intertwined in the topics discussed in class.


The No Child Left Behind Act requires that each ESL student have the right to be served in the school.


Why are learners attempting to acquire the L2?

  1. They need the skills to learn and to survive in society
  2. Without learning the skills to read they will struggle to move forward in school and their everyday lives.
  3. Kindergarten-3rd grade: Children learn to read
  4. 3rd grade and up: Students read to learn


Learning a language can take place:

1.                  In the classroom

2.                  Wherever the target language is spoken or heard.

3.                  Adults and children can be successful, however, they acquire the language differently.


Language Ego:

The identity a person develops in reference to the language that he or she speaks.

       The language ego is stronger when the person is older.


*The errors by ESL students (children) are the same as their NES peers.  Children acquire languages in the same way universally!


Language (definition):

  1. Systematic: even interlanguage is a systematic form of language
  2. interlanguage: the combination of two languages, such as “Spanglish”
  3. A set of widely accepted symbols/words
  4. Symbols are primarily vocal, but may also be visual
  5. First new words are added orally and then they are transposed into the language in the written form.
  6. Communication purposes
  7. operates in a speech community/culture
  8. Essentially human, perhaps not limited to humans (Chomsky)
  9. Acquired by all people in much the same way
  10. Universal principles:  Languages are more similar than they are different


Language Facts:

  1. Wherever a human exists, there is a language
  2. No primitive languages, all are equally capable of expression
  3. New words can be fit into any language.
  4. ESL students often make new words and their new words always contain systematic content from the L1 or L2
  5. All languages change over time
  6. Universal semantic properties are found in all languages
  7. Every language has negation, questions, commands, tenses, etc.
  8. Any normal child is capable of learning any language to which he/she is exposed


“Knowing” a Language:

1.                  Form phrases, create sentences

2.                  produce new sentences never spoken before, understand sentences never heard before

3.                  is not limited to stimulus-response behavior

1.                              Chomsky and Dr. Brown agree that learning must not always have a stimulus involved

4.                  functional operation of pragmatics

5.                  is a universally creative property

6.                  knowing the phonological structure (sound system)

7.                  mean knowing non-sentences from real sentences


Knowledge of sentences/non-sentences examples (incorrect=crossed out):

·                    What he did was climb a tree. 

·                    What he thought was want a sports car.

·                    Drink your beer and go home! 

·                    What are drinking and go home?

·                    I expect them to arrive a week from next Thursday. 


Acquisition: Getting something without effort. 



  1. Acquisition/ getting
  2. retention of information/skill
  3. implies storage systems, memory, cognitive organization
  4. The active and conscious focus of attention on an event outside or inside the organism
  5. relatively permanent but can be forgotten


Learning vs. Teaching

Learning:  Involves practice and a change in behavior

Teaching: Facilitating learning; enabling someone else to learn and setting up the proper conditions


3 Schools of Thoughts in SLA (use these theories for final project):



studying the behavior of an organism by solely giving attention to observable details (from the 5 senses) that can be scientifically proven

Pavlov & Skinner

·        Pavlov's Dog:  Positive reinforcement after a stimulus will produce a habit/ learned behavior.  Bell: Treat: Happy Dog-- one can predict that if the bell rings, the dog's mouth will water

·        Skinner's Box:  Mouse gets food when the light goes off and the mouse hits a lever. After the habit is formed, the researcher shocked the mouse instead of rewarding with food.  The mouse did not hit the lever again, the habit was reversed.

Grammar Translation Method:  Study of each and every small detail of the structure of a language with the hopes of fitting all of the pieces together to successfully use the language.  This method is not very well-rounded.



Rationalism and Cognitive Psychology:


Rationalism:  Seeking to discover underlying motivations and deeper structures of human behavior by using an approach that employs the tools of logic, reason, extrapolation, and inference in order to derive explanations for human behavior; exploring “why” questions

Cognitive Psychology:  A school of thought in which meaning, understanding, and knowing are significant data for psychological study, an din which one seeks psychological principles of organization and mental and emotional functioning, as opposed to behavioral psychology, which focuses on overt, observable, empirically measured behavior



Dr. Wei read from this article during the class discussion.

Noam Chomsksy's (Criticism):

Chomsky, N. (1959).A review of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior in language. Readings in the Psychology of Language,               35(1), 26-58.


  1. Little of what Chomsky wrote would be changed today, his ideas still hold true!  “I find little of substance that I would change if I were to write it today” (Chomsky, p. 26, 1959).


  1. “the basic processes and relations which give verbal behavior its special characteristics are now fairly well understood ... the results [of this experimental work] have been surprisingly free of species restrictions.  Recent work has shown hat the methods can be extended to human behavior without serious modification” (Chomsky, p. 27, 1959).


  1. “The experimental arrangement that he introduced consists basically of a box with a bar attached to one wall in such a way that when the bar is pressed, a food pellet is dropped into a tray (and the bar press is recorded).  A rat placed in the box will soon press the bar, releasing a pellet into the tray.  This state of affairs , resulting from the bar press, increases the strength of the bar-pressing operant.  The food pellet is called a reinforcer; the event, a reinforcing event. The strength of an operant is defined by Skinner in terms of the rate of response during extinction (i.e., after the last reinforcement and before return to the pre-conditioning rate) (Chomsky, p. 28, 1959).


4.      “Other examples of stimulus control merely add to the general mystification. Thus, a proper noun is held to be a response "under the control of a specific person or thing" (as controlling stimulus, 113). I have often used the words Eisenhower and Moscow, which I presume are proper nouns if anything is, but have never been stimulated by the corresponding objects. How can this fact be made compatible with this definition? Suppose that I use the name of a friend who is not present. Is this an instance of a proper noun under the control of the friend as stimulus? Elsewhere it is asserted that a stimulus controls a response in the sense that presence of the stimulus increases the probability of the response. But it is obviously untrue that the probability that a speaker will produce a full name is increased when its bearer faces the speaker. Furthermore, how can one's own name be a proper noun in this sense?” (Chomsky, p. 30, 1959)


5.      “As far as acquisition of language is concerned, it seems clear that reinforcement, casual observation, and natural inquisitiveness (coupled with a strong tendency to imitate) are important factors, as is the remarkable capacity of the child to generalize, hypothesize, and "process information" in a variety of very special and apparently highly complex ways which we cannot yet describe or begin to understand, and which may be largely innate, or may develop through some sort of learning or through maturation of the nervous system. The manner in which such factors operate and interact in language acquisition is completely unknown. It is clear that what is necessary in such a case is research, not dogmatic and perfectly arbitrary claims, based on analogies to that small part of the experimental literature in which one happens to be interested” (Chomsky, p. 35, 1959). 


6.      “… The child who learns a language has in some sense constructed the grammar for himself on the basis of his observation of sentences and nonsentences (i.e., corrections by the verbal community)... Furthermore, this task is accomplished in an astonishingly short time, to a large extent independently of intelligence, and in a comparable way by all children...” (Chomsky, p. 42, 1959)



       Children do not learn by repeated corrections, they can only learn what they can cognitively comprehend at that moment


Example (slide 21):

Adult:  He's going out.

Child:  He go out.

Adult: That's an old-time train.

Child: Old-time train

Adult:  Adam, say what I say.  Where can I put them?

Child: What I can put them?


Constructivism:  the integration of various paradigms with an emphasis on social interaction and the discovery, or construction, of meaning


Jean Piaget

Lev Vygotsky



Which one is right or the best?



Article Presentation:

Jenilee Green

September 2, 2009

EDCI 5547: Article Presentation


Individual differences in second-language  proficiency: Does musical ability matter?

L Robert Sleve & Akira Miyake, 2006

Introduction :

The article examines the relationship between musical ability and second language (L2) proficiency in adult learners.  The research assesses the following : receptive phonology, productive phonology, syntax, and lexical knowledge.

Participants :

50 Japanese from the Boulder, CO area were recruited with the incentive of earning $20 for participating.  All of them must have come to the US after the age of 11 and have stayed in the US for at least 6 consecutive months.  Their previous EFL was in Japan with an emphasis in grammar and reading.

Method :

Testing for the following :

Receptive Phonology :  Minimal Pairs

Productive Phonology :  Reading minimal pairs list and reading passages ; judged on intelligibility, pronunciation and prosody

Syntax : Listening and judging grammaticality of a sentence

Lexical Knowledge : 2 tests adapted from a TOEFL book ; one listening/mult. Choice and one multiple choice/ written

Language History : Data gathered about the participants AOA (Age of Arrival), LOR (Length of Residence), USE (exposure/use of English)

Phonological Short-term Memory : Digit test, heard and repeated non-words that obeyed the American phonological system

Musical Ability : Chord analysis, Pitch Change, Tonal Memory

Tonal Memory Production Test :  Participant must sing a tone and the tone is measured for accuracy

Results :

l    AOA: significantly accounted for variance in L2 lexical knowledge

l    LOR: (other research) states that LOR may be a predictor of L2 phonology and syntax more than AOA (Flege et al., 1999; Liu, 2001)

l    Musical Ability:  Accounted for receptive and productive phonology but not in syntax or lexical knowledge.


M. M. Porter

EDCI 5547

Chapter 8 Wrap-up

Dr. Wei


October 28, 2009






Many people spend their whole lives doing research on communicative competence.


Defining Communicative Competence (CC):    


Communicative competence: Dell Hymes’ (1967) definition is still the same today -

The aspect of our competence that enables us to convey and interpret messages and to negotiate meanings interpersonally within specific contexts.


Linguistic competence - knowledge about language forms.


We can have linguistic competence and not have communicative competence.


James Cummins (1979) notions below are still used; they are cited often, especially in TESOL.

§         CALP, Cognitive and Academic Language Proficiency, what learners use in classroom exercises and tests that focus on form.

§         BICS, Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills, the communicative capacity all children acquire to function in daily interpersonal exchanges.


Cummins (1981) modified CALP and BICS in the following form:

§         context-reduced communication – a good share of classroom, school-oriented language

§         context-embedded communication – face-to-face communication with people


Four subcategories or components of CC noted by Michael Canale and Merrill Swain:


1.      Grammatical competence: the knowledge of lexical items and rules of morphology, syntax, sentence-grammar semantics and phonology.


2.      Discourse competence: focuses on intersentential relationships, not sentence-level grammar. Discourse is usually five or more words, phrases or sentences.


3.      Sociolinguistic competence: the knowledge of the sociocultural rules of language and discourse. This is how to use language in a social context.


4.      Strategic  competence: the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that may be called needed to compensate for communication break-downs due to insufficient competence.


Language Functions:


Halliday’s Seven Functions of Language: (self-explanatory in the EDCI 5547 course text)


1)      Instrumental


2)      Regulatory


3)      Representational


4)      Interactional


5)      Personal


6)      Heuristic


7)      Imaginative



Functional Approaches to Language Teaching:


§         Language functions can be directly related to forms. An example is this declarative sentence, “He bought a car.”

§         Linguistic forms can be ambiguous in their function. For example, “I can’t find my umbrella,” stated in a high-pitched voice.


Form and function can be different, and mean different things.



Functional Syllabuses:

§         Known as notional-functional syllabuses (developed in Great Britain, hence the term “syllabuses” as opposed to “syllabi,” used in the United States to refer to a “curriculum”).

§         Attended to functions as the organizing elements of a foreign language curriculum.

§         Grammar, the primary element in the historically preceding structured syllabus, was relegated to a secondary focus.

§         “Notions” referred both to abstract concepts (existence, space, time, quality and quantity) as well as “contexts” or “situations” (travel, health, education, shopping and free time).


Curricula were organized around functions, e.g., identifying, reporting, denying and asking permission.


For example, Brown (1999):

1)      Introducing self and other people

2)      Exchanging personal information

3)      Asking how to spell a person’s name

4)      Giving commands

5)      Apologizing & thanking

6)      Identifying & describing people

7)      Asking for information


A typical unit in the course textbook includes an eclectic blend of conversation practice with a classmate, group work, role-plays, grammar and pronunciation focus exercises and Internet activities.


In 1995 in Thailand, and recently in Japan, these were used with notions such as apologizing and greeting at the airport.  There has been controversy regarding their effectiveness. Berns (1984) warned that these textbooks may be inadequate and even misleading in their representation of interactive language. Berns stated that context is the key to giving meaning to both form and function. Communication is qualitative and infinite; a syllabus is quantitative and finite.



Discourse Analysis:


Definition: the analysis of the relationship between forms and functions of language.


These examples contain more information than the forms themselves:

a)      A: Got the time?

B: Ten fifteen.                (Instead of, “Yes, I do.”)


b)      A: Waiter: More coffee?

B: Customer: I’m OK. (Means, “No, I don’r want any more”)


c)      A: Parent: Dinner!

B: Child: Just a minute.  (“I’ll there in a minute as dinner is ready.”)


Dr. Wei led an interesting class discussion involving the use of “dinner” as a verb, and whether it was a demand, which could be rude in some cultures, or a simple announcement that dinner was ready.


For example, “I didn’t like that casserole” could be interpreted, depending on context, as agreement, disagreement, argument, complaint, apology, etc.




Conversation Analysis:


Conversation rules: Children learn these from parents, peers and others.


1.      Attention getting:     tapping a glass with utensil or the microphone if presenting to an audience

2.      Topic nomination:   choose a topic

3.      Topic development: turn-taking, clarification, shifting, avoidance, interruption

4.      Topic termination:   In American English, various interactional functions – glance at a watch        


Dr. Wei discussed with the class that it can be difficult sometimes to know when to take a turn.  It depends on the culture and the formality. Regarding the latter rule, it can be hard to terminate some speakers.


H. P. Grice (1967) noted that certain conversational “maxims” enable a speaker to nominate and terminate a conversation topic:

1.      Quantity:           Say only as much as necessary for understanding

2.      Quality: Say only what is true

3.      Relevance:        Say only what is relevant

4.      Manner:            B


Second language researchers have studied:

·        Apologizing                 

·        Complimenting

·        Disapproving

·        Inviting

·        “How to tell that someone is saying ‘no,’” etc.


Dr. Wei led the class discussion about apologizing without saying “but,” that in the United States complementing is done a lot with children and that inviting can be done without meaning it. More research needs to be done in this area.






Definition: the effect of context on strings of linguistic events.


SLA becomes difficult with these sociopragmatic or pragmalinguistic constraints because of subtle cross-cultural constraints.



a)      Voice 1:                        Wanna leave a message?

Voice 2:                        I’ll call back later. Bye. (meaning is, I reject your offer)

b)      American:                     What an unusual necklace. It’s beautiful!

Samoan:                       Please take it. (in this culture it is polite to offer it)

c)  American teacher:          Would you like to read?

Russian student:            No, I would not.

d)      Voice 1:                        What a beautiful sweater!

Voice 2:                        I’ve had this lousy sweater for several years. (can be argumentative)


In these conversations, illocutionary force (intended meaning) and surface meaning are different.

·        Pragmatic conventions from a learner’s first language can transfer positively or negatively.

·        In English, cooperation is sometimes given precedence over directness.

·        Conversational cooperation strategies, apologizing and thanking can be hard for SLL to acquire



Language and Gender:


Gender has an effect on both production and reception of language in virtually every language.



·        American girls produce more “standard” language than boys

·        Women appear to express uncertainty (hedges, tag lines, questions), suggesting less confidence


·        Men have been reported to interrupt more and to use stronger expletives


Dr Wei led the class discussion about the status of the breadwinner, a matriarch’s authority, unequal pay for American women and that the notion of a women’s nation may not be as significant as was thought.


Some languages have different gender markings (Japanese, Thai).

It can be problematic for one sex to learn the language from a teacher of the opposite sex.


Sexist language:  


Definition: Language that calls unnecessary attention to gender or is demeaning to one gender.  


Ways to transcend:   

§         Writers can use s/he or he/she instead of he.

§         Reframe stewardess to flight attendant, chairman to chairperson or chair, policemen to police officers, etc.



Styles and Registers:


Definition: A style is a variety of language used for a specific purpose, not a social or regional dialect.


Martin Joos (1967) provided one of the most common classifications of speech styles using the criterion of formality, which tends to subsume subject matter, audience and occasion.


Joos’ five levels of formality:

1.      Oratorical

2.      Deliberative

3.      Consultative

4.      Casual

5.      Intimate


The categories of style can apply to written discourse as well.


Related to stylistic variation is register, not a synonym for style.


§         Registers are commonly identified by certain phonological variants, vocabulary, idioms and other expressions associated with occupational or socioeconomic groups.

§       For example, teachers may use terms such as, “Very good,” “Quiet,” or “Does that make sense?” (the latter can be condescending).

§       Register is sometimes associated with class distinctions, although the line between register and dialect is difficult to define.

§       The acquisition of styles and registers poses no simple problem for SLL.

§       Cross-cultural variation is a primary barrier; understanding what levels of formality are appropriate.


Nonverbal Communication:


a)      Kinesics:

·        Kinesic communication, or body language, is universal.

·         Yet, every culture and language uses body language in unique, interpretable ways.

·        The same body language could mean different things in different cultures.

·        For example, crossing the legs is acceptable in the U. S., but not in some other countries.



b)      Eye Contact:  

·        Not only looking another in the eye, also the varied eye signals, are communication, e.g., transmitting understanding, empathy or anger.

·        Intercultural interference can lead to misunderstandings.

·        In some cultures, no eye contact with higher-ranking people is appropriate (Chinese, Japanese, Thai)

·        In the U. S. eye contact is necessary.


c)      Proxemics:  

·        Refers to physical proximity

·        Cultures vary widely in acceptable distances, comfort zones, for conversations. 

·         Edward Hall (1966) noted North Americans feel their personal space violated if a stranger stands closer than 20-24 inches away unless space is restricted (in an elevator).


d)      Artifacts:  

·        Clothes often signal a person’s self-esteem, socioeconomic class and general character.

·        An example discussed in class was Tiger Woods’ visit to his mother Thailand. He arrived in his jet, dressed casually. He did not know in advance, and did not participate graciously in, the formal greeting arranged with the local media and dignitaries.

·        Ornamentation, such as jewelry, also conveys messages.


e)      Kinesthetics:

·        Refers to touching. How and where do we touch others?            

·        No touching in some Asian cultures, especially with the opposite sex, and in the Middle East, touching another’s head, if they are of a higher status, can be inappropriate..


f)        Olfactory Dimensions

·        Our noses also receive sensory nonverbal messages.

·        Some smells are unacceptable in some cultures.

·        Perfume, or cologne, may not be appropriate for men, or not too much, in some cultures.

·        No garlic or alcohol, especially for formal occasions, in some cultures.


Communicative Language Teaching and Task-Based Teaching are described at the end of this chapter in our textbook.




EDCI 5547: Article Presentation


Presenter:  Hyunsim Kim                   


‘Value added’ modern languages teaching in the classroom: an investigation into how teachers’ use of classroom target language can aid pupils’ communication skills


Crichton, H. (2009). ‘Value added’ modern languages teaching in the classroom: an investigation into how teachers’ use of classroom target language can aid pupils’ communication skills. Language Learning, 37(1), 19-34.


The article reviewed today presents some preliminary findings of a study into modern languages (ML) learning in five Scottish secondary schools. There is a great deal of discussion about the value of the use of the target language (TL) as the main means of interacting in the ML classroom. The purpose of the study was to observe how teachers went about their work and to examine how pupils responded to the continuous input in the foreign, target language, with few mother tongue interjections.





As a ML educator, it is crucial to use communicative approach in the classroom. In Scotland, there is much informal debate among teachers about the use of the TL in class. On one hand, there is the perceived need by teachers to make pupils aware (in English) of grammar systems, owing to the requirements of national examinations. On the other hand, it is acknowledged that pupils should hear the TL as much as possible in order to develop their pronunciation and intonation, as well as improving their understanding.




The study’s aim:

1. How teachers maintained pupils’ motivation and supported their development in language.

2. How teachers stimulated the learners’ responses in the TL.

3. To explore what needs to happen for learning and interaction to proceed in these testing conditions.




·        How did teachers who used the TL in class go about teaching a foreign language to their pupils?

·        What would the pupils’ responses be to a teacher who used the TL to a large extent?

·        Would they accept the TL as a working language of the ML classroom?

·        Would they respond by interacting in the TL themselves?



Research Design


Selecting Samples

à 5 schools with a variety of catchment + 5 expert teachers (4 French + 1 German) + 13 pupils (7 boys & 6 girls, 14-15 years old)

Data Collection

à The observations involved audio-recording each lesson.  

à Interview pupils: Three teachers selected three to four pupils and interviewed for 30-45 minutes.





In General

        Use of the TL by the teachers in the classroom contributed to their pupils’ overall understanding and appreciation of the language.

        In interviews, pupils maintained that the teachers’ use of the TL developed their pronunciation and memorization of vocabulary.


‘Value added’ ML teaching in classroom

  Teachers’ characteristics: The creation of a warm and welcoming atmosphere where learners feel themselves to be valued.

  Formulaic expressions: The more often formulaic chunks of language are repeated, the easier they are for the learners to access

  Natural digressions: Being exposed to ‘real’ language in interaction could be deemed valuable in terms of increasing awareness of the language and expanding the ability to understand everyday dialogue.

  Focus on meaning: To increase pupils’ attention, teachers gave information about themselves in conversations. / Teachers repeatedly checked for understanding.

  Encouraging output: Encouragement using positive language provides positive support for pupils from lack of confidence and fear of making mistakes.

  Encouraging interaction: Teachers constantly questioned the learners, forcing them to interact.

  Conscious attention: With abundant exposure to the TL in the classroom, through the development of listening skills, learners may acquire an understanding of the language.





Teachers’ use of classroom TL can aid pupils’ communication skills.


n        The actions of teachers are crucial in creating an atmosphere in the ML classroom. Pupils can concentrate on the language the teacher uses as well as the meaning it conveys.

n        In the involvement of teachers in listening, through questioning and checking for comprehension, pupils can demonstrate understanding.

n        The amount of input from teachers in the classroom -> Pupils can communicate confidently.

n        Feeling confident may serve as a motivational boost to learners.



Classroom Implication


To advance pupils’ communicative skills, the teacher is able to create the atmosphere in the classroom with the use of TL. Language acquisition of pupils is seen as the normal mode of communication by both teacher and pupils.


This article presented today demonstrates that feeling confident in their ability to operate at a basic level of communication may motivate adolescent learners who, finding that they understand what is said to them and are able to communicate successfully in the foreign language, may attack their ML studies more assiduously to improve communication skills. Although school conditions may not favor acquisition, they do not preclude it if the teacher is able to create the classroom atmosphere where the use of the TL is seen as the norm.

In conclusion, the use of the TL in the classroom is valuable in assisting students to gain communication skills.

Discussion Group


Leader: Murat Tatli    




Discussion focused on students’ cultural experiences vis-a-vis nonverbal communication.


The following question was posed regarding 10 hypothetical situations. Very animated discussions of various customs, social orders and traditions ensued during and after the students’ explanations and self-disclosures of backgrounds, mores and ethnicities.  



How do you act out the following situations by using body language in your own language or culture?


1.      You are eating something and you want to say that it is delicious.

v     In Taiwan, one could give the thumbs up gesture

v     Several students stated they would look for and eat more

v     Some said umm, or yum, with a hand on or pointing to the belly


2.      You are a student and you want to ask a question to your teacher.

v     Raise your hand straight up and reach high in Turkey or Russia

v     Doing above, can wave vigorously

v     Most students stated raising a hand, varied heights were given. Some were lower to show respect for the teacher.

v     Also can raise the eyebrows and look deliberately at the teacher


3.      You want to tell your friend that everything is OK.

v     The “OK” hand placement, with forefinger and thumb making a circle

v     In China, the above with thumb and finger making a “C” and the other three fingers pointing up, making a “W,” can mean “WC,” water closet or toilet

v     Pat their shoulder

v     The “thumbs up” hand gesture

v     The forefinger and next finger up with the rest down

v     The above can be palm facing back, as the palm facing forward can be rude

v     A wink can be used, although. depending on the friendship, it can be flirting

4.      You want to tell your friend that you have forgotten to bring something.

v     “Sorry” with elbows in and the hands out at waist level

v     Can touch pocket and shrug shoulders

v     Hand to mouth and slight gasp

5.      Somebody has asked you a question, and you do not know the answer.

v     Scratch head was common to a few resident or visited cultures

v     Arms outstretched as shoulder shrug in several represented cultures

v     Cock head to the side and move mouth sideways, making small noise

6.      You want a child to come to your side.

v     Bend knees, stoop to child’s level, motion by circling hands between you

v     Hands held high and fingers wiggling in Asia

v     Clap hands and stretch arms out, bending forward can be done in Japan

v     With forefinger curved, beckoning child forward toward you, was common

7.      You want to tell your friend to wait a second or slow down.

v     Common response was both hands in front of the body, moving up and down

v     This and hands out, held at sides seemed universal, or reverting to words

8.      You are ready to enter the restaurant when you notice that a simple dinner costs almost $1000.

v     Several from Eastern cultures would say nothing and enter

v     In Turkey an expressive facial gesture is to bite on lower lip

v     Several would get eye contact, raise eyebrows and glance at the menu

v     In Asia, one could gesture with hands covering the face and a slight gasp

9.      You want to say that you were frightened.

v     In Japan one would not show the emotion

v     Hand grabbing to heart

v     Step back fast with hands gesturing out

v     In Turkey, one could put thumb behind upper teeth and jerk head back

10.  You want to count something by pointing and how do you do that by using your hand?

v     Some said just pointing with a finger

v     Others said this could be rude, so gesture with hand held sideways, thumb up

v     Never point except with a knuckle, although Dr Wei noted it looked like a gun


Much lively discussion revealed a class knowledge of, and sincere interest in, the subject matter. Many anecdotes were shared, including various eating customs, for instance, only one hand is used in some places, such as in West Africa. Also, when the little finger is held up, it can mean a mistress. In Turkey, going “to the left” indicates having an affair.  One student was given the “one finger salute” rude gesture by an elder female when first driving in Kansas City.  Also, in Russia, a handshake can be very vigorous, even to the extent of slapping the hand hard.


Generally, the discussion group agreed that knowledge of the diverse, nonverbal communications specific to each culture is important. Although there are numerous, universal manifestations of body language, many cultures have differing ways of life, subtle gestures and unique customs of which we need to be aware to be sensitive, productive and effective language teachers.


Some may say one of the best aspects of the discussion was the passing out of delicious German Raffaello chocolates.  Who am I to argue?




EDCI 5547

Taeko Fukuchi

October 21, 2009


Journal Entry #4


            Among the topics discussed in Chapter 7, I especially found the topic on the relationship between language and thought very interesting. Brown (2007) stated, “Cultural patterns of cognition and customs are sometimes explicitly coded in language” (p.219). I have thought of the cultural influences in language more frequently since I moved to the U.S., because I have encountered numerous examples confirming Brown’s statement.

            One of the examples occurred just recently. I needed to mediate a communication problem between my Japanese friend who has advanced English proficiency and her American male friend who was her English teacher. (To make this story easier to tell, I’m going to give them fictitious names. My friend will be called Yumi, and the American English teacher will be called George.) Yumi and George have kept in touch since Yumi moved back to Japan. A couple weeks ago, George got angry with Yumi, because he believed she acted badly towards a mutual friend. Yumi thought George totally misunderstood the situation. She wrote long English e-mails to George defending herself in hopes of clearing up the misunderstanding. However, after exchanging e-mails several times, George’s irritation was fueled by Yumi’s English writing. Yumi told me, “He finally wrote very harsh words to me. I don’t know why he is so furious.” He wrote to her, “Quit saying ‘Sorry!’ I am sick of it!” He even deleted her from his Face Book.

Trying to be helpful, I asked her to share their e-mails with me. The tone of all of her messages implied, “You should realize you misunderstand the situation. I did not do anything wrong. Here is all the evidence.” However, at the same time, she wrote repeatedly, “I am sorry, but…” and “I apologize for …, but….” This writing pattern, using apologetic words, is typical in Japanese writing. It is used when you need to defend yourself. In Japanese writing, when you have to mention something to defend yourself, you are supposed to show your respect to the other as much as possible. And the more complicated the matter you need to deal with, the more respect you need to display to the other person. This is accomplished by using humble words and phrases. This Japanese attitude may have been influenced by a code of warriors, “Send salt (a precious gift) to your enemy before a battle.”

However, I assume that American people don’t use such apologetic words when they try to convince someone they are wrong. I can imagine the contradictive ways in Yumi’s writing could have confused and frustrated George. Since I have learned about cultural differences in this course, I wondered if his elevated irritation with her English writing might have been related to a miscommunication resulting from a cultural difference. I concluded that their miscommunication was caused by their insufficient awareness of the influences of cultural differences in choosing words and phrases. Subsequently, I explained this to both of them. To my relief, both of them understood my explanation which helped to end the friction between them.

I learned from this experience that ESL /EFL teachers need to explicitly explain to L2 learners the importance of understanding that language reflects culture. If L2 learners are not aware of the cultural differences in ways of expressing themselves in words, there could be misunderstandings even though they have advanced English proficiency levels.




Brown, H.D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman.




Seohyun(Sunny) Penn

EDCI 5547

Second Language Acquisition

Journal Entry 2


My English Accent


            I started learning English in my twenties.  A lot of linguists would say that my age is already “over the hill” for learning a foreign language; definitely way pass critical period and lateralization of left and right hemispheres in the brain (Brown, 2007, pp. 57-58).  However, I had a goal and it was very clear and specific:  I wanted to watch American movies and dramas without subtitles so that I could look at the actors’ and actresses’ facial expressions and emotional gestures and all the movements going on in the screen.  To achieve that goal, I watched at least one movie a day.  At the same time, I studied essential English grammar and vocabulary so that I could understand what they were saying on the silver screen.  I remember watching Titanic at least 12 times.  I even recorded the dialogue on the tape and listened over and over again wherever I went on the bus or by foot.  When no one was around I mimicked the dialog out loud and tried to follow what the actors and actresses were saying.  I also read a lot of novels.  I preferred to read suspense and thriller novels rather than classics so that I wouldn’t lose interest.  As a result, I acquired similar, if not the same pronunciations that I mimicked and the same North American lingo and colloquialisms from the books.  It’s not perfect by any means but I strive for perfection.  It’s fun to fool people on the street in thinking that I am a Korean American. 

            Of course there have been many limitations and miscommunication with native speakers as English really is a foreign language to me.  Sometimes, I think that the underlying issues are not even about my accent.  As soon as some English speakers see my face, they start to talk very slow.  One time, all I said was, “Hello?” and this American woman said, “I don’t understand what you are saying because of your accent!”

As Brown (2007) mentioned, persons beyond the age of puberty do not acquire what has come to be called authentic (native-speaker) pronunciation of the second language.  He also noted later that the only trick that nature might play on adults is to virtually rule out the acquisition of authentic accent.  Just like Brown (2007) noted, I do know a lot of people who have less than perfect pronunciation but also have excellent and fluent control of a second language, control that can even exceed that of many native speakers. 

Therefore, since I missed the critical period to acquire the authentic accent, instead of stressing about it and giving up on my English acquisition, I will put more effort on contents and quality of English command.  In my future English classes in Korea, most of my students are going to have accents except the chosen and gifted few since they will learn English as a foreign language.  Therefore, I’m going to emphasize on clarity of articulation and the significant of English as a communicative tool.



Brown, H. D. (2007).  Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.  



M.M. Porter

EDCI 5547

Second Language Acquisition

Journal Entry 3


As I process the enlightening, albeit to me, enormous, amount of data offered in EDCI 5547, I am reinforced by feedback from my professor and a growing sense of autonomy as I increase awareness and take action. In studying learning styles, I deem I am field dependent. An example is my propensity in the past of more success, as Brown (2007) states, learning in the field, beyond classroom constraints. It may be paradoxical, as field independence deals with details, and I tend to focus on these, hence my Myers-Briggs INTJ code. Yet, I prefer to perceive the big picture, as evidenced by my Strategic Planner Kolbe Conative Index style classification. In any case, I agree both styles are vital vis-à-vis language learning, as I favor face-to-face communication as well as analysis and minutiae. As far as left and right-brain dominance, I am more left-brain dominant, with a tendency for planning, structure and emotion control. In language learning, this is borne out by my experience as these “learners are better at producing separate words, gathering specifics of language, carrying out sequences of operations and dealing with…classification” (Brown, 2007, p. 126). I focus on word translations and specific idioms. Also, I have no knack, as right-brain dominant learners do, for generalizations, emotions or artistic expressions.       

            Who wishes to suggest they may be ambiguity intolerant? As I reflect on my ability to assimilate differing cultures and language structures and open-mindedly accept seemingly contradictory material, I believe I am not. As I age, I gladly find I am more reflective, in life and in language learning. As an impulsive child, I was a fast reader who depended on intuition for learning. Brown (2007) concludes a reflective student may require patience from teachers as there is struggling for responses. I suspect this is true in EDCI 5547. In the visual/auditory/kinesthetic learning style dimension, I prefer visual aids, and will track data with a matrix and follow a spoken lesson with the text to enable understanding. I do value this course’s detailed handouts. Tapes I have used help with pronunciation more than language skill. ALM is part of one metacognitive strategy I used in travel preparation as an advance organizer. I think I was overtly conscious of and applied these styles and strategies in previous language learning.

            As I became aware of my language shortcomings and motivation to speak in a country’s language while living there, I took responsibility and action. One way I could be more autonomous is to engage in foreign language conversation more, in spite of self-consciousness. As a teacher, I hope my own experience and growing perception of styles and strategies will help me encourage learners to be more autonomous as well. I don’t envision trying to change these styles; they seem to work for me. Another metacognitive learning strategy I have used is directed attention, deciding to focus on a task, e.g., with a time limit, and ignoring the omnipresent irrelevant distracters. Selective attention is useful, restricting myself to specific situations where I will be placed: marketing, using transportation, socializing. Self-monitoring or delayed production won’t work for me.  Cognitive strategies, resourcing and note taking, work well for this visual learner, as well as grouping by classifying material. A socioaffective strategy I employ is questioning for clarification. Strategies such as keyword or recombination are unsuccessful. Communication strategies I have applied include circumlocution, approximation and nonlinguistic signals. Reading about prefabricated patterns and the use of all-purpose words offer ideas to advance my communicative success. Also, I can try appealing for help in the future in a foreign language by asking an interlocutor the word for objects, and then writing them down, of course. My teachers in school did not employ these strategies, however, my many ad hoc instructors did. I hope to emulate the latter in my teaching career, as well as skills I am learning at UMKC, to help students be more successful learners.  



Brown, H. D. (2007).  Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.



Patricia V. Crawford

EDCI 5547:  Second Language Acquisition

October 1, 2008

Reflection Paper 3

            In Chapter 5, the part that piqued my curiosity the most was the Learning Styles Checklist (Brown, 2007, p.144) which I decided to answer to help me determine what strategies I could use if I ever tried to learn another language.  As I read about the strategic techniques (Brown, 2007, p. 146) I looked at them with the many different learners in my preschool classroom in mind.  With such young children, some of these seemed a lot harder than others, but once I read through the descriptions, I could see that to some extent, we use seven of the ten strategies already.  The challenge will be to try to work in the other three by the end of the year, which should be doable, since they will be getting older and more adept at classroom procedures and skills.

            As I studied the different strategies, I could see that they were all affective in nature.  So first, I knew that having an atmosphere of trust was very important in offering and implementing all of these aids.  I have always strived to establish a learning community in which we all work together to make ourselves and each other better and we are all expected to look out for each other, so I knew we were on our way. 

            We sing and chant finger plays, poems, and nursery rhymes on a daily basis.  I have been very deliberate about the materials I use with the children; I want the music to be joyful, engaging and beneficial to their learning.  I am very fortunate that four year old children love music, dance, actions, and being part of a fun, collective group, lowering their inhibitions (Brown, 2007).  “To encourage risk taking”, “to help students use their intuition”, and “to promote cooperative learning” (p.146), (besides having them work two to three times a week in small groups with assigned tasks), I also have two class awards that are passed out by me daily.  When I catch children thinking, problem solving, and making great cognitive strides I give “The Great Thinking Award”, and when I catch them doing random acts of kindness for others, I give “The Awesome Action Award”.  As soon as one child is given the award, they all work harder and take more thoughtful chances to earn these. 

            The other procedures that I use in my classroom are that I try very diligently to train the children to be self-sufficient and responsible for lots of different aspects of my classroom—they choose centers they are working in on a daily basis, they clean up after themselves, they lead all the work done during our calendar, attendance, and weather segments of our circle time.  In order to lead or participate, they are asked to verbalize what they would like to do.  If they are not sure, they are encouraged to ask others.  At first, they can ask the adults, and then their peers, for help or the words to tell what they need.  As simple as these activities seem, they do “build students’ self-confidence” because my preschoolers become great helpers and can do lots of independent activities, they “develop students’ intrinsic motivation” by encouraging them to express verbally (in English) what they want and they “promote ambiguity tolerance”, by feeling comfortable asking for help (Brown, 2007, p. 146).

            The three strategies that we need to work on,  encouraging “students to use right-brain processing”, getting “students to make their mistakes work FOR them”, and getting “students to set their own goals” (Brown, 2007, p. 146), will probably develop as the children get older as the year progresses and their skills will develop in timely way.


Brown, J.D.  (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching (5th. ed.).  White Plains, NY:  Pearson Education.


Fall 2011
Erin Strack
EDCI 5547

                                                Theory to Practice Unit Plan

This is a 3rd Grade science unit named Matter and Energy, meant for a pull-out ESOL class with an English proficiency level of intermediate. The entire unit will take about five days to cover, and I’m including lesson plans for three of those days. Each lesson will begin after morning announcements, around 9:30, and will last about one hour, though student comprehension will dictate exactly how fast or how slow we move through the material. Each lesson contains both content objectives based on the Missouri Grade-Level Expectations (GLE’s) and language objectives based on TESOL standards. The students comprising the ESOL class for which this unit plan was made are linguistically diverse. There are 8 students in total, with four being from Mexico, two from Syria, and two from Pakistan. Though they all share an English proficiency level of intermediate, their content-level abilities and motivation levels vary.


Matter and Energy, Day One

Content Objectives:

-          Students will be able to compare the observable physical properties of solids, liquids, and gasses.

-          Students will be able to identify everyday objects and substances as solids, liquids, or gasses.

Language Objectives:

-          Students will be able to follow oral and written instructions. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 1)

-          Students will be able to participate in full-class, group, and pair discussions. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 1)

TESOL Standards:

-          Goal 2, Standard 1: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.


Copies of “Three States of Matter” song sheet, article and questions, cut-and-paste activity, scissors, glue

Warm-Up (10 minutes):

            “Good morning boys and girls! Today I have a song for us to sing. It’s called the Three States of Matter. The first time through, you’re going to read along as I sing. The second time through, I want you to sing with me.” After the class sings the song, making motions along with it, the teacher discusses the key vocabulary. “So today we are going to discuss solids, liquids, and gasses. Look back at the words to our song and tell me what you think solids, liquids, and gasses are.” The students will take a few minutes to brainstorm their ideas and make inferences about solids, liquids, and gasses before the teacher moves on to the lesson instruction.  

Lesson Instruction (20 minutes):   

“Everyone had some good ideas about what solids, liquids, and gasses might be. Now we’ll define them. A solid is something that has a definite shape and volume. Think about our song- they used the floor as an example of a solid. Does the floor change its shape or amount when we jump up and down? Let’s try it- everyone get up and start jumping! Watch the floor, is it changing at all? No, that’s because the floor is a solid. It will not change its shape or volume easily. While we’re standing, I want everyone to get as close as you can to one another- squish together! Are you as tight as you can get? Good- then you’re all the molecules in a solid. Molecules are atoms that are joined together, and they make up everything on Earth. They are so small we cannot see them.  The molecules of a solid, liquid, and gas act differently. In a solid, the molecules are packed-in very tightly, just like you are right now. That is why solids are able to hold their shape. Now tell me again, what are you? Shout it! SOLID MOLECULES! SOLID MOLECULES! SOLID MOLECULES!”

“Good, now let’s sit down and talk about liquids. Liquids do have a definite volume, but they do not have a definite shape. They take on the shape of whatever container they are in. Think about our song. We said things you drink are liquids, so what are some things we can drink? Water, juice, soda, milk are all examples, right? Good, now tell me what shape water is… a square? A circle? A rectangle? It depends on what the liquid is in. If we’re drinking from a glass, the liquid is cylindrical, the same shape as the glass. If we’re drinking from a juice box, it is rectangular in shape. If we spill it on the floor, it takes on a shape of its own. Liquids can change their shape easily, but the amount of liquid always remains the same. Now think about what the molecules of liquids might look like. They are still stuck together, but they have more freedom to move around than the molecules of a solid. So, everyone stand-up and hold hands, but give each other some space. Now, while still holding hands, I want you all to make a circle together. Good, now make a square. Good, can you do a rectangle? Good! Was that very difficult? No, because you had more space than when you were solid molecules. That’s why it’s easier for liquids to change their shape than for solids. Now tell me, what are you? Be loud about it! “LIQUID MOLECULES! LIQUID MOLECULES! LIQUID MOLECULES!”

      “Okay, go ahead and sit down. What do we have left to talk about? Gases, that’s right. Gases do not have a definite volume or a definite shape. Think about our song. We said the air we breathe is an example of a gas. That’s because air is all around us, so it can take on any shape it wants. Air, and other gases, can also expand and contract, so their volume can change. Now I want you to stand back up and wander slowly around the room, everyone moving to different areas. This is what the molecules of a gas look like. So, tell me, what are you? GAS MOLECULES! GAS MOLECULES! GAS MOLECULES!”

Activities (20 minutes):

“Very good. Now let’s sit down and read some more about solids, liquids, and gases (see Appendix B).” The class will take turns reading the article. “Okay, good job reading! We’ve learned a lot about the three states of matter today. Now I want you to pair-up with a friend and work together identifying different objects and substances as solids, liquids, or gases (See Appendix C). You need to cut out the pictures and paste them under which category they belong. Talk to your partner and help each other out!” The teacher will monitor the pairs and observe their discussions. After they are all finished, they will come back together as a group and the teacher will pick a few objects or substances and ask the different pairs to share their answers with the group. “Let’s come back together and talk. Which category did you put the airplane in and why? What about the paint and why? What about the air inside of a tire and why? What other examples could we add to these different categories? Talk with your partner and come up with one for each category.”   

Closure (10 minutes):     

            “Good work today class! Now tell me, what’s the definition of a solid? What’s the definition of a liquid? What’s the definition of a gas? Good, then let’s answer these questions about the article we read (See appendix D). Do it individually. If you aren’t sure about an answer, look back in the article. You should be able to find all of the answers there.” After the students finish the questions, they’ll line-up at the door to leave. The teacher quizzes them one-by-one. “Now tell me, as you leave, one example of a solid, a liquid, and a gas.”  


Matter and Energy, Day Two

Content Objectives:

-          Students will be able to observe and identify that water evaporates.

-          Students will be able to measure and compare the temperature of water when it exists as a solid to its temperature when it exists as a liquid.

Language Objectives:          

-          Students will be able to listen to, speak, read, and write about subject-matter information. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 2)

-          Students will be able to gather information orally and in writing. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 2)

TESOL Standards:

-          Goal 2, Standard 2: Students will be able to use English to obtain, process, construct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.


Vocab review charts, plastic cups, water, ice, thermometers, Observation Logs, thermometer worksheets

Warm-up (5 minutes):

“Hello Class! We started talking about solids, liquids, and gases yesterday. I want for everyone to complete a vocab sheet (see Appendix E) on those three words based on what you remember from class yesterday. You can ask a friend if you need help remembering.” The teacher monitors the students and makes sure they have a clear understanding of solids, liquids, and gases. “Now We’re going to discuss three new vocabulary words that we’ll talk about in today’s lesson. The new words are evaporation, temperature, and thermometer. Who’s heard of any of these words before? Tell us what you think they might mean.” After giving the students a few minutes to explore possible answers, the teacher begins lesson instruction.

Lesson Instruction (20 minutes):

            “Okay, those were some good ideas. Our first word is evaporation. We read a little bit about evaporation in our article yesterday. Evaporation is when a liquid turns into a gas. This happens because a liquid gets too hot. Let’s be molecules again. Everyone stand-up. Do you remember what the molecules of a liquid look like? Good, holding hands but kind of spread out, right? Okay, now start jogging in place, still holding hands though. You’re getting a little warm, right, and maybe your hands are getting sweaty. Is it easier or harder to keep holding hands with each other? I bet it’s harder, and if I came and pulled one of your friends” (the teacher gently pulls one of the students free from the group) “it would be more difficult for you to hold onto her. Well, guess what? She’s a gas molecule now. And, the longer you keep jogging in place, the hotter you will get and the easier it will be for me to pull more of your friends away, turning them into gas molecules too. Pretty soon there will be very few liquid molecules left. This is called evaporation. Okay, thank you, you can stop jogging now! Let’s sit down and talk some more.”

            “So we said evaporation is when something causes the liquid molecules to heat up and turn into gas molecules. Let’s think about a puddle outside. On a cloudy, cool day, the puddle will last much longer than on a sunny, warm day. So, what do you think is the source of heat causing the puddle’s liquid molecules to turn into gas molecules? That’s right, the sun! What are some other sources of heat that can cause evaporation? Think about the article we read yesterday. That’s right, our stove. When we boil water on the stove, some of the molecules are evaporated. Good, so it’s important to know the temperature of the liquid. Temperature is hot how or how cold something is. If we know the temperature of a liquid, we’ll know whether or not evaporation will occur. Let’s talk about how we measure temperature.”

            “We use a thermometer to measure temperature. This is a thermometer” (the teacher should have thermometers to show the students and to let them use). “We can look at the red line to see the temperature, and most thermometers measure both Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees. Here in the United States, we usually focus on Fahrenheit. Let’s practice!”

Activities (25 minutes):     

            The teacher gives the students plastic cups full of water. “Now let’s measure the temperature of the water in our cups.” The teacher makes sure everyone is able to use their thermometer without trouble. “Now let’s add some ice cubes to the water. What do you predict will happen to the temperature? It will probably go down, right? Let’s see.” The teacher adds ice to the cups and the students measure the temperature again. “What happened to the temperature? So we have water in liquid form in our cups, and water in solid form in our freezer. They’re both water, so why is one a solid and one a liquid? What’s the difference? Right- the temperatures!”

            “Let’s get into pairs. We know the temperature of our water in liquid form, but I want you and your partner to discuss what you think the temperature of an ice cube will be. To start with, will the temperature be higher or lower than our liquid water? It will be lower, right? Good, now talk with your partner about what you predict the temperature of ice will be.” The teacher pours water into ice cube trays. “Now I’m going to put my thermometer here in one of these ice cube trays. Let’s see what the temperature of our starting liquid is. Now everyone right it down. We’re going to ask our cafeteria ladies if we can put this in their freezer, then come back to see the temperature of our water once it freezes. Then we’ll see which pair was closest to the temperature of our solid.”  

            “You and your partner are also going to do your very own experiments. We’re going to see which pair can evaporate the most water the fastest. So, I have plastic cups with a line marked in the same spot on all of them. I want you to fill your cups up to the line with water, and then talk with your partner and pick a place anywhere in the classroom to put your cup. Remember everything we talked about today, and that you’re trying to evaporate the most water the fastest. Every day for the rest for the week, you’ll come in and check your cups. You’ll place a new mark where the water line is at, and you’ll fill-in your observation log (See Appendix F). You’ll write the date, describe what you see and what is happening, and draw a picture of it. Then, we’ll share our findings at the end of the week. The teacher gives the students time to discuss with their partner the best place to put their cup of water, and lets them write their first entry in their observation log.”    

Closure (10 minutes):

            “Today we talked a lot about evaporation, temperature, and thermometers. Now I want you to show me you can read a thermometer. I want for you to look at this handout (Appendix G) and read these 8 thermometer readings, then write the degrees on the line. Do this individually.” The teacher monitors the students. When they’ve completed the assignment, they line-up at the door and the teacher quizzes them one by one. “Now, as you leave, I want you to tell me, what is evaporation? What’s temperature? What’s a thermometer?” 


Matter and Energy, Day Three

Content Objectives:

-          Students will be able to describe the changes in the physical properties of water when frozen or melted.

-          Students will be able to predict and investigate the effect of heat on objects and materials.

Language Objectives:          

-          Students will be able to take notes to record important information and aid in one’s own learning. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 3)

-          Students will be able to actively connect new information to information previously learned. (TESOL Goal 2, Standard 3)

TESOL Standards:

-          Goal 2, Standard 3: Students will be able to use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge.


Observation logs, vocab sheets, water handout, ice

Warm-up (10 minutes):

            “Good morning class! What’s the very first thing we must do today? That’s right- check our water levels from our evaporation experiment yesterday and make our daily entry in our observation chart. Please go do that now.” The teacher waits while the students record their data, monitoring their progress. “Now, I want for us to add our three vocab words from yesterday to our Vocab sheets (see Appendix E). Remember, they were the words evaporation, temperature, and thermometer. Ask a friend if you need some help remembering. Please do that now.” The teacher waits until they have finished their vocab sheets. “Okay, now we have three new words to discuss. They are physical properties, predict, and investigate. What do you think these words might mean?” The teacher lets the students brainstorm before she begins the lesson.

Lesson Instruction (20 minutes):   

            “Okay, we’re going to discuss physical properties. Physical properties are things we can see or feel, such as how an object or substance looks, how it feels, how it smells, or what color it is. An object or substance can go through a physical change without changing into a different object or substance. Think about water. If we add orange dye to it, does the water change into orange juice? No, it’s still water, it just looks different right? Just because a liquid goes through a physical change, that doesn’t change it into some other substance. So, let’s investigate. To investigate something means to learn more about it. Let’s be molecules again. We’ll be molecules of a solid today, so how should you stand? Right, close together. Now, how can we change the way we look, our physical properties?” The teacher waits and listens to their suggestions. “Good suggestions! We could also… change the color of our shirts so we look different, or spray each other with perfume so we smell different. These would all be changes to our physical properties, because we’re still the same molecules we started as, right? What about if we stretch our arms out and turn into liquid molecules? Is this still just a physical change? Well think about it, are you still yourselves, or did you turn into a different student? No, you’re still yourselves, right? You’re just stretched out in liquid form. So, when a solid changes to a liquid or gas, it’s still a physical change. You made some good predictions. Predictions are when we use the knowledge we have to make a good guess about something we don’t know for sure.  Okay good, let’s sit down now.”

Activities (25 minutes):         

“Now that you know what physical properties are, I want for you and a partner to think about which physical properties of water change when it is frozen, and then think about when ice is melted. Look at the paper in front of you (see Appendix H). On the top half of this paper you and your partner will take notes about how water looks and feels different when it is frozen into an ice cube. On the bottom half of the paper, I want for you to write how an ice cube looks and feels different when it changes back into a liquid. Take good notes, and discuss your ideas with your partner.” The teacher observes and listens to the student interaction, but doesn’t interfere much. When everyone is done, the pairs share their notes.

“Okay, let’s do some more investigating. Let’s talk about heat. What did were some of our examples yesterday of heat sources? We said the sun and the stove, right? So give me a prediction, an educated guess, about what will happen if we place an ice cube in the sun? You think it will melt, yes? Well let’s find out.” The teacher gives the students ice cubes and they place them on the window sill. “Good, you were right. The ice cube melts. What else would melt if we put it in the sun?” The teacher gives the students time to think and give their ideas. “Good examples! What about a chocolate bar? A candle? So what happens when heat is applied to solids? They melt, good job.”

Closure (5 minutes):

            “Good work! Today we talked a lot about physical properties and how heat can change objects. Now, I want for you to pick one object in this room and list its physical properties. Do this individually.” The teacher monitors the students. When they are done, they line-up at the door. “Now, as you leave, I want you to tell me, what is a physical property? What does it mean to make a prediction? What is an investigation?”



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E

Appendix F

Appendix G

Appendix H


ABC Teach

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Reading Resource

Super Teacher Worksheets

TESOL Standards






Theories to Practice

Fall Unit Plan


Second grade class:  70% of the students are English Language Learners


Language Proficiency levels: Emerging/Developing

9am – 10am



By: Kristin Beach



           Students in this 2nd grade classroom are very enthusiastic learners. They love to read, write, and discover new things. As a teacher I believe strongly in giving students learning opportunities in which they can construct their own learning. I believe every student has the potential to learn.

            This Fall Unit Plan will allow for ‘hands-on’ discovery type learning. The students in this classroom are 7 and 8 years old. 70% of the students are learning English as their second language. Most come from homes where the parents do not speak English.

            The Fall Unit Plan will provide students with multiple opportunities to interact with others. Students will also have multiple opportunities to strengthen their skills in the domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, thus providing them with opportunities to develop their English language proficiency. Oral proficiency growth is also a goal of this unit. Content will be scaffolded, enabling it to be more comprehensible for English Language Learners. Our lessons will take place in the mornings (accept for a second part with Lesson 2), and be approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours long, depending on the student’s needs.


LESSON 1- Signs of Fall

Content objectives: SWBAT:

·        Identify signs of the Fall season

·        Collect items that are signs of Fall

·        Record observations in an observation journal

Language objective: SWBAT:

·         Use words to describe plants, animals, and other objects observed on the FallFollow two step oral directions

·        Write phrases, short sentences, and draw pictures to record information

TESOL Standards:

1.      Goal 1, Standard 2: To use English to communicate in social settings: students will use learning strategies to extend their communicative competence.


2.      Goal 2, Standard 1: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.


3.      Goal 2, Standard 2: To use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways: Students will use nonverbal communication appropriate to audience, purpose, and setting.



Key Vocabulary: autumn, observe, signs of Fall


Materials: chart paper, markers, small brown bags, parent helper, copy of It’s Fall, by Linda Glaser


Lesson instruction/Activities

            Children will be sitting on the carpet for our daily ‘circle time’ when we normally go through our morning routine of calendar, events for the day, phonemic awareness songs, my morning message to the class and story. I (the teacher) will ask them if they’ve noticed any changes happening outside. Students will be allowed to call out their answers. I tell the students that I want to write down everything they are saying. On the chart paper, I’ll write Fall in the center with a circle around it. I’ll ask students to raise their hands so I can call on them to share their ideas again. As they respond, using the Think Aloud Method, I’ll record their answers around the word Fall. The Think Aloud Method will allow me to demonstrate to children how I’m going to spell the words I’m hearing. I will ask for students’ help with this. I will also help them ‘categorize’ their thoughts and responses, as some responses might be similar and not needing to be repeated on the web. After we think our web is complete, we’ll chorally read what we’ve recorded. I will then read the story It’s Fall, by Linda Glaser. Story reading provides many beneficial learning opportunities for ELLs. They hear new vocabulary, correct pronunciation and syntax, they use context clues (pictures in this case) to determine meaning, and they enhance their comprehension. If, after reading the story, students have more ideas to add to the semantic web, we’ll add them.

            I will ask the students if they’d like to go outside to collect ‘signs of Fall’. I’ll ask them to stand next to their partner. I’ll pass out the brown paper collection bags with children’s names on them, and explain the directions for the walk. This Fall walk will provide many oral language opportunities for the students as they observe and discuss what they are seeing.

            When our observation walk is finished, students may take their collection bags to their seats. I will ask students to share with their partners two things they discovered on our walk. I will ask for a volunteer to report out loud to the class what they and their partner discovered/learned/observed from our walk. I will then share with the class two things I observed, and then write them on the wipe board/black board, using the Think a Loud Method.

            I will explain to the children that I want them to keep a record of the things they are observing about Fall, and will show them what our Observation Journals look like.  The Observation Journal will have four to five pages, and each page will be blank on the top, for drawing pictures, and have two dotted sets of lines on the bottom for students to write their observations (we will add to the journal at different times during the unit). I will have different expectations for the writing portion of this lesson, depending on each student’s proficiency. Some will be able to model the sentence I wrote on the board (On our walk I saw____________), and others will produce only one or two words to describe objects, while others will write beginning or ending sounds to the objects they saw or collected. Some will prefer only to draw a picture, but I will work with each one to help them hear the sounds and record the sounds they hear. I might write what some dictate to me also. The TESOL proficiency standards will guide my teaching at this point, depending on each student’s proficiency level. During this writing time, students may talk with others at their table, discussing with peers, getting help from others, etc.

Closure and Assessment

            I will make observations during many portions of this lesson. The writing and drawing portion of this lesson will be an assessment also. I will also take anecdotal notes as a form of assessment. For a closing activity, students will share their writing with a partner.


LESSON 2- Recording Signs of Fall

Content objectives: SWBAT:

·        Sort Fall observation walk items collected from Lesson 1, by color, size, or other characteristics

·        Identify similarities and differences between objects collected

·        Create a graph using the objects collected, use the graph to explain most, and least, in reference to the amount of objects


Language objective: SWBAT:

·         Describe attributes of items in Fall walk collection bag Describe similarities and differences of items in Fall walk collection bagSort objects according to oral instructions

TESOL Standards:

1.      Goal 1, Standard 1: To use English to communicate in social settings: Students will use English to participate in social interaction.


2.      Goal 2, Standard 1: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.


Key Vocabulary: sort, classify, graph


Materials: Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert, work mat, chart paper or wipe board, student record sheet, chart paper for graphing objects with partner


Lesson instruction/Activities (Part 1)

            During our circle time, I will first share the story Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert. I will ask the class to share what they remember about our Fall walk yesterday. We’ll look at our semantic web, and discuss objects they collected in their observation bags. I will explain to students that we are going to sort our collection items today. “Does anybody know what sort means?” In the middle of our circle I will empty my collection bag on to a work mat. With all students looking on, I will ask them to tell me how they think I should sort the items from my bag. A discussion will follow regarding the descriptions of the objects, and how they can be sorted…by color, or size, or shape, kind of object, or texture, etc., similarities and differences between objects. I will write these different ways to sort the objects on the chart paper in a list form. I will choose, for demonstration purposes, to sort my objects by color. I will demonstrate how I’m going record what I’ve just done. On a sample handout that I will give to each student later,  I will demonstrate the following things I want them to record: “ I sorted my items by             __color   . My favorite items are    the red leaves     because       they are bright     .” I’ll explain that I want them to draw a picture at the top of the paper of their favorite item, and will demonstrate it. I will them have each student take a work mat and their collection bag and go back to their seats to sort their objects however they want to.

Closure and Assessment

            During this activity I will walk around the room to assess students’ progress with sorting. As I do this I will ask students to tell me how they sorted  their items. I will also ask them to explain their items - similarities and differences. I will assess their progress as they fill out their record sheet. At the end of this part of the lesson, I will ask if any student wants to share their record sheet with the rest of the class. Students who want to will stand up in the front of the room and read what they wrote, and share their picture too.

Lesson instruction/Activities (Part 2)

            There is one more activity that’ll I’ll have students do as a continuance of the earlier lesson, but I will do it in the afternoon, during Math time. I want the students to graph their collection bag items as a way of figuring out which item they had the most of, and which item they had the least of. I will ask students to come to the carpet and I will demonstrate what I want them to do. On a large sheet of paper (probably chart paper) I will empty my collection bag. I will proceed to sort my items by kind (all the acorns in one row, all the leaves in another row, all the seed pods in another row, etc.). I will ask the students to help me count the items in each row, and then at the top of each row, I’ll write the number of items we counted. This graph will be a visual way to compare the amounts of each item. I will have the students work in partners to do this. So, each pair of kids (I will try to match native speakers with ELLs) will then find a place in the room to combine their bags, sort, and make a graph (a plain piece of chart paper) using the items from the Fall Walk.

Closure and Assessment

            My assessment of students’ progress will happen through observing and asking questions as I walk around to each pair. I will listen to discussions, and watch as students organize their materials. I will be able to determine if students are graphing easily or with difficulty. I will ask pairs of students to tell me which item they had the most of, and which item they had the least of. When all pairs have completed their graphs, I will have the pairs go to another pairs’ graph and have that pair explain their data. Then they will switch. Sharing the graphs will be the end of the lesson.


LESSON 3- Foods harvested in the Fall                                         (pumpkins)

Content objectives: SWBAT:

·        Observe pumpkins being harvested in the Fall

·        Make guesses, weigh, measure height, and draw what pumpkin looks like.


Language objective: SWBAT:

·        Formulate hypotheses (guesses) and make  oral predications verbally

·         Describe field trip experiences. Desrcribe how pumpkins are harvested.

·         Write pumpkin height and weight. Draw pictures to show features of pumkin

TESOL Standards:

1.      Goal 1, Standard 1: To use English to communicate in social settings: Students will use English to participate in social interaction.


2.      Goal 2, Standard 2: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use English to obtain, process, construct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.


3.      Goal 2, Standard 3: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge.


Key Vocabulary: pumpkin patch, weight, height


Materials: chart paper, video clip, scale, recording sheet, linking cubes


Lesson Instruction/Activities

            (The class will be going to the Pumpkin Patch today on a field trip. This is part of our lesson, but it will obviously last more than an hour. I believe hands on experiences, such as field trips, are important for English Language Learners.)

            We will begin this lesson during our circle time. I will show the students the semantic web about fall that we previously made and we will talk about the different things we are learning. I will tell them that today we will be learning about food that is harvested in the fall. We will talk about foods the students know that are harvested in the Fall. To build background for the students, I will show them a 3 minute video clip about a pumpkin farm, and pumpkins being harvested. After the video, we will make a KWL chart as a class. The chart will have three columns – what we Know, Want to know, and what we Learned. As a class, I will ask the students to tell me what they know about pumpkins. I will talk out loud as I record what the students say, and record their statements in the Know column. As we discuss going on our field trip, I will ask them to tell me some things they want to know, or learn about harvesting pumpkins. At this point we will discuss the rules for our field trip, and go to the pumpkin patch. During the field trip we will continue to observe signs of Fall, learn about harvesting pumpkins, and have opportunities for students to use oral language.

            Upon return from our field trip, we will set our pumpkins in our circle time area. In this part of the lesson we continue focusing on our language and content objectives. I will have students sit on the carpet. We will finish filling in our KWL chart, discussing what we Learned about harvesting pumpkins, etc. After we discuss this, I will have the students share their observations about their own pumpkins. We will discuss height, weight, and other physical characteristics. I will have the students guess whose pumpkin in the class weighs the most, and whose they think is the tallest. I will write their guesses on chart paper, using tally marks to count guesses. I will ask them how they think we can figure out whose weighs the most, and whose is the tallest. Students will orally share their thoughts.  I will show the students the scale I brought, and then show them how I would weigh my pumpkin. I will then demonstrate how to measure the height of my pumpkin using linking cubes. I will show the students how I will record the weight and height of my pumpkin on a recording sheet. On the recording sheet I will also demonstrate drawing a picture of what my pumpkin looks like. Then each student will take their pumpkins and recording sheets back to their tables. Each student will use linking cubes to measure the height of their pumpkin. They will also draw a picture of their pumpkin. Students will take turns weighing their pumpkins on the scale. When each student has finished, we will record each student’s pumpkin’s weight and height on a class chart. This chart will then be used to determine if our earlier guesses (about whose pumpkin was the heaviest and tallest) were accurate.

Assessment and Closure

            I will assess the students’ understanding of pumpkins being harvested by observing them on our field trip, and by their discussion of the Learned part of our KWL chart. The students’ recording sheets will serve as an assessment of their understanding of measurement of height and weight. At the end of the lesson, each student will make a little take home book called My Pumpkin. This book uses repetitive text and high frequency words.


(Lesson 1 attachment)

Observation Journal













(Lesson 2 attachment)





I sorted my items by ____________________ because _____________________________________________________.





(Lesson 3 attachment)


My pumpkin looks like this:




My pumpkin weighs ____________ pounds.



My pumpkin is ______________ cubes high.





Copyright © Dr. Michael Wei